Thursday, December 17, 2015

Erasing the past : Ian McKellen

from a Details Magazine interview with the actor Ian McKelllen :

Details: Is it true that when you stay at hotels you tear out the Bible page that condemns homosexuality?
Ian McKellen: I do, absolutely. I'm not proudly defacing the book, but it's a choice between removing that page and throwing away the whole Bible. And I'm not really the first: I got delivered a package of 40 of those pages -- Leviticus 18:22 -- that had been torn out by a married couple I know. They put them on a bit of string so that I could hang it up in the bathroom.

I'm not sure exactly what this petty censorship accomplishes.  Although he says "I'm not proudly defacing the book" it kind of sounds like that is exactly what he's doing.  Both he and the married couple aren't keeping it a secret but bragging about it. It isn't as if he was replacing them with bibles with the offending passage edited out : people will notice a page missing; especially one torn out by an angry censor.

Totalitarianism one page at a time.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

movie notes : Dark Star H.R. Giger's World

as seen in the movie Dark Star H.R. Giger's World (2014)

H.R. Giger, designer from the movie Alien and painter of the weird and macabre,  at home

Yeah, that's H.R. Giger in a selfie with his cat

Monday, November 16, 2015

Peter Singer on respect

"When children see animals in a circus, they learn that animals exist for our amusement. Quite apart from the cruelty involved in training and confining these animals, the whole idea that we should enjoy the humiliating spectacle of an elephant or lion made to perform circus tricks shows a lack of respect for the animals as individuals" – Peter Singer from the book Animal Liberation (I think)

Asking an elephant to stand on its hind legs or to sit is an affront to respect but Australian philosopher Peter Singer is A-OK with people having sex with animals* so long as the animal isn't harmed. Although it isn't mentioned, I will assume that he also demands those having sex with their pets respect them in the morning.

*in an article titled "Heavy Petting"

Sunday, November 1, 2015

book note : library crime and punishment

Biblioteca Histórica de la Universidad de Salamanca sign : Hay excomunion reservada a su santidad contra cualesquiera personas, que quitaren, distraxeren, o de otro cualquier modo enagenaren algun libro, pergamino o papel de esta biblioteca, sin que puedan ser absueltas hasta que esta esté perfectamente reintegrada.
A sixteenth-century sign, posted in the Biblioteca de Salamanca in Spain, threatens excommunication to anyone stealing a book from the premises. seen here (PDF)
The text :
Hai excomunion reservada a su santidad contra qualesquiera personas, que quitaren, distraxeren, o de otro qualquier modo enagenaren algun libro, pergamino o papel de esta biblioteca, sin que puedan ser absueltas hasta que esta esté perfectamente reintegrada.

In English :
There is excommunication reserved to his holiness against any person who takes, loses, or other any way alienates any book, parchment or paper from this library, they can not be absolved until it is fully repaid.
On 14 November 1568 Pope Pius V established a decree excommunicating book thieves leading to this sign. (almost related - Seinfeld s3e22 The Library)

The sign in context

What a marvelous looking library :

Sunday, October 25, 2015

TV cop incompentence

Clip from Criminal Minds season 10 episode 18 "Rock Creek Park" :

(What's going on : The wife of an increasingly prominent Congressman is kidnapped and so the FBI team tries to figure out who would take her.)

(transcript of the episode clip)
FBI Agent Aaron Hotchner : Is there anyone who would want to hurt her?
Congressman Troy : No, no-no.  Sophie's a wonderful, sweet woman.  I, on the other hand, I'm not very well-liked in this town.
FBI Agent Aaron Hotchner : and who are your enemies?
Congressman Troy : Well, where do we begin? We have the oil lobbies.  Uh, we have the NRA and PETA. You have an equal opportunity offender.


FBI Agent Derek Morgan : So the gun lobbyists were dismissive of the congressman saying they don't waste their time with one-termers like Troy. But anyway, even if they were involved I highly doubt they would outsource the job to the Russian mob.
FBI Agent Aaron Hotchner : What about the oil companies
FBI Agent Kate Callahan : Pretty slimey, pun intended. But none of our sources say they were involved.
FBI Agent Derek Morgan : Well, considering how much oil comes out of Russia, they are the most likely candidates to have ties to the mob.
(later it is suggested that the Congressman supported fracking ban would drive Russian oil prices up so the oil companies aren't suspect.)

