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03 Nov 09:58

Why is Twitter Protecting Violent Islamophobes While Banning Everyone Else?

by Meg Sri

Conservative journalist Laura Loomer went on a hateful, Islamophobic rampage on Twitter on Wednesday, posting photos and video she took of Muslim women in New York City. Unsurprisingly, Twitter has done nothing about it.

Labeling herself a proud Islamophobe, Loomer called Muslims “fucking savages,” Islam a “cancer” and alleged that Muslims were “all the same” and should “never be let into the civilized world.” Loomer also claimed that she was late to work at a New York Police Department press conference because it took her 30 minutes to find an Uber or a Lyft not driven by a Muslim driver, calling it “insanity” and demanding a version of a ridesharing app that would exclude “Islamic immigration drivers.” Her actions were so toxic that even a company resistant to any sort of radical politics by any standard – Uber – was forced to ban her for her racist vitriol. (Lyft has since banned her as well).

There’s no need to explain how blatantly disgusting Loomer’s words are, and I hesitate to amplify her voice in any way using this platform. But the key question here is this: why is Twitter, the same company that just in this month has actively suppressed leftist voices (one of our editors included) in the name of security, allowing Loomer to continue using their website as a platform to spew unfiltered, hateful, racist nonsense? It was just a few days ago that Twitter temporarily suspended the account of leftist comedian Krang T. Nelson for what was clearly a joking tweet about Antifa “supersoldiers.” Twitter also caused a public uproar when, more seriously, they banned actress Rose McGowan for speaking out against sexual assault, alleging later that the suspension was because she had tweeted a ‘private phone number.’

Loomer, in contrast, has actively threatened the Muslim community with her tweets: wanting to deprive them of their citizenship and their livelihood – clear steps, regardless of her intent, upwards on the pyramid of hate leading up to eventual genocide. This is in a climate where the Muslim community in the United States already faces threats ranging anywhere from surveillance to vigilante and state violence. Loomer is using a public platform with which she speaks to over 100,000 followers to make comments that have a high likelihood of inciting physical violence. In addition – far more dangerous than a phone number – Loomer has tweeted pictures and videos (which are still up!) without consent, of course, of Muslim Americans in hijabs walking out in New York City, making them or other women in hijabs in New York clear targets of violence from any fanatical right-wing followers she might be radicalizing.

Twitter’s selective use of the ban tool in order to suppress activists and prop up white supremacists is well documented, and it is clear the platform has a harassment problem. But this is just one more obvious instance where the company has shown what is laziness at best and active complicity in white supremacy at worst in how they chose to moderate their platform. After the McGowan controversy went down, CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted what seems – then and now – a hollow apology and a claim that the company is aiming to counteract the silencing of marginalized voices on their platform and strengthening their policy against abusers and bullies. Laura Loomer’s tweets and verified account – standing loud and proud on the internet – are a marker of proof that Dorsey and Twitter are full, apologies for the language, of horseshit.

 

30 Oct 04:44

The last 2 weeks.

by noreply@blogger.com (Merlesworld)
I like this fence is just a bit different and very neat, mine is falling over so I will get a new one soon, maybe.
Wilbur on the swing, he is such a big boy now.



On the way home from the park I took odd shots of the neighbourhood.
Some tall pine  trees.
Love this balcony


Schools have water tanks now
This tree is growing next to my house I had no idea it could get so big.

Sign of the times, we often took a shortcut through our school to the bus stop not allowed any more.




Some are very private

This one is for sale interesting old house but on a very busy road.









Love the door and window screens.
The mural has seen better days could do with a freshen up.

The smell is lovely.
some houses are tiny
street flowers


Can you see the mischief



On Wednesday last week we went to the zoo
We saw the big male elephant

The babies were impressed
Well a bit anyway
the big turtles
very slow but very impressive
A lazy Hippo.
there was a baby one in the water diving but I must of missed him.

A baby elephant
with his mum
family together




and of course these fellows


Well that's bye from us.
29 Oct 03:47

Women Don’t Bleed Blue (Even Yalies and Members of the Social Register)

by Bridget Crawford

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

Several years ago, Ann Bartow blogged here about U.S. advertisers’ first use of a “red dot” to illustrate blood on a menstrual hygiene pad.

According to this article in the Scottish Daily Mail, an ad for Bodyform in the U.K. is drawing controversy for using red liquid — instead of the customary blue — to illustrate the pad’s absorbency. The ad uses the hashtag #bloodnormal and features a man buying menstrual hygiene products, a woman floating on a white pad-shaped mattress in a swimming pool, and woman in a shower with blood flowing down her legs.

The ad has been called “disgusting” by one person but “groundbreaking” by none other that Cosmo magazine (itself at the forefront of the menstrual equity movement, joining with Jennifer Weiss-Wolf to promote an on-line petition against the tampon tax).

I’m all for #bloodnormal, but in, say, a diaper commercial, I wouldn’t want to see yellow or brown stand-ins for a baby’s digestive output. Hypocritical? Probably.

24 Oct 11:56

It's been 3 weeks .

by noreply@blogger.com (Merlesworld)
Fergus Noodle

Lots of hats

Life has been busying the little fellows have produced 8 teeth between them and more coming so I will not say much but let you enjoy the photos on my camera. It's mainly eating,  wearing hats and exploring their new world, enjoy the pictures.



























































19 Oct 20:38

U.S. Men’s Soccer Proves That Mediocre Men Will Still Earn More Than Successful Women

by Meg Sri

Last week, the United States’ men’s soccer team lost 2-1 in a World Cup Qualifier to Trinidad and Tobago, the only team below them in the group standings, sending them crashing out of the Men’s World Cup for the first time since 1986 in what some are calling “the worst loss in the history of U.S. Men’s Soccer.” It seems a good a time as any to remember that it was only in April this year that the U.S. women’s too, lost an important fight: the battle to gain equal pay with the men’s team. And it also seems a good time to remember that while the U.S. men comically crashed out of the World Cup, the women won it in 2015.

