People call me a “transtrender.” It’s people who pretend to be trans to be popular. It’s because of what I look like and how I’m not taking hormones for my transition, but there are plenty of transgender people who don’t want to go through that process. I like how I look, I really do. It’s up to other people to change their perception of me rather than for me to change myself to fit what their perception is. I wear dresses sometimes, but that doesn’t make me less of a man. I definitely have a feminine side. I enjoy having my makeup done and can still look pretty and be a man.
Read the full story at http://mashable.com/2015/08/31/transgender-teenagers/
via E Platt
How displaced peoples are harmed and helped by alcohol.
Although it is impossible to know with certainty, 50 million is the current U.N. estimate of the number of human beings around the world categorized as refugees or displaced persons due to war and other violence. These "conflict-affected populations" suffer in a thousand different ways, but widely overlooked is the frightening prevalence of alcohol and other drug use disorders in these groups. The humanitarian health sector’s understandable focus on “immediate life-saving activities” means that longer-term chronic and behavioral issues remain unexamined.
What are the risks of ignoring alcohol use disorders in these populations? Bayard Roberts and Nadine Ezard, in an editorial for the journal Addiction, suggest that they are formidable. For conflict-affected groups, the “risk environment” includes loss of home and livelihood, exposure to war trauma, PTSD, anxiety, violence, and depression. In such environments, alcohol and other drugs are capable of producing a familiar and depressing litany of results are enumerated in setting after setting: Disruptions to household economies, alcohol-related suicides, violence against women, increased HIV and other blood-born viruses, unsafe sex practices, and increased mental health problems.
Nadine Ezard, co-author of the editorial in Addiction, was also lead author of a 2011 paper, “Six rapid assessments of alcohol and other substance use in populations displaced by conflict,” published in the journal Conflict and Health. Ezard and colleagues conducted extensive interviews on substance use and abuse in a range of populations displaced by conflict in Kenya, Liberia, Uganda, Iran, Pakistan, and Thailand. The work resulted in the development of a field guide for rapid assessment of alcohol and other substance use used by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The aim of the study was to describe current substance use patterns in the study populations, and to identify possible interventions. As Ezard et al. write, “A number of effective interventions exist for problem substance use, but little attempt has been made to adapt these interventions to populations displaced by conflict.”
The six assessments took place between 2006 and 2008. Populations included refugees both in and out of camps, residents of nearby communities, returning populations, in both urban and rural settings.
The main study group was located in Kakuma Refugee Camp and nearby Kakuma town, each with about 100,000 people. The camp was established in 1992 to house Sudanese refugees, but at the time of assessment there were refugees in the camp from nine countries. Alcohol production and use was common, while cocaine and heroin were relatively rare. Food rations provided a workable source for fermentation products. Local women produced a cereal-based brew, busaa, and a stronger distilled version, changa’a. These were important sources of income in the area. The distilled product was illegal and associated with family disruption, violence, and gender abuse. One woman told researchers: “I brew because I want my children to survive. When my customers buy my brew and buy my body, even if I die, my children will inherit my brewing business.”
In 2003, a 14-year civil war ended after 250,000 casualties and near-total destruction of infrastructure. Nearly a million refugees and displaced persons, supported largely by non-government organization, have been there ever since. Alcohol and marijuana were cheap, easily available, and widely consumed. Distilled cane juice liquor and palm wine were popular. “Beer is drunk like water,” said one respondent, “assuming that people can afford it.” Cannabis is popular with young people, who use it, according to one youthful observer, “to stop the bad dreams.” Benzodiazepines were also in play, with sex workers reporting that diazepam was frequently used in the bars as a date rape drug. Cocaine was also available, particularly when smoked with marijuana in a mix called a “dugee.” No respondents indicated any drug injection. There were no specific alcohol or drug treatment services available in the region.
At the time of the assessment, more than 2 million people, displaced due to protracted civil conflicts, were scattered across an archipelago of more than 100 displaced persons camps. Alcohol was readily available, acknowledged to be a serious problem, and health care was limited. The usual results of alcohol abuse were in evidence in the disruption of community cohesion that “left families short of food and children hungry.” Both male and female respondents “drew causal links between dispossession and alcohol use. Dispossession promoted alienation, idleness and loss of traditional gender roles among men…. As a result, cultural norms were changing, as one woman explained: ‘now there are no rules for drinking alcohol.’” As one youth said, “how can I respect these older men when I see them becoming drunk and falling down in the dirt.” Yet once again, alcohol brewing was a crucial source of income for many women in poverty.
