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03 June 2012 @ 10:57 pm
And now, back with more data than ever - 24 May-3 June 02012  
Greetings. Let's look at something interesting. A redraw of some of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic cast in the standard DC/Marvel super-stripperific-heroine costuming and posing, complete with what looks like a broken-spine pose for Rainbow Dash. Someone else posted a more sane and more diverse version, without the stripper costumes or the boobs and butt or breaking back poses. Mostly, though, the point is what the Escher Girls posted - there is no single objective definition of sexy, no matter what superhero artists and Hollywood movies may put in their frame. There are so many other ways of doing sexy that work that there's no one superior way over any other. (Ask the authors of Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey, preferably together.) So why default to the big boobs, tiny waist, no clothes options?

There's a different and disturbing trend here, too, around sexiness and sexuality - the ubiquity of our communications methods also generates a ubiquity of pressures, demands, and harassment for young women - mobiles and Facebooks and all the rest are great ways of keeping in touch with people, and also really great ways for young men to put pressure on a woman to show off her body or do explicit things for the camera. And I'm not confident that there will be enough counter-pressure to those young men for them to stop demanding young women do those things for them and to stop treating young women like objects to be owned as a default. (When they're adults, if they want to be owned in a consensual contract, that's another matter entirely.)

Oh, and finally - parents, if and when your child is exposed to pornography, there's a right way and a wrong way to handle the situation.

The Dead Pool's Illustrators Caucus enlists Leo Dillon, often known in my circles for the cover work and picture book illustrations by him and Diane Dillon.

In the world sphere, the United States is making increasingly data-derived decisions to designate and then destroy suspected "enemy combatants", all without using actual people and their sanity checks in the process, from determination to termination. Which gives rise to the point that says these things being out in the open and declared to be normal is actually worse that public figures disawoving what they're doing - lip service is still better than no service. Ah, and it's spreading - Iraq is buying unmanned drones to patrol the oil fields. At least, it's supposed to be for the oil fields.

Ah, and further evidence that software is doing work that humans should probably be doing - a list of key words in conversations that may attract the attention of the Department of Homeland Security if used in conversation. Some make sense, others not as much. But such a dragnet invariably captures far more than its intended audience, and should be subjected to the rules about surveillance, right?

Egypt holds elections for the first time in a very long time. Hopefully, this is the first step on the road to a stable democratic-type government. Additionally, Hosni Mubarak, the deposed despot, received a sentence of life in prison for his lack of action in stopping the deaths of protestors during the Tahrir Square protests.

ProPublica has an excellent long-form journalism piece. This American Life turned it into a hour-long episode. It's about the search for a boy who was present for, but spared from, the massacre of a village in Guatemala, and how the soldiers and officers that ordered and carried out the massacre were charged and convicted thanks to the testimony of two who were there.

Troubles in Syria continue, with children as part of a massacre ordered by pro-government militia, according to the UN. In response to this, many countries expelled their Syrian ambassadors.

Canada's copyright board will be charging for recorded music played at live venues such as weddings, dances, karaoke bars, and parade floats, ostensibly so that smaller operations will be able to do better. The media cabals have so corrupted things here in the States, though, that it's hard to see this as anything more than a money grab.

The United States admits to aggressive hacking of an al-Qaeda site to defeat anti-American propaganda.

the International Olympic Committee deserves more than gentle mockery for the penury they're putting on London for the 2012 Olympic Games...and the committee that chose the mascot for 2012 deserves strong mockery. Or possibly, several appearances by The Doctor to combat the mascot menace.

At the end of this section, Israel may be saying they're responsible for a virus targeting Iran's nuclear infrastructure. Just how close are we to open and declared war between Israel and Iran...and would such a thing finally officially resolve the question of Israeli nukes?

Domestically, A library user upset about the adult content on another user's computer stabbed the offending user in the chest. Both of those things are against the code of conduct, most certainly.

The Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics Department offers proof as to why we call it Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics. When you poll, pay attention to the question being asked when you interpret the survey results. And what the poll actually says versus the headline. Also, pay attention as to whether the question itself is important - like whether or not someone needs to know about a Presidential candidate's college transcripts.

Recall, that if you are facing the prospect of a foreclosure on your house, it may be a very effective tactic to force the bank that wants to foreclose on you to prove that it actually owns the loan on your house.

Anti-union Governor Scott Walker, facing a recall election on 6 June, admitted that he was a defendant in allegations of criminal corruption. And the hits keep on coming, although the allies of Governor Walker would have you believe that even after the stripping of collective bargaining and union power from Wisconsin, government and public sector workers are still too overpaid and overcompensated compared to their private sector counterparts, which means, of course, you have to pull the public sector workers down, instead of perhaps thinking about how to raise the private sector worker's pay to match.

Speaking of hits, another judge ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, as well as the exclusion of domestic partners from a state employees retirement plan. In doing so, we see the ugly decades-long trend of Congress trying to prevent the recognition of any marriage or legal partnership between lesbians or gay persons.