I've mentioned TV law enforcement incompetence before.

1) The congressman describes himself as "not very well-liked" and an "equal opportunity offender" but they only investigate groups he specifically named.
2) they forgot to look into PETA even though he mentioned them! They didn't even a "pretty slimey" or "pretty stinky", as the case may be,  comment.
3) With the NRA they don't ask "sources" they just asked one of their lobbyists if they did it.  On the bright side, the writers consider NRA lobbyists to be upright and honest citizens who the FBI can take at their word without needing to offer one whit of evidence. On the other hand, the writers really think that a NRA lobbyist would imply that kidnapping the wife of a 2 or more term congressman wouldn't be wasting their time.
4) There is the suggestion that, sure, the NRA might kidnap the wife of a longer serving politician but that they wouldn't outsource the work to the Russian mob. It's unclear if the writers feel the NRA would do it themselves with Wayne LaPierre in a ninja suit or if they would just employ Americans to do it.


Bonus :
(transcript of the clip)
Penelope Garcia : I found the smoking gun or at least the stuff that goes in to the gun to make it smoke. Credit card receipts from the congressman show he purchased ammo for a handgun and then more smoke he sent that ammo to a PO Box registered in his name in Virginia.
FBI Agent Kate Callahan : And why would he do that?
FBI Agent Aaron Hotchner : Did you have your wife kidnapped?
Congressman Troy : What? No! What? Why are you saying this?
FBI Agent Jennifer Jareau : You purchased ammunition for a handgun last month and you had shipped to a mailbox in Virginia, which means you likely own a handgun although there isn't one registered to your name
Congressman Troy : Yes, I have a handgun.
FBI Agent Jennifer Jareau : That you bought illegally?
Congressman Troy : Uh, well I had to after having been so staunchly pro gun control.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


So I saw this online :

It talks about telling the truth but it sure looks photoshopped. I'm about 93% sure this is what it looked like pre-photoshop :

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Out of Context Fun : Sweden Solar System

Uranus / Your anus has been vandalized!
people standing around looking at Uranus

Out of Context Fun : Sweden Solar System :
The Sweden Solar System is the world's largest permanent scale model of the Solar System. The Sun is represented by the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, the largest hemispherical building in the world. The inner planets can also be found in Stockholm but the outer planets are situated northward in other cities along the Baltic Sea. The system was started by Nils Brenning and Gösta Gahm[1] and is on the scale of 1:20 million.Uranus (2.6 m in diameter) was vandalized and the new model is planned for somewhere in Gävle, 143 km from the Globe.
Like many people, upon reading this I did an image search for Uranus and found the above picture. I had assumed that vandalized meant someone had spray painted Uranus and people would have to spend hour after hour scrubbing Uranus with a harsh solvent and a wire brush. It turns out that Uranus was stolen and so Uranus had to be replaced. Because someone in Gävle apparently mistreated Uranus the location was moved. If you couldn't find Uranus, you can now find Uranus in Lövstabruk, Sweden.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Melvin Kaminsky

From the movie Mel Brooks : Make a Noise (2013)

A Star is Born....? Melvin Kaminsky aka Mel Brooks

A Star is Born....? Determination.... Man of the World.... Happiness.... Confusion.... [four dot ellipsis in original]
Here are just four reasons why First Sergeants get that way – This character is known in the Army as Pvt Melvin Kaminsky, and to be expected, he hails from Brooklyn. Head of the entertainment crew for Special Services, Kaminsky is very much in demand as an M.C. His stage name is Melvyn Brooks. His last appearance before entering the Army was in the play, "Bright Boy", so he says and he adds "I had three lines in that show, was on the stage about two minutes, what a part!" A member of the Combat Engineers before coming to Dix, Kaminsky expects to be discharged in June

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Lucky guy

clip from the TV show Criminal Minds (Season 8 episode 10 The Lesson)

The episode is about a killer who puts his victims on the rack to stretch them and crucifies them.

