Situated on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, Longyearbyen is only 600 miles south of the North Pole and has a population of more than 2000, which makes it the northernmost town in the world. It is also home to a Toyota dealership, but people use snowmobiles to get around most of the time.Tags: Norway video
The Raven and the Reindeer by T Kingfisher aka Ursula Vernon: this is a very cute Gerta/Little Robber Girl retelling of The Snow Queen. It's in a light, fairytale style but has a bit more modern fantasy novel to it than the original 19th century children's short story. There also a bit more gore than I remember, of just the sort I like but other people may not. I haven't read the original in years so can't say how much is changed in general, but was attached to the Kay/Gerta friendship which is much more unhealthy here, I think it works really well as a new story but was still slightly sad to lose the old one. Also there's that undertone of slightly smug tweeness that tends to underlie all of Ursula Vernon's work, and it took me a while to get into it for some reason. Still, lots of well drawn, endearing, mostly female characters, and a cute fantasy story that hasn't lost the fairytale atmosphere, bittersweet bite and sense of place of the original.
(putting above the cut because "f/f fairytale" is relevant to a lot of my readers' interests :))
Aso, while I'm here: Steam is having a sale on anime themed games and I at least didn't get an email about some stuff on my wishlist which is discounted. So, check your wishlist!
( More books and some tv )
From the excellent collection of British Pathé videos on YouTube comes footage of a 1928 bicycle race on penny farthings aka the "boneshaker" aka those bikes with the big wheel in front. Here are a couple of contemporary penny farthing races. (via @sampotts)Tags: cycling sports video
A new entry in my quasi-weekly Strange Horizons retrospective:
- “The Book of Things Which Must Not Be Remembered,” by C. Scavella Burrell
- About a girl in Ancient Egypt learning to be a scribe; about writing, and remembrance, and whose stories get preserved. (Published in 2003.) (5,700 words.)
I told Neb, “All our family are scribes.”
“It's man's work,” Neb answered sharply.
I shrugged. “I'm not doing man's work. There are things men don't write about.”
(See also the full list of Flashback stories.)
(I'm still behind on posting Flashback stories. Working on catching up.)
This story involves some tropes and themes that I almost always love in stories:
- The power of writing and words.
- Girls doing things that their culture considers to be reserved for boys.
- Hidden stories and secret histories.
- The pain of seeing data and stories destroyed or erased.
And more. I also love the sense of time and place—the author was well-versed in the relevant history, and I learned a fair bit from discussion while editing. And there's some lovely prose here. And lines I love, like this:
This, Greatgrandfather explained, was a story of things which did not happen. It was as inconsequential as all the other stories he told me about the years of the invaders, those things that are not to be remembered.
But what I love most about this story is the final scene: the discovery of the ink and paper in the shrine of the god of (among other things) writing; the use of those materials to record the secret history that the authorities have forbidden, written by someone in the margins of society, someone who isn't allowed to write; the hope that her daughters' daughters will also one day be scribes; the dream that writing might one day lead to magic.
Music: Never Look Away
Artist: Vienna Teng
Category: Character study
Content: Stuttery cuts; flashes
Fandom: Galileo (2007)
Characters/Pairings: Utsumi Kaoru/Yukawa Manabu
Concept: "The shape you've grown." (Parallels and character growth.)
Download info and streaming video.
In April 2015, when the Indian soap opera Banoo Main Teri Dulhann—“I Will Be Your Bride”—appeared on Ariana TV, a channel in Afghanistan, something was amiss. As the title song rang out, women in bright salwar kameezes danced onscreen, and the lead character, dressed in shiny, red bridal wear, ran into the arms of her lover. The characters spoke Pashto, and “Ram” had been changed to “khuda.” The actresses’ uncovered shoulders and midriffs appeared blurry and pixelated. In another scene, a man held a plate full of candles in front of something, but it was not quite clear what. The Hindu idol he was worshipping had been censored from the episode.
Banoo Main Teri Dulhann is not the only programme to receive such treatment. Indian soap operas, often criticised in their own country for being too regressive, are considered not just too liberal, but even transgressive in Afghanistan. Thus, when the original episodes first arrive in dubbing studios, Afghan video editors must blur all objectionable content in the scenes, such as too much bare skin, Hindu ways of worship, alcohol and anything that could offend religious sentiments. Hindu idols are a big no-no, as idol worship is considered one of the gravest sins in Islam. The editors rarely ever cut entire scenes, and usually, blurring does the trick.