For the past 20 years, Iran has been host to Afghan refuges, an undocumented million of which live outside the camps. The prevailing drug problem in this population is widespread opiate use, rather than alcohol. According to the study, “Refugees are permitted access to basic education and health care on the same basis as Iranian citizens. Service utilization by Afghans is thought to be low due to a combination of barriers such as poverty, lack of awareness, and perceived discrimination,” as well as fear of the authorities. “Newer opiates were becoming more popular, such as heroin, Iranian ‘crack’ and crystal (highly concentrated forms of heroin), and there was some transition to injection. Nevertheless, respondents perceived opiate as less prevalent among the Afghan refugee population than the host population.” Respondents also reported a number of benefits to opiate use: “pain relief, pleasure and socialization.”
In 2007, Pakistan contained an estimated 3 million Afghans, half of them living in so-called “refugee villages” along the border. In this region, the main substance use classes included opium, plus hashish for men, and benzodiazepines, commonly, for women. There were not specialist drug abuse services available in the villages. “Although each refugee village context was distinct, substance use patterns were characterized as a continuation or exaggeration of pre-displacement use modified under the influence of patterns of availability and village livelihood options…. For example, in urban, but not rural areas substances were sometimes injected, reflecting the substance use patterns of the host population.” Alcohol use was uncommon and confined to home-brew made from sugarcane or grapes and predominantly used by young people. In fact, “one third of the women interviewed said that they knew someone who had a serious problem with hashish and gave accounts of domestic violence associated with its use. Respondents believed that limited skills, education and employment opportunities promoted substance use.”
Refugees from civil war in Myanmar have been in Thailand now for decades. Out of the millions of undocumented migrants, the study group concentrated on 150,000 refugees living in nine camps along the border. Access to health care was considered good, and in this case there were residential substance abuse treatment programs available in the camps. Alcohol was the primary public health concern. Home-brewed distilled rice liquor was the primary source. Less prominent drugs included meth and caffeine were available, as were diazepam, cough syrup, opiates, and marijuana. The results were predictable: “dependence, high risk sexual behavior, family disruption, and gender-based violence.” Young people had three choices, according to one young man: “They can leave the camp and look for work, they can lead a traditional life which means they will have lots of babies, or they can drink alcohol.”
Despite all this, the authors sensibly urge that public health workers should not ignore “the perception in some communities that substance use may have important social functions…. The combined effect of substance use problems may inhibit community capacity to recover from conflict, yet some types of substance use may be important for social cohesion in some settings.”
The authors believe that conflict-affect populations require, as a minimum, “screening and brief intervention for high risk alcohol use” as well as “identification and treatment of severe mental illness (as both a cause and consequence of substance use).” In addition, “primary health services should be capable of managing withdrawal and other acute problems.”
What else needs to be done?
—Brief community-based interventions, which have proven cost-effective in higher income settings.
—More epidemiological research on alcohol risks and comorbidity with mental health disorders including depression and anxiety.
—Evaluation of feasibility and cost-effectiveness of interventions, including the use of experimental designs.
“This requires a public health approach,” Ezard and Roberts write, “for example, ensuring that work on non-communicable diseases addresses underlying risk factors as well as treatment; exploring community-based responses; supporting better coordination between different sectors such as health and protection or mental health and psychosocial support with communicable disease control activities…. And ensuring that the needs of conflict-affected civilians are recognized in global alcohol control activities.”
There is, however, one clear-cut approach to drug abuse problems in such communities that the authors most definitely do not recommend, and it is the most time-honored modality of all: “Despite their popularity among many service providers and community groups, general public information campaigns and school-based education for primary prevention programs have been shown to be ineffective to reduce alcohol-related harm.”
What would be the benefits of tackling alcohol disorders in these beleaguered, violence-prone communities? Roberts and Ezard argue for several:
—Improved mental and physical health.
—Reduced risk of disease, injuries, and accidents.
—Reduced harm and violence to others.
—Improved family relations and social networks.
—Improved economic productivity.
—Reduced health care costs.
The editorial concludes that “without greater engagement, alcohol use disorder and its consequences among conflict-affected civilians will remain neglected and the multiple benefits of tackling it will continue to be ignored.”
Chainmail is kind of magical. It conforms to your body, fixes your posture, sheds heat, feels great, is self-cleaning, and turns most blades. On the other hand, it’s also heavy as hell, might bruise you, makes you and/or your clothes filthy, and can hurt your back if you’re as dumb as me and wear it every day before you’ve worked up to it.