Transcript :
Dr. Spencer Reid : So far we believe he has spared the one woman that he still has in captivity. She's either witnessing these horrors or being forced to participate in them.
Dr. Alex Blake : Crucifixion is sadistic and watching it is the ultimate torture.

Whew, the guy who got crucified and murdered sure was lucky he didn't get tortured as badly as having to watch it happen to someone else.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

'If' by Rudyard Kipling

"If–" by Rudyard Kipling (1895)
"IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;

If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
'Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!"

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Art as a Creative Endeavor : EJ Sullivan vs Stanley Mouse & the Grateful Dead

Edmund J. Sullivan illustration to the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1913) vs Stanley Mouse's Grateful Dead poster (1966)
Edmund J. Sullivan illustration to the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1913)
Stanley Mouse's Grateful Dead poster (1966)

Grateful Dead 1971 double album with cover opened

In 1966 Kelley and I were in the San Francisco public library looking for inspiration for a poster we were doing for the Grateful Dead. We stumbled upon an illustration in the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a twelfth-century Arabian work of poetry. Kelley said, “ Is that the Grateful Dead or is that the Grateful Dead!?” I responded, “that’s got Grateful Dead written all over it!”
Maybe everyone else knew about this but I had assumed they did more than just make a photocopy of someone else's illustration, add a frame, lettering and color (the poster) or take the photocopy add a art nouveau frame, lettering and color (the album)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Erasing the Past : Who murdered the monks of Monasterio Montserrat

from the documentary Sagrada : Mystery of Creation (2012)

It isn't a terrible movie but it has some intrusive artistic pretensions and it uses the church as a background to tell the history of the church when I would have preferred the church and its idiosyncrasies be the subject with the history as a background.

But one thing struck me as eliding reality.

partial transcript (clip starts at about 32:30 into the film) :
Daughter of Antonio Gaudi's assistant : He [Antonio Gaudi's assistant] went there every day until July 18, 1936. Then the chaos of the civil war arrived. All the churches in Barcelona were burnt. [including the incomplete Sagrada Familia]

Narrator : The construction work on Sagrada Familia was abandoned. The Civil War raged on until, in the beginning of 1939, Barcelona fell, followed by Madrid shortly after.  General Franco subsequently ruled Spain with an iron hand. Speaking Catalan was prohibited. In the Monastery of Montserrat, where sermons were still held in Catalan, 21 monks were murdered. 

This suggests that Spain fell to Generalissimo Franco (true), he ruled with an iron hand (true), speaking Catalan was prohibited (sort of true) and then the monks were murdered; perhaps because they held sermons in Catalan. The problem I have is that the monks were murdered not by Franco's Nationalists but by the Republican side (more specifically, I'd guess POUM or the CNT) and they were murdered before the end of the War. Barcelona wasn't even controlled by Franco until the surrender in 1939.

Additionally, "All the churches in Barcelona were burnt." is, I think, incorrect. I could be wrong but I believe in was an anti-catholic pogrom and other churches were not targeted (as Barcelona was overwhelmingly Catholic then Protestant churches were less significant). Again, this was done not by Franco's Nationalists but by the Republican side in territory not controlled by Franco.

Anti-clerical violence started before the Spanish Civil War.  On May 10, 1931 (5 years before the start of the Spanish Civil War and less than a month after King Alfonso XIII fled) Spain saw convents set alight in Madrid, Málaga, Seville, Cádiz and Alicante and 2 dozen churches attacked.

