quadruplify: Shizuo Heiwajima (from Durarara!!) yelling ([DRRR] Shizuo - angry)
--Sex in Space Could Be Deadly  (D:)
--Many Working-Class Women Are Already Leaning In  (on the growing activism of low-income and working-class women in the U.S.)
--The Political Dead-End of Christianism  (a Catholic philosophical perspective in support of same-sex marriage)
--Why New Zealand is officially, earnestly upset about Argo
--American teacher in Japan under fire for lessons on Japan's history of discrimination
--Babies like people who injure babies not like them  (on how some prejudice actually IS inherent and not just taught; the link also has information about the link between political turmoil and HIV treatment, the recent finding of habitable planets outside of our solar system, and how stereotypes hold women in science back)
--10 Superhero Traits Tech Will Bestow
--Ancient Mars Had Conditions Suitable for Life  (I was skeptical about this at first, but when Phil Plait says it's probably right, chances are it is)
--The Emotional Psychology of a Two-Party System
--Some Theories on Why Men Don't Do As Many Household Tasks
--Why Daylight Saving Time Is Pointless
--We're Screwed: 11,000 Years' Worth of Climate Data Prove It  (DDDDDDDDDDDDDDD:)
--What Teens Get About the Internet That Parents Don't  (a good article to share for parents or other adults in your life who ~don't get it~ XD)
--'Women Own 1% of World Property': The Feminist Myth That Won't Die  (on why it's important to fact-check EVERYTHING)
--How to Resurrect Lost Species
--Feminism needs to include men to obtain equality for all  (some might find this article ventures too far into "but what about teh menz?!" territory for their liking, but the central point about why the word "feminism" has such a negative connotation is legit)


quadruplify: John Watson (from BBC's Sherlock) standing in Buckingham Palace ([Sherlock] John - standing)
I know most of the links this week are from The Atlantic; this is only because I follow the magazine on Twitter, and every day they have a ton of articles that catch my interest, and I end up clicking on them all, and pretty soon my browser is crammed with tabs from this one website. Which I find kinda embarrassing, even though it's not a big deal at all. I should go on a bigger variety of sites regardless. :P

--Yes, Money Does Buy Happiness: 6 Lessons From the Newest Research on Income and Well-Being
--The "Most Significant" Photo Recently Taken From Space
--Why We Get Prune Fingers
--Hollywood's Real Bias Is Conservative (But Not in the Way Liberals Often Say)
--The Fact-Free Political Alarmism of Naomi Wolf  (this does a good job of pinpointing what bothers me about left-wing activist writers like Wolf, Glenn Greenwald, Michael Moore, etc. -- they're too extreme and addicted to attention for most people to believe anything they have to say, and whatever good points they make are undermined by their poor research and lack of nuance)
--There's More to Life Than Being Happy
--A GIF Guide to the Most Bannable Semi-Automatic Weapons
--Russian test uncovers strain of space travel  (with all the buzz surrounding the Mars One project, this is important to keep in mind)
--Actually, Don't Write Like You're Dead  (on bad writing advice, and how it's impossible not to be a product of your times)
--Sympathy For the Nice Guys of OKCupid  (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED -- not because Nice Guys deserve that much pity [they don't], but it's an interesting perspective that's worth thinking about)
--Censoring Pirate Sites Doesn't Work, Researchers Find
--Astronomers Discover a Planet Almost Identical to Earth
--New battery converts physical motion to chemical energy in a single step
--Galaxy's center tastes of raspberries and smells of rum, say astronomers
--What If NASA Could Figure Out the Math of a Workable Warp Drive?  (I'm pretty sure I shared this on Twitter before, but it's worth sharing again)
--Winners of the National Geographic Photo Contest 2012
--A Stunning, Sparkling Beehive Caught By Accident  (on globular clusters and distant galaxies)
--Tongue and Tech: The Many Emotions For Which English Has No Words
--Pondering Our Cyborg Future in a Documentary About the Singularity
--Climate Change Doesn't Have to Mean the End of the World  (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED -- this partly explains why I've become so burned out on even thinking about environmentalism and climate change activism; at this point, adaptation is the only thing we can do about global warming)
--Short animated film: "R'ha" by Kaleb Lechowski  (I'm only sharing this because a.) the animation and CGI is AMAZING, and b.) the guy who made this is a year younger than me, and I feel woefully inadequate because of it D: )


quadruplify: Gay pride parade participant, dressed as astronaut, holding sign that reads: "Gay Astronaut Association Members: 1" ([Other] LGBTQ+ - gay astronaut)
Since I've been doing linkdumps around here for the past couple of weeks, and because I'm bored, I figure I might make this a semi-regular thing. Maybe? Basically it's a list of things I've found/read lately, and I thought at least some of you out there might be interested in some of them too. Hope you all enjoy it! ^_^; 

