09 Aug 2020

Landing a 727 at Mogadishu

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Somebody still on the runway? No problem, just do a 360.

08 Aug 2020

Unusual Atrocities and Insanities of the Left: 3. “Stop Marginalizing Roundworms!”

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Caenorhabditis elegans.

The Daily Beast reports on academic activists rallying to the defense of the latest recognized marginalized minority.

Michael Eisen, editor of eLife—a well-regarded open access scientific journal for the biomedical and life sciences—made a joke about a humble roundworm, thereby cracking open the seventh seal and ushering forth… wormageddon. …

Most people took the joke in stride, or used it as an opportunity to spread the good word about nematodes. But the worm gang runs deep. Multiple researchers were not amused by Dr. Eisen’s joke, and their responses spiraled off in increasingly disproportionate directions. Some of these were scoldings about the propriety of using the word “fuck” in a public context, and whether “Academic Twitter” upholds appropriate levels of professionalism by accepting “frat boy” humor. One team went so far as to publicly reconsider submitting a paper to eLife. Others complained that the editor of a journal was publicly disparaging a study species. …

[A] day after Eisen had opened the can of titular worms, and amid the flood of C. elegans jokes washing around Twitter—things had escalated in a bizarre direction. As mystified observers raised the question over whether C. elegans researchers were taking the whole thing a bit seriously, a small handful of researchers responded by arguing that jokes about worms were in some way equivalent to jokes about women and people of color. …

By far the most prolific poster in this vein was Ahna Skop, associate professor of genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and previous recipient of a Diversity, Equality and Inclusion-based award in 2018. Dr. Skop—who did not respond to a request for comment by The Daily Beast—argued extensively that making jokes about worms was merely the tip of the iceberg when it came to making jokes about marginalized identities, or an example of a ‘bystander effect’, a psychological theory arguing that individuals are less likely to offer help to a victim in a crowd. (For is it not said: First they came for the worm people, and I said nothing, as I was not a worm person?)

In the resulting threads, Dr. Skop—who identifies as “part Eastern Band Cherokee” and “disabled with EDS”—and others consistently failed to publicly respond to Black scientists like herpetologist Chelsea Connor, who tried to point out that this was a ridiculous conflation. In a private communication Connor shared with The Daily Beast, Skop doubled down, arguing that as she had previously been harmed by entrenched sexism, her concerns regarding the worm joke were justified.

RTWT

08 Aug 2020

Chinese Artist Makes Costumes from Antique Porcelain Shards

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My Modern Met:

Chinese contemporary artist Li Xiaofang uses porcelain to make wearable art that pays homage to China’s past while looking toward the future. Xiaofang takes hundreds of shards of porcelain, some dating back to the Song, Ming, and Qing dynasties, and puzzles them together into magnificent porcelain dresses. His wearable art acts as both a coat of armor and a sculptural masterpiece.

Xiaofang sews together the shards using thin metal wire, and each is lined with a leather undergarment. Looking at the artist’s work, it’s impossible not to marvel at the precision and care taken, not only to find the exact shapes to form the curves of the dresses, but also how the pattern and color of the porcelain are used to create new shades and silhouettes. But Xiaofang doesn’t only limit himself to porcelain dresses, he’s also experimented with creating suit jackets, pants, blouses, and even a military hat.

The Beijing-based artist has seen his work exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and has engaged in collaborations with fashion giants like Lacoste and Alexander McQueen. A visionary in his field, his work was by the rapid development engulfing Beijing. “These blue shards, bathed in the sunny skies of socialism and caressed by the contemporary cool breezes blowing from the west throughout the capital, assume a bewildering array of postures as fashion items entering the new century,” the artist once stated. “These are the blue-and-white costumes! These emanate the splendor once crushed! These are the illusions flowing with sorrow!”

RTWT

06 Aug 2020

China’s Maritime Silk Road

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Francis Pike, in the Spectator, warns that China is well on the way to adding strategic domination of the Bay of Bengal and the sea lanes to the Middle East to its ruthless appropriation of the South China Sea. Only the superior power of the US Navy stands in China’s way, but China is planning a massive naval expansion, and the US is not.

The forthcoming geopolitical struggle for supremacy between China and India will not be on land. It will be on water and a much larger body of water than Pangong Lake. The Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea will become the defining-battleground.

Xi Jinping’s ‘Maritime Silk Road’ policy is less talked about in the western press than ‘One Belt One Road’. The economic and military strategy is to dominate the sea lanes between China and the Middle East. As in the ancient Chinese board game of territorial control, Go, which inspired the great military theorist, Sun Tzu, Xi’s China is in the process of placing ‘stones’ (Go’s playing pieces) on Asia’s maritime seaboard that will enable it to achieve this dominance.