The deeper one dives, the more embarrassing the record is. The U.S. women’s team’s record in World Cups the past twenty years includes two victories, one second-place finish, and three third-place finishes. The men’s involves one non-qualification, two exits at the Group Stages, two at the Round of 16, and one high of a quarterfinal finish. The women have lost only two Olympic gold medals between 1996 and 2016. The (under-23, but nonetheless) men did not qualify three times in the same period.

The history of U.S. men’s soccer is far from illustrious in general, especially on the international stage. As FiveThirtyEight points out, “In the 1998 World Cup and the 2006 World Cup — the last two on European soil — it combined for one tie and five losses. In 2015, the team was stunned at home in the Gold Cup semifinal by Jamaica, which at the time was ranked 76th in the world by FIFA.” Meanwhile, the women’s team has been characterized by roaring  successes, entertaining play, stimulating victories, and renewed public interest in soccer. They also now bring in more game revenue than men, bringing in $23 million last year, and turned over 3 times as much profit as the men in 2016. U.S. Soccer predicts the same will happen in 2017 for the women — while the men are expected to turn over a loss of $1 million.

In March 2016, five of the U.S. women’s team players filed a federal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that U.S. soccer acted discriminatorily in paying its female players less than those on the men’s team. The complaint pointed out some startling figures: women, if they won and including their win bonus, would earn $4,950 per game; the men would earn $5,000 just for showing up (and a whopping $8,166 if they won, rare as that might be). If women won all their games in a year, they’d earn $99,000 — still less than the men’s salary for just showing up and losing every game, at $100,000. And that’s not counting the litany of smaller discriminatory practices: coach flights vs. business class; dangerous artificial turf vs. real fields; and lower per diems and pay for sponsor appearances.

The fight did end in some form of victory in April this year: women’s players got pay raises of over 30%, better bonuses, higher per diems, and other financial benefits. And yet U.S. soccer couldn’t take the final leap and pay a multiple World Cup-winning, tremendously victorious side that is more financially profitable the same amount of money as a mediocre side that crashes out of a World Cup and expects to net a revenue loss.

Last week’s World Cup qualifier loss was a sobering reminder to some soccer fans about systemic problems with U.S. men’s soccer. But to many of us, it is also a sobering reminder to women: you can be twice or thrice as good as men, but you still cannot expect to be treated or paid on par with them.

Header image via

09 Oct 18:36

In Which We Autistically Begin Our Career In Surgery

by Durga

vlcsnap-2017-09-27-17h46m47s409

Showing Appreciation

by ELEANOR MORROW 

The Good Doctor
creator David Shore
ABC

Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) is a functioning autistic surgical student. In the first episode of The Good Doctor, he flies from Wyoming to San Jose, California to begin his first residency. Both places are much the same to him, and really to us, since we have never been to San Jose or Cheyenne, and there is nothing in The Good Doctor to recommend either.

When he lands at the San Jose airport, he witnesses a severe accident. A plane of glass falls on an African-American boy. Shards lodge in the boy's abdomen and enter his bloodstream; his neck is also slashed. A well-meaning doctor tries to help, but Shaun can see that he is doing it wrong, because autistic people have superpowers much like Superman's x-ray vision. Shaun immediately recalls information from medical textbooks he has pored over. He creates a makeshift valve to allow the boy to keep breathing, but not after stealing a knife from a gaggle of TSA agents.

After they see that their son has been saved by this weird white man, the parents of the boy give him a soft hug. Shaun is neither excited or disturbed by their outpouring of emotion. He does not seem to understand it at all, an unlikely reaction for a functioning autistic. Then again, if he bristled at their touch, how sympathetic would he be in the scenes that follow?

vlcsnap-2017-09-27-17h37m47s771

Shaun's benefactor is Aaron Glassman (Richard Schiff). He is president of the hospital to which the African-American boy is dispatched. Shaun follows, begging the doctors attending the case to give the child an echocardiogram. They won't do it, probably because they are racist. Or maybe not racist, since most of the residents at this hospital are individuals of color, but racist against autistic people.

In many other countries, individuals with developmental disabilities are being eliminated before they are even born. I would like to think that in America, we value genetic diversity, but The Good Doctor puts the lie to this entire concept, since Shaun's supervising Mexican-American surgeon Dr. Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez) tells him, on his first day, that he will only be doing suction.

vlcsnap-2017-09-27-17h42m54s703

While it is certainly nice to see a hospital full of doctors from a diverse variety of backgrounds, The Good Doctor sort of writes itself into a political hole here. It is not really appropriate or convincing to identify these various individuals from disparate life experiences as all united in their intolerance of a white man. I say, "not appropriate," because it implies that coming from a particular place gives you no particular understanding of what it means to be an outsider in every context. I think that's a lie.

As it happens, the actors who play Shaun's immediate superiors on The Good Doctor have a very specific background. Hill Harper, who portrays the head of surgery at the hospital, attended Harvard Law School. Gonzalez, who stars as the arrogant surgeon meant to be Shaun's supervisor, spent time at Oxford. I do not believe any of these people in real life would be intolerant of someone with autism, and it feels somewhat wrong to force them into positions where they have to pretend this.

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 5.21.13 PM

Shaun's character promulgates this contradiction in a scene with another resident, Claire Browne (Antonia Thomas). (Thomas is an English actress, borne of a Jamaican mother and a British father.) He says to her in the hospital's cafeteria, "The first time I met you, you were rude to me. The next time, you were nice to me. Which time were you pretending?"

In flashbacks we see that young Shaun (Graham Verchere) was essentially raised by his brother Steve (Dylan Kingwell). They live in a school bus for some reason, which seems slightly implausible, but not for Shaun, who asks if they can get a television. Steve says that they can't because they live in a school bus. Steve might be annoyed sometimes by his brother's autism, but in general he is remarkably good-natured about it.

vlcsnap-2017-09-27-17h44m58s996

In this inverted world, certain people are surgeons. Maybe it's great that they are, maybe some of them shouldn't be. It is not up to us to judge, whether we are white or Mexican-American or African-American, since we can never truly know the subjectivity of another person. We must only show our appreciation, our happiness that another person, who exists at the behest of something larger than ourselves, lurks behind the mask of the everyday. In this regular-ish place, superpowers are always secret.

