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Stephen Fry to David Cameron and IOC: a Russian 2014 Olympics would be a repeat of the 1936 Berlin games


Comedian and national treasure Stephen Fry has written an open letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron and the International Olympic Committee calling on them to move the upcoming Winter Olympics from Russia to another country, specifically, any country in which homosexuality is not criminalized and LGBT people are not violently scapegoated as they are in Russia. Vladimir Putin recently rammed through legislation that bans being gay, talking about being gay, or advocating for the rights of LGBT people, and violent gangs routinely and savagely attack LGBT people, with impunity. Vicious practices like "corrective rape" and murder are ignored by the police. Fry compares bringing the Olympics to Russia in 2014 to cowardice that led to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which legitimized Hitler and the Nazis on the global stage.

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Technical pants for business-casual wear


Ars Technica's Casey Johnston reviews Outlier's Women’s Daily Riding Pants, a technical garment that effectively comprise a pair of jeans for wearing, rather than simply being photographed in. They've got generous pockets, a finish that repels water and dirt; a fast-drying loose weave; a higher cut in the back to prevent plumber's crack, and they stretch in four directions. Johnston's review makes them sound great, and makes me want to try on a pair of the men's version. They run about $200.

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Blindfolded boxing

Following the 1939 craze for underwater boxing, a dark new spin on the sweet science took the country by storm: Blindfolded Mens Boxing. (via Weird Universe)

Al-Qaeda volleyball rules

When Osama bin Laden and and Mohammed Atef played volleyball, the other al-Queda members insisted that they play on opposite sides, because they were both tall, good players. (via Reddit) Cory 10

Soccer player fatally stabbed, ref decapitated

Happy cartoon soccer ball sticker p217812712319460819z85xz 400During a recent soccer match in Maranhao, Brazil, a referee stabbed and killed a player during a fight after the player refused to leave the field. Continuing this stunning example of good sportsmanship, the spectators proceeded to stone the referee before decapitating him. "One crime will never justify another," said the local police chief. (BBC News)

Superbowl halftime show themed after Disneyland's Indiana Jones ride

1995 saw the launch of the now-classic Disneyland ride Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye; to promote it, they arranged to have Patti LaBelle headline a (pretty terrible) Indiana Jones-themed halftime show at that year's Superbowl, which is apparently some sort of foot-the-ball thing.

Super Bowl 1995 Halftime Show (via Hot and Cold Running Chills)

Major sporting events are corrupt and corrupting

AirShowFan sez, "Insightful article about the protests in Brazil, which make clear that it's absurd for a government to spend billions in public funds for sports tournaments that (a) bring no clear benefits to the country and (b) violate citizens' rights. Boing Boing readers will be familiar with the many unreasonable demands made by the International Olympic Committee to their hosts, from restricted use of the word 'Olympic' to disallowing political speech. (The article recaps these issues by describing the trials of people who violated such rules during the recent World Cup in South Africa). Key take-away: If current trends continue, these games will soon only agree to be hosted by the (hopefully decreasing) number of nations with overly authoritative regimes." Cory

Brazil rises up: 2M march across 80+ cities, 110,000 in the streets of Rio

The street protests in Brazil have gained momentum, with huge crowds in the streets. At issue is a kind of corporatist corruption symbolized by two upcoming football tournaments that are to be held at enormous public expense, even as poor Brazilians find themselves struggling with substandard infrastructure and price-hikes for public services. As in other BRIC nations, Brazil seems like a place where the economic future is here, it's just not evenly distributed -- not by a long shot.

The Brazilian president has praised the protesters for demanding justice but the state's spies have ramped up their social media surveillance, and the Brazilian police have met the protesters with extreme use of force, including gas, rubber bullets, and shotgun-toting cops on horseback and motorcycles:

Simultaneous demonstrations were reported in at least 80 cities, with a total turnout that may have been close to 2 million. An estimated 110,000 marched in São Paulo, 80,000 in Manaus, 50,000 in Recife, and 20,000 in Belo Horizonte and Salvador.