China’s first offshore naval port in Djibouti, adjacent to the Suez Canal, is already built. Pakistan’s Chinese-financed port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea, guarding the approaches to the Strait of Hormuz, is another one of the stones. Closer to home, China, by its placement of airfields and naval facilities on reclaimed reefs in the Spratly Islands, has now gained probably irreversible control of the South China Sea.

From China’s viewpoint this is not enough. A third of global shipping and most of China’s oil imports pass through the Strait of Malacca between Singapore and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. As a Portuguese envoy noted in the 16th century, ‘whoever is lord of Malacca has his hands on the throat’. With the US navy embedded in Singapore’s Changi naval base, China sees the Malacca Strait as the weakest link in its maritime strategy. Thus, the digging of a $30 billion, 80-mile canal across the Kra Isthmus in southern Thailand is being mooted. The canal would bypass the US-controlled Malacca Strait and give China unimpeded access to the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Reputedly, Chinese companies are already buying up land around the projected route of the canal. Importantly, over the past 20 years, Thailand, once a staunch US ally, has become a quasi-satellite of China.

Further inroads into the Bay of Bengal are being established by Chinese financing of the new port at Chittagong in Bangladesh, a country whose relationship to India, if not hostile, is nevertheless equivocal. It is somewhat overlooked that Bangladesh, a country of 165 million people, is now one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies.

Myanmar is even more in thrall to China. As the old Burmese saying goes: ‘When China spits, Burma swims.’ Here too China is financing a major port development on the coast of Rakhine state, home of the Rohingyas. In January, during Xi’s state visit to Myanmar, there was a joint announcement that they would push ahead with the construction of a new port in the Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone. It is planned to link both this and the port in Chittagong by rail and road to Kunming, the capital of western China’s Yunnan Province. An oil pipeline is also planned. Meanwhile in the southern reaches of the Bay of Bengal, the People’s Republic of China and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka have been close allies since the 1950s.

Although India is fully alive to China’s ‘string of pearls’ strategy, the West appears to be asleep. …

With 11 aircraft carriers to China’s two, America still commands maritime Asia. However, the balance is changing rapidly. As the US congressional report on Chinese naval modernisation concluded in May, by year end the US will have 297 naval vessels, the same number as 15 years ago; China will have 360, up more than 50 per cent over the same period. A third Chinese aircraft carrier is under construction and the hull of a fourth is expected to be laid down next year.

The direction of travel is clear. The US navy could find itself in China’s wake if current trends continue. ‘There is no doubt that they’ve been investing hugely in this,’ says Nick Childs of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. ‘They’ve been outbuilding everybody.’ Unless the West wakes up to the challenge, it is likely to be outgunned within 15 to 20 years by the People’s Liberation Army navy. The European Union, of course, unwilling even to pay for its own strategic defence, is an embarrassing irrelevance. The risk for India and the West is not armed conflict with China. It is that the struggle for supremacy in Asia will be lost with hardly a shot being fired. Sun Tzu would be proud.

RTWT

06 Aug 2020

The Establishment Media is Behind the Great Awokening

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The usage of the terms “racist(s)” and “racism” as a percentage of all words in four of the nation’s largest newspapers from (depending on the publication) 1970 through 2019.

Zach Goldberg, in Tablet Magazine, documents the sudden rise to mainstream acceptance of the radical Marxist viewpoint on American History and society.

In the wake of the protests, riots, and general upheaval sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the United States is experiencing a racial reckoning. The response from America’s elite liberal institutions suggests that many have embraced the ideology of the protesters. Here, for instance, is a sampling of the titles of opinion pieces and news stories published over the past month by the country’s two most influential newspapers, The Washington Post and The New York Times:

    “When black people are in pain, white people just join book clubs”

    “Black Activists Wonder: Is Protesting Just Trendy for White People?”

    “To White People Who Want to Be ‘One of the Good Ones’”

    “America’s Enduring Caste System: Our founding ideals promise liberty and equality for all. Our reality is an enduring racial hierarchy that has persisted for centuries.”

The last entry on the list, a lengthy feature on America’s “caste system” in The New York Times Magazine, explicitly compares the United States to Nazi Germany.