After I made my chainmail shirt, I wore it every day for months. Because, uh, science. Here’s what I learned:
My shirt weights 12lbs and is composed of an estimated 12,240 rings. The rings are 5/16” inner-diameter, 16gauge mild steel and joined in the common “European 4 in 1” pattern. They are “butted,” in that I didn’t weld or rivet them shut. A welded or riveted shirt is substantially stronger — most attacks against my shirt don’t cut the rings, they deform the rings until they open. There are historical examples of butted chainmail (primarily east of Europe), though riveted chainmail was either more common or better survived to the modern day.
My shirt is roughly t-shirt shaped. I really don’t have any idea how long it took to make. People on chainmail forums seem to estimate 40 hours to make a basic shirt like mine. I’m guessing it took me a lot longer than that, since I’m not a fast worker and I spent an ungodly amount of time figuring out how to get the sleeves right. Also I was busy watching Battlestar Galatica.
When I was done, I stitched scavenged leather into a collar, a finishing touch which both helps bring the shirt together aesthetically but also seems to keep the shirt holding up better. (The rings on the corners of the neck hole bear the most weight and deform the soonest.)
I usually wear my chainmail shirt over a black sleeveless t-shirt. You can see between the links, so my clothes underneath are visible. Usually, I wear either a punk vest or another black sleeveless shirt over the chainmail, which keeps the shirt out of direct sun and I also think looks much better.
Because of how much surface area it has, chainmail functions as a heat sink and disperses heat very effectively. This effect is counteracted in part, however, by how much harder your body has to work in order to wear it. Also, in direct sunlight, it seems to get pretty hot. But with a loose-fitting cotton shirt over it, or out of direct sun, it can have a cooling effect. I wore it hiking in the summer and it was more or less fine.
When I first put on my shirt, it tends to feel very cold, but it quickly warms up to my body temperature.
Historically, chainmail was worn over a gambeson — a thick, quilted shirt that absorbs some of the impact of attacks. Since I’m not planning on deflecting sword blows on a regular basis, I don’t bother with a gambeson. I’m certain wearing a gambeson in summer would be kind of awful.
With chainmail, all the weight is on your shoulders. If you’ve got a very long chainmail shirt, I hear you can put a thick belt around your waist to move some of the weight to your waist, but you’re still holding a ton of extra weight directly on your shoulders. This forces me to stand and sit with correct posture. I bet warriors had damn good posture back in the day — even goblins probably couldn’t slouch.
When I wear my 40lbs backpack on top of my chainmail, I usually end up with chainmail-shaped bruising along the front of my shoulders under the straps.
When I wore my shirt daily for several months, it eventually hurt my back. I’d hoped I would just build up the strength to wear it, but now that I’ve paid a little more attention to how muscle gain works, I think I’d try wearing it every three days or so for awhile first.
It turns out that I can, in fact, swim in a chainmail shirt. The extra weight makes it take a good bit more work to doggy-paddle, and, if I remember correctly, I couldn’t float on my back. I’m pretty sure a soldier thrown overboard in battle would have time to shed their armor before they’d drown.
I’m usually pretty weird looking in general, so I don’t get that much more attention for wearing a chainmail shirt — it just gets lost in the overall aesthetic. The comments have all ranged from enthusiastically positive (non-sarcastic “nice chainmail!”) to just kind of curious. Also I get a lot of the questions that I’m trying to answer in this post.
Believe me, if you think wearing chainmail sets you apart and makes you look tough, try being male-assigned and wearing women’s clothes in public. I do that too. It takes a hell of a lot more courage to wear a cotton dress than a chainmail shirt.
How it feels to wear:
I love my chainmail shirt. I love how it conforms to my body (though it clings like some dresses, and curves like bellies are more visible than in other garments). I love how the first hour I wear it, it’s hard to wear, then I forget about it, then at the end of the day I take it off and feel so light and free.
My shirt is made of mild steel. It sometimes rusts. When I wear it regularly, the rust comes right off. I kind of don’t believe that people back in the day worried too much about oiling their chainmail or even shaking it up in bags of sand. It’s made of tiny interlocking rings — they rub on each other constantly when its being worn. If it’s not being worn, you can just give it a good shake every now and then.
Of course, nowadays one could just make a shirt out of stainless steel. I like things with a nice patina on them, though, so I went with mild.