Or maybe the only superpower that Freddie Highmore's character actually has is that he is white, and the rest is just a distracting backstory.

Eleanor Morrow is the senior contributor to This Recording.

vlcsnap-2017-09-27-17h44m25s711

30 Sep 10:20

Photo



30 Sep 10:18

Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumber and Pomegranate Molasses

by Ganga108
Fergus Noodle

make me this ty

This dish of beautiful fresh buffalo mozzarella balls has saved me many a time, late at night, tired from a long day, collapsed in front of the television. Mozzarella balls are torn apart, tomatoes, cukes and herbs added, and pomegranate molasses drizzled over. Tearing the fresh Mozzarella adds great texture, great mouth-feel, and a much … Continue reading "Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumber and Pomegranate Molasses"
27 Sep 10:50

Canadian Man Gets 9 Months Detention for Serial Swattings, Bomb Threats

by BrianKrebs

A 19-year-old Canadian man was found guilty of making almost three dozen fraudulent calls to emergency services across North America in 2013 and 2014. The false alarms, two of which targeted this author — involved phoning in phony bomb threats and multiple attempts at “swatting” — a dangerous hoax in which the perpetrator spoofs a call about a hostage situation or other violent crime in progress in the hopes of tricking police into responding at a particular address with deadly force.

Curtis Gervais of Ottawa was 16 when he began his swatting spree, which prompted police departments across the United States and Canada to respond to fake bomb threats and active shooter reports at a number of schools and residences.

Gervais, who taunted swatting targets using the Twitter accounts “ProbablyOnion” and “ProbablyOnion2,” got such a high off of his escapades that he hung out a for-hire shingle on Twitter, offering to swat anyone with the following tweet:

wantswat

Several Twitter users apparently took him up on that offer. On March 9, 2014, @ProbablyOnion started sending me rude and annoying messages on Twitter. A month later (and several weeks after blocking him on Twitter), I received a phone call from the local police department. It was early in the morning on Apr. 10, and the cops wanted to know if everything was okay at our address.

Since this was not the first time someone had called in a fake hostage situation at my home, the call I received came from the police department’s non-emergency number, and they were unsurprised when I told them that the Krebs manor and all of its inhabitants were just fine.

Minutes after my local police department received that fake notification, @ProbablyOnion was bragging on Twitter about swatting me, including me on his public messages: “You have 5 hostages? And you will kill 1 hostage every 6 times and the police have 25 minutes to get you $100k in clear plastic.” Another message read: “Good morning! Just dispatched a swat team to your house, they didn’t even call you this time, hahaha.”

po2-swatbk

I told this user privately that targeting an investigative reporter maybe wasn’t the brightest idea, and that he was likely to wind up in jail soon.  On May 7, @ProbablyOnion tried to get the swat team to visit my home again, and once again without success. “How’s your door?” he tweeted. I replied: “Door’s fine, Curtis. But I’m guessing yours won’t be soon. Nice opsec!”

I was referring to a document that had just been leaked on Pastebin, which identified @ProbablyOnion as a 19-year-old Curtis Gervais from Ontario. @ProbablyOnion laughed it off but didn’t deny the accuracy of the information, except to tweet that the document got his age wrong.

A day later, @ProbablyOnion would post his final tweet before being arrested: “Still awaiting for the horsies to bash down my door,” a taunting reference to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

A Sept. 14, 2017 article in the Ottawa Citizen doesn’t name Gervais because it is against the law in Canada to name individuals charged with or convicted of crimes committed while they are a minor. But the story quite clearly refers to Gervais, who reportedly is now married and expecting a child.

The Citizen says the teenager was arrested by Ottawa police after the U.S. FBI traced his Internet address to his parents’ home. The story notes that “the hacker” and his family have maintained his innocence throughout the trial, and that they plan to appeal the verdict. Gervais’ attorneys reportedly claimed the youth was framed by the hacker collective Anonymous, but the judge in the case was unconvinced.

Apparently, Ontario Court Justice Mitch Hoffman handed down a lenient sentence in part because of more than 900 hours of volunteer service the accused had performed in recent years. From the story:

Hoffman said that troublesome 16-year-old was hard to reconcile with the 19-year-old, recently married and soon-to-be father who stood in court before him, accompanied in court Thursday by his wife, father and mother.

“He has a bright future ahead of him if he uses his high level of computer skills and high intellect in a pro-social way,” Hoffman said. “If he does not, he has a penitentiary cell waiting for him if he uses his skills to criminal ends.”

According to the article, the teen will serve six months of his nine-month sentence at a youth group home and three months at home “under strict restrictions, including the forfeiture of a home computer used to carry out the cyber pranks.” He also is barred from using Twitter or Skype during his 18-month probation period.

Most people involved in swatting and making bomb threats are young males under the age of 18 — the age when kids seem to have little appreciation for or care about the seriousness of their actions. According to the FBI, each swatting incident costs emergency responders approximately $10,000. Each hoax also unnecessarily endangers the lives of the responders and the public.

In February 2017, another 19-year-old — a man from Long Beach, Calif. named Eric “Cosmo the God” Taylor — was sentenced to three year’s probation for his role in swatting my home in Northern Virginia in 2013. Taylor was among several men involved in making a false report to my local police department at the time about a supposed hostage situation at our house. In response, a heavily-armed police force surrounded my home and put me in handcuffs at gunpoint before the police realized it was all a dangerous hoax.

