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Not a Pussy Riot protest: the Face-Kini is big in China

At the NPR two-way blog, an explainer of sorts about a sun protection accessory popular in China. Given the recent attention to balaklavas around the Pussy Riot story, one might glance at these images and think they're related. They're not. It's all about different cultural attitudes to tanning. Xeni

Sending messages from Mars: Interplanetary broadband

Glenn Fleishman writes in the Economist about how Curiosity sends messages home from Mars: "NASA'S Curiosity has the fastest modem on Mars. Since its only competition is an oldish bit of kit aboard Opportunity, one of two rovers dispatched in 2003, that is not saying much, at least in terms of what internet users on Earth have learned to expect. Curiosity's ability to capture images and other data easily outstrips its capacity to beam it all back home. Nonetheless, it delivers vastly more information from the red planet than any previous mission did." Xeni

Garry Kasparov: When Putin's Thugs Came for Me

"I was dragged away Friday by a group of police—in fact carried away with one on each arm and leg." Author Garry Kasparov in the WSJ, on what happened to him at the Pussy Riot trial in Moscow last week. Xeni

Alleged shoplifter has a fit after stealing and eating extra hot chili pepper, enabling police to arrest him

"…when officers searched [Marcus] Banwell they found another four [Scotch Bonnet] chili peppers in his pocket, a stolen milkshake and fruit juice, and a clarinet stashed in his waistband, which was missing from a music shop." Scotch Bonnets are up to 50 times hotter than jalapeños by weight. Mark

Christopher Lee's Charlemagne reviewed

Mike Barthel reviews Christopher Lee's concept album, which is available at Amazon. It is exactly as you would expect it to be. It is metal. [The Awl] Rob

Coroner: "Top Gun" filmmaker Tony Scott did not have brain cancer

Filmmaker Tony Scott jumped to his death on Sunday, off a bridge in Southern California. Early reports from ABC News (which were copy-pasted by TMZ, HuffPo, and other outlets) that the "Top Gun" director killed himself after learning that he had an inoperable brain tumor were apparently false. Xeni

Fresco restored

An elderly woman in Spain has "stunned Spanish cultural officials" after setting out to restore a prized fresco at the Sanctuary of Mercy Church near Zaragoza.

Read the rest

Al-Jazeera report on the heart-breaking consequences of the drug war in Baltimore (Video)

The election of the first black US president offered hope to millions of African Americans across the country. But have four years of an Obama presidency seen positive change for black communities in the US’ inner cities? Fault Lines’ Sebastian Walker spends time with those on the front lines of the failed drug war to understand some fundamental dynamics of race, poverty, incarceration and economic truths in the US in an election year.
"Don't ever think it's a war on drugs. It's a war on the blacks. It started as a war on the blacks and it's now spread to Hispanics and poor whites… it was designed to take that energy coming out of the civil rights movement and destroy it," says Ed Burns, co creator of The Wire, who is interviewed in the program.

Fault Lines : Baltimore: Anatomy of an American City (Via The Agitator)

Guatemala: Former police chief convicted in 1980s disappearance

Justice at last, in one case from the US-backed 36-year civil war in Guatemala where some of the "harsh techniques" our military now uses in Iraq and Afghanistan and Gitmo were first perfected.

Three decades after Pedro Garcia Arredondo ordered the torture and "disappearance" of an agronomy student, the former chief detective of Guatemala's now-defunct National Police has been convicted and sentenced to 70 years in prison. From Amnesty International today:

Witnesses testified how [Édgar Enrique Sáenz Calito] was taken to “the little room” (“el cuartito”) where the Sixth Command typically interrogated guerrilla suspects.

The victim’s wife Violeta Ramírez Estrada told the court how she visited her husband in a prison hospital following his arrest and he bore signs of having been tortured – he had been subjected to beatings, water-boarding and cigarette burns, and electric shocks had been applied to his genitals.


(via @wolfe321)

In The Boy Kings, Zuck's personal ghostwriter reveals little

Katherine Losse was present at the creation. Employee 51 at Facebook, the English major became first a major player in the company's customer service team and then rose to prominence in i18n, Facebook's internationalization initiative. She ended her seven year career there as Mark Zuckerberg's blogger. She mimicked his voice in posts and emails, starting with "Hey Everybody" and ending in world domination.

Now, Losse offers a book about her experience there. Covering the period between 2005 and 2012, she sunk into the soft comfort of corporate life just as early Facebook's miasmic jelly hardened into serious business. Losse, because she's not a wonk, is the kind of person that you want writing about this kind of rise: she writes like she's working out a Lorrie Moore story set at Xerox/PARC and, as a result, she leaves out the nerdiness and attempts to replace it with humanity.

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Breaking Bad Breath

This Breaking Bad - Mentos TV ad parody is probably funnier if you, like me, grew up in the era of these ubiquitous Mentos commercials. The Heisenberg blue ones were always my favorite.

Good luck getting the earworm out of your head. And stay out of my territory.

(via @somebadideas)

Zombie Disney princesses fell under a scarier, less glamorous spell than usual

Ongoing evidence that Disney and the horror genre are not mutually exclusive: zombie Disney princesses. DeviantARTist Clocktowerman has a mashup collection that will surely delight horror fans, Disney fans, and geek parents who are gently attempting to introduce the scary beasties they love into their children's lives. After the jump, see a few selections from the artist's zombie princess collection, including a full-sized version of Snow White. These ladies aren't after princes for their riches -- they're looking for a nice guy with a brain. A delicious, oxygen-rich brain, filled with blood sent from a still-beating heart.

Why they haven't made a zombie princess movie is beyond me.

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French tourists in Sri Lanka receive suspended jail terms for pretending to kiss Buddha statue

Three tourists from France (two women and a man) took photos of themselves posing with Buddha statues in Sri Lanka. At least one of the photos showed the tourists pretending to kiss one of the Buddha statues. When the tourists went to a photo lab to make prints, the owner of the photo lab called the police.

On Tuesday a magistrate sentenced the trio to six months in prison with hard labour, suspended for five years - which means they will not actually serve any time in jail. The court also levied a small fine on them.

They were convicted under a section of the Penal Code which outlaws deeds intended to wound or insult "the religious feelings of any class of persons" through acts committed in, upon or near sacred objects or places of worship.

French tourists given jail terms in Sri Lanka for "insulting religious feelings"

Japan: record high radiation levels found in Fukushima fish, more than a year after nuclear accident

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) in Japan said Tuesday its monitoring efforts have recorded record high radiation levels in local seafood: 25,800 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium in fish sampled within a 20-kilometer range of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The photo shows fish caught Aug. 1, 2012 within 20 kilometers of the crippled nuclear power plant. The findings indicate that radioactive contamination remains at unsafe levels in the area's food supply more than a year after the nuclear crisis.

From Kyodo News:

The level of cesium found in greenling is 258 times that deemed safe for consumption by the Japanese government, suggesting that radioactive contamination remains serious more than a year after the nuclear crisis.

Fishing in the sea off Fukushima Prefecture is voluntarily restricted except for trial fishing of certain octopuses.

CNN has more.

Ayn Rand: How everyone’s favorite spouse-swapping, godless pulp novelist and dorm-room doyenne became the Tea Party’s new mascot

NewImage
One of my favorite artists -- Drew Friedman -- draws two of my least favorite people -- Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand. It appears on today's cover of the NY Observer.

Jump on the Rand Wagon! How Ryan Resurrected Ayn