One reason I wear black underneath and overtop of it is that the steel gets my clothes filthy and gray, which doesn’t show up on black. The chainmail also gets any exposed skin filthy. Neither of these things bother me.
Sometimes as a dumb party trick, especially when no one realizes I’m wearing chainmail, I stab myself in the gut with a knife. Note that I am not an intelligent person. Anyway, if the knife has a broad enough tip that it can’t find its way through the rings, it won’t cut me. I’ve done weapons tests with my shirt, and found that overall it protected from all stabbing knife blows. Machete blows almost never penetrated the shirt, though most blows deformed rings.
An axe penetrated the shirt most of the time, but with substantially reduced cutting power (it cut the surface underneath the chainmail up to around 80% less than when it struck the unprotected surface). Four out of five blowgun darts found their way through the links. My friend who throws real throwing knives (thick, sharpened spikes, none of this ninja-online-store bullshit) managed to consistently penetrate the shirt much more effectively than any other weapon I’ve tried.
Still, there’s something kind of badass and comforting feeling about walking around in a shirt that you can’t jab a knife through.
Map via Languages of the World
When it comes to languages, our country is a patchwork. Our civic infrastructure hasn’t kept up with more than one or two. There might be hundreds of languages spoken in our country, but they aren’t spoken by our government. Like the polyglot individual, who is fluent in many languages, government bodies and agencies need to become fluent in many languages in order to serve the people. To become a polyglot democracy, we need to design infrastructure that ensures certain patches aren’t left behind.
A crucial first step is to work toward including all eligible voters in the electoral process.
Translation is often framed as a technical problem that can be solved through effective bureaucracy. The assumption is that if the board of elections in a certain county is able to provide translated materials for every language spoken by eligible voters in their county, then we have perfect language access. In principle, I don’t disagree. However, the mere existence of a ballot in Lao, Hindi, or Mongolian is not a sufficient standard for measuring language access.
Language access is a technical problem, but not one that is solved simply by hiring translators and interpreters. Language access is about designing systems that include people in every step of the process. Language is often one of many barriers that voters face. That’s precisely why expert insight and the wisdom of communities are both crucial foundations for the polyglot democracy.
Tanzila Ahmed, whose organizing acumen is a constant inspiration, has applied a decade and a half of experience in Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) electoral organizing to develop a theory of change model where low voter turnout isn’t caused by “voter apathy,” but rather that AAPI voters experience severe barriers when it comes to casting a ballot. She identifies five such barriers:
- a barrier to voting information;
- a barrier to the mechanics of voting;
- a barrier to engagement;
- a barrier to in-language resources; and
- a barrier to voting rights.
These five barriers also translate to five critical needs that can’t be ignored when we talk about designing for a sufficient standard of language access.
An expanded standard of access means doing more than providing a written translation of any given ballot available. We also need to:
- provide voter guides to help voters understand issues;
- streamline the process of voting, so they can navigate its often complex mechanics; and
- match them with an actual human from their community who can help make sense of a large volume of brand new information and help troubleshoot problems as they arise.
That’s precisely what we’re trying to do with VoterVOX, the newest tool from the Asian American & Pacific Islander new media organizers 18MillionRising.org. The app, currently in development, will connect Limited English Proficient (LEP) voters with multilingual volunteers to help them understand their ballots.
Communities that include LEP voters already have the expertise needed to include those voters in the democratic process. Creating access isn’t a matter of delivering information from a central source to LEP voters, but a matter of helping communities organize themselves. VoterVOX is as much about community organizing as it is about voting, and one-to-one connections are a vital component. I don’t want to build software that languishes in app stores or online. I want to build a tool that uses the beating heart of our communities to circulate fresh blood to its furthest-flung limbs.
We’re designing VoterVOX to include input from stakeholders—from LEP elders to multilingual high school kids to organizers working at the grassroots level—in order to understand their needs and expectations when it comes to community technology. Regardless of what the outcomes of working with these folks might be, we have some core assumptions about design—and language access more broadly—that guide our efforts to engage them in the first place.
Committing ourselves to language access means committing to providing more than just translated ballots. Translated ballots are just the first of many steps toward trying to change a culture around civic participation. Through a well-designed workflow for ballot translation, we can simultaneously create conditions that foster engagement where discrimination, lack of information, and structural exclusion have previously made participation difficult, if not impossible. When we’re designing to expand access to the ballot box in a landscape of problems, we’re working to right structural wrongs.