Countless articles have been published in recent weeks, often under the guise of straight news reporting, in which journalists take for granted the legitimacy of novel theories about race and identity. Such articles illustrate a prevailing new political morality on questions of race and justice that has taken power at the Times and Post—a worldview sometimes abbreviated as “wokeness” that combines the sensibilities of highly educated and hyperliberal white professionals with elements of Black nationalism and academic critical race theory. But the media’s embrace of “wokeness” did not begin in response to the death of George Floyd. This racial ideology first began to take hold at leading liberal media institutions years before the arrival of Donald Trump and, in fact, heavily influenced the journalistic response to the protest movements of recent years and their critique of American society.

Starting well before Donald Trump’s rise to power, while President Obama was still in office, terms like “microaggression” and “white privilege” were picked up by liberal journalists. These terms went from being obscure fragments of academic jargon to commonplace journalistic language in only a few years—a process that I document here in detail. During this same period, while exotic new phrases were entering the discourse, universally recognizable words like “racism” were being radically redefined. Along with the new language came ideas and beliefs animating a new moral-political framework to apply to public life and American society.

RTWT

05 Aug 2020

Beirut Explosion Site

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Rumor has it that the Israelis blew up a Hezbollah rocket cache, unaware that next door was stored a massive amount of Ammonium Nitrate. Whoops!

04 Aug 2020

Some Unusual Atrocities and Insanities of the Left: 2. Bowdlerizing Taxonymy

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Red ants: step on them before they get out of control.

The College Fix:

Slavemaker ant. Gypsy moth. Rape bug.

These are just three common English names listed in a spreadsheet of 60 plants and animals that have been recently deemed by some academics to have “problematic” monikers.

Herpetologist and University of Arizona Ph.D. candidate Earyn McGee, a science communicator and lizard enthusiast who runs a popular Twitter profile on her reptile expeditions, told The College Fix when asked about the spreadsheet that “There is no room for racism in science.”

There needs to be honesty about the history of natural resources management and environmentalism in the country, she said, adding there “is no reason to honor racist people or racial slurs by naming animals after them.”

As the American Association for the Advancement of Science reports, the list was inspired “amid protests against racism,” and notes graduate students from around the world contributed to the spreadsheet. It currently lists 60 organisms. (See here and here).

Contributors to the spreadsheet list the organism’s scientific and common names, as well as its kingdom, phylum, class, and order, along with comments in some cases meant to explain why either the common name, or in some cases the scientific name, is offensive or problematic.

Three species in the spreadsheet have the word “Hottentot” in their common names and the Latinized form hottentatus in their scientific names. According to one contributor, “Hottentot is a racial slur used by white people, directed towards indigenous Africans, during apartheid.”

Setophaga townsendi, a species of bird commonly known as Townsend’s Warbler, also appears on the list. The commenter notes only, “John Townsend was terrible.”

John Kirk Townsend was an ornithologist who studied bird species in Oregon. He would often rely on Native Americans to capture his specimens. During his studies, he would describe cultural differences and steal skulls from Indian graves.

The Immigrant Acacia Weevil is also on the list. The note reads, “Related to pest species; can occasionally be a pest. Not really comfortable exterminating something with the word ‘immigrant’ in the name.”

Other offensive animal names include the Large Faggotworm, although the f-word in this case refers to its definition as a bundle of sticks or twigs bound together as fuel.

Also on the list is a type of shield bug called the Rape Bug, as well as the Oriental Rat Flea, a vector for the bubonic plague, which infects rodents. None of these contributors offer additional notes.

While some could arguably be the result of over-thinking or over-sensitivity, others contain serious racial slurs. For example, Maihueniopsis clavarioides is also called the “N***** Finger.” Another, Orsotriaena medus, a dark-colored butterfly, is commonly known as just “the N*****,” according to one student. …

McGee told The College Fix that she hopes to see a change to the name of Yarrow’s Spiny Lizard, which she studies in her field. H. C. Yarrow was a herpetologist who served in the Union Army during the Civil War. But McGee said he was also a eugenicist.

“There is no amount of scientific contributions that can make unabashed racism and bigotry ok,” she said. …

Another graduate student who has undertaken a similar campaign is Taylor Tai of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Tai successfully petitioned the Entomological Society of America to change the name of its annual Linnaean Games, a quiz-bowl-style trivia competition named after Carl Linnaeus.

Known as the Father of Taxonomy, Linnaeus paved the way for the current system of scientific classification. At the same time, the American Association for the Advancement of Science reports he also classified humans (Homo sapiens) based on race, assigning “negative aspects” to people of color.

Tai refused to make a direct comment “[b]ecause The College Fix’s conservative perspective is incompatible with racial justice at its foundation.”