27 Sep 01:03

Sweet Pockets! Strawberry & Rhubarb Pop Tarts

Fergus Noodle

She's changed the blog to Lorraine Elliot Not Quite Nigella

These gorgeous little hand pies or pastries are modelled on pop tarts but they're full of home made goodness with more real fruit inside them. With a rhubarb and strawberry filling they're a great grab on the go breakfast or snack.
27 Sep 00:50

Crispy Cauliflower with Tahini Yoghurt Sauce

by Ganga108
This Cauliflower dish is a take on a classic Israeli and Lebanese recipe in Ottolenghi and Tammi’s book Jerusalam. I have twisted it up just a little to suit us and our friends, but I have to tell you that this is a favourite dish in our circle. I love it partly because it is … Continue reading "Crispy Cauliflower with Tahini Yoghurt Sauce"
18 Sep 19:01

The Suite Life at Four Seasons, Sydney

Fergus Noodle

This was her husband's birthday thing but she didn't pay for it

Take a peek into the beautiful world of the Four Seasons Sydney featuring exemplary service and suites with expansive views of Sydney harbour. It's a very special milestone birthday surprise for Mr NQN with a stay in the deluxe royal suite at the Four Seasons!
17 Sep 10:44

Research Finds Obesity is in the Eye of the Beholder

by Evan Stewart

In an era of body positivity, more people are noting the way American culture stigmatizes obesity and discriminates by weight. One challenge for studying this inequality is that a common measure for obesity—Body Mass Index (BMI), a ratio of height to weight—has been criticized for ignoring important variation in healthy bodies. Plus, the basis for weight discrimination is what other people see as “too fat,” and that’s a standard with a lot of variation.

Recent research in Sociological Science from Vida Maralani and Douglas McKee gives us a picture of how the relationship between obesity and inequality changes with social context. Using data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth (NLSY), Maralani and McKee measure BMI in two cohorts, one in 1981 and one in 2003. They then look at social outcomes seven years later, including wages, the probability of a person being married, and total family income.

The figure below shows their findings for BMI and 2010 wages for each group in the study. The dotted lines show the same relationships from 1988 for comparison.

For White and Black men, wages actually go up as their BMI increases from the “Underweight” to “Normal” ranges, then levels off and slowly decline as they cross into the “Obese” range. This pattern is fairly similar to 1988, but check out the “White Women” graph in the lower left quadrant. In 1988, the authors find a sharp “obesity penalty” in which women over a BMI of 30 reported a steady decline in wages. By 2010, this has largely leveled off, but wage inequality didn’t go away. Instead, that spike near the beginning of the graph suggests people perceived as skinny started earning more. The authors write:

The results suggest that perceptions of body size may have changed across cohorts differently by race and gender in ways that are consistent with a normalizing of corpulence for black men and women, a reinforcement of thin beauty ideals for white women, and a status quo of a midrange body size that is neither too thin nor too large for white men (pgs. 305-306).

This research brings back an important lesson about what sociologists mean when they say something is “socially constructed”—patterns in inequality can change and adapt over time as people change the way they interpret the world around them.

Evan Stewart is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Minnesota. You can follow him on Twitter.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

09 Sep 08:04

Helene, 32

“I’m wearing a coat by a young Estonian talent Sirli Pohlak, some Adidas Originals Essencials and sandals by once again Estonian brand TOKU with illustrations by myself. My style inspirations are always changing and right now I just want to look like I seriously put some effort in to my look without actually putting in any effort, rolling out of bed and looking awesome is my goal. Current favorites are definitely oversized coats that look like blankets & kimonos.”

25 July 2017, Korkeavuorenkatu

09 Sep 08:04

Liisa, 26

“Today my clothing was inspired by my stairway with light orange and light green walls. Actually this color mixture reminds me of puke. I am an active user of colors and I don't feel myself cozy in black. My forever sources of inspiration: monochromatism, retrofuturism, sex and fairytales.”

25 July 2017, Mannerheimintie

09 Sep 08:01

Police Officer Comforts White Woman by Saying “We Only Kill Black People”

by Brianna Suslovic

Dashcam footage released last week shows a Georgia police officer telling a passenger during a traffic stop that cops “only shoot black people.” The video isn’t just a bad joke caught on camera. It reveals layers of historical and present police violence against black people – often in the name of making white women feel safe.

The dashcam footage, which surfaced last week, shows Lt. Greg Abbott standing outside of a vehicle during a DUI traffic stop in July 2016.  After the passenger – a white woman – expresses fear that she would be shot for moving her hands during the stop, Abbott responds: “But you’re not black. Remember, we only shoot black people. Yeah, we only kill black people, right?” Lt. Abbott retired last Thursday after backlash in response to the video. His attorney released a troubling statement, saying: “In context, his comments were clearly aimed at attempting to gain compliance by using the passenger’s own statements and reasoning to avoid making an arrest.”

It’s sad to admit that Lt. Abbott’s comments do point to a cold, hard truth: law enforcement disproportionately murders people of color. Just last year, black people were over twice as likely to be murdered by police compared to white people; indigenous folks were nearly four times as likely to be killed. This state murder isn’t something unique to our day and age. As Claudia Rankine writes, be it “Dying in ship hulls [...] gunned down by police, or warehoused in prisons,” dead black people are “part of normal life here.”

The state murder of black people is indeed normalized in America – and in case you missed it, this police violence is a feminist issue. Whether or not Lt. Abbott was serious or joking in his comments, they are unacceptable; and they reveal the continued pattern of the state dehumanizing black people — here by treating black lives as punchlines — as a means of comforting white women. As police officers feel emboldened to joke about the black people they kill, how are black people — women, femmes, trans and non-binary folk, men — supposed to navigate our safety and livelihood? And what will white women, even those who like this passenger are seemingly aware of police violence, do to dismantle the police state that will do anything to protect their mutual whiteness? 

Header image via G20 Voice

31 Aug 11:29

Linda, 18

“I buy most of my clothes online, sometimes I visit thrift stores, too. My favorite colours to wear are pink, yellow, red and black. I love to wear skirts with fishnet stockings.”

1 July 2017, Helsinki Pride 2017

31 Aug 11:27

French Buttered Radishes with Herbed Salt

by Ganga108
30 Aug 11:38

In Which This Is The Only Thronesapedia You Need Concern Yourself With

by Durga

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 6.04.42 PM

Terms of Thrones

by DICK CHENEY

Imitators. Pretenders. I was the first man in the entire world to even conceive of writing recaps of Game of Thrones. Now in my old, older age, I don't have to the time to parcel through Jon Snow's periods, mutely observing the wet trail of blood he drapes across the snow. I don't pore over the show the way I once did, and indeed, there's a lot less to make fun of in general on HBO's cash cow now that they finally gave David Benioff the money he needed to make this look like a movie and not Babylon 5. It was far too obvious how much they had to cut back in order to make this work on television over the past decade, but that is all forgotten.