--Sandy Hook controversy: Is it wrong to sympathize with a killer?
--Meanwhile, in Canada, a Narwhal Tusk Smuggling Ring Has Been Busted  (first maple syrup, now this...O_o;)
--Captured in (Actual) Pictures: The Swirling Birth of Planets
--Finding the Positive  (on criticizing what other people do vs. doing something better yourself)
--A Martian Dream: Here's What the Red Planet Would Look LIke With Earth-Like Oceans and Life
--'Channeling spirits' shut down parts of the brain
--Can You Be Gay By Choice?  (the best article I've read yet re: whether or not the "born this way" defense of homosexuality is a good idea)
--The Appeal of "Bad Boys"  (on Nice Guys™, the psychology of what makes people attractive, and how men can attain it without being douches)
--Why It's Dangerous to Say "Only Bad Guys Commit Rape"  (CW: details of incidents of rape)
--America Has a Macho Problem


quadruplify: Gay pride parade participant, dressed as astronaut, holding sign that reads: "Gay Astronaut Association Members: 1" ([Other] LGBTQ+ - gay astronaut)
I need to go to bed somewhat early tonight, so I'll try to keep this short:

--Now that I've been off Tumblr for a while now, I've started to work my way through the backlog of movies I've been meaning to see for the longest time now. I don't have time to review each one, so I'll just list them:

Movies that were great:
Movies that sucked tremendously:

Guilty pleasures:
If you want me to explain why I classified these movies the way I did, feel free to ask me in the comments.

--I've slowly started taking steps to take on more independence and responsibility and deal with my depression in more proactive ways; I've been driving on a more regular basis, I've been doing my own laundry, and on Sunday I cooked my own dinner. Spinach linguini with cooked bell peppers, celery, and scallions, to be exact. I still needed some guidance, of course, and I charred the vegetables a little bit, but other than that it came out perfectly. XD Obviously many people already do these things on a regular basis and take them for granted, but these are little victories I need to relish however I can. ^_^;

I've also been going to different places in the area we haven't been to before; the weekend before last my dad and I went to Books & Co., a small used bookstore in Hamden, and we were very impressed by it! Sadly, there aren't a lot of indie bookstores in our area, so it was good to find one by chance and support it however we could. Most of the books there are mainstream/literary fiction, and they also sell greeting cards and jewelry made by local artists. Oh yeah, all the books they sell are half off list price, so if you want a good deal....8D I couldn't resist buying a few books while I was there (Assia Djebar's Children of the New World, Yukio Mishima's The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea, N. Scott Momaday's House Made of Dawn, and Ntozake Shange's Betsy Brown), and they served a great chai latte at their café too.

And last weekend we checked out Redscroll Records in Wallingford, which also turned out to be pretty great. It's a small store that focuses on alternative/metal/hardcore/punk (they even sell zines there, which isn't too surprising to me since I know there are people out there who still make them, but still), and lots of vinyl if you're into that sort of thing (my dad ended up finding records he hadn't seen for 30-40 years), but there is something for just about everyone there. (Hey [personal profile] two_grey_rooms, it's better than Cutler's, trust me. XD) I ended up buying Soundtracks by Can and the Zol! EP from BLK JKS, as well as two used DVDs -- The Fall and Fargo, the latter of which I rewatched recently and was just as awesome as I remembered it to be.

--So the first two episodes of The Legend of Korra came out this weekend. And it was AMAZING. And AWESOME. And all those other adjectives I like to overuse when I really, really enjoy something. XD No spoilers, but this GIF just about sums it up:



Ugh why do we have to wait another month for the new episodes to come out D:

Seriously though, if you haven't seen this already, you should, even if you aren't familiar with A:tLA or its fandom. If you missed it when it was online this weekend, leave me a comment and I'll see what I can do. ;-)

(BTW, glad to see Community is back on the air too! Wasn't too impressed with last week's episode, but here's hoping this week's will be better.)

--Some links that I think might be of interest to some of you:
--And finally, a meme I ganked from [livejournal.com profile] iron_valkyrie:

Which kind of bender are you? )


quadruplify: Julian Minci (from Legend of the Galactic Heroes) sticking his tongue out in disgust ([LoGH] Julian - yuck)
1. So I'm sure many of you know about that video about Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony produced by the NGO Invisible Children that went viral a couple of days ago (if you don't know what I'm talking about, look up "Kony 2012" on YouTube). The video has become quite a big deal, generating a lot of buzz and publicity in a remarkably short amount of time; I've seen many people on LJ, Twitter, and Facebook talk about it, so I felt it was necessary to do a post about it, much like the 2009 protests in Iran and last year's "Arab Spring." I would make a big linkdump about it, complete with pertinent quotes, but I've been feeling too lazy and tired to do one up this time, and besides, many people have already beaten me to it:

--[livejournal.com profile] eska_rina has put together a great assortment of links and relevant quotes
--[livejournal.com profile] ontd_political has its big compendium of links here; of particular interest is The Guardian's liveblog of the fallout
--The conveniently titled "Reader's digest to Kony 2012"

I know it may seem like a ton of links to deal with, each attached to rather long reads, but I highly, highly recommend you skim them at the very least. The issues, criticisms, and commentary Invisible Children's campaign has raised can't be neatly summed up in a quick soundbite, and it's very important to read up on the issues before you decide to donate money or engage in activism -- not just on this particular issue, but on everything else as well.