She did, however, refer to a letter which she and other UW students sent to Entomological Society of America. The letter catalogs Linnaeus’ system of racial classification.

“Linnaeus characterized the white Homo sapiens europaeus as wise, lawful, and gentle, while dehumanizing Indigenous (red Homo sapiens americanus), African (black Homo sapiens afer), and Asian (yellow Homo sapiens asiaticus) people with degrading descriptors like ‘obstinate,’ ‘haughty,’ ‘covetous,’ ‘crafty,’ ‘indolent,’ ‘lazy,’ ‘lusty,’ and ‘careless,’” Tai writes.

Tai also mentions that Linnaeus described disabled people as “Homo sapiens monstrosus.”

WT

04 Aug 2020

Some Unusual Atrocities of the Left: 1. Hannah Duston

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It was not dead Abenakis from Canada that vandalized the statue of Hannah Duston in Haverhill, New Hampshire.

Excerpted from the (seriously tainted by Leftist BS) Wikipedia account:

During King William’s War, Hannah, her husband Thomas, and their eight children lived in Haverhill, Massachusetts. On March 15, 1697, when she was 40 years old,[16] the town was raided by a group of about 30 Abenaki from Quebec. In the attack, 27 colonists were killed (most of them children), and 13 were taken captive, to be either adopted or held as hostages for the French. Hannah’s husband Thomas, who was building a new brick home about half a mile away, fled with their eight children. The Indians captured Hannah and her nurse, Mary Neff (1646-1722, nee Corliss), set fire to Hannah’s home, and forced the two women to march into the wilderness, Hannah carrying her newborn daughter, Martha. According to the account Hannah gave to Cotton Mather, along the way her captors killed six-day-old Martha by smashing her head against a tree:

    About 19 or 20 Indians now led these away, with about half a score of other English captives, but ere they had gone many steps, they dash’d out the brains of the infant against a tree, and several of the other captives, as they began to tire in the sad journey, were soon sent unto their long home.

Hannah and Mary were assigned to a family group of 12 people (probably Pennacooks) and taken north, “unto a rendezvous…somewhere beyond Penacook; and they still told these poor women that when they came to this town, they must be stript, and scourg’d, and run the gauntlet through the whole army of Indians.” The group included Samuel Lennardson (1683-1718, … a 14-year-old boy captured in Worcester, Massachusetts, in late 1695.

On April 29 or 30, at an island in the Merrimack River at the mouth of the Contoocook River, Hannah led Mary and Samuel in a revolt:

    …furnishing themselves with hatchets for the purpose, they struck home such blows upon the heads of their sleeping oppressors, that ere they could any of them struggle…they fell down dead.

Hannah used a hatchet to kill one of the two grown men (Lennardson killed the second), two adult women, and six children. According to Cotton Mather’s account, Hannah and her partners let one of the children sleep, “intending to bring him away with them,” but the boy awoke and escaped. One severely wounded Abenaki woman also managed to escape the attack.

The former captives immediately left in a canoe, but not before scalping the dead as proof of the incident and to collect a bounty. They went downriver, traveling only during the night, and after several days reached Haverhill.

A few days later, Thomas Duston brought Hannah, Samuel and Mary to Boston, along with the scalps, the hatchet and a flintlock musket they had taken from the Indians.[21] Although New Hampshire had become a colony in its own right in 1680, the Merrimack River and its adjacent territories were considered part of Massachusetts, therefore Hannah and the other former captives applied to the Massachusetts Government for the scalp bounty. …

    The Humble Petition of Thomas Durstan of Haverhill Sheweth That the wife of ye petitioner (with one Mary Neff) hath in her Late captivity among the Barbarous Indians, been disposed & assisted by heaven to do an extraordinary action, in the just slaughter of so many of the Barbarians, as would by the law of the Province which [only] a few months ago, have entitled the actors unto considerable recompense from the Publick. That tho the [want] of that good Law [warrants] no claims to any such consideration from the publick, yet your petitioner humbly [asserts] that the merit of the action still remains the same; & it seems a matter of universal desire thro the whole Province that it should not pass unrecompensed… Your Petitioner, Thomas Durstun

On June 16, 1697, the Massachusetts General Court voted to give them a reward for killing their captors; Hannah Duston received 25 pounds, and Neff and Lennardson split another 25 pounds.

Hannah’s heroism was recorded by the Puritan historian Cotton Mather, and later retold by Hawthorne, Whittier, and even Thoreau. She became a popular heroine in 19th century Massachusetts and several monuments honoring her were erected in various locations, including an 1879 monument and statue standing in the town square of her home town.

