“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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
It's only $4000 to go to Tasmania with NQN
“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
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
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)  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.
She didn't fix her white balance?
I tried to get Webber's parent to go to this but no dice
Her husband sounds so annoying!
by ALEX CARNEVALE
The Bad Batch
dir. Ana Lily Amirpour
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.
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 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 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.
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, ATM “shimming” devices. Source: NCR.
I love Wagon Wheels so much
OMG Totoro cakes
Woah Kenneth looks just like a thin Jody
I’m supposed to be studying but instead I made a pair of glasses for my cat and pretended he was studying 🙃
I'm in the oversized cheeks club too. It sux
by ETHAN PETERSON
dir. Jonathan Levine
Roger (Christopher Meloni) is a fellow traveler Emily Middleton (Amy Schumer) and her mother Linda (Goldie Hawn) meet in the Colombian jungle. Just 14,000 years ago, the residents of the region farmed maize, potato, quinoa and cotton. These three hikers do not even know what is edible. When Roger takes them to a valley they must cross by swinging on a thick vine, he suggests he go first because "I am the man." Women deal with this kind of sexism all the time. It is called "casual sexism" because it is not really ill-intentioned. Snatched, an important film that also features a scene where a romantic interest inadvertently catches sight of Emily Middleton wiping her vagina with the aid of a bathroom mirror, has Roger swing manfully to his death when the rope breaks.
Unfortunately and somewhat ironically, Meloni is the best actor in Snatched by far. The film is a substantial improvement on Ms. Schumer's last "comedy," in that it actually features some, but not many, jokes completely unrelated to the fictitious idea that she is unpleasant, unkempt, and unattractive. As her fervent fanbase can readily attest, none of these things are actually true. She is a lovely woman whose oversized cheeks only add to her considerable beauty.
In a key scene where Emily Middleton sunbathes at a resort in Ecuador, she shows off her body, which is also quite impressive. Later, she humbly suggests that her slim physique is due to a tapeworm, which is extracted orally in an extensive and graphic scene. Emily recovers from this parasite in a native village with a disturbing patriarchal culture. She is so offended by the sexism she finds there that she destroys their way of life. These heady subjects all occupy space in the best screenplay Katie Dippold (The Heat) has ever written.
Hawn is not given very much to do in Snatched. The character of Linda Middleton is an overbearing single mother; it is unclear why her relationship with the father of her children fell apart so many years ago, or why she has refused to have any sex in the years that followed. Dippold introduces this woman in a scene where she writes up a rough draft of a dating profile before deleting it in disgust. The profile says that she loves cats and Grey's Anatomy. Later on, we are informed that Linda is learning how to be a sculptor, although her daughter immediately dismisses the singular art she produces.
Emily Middleton also has a brother named Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz). Barinholtz, recently the author of the Kevin Hart comedy Central Intelligence, plays an overly verbal loser in most supporting appearances. As he tries to recover his mother and sister after they are kidnapped and brought into Colombia, he makes a trip to the State Department when he cannot find anyone who will listen to him over the phone. This is a taxing and anxiety-ridden journey, since Jeffrey is substantially agoraphobic and makes his only income teaching piano lessons to young people.
Dippold acquiesces to Schumer's typical self-deprecating humor, but she treats Jeffrey's illness with astonishing sensitivity. The characters of Snatched are all ill, in fact. Whatever technology permitted them to stop farming maize and potatoes, as the first humans did quite easily, has also meant an end to any intrinsic chance of happiness. Emily Middleton's boyfriend Michael (the talented Korean-American actor Randall Park) explains that he is breaking up with her because she has no direction in her life – he is tired of her focus on appearances, and declines to accompany her on a trip which has the intrinsic purpose of subjectifying native cultures while having frequent, unemotional sex.
In another less sensitive film, the Middletons would befriend some locals who would show their inherent aboriginality. In Snatched, these white women are outsiders to every part of the culture. They are treated with respect for the most part, and they only come to harm out of their own stupidity. Emily in particular fights back with a velocity of violence never employed by her captors. Using an arrow, she kills the young son of the man ransoming her and her mother, and caves in the skull of another man who is transporting them to nicer living quarters. "You are an excellent murderer," Linda observes of her daughter.