I personally find myself agreeing with the backlash against IC's campaign, and while I think #Kony2012 has good intentions, it has not been thought out very well. The campaign appears to ignore much of the context of the conflict in Uganda, such as how Kony and the LRA became prominent, the circumstances in which (and reasons why) it happened, and the legacy of European colonialism and imperialism that ultimately led such a situation to come about in the first place. The campaign also paints a picture of Uganda that is overly simplistic and reductive; it plays into the common media narrative of Africa being a place of nothing but war, starvation, and poverty, and that only Americans/the West/white people can "save" Africans from this predicament. Not only is this narrative rooted in the same kinds of ideas that led European powers to colonize Africa in the first place, but it's also extremely inaccurate, given that a variety of peoples and cultures exist on the continent, that there are already many organizations on the ground in areas affected by the LRA run by Africans themselves doing the work IC claims to be doing, and that many Africans -- some of whom have been directly affected by Kony's violence -- take issue with the campaign and suggest better ways of going about it. The fact that the campaign's promoters don't appear to be listening to the voices of Africans themselves, especially those of the people they're purporting to stand for, shows how paternalistic it really is, and how it's nothing more than "Kony is evil, he used child soldiers, he must be brought to justice." Obviously Kony is evil and needs to be brought to justice, but if you think about the "nuts and bolts" of how to do it, and the consequences it might bring, then you realize just how good intentions aren't enough.

Obviously these criticisms shouldn't be an excuse to dismiss #Kony2012 as an exercise in feel-good activism targeting American college students; human rights violations are an affront to all of humanity, and we shouldn't stand by and let them happen. But creating change isn't nearly as glamorous as the video makes it out to be, and context (and the nuances, complexities, and frustrations that come with it) matters. If something seems too black-and-white, it probably is. It pays to do your research and come up with your own conclusions, and this is no exception.

*********************************************************************************************

Onto other things:

2. This is the best modern-day retelling of a fairy tale you'll see this week, hands down:



3. I don't post fic recs that often on here, but I found a great LoGH fic worth checking out: Inheritance. Cross-dressing!young!Reuenthal fic that's not crack and is actually pretty well-written? YESPLZ. :D

4. A continuation of the seven-questions meme from the last post, this time from [livejournal.com profile] iron_valkyrie :

Read more... )


quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
I got a Christmas card from [livejournal.com profile] misskalloway the other day, so thank you very much for that! :D

Speaking of Christmas cards, I plan on sending them out on Monday, or Tuesday at the very latest. It's definitely cutting it close, and for those who asked for one, you'll most likely receive them late (especially if you live outside the U.S.), but they will be coming soon, I promise. ;-)

Also, since the first holiday love meme I linked to in my last post filled up, here's part 2, if you haven't gotten a chance to comment on it and want to. Thanks for those of you who have already!

The past couple of weeks I've been working at my mom's workplace as a paper-pusher again; it's as extremely boring as it usually is, but I've been making a decent amount of money that should keep me going for a little bit. Hopefully in 2012 I can get a more stable job, but that'd require me actually making the effort to look. :P Ah well, I think I'll ride out the next couple of weeks and then start putting myself out there after the first of the year. That should work out, no?

Anyway, before I forget I should tell you about this anti-Islamophobia campaign a friend of mine from college has started. It's called "Say Salaam," and it involves people making videos of themselves saying the Arabic greeting "as-salaam alaikum" ("peace be with you") as an expression of solidarity against stereotypes, hate crimes, bullying, and hate against Islam in general. It's a campaign that's very much in the vein of It Gets Better, and while it has its problems much like IGB does, I honestly think it has the potential to become something big (and I'm not just saying this because someone I know is spearheading it XD). Here's the video he posted to kick things off, and you can find more info at [tumblr.com profile] saysalaam. Even if you can't make a video yourself, please spread the word!  I'd love to see this take off.  ^_^;

And after reading it on-and-off for five months, I finally got around to finishing The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle -- it had some really interesting and powerful parts, but all in all it was really, really open-ended, and in a not-all-that-compelling way either.  Good, but not one of Murakami's best.  I've also started on Adam Haslett's Union Atlantic; I've been enjoying it quite a bit, even though it's rather simplistic and maybe a bit clichéd, especially compared to something like Wind-Up.  I'm going to reserve judgment until I finish it, though.