I remember when I used to quietly while an afternoon away scribbing down the various key moments in the history of the Targaryen family. Hints are still being dropped about Jon Snow's parentage, although the end result is quite obvious by now. In order to follow the action, you'll want to read this important encyclopedia, preferably while you are on the toilet.

ARYA STARK: Having Arya play lots of different roles in Winterfell is a very good idea for a storyline, and I'm sure we'll learn that the two of them are about to outsmart Littlefinger in short order. The castle itself has been a disappointing locale outside of the crypt — we never get a sense of it as a setting, really. Arya's acting is kind of hit or miss, but having a teenager as a female Superman is never going to get old. I loved her scene with Hot Pie, but moments with Sansa haven't been much, with the directors usually forcing them not to look at each other or touch in any way.

BRAN STARK: Fuck Brandon Stark. This little piece of shit has the nerve to say, "I haven't been Brandon Stark in a long time," like anyone gives two fucks that he had some mystical experience beyond the Wall. Like, if you're so all-knowing, how come you can't be the slightest bit polite to the people you depend on for food and sustenance. God how I wish the Lannisters had murdered this loser when they had the chance.

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BRIENNE OF TARTH: Sending Brienne to King's Landing and reuniting her with the only straight man she ever loved (RIP Renly Baratheon, you were fabulous) is a positive move, since there was only so many times I could watch her giving wisened advice to the boy-man they call Podrick. I am looking forward to her battling the monster that never leaves Cersei's side.

CERSEI LANNISTER: Lena Headey has long been the best performer in this entire milieu, and her trials and tribulations made her eerily sympathetic over time. The amusing way she announced her latest pregnancy to Jaime was fun, and her newly unapologetic view of her own sexuality makes her something of heroine as well. It would make more sense for Dany to vanquish her before the Night King, and I hope it happens that way. I can't dislike a strong woman.

DAENERYS TARGARYEN: The true lowpoints of Emilia Clarke's acting career are thankfully in the past, although it would be a stretch that she is in any way suitable to portray this character. A queen that rides around on dragons and plots a war against a continent should be a far more dynamic figure; instead she is turned into a pesky do-gooder — she's basically a college student who just discovered socialism. Her chemistry with Kit Harington is decent to good, and when they touched hands I would be lying if I wasn't gripping a blanket. Her reaction to the emotional death of her dragon Ethan was a bit stoic for my tastes. I get what they were going for, but she just looked constipated.

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GENDRY: He's been at that forge every day for nine years. It's a lucky thing he didn't take a long lunch.

GREY WORM: So he has no penis or no balls, or both? I'm not googling this.

HOT PIE: It is really too much to give Hot Pie a love interest? I only have so many years left; they couldn't write a scene where Arya ruffled his hair while eating his prepared food? Also, he could have done with a familiar, like possibly a parrot or capuchin monkey that demanded his lovely pies all the time.

JAIME LANNISTER: Jaime and Bronn have always been great together, but it's been a few seasons of this eerily codependent relationships and I feel like I'm ready to move on. Jaime's discomfort about renewing relations with his sister also seems like a weird retcon to get them back exactly where they started, as if nothing ever happened. Jaime's face turn is probably coming, but I get the feeling that even the producers really don't know what to do with the character at this point. It would have been great to see him acting like a father, but instead they killed all his kids off.

JON SNOW: I never thought I would ever praise Kit Harington. Go back, if you will, to his early days on Game of Thrones. Christ was his acting shit. His line deliveries were all over the place, and his movement was downright amateurish. My, how he has grown. It was maybe somewhat offensive how they made a point of saying how tiny he is; like is it really necessary to burn him with casting directors when you can simply shoot him from below? This season his voice and inflection have really been top notch, and his acting in his scenes with Dany has been excellent. He's singlehandedly carrying this show, and when he's not in the same scene as Sansa, it's really not half bad. Pairing him with the Onion Knight was a good move.

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JORAH MORMONT: There is this pernicious idea ensconsed in the world in general, and also on Game of Thrones which can only reflect our own world, that once people reach a certain age, they stop evolving or changing. I hate how the old folks of Westeros may as well all be suffering from greyscale. They just spend time trying to make up for these ancient mistakes; a penitent posture that starts to get old after the fifteenth time Jorah Mormont returned to the only woman he ever loved. I hate to break it to everyone, but greyscale can't be cured.

THE ONION KNIGHT: It's nice to have him around as comic relief, even though his weird tendency to grab onto whoever has power is never really explored thematically or by the other characters. Liam Cunningham is such a spectacular actor that I think they figured that they might as well keep giving him things to do.

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SAMWELL TARLY: Sam's always been a bright spot on Game of Thrones. His experience at the Citadel was roundly boring, and they sort of just said mea culpa and moved him on his way. I would have liked to see him back running his father's estate in a multi-episode storyline, but it looks like he will simply be educating the people of Dragonstone. If he ends up leaving his incest-wife for Dany, I will never say anything bad about George R.R. Martin again.

SANSA STARK: Listening to Sansa rehash how she was terribly mistreated by some of the worst men in the ten kingdoms is getting a bit repetitive. I don't know what else she really does now, except question her brother publicly in front of everyone. It is obvious she doesn't respect Jon, and her political opinions are pretty rough overall. I really hope she is killed soon.

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THEON GREYJOY: How many times can one man be redeemed and fall from grace? They probably should have sent him to Braavos and given him the face of Roose Bolton so I don't have to look at this fellow's slack, pale visage anymore. What is even the point of him existing now?

TYRION LANNISTER: Is there anyone who is not fully convinced at this point that Peter Dinklage smells his own farts like they were the most beautiful perfume on earth? What I would give to see him munched on by a dragon.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

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30 Aug 11:35

Why It’s Still A Bad Idea to Post or Trash Your Airline Boarding Pass

by BrianKrebs

An October 2015 piece published here about the potential dangers of tossing out or posting online your airline boarding pass remains one of the most-read stories on this site. One reason may be that the advice remains timely and relevant: A talk recently given at a Czech security conference advances that research and offers several reminders of how being careless with your boarding pass could jeopardize your privacy or even cause trip disruptions down the road.