The Spaniard Alonso de Ojeda was the first conquistador to discover Colombia. (He also gave Venezuela its name.) His expeditions were thoroughfares of rape and murder; no women and children were spared by his men. He was so ashamed by his actions that at the end of his life he died penniless and alone after ensuring that people would walk over his grave as punishment for his colonial acts of subjugation.
Emily Middleton's emotional journey is remarkably similar. On her next trip, this time to Kuala Lumpur, she stays within the tourist trappings so that no one else can be hurt. Emily has not altered who she is, she has only the knowledge that her inherent destructiveness must be contained to prevent it from harming the people around her. There is something so completely non-redemptive about Snatched, a refreshing, if depressing testimony to how little of life we are even capable of living.
Ethan Peterson is the reviews editor of This Recording. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here.
A wild blooper on pg 11 of A Million Random Digits. I’m painting all the zeros, with 389 pages/972,500 digits to go, and I’m writing a bit about it along the way. If you couldn’t imagine missing a single zero you can follow along at https://www.twitch.tv/weinventyou.
On Thursday, Senator Bernie Sanders flew to Nebraska to campaign for Health Mello, a Democrat running for Mayor of Omaha. The stop is part of Bernie’s “Unity Tour” with Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez — the beginning of a national effort to rebuild and unite Democrats around a shared vision for the party’s future.
Here’s the catch: Heath Mello is a longtime opponent of abortion access who sponsored a 20-week abortion ban in 2010. It contained no exceptions for rape or incest. Mello has also co-sponsored legislation requiring doctors to perform medically-unnecessary ultrasounds, and he voted for a bill to ban insurance plans in the state from covering abortion, which would dramatically restrict access for low-income women. That’s not just “personal opposition”; it’s a clear, concerted campaign to restrict access to abortion.
Under heavy criticism, Sanders doubled down on his support of Mello, telling NPR that Democrats “can’t exclude people who disagree with us on one issue.”
But of course, Sanders is willing to deny his support to candidates who don’t support his economic justice agenda. Just this week, he bluntly panned Jon Ossoff, a pro-choice Democrat in a tight race to flip Tom Price’s Georgia House seat, as “not a progressive.”
In his fight to define what it means to be progressive and to “radically transform the Democratic Party,” Sanders has drawn an unspoken but clear distinction between the economic issues that animate him (on which he says we must not compromise) and reproductive freedom (on which, he says, we should). It’s a vision in which single-payer and free college are essential parts of the progressive, economic justice agenda, while a woman’s right to choose is not.
But here’s the thing: reproductive freedom is fundamentally an economic justice issue.
Access to abortion — the ability to decide when, and whether, to become a parent — is fundamental to the economic security of women (and other people who can become pregnant). If I found out I were pregnant tomorrow, and I didn’t have the right to choose, unplanned parenthood would derail my career, my educational plans, my entire economic future.
And I’d still be better off than most. Nearly 70 percent of women who obtain abortions live below 200% of the federal poverty line, often because they cannot afford to care for a (or another) child. As Michelle Kinsey Bruns points out, abortion has empowered her to escape “a life of hereditary poverty.” She’s not alone. The landmark “Turnaway Study” tracked women across 21 states who sought but were denied abortion care; researchers found that “women who carried an unwanted pregnancy to term are three times more likely than women who receive an abortion to be below the poverty level two years later.”
Without the ability to control when they become parents, women can’t control their economic futures. There’s no economic justice without abortion access — unless you only care about people who can’t become pregnant.
Like Sanders, Perez defended the DNC’s support for Mello to the Washington Post, arguing, “If you demand fealty on every single issue, then it’s a challenge . . . there are communities, like some in Kansas, where people have a different position.” (Never mind the fact that James Thompson, a staunchly pro-choice progressive running for a deep-red district in Kansas pulled off a 20-point Democratic swing with little DNC support just two weeks ago.)