I've also taken a break from reading Homestuck -- probably permanently, from the way things look.  :(  Maybe because I was reading it on-and-off too, but by the time I hit the beginning of Act 5 I pretty much lost my ability to care about what was going on. I mean, I get why it's so popular, it just doesn't seem to be doing anything to me, y'know?  Unless I still haven't gotten to the "good part" yet or whatever.  :/

And then there was all those Legend of Korra leaks a couple of weekends ago.  Yeah, old news is old at this point, but whatever, I'm still excited.  8D

Other than the fact that I've been trying to be more active on Plurk recently ([plurk.com profile] democracies , for those who are interested), that's really about all the notable stuff that's happened with me recently.  Which still isn't much, sadly, but hopefully that'll change with the new year.  I'll leave y'all with some songs I've been obsessed with lately, since I haven't done that in a while:

Gotye, "Somebody That I Used to Know"
The National, "I Need My Girl"  (new songs from The National?  YESPLZ :DDDDDDDDDDDD)
The National, "Rylan"
Sleigh Bells, "Rill Rill"
Tindersticks, "Medicine"
Lana Del Rey, "Born to Die"
Moby, "Extreme Ways"
Friends, "I'm His Girl"  (a.k.a. the current guilty pleasure)

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
1. So I've just been made one of the new maintainers for [livejournal.com profile] durarara, which is very exciting! Even though I'm a total lurker and not exactly the most active guy in the fandom. (OH GOD WHAT THE HELL DID I GET MYSELF INTO DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD:) Anyway, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, or if there are any not-so-funny shenanigans I don't already know about, feel free to PM me, e-mail me (mecteol@gmail.com), or leave a comment in my latest public entry on this journal. I do try to keep tabs on everything as much as possible, so I'll definitely try to respond ASAP. (And while we're at it, here are the rules in case you need a refresher.)

Between that and [livejournal.com profile] drrr_bigbang seriously tempting me, I just might get more involved in the fandom after all. I still haven't finished rewatching the series, and I haven't yet gotten a chance to look at episodes 12.5 and 25 and the light novels, so I should probably get on that when I have the chance.

2. All right, RL update! This past Friday was the Spring Student Symposium, where students talk about the independent work they've done this past year, whether it's thesis work, senior essays, or anything else they've been researching on their own time. It's very cool because you get to talk to your friends about all the interesting stuff they've done, all in a pretty relaxed atmosphere. Some of the presentations I went to included ones on post-apocalyptic fiction, why the Taliban have gotten stronger in Afghanistan over the past few years, factors that affect how long insurgencies last, a sociological analysis of a campus celebrity, Jerry Springer, prospects for Korean reunification, honor killings in Turkey, the English-only movement in the U.S. and why it's completely and utterly stupid, how hard it is to translate fiction, attitudes toward beach littering in Chile, and ecopsychology. If some of them sound boring, trust me, they weren't -- the kinds of larger themes people talked about were fascinating, and I learned a ton. A perfect event for eggheads like me. XDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

(Oh, and there was an impromptu Improv Everywhere-style dance-off in the main area of the science building during the reception at the end of the day. And it was pretty fucking awesome, if I do say so myself! ^_^;)

3. Before I forget, I'd like to mention HELA, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to help Afghan women, primarily through building schools, developing other education programs for women, and building and maintaining wells, among other things. What's really good about this group is that they work with the Afghan government and existing structures and systems in order to make sure these projects can stick around for the long term (something I know [livejournal.com profile] mcollinknight can appreciate). The president of HELA is a senior at my college originally from Afghanistan, and she's also the executive director of the Afghan Youth Initiative. Here's some more info about her, and here's an interview she did on NBC's Today show back in September. Please spread the word; this is a great cause that more people should know about!

4. Last Friday I also went to Playing at War, a one-man play put on by a senior Theatre/History double-major about British theatre -- especially plays put on by British soldiers -- during the American Revolution. The student played William Dunlap, a playwright who wrote the first history of American theatre in 1832; he was also a British Loyalist who wasn't a big fan of Washington and his ilk, and it showed. (Like how he mentioned how the Sons of Liberty wanted to ban theatre because it was a "foreign influence" and "un-American," even to the point of burning one down in New York City after it was known that the controversial Stamp Act had been repealed. Nevermind that the theatre had an important role to play for the people living in the colonies at the time. Sound familiar?) It was a fascinating alternate look at history, especially something that's often ignored, and it was interesting to hear about the British military's appreciation of theatre, which is something you wouldn't expect. I definitely don't regret going. (Especially since I got in for free! :B)

5. I finally got around to finishing Kafka on the Shore, and it was EXCELLENT. I had been meaning to read that one for a while now, and I'm glad I did! Highly recommended. ;-)

6. Has anyone seen the first episode of A Game of Thrones yet? It's gotten a lot of hype lately, but I'm wondering what people thought of it if they saw it, or if they've read the books. I won't have a lot of time in the next few days, so I'm wondering if it's worth it.

Well, that's about it for me right now. How is everyone else doing?

So.......

Feb. 12th, 2011 12:22 am
quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
.........how 'bout dem Egyptians?

Guys, this is all really, really, REALLY exciting stuff, it's just.......OMG I don't have the words. Seriously. XDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD I've been rather excited ever since I heard the news of Mubarak's resignation, and right now I'm just really proud of the protesters for toppling their oppressive government peacefully after 18 days! I was beginning to suspect Mubarak would hold on to power until September or beyond that, or that he would really dig in and start killing protesters on a wide scale, but thankfully that didn't happen. And now that the military is in control for now, I hope the protesters will hold them accountable so that a true democracy can be formed like they've been fighting for. Anyway, here's a quick linkdump since I haven't done one in a while, and since a lot of these sum up my feelings about today:

[livejournal.com profile] ontd_political has their latest liveblog/party post here; there are plenty of snarky and hilarious comments originally from Twitter posted by [livejournal.com profile] akuma_river which are really well-worth reading. (And in case you're curious, here's the liveblog before the latest one, with links to good sources and previous liveblogs.)