In What’s In a Boarding Pass Barcode? A Lot, KrebsOnSecurity told the story of a reader whose friend posted a picture of a boarding pass on Facebook. The reader was able to use the airline’s Web site combined with data printed on the boarding pass to discover additional information about his friend. That data included details of future travel, the ability to alter or cancel upcoming flights, and a key component need to access the traveler’s frequent flyer account.

A search on Instagram for "boarding pass" returned 91,000+ results.

A search on Instagram for “boarding pass” returned 91,000+ results.

More recently, security researcher Michal Špaček gave a talk at a conference in the Czech Republic in which he explained how a few details gleaned from a picture of a friend’s boarding pass posted online give him the ability to view passport information on his friend via the airline’s Web site, and to change the password for another friend’s United Airlines frequent flyer account.

Working from a British Airways boarding pass that a friend posted to Instagram, Špaček found he could log in to the airline’s passenger reservations page using the six-digit booking code (a.k.a. PNR or passenger name record) and the last name of the passenger (both are displayed on the front of the BA boarding pass).

Once inside his friend’s account, Špaček saw he could cancel future flights, and view or edit his friend’s passport number, citizenship, expiration date and date of birth. In my 2015 story, I showed how this exact technique permitted access to the same information on Lufthansa customers (this still appears to be the case).

Špaček also reminds readers about the dangers of posting boarding pass barcodes or QR codes online, noting there are several barcode scanning apps and Web sites that can extract text data stored in bar codes and QR codes. Boarding pass bar codes and QR codes usually contain all of the data shown on the front of a boarding pass, and some boarding pass barcodes actually conceal even more personal information than what’s printed on the boarding pass.

As I noted back in 2015, United Airlines treats its customers’ frequent flyer numbers as secret access codes. For example, if you’re looking for your United Mileage Plus number, and you don’t have the original document or member card they mailed to you, good luck finding this information in your email correspondence with the company.

When United does include this code in correspondence, all but the last three characters are replaced with asterisks. The same is true with United’s boarding passes. However, the customer’s full Mileage Plus number is available if you take the time to decode the barcode on any United boarding pass.

Until very recently, if you knew the Mileage Plus number and last name of a United customer, you would have been able to reset their frequent flyer account password simply by guessing the multiple-choice answer to two secret questions about the customer. However, United has since added a third step — requiring the customer to click a link in an email that gets generated when someone successfully guesses the multiple-choice answers to the two secret questions.

It’s crazy how many people post pictures of their boarding pass on various social networking sites, often before and/or during their existing trip. A search on Instagram for the term “boarding pass”, for example, returned more than 91,000 such images. Not all of those images include the full barcode or boarding record locator, but plenty enough do and that’s just one social network.

For anyone interested in how much of today’s airline industry still relies on security by obscurity, check out this excellent talk from last year’s Chaos Communication Congress (CCC) in Berlin by security researchers Karsten Nohl and Nemanja Nikodijevic. Nohl notes that the six digit booking code or PNR is essentially a temporary password issued by airlines that is then summarily printed on all luggage tags and inside all boarding pass barcodes.

“You would imagine that if they treat it as a password equivalent then they would keep it secret like a password,” Nohl said. “Only, they don’t, but rather print it on everything you get from the airline. For instance, on every piece of luggage you have your last name and the six-digit (PNR) code.”

In his talk, Nohl showed how these PNRs are used in code-sharing agreements between and among airlines, meaning that gaining access to someone else’s frequent flyer account may reveal information associated with that customer’s accounts at other airlines.

Nohl and his co-presenter also demonstrated how some third-party travel sites do little to prevent automated programs from rapidly submitting the same last name and changing the PNR, essentially letting an attacker brute-force a targeted customer’s PNR.

My advice: Avoid the temptation to brag online about that upcoming trip or vacation. Thieves looking to rob someone in your area will be delighted to see this kind of information posted online.

Don’t post online pictures of your boarding pass or anything else with a barcode in it (e.g., there are currently 42,000 search results on Instagram for “concert tickets”).

Finally, avoid leaving your boarding pass in the trash at the airport or tucked into that seat-back pocket in front of you before deplaning. Instead, bring it home and shred it. Better still, don’t get a paper boarding pass at all (use a mobile).

19 Aug 10:26

Come Travel With Me! Discover The Best of Tasmanian Food!

Fergus Noodle

It's only $4000 to go to Tasmania with NQN

Dear Reader, we heard your feedback and how you wanted an Australian destination. So today we are very excited to launch our first Australian destination-Tasmania, the paradise for food lovers!
06 Aug 10:18

Public meeting – Sydenham to Bankstown Urban Renewal Corridor

by Saving Our Trees
Inner West Council is holding a public meeting on the Sydenham to Bankstown Urban Renewal Corridor Draft Strategy.  If this development goes ahead as planned it will be the end of Dulwich Hill, Marrickville & Sydenham as we know it.  Council has expressed serious concern about the lack of infrastructure to cope with the massive […]
04 Aug 10:51

Jan, 35

Fergus Noodle

cool shirt

“I am wearing a Vivienne Westwood hippie stripes bolero with fringes, a Westwood hat, a Saint Laurent jacquard palm print bag from Surf Sound collection, and Gucci sunnies. I quite like the way men dressed in the 70s – Mick Jagger and Marc Bolan. They're quite feminine but still with a tomboyish look. Also Anita Pallenberg, I love the way she looked in the 60s.”

1 July 2017, Tarkk'ampujankatu

03 Aug 22:49

England and Wales Family Court Decision: Example of a Feminist Judgment

by Bridget Crawford

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Earlier this week, Mr. Justice Peter Jackson of the English and Wales Family Division of the High Court handed down a relatively run-of-the-mill custody decision in what I think is an extraordinary format. The decision is written as a signed letter by the judge to the teenage boy whose custody was at issue.  Here is an excerpt:

13 July 2017

Dear Sam,

It was a pleasure to meet you on Monday and I hope your camp this week went well.

This case is about you and your future, so I am writing this letter as a way of giving my decision to you and to your parents.