Designing for inclusion isn’t easy. In fact, it’s very difficult—otherwise this effort wouldn’t be needed.
Good design won’t restore key provisions in the Voting Rights Act, the key law that has expanded access to the vote for millions of voters, which was gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013. We still need to fight to protect the voting rights of all citizens of this country, in the streets and in the courts. We still need to pressure county boards of elections to do the right thing and obey the law by providing translated voting materials when they’re required to.
That work starts at home, in our communities. By building opportunities for connection between people with expertise and people with need, we’re changing the language around democratic participation. In the one-to-one link between a volunteer translator and a voter, an opportunity for organizing grows. That organizing is the real meat of civic engagement—it’s fuel for the long game of language access in a polyglot democracy. True language access requires a commitment to organizing by design.
Follow the quest to design better tools for a polyglot democracy on Twitter @votervox.
Cayden Mak (@cayden) is Chief Technology Officer at 18MillionRising.org, an organization founded in 2012 to organize Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders online. For the past three years, they have designed, hacked, and deployed tech to better organize people and promote popular education in the AAPI community for civic engagement, racial justice, and transformative structural change.
The post Translation is Not Enough: Organizing for a Polyglot Democracy appeared first on Civic Hall.
I had a dream where the apocalypse happened, and centuries later, when civilization was restored, we had lost the last 50+ years of knowledge because everything had been digital. Then someone found my skin, and used the tattoos as a rosetta stone.
When I told Sam about this, he indicated he would get Bucky Fuller tattoos to the same purpose.
it's like the CIA twitter account being funny, which is to say self-reflexive humor is only good when you're not still committing human rights violations.
Having too much fun.
made for Rosalind.
star trek + guide to troubled birds
Tattoo Hand 3D Horror motif
Wiz Khalifa Violently Arrested For Legally Riding Hovercraft At LAX
Rapper Wiz Khalifa was slammed to the ground by 7 grown police men and arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday after he refused to get off his hoverboard.
“Haven’t been slammed and cuffed in a while. That was fun,” he tweeted, along with a photo and video of the incident.
He also posted a video to Instagram in which over three officers can be seen holding him to the ground. The officers repeatedly tell Khalifa, whose legal name is Cameron Thomaz, to “stop resisting” as he responds, “I’m not resisting.”
Police say he was resisting arrest but the Video shows differently. Several news stations have tried to reach the airport for comments but have so far been ignored.
We like the fans from Dortmund.
Better, cheaper and easier than solar windows, this newly-patented flexible coating can be applied to existing glass and plastic surfaces, turning any aperture into a source of electricity. With this technology on all of its surfaces, buildings can generate up to 50 times more solar energy per structure.
Developed by SolarWindow Technologies, this inexpensive approach has a payback time of as little as one year (far less than the 5 to 10 years of traditional solar approaches. As the technology evolves and expands, it is only a matter of time until every window draws energy from light.
By adding it to the inside surface of a window, the process protects the tech from exterior sources of damage and simplifies application. The solution is also lightweight and adaptable, making it easier to retrofit existing architecture without cost-intensive shipping or labor-intensive installation processes.
These sensitive photovoltaics can draw power from lunar energy and artificial lights in addition to the sun’s rays. Their relatively low price per unit reinforces the sensibility of simply putting them on all sides of a structure, including those with less natural light.
Effectively invisible wires draw electricity from the exposed surfaces while a uniform and architecturally-neutral color tinting process allows for a variety of of looks and degrees of transparency.
This new substance can be deployed as a sticky film on a surface or potentially even painted on as a liquid. The organic (but secretive) constituent source materials of the core polymer include common elements such as carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen.
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What I discovered was that the world of Ashley Madison was a far more dystopian place than anyone had realized. This isn’t a debauched wonderland of men cheating on their wives. It isn’t even a sadscape of 31 million men competing to attract those 5.5 million women in the database. Instead, it’s like a science fictional future where every woman on Earth is dead, and some Dilbert-like engineer has replaced them with badly-designed robots.
"When they saw me in my space suit and the parachute dragging alongside as I walked, they started to..."
the first human to travel to space; upon re-entry Gagarin landed 280 kilometers away from the intended landing site, to the surprise of a farmer and his daughter who watched him fall from the sky (via
HELLO FELLOW CITIZENS I AM A CITIZEN JUST LIKE YOU DEFINITELY NOT AN ALIEN NOW TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADERS
where are your nuclear wessels?