More links under the cut... )

********************************************************************************************

..........I just finished my first week of the last semester of classes. I'm going to hold judgment about the classes right now, but I will say a few things about them:

* I think I'm really going to enjoy my African Politics class; the professor is pretty funny and engaging (and from Madagascar), it doesn't look like there will be heavy amounts of work, and right now we're reading Adam Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost, which is absolutely AMAZING -- yeah, it's about Belgium's colonization of the Congo and all the oppression and exploitation and evil that came from that, but it's a really good read that I've had a hard time putting down.

* Social Movements will probably be the toughest class for me this semester; the two big things we have to do for that are 1) involvement in an organizing project outside of college, and 2) a 5,000-word paper (that's about 16-17 double-spaced pages). The paper is already stressing me out -- I mean, it's doable, but it's still one of the longer ones I've had to do, and that's going to be a pain in the ass to write (though not as much as last year's 25-page monstrosity). Plus, the class only meets once a week on Wednesday nights, which is bad because I have three classes before that during the day, so by the time this class starts I'm already pretty drained. I really think it's going to be a great class, mind, and I have high hopes for it (not least of which because Bill McKibben is teaching it), but I'm beginning to have my doubts. One of the things we're going to be doing all semester is reading Taylor Branch's Parting the Waters, about the early days of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, which is turning out to be excellent so far.

* I'm going to have a ton of reading this semester. Between that and the essays I have to write (the 5,000-worder mentioned above, the 12-page term paper for my Japanese lit class, and various other essays), it's going to take up all the free time I'm going to have these next couple of months. And I'm not exaggerating all that much when I say that. D: Even when I find out what assignments I can afford to skim or skip, it's still going to be quite a bit. And I have to do work for VIP, search for jobs and internships, and take care of myself on top of it all, and I just......don't know how I'm going to do all that. Some people are lucky enough to have the ability to juggle all these things and more at once with relative ease, and I'm most definitely not. ;___; I don't know how often I'll be on AIM, guys, though I'll see what I can do.

And because a.) of all the stuff that went down in Egypt today, and b.) I have no classes on Fridays, I ended up doing absolutely none of the reading I planned to do today. Which wouldn't be so bad, except I have to read 100+ pages of Tocqueville for my Politics of Virtual Realities class by Monday, and that's going to be a pain to get through. Bleh. :PPP

Anyway, some other things that happened this week:

1) It's official: an A in my Korean culture class. \OO/

2) I helped table for VIP at the student activities fair on Thursday, which was a disappointment as only four people signed up. (Meanwhile the club next to us, Mchaka [a Swahili-chanting running group], got a shitload of new names on their list, despite not having anyone actually at the table. WTF. O_o;) But we're planning on doing quite a bit this semester, so hopefully that'll work out, unlike last semester when all our plans fell through. ._.

3)
Following the breakout success of last year’s Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Art of the Animated Series, Dark Horse is proud to collaborate with Nickelodeon on a comprehensive publishing program built around this beloved and exciting Emmy-winning animated series! The first installment of this new series will be released on Free Comic Book Day, May 7, with two introductory short stories — including the unpublished tale “Relics” and the iconic Dirty Is Only Skin Deep... This free comic will be packaged with Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars in a special flip-book comic, available only at your local comic book shop.

Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Lost Adventures will be released TK. This all-new 240-page comic book contains over 70 pages of never-before-seen material in addition to long-out-of-print comics previously published in Nickelodeon Magazine. With 26 stories set in Airbender continuity and created by a host of top-notch talent, many of whom worked on the original animated series, this is an essential addition to any fan’s bookshelf. [source]


SO. EXCITED. 8DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

The bad news is that I'm not sure how I'll be able to get the Free Comic Book Day comics, considering a.) I go to college in the middle of nowhere Vermont, b.) I don't have easy access to transportation out of town, and c.) it's during finals week. But I'll try to see what I can do, because I need these books bad, as a good way to tide me over until Legend of Korra drops. ^_^;

That's about it right now, so I'll leave you with this meme....

The Social Networking Friending Meme!!


......and this video:





Egypt #3

Feb. 2nd, 2011 08:11 pm
quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
The situation in Egypt seems to have taken a turn for the worse; after yesterday's peaceful "million man march" on Tahrir Square in Cairo, pro-government counter-protesters have come out of the woodwork begun clashing with the anti-Mubarak protesters who have been on the streets for the past week. Because the attacks appear to be coordinated and tend to be coming from plainclothes police and security officers, and it's very likely that Mubarak's government has planned the recent violence; as a result, three people are confirmed dead and at least 1500 others have been injured. Meanwhile, Mubarak has promised electoral reform and to step down when his term ends in September, despite continued calls for his immediate resignation. The only good that seems to have come out of today is that anti-Mubarak protesters have re-taken Tahrir Square (though this might not last for long), and the Internet in Egypt has been turned back on.