When a case like this comes before the court, the judge has to apply the law as found in the Children Act 1989, and particularly in Section 1. You may have looked at this already, but if you Google it, you will see that when making my decision, your welfare is my paramount consideration – more important than anything else. If you look at s.1(3), there is also a list of factors I have to consider, to make sure that everything is taken into account.

When I was appointed as a judge, I took the oath that every judge takes to apply the law in a way that is fair to everybody. Some people will say that this or that decision isn’t fair, but that’s usually their way of saying that they don’t like the decision. People who like decisions don’t usually say they are unfair. * * *

Sam, the evidence shows that you are doing well in life at the moment. You have your school, your friends, your music, and two homes. You’ve lived in England all your life. All your friends and most of your family are here. I have to consider the effect of any change in the arrangements and any harm that might come from it. In any case where parents don’t agree about a move overseas, the parent wanting to move has at least to show that they have a realistic plan. That plan can then be compared with other plans to see which is best. That has not been possible here. You will remember that at the earlier hearing in May, I made very clear to your father that if he was going to seriously put forward a move to Scandinavia, he had to give the court proper information about where you would be living and going to school, where the money would be coming from, and what the arrangements would be for you to keep in touch with family and friends in England. At this hearing, no information at all has been given. Your father described the move to Scandinavia as an adventure and said that once the court had given the green light, he would arrange everything. That is not good enough. In over 30 years of doing family law cases, I have never come across a parent who thought it might be, and no court could possibly accept it. What it means is that I have no confidence at all that a move to Scandinavia would work. Your dad thinks he would find a good life and good work there, but I have seen nothing to back that up – he hasn’t made a single enquiry about houses, schools or jobs. You don’t speak the language and you haven’t been there since before you were 5. Even your dad hasn’t been there for over 10 years. I also doubt his ability to provide you with a secure home and a reasonable standard of living if you lived with him full-time. I would worry about how it would be for you if things started to go wrong. I think you would find it exciting at first, but when reality set in, you might become sad and isolated. I also don’t think it is good for you to be with your father 24/7. In some ways, he would expand your vision of the world, but in many more ways he would narrow it, because he holds such very strong views himself, and because I believe that (maybe sincerely and without realising it) he needs you to fall in with his way of thinking. I also think it would be very harmful to be living so far away from your mum, from young Edward (who needs you too), and from Paul.  * * *

So, coming to the orders I am going to make:

A. I dismiss your dad’s applications to take you to live in Scandinavia and for you to apply for citizenship there.

B. You will have a holiday of a week in the second half of August this year with your dad, to be spent at his home unless he and your mother agree that it is going to be spent somewhere else. * * *

Sam, I realise that this order is not the one that you said you wanted me to make, but I am confident that it is the right order for you in the long run. Whatever each of your parents might think about it, I hope they have the dignity not to impose their views on you, so that you can work things out for yourself. I know that as you get older, you will do this increasingly and I hope that you will come to see why I have made these decisions. I wish you every success with your future and if you want to reply to this letter, I know that your solicitor will make sure that your reply reaches me.

The full opinion, which is worth reading is here. The citation is A (Letter to a Young Person), Re (Rev 1) [2017] EWFC 48 (26 July 2017).

To my eye, this opinion has many of the hallmarks that Kathy Stanchi, Linda Berger and I identified (here) as characteristics of some feminist judgments including breaking rhetorical conventions, practical reasoning, and concern for power dynamics.

Mr. Justice Jackson’s decisions have attracted some attention before, as he was the first judge to use an emoji in an official ruling, so that his decision could be better understood by the children who would read it.

Mr. Justice Jackson has been recently elevated to the Court of Appeal.

02 Aug 10:33

The Sausage Factory, Dulwich Hill

by Helen (Grab Your Fork)
Fergus Noodle

This place

The first thing you'll notice about the Sausage Factory are the knitted sausages in the front window. They've all been handmade by Chrissy Flanagan, who adds pickle pro and Sausage Queen to a comprehensive list of long-forgotten skills. Chrissy is the force behind Chrissy's Cuts, a well-loved snag supplier at local markets, pop-up events (you may have eaten her sausage dogs at this year's
10 Jul 17:54

Balls Balls Balls at Sydney Festival!

Fergus Noodle

She didn't fix her white balance?
I tried to get Webber's parent to go to this but no dice

1.1 million balls. That's the number if you were to count every single ball in one of the Sydney Festival's most popular activities called The Beach. Sydney is of course not short of a beach but this indoor beach located at The Cutaway in Barangaroo has so far attracted thousands of visitors to "swim" with their clothes on.
07 Jul 06:04

The Amazing One Pot Pasta!

Fergus Noodle

Her husband sounds so annoying!

Now this one pot pasta is the definition of simple! Just one pot to do everything and a very simple method. You could even make a vegetarian version of this with a tomato based sauce, basil and cheese on top. Just promise me you'll keep this up your sleeve for one of those days when you need a helping hand!
04 Jul 10:52

In Which We Were The Worst Of An Awful Lot

by Durga

Comfort Food

by ALEX CARNEVALE

The Bad Batch
dir. Ana Lily Amirpour
115 minutes

The Bad Batch, the dynamite second feature of Iranian-American director Ana Lily Amirpour, begins when Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) is dumped into a cannibal desert wasteland. Everything is going against the film at that point: an overly glamorous model lead, music from Die Antwoord that impinges on every aspect of our senses, the constantly reused desert setting selected for its lack of cost to the production. Ten minutes later, Waterhouse is missing her right arm and her right leg, and Amirpour has written over every cliché you thought she was settling into so obscenely.

We first meet Miami Man (the consistently excellent Jason Momoa) in his trailer, where he is painting a portrait of his daughter. It is such an eye-raising way to discover a character, especially a cannibal. A few minutes later, Momoa is snapping the neck of a captured woman begging for her life. Amirpour offers these moments in a meaningful way; she chooses neither to overlay them with music or glorify the violence. She is fully in control at all times, and by the end of The Bad Batch, you realize what a miracle it must have been to shoot this on a budget of only $6 million.