As an aside,  I've been told that the ban on Catalan was done with typical Spanish efficiency. Schools were ordered to teach in Castilian Spanish and so they "officially" complied. The school inspector would call ahead and let them know when an inspection was coming and on that day the students would put away their Catalan books and get out their Castilian books and class would be in Castilian as required. After the inspector left the Castilian books would go back in the closet and they continued in Catalan while the inspector could file a report that he is doing a great job and everything is how it is supposed to be.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Propaganda : Smash Capital Now

Smash capital now! poster by Christopher Logue
click to embiggen

The text (which is difficult to read from the scan) :
Know thy enemy:
he does not care what colour you are
provided you work for him;
he does not care how much you earn
provided you earn more for him;
he does not care who lives in the room at the top
provided he owns the building;
he will let you say whatever you like against him
provided you do not act against him;
he sings the praises of humanity
but knows machines cost more than men;
bargain with him, he laughs, and beats you at it;
challenge him,
and he kills.
sooner than lose the things he owns
he will destroy the world.
read The Black Dwarf
The referenced Black Dwarf was a British alternative newspaper published between 1968-1972,
I bet the first draft ended with "BUY the Black Dwarf" (price in 1968 : 2 shillings)

To be honest, that Che ring looks awfully aspirational.


An example of propaganda to divide.

The jeremiad applies to perfectly to communist governments, like Che's Cuba, with the exception of "he will let you say whatever you like against him"

I wonder if Capital in place of Capitalists because they actually oppose the use of capital or if it was a way of dehumanizing their target?

From an economic point of view it seems that smashing capital equipment and relying on human labor would make everyone poorer. For example, people working on a sugar farm in Cuba would get more done with the use of trucks than if they had to lug everything on their backs. Since capital allows them to produce more it drives the price down making it more accessible and higher production can allow them to make more money even with a lower price. Capital also frees labor to do other things.

It seems a piece of capital like a printing press would be useful rather than workers laboriously drawing each copy with a pen.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Possibly the Best Coat of Arms in the World

I would like to nominate as the best coat of arms in the world : Hensbroek

Hensbroek is a village in North Holland, Netherlands. "Hens" is dutch for chicken and "broek" is dutch for pants so obviously the coat of arms is a picture of a hen in pants.

from wiki (where they seem less sure as to what chickens look like.)

Hensbroek means hen's pants so why not draw a hen wearing pants?  Actually, it turns out that it's origins are "It was founded as "Heynsbroec", meaning the marshy wetland of Heyn"

An explanation in Dutch is here. I think it means that it was a swampy, marshy land where a person would not want to wear long trousers but instead wear pants (in the British sense or short pants). So, meaning "land-where-you-need-to-wear-short-pants of Hen" Presumably, the coat of arms was drawn without the historical memory of the original meaning.


To the people of the village of De Hulk in the Netherlands I offer a coat of arms of their own. I hope they won't be too modest and start calling themselves incredible.

Incredible Hulk coat of arms of De Hulk, North Holland,  Netherlands
De Hulk, Netherlands Coat of Arms

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Search suggestion fail

All I did was innocently search wikipedia for the admittedly obscure Dutch painter Barend Dircksz and look at what wiki thought I meant. No thanks.

Search for Barend Dircksz and wiki's suggestion fail : Banned Dicks

There is a tiny entry on the Dutch Wikipedia. For Barend Dircksz I mean.

Monday, May 18, 2015

How Orwellian : racism isn't racist

Bahar Mustafa is a student union diversity officer at Goldsmiths University in the UK who was trying to organize a racially segregated event but asserts that she can't be racist or sexist because she is an ethnic minority woman.

According to reports at the time, Ms Mustafa posted a message on Facebook which read: "Hey, I made as many of you hosts so please invite loads of BME Women and non-binary people!! 
"Also, if you've been invited and you're a man and/or white PLEASE DON’T COME just cos I invited a bunch of people and hope you will be responsible enough to respect this is a BME Women and non-binary event only."
Ms Mustafa added: "Don't worry lads we will give you and allies things to do", followed by  a winky face emoji.
In a video recently uploaded on local news website however, Ms Mustafa has described the backlash as "an outrageous distortion of fact".
In the seven-minute video, Ms Mustafa also refuted any accusation of racism and sexism', claiming "reverse racism and reverse sexism are not real".
In a presentation made in front of fellow students, Ms Mustafa said: "Furthermore, there have been charges made against me that I am racist and sexist to white men.