[livejournal.com profile] ontd_political has their latest live-blog here, though the one before that has an exhaustive list of liveblogs, Twitter accounts, articles, and other resources; because I won't try to replicate that here, go to those links first for the latest information. I've also been retweeting some good bits of info on my own Twitter (to all my Twitter followers: sorry about all the spam XD).

Here's a list of some of the best articles and analysis I've come across over the past couple of days. There's a lot this time, so recommended readings are in bold:

Other liveblogs I've been following:
Al Jazeera: Tuesday 2/1 || Wednesday 2/2 || Thursday 2/3
The Lede @ New York Times
Mother Jones
Mondoweiss

Cut for length... )

As always, feel free to link to this page to "boost the signal," and also if I missed anything you'd like to see in this list, let me know in the comments (especially if they're from non-mainstream or non-Western sources). Hope these posts haven't been too annoying for y'all. ;-)

Egypt #2

Jan. 31st, 2011 12:01 am
quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons (Default)
Here's an update to the Egypt linkdump from two nights ago. Sorry to spam your f-lists/access lists with this, but this is kinda Really Fucking Important™.

Liveblogs:
[livejournal.com profile] ontd_political : #3 || #4  (the best place to start, as it has some of the best comments and commentary)
Al Jazeera: Saturday 1/29 || Sunday 1/30 || Monday 1/31
Mother Jones (scroll to the bottom [before the comments section] for the latest)
The Lede @ The New York Times
The Guardian (UK)
Other liveblogs, plus video feeds

Al Jazeera:
Egypt front page

BBC:
El Baradei tells crowd "change coming"
Anxious waiting game as standoff continues
Tension rises as jets buzz Tehrir Square in Cairo
Hillary Clinton urges "orderly transition"
Profile: Mohammed El Baradei
Can Mubarak survive the revolt?
Tough questions if revolution succeeds

Foreign Policy:
Pharaoh's End: A roundtable
The Worst of Both Worlds
Five questions about Egypt
President Obama, here is your "game changer"
Unmasking Mubarak's "chaos"
Democracy is not all that different....
Obama's handling Egypt pretty well (h/t [livejournal.com profile] mcollinknight , and an article I agree with 100%)

Guardian:
Egyptians form makeshift militias to stop looters
Editorial: Mubarak's dictatorship must end now
Voices of the Egyptian rebellion
"We've waited for this revolution for years"

New York Times:
Opposition rallies to El Baradei as military reinforces in Cairo

Independent (UK):
Robert Fisk: Death throes of a dictatorship

The Nation:
Live from the Egyptian Revolution

The Globe and Mail (Canada):
Egypt's new vice-president has been crown-prince-in-waiting for years
Enough!  Why thousands of young Arabs have taken to the streets in protest

Kansas City Star:
Why has Egypt's army not confronted protesters?

Huffington Post:
A complete guide to the 2011 revolution

Associated Press:
Iraqis watch Egypt unrest with sense of irony

Center for a New American Security:
Egypt: A humble request  (another necessary punch to the gut for Western observers)

Los Angeles Times:
White House quietly preparing for a post-Mubarak Egypt

UNCUT:
Egypt's Twitter-less revolution

Mondoweiss:
The Egyptian revolution threatens an American-imposed order of Arabophobia and false choices  (h/t [livejournal.com profile] mcollinknight -- highly recommended reading)

Canonical.org:
Why Egypt's popular rebellion is the greatest historical event in a decade, and how Barack Obama missed the boat  (I don't agree with this person's assessment of the American response to the crisis in Egypt, but this provides a good background to what's going on, and has some good arguments against the pro-Obama Foreign Policy article I linked above)

As always, feel free to link to this page if you want, and please leave interesting articles and other links related to Egypt and protests throughout the Arab world (especially from non-mainstream and non-Western sources) in the comments.  ;-)

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
So as many of you probably know already, Egypt has recently erupted with a slew of anti-government protests that has left president Hosni Mubarak and his party's grip on power tenuous at best, and could mean big changes to the political makeup and stability of the region as a result (not to mention U.S. foreign policy and America's place in the world).  Inspired by the protests in Tunisia, the protesters managed to gain enough power to nearly topple their government in the space of four days, which is really fucking remarkable -- and considering what this may mean, it's a Big Fucking Deal™ (even if Joe Biden himself wouldn't use that term to describe this situation, sadly enough).