Let’s be clear: Perez and Sanders aren’t saying that Democrats should compromise; they’re saying women should. Sanders would never urge Democrats to compromise on financial regulation or campaign finance; Perez would never urge the party support Democrats who don’t support the Affordable Care Act. Their calls for “flexibility” and “understanding” are reserved for so-called women’s issues. They recall the old, insidious idea that women should be flexible and understanding, prioritizing what’s viewed as men’s well-being over their own.
Women, of course, have heard this all before — all while women, especially women of color, are the Party’s base, are leading anti-Trump organizing, and are making the overwhelming majority (86 percent!) of calls to Congress. While the Democratic Party flirts with sidelining reproductive rights, women carry its weight. Maybe “unity” should start with supporting us, not negotiating our rights away.
Header image via.
I love steamed cake
"Really cool setup where you have three groups and none are completely wrong, they simply have different views. It's hard to think of another movie which is anything like that" otm
by DICK CHENEY
Grandchildren are absolute garbage except if you are a younger-type dog. If you are older, dog or man, they do nothing but create noise. In order to sedate them during the week their parents are in Turks and Caicos, my wife Lynne has been screening the films of the Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli. I have been complaining throughout, although these empty days allow me to create content that you will enjoy. Here are my reviews of all the movies I have been forced to watch.
Castle in the Sky
The obsession with blimps begins in this first Ghibli feature, which concerns a militia pursuing powerful ancient technology that is carried around a little girl's neck. The animation was rough in parts and Castle starts with two excruciatingly long action sequences in order not to lose the kids' attention. The main female character was acting a lot younger than her age, which I guess made sense because she was a princess. James Van Der Beek turns in one hell of a performance as a tiny little boy in the English dub. I really wasn't too keen on this overall – too much of it came across as feel good nonsense to keep the audience from falling asleep. The sheer number of guns on hand was also quite shocking. C+
The Castle of Cagliostro
This predated Studio Ghibli. Really neat island setting that Miyazaki would return to. The dialogue is proto-Palladino and fun to listen to given that the basic plot is darker and more serious than most Ghibli films. Lots of nods to Miyazaki's own influences, and the feeling of a madcap caper. Could conceivably be a decent live-action movie without many changes, which you can't really say for many of these. Ultimately there was not a whole lot going on and I was bored halfway through, but a great example of how style can triumph over substance. B
Art direction is majorly improved here. The long scenes in the forest are just gorgeous, while the relationships and setting are relatively underdeveloped in comparison. Maybe the most Japanese feeling of his movies due to the various references to Kurosawa and others. The titular female character is a bit sedate, but Miyazaki compensates through the presence of a much more entertaining antagonist. Really cool setup where you have three groups and none are completely wrong, they simply have different views. It's hard to think of another movie which is anything like that. Some great action and jaw-dropping scale, but the character work was noticeably weak. B-
Two hours of watching a 28 year old single woman apologizing for who she is. It's all explained eventually when she flashes back to her father slapping her. "He only did it the once," she cries out, in what may be her final lie. Some really great dark stuff here that you don't see in a lot of movies period, let alone animated ones. It was a little heavy-handed on the proletariat brainwashing, but maybe I just have an aversion to the idea that farmers are closer to nature than the rest of us. But who cares? This is a timeless message, that we can love ourselves and others at any time, and in doing so change our lives for the better. A+
Kiki's Delivery Service
Good god was this fantastic. Complete waterworks from everyone in the room. Imagine you had a cat you could talk to and one day it stopped talking to you just because you sucked. That actually happens here. Kirsten Dunst is excellent in the dub, and you really feel for this witch. It sort of avoids a stretch where it could have feasibly considered some more mature topics, but who cares? The city by the sea (Stockholm?) is such a lively setting and every single tiny house is a palace in my black heart. A better ending would have ascended this to Miyazaki's very best. A
Whisper of the Heart
Miyazaki wrote this for his protege, who promptly died from overwork. Ironically the teenage female protagonist falls asleep at her desk from pushing too hard on her novel. At times this young woman was genuinely unlikable and her ambition to write a story seems to come out of nowhere. She meets a guy who is a decent violin maker, and suddenly she is so jealous she can't shut up about herself. Just intolerable. Tokyo also looks like fresh hell, but a city has never been more realistically depicted in any medium. The scenes with an older man were kind of creepy, but I guess it's Japan so everyone magically becomes Santa Claus once they turn 60. As much shit as I could talk about it, the family dynamic is stupendous and the movie really stays with you. B+