"I want to explain why this is false. I, an ethnic minority woman, cannot be racist or sexist towards white men, because racism and sexism describes structures of privilege based on race and gender.
"And therefore women of colour and minority genders cannot be racist or sexist because we do not stand to benefit from such a system.
"In order for our actions to be deemed racist or sexist, the current system would have to be one that enables only people of colour and women to benefit economically and socially on such a large scale and to the systematic exclusion of white people and men, who for the past 400 years would have to have been subjected to block colonisation.

"We do not live in such a system, we do not know of such a history, reverse racism and reverse sexism are not real."

First, this fails in reciprocity. Treat others how you want to be treated.

"Hey let's round up people based on their race and put them in a death camp!" should be considered racist who ever says it. Some people prefer chauvinism and think their racial hatred should be acceptable.

This definition enables racism against minorities.  "Hey, [ethnic slur], get in the back of the bus!" should be considered racist if uttered by an African to a Korean or vice versa. Her definition would mean that neither is racist.

If benefiting is the essential requirement of racism then wouldn't that mean a hotel owner who refuses to serve black customers is damaging his own business by turning away customers and is not benefiting from the discrimination.

It seems to me sadism is worse than someone benefiting. It is disturbing that treating another person badly isn't seen as poor behavior in and of itself.

Her notion that 400 years of discrimination until a minority could be considered racist is an appalling support of transgenerational race-based punishment. Fortunately, few people support punishing children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren for the deeds of their ancestors. Strangely, she doesn't seem to consider that transgenerational could be used against her.

400 years would suggest (about 25 years per generation) that she approves of punishing the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren not for any abuse dished out by the 16th generation grandparent –the individual's actions are irrelevant – but for the misdeeds of people who share the same race as the 16th generation grandparent.

I can't help but think of the similarity to the Curse of Ham being used as a justification of the slavery of the supposed descendants of Ham.

Some people aren't opposed to people suffering but just want to put the yoke of suffering around the neck of someone else.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The War on Metaphor

A tweet from Richard Horton (‏@richardhorton1) who is the editor in chief of the UK medical journal the Lancet and totalitarian crankypants :
The NRA's use of the "war" metaphor is an illegal incitement to violence and should be prosecuted.…
 [link to a BBC story about an NRA official saying "This is not a battle about gun rights,'' Mr Porter told attendees on Friday, saying it was "a culture war".]

Classic war on metaphor… Oops, did I say war? He is campaigning against … oops a campaign is a war metaphor too. He's targeting …ah, no.  He's going to the barricades to … nevermind. 

He even recognizes and identifies it as a metaphor! Unlike some people who don't understand (or pretend not to understand) that a metaphor is not literal, he identifies that a figure of speech is being used but unfortunately that makes him sound like even more of a book burning totalitarian.

First metaphors are jailable, then similes, then allegories, then onomatopoeia and then, well, he'll just make up a reason after you're in jail.

Speaking of war, guess who wrote a book called Health Wars? The very same Richard Horton.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Some people are bad at math with other people's money

Currency by Denis Beaubois, 2011
(aka $20,000 AUD cash)

Denis Beaubois received a $20,000 grant from the Australia Council for the Arts. According to the Australia Council for the Arts the "decision date" was July 5, 2010 but it wasn't exhibited until Aug 18-30, 2011 and his "work" was auctioned off Aug 31, 2011. Assuming the government sends its checks promptly, he could have collected interest on the $20,000 for over a year. 

He took the $20,000 AUD in 100 dollar bills and declared the pile of 2 bundles of money to be art. He titled it the creative name "Currency." It was then auctioned off with a high bid of $17,500 AUD but with the buyer's premium the total was $21,350 AUD. I suspect the high bidder may have gotten carried away or hadn't known the correct percentage charged for the buyer's premium. 

Some of you might notice that $17,500 is noticeably less than $20,000 while some art majors might not. Spending $20,000 to get a return of $17,500 does not seem like the best business plan. It seems Australian arts funding isn't focused on efficiency. But don't worry, he wasn't spending his own hard earned money.

