Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

A friend put this captioned magazine page through my mailbox

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

death of design

This made me laugh pretty hard.

Also, courtesy of the enjoyable fuckyournoguchitable tumblr: antlers, actual real taxidermy, fake taxidermy, steer skull and cardboard antlers.

Meanwhile, as Vancouver’s historic Chinatown gets very quickly gentrified–evacuations of historic businesses, sales and demolitions of buildings, and the erection new glass luxury condos—we see it  filling up with upscale little restaurants and cafes full of… antlers. This white man’s pioneer or settler style, circa 1890s, sits aggressively in Chinatown, which was itself founded in the very period these antler references hark back to, if not decades before. It’s as if Chinatown never happened.

The Hitler Youth haircut

Monday, May 26th, 2014

hipster and nazi hairstyle

Google Hitler Youth haircut. You get “About 50,300 results” and most of the hits are articles about the contemporary version of the Hitler Youth undercut hairstyle.

look at this fucking hipster

The abrupt turn to the right in yesterday’s European Parliament elections, including massive gains for the far-right anti-immigration National Front in France, the anti-immigration and racist UKIP in the UK. and a far right party in Denmark (among many others) seems to signal what we’re headed for. Then there’s the right-wing nationalist Navendra Modi’s win in India, military coups popping up in other places…

I know I’m not alone in finding this haircut and all its variants chilling.

hitler youth haircut then & now

hipster haircut

hitler youth haircut - poster

Hitler Youth haircut brownshirt

hitler youth haircut

For fun, the overgroomed douche variant:

hitler haircut douche version

Then there’s the other shaved-sides dictator style, the Kim Jong Un. Supposedly this cut is now mandatory for all males in North Korea (and, apparently, for males in my own social circle):

kim jong un mandatory haircut

Kim Jong Un haircut

See also:

How to ask for a Hitler Youth Haircut

Every Dude You Know Is Getting This Haircut

The 20 Most Controversial Men’s Style Trends of the Past 20 Years

Comeback of the Hitler Youth haircut worries Jewish and progressive groups fearing intolerance

or search Hitler youth haircut on Tumblr – here’s a journalism student saying “I got the Hitler Youth haircut I always wanted”

hitler youth haircut

hitleryouthhaircuttumblr

PS Thanks to Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, and Romania for going left in the EU elections.

Next in this series: more trendy male styles from other specifically conservative decades

 

When you have oil pipeline companies, who needs satire?

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

giant U.S. oil company and the end of satire

Giant U.S. oil/energy mega-corp Kinder Morgan has applied to triple the size of a pipeline across British Columbia, bringing dirty bitumen-laced oil from the Alberta Tar Sands. “Public” hearings to assess the application have been notoriously non-public. An economist friend of mine found the above excerpt in Kinder Morgan’s application, revealing the company to be capable of Swiftian satire in content if not in literary ability. As another friend remarked: this may mark the end of satire, friends.

“Pipeline spills can have both positive and negative effects on local and regional economies, both in the short and long term. Spill response and clean-up creates business and employment opportunities for affected communities, regions, and clean-up service providers. This demand
for services and personnel can also directly or indirectly affect businesses and livelihoods. The net overall effect depends on the size and extent of a spill, the associated demand for clean-up services and personnel, the capacity of local businesses to meet this demand, the willingness of local businesses and response opportunities, the extent of business and livelihoods adversely indirectly) by the spill, and the duration and extent of spill response and clean-up activities.”

In short, B.C.’s employment crisis will in part be solved by…. oil spill clean up jobs.

Voilà. Farce economics!

SOURCE: Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Application (hard copy). PDF version of the application is here. Opposition from the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby through which this pipeline does and will pass can be read here.

Jón Gnarr, Mayor of Reykjavik, on his dream for Iceland

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Reykjavik
Photo of Reykjavik by Gunnar Steinn /
Made by Iceland

Jón Gnarr, mayor of Reykjavik and member of The Sugarcubes, shared Made by Iceland‘s photo on Facebook and wrote this:

My dream

(It’s pretty naive but I just have to get it off my chest)

I think Iceland offers a unique opportunity for the world. It is a small community with only 350.000 inhabitants, highly modern and educated within less than 3 hours flying time to London and 5 hours to New York and endless possibilities, beautiful nature and security for families, good schools and solid infrastructure. And don’t let the name scare you. The weather is not so bad. The average temperature in Reykjavik is actually higher than that in New York!

