Review: Jan. 31, 2016

{Items old and new that caught my attention in the previous week}

News in ‘murican

US yachtsmen rescued nine times since July say they are ‘totally capable guys’ The Guardian | January 28, 2016
‘We’re not stupid – just brave’. These totally capable guys have offered up their own epitaph.

Daniel Boorstin got it right in ‘The Image’ The Los Angeles Times | April 15, 2012
Have you ever talked about someone ‘famous for being famous’? It was Boorstin who first assailed the phenomenon of ‘a person who is known for his well-knownness’ in his classic The Image, and that prescient book (first published over 50 years ago) makes for great reading during a campaign season so dominated by celebrity and non-events.

How Zano Raised Millions on Kickstarter and Left Most Backers with Nothing Medium | January 18, 2016

Erstwhile Rapper B.o.B. Is Convinced the Earth Is Flat Esquire | January 25, 2016
That’s all you need to know.

The Collision Sport on Trial The New York Review of Books | February 11, 2016
But guys, we can totally trust the super-scientific results obtained by the NFL’s hand-picked physicians on this one.

England’s unclaimed dead and the people trying to give them a name BBC | January 25, 2016

The Best of the Rejection Collection Visual Humor | November 4, 2015
A profile of four cartoonists from a book the blog’s author found at a secondhand shop. Want to see cartoons rejected from the New Yorker for humor too crude, dark, or stupid? Of course you do, you latte-drinking elitist!

Texas Anti-Islamic Event Brings Out the Crazies Medium | January 18, 2016
Some American patriots love their country and its constitution so much that they’ll ignore the implications of Article VI, Section 3 of the founding document (‘… no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States’), breeze past the religious freedom provided by the 1st Amendment, and spend their day protesting outside of an Islamic event in the Dallas suburbs while strapped with firearms so as to protect liberty in the United States. No problems with internal logic there. In what must be a huge surprise to no one, if I remember correctly one of the organizers of this event joined the militiamen in Oregon.

A Tale of the Pure of Heart Foreign Policy | January/February 2016
The most-conservative adherents of Judaism, the Hasidim, make up a small portion of an already-small religion; their tiny numbers, along with religious beliefs that isolate them in most communities, make them particularly susceptible to the personalities of charismatic rabbis. Lev Tehor, a group of around 200 followers of a rabbi who believes modernity to be evil, has been hounded from country to country over the last few decades – they decry religious persecution while leaving in their wake accusations of child abuse, arranged marriages of young girls, forced druggings of non-compliant members… it’s a cult, people.

Oxygen glasses offer relief from eyestrain Nikkei Asian Review | January 24, 2016
These set off my bullshit detectors but, Lord knows, wouldn’t it be great it they worked?

Supernatural Dolls Welcome Aboard Thai Planes With Child Ticket Bloomberg | January 25, 2016
Not much I can add to a headline like that.

How Nate Silver Missed Donald Trump Slate | January 25, 2016
In short: Nate Silver, regardless of how puzzled he is by a candidate’s success, should stick to his poll-divination rather than descending into the punditocracy.

How David Petraeus avoided felony charges and possible prison time The Washington Post | January 25, 2016
Does it reek of hypocrisy that a man, known for zealously prosecuting those underlings who leaked or mishandled classified information, weaseled his way into only pleading guilty for a misdemeanor after sharing reams of info with his mistress? Have I been in favor of serious jail time for a former commander and CIA head who I believed foolishly shirked his duties? Are these questions rhetorical?

Werner Herzog on ski jumping and filming in North Korea The Seattle Times | January 25, 2016
I both want a documentary of this documentarian and for him to narrate my life. As a gift, search YouTube for ‘Werner Herzog reads childrens’ stories’.

The long history of Muslims and Christians killing people together The Washington Post | January 25, 2016
The idea that history can be reduced to a paradigm as basic as Samuel Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilizations’ is appealing but terribly wrong.