(note some of the pdf links I had found no longer work since I originally wrote this post and were removed and I can't find the replacements. This is not necessarily a complete list. A searchable database is here)
in 1995-1996 he received $8,200 for a "hybrid art project"
in 1997 he received $6,200 for Presentation and Promotion to "O'seas"
in 1998-99 he received $8,045 for Presentation and Promotion to Germany and the Netherlands
in 1999-2000 he received $5,694 for "new work"
in 2000-2001 he received $8,930 for promotion in the USA
in 2001-2002 he received $8,000 for "Part-time residency at UNSW to work with forensic psychologists"
in 2005-2006 he received $20,000 for "new work"
in 2007 he received $20,000 to "Create new video works ‘video for living room’"
in 2010/11 $20,000 to be sold as a pile of cash.
in 2012 he received $20,000 to "Research theories of Capitalism and the Banking system to produce a series of new artworks"

I wonder what percent of grant recipients have previously received a grant?

You'd think the Council would require the grant recipients to send a photo of their work into the council website so people (ie the people paying for it) could see what they've been up to. Imagine a series of photos of Denis Beaubois sitting in a chair between July 5, 2010 and August, 2011 thinking and planning and practicing (counting and stacking bills) and learning the necessary skills ("Hi, I'd like to withdraw $20,000 in cash") and then executing his project.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

How Orwellian : "Event organizer offers no apology after thwarted attack in Texas"

The headline at the Washington Post reads :
Event organizer offers no apology after thwarted attack in Texas

One who just skims the headlines might be led to believe that the event organizer had organized the attack. Not so.

The line of thinking is similar to Garry Trudeau's suggestion that Charlie Hebdo staff "incited" their own murders. The notion is that Pamela Geller organizing an event caused people to attack it. Would they ever claim a broad group of adults lacked moral agency?

It seems only if they encounter a contradiction between what "everyone knows" / "things you can't say" and reality. The solution seems to be to rephrase reality so that "everyone knows" factoid can stay standing.

Like the previous post suggesting that media outlets that ostensibly show a Mohammed cartoon but censor it are signaling compliance, there is another signaling going on : to signal "I'm not one of 'those' people."

It says "*I* follow the social rules." If you can't say "some muslims refuse to accept the American level of freedom of expression" then the source of agency must be elsewhere. 

It seems to be a social set of rules. Trudeau's punching up/punching down distinction stands out because Trudeau appoints himself as the person determining which way is up.

People with guns executing unarmed people in a magazine office? Ah, well the people with guns are members of a minority group (note that this can override the circumstances of a specific individual). They can keep adding criteria to analyze until they reach the destination they want.

from Ace of Spades :
1. To speak of Islamist violence, or to suggest there is a problem in Islam, is racist, and hateful, and irrational, and "islamophobic."
2. It is so predictable that Islamists will kill you if you say something "anti-Islamic" that victims of murder attempts can be said to have brought their attacks on themselves.
It depends on who says it. These are social rules with the consistency of High School cliques. 

Immediately after the Boston Marathon Bombing, Esquire's Charles P. Pierce (who, by the way, is an idiot) wrote :
Obviously, nobody knows anything yet, but I would caution folks jumping to conclusions about foreign terrorism to remember that this is the official Patriots Day holiday in Massachusetts, celebrating the Battles at Lexington and Concord, and that the actual date (April 19) was of some significance to, among other people, Tim McVeigh, because he fancied himself a waterer of the tree of liberty and the like.

Don't jump to conclusions is a fine sentiment, but he does so want to disparage someone. Don't jump to conclusions about foreigners when you can jump to conclusions about your fellow citizens. There are socially unacceptable targets of venom and there are socially acceptable targets of venom.

from the NYTimes editorial by the NYT Editorial Board titled "Free Speech vs. Hate Speech" :
There is also no question that however offensive the images, they do not justify murder, and that it is incumbent on leaders of all religious faiths to make this clear to their followers.
But it is equally clear that the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest in Garland, Tex., was not really about free speech. It was an exercise in bigotry and hatred posing as a blow for freedom.
(As an aside, note that the New York Times Editorial Board views religions as hierarchal with followers and leaders and nary a mention of books or ideas.)