My Neighbor Tortoro
Easily the best opening sequence of anything ever, after which it kind of falls apart. The neglectful father lets his children wander off, twice, and they're so ill-raised that they trust a furry beast who lives in their nearby woods. At least the girls take care of themselves and don't need some boy to promise to protect them. Art direction was incredible, stupendous, but there really is not much there, there. I admit I cried at times, but there is a weird coldness to this, like Miyazaki really wasn't connecting with these people and maybe even loathed them on some level. A-
What a crazy movie. A prolonged, unnecessary voiceover explains the encroachment of the suburbia on the lovely habitat of a group of racoon dogs. The environmental message was left on deaf ears with me, and showing kids all those raccoon testicles was beyond the pale. At the same time you can't help but be astonished at the amount of work that went into animating this fucker, which is Isao Takahata's masterpiece. No fear at all about making a super-depressing movie: almost no one is ever happy, families break-up, heroes get all their bones broken or are left dead in the road. I can't even believe this was a cartoon. A
Howl's Moving Castle
Easily the worst thing Ghibli ever did. A boring local woman convinces herself that a witch cast a spell on her to make her look like she is 75. Feeling useless, she wanders into a castle and nominates herself to clean it. The concept of the elastic living space was completely overdone way before this, and Miyazaki has nothing really to add to it. The plot makes very little sense from any angle, and if you just view it as an art piece, the various cinematography and art direction is nowhere near good enough to carry the action. A complete waste of time unless you're on mushrooms. C-
An extremely annoying main character becomes slightly less annoying by rescuing her parents from the spirit world. Sen, as she starts to call herself, is embarassingly immature for her age. Lots of great details in the diegesis you can watch again and again; can't even imagine how much work went into this. They were on the verge of some more interesting themes here that were sorted out in future films. An amazing achievement but is it on the level of a bunch of other movies which made me care a whole lot more? No. B
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
The monster that created this disturbing fable was Mr. Takahata. I was not a huge fan of the animation, but it worked for the subject matter. I appreciated the fact that everything in this was completely screwed up and unsalvageable; however there is something innately frustrating about watching people who do nothing to help themselves. I would not watch it again except by force. B+
There can never be enough movies about how wonderful your mother is. The concept of a five year old boy falling in love seems a little odd until you realize it was a substitution for the love denied him by his father. At the end he and his girlfriend's father also have this weird handshake that I loved. The water-flooded town was so much fun, this movie could have easily been like six hours and I would not have gotten bored at all. A
The Secret World of Arriety
You really never go wrong with tiny people, it is simply always great. This sick wimp goes to visit his grandmother, who has this really mean servant who lives in a cute apartment near the house. When the servant finds out there is someone lower than her, and it's tiny people in the walls (!) she goes crazy, which actually makes sense, because they are living in a nicer domicile than she herself. A lot more could have been done with the concept but since Miyazaki was working off a book adaptation they don't really get much farther than the basic theme of how much we can trust even the people who are closest to us. A-
We also watched Ice Age: Collision Course. It starred Neil deGrasse Tyson as a weasel.
Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.
Krebs got krebbed
Last month Yours Truly got snookered by a too-good-to-be-true online scam in which some dirtball hijacked an Amazon merchant’s account and used it to pimp steeply discounted electronics that he never intended to sell. Amazon refunded my money, and the legitimate seller never did figure out how his account was hacked. But such attacks are becoming more prevalent of late as crooks increasingly turn to online crimeware services that make it a cakewalk to cash out stolen passwords.
The elusive Sonos Play:5
The item at Amazon that drew me to this should-have-known-better bargain was a Sonos wireless speaker that is very pricey and as a consequence has hung on my wish list for quite some time. Then I noticed an established seller with great feedback on Amazon was advertising a “new” model of the same speaker for 32 percent off. So on March 4, I purchased it straight away — paying for it with my credit card via Amazon’s one-click checkout.