Why Are Americans Ignoring Trevor Noah? Slate | January 24, 2016
Trevor Noah has only helmed The Daily Show, one of the most-respected TV programs of… my generation (say the ‘M’ word and I’ll punch you right in the goddamn mouth), for a few months now, and some growing pains can be expected. But TDS hasn’t seemed to have broken into the national dialogue at all since he took over. He has a presidential race featuring a democratic socialist; a racist, reality TV-celebrity real-estate heir; a Texas senator who embodies backpfeifengesicht, a beautiful German phrase meaning ‘a face aching for a punch’; and yet Noah, a South African comic looking in on our madness, is a non-factor. Why?

Flatline B.O.B Genius | January 26, 2016
So earlier this week (and this Review), B.o.B. declared that the Earth was flat. Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and America’s current science-explainer, sent a few tweets B.o.B.’s way explaining why the musician with a 9th-grade education was wrong regarding the shape of our planet. The next day, a diss track was dropped, taking deGrasse Tyson to task while name-dropping infamous Holocaust-denier David Irving. Yes, B.o.B., you’re really killing it…

Crystal-Covered Protester Arrested After Nuclear Break-In Wired | April 22, 2010
So that B.o.B. song mentioned above? One of the men he name-drops – ‘look up Doctor Richard Sauder’ – is this guy in question, the self-proclaimed ‘expert’ in the secret, underground bases and tunnels that criss-cross the United States. Dude seems legit. And no, I spent a good bit of time but had no success finding who issued Sauder’s doctorate (though he makes sure his name is festooned with ‘Dr.’ or ‘Ph.D.’ every time he’s mentioned, he’s terribly circumspect about where his degree was bought from was obtained after a long, rigorous course of study.)

Wounded Warrior Project Spends Lavishly on Itself, Insiders Say The New York Times | January 27, 2016
It looks like the Wounded Warriors Project, which receives much of its money via small donations from senior citizens, spends huge amounts of overhead on staff salaries and lavish parties while – compared to other veterans’ charities – spends little of its capital helping injured U.S. servicemen and -women. Oh, and its current CEO pushed out the founder who was uncomfortable with the non-profit’s direction. If this shocks you, I have some terrible news about Susan G. Komen for the cure…

The Neurologist Who Hacked His Brain – And Almost Lost His Mind Wired | January 26, 2016
A neurologist who created what he called the ‘world’s first cyborg’ in the 1990s later has his funding cut and, in an effort to continue his research, flies to Belize to have electrodes of his own design inserted into his brain in order to help decode the neurological patterns of human speech.

The Meat of It Texas Monthly | November 18, 2015
A guide to Spanish terms for various meats and cuts. Mmmmm.

History Is Melting Hakai Magazine | January 26, 2016
Little to no funding, an archaeological site on the edge of a quickly-eroding coastline, and all while working out of the northernmost town in the United States – Anne Jensen, archaeologist extraordinaire, deals with all this and more on a daily basis in Barrow, Alaska.

Why Does the U.S. Demand Innocent Passage in the South China Sea, But Not in the Persian Gulf? Lawfare | January 22, 2016
A short but intriguing argument, as I read it, in favor of the U.S. conducting freedom-of-navigation operations in Iranian waters. While from a legal standpoint I believe the author is correct, from a foreign relations and, hell, reality view, international law tends to be enforced only if both parties are willing for it to be enforced, or if there’s a significant power imbalance; conducting freedom-of-navigation exercises in Iran’s waters in order to weaken China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea seem like they would only exacerbate a delicate situation with a country that only recently signed onto a critical nuclear weapons treaty.

Rethinking the Calorie The Atlantic | January 26, 2016

News in Not-‘murican

Zamba in las Islas Malvinas YouTube | May 22, 2013 {Spanish}
Zamba, the young hero of a state-run children’s show, travels through time and space in order to teach young Hispanophones Argentinian history. In this episode, he travels to the Falklands War to witness the heroic struggle made by common men to wrest the islands from the imperialist British… This is what Argentinians actually believe. Skip to about 9 minutes in to see cartoon Galtieri and cartoon Thatcher working conveyer belts to pump out more foot-soldiers. You Spanish-speakers might enjoy the English accents mangled by the show.

Muere Conchita Picciotto, la española que acampó 30 años en la Casa Blanca El País | January 26, 2016

Jan 31, 2016 | Posted by in Sunday Review | Comments Off on Review: Jan. 31, 2016
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