In the editorial, the Times draws a distinction between free speech vs hate speech depending on who is speaking. What is being said is pushed off to near irrelevance so the exact same thing can be said by two different people and one can be noble Free Speech while the other is odious Hate Speech.  More importantly, the New York Times appoints itself as the arbitrator of who is or who is not an acceptable speaker.
Charlie Hebdo is a publication whose stock in trade has always been graphic satires of politicians and religions, whether Catholic, Jewish or Muslim. By contrast, Pamela Geller, the anti-Islam campaigner behind the Texas event, has a long history of declarations and actions motivated purely by hatred for Muslims.
The NYTimes defense of Charlie Hebdo as free speech, in contrast to Geller's hate speech, is that they have a broader range of targets. That is to say, Charlie Hebdo is not as offensive as Geller because they are more offensive to more people.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Censorship as a signal

After the attack on a Mohammed Drawing contest in Garland, Texas, the decided to post a photo of two policemen with a drawing of Mohammed but you'll have to take their word for it because they've covered the paper or canvas or whatever it might be drawn on with a large black rectangle. 

The caption reads "Controversial:Two heavily armed police officers can be seen securing art work following the shooting. The art competition for the best caricature of the Prophet Muhammad had been condemned by critics"

I'll note that USAToday did publish a similar photo with having to break out the censorship.
USAToday photo : a policeman in front of Mohammed cartoons 

In 2006, at the during the Danish Cartoon kerfuffle, the New York Times chose not to publish the Danish Cartoons (and still haven't) and instead illustrated the article about the controversy with a controversial Virgin Mary painting that included elephant dung and cut outs from porno magazines that led to a threat to cut public funding to a museum. (although it seems it no longer illustrates the online article)
Virgin Mary by Chris Ofili is NYTimes fit to print offensiveness 

CNN also censored the Danish Cartoons in 2006. They showed the cartoons but pixelated the face of Mohammed. It seemed pretty ridiculous at the time.
Pixelation : it isn't just for genitalia anymore!
(Or CNN thinks Mo looked like genitalia.)

One might ask why would the Daily Mail bother using the photo if you are going to censor the central element (in both the sense that it is in the middle of the composition and in the sense that it is central to the news story)? The NYTimes can at least try to claim there is only so much room on a page and editorial discretion simply led to a different image. The Daily Mail and CNN, on the other hand, are simply trying to signal that they are compliant. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein became famous making large versions of comic book panels.
David Barsalou went to the trouble to discover who Roy Lichtenstein was copying.

wiki says :
Favoring the comic strip as his main inspiration, Lichtenstein produced hard-edged, precise compositions that documented while it parodied often in a tongue-in-cheek humorous manner. His work was heavily influenced by both popular advertising and the comic book style. 

Frankly, some of his "precise compositions" were composed by someone else.

Lichtenstein didn't always make exact copies of the source drawings, but in my opinion, even when he did make copies he tended to make the drawings worse.

(animated GIF comparison of Lichtenstein's In the Car to the original image below the fold)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

phony egalitarians

2014 WEF Gender Gap report (PDF)

Well, there is no good news for Australia in this year's Gender Gap report.  Like last year, Australia (p104) had men showing a lower life expectancy than women by 3 years which the WEF scores as women suffering a gender gap. They manage this by redefining life expectancy "equality" as women outliving men by 1.06:1. 

The Gender Gap report also lists any category in which women outscore men as "Equality" no matter how onesided. (For example, p364 the US is marked as "equal" in the Educational Attainment category despite women being equal in 2 of the subcategories and leading men in the other 2 subcategories) The WEF must really hate women to define their terms so women can only be behind men or equal to men never ahead of them. 

The Gender Gap Report claims that Russia is the most equal country when it comes to life expectancy last year and the second most equal country this year (p74) because Russian men die so much earlier than women. 

One might get the impression these are not the most rigorous egalitarians.