There are so many ideas that could be tried out here to see if they work, and then be exported around the world and adopted to bigger places for the benefit of mankind.

Iceland is a stable and peaceful nation with a low crime and corruption rate and offers renewable electricity that is about 35% cheaper than in the US. Everybody speaks English, many speak German, French, Spanish, Polish and many other languages.

Human rights in Iceland are among the best in the world, women and LGBT among others. Iceland is the best place in the world to be a woman. Here nobody cares if you are gay and you will not be discriminated against.

In my dream scientists, artists and creatives, entrepreneurs, designers, philanthropist and dreamers will flock to here and join hands to make something special happen. Something that has never happened before.

I dream of a UN Peace University. An international Research center for Arctic studies, climate change and global warming. Research and development of electric cars. Peace conferences and peace talks. Artistic happenings. Natural history museum. An international institution of non violent communication.

I want to make Iceland the Home of Hope for Humanity.

So please come before Sauron and Ronald MacDonald take over the place :)

Arhuaca mochila bags of Colombia

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

IMG_5388mochillaxx

I first saw these cylindrical handwoven bags in Medellín, Colombia, worn by a couple of delegates at the UN World Urban Forum. I noticed them because they looked unusually sturdy, very finely handwoven in wool, and beautifully patterned. After I arrived in Bogotá I realized they are actually common. They’re called mochilas and are a traditional artisanal bag made by the Arhuaca people in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Maria mountain range. Traditionally they were made either from agave fibre, hemp or wild cotton, thought after the arrival of the Spanish they were also made from various wools. You can  also see synthetic fibres used (see top left in photo below) as well as disappointing mass-produced versions. Traditionally the patterns indicated families via their totemic animals, often very abstracted.

“Starting in the 1960s, the arhuaca mochila left the geographical arhuaco, penetrated large Colombian cities (especially Santa Marta, Valledupar and Barranquilla), and is used primarily by young people today as a way to claim their indigenous culture. In 2006, the backpack was nominated as the Arhuaco cultural symbol of Colombia in the contest organized by the magazine Semana.” It now seems that the bag has more generally become a symbol of Colombia and have been adopted by a wide range of people dressed in varying degrees of casualness. More here.

It felt a little weird to be following people around and stealthily photographing their bags.

These bags are not cheap in Bogotá, by the way. They’re cheaper in towns where they are made such as Santa Clara, but frankly they shouldn’t be. As with most weaving, it takes an enormous amount of labour to make a single bag and the weavers should be paid appropriately.

The bag I bought is the minimalist white one at right in the very last photo.

Textile museum, Bogota

Mochila bags, Bogotá Mochilas arhuacas - via Wikipedia Photo above via Wikimedia Commons Arhuaca mochila bags of Colombia IMG_5420mochillax Mochila bag, Colombia The one above is particularly beautiful. Mochila bag, Colombia Mochila bag, Colombia Mochila bag, colombia Mochila bag, Colombia Mochila bag, Colombia

Bogotá - mochila

Mochila bag, Colombia Mochila bag, Colombia Mochila bag, Colombia Mochila bag, Colombia

This one is a bag in a different style and from jute:

Mochila type bag, but of jute

Bogotá - Arhuaca mochila bags

mochila (& UN Habitat bag)

mochila

mochila

mochila

Bogotá - mochila, Cafe Color

Bogotá - Arhuaca mochila

Bogotá - men with mochila

Bogotá - mochila

 

Ed Snowden’s surprise from-remote appearance at TED 2014 in Vancouver today

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Edward Snowden at TED Vancouver

Edward Snowden made a surprise appearance at the TED 2014 main conference in Vancouver today. TED is calling it “Here’s how we take back the Internet.”

From a remote location in Russia he could remotely control a wheeled bot that allowed “him” to turn around and look at the audience.

Good remarks. And then Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web, comes out of the audience to talk to Ed too. If you want to watch that part, start around 26:30. Quite amazing to watch.

Edward Snowden at TED Vancouver

Tim Berners-Lee with Edward Snowden, TED 2014 Vancouver