Instead of sweeping, dull shoots of this wasteland environment, Amirpour has a deft eye for people — how they speak and relate to each other in ways that are unmistakably human. Scenes with Jim Carrey, Keanu Reeves and Giovanni Ribisi might have come across as stunt casting in another context. Each performer takes these smaller roles with a diverting seriousness that never takes away from the affecting moments of The Bad Batch. Even the tiniest scene, like a drifter asking Miami Man to sketch his portrait, is full of life.

After her violent amputation, Arlen escapes her confinement by smearing her body with feces and escaping when her captors try to clean her. She pushes her way across the landscape on skateboard, presumably unable to find a stick of any kind. Amirpour makes a point of not keeping Arlen in anguish or pain throughout. We might have emphasized more with the character if we were filled in on her struggles, but there is a deliberate effort here not to focus on a theme of suffering. This is just the way the world is, and Arlen knows it.

Waterhouse herself has some struggles. She is still growing as a performer, and her dark eyebrows barely move throughout The Bad Batch: she seems incapable of emitting measured, smaller responses to events. Her face remains vaguely placid no matter the situation, and her body does not really shake or move either. Sexuality is the last meaningful thing in her life. The first images we see of her smooth legs parody a cinema of exploitation until one of those limbs is quickly shorn off. In various ways Waterhouse would resemble an anime heroine if Amirpour had not put in evidence enough remarkable moments to make her real.

Because she is hateful of cannibals, when Arlen finds Miami Man's wife and daughter in a local dump, she shoots and kills the mother to save the girl from a fate of eating human flesh. Instead of explaining the motivation of every act in The Bad Batch, Amirpour's script is delightfully minimal, allowing us to puzzle out the various moralities and motivations ourselves. In this way, the metropolis of Comfort seems most like a living, breathing whorl. When Arlen finally meets Miami Man as he searches for his daughter, the coming together of these two disturbing figures is more than the sum of their parts.

Music by Jordan Lieb under the name Black Light Smoke preserves the dystopia in its latter stages. Arlen finds the young girl in custody of the Dream (Keanu Reeves), who lords over Comfort with a harem, in the film's least original aspect. Reeves' dialogue is so perfect it doesn't matter to us. The Bad Batch enters us into its hypnotic fugue, its rapid day and night cycles establishing a continuity independent of our own time. This exciting sophomore effort — from such an assured voice — heralds the coming of a new master.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

04 Jul 10:48

So You Think You Can Spot a Skimmer?

by BrianKrebs

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the automated teller machine — better known to most people as the ATM or cash machine. Thanks to the myriad methods thieves have devised to fleece unsuspecting cash machine users over the years, there are now more ways than ever to get ripped off at the ATM. Think you’re good at spotting the various scams? A newly released ATM fraud inspection guide may help you test your knowledge.

The first cash machine opened for business on June 27, 1967 at a Barclays bank branch in Enfield, north London, but ATM transactions back then didn’t remotely resemble the way ATMs work today.

The first ATM was installed in Enfield, in North London, on June 27, 1967. Image: Barclays Bank.

The first ATM was installed in Enfield, in North London, on June 27, 1967. Image: Barclays Bank.

The cash machines of 1967 relied not on plastic cards but instead on paper checks that the bank would send to customers in the mail. Customers would take those checks — which had little punched-card holes printed across the surface — and feed them into the ATM, which would then validate the checks and dispense a small amount of cash.

This week, Barclay’s turned the ATM at the same location into a gold color to mark its golden anniversary, dressing the machine with velvet ropes and a red carpet leading up to the machine’s PIN pad.

The location of the world's first ATM, turned to gold to commemorate the cash machine's golden anniversary. Image: Barclays Bank.

The location of the world’s first ATM, turned to gold and commemorated with a plaque to mark the cash machine’s golden anniversary. Image: Barclays Bank.

Chances are, the users of that gold ATM have little to worry about from skimmer scammers. But the rest of us practically need a skimming-specific dictionary to keep up with today’s increasingly ingenious thieves.

These days there are an estimated three million ATMs around the globe, and a seemingly endless stream of innovative criminal skimming devices has introduced us over the years to a range of terms specific to cash machine scams like wiretapping, eavesdropping, card-trapping, cash-trapping, false fascias, shimming, black box attacks, bladder bombs (pump skimmers), gas attacks, and deep insert skimmers.

Think you’ve got what it takes to spot the telltale signs of a skimmer? Then have a look at the ATM Fraud Inspection Guide (PDF) from cash machine giant NCR Corp., which briefly touches on the most common forms of ATM skimming and their telltale signs.

For example, below are a few snippets from that guide showing different cash trapping devices made to siphon bills being dispensed from the ATM.

Cash-trapping devices. Source: NCR.

Cash-trapping devices. Source: NCR.

As sophisticated as many modern ATM skimmers may be, most of them can still be foiled by ATM customers simply covering the PIN pad with their hands while entering their PIN (the rare exceptions here involve expensive, complex fraud devices called “PIN pad overlays”).

The proliferation of skimming devices can make a trip to any ATM seem like a stressful experience, but keep in mind that skimmers aren’t the only thing that can go wrong at an ATM. It’s a good idea to visit only ATMs that are in well-lit and public areas, and to be aware of your surroundings as you approach the cash machine. If you visit a cash machine that looks strange, tampered with, or out of place, then try to find another ATM.

You are far more likely to encounter ATM skimmers over the weekend when the bank is closed (skimmer thieves especially favor long holiday weekends when the banks are closed on Monday). Also, if you have the choice between a stand-alone, free-standing ATM and one that is installed at a fixed location (particularly a bank) opt for the fixed-location machine, which is typically more secure against physical tampering.

"Deep insert" skimmers, top. Below, an ATM "shimming" device. Source: NCR.

“Deep insert” skimmers, top. Below, ATM “shimming” devices. Source: NCR.

19 Jun 21:44

Eat A Giant Wagon Wheel Cake!

Fergus Noodle

I love Wagon Wheels so much

If you want to relive some childhood memories then may I offer you this riff on a childhood favourite, the Wagon Wheel? This Wagon Wheel Cake is more group and share friendly. It's a butter cookie base on the top and bottom and inside is a fresh raspberry marshmallow filling with raspberry jam. The whole cake is smothered in milk chocolate and then decorated with dark chocolate drips, berries and chocolates!