(Subscribe to The Caravan to read the full story. Click here for a digital subscription or email email@example.com for a print subscription.)
strong empathy risks
presuming your feelings shared
Best hose shut off for the buck, period. Solid brass except for the nylon value core and not as bulky as the Dramm at more less than half the price (a solid product BTW but expensive and the turn stem gets hung up on stuff all the time). Some of the other “brass” shut offs have plastic turn stems and they are the achilles heel, the kiss of death, the weak link, if you will.
I’ve used these consistently for the last 8 years or so.
-- J. Sciarra
Brass Garden Hose Shut Off ($8)
Available from Amazon
Some days, it's Take Your Children To Work Day, and they need *somebody* to be the big green Android mascot and dance around and play with the kids and do silly things for photo ops. THIS JOB. THIS JOB MAKES USE OF BASICALLY EVERYTHING I'VE EVER LEARNED TO DO; HOW DID THIS HAPPEN.
Some days, you're working on software that meaningfully impacts millions of people's lives, and you're doing a thing that involves writing a bunch of code but it might make things dramatically better (and at the very least it's causing a nice refactoring).
Some days, at the end of the work day you get to hang out with a bunch of people from your company who *love* playing fighting games, and you strike up super-interesting conversations with a guy who helped develop Skullgirls and knows about a zillion different fairly esoteric games, and shares your love for the weird back-catalog of gaming and wants to help bring less-common games to the meetup. And you find out that the new guy at the meetup this week is also a Tekken enthusiast, and you play a long mirror-match set. (his name is Mo and he's got a pretty mean Jun!)
Tomorrow: off to Seattle to visit with Lisa and JD, then fight at Northwest Majors! \m/
Argh, yes, this a thousand times. When I picked up my last bicycle, the guy in the shop kept steering me towards the pink and purple helmets, and it was like pulling teeth to get a black one to try on.
Oh, yeah: 33 Things I hate about this Election. SO TRUE.
This is one of the most amazing/horrifying stories I've seen recently. I guess this is how conspiracy theorists get made?
This article about bassist Carol Kaye reminds me I need to watch that documentary about The Wrecking Crew (even if that wasn't really their name!).
OMG this looks like the best thing ever. Daveed Diggs as Hobbes! ::loves::
Chernobyl, 30 years later. Jeez.
In other news, I finally watched Steven Universe and OMG Peridot is basically Rodney McKay. ::facepalm:: Anyway, how long until the next season? I am totally hooked.
I also watched Over the Garden Wall last weekend, and that was lovely.
I'm also finally watching Man in the High Castle and it's pretty interesting, even if I can't quite tell what's going on half the time. I think a lot of spycraft is too subtle for me. (I would be a terrible espionage agent, I'm just saying.)
ok, and now to bed.
A very frail figure, draped in a beige shawl in the sweltering heat and sporting an olive green Pakistani salwar, accompanied by a police official, tottered towards a chair in the Amphala prison compound. Mohammad Nazir Rahi, is a supposedly 80-year-old alleged Pakistani national who was an under-trial when I met him at the Amphala jail, in Jammu in August 2015. In the time I spent with him, he spoke incoherently, repeatedly murmuring “Mujhe do rupaye mein bech diya hein”—I have been sold off.
Access to Rahi was not easy. Security in the prisons had tightened following an attack in Udhampur in the Jammu region in which two LeT armed terrorists attacked a Border Security Force (BSF) convoy. My visit was just the day after, and the police authorities in Jammu asked me to hand them my questionnaire. I was told I had to confine myself to the questionnaire or my interview with the prisoners would be terminated. Following this, I had to hand over my notes too for screening. They were only returned to me in November 2015.
A senior BSF official who asked not to be named, told me that Rahi was apprehended by the BSF on 8 October 2014 at Suchetgarh in Jammu district. At that time, Rahi provided sketchy details to the officials. He told them that on 3 October 2014, he had left Lahore for Sialkot by bus for his medical treatment at a place called Jalal-Hakim. The next day, his daughter and her husband visited him and all three of them stayed there for around four days. Subsequently, his daughter and her husband returned to Lahore while Rahi claimed to have lost his way and reached the India-Pakistan border, inadvertently entering Indian territory.