Well, just like Robert E. Lee, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt, poor old Hannah Duston has been targeted for cancellation by the Woke Left.

The Guardian (way over in Manchester, U.K.) reports:

As protests across the US topple statues of historical figures with connections to colonialism and slavery, Duston’s name has largely stayed out of the national conversation. But concerns about the New Hampshire statue, and another in Haverhill, Massachusetts, are now emerging.

This is because Duston is implicated in the deaths, and scalping, of 10 Native Americans.

“The statues were made to send a message to the indigenous community, that they are inferior, that their land would be seized, and they would be removed and put on reservations,” Judy Matthews, a Haverhill resident, told the Guardian.

[There were no Abenakis in Haverhill in 1879, so inferring that the monument constituted a message to them is just plain stupid. –JDZ]

She spoke during a 30 June city council meeting in Haverhill, asking officials to consider moving the statue to a less public place. …

On 3 July, an online petition began to circulate among local social media groups calling for the removal of the Haverhill statue. A counter-petition shortly followed. Ten days after Matthews spoke at the city council meeting, the monument was vandalized with the words “Haverhill’s own monument to genocide” written in chalk.

Shortly after the vandalism, Haverhill’s mayor, James Fiorentini, appointed two Native Americans to the Haverhill Historical Commission (HHC), which protects the town’s historic structures, to make recommendations for the future of the monument.

“I want to tell the other side of the story – of the Native Americans who lived here, of the immigrants who built the shoe factories, of the African Americans who were freed from slavery, and of African Americans who lived here as slaves in Haverhill,” said Fiorentini. …

Elizabeth Dubrelle, the head of education and public programs at the New Hampshire Historical Society, says the group made the conscious decision not to include Duston’s story in the revamped school curriculum.

That is “in part because we don’t think it’s appropriate for kids”, she said. “I think it’s way too violent. No matter whose side you take, or what you think about it, I just don’t think it’s a good story for kids.” …

[T]here is now a concrete plan to adapt the New Hampshire statue. Proposed by representatives of the Cowasuck band of the Pennacook Abenaki people and New Hampshire state officials, it was approved on 17 July.

The changes include renaming the site of the Duston statue from the Hannah Duston Memorial Site to Unity Park N’dakinna, which means “our land” in Abenaki, and adding additional signage and monuments around the statue discussing discrepancies within the story, allowing the visitor to come up with their own conclusions.

WT

Personally, I think there ought to be a state bounty for the scalps of every public nuisance Woke Liberal and commie radical agitator, and the person who collects the most scalps should get the biggest and best monumental statue.

04 Aug 2020

The Hu – “Yuve Yuve Yu”

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The Hu (a Mongolian Rock Band) musically contends (“Black Banner be awakened”) that Mongolian boys should stop eating popcorn, sleeping, and watching soccer, and get on out there, horde up, and sweep down on Europe, or China, or somebody.

Good comments:

“This song makes me proud to be Mongolian, which is weird because I’m Latino.”

“this is the mongolian rammstein.
Nobody understands a shit but everyone likes it”

“Imagine being Chinese in the 12th century and hearing this outside your village”

“My cat listened to this song, he’s now a mongolian warhorse”

HT: Vanderleun.

03 Aug 2020

Whom Would You Expect a Bear to be Supporting?

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03 Aug 2020

ANTIFA Leader Meets a Citizen

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03 Aug 2020

Minneapolis Police Department: “Give Up Your Cell Phone and Purse/Wallet… Do as [the Criminals] Say.”as [

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People pay quite a price for living in democrat-machine one-party-state big cities. The Minneapolis Police have been made to stand down by the local administration that is on the criminals’ side, so the police are actually telling the citizens of their city to surrender their property to muggers and to obey their instructions!

It’s pretty sad to think that there actually are unarmed, defenceless, sheep-like Americans living in cities who’d follow such instructions.

Alpha News Minneapolis:

The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) told residents they should “be prepared” to hand over their phones, wallets, and purses to robbers.

The MPD has reported a 46 percent increase in carjackings and a 36 percent increase in robberies compared to this same time last year, according to WCCO.

Police in the city’s Third Precinct alone have received more than 100 reports of robberies and 20 reports of carjackings in just the last month.

Officials are now telling residents to be ready and willing to comply with the demands of criminals in an email sent to Third Precinct residents.

“Be prepared to give up your cell phone and purse/wallet,” the police said in their email, a copy of which was obtained by Alpha News. The email said citizens should listen to criminals and “do as they say.”

The message warned that “some victims have been maced, dragged, assaulted, and some threatened with a gun.”

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