[Before I go any further, I need to make a disclaimer: I've tried to follow this as closely as I could seeing as it is history in the making (especially since things really got interesting today), but this isn't Iran in 2009 when I had a ton of time on my hands -- I had an exam today, I need to pack to go home tomorrow and I haven't done that yet, I'm pressed for time, my computer is being unreasonably slow, and I'm perpetually exhausted.  So this is going to be pretty limited, and I haven't read all the articles just yet, but I'll plan on it this weekend when I get more time.  (And if you must know: I think I did good on my exam, and I got an A+ on my journal entries, so other than current events and my rushing around to get things done, life is good right now.  XD)]

Anyway, here's the linkdump:

EGYPT
Al Jazeera's main page on the Egypt crisis  (includes live video)
Al Jazeera: "Analysis: Upheaval in Egypt"
Al Jazeera: "Profile: Hosni Mubarak"
Hossam el-Hamalawy: "We Don't Expect Any Help From America, Just to Leave Us Alone"
Mondoweiss: "Egypt is burning and most Western pundits have no idea why"
New York Times Liveblog
New York Times: "Mubarak Vows Cabinet Shift by Defends Deploying Army As Revolt Sweeps Egypt"
New York Times: "Al Jazeera Covers Protests Despite Hurdles"
NPR Liveblog
NPR: "Egypt President Asks Cabinet to Resign Amidst Protests"
Guardian Liveblog
BBC: "Mubarak Sacks Cabinet and Defends Security Role"
BBC: "Analysis: Why Egypt Matters"
BBC: "As it happened: Egypt unrest on Friday"
BBC: "Egypt's security and armed forces: The deciding factor"
BBC: "Obama's caution on Egypt is winning him no friends"  (and yet, at this stage, there really isn't much else he can do)
Washington Post main article on the Egypt crisis
Washington Post: "U.S. to review aid to Egypt"
David Frum: "John Kerry Calls For Elections in Egypt"
Foreign Policy: "The New Arab World Order"
Foreign Policy: "Washington eyes a fateful day in Egypt"
The Atlantic: "After Tunisia: Obama's Impossible Dilemma in Egypt"
zuky: "Third World Protest as US Spectator Sport"  (definitely a punch to the gut, but something worth reading anyway)
Huffington Post: "Graph Visualizes Egypt's Internet Blackout"
Enduring America liveblog
Wikipedia article

In terms of Twitters to follow, @SultanAlQassemi and @bencnn are probably the two best English-language ones to follow; you could also follow mine if you wish, as I'll try to retweet some of the best bits of info I can get.  I've also been reblogging Egypt-related stuff on Tumblr, though they also have their own stream of Egypt-related posts[livejournal.com profile] ontd_political put together a live post as well (though it seems to be inactive right now), as well as a news round-up from earlier in the day.  As always, Andrew Sullivan's blog is linking some of the best commentary, but since apparently Sullivan himself is on leave it might not be as good of a source for that as when he covered the situation in Iran.

ELSEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Al Jazeera's main page on Tunisia
Tunisia -- Ben Ali allies dropped from cabinet
New York Times: "Seizing a Moment, Al Jazeera Galvanizes Arab Frustration"
Washington Post: "As Protests Swell From Yemen to Egypt, Middle East Faces Uncertainty"
Iranian.com: "Tunis Not Tehran: Why Tunisians succeeded by Iranians faltered"
The National (UAE): "Thousands protest in Jordan for third week"
New York Times: "Protests Unsettle Jordan While Most Other Neighbors Stay Calm"
New York Times: "Waves of Unrest Spread to Yemen, Shaking a Region"
Washington Post: "Inspired by Tunisia and Egypt, Yemenis join in anti-government protests"
Wikipedia articles: Tunisia // Yemen // Algeria // Arab world in general

I'll try to add more links within the next 24 hours or so, so check back to this page for updates.  Also, if you have any other interesting links about current events in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East, please feel free to share them (especially if they're from non-mainstream media sources).  You're also free to share and link to this page as often as you wish, if you want to boost the signal.  ;-)


quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
1. [livejournal.com profile] demoneyeskyo87 and [livejournal.com profile] misskalloway, I got your Christmas cards in the mail recently. Thanks so much! :D

1a. And [livejournal.com profile] misskalloway, thank you so so so much for the huge box of CDs you sent me this weekend! It was unexpected, I admit, but I really appreciate it! Now I just need to get a chance to listen to some of them -- I already have quite the backlog of music I've been meaning to listen to, just like my books. ^_^;

1b. Speaking of Christmas cards, I finally got around to sending mine out yesterday and today. I was writing them up at 3 in the morning, so apologies in advance if they're not 100% coherent or if you have trouble reading my handwriting. (And I think two of the envelopes are upside-down. Sorry about that. XD) There's a chance most of them will arrive late, but I hope you enjoy them all the same!

2. Not much else has been going on lately -- I worked at my mom's office yesterday, and I might go again later this week (probably Thursday) or sometime next week to finish the job that needs to get done. Filing is extremely boring work, and I think I threw my back doing it too (I'm fine now), but I need the money. :P And I missed the lunar eclipse last night too -- it was too cloudy outside, and even if I could see it, it wasn't visible inside the house, which meant having to go outside in the bitter cold and wind. No thanks. -_- Though I at least got to speak with K. again this past weekend; that was good, at least. :D

3. Despite everything, I'm definitely happy that Don't Ask Don't Tell will be ending very soon. A lot of people in the queer community have found it very problematic, however, for reasons expressed here and here -- namely, that this new legislation does nothing to deal with the problems of American imperialism, the military-industrial complex, and the rights of transgender people, all of which serve to oppress and risk the lives of LGB and other marginalized people, moreso those living outside the U.S. While I'm sympathetic to those arguments, and I agree with them to a certain extent, I'm still celebrating the repeal of DADT anyway. It's still a big step toward stopping discrimination against LGB people, as well as improving how they are seen and treated in the U.S., and even if you're "against equality" and assimilation it still moves toward the ultimate goal of having queer people be seen as, well, people, and it's important not to lose sight of that. And it also gets us a little bit closer to having imperialism, the military-industrial complex, and trans rights being thought about more critically for once -- while that's still a long way away, it's still a step. And I know small steps are frustrating after a while -- why can't we have big change instead? -- but if you actually stopped to consider the political environment we're in right now, it's either small steps or no steps.