A day later I received a nice notice from the seller stating that the item had shipped. Even Amazon’s site seemed to be fooled because for several days Amazon’s package tracking system updated its progress slider bar steadily from left to right.
Suddenly the package seemed to stall, as did any updates about where it was or when it might arrive. This went on for almost a week. On March 10, I received an email from the legitimate owner of the seller’s account stating that his account had been hacked.
Identifying myself as a reporter, I asked the seller to tell me what he knew about how it all went down. He agreed to talk if I left his name out of it.
“Our seller’s account email address was changed,” he wrote. “One night everything was fine and the next morning our seller account had a email address not associated with us. We could not access our account for a week. Fake electronic products were added to our storefront.”
He couldn’t quite explain the fake tracking number claim, but nevertheless the tactic does seem to be part of an overall effort to delay suspicion on the part of the buyer while the crook seeks to maximize the number of scam sales in a short period of time.
“The hacker then indicated they were shipped with fake tracking numbers on both the fake products they added and the products we actually sell,” the seller wrote. “They were only looking to get funds through Amazon. We are working with Amazon to refund all money that were spent buying these false products.”
As these things go, the entire ordeal wasn’t awful — aside maybe from the six days spent in great anticipation of audiophilic nirvana (alas, after my refund I thought better of the purchase and put the item back on my wish list.) But apparently I was in plenty of good (or bad?) company.
The Wall Street Journal notes that in recent weeks “attackers have changed the bank-deposit information on Amazon accounts of active sellers to steal tens of thousands of dollars from each, according to several sellers and advisers. Attackers also have hacked into the Amazon accounts of sellers who haven’t used them recently to post nonexistent merchandise for sale at steep discounts in an attempt to pocket the cash.”
Perhaps fraudsters are becoming more brazen of late with hacked Amazon accounts, but the same scams mentioned above happen every day on plenty of other large merchandising sites. The sad reality is that hacked Amazon seller accounts have been available for years at underground shops for about half the price of a coffee at Starbucks.
The majority of this commerce is made possible by one or two large account credential vendors in the cybercrime underground, and these vendors have been collecting, vetting and reselling hacked account credentials at major e-commerce sites for years.
I have no idea where the thieves got the credentials for the guy whose account was used to fake sell the Sonos speaker. But it’s likely to have been from a site like SLILPP, a crime shop which specializes in selling hacked Amazon accounts. Currently, the site advertises more than 340,000 Amazon account usernames and passwords for sale.
The price is about USD $2.50 per credential pair. Buyers can select accounts by balance, country, associated credit/debit card type, card expiration date and last order date. Account credentials that also include the password to the victim’s associated email inbox can double the price.
The Amazon portion of SLILPP, a long-running fraud shop that at any given time has hundreds of thousands of Amazon account credentials for sale.
If memory serves correctly, SLILPP started off years ago mainly as a PayPal and eBay accounts seller (hence the “PP”). “Slil” is transliterated Russian for “слил,” which in this context may mean “leaked,” “download” or “to steal,” as in password data that has leaked or been stolen in other breaches. SLILPP has vastly expanded his store in the years since: It currently advertises more than 7.1 million credentials for sale from hundreds of popular bank and e-commerce sites.
The site’s proprietor has been at this game so long he probably deserves a story of his own soon, but for now I’ll say only that he seems to do a brisk business buying up credentials being gathered by credential-testing crime crews — cyber thieves who spend a great deal of time harvesting and enriching credentials stolen and/or leaked from major data breaches at social networking and e-commerce providers in recent years.
Fraudsters can take a list of credentials stolen from, say, the Myspace.com breach (in which some 427 million credentials were posted online) and see how many of those email address and password pairs from the MySpace accounts also work at hundreds of other bank and e-commerce sites.
Password thieves often then turn to crimeware-as-a-service tools like Sentry MBA, which can vastly simplify the process of checking a list of account credentials at multiple sites. To make blocking their password-checking activities more challenging for retailers and banks, these thieves often try to route the Internet traffic from their password-guessing tools through legions of open Web proxies, hacked PCs or even stolen/carded cloud computing instances.