Catholic organizations sued the United States government for the right to not pay for birth control in affiliated institutions that are not houses of worship. So the Catholic hospital wants the ability to not save lives and do no harm to its employees in addition to its patients? Well, no, they'll say it's an issue of religious freedom, and that such freedom should extend all the way in their dealings with the public, and the administration is trying to substitute their real belief system for the artificial secular system and demanding they believe. (One notes this already happens - quite a bit, in fact, as a consequence of being allowed to exist in the governmental framework and enjoy their tax-exempt status.)

A NATO meeting in Chicago brought a large amount of protests and cyber-protests, mostly peaceful. On the small amount that did not stay peaceful, the police responded as they normally do - arrests and crackdowns. The headline, of course, would have you believe that all the protesters are violent, even though the article says otherwise. And they want you to believe that they were so bad the president could not sleep in his own bed, which would normally suggest that not just the volume, but the message itself might be something that's not so easy to ignore.

The administration of the state of New Jersey found nothing wrong with the New York Police Department conducting surveillance in their state against organizations because they're Muslim. There's a certain amount of "well, of course they won't" in this - maybe a court should be the place to decide such things? It certainly looks like flagrant violations of the law regarding the requirements for warrants to conduct surveillance, but 9/11 Muslim Terror and the law no longer means anything. There's also the part where the current administration has embraced many of the previous administration's extralegal techniques, although they would probably say "But we're not doing it as horribly as they were".

Last out of this section, How Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald influenced each others' lives. Marilyn helped get Ella into a top-billed establishment with the promise that she would be there every night Ella came to sing, and Marilyn was possibly listening to Ella's singing when she was developing her voice.

Oh, and Mitt Romney won the Republican nomination, according to delegate count, although he won's be officially nominated until the convention.

In technology, the means by which headphones allow people to feel like they can control their environment, and what it did to people to have their music tastes be as private as the volume settings on their music players.

From there, Famous Women Inventors, because there are a lot of things in our technological world that we can thank women for, including radio-signal cryptography.

And then, crafting your own pencils by using lead, paper, and an appropriately strong paper glue.

Finally, a gentleman who makes large and intricate patterns in snow, using only himself in snow shoes to generate the pictures.

Into opinions, where even after apologizing, Chris Hayes is being pilloried for daring to suggest that heroism and the justifications for war should be discussed in separate contexts. Thus, one can do heroic things in war, even if the justification for that war is bogus or badly-thought-out. As the article mentions, things might have been inartfully said, but the point there still exists. And Hayes isn't making the point that depending on what you think about the wars that have been fought, you may be justified in saying that the people who fought in those wars aren't heroes, as bradhicks is. On the other side of the aisle, we have someone proudly proclaiming a desire to return to the Past That Never Was,

Will Wildman points out how the concept of the Friend Zone is not logically consistent, not to mention that deploying it in defense of Nice Guyism usually proves that the person in question didn't have a chance of being a date anyway.

Chris the Cynic offers up a lot of confusion as to why developers deliberately disable save-anywhere and cheats, comparing it to other places in our lives where certain people believe that you should only do things their way and not your own.

The editors of the WSJ insist that because a company continues to exist and do business, that it must be doing something correctly, in this case, Baen capital creating value for investors, stockholders, and workers. Would they say the same about, say, Enron, or all of the banks that have been responsible for the financial meltdown? (Probably.)

Mr. Jenkins, Jr. is irritated that New York City is restricting the size of soft drinks in the city, and sees it as creeping state socialism based on the fact that Medicare costs are going up. He sees the inevitable result as the state deciding who will be treated and who won't, like what happens in those other countries that have state socialism.

And then we return to The Infamous Brad who says governments should run their finances like a smart family farmer - save, cut spending, pay down debt, and raise taxes when times are good, then borrow and invest in infrastructure and the durable goods to upgrade the skills and make the economy competitive when times become good again. (Or to spur the cycle into good things again.) This should be a no-brainer, but at least one of the political parties insists that revenues should always be as low as possible and spending should always be as high as possible on their pet projects, with all the rest of that infrastructure and skill-building spending to be cut, along with spending to take care of those who have put in their time working. The other party doesn't do all that great, either, but they at least seem to understand the basic principles expressed here. If there were some true liberals in charge of the purse strings, we might see something much closer to what The Infamous Brad outlines here. And they'd find out that the debt shrinks, the economy grows, and prosperity, generally speaking, goes rolling along.

Last for tonight, the virtue of Helga Hufflepuff's house - the pride of hard work and camaraderie, and a good explanation as to why Harry, Ron, and Hermione ended up in Gryffindor House, when their talents would have put them in a different house.

And for history or royalty enthusiasts, HM Queen Elizabeth II wrote an introduction for the Royal Archives making available the entirety of Queen Victoria's journals on-line. The important part are the journals, but the introduction is something to note as well.

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Current Mood: moodymoody
Current Music: Gregson - Concerto for Piano and Wind Band (Homages)
Auroraaurora77 on June 4th, 2012 11:24 pm (UTC)
Well, frack. Looks like we have a MERS mortgage. Good to know. We're going to look into the title.
Silver Adeptsilveradept on June 5th, 2012 12:04 am (UTC)
Always happy to provide useful information. Go get 'em.