The BSF contacted the Pakistan Rangers on the day of Rahi’s detention with the aim of handing him over to the authorities in Pakistan. They provided the rangers with a photograph of Rahi and the contact information they had been given by him. However, his antecedents could not be verified. The BSF handed him to the state police on 13 October 2014 at RS Pura in Jammu district, and, after being charged for border crossing, Rahi was subsequently incarcerated.
In 2012, during a bi-annual meeting between the BSF and Pakistan Rangers, both sides discussed the issue of inadvertent crossing of nationals across the borders. I was given access to a file containing the minutes of this meeting. Regarding the “violation of International Border by Pakistan nationals and delay in handing over of border crossers, both sides agreed to ensure timely communication of information about inadvertent crossers.” Both sides further agreed that “efforts should also be made to deter inadvertent crossers before the situation arises for apprehension by the other side.” Despite this, as is evident in the case of Rahi, the provisions of the meeting on inadvertent crossing have not translated into reality.
Rahi is among the 14 alleged-Pakistani prisoners I interviewed in the Amphala and Kotbalwal jails in Jammu in August 2015. The jail authorities told me that all prisoners in both the jails had received consular access. The prisoners who were interviewed said that they had access to adequate medical facilities. However, while many had received free legal aid, some did not, despite being poor. As seen in the case of Rahi, one of the critical issues concerning alleged Pakistanis is the difficulty in verifying their addresses in Pakistan. Since some of the prisoners who were interviewed at Amphala jail were either aged or mentally unwell, they were unable to effectively communicate their addresses to the concerned authorities.
Some alleged Pakistanis who have completed their sentence and are awaiting deportation continue to languish at the Amphala and Kotbalwal jails since their antecedents have not been verified. Unlike Alwar (Rajasthan) and Delhi, where there is a separate transit camp governed by the Department of Social Welfare for foreigners who have completed their sentence, Jammu does not have a separate transit camp. As a result, mentally unwell Pakistanis who have completed their sentence are also lodged in the Jammu prisons. At Amphala, out of 9 prisoners who were interviewed, four had been diagnosed as mentally unwell.
India’s Mental Health Act of 1987 does not allow the lodging of mentally unwell persons in prisons. Besides, Rule 82 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (adopted by the United Nations in 1955) states, “Persons who are found to be insane shall not be detained in prisons and arrangements shall be made to remove them to mental institutions as soon as possible” and “Prisoners who suffer from other mental diseases or abnormalities shall be observed and treated in specialised institutions under medical management.”
Akhtar Hussein, a mentally unwell detainee at Amphala jail who was arrested in 2011 at Akhnoor in Jammu district for border crossing, was still in jail when I met him in August 2015, despite having completed his sentence. Hussein’s address could not be verified when he received consular access by Pakistan in 2014.
During the 2012 meeting between the BSF and Pakistan Rangers, the latter had suggested that, “insane inadvertent crosser be handed over back for treatment in Pakistan/India by expediting their legal process.” In 26 October 2015, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that India would take up the issue of repatriation of mentally unwell prisoners lodged in prisons on both sides of the border with Pakistan. However, there has been little progress on the matter so far.
Other than aged and mentally unwell detainees, another concern is that of Pakistanis in both prisons at Jammu who have completed their sentence and are still detained under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA) pending deportation. Fayaz Ahmad, a mentally unwell driver who hails from Sialkot in Pakistan, was detained in Jammu’s Arnia Sector for border crossing, in 2013. He received consular access the same year, but Pakistani authorities could not verify his address. When I met him in August 2015, he was an overstay at Amphala jail detained under the PSA.
First introduced in 1978, the PSA covers Jammu and Kashmir under its ambit. Its jurisdiction remains under the state government. Under this act, security forces can arrest any individual who, according to them is “acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order.”
The PSA also permits detention of foreign nationals and residents of “the area in the State under the occupation of Pakistan.” According to Section 18(2), the authorities can detain foreign nationals indefinitely “in case his expulsion from the State has not been made possible.” Indefinite detention is in violation of the Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1966, and which came into force in 1976) that provides; “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention.” Indefinite detention also raises serious concerns about the physical and mental health of those detained.
A solution to detainees languishing in prisons due to inadvertently crossing the border lies in making their situation more visible. If the detainees themselves cannot provide adequate information regarding their antecedents, the authorities need to circulate information about them that may aid in identifying them. Such a system would also be an immense aid to those prisoners whose mental condition prevents them from conveying their information accurately as well. They would also need to be lodged at a separate centre where they have access to regular mental health professionals and have constant supervision.