PASSWORD RE-USE: THE ENGINE OF ALL ONLINE FRAUD
In response, many major retailers are being forced to alert customers when they see known account credential testing activity that results in a successful login (thus suggesting the user’s account credentials were replicated and compromised elsewhere). However, from the customer’s perspective, this is tantamount to the e-commerce provider experiencing a breach even though the user’s penchant for recycling their password across multiple sites is invariably the culprit.
There are a multitude of useful security lessons here, some of which bear repeating because their lack of general observance is the cause of most password woes today (aside from the fact that so many places still rely on passwords and stupid things like “secret questions” in the first place). First and foremost: Do not re-use the same password across multiple sites. Secondly, but equally important: Never re-use your email password anywhere else.
Also, with a few exceptions, password length is generally more important than password complexity, and complex passwords are difficult to remember anyway. I prefer to think in terms of “pass phrases,” which are more like sentences or verses that are easy to remember.
If you have difficult recalling even unique passphrases, a password manager can help you pick and remember strong, unique passwords for each site you interact with, requiring only one strong master password to unlock any of them. Oh, and if the online account in question allows 2-factor authentication, be sure to take advantage of that.
I hope it’s clear that Amazon is just one of the many platforms where fraudsters lurk. SLILPP currently is selling stolen credentials for nearly 500 other banks and e-commerce sites. The full list of merchants targeted by this particularly bustling fraud shop is here (.txt file).
As for the “buyer beware” aspect of this tale, in retrospect there were several warning signs that I either ignored or neglected to assign much weight. For starters, the deal that snookered me was for a luxury product on sale for 32 percent off without much explanation as to why the apparently otherwise pristine item was so steeply discounted.
Also, while the seller had a stellar history of selling products on Amazon for many years (with overwhelmingly positive feedback on virtually all of his transactions) he did not have a history of selling the type of product that thieves tried to sell through his account. The old adage “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is,” ages really well in cyberspace.
Sociologists are lucky to have amongst them a colleague who is doing excellent work on the modeling industry and, in doing so, offering us all a rare sophisticated glimpse into its economic and cultural logics. We’ve featured Ashley Mears‘ work twice in posts discussing the commodification of models’ bodies and the different logics of high end and commercial fashion.
In a post at Jezebel, Mears exposes the Model Search. Purportedly an opportunity for model hopefuls to be discovered, Mears argues that it functions primarily as a networking opportunity for agents, who booze and schmooze it up with each other, while being alternatively bored and disgusted by the girls and women who pay to be there.
“Over a few days,” Mears explains:
…thousands arrived to impress representatives from over 100 international modeling and talent agencies. In the modeling showcase alone, over 500 people ages 13-25 strutted down an elevated runway constructed in the hotel’s ballroom, alongside which rows of agents sat and watched.
But the agents are not particularly interested in scouting. In shadowing them during the event, Mears finds that they “actually find it all rather boring and tasteless.” Pathetic, too.
The saddest thing at a model search contest is not the sight of girls performing womanhood defined as display object. Nor is it their exceedingly slim chances to ever be the real deal. What’s really sad is the state of the agents: they sit with arms folded, yawning regularly, checking their BlackBerrys. After a solid two hours, Allie has seen over 300 contestants. She’s recorded just eight numbers for callbacks.
Meanwhile, agents ridicule the wannabe runway, from the “hooker heels” to the outfit choices. About their physiques, [one agent recounts,] “I’ve never seen so many out of shape bodies.”
While model hopefuls are trading sometimes thousands of dollars for a 30-second walk down the runway, the agents are biding their time until they can head to the hotel bar to “…gossip, network, and commence the delicate work of negotiating the global trade in models…” One agent explains:
To be honest it’s just a networking event. The girls, most of them don’t even have the right measurements. For most of them, today is going to be a wake-up call.
Indeed, networking is the real point of the event. The girls and women who come with dreams of being a model are largely, and unwittingly, emptying their pockets to subsidize the schmooze.
To add insult to injury, what many of the aspiring models don’t know is that, for “…$5,000 cheaper, any hopeful can walk into an agency’s ‘Open Call’ for an evaluation.”
I encourage you to read Mears’ much longer exposé at Jezebel.
Originally posted in 2010.Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.