Clashes were reported in the Amazon jungle city of Belem, in Porto Alegre in the south, in Campinas north of São Paulo and in the north-eastern city of Salvador.

Thirty-five people were injured in the capital Brasilia, where 30,000 people took to the streets. In São Paulo, one man died when a frustrated car driver rammed into the crowd. Elsewhere countless people, including many journalists, were hit by rubber bullets.

The vast majority of those involved were peaceful. Many wore Guy Fawkes masks, emulating the global Occupy campaign. Others donned red noses – a symbol of a common complaint that people are fed up being treated as clowns.

Brazil protests: riot police scatter crowds in Rio [Jonathan Watts/The Guardian]

Some snapshots from the mass Brazilian protests (and an explanation)


(GENTE, olha esse reflexo na fachada de um prédio na manifestação do Rio, no centro da cidade! #ProtestoRJ/@brunoernica)

Brazil is up in arms. Hundreds of thousands are in the streets. The capital building in Brazilia was surrounded, then stormed. Here's some pictures of last night's goings-on, and above, a video explaining some of the reasons for the uprising.

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Brutal police crackdown on protesters in Sao Paolo

Diego sez, "Protestors - mainly students - are taking the streets of Sao Paulo. The problem: the government just raised the bus fare from R$3 to R$3,20. The protests are getting a really violent reception from the police. You can see a video of the police action. The problem isn't the 20 cents. I think the real problem is that we are having so many issues of inflation, very high taxes, corruption - 2014 World Cup stadiums being built with public money, costing about $1 billion each pop - so future looks really bleak here. Everything seems to be boiling after this 20 cents. If you ask me, Brazilians are getting tired of being treated as clowns. Tonight (6/13), there's going to be a new protest. People won't stop until they get what they want. Hopefully, with some international attention, Sao Paulo's police may stop hitting students with their batons and tear gas."

Highest-paid state employees: usually a school sports coach, sometimes a med school dean


Good to see America's educational priorities on such sound footing:

You may have heard that the highest-paid state employee in each state is usually the football coach at the largest state school. This is actually a gross mischaracterization: Sometimes it is the basketball coach.

Based on data drawn from media reports and state salary databases, the ranks of the highest-paid active public employees include 27 football coaches, 13 basketball coaches, one hockey coach, and 10 dorks who aren't even in charge of a team.

...Coaches don't generate revenue on their own; you could make the exact same case for the student-athletes who actually play the game and score the points and fracture their legs.

It can be tough to attribute this revenue directly to the performance of the head coach. In 2011-2012, Mack Brown was paid $5 million to lead a mediocre 8-5 Texas team to the Holiday Bowl. The team still generated $103.8 million in revenue, the most in college football. You don't have to pay someone $5 million to make college football profitable in Texas.

Infographic: Is Your State's Highest-Paid Employee A Coach? (Probably) [Reuben Fischer-Baum/Deadspin]

(via JWZ)

The silent soccer matches of North Korea

North Korea's coach, Kim Jong-Hun, received tactical advice during matches from Kim Jong-Il himself using mobile phones that are not visible to the naked eye. [Tim Hartley / BBC] Rob

Vintage ad for cockroach racing set

NewImage

Early 20th century ad for a cockroach racing kit (complete with roaches) sold by the International Mutoscope Reel Company, makers of arcade machines and dime museums. "Holds the crowd… Gets the money." (via Weird Universe)

Homophobic, player-abusing coach sacked

Rutgers University somehow didn't get around to firing its abusive, homophobic, slur-spewing basketball coach until months after someone filmed him at it.

March community-building-and-tribal-unity/Madness

At the Wall Street Journal, Eric Simmons writes about the psychology of March Madness, which is really the psychology of relationships and the deep emotional bonds underlying communities and tribes. When you cheer on the Wichita State Shockers in the Final Four, what you're really doing is introducing other people (and other groups) into your definition of self. Maggie