Submarines on dry land

(a not necessarily definitive list of submarines on dry land. At the moment, in no particular order)

German U-boat U-505 in the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois, United States

Holland Boat at Paterson Museum, Paterson, New Jersey, United States

USS George Bancroft at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia., United States

USS Albacore at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States

USS Batfish, Muskogee, Oklahoma, United States (now that is a long way from the ocean)

Japanese Type A Midget Submarines left on Kiska Island, Alaska, United States
 (need better location on map)
German U-Boat U-534 at Liverpool, Scotland, United Kingdom
(photo from 2005, it has since been cut in to pieces to form a display)

HMS Alliance, Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Gosport, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom

HMS Courageous,  Devonport Dockyard, Plymouth, England, United Kingdom
 (need better location on map)

HMAS Otway,  Holbrook, New South Wales, Australia

USS Drum (SS-228) at Battleship Alabama Memorial Park in Mobile, Alabama, United States

INS Gal at the Naval Museum, Haifa, Israel
(need better location on map)

USS Cavalla (SS-244, later SSK-244 and AGSS-244) at Seawolf Park, Pelican Island, Galveston, Texas, United States

HNLMS Tonijn at Dutch Navy Museum, Den Helder, Netherlands
(photo from here)

HMAS Ovens (S70) at the West Australian Maritime Museum, Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia

HMCS Onondaga (S73) at Site Historique Maritime de la Pointe-au-Pere, Rimouski, Quebec, Canada
(photo from here)

Tiburón class SA-51 at Barcelona, Spain (between a divided road)

Peral in Cartagena, Murcia, Spain

HMS Ocelot at Chatham Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent, England, United Kingdom

French built sub Ouessant (S623) at  Klebang, Malacca, Malaysia
(photo from here)

Russian B-307 Tango Class Submarine, at Togliatti Museum of Technology, Samara, Russia
(photo from here)

Ha. 62-76 Japanese Midget Attack Submarine at Comnavmarianas, Guam
(need better location on map)

Japanese HA-8  at Historic Ship Nautilus & Submarine Force Museum, Groton, Connecticut, United States

USS X-1 at Historic Ship Nautilus & Submarine Force Museum, Groton, Connecticut, United States

Maiale submarine in front of the museum.
Italian Siluro San Bartolomeo at Historic Ship Nautilus & Submarine Force Museum, Groton, Connecticut, United States

Seehund submarine from aft at the museum.
German Seehund at Submarine Memorial Association, Hackensack, New Jersey, United States 

Kaiten submarine on display outdoors.
Japanese Kaiten (Type 1 Human Torpedo) at Submarine Memorial Association, Hackensack, New Jersey, United States

Seehund submarine in front of USS Salem.
German Seehund (KU-5075) at United States Naval Shipbuilding Museum, Massachusetts Military Research Center, Quincy, Massachusetts, United States 

Kaiten submarine on display in HI.
Japanese Kaiten (Type 4 Human Torpedo) at USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States 

RV Trieste II shown at the Naval Undersea Museum
RV Trieste II DSV 1 (Deep Submergence Vessel) at Naval Undersea Museum, Navy Region Northwest, Silverdale, Washington, United States

Photo of RV Trieste in the National Museum of the United States Navy
RV Trieste at National Museum of the United States Navy, Washington Navy Yard, Washington DC, United States

Photo of Fenian Ram submarine in the museum.
Fenian Ram at Paterson Museum, Paterson, New Jersey, United States 

USS Marlin (SST-2) at Freedom Park, Omaha, Nebraska, United States
(I think this one is the furthest from the sub's native  ocean habitat)

RV Ben Franklin at Vancouver Maritime Museum, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

X24 submarine in the museum.
HMS X24 at Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Gosport, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom

HMS Hajen submarine at the museum.
HMS Hajen at The National Maritime Museums of Sweden/The Naval Museum, Stumholmen,  Karlskrona, Sweden  

HMS Holland 1 at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Gosport, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
(need a better location for the map)

Japanese HA-19 Type "A" Midget Submarine at National Museum of the Pacific War, Fredericksburg, Texas, United States
(photo from here)