Charity:Water's powerful video on water in Mali and Niger

Rael Dornfest from Charity:Water says, "Today is a huge day at charity: water as we launch our annual September Campaign. It's our biggest campaign ever as we try to raise $4 million to bring 100,000 people clean water in the Sahel region."

"The key to our campaign is a powerful 6 minute video our team shot earlier this year in Mali and Niger. Women there pull dirty water by hand out of 60 foot holes in 100 degree heat. Access to clean water completely transforms their lives."

September Campaign | 2014 | charity: water

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How the US government exerts control over ICANN

Michael Geist sez, "The debate over Internet governance for much of the past decade has often come down to a battle between ICANN and the ITU (a UN body), which in turn is characterized as a choice between a private-sector led, bottoms-up, consensus model (ICANN) or a governmental-controlled approach. The reality has always been far more complicated. The U.S. still maintains contractual control over ICANN, while all governments exert considerable power within the ICANN model through the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC)."

While the GAC claims its role is merely to provide 'advice' to ICANN, it often seems to take the view that its suggestions can't be refused. Indeed, late on Friday, ICANN proposed a by-law change that would grant governments even greater control over its decision-making process. At the moment, ICANN looks to various supporting organizations to develop policies designed to represent the views of many different stakeholders, including the GAC. Where the GAC and the ICANN board disagree on a policy issue, the ICANN board decision governs provided that a simple majority of board members vote against the GAC advice and that ICANN provide an explanation for the decision.

ICANN is now proposing that the threshold be increased so that 2/3 of eligible ICANN board members would be required to vote against GAC advice in order to reject it. The increased threshold would grant governments enormous power over ICANN, coming close to an effective veto over decisions based on broad consultations and participation from around the world. With the GAC intervening with increasing frequency (particularly on new generic TLD issues), ICANN has maintained that it is not required to follow the governmental advice.

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Ferguson: Survey says white people in US have way more confidence in police than black people

Shocking results from a new Pew study. [Previously] Read the rest

Latest journalist arrest in Ferguson: Getty Images photographer Scott Olsen

Acclaimed photojournalist Scott Olson was arrested in Ferguson, Missouri this afternoon.

Wild animals wandering grocery store aisles

"Garden Fresh," a lovely series of fine art photoshops, by Indonesian designer Agan Harahap. Read the rest

Time-lapse video of giant Smaug Head being assembled

This video shows Weta Workshop's huge glowering Smaug head being assembled at San Diego Comic-Con; the video after the jump, taken by Heather Beschizza, shows it fully-englowered.

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Petrichor, the after-rain smell

PBS's Joe Hansen explains the biology of petrichor, the distinctive and pleasant scent that results when decomposed organic material is thrown into the air by rain. [via The Atlantic] Read the rest

Is Dougiestan the first Piconation?

A micronation is an entity that claims to be, but is not recognized as, a sovereign state. Douglas Leguin has them beat: after shooting at firefighters dousing a dumpster fire and being cornered by cops, he disclosed that he is, in fact, a sovereign state too. Read the rest

Paul McCartney and Kanye West to record song titled "Piss on My Grave"

"Kanye," writes Alex Young, "is no stranger to collaborations with rock legends..." Read the rest

Great mistakes in English medieval architecture

The great cathedrals and palaces of medieval England were designed by people who made it up as they went along, and often discovered midway through a multigenerational project that they'd run out of space for an arch, or designed a building that couldn't hold up its own ceiling. Read the rest

Rubber Biscuit, the Blues Brothers

"The other day I had a cool water sandwich and a Sunday go-to meeting bun." Read the rest

WWII's VD posters: exciting nexus of propaganda, Mad Men, gender and design

Ryan Mungia's Protect Yourself: Venereal Disease Posters of World War II uncovers many obscure propaganda posters that were, once upon a time, just as popular as the iconic "We Can Do It!" woman. Read the rest

Proper margins rule

"Text printed on the best paper with no margins or unbalanced margins is vile," writes Craig Mod. Read the rest

Anamorphic illusion of Lego Minifigs

Those Minifigures are actually 2D anamorphic paintings flat on the ground created by the amazing Leon Keer at Legoland Deutschland. See the reality below. Read the rest

The Devil's Hoofmarks - the great Devon mystery of 1855

On Feb. 9, 1855, the residents of Devon in southern England awoke to find a bewildering set of footprints in the newfallen snow. “These are to be found in fields, gardens, roads, house-tops, & other likely and unlikely places, deeply embedded in snow,” ran one contemporary account. “The shape was a hoof.”

Tongue is not the strongest muscle in the body

It's actually multiple muscles, and the myth may have emerged because you've probably never felt your tongue get tired. Even still, it isn't the strongest muscle system. The honor of strongest single muscle likely belongs to the masseter, in your jaw. From Scientific American:

By sticking a pliable air-filled bulb into a subject’s mouth, scientists can measure the maximal pressure the tongue can exert on an object. This device, called an Iowa oral performance instrument, is placed on the tongue and subjects are asked to push it toward the roofs of their mouths as hard as they can. Scientists also use this bulb to measure endurance, or how long the tongue can hold a certain posture.

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Bieber takes "warm pot of water" challenge

Celebrities and public figures are pouring buckets of ice water over their heads to help spread the word about ALS. Biebs followed suit--but without the ice. You have to do it again, Justin. Read the rest

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