(Plus, a lot of criticism of DADT repeal from the left, I feel, tends to come from a strong anti-military standpoint, and that I can't accept. The size, scope, influence, power, and violence of this particular military needs to be criticized and changed, but the existence of militaries in general is and will always be an unfortunate necessity, even if it always is good to work toward reducing war as much as possible.)

4. And now for something completely different: I got my grades today! A- in GIS, B+ in the ES senior seminar, and B in geology. They weren't as good as I was hoping for (except for GIS, considering that was my toughest class), but I'm still happy with how they turned out all things considered, and I'm never truly unhappy as long as my grades stay above a B-. ^_^; Right now I'm pulling a 3.58 GPA, and my goal is graduate with at least a 3.6, which I think I can do. XD

5. Finally got around to reading Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez; it takes place in a world where gods and goddesses from all religious traditions and mythologies actually exist, interact with human beings on a regular basis, and still have followers (though following a god nowadays tends to come in the form of business contracts made through websites very similar to dating/matchmaking sites), and a Court of Divine Affairs exists to prevent divine shenanigans and deities smiting people left and right. The story itself is about a young couple who starts to follow Luka, a raccoon god of luck and good fortune they nickname "Lucky" who asks to move in with them as his only asking price. It's an interesting premise, and the story itself is very enjoyable and fun, but I found Martinez's writing style hard to swallow. He has a very annoying tendency to tell and not show; I don't see any reason why he'd deliberately do this except a.) to write like some sort of comic Hemingway and rely on understatement for his comedy (which occasionally works, but falls flat most of the time because the build-up you need to make it work just isn't there), or b.) to appeal to younger readers (except his simple writing style may actually be an insult to the intelligence of most younger readers). It almost seems as if he's relying on the absurdity of the situations in the story to carry the humor, when at least half of writing good comedy in novels is the language you use to describe those situations. Plus, he misses out on a lot of good worldbuilding; I absolutely love the premise of the story, and as such I was fascinated and wanted to learn more about the universe it inhabits, but Martinez instead focuses on the ~WACKY HIJINKS!!!~ of the characters. There's nothing wrong with doing only enough worldbuilding to service the plot, but I still don't feel as if the world Divine Misfortune inhabits is all that fully realized, and there's very little opportunity for the reader to engage in it. The premise and world of the story just shine through the dullness of the writing, but only just. In the hands of a Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett this can be a brilliant, witty, engrossing, and even poignant story; as it is, it's an enjoyable, pleasantly inoffensive, easily forgettable comedy of errors that has little reread value.

6. I've been obsessed with this song lately, it's so good! <3 The Delgados!

7. So I've decided to let my LiveJournal paid account expire -- bye-bye extra icon space and ability to edit comments, considering those were the only two features I was actually using (and the Statistics feature, though I got into such a habit of obsessively checking it that it's probably for the best). I decided to do this because over the past year I've become very unhappy and disenchanted with how LJ runs things -- I'm well aware every company with a bottom line to uphold screws up more than occasionally, but LJ's screw-ups have been so frequent and so directly affecting its users that I've become very uncomfortable with supporting them financially with anything more than ad revenue. I don't like that some of my icons have been deactivated, but I'll figure something out with that.

Since I have this Dreamwidth account laying around, and since it's easy to crosspost from DW to LJ, I've decided I might as well start using it. I know DW isn't nearly as active as LJ is, but I realized that if I wanted to see it be more active and make the most out of it, I had to take it upon myself to do what I can to be a more active user. Plus, DW has a lot of cool features that LJ doesn't have, and the features DW doesn't have but LJ does tend to be rather useless ones I can do without. And even though a 1-year paid account on DW costs more ($35 as opposed to $20), it gives you 100 icons spaces instead of 35, and considering I'm becoming quite the icon fan (and a fan of supporting new services with great potential) I think that'll be more than adequate for my needs. ^_^;

So I'm going to start posting from DW from now on, and I'm considering getting a paid account here instead of LJ. I don't plan on turning into one of those annoying "DREAMWIDTH BEAUTIFUL!! LIVEJOURNAL EVIL!!!" folks anytime soon (believe me, stay away from [community profile] lj_refugees if you know what's good for you), and rest assured I'll still be using LJ as much as I did before. This just means I'll be crossposting most of my entries on DW onto LJ, and you guys have a choice of where to comment on my entries if you so wish. 8D We'll see how this works out.

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