The post In Jammu, Prisoners Detained for Border Crossing Languish in Jails Despite Completing Their Sentences appeared first on The Caravan.
Starting Bid: $18.00
Other Notes “Little Women meet American Ninja Warrior in a setting inspired by Greco-Roman Egypt.” Court of Fives is a Young Adult series with a biracial heroine that includes competitive athletics, family, and an examination of colonialism and the complex lives of women in a patriarchal society.
Bidding opens on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 12:01 a.m. Eastern (time zone conversions). It will close on Sunday, June 5, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. (time zone conversions, countdown) unless bids are received in the last ten minutes (learn more).
I've changed my route home
a steeper hill, less known streets
I walk it to heart
I’m currently working on a section of my Economics in Two Lessons book dealing with minimum wages in the context of predistribution policies, so I thought I would compare Australia with the US, where the idea of a $15/hour minimum wage is currently a hot topic. In Australia there are two kinds of minimum wage. The PPP exchange rate is estimated at $A$1.30 = $US, which is fairly close to the market exchange rate at present, so I’ll give both $A and estimated $US equivalents
The standard minimum wage for workers aged 21 or over is $A17.29 hour ($US13.30) applying to employees under standard award conditions. These include four weeks annual leave, sick leave, employer contributions to pension plans and so on.
More comparable to the situation of US minimum wage workers are “casual” workers, employed on an hourly basis. Casual workers get a loading of at least 25 per cent, bringing the wage up to at least $A21.60 an hour ($US16.60), to compensate for the absence of leave entitlements. In addition, they have entitlements including:
- “Penalty” rates for weekend and night work (usually a 50 per cent loading, 100 per cent on Sundays)
- For workers employed on a regular basis, protection against unfair dismissal.
The policy question is: what impact have these high minimum wages had on employment and unemployment. That’s too big a question to answer comprehensively, but we can look at the obvious data points: the official unemployment rates (5.7 for Oz, 5.5 per cent US) and the 15-64 employment population ratios (72 per cent for Oz, 67 per cent US). So, it certainly doesn’t look as if the Australian labor market has been crippled by minimum wages.
Note: I’ll respond in advance to the widespread misconception that Australia is a special case due to mineral resources. Mining accounts for about 2 per cent of employment in Australia, and (because most mines are owned by multinationals) its contribution to Australian national income is also so, probably around 5 per cent.
- Workers aged 18 get about 70 per cent of the adult minimum, equivalent to around $US11.50 for casuals. But the great majority of US minimum wage workers (about 80 per cent) are 20+.
V had two really unlucky injuries for two Fridays in a row early in March.
First, on March 4, I got a call from the school to say that V had fallen badly in the playground, was very upset, and needed someone to come pick him up. I was in Melbourne, so Andrew went in. He had tripped over near the bubblers and fallen and hit his face first on the bubblers then on the ground. The school told Andrew there had been so much blood they hadn’t been sure for a little while that his teeth were OK. They fortunately were and he was calmer once he was home and the bleeding stopped.
For a couple of days his face was terribly swollen on one side, enough that he didn’t look entirely like himself. His face and eye were also bruised for several days. Naturally the Tuesday following, March 8, was the yearly professional school photos day. The bruising was gone and the swelling mostly gone; we haven’t seen how much he looks like himself in them yet.
Second, on March 11, I got another call from the school. This time I was sitting in Sydney airport about to fly to Auckland. The school — who have also called me in Melbourne about a non-injury thing — probably thinks I’m never home, and they’re not wrong.
There’s a fairly standard protocol with injury calls from schools, and it begins “V— is fine, but…” But, we have to call if he hits his head. But he fell over and he’s a bit wobbly. But he’s fine.
This call started more ominously: “We were just wondering… does V— have any trouble with bleeding?” Seems like a question that’s heading somewhere…
It turned out he’d banged his shin on something and, in his own words later, he had “another knee”; a lump about the same size as his knee. His reaction was very different to the bleeding mouth. “He seems fine; we’ve kept him for as long as he would stay… he is happy to go to OOSH [after-school care].” They were just worried by how big it had got, especially since they must have remembered the fall the previous week. The lump stuck around (in a shrunken form) for a really long time, but didn’t seem to bother him at all. We have no reason to think he has any “problems with bleeding” but would be happy to get the calls from the school spaced slightly further apart in future.