Last week, Roberto Alvim, gave a speech in his capacity as Brazil's culture minister: backed by a Wagner aria, Alvim gave a speech about reforming Brazilian art that literally plagiarized the words of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's minister of propaganda.
Few things in life are more universally dreaded than going to the gym, which is unfortunate since a new year usually means making new resolutions to get in shape.
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Prices are subject to change.
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I wanted an egg sando. It was very, very easy.
I read and greatly enjoyed Jack Vance's 4-book series, Tales of the Dying Earth last year. Today I wanted to tell my daughter about one of the spells in the book (the Spell of Forlorn Encystment), so I looked it up online. One of the top results Alison Flood's 2011 review of the series in The Guardian. She likes the books for the same reasons I do, describing the stories as "strange, and disturbing, and glowing."
"Glowing" is an especially good way to describe Vance's writing. His use of language in enchanting, and it really does feel like his sentences and words are manifesting some kind of spell.
From Flood's review:
All is recounted in Vance's wonderful, unique prose. Is it possible to be both deadpan and flowery at the same time? I think he pulls this off, to hilarious effect. "These girls seem not to relish the garland of pulchritude," says Guyal of a collection of unattractive women. Cugel, after ditching a former princess into the hands of a brigand (it was his own hopelessness which led to her losing her kingdom), justifies himself angrily. "'The woman is a monomaniac!' he told himself. 'She lacks clarity and perceptiveness; how could I have done else, for her welfare and my own? I am rationality personified; it is unthinking to suggest otherwise.'"
There are remnants of ancient civilisations: floating roads and air-cars. There are horrific images galore: a pyramid of screaming flesh half a thousand feet high. And so, so much of these stories can be seen in the work of later authors. Mazirian's garden of nightmarish plants ("'K-k-k-k-k-k-k,' spoke the plant. Mazirian stooped, held the rodent to the red mouth. The mouth sucked, the small body slid into the stomach-bladder underground. The plant gurgled, eructated, and Mazirian watched with satisfaction.") reminds me a much-loved childhood novel, Douglas Hill's Blade of the Poisoner, and the poisoner's deadly garden. The Twk-men – tiny men-things mounted on dragonflies, with skin "of a greenish cast", bring Philip Pullman's Gallivespians to mind. Mazirian's plunge into the Lake of Dreams after uttering the Charm of Untiring Nourishment, breathing the water as if it were air and chasing T'sain across the lake's bottom, recalls the scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when Harry uses gillyweed to breathe underwater. And this is just the first 29 pages …
(By the way, the Spell of Forlorn Encystment "constricts the subject in a pore some forty-five miles below the surface of the earth.")
Be careful! That doughy arm might pop right out of its socket.
How did Dad rescue those glasses?
New York's luxury real-estate market has been in freefall for years, and now the city's super-luxe buildings are sitting empty -- even as property prices in the city remain stubbornly high, prompting 300 New Yorkers to move out of the city every day, and filling the homeless shelters to capacity and beyond.
Using sheer brute force, a Disneyland guest successfully removed Excalibur, the "sword in the stone," from its anvil in front of the King Arthur Carrousel. It was first reported that the sword was removed as part of a planned refurbishment but then a guest stepped up to share what really happened.
WDW News Today:
The sword is not removed for refurbishment. My friend Sam broke it last week on the 8th when we went to Disneyland. He literally ripped it out. The staff said that it was really old and that’s why he was able to do so. It was his first time at Disney and he’s a pretty buff dude, I told him if he pulled it out he’d win a prize and he just used brute force I guess lol. It was broken and jagged. The staff said they taped it off so no one would stick their fingers in and cut it on the broken piece left inside.
Unfortunately, the poor fellow didn't become King, as legend dictates. And a brand new sword has already been placed in its (freshly polished) anvil in its central Fantasyland spot. See photos of it at WDW News Today.
screengrab via Disney's Sword in the Stone
If one of your New Year's resolutions is to travel more, you owe it to yourself to learn the language of the place you're visiting. If you're not sure where to start, give these resources a look. From mobile apps to online courses, these products can get you conversant in a new language before you set foot on foreign soil. Read on for details:
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One of the most frustratingly incredible things about Corporate PR Con Artistry is that even when the chaos magicians behind it reveal their tricks, there are still people who will continue to insist that somehow, this makes the lie even more real. We've seen it before with climate change, and the bullshit connection between vaccines and autism.
And now, in a new op-ed from The New York Times, we can see this phenomenon happening in real-time with healthcare. Most rational-thinking people understand that the private healthcare system in America offers no more "choice" than the socialized, single-payer, or other government-subsidized systems in other developed nations. Yet that idea of "choice" — and the fantastical fear-mongering about wait times in Canada — has become a popular talking point with those opposed to healthcare reform. Which is precisely what it was designed to do, by people like Wendell Potter, a former vice president for corporate communications at Cigna. As he writes in the Times:
To my everlasting regret, I played a hand in devising this deceptive talking point about choice when I worked in various communications roles for a leading health insurer between 1993 and 2008, ultimately serving as vice president for corporate communications.
Those of us who held senior positions for the big insurers knew that one of the huge vulnerabilities of the system is its lack of choice. In the current system, Americans cannot, in fact, pick their own doctors, specialists or hospitals — at least, not without incurring huge “out of network” bills.
But some reforms being discussed this election, such as “Medicare for all,” would provide these basic freedoms to users. In other words, the proposed reforms offer more choice than the status quo, not less.
As evidenced by that last quote, Wendell has since seen the light (or some sort of brightness, anyway), and now serves as the president of Business for Medicare for All and Medicare for All NOW! Unfortunately, there are still some people who will refuse to believe this magician revealing the secrets behind their own trick.
How the Health Insurance Industry (and I) Invented the ‘Choice’ Talking Point [Wendell Potter / The New York Times]
Image via 401K 2012 / Flickr
Anyone who loves biking, skiing, or snowboarding in the great outdoors knows just how difficult it can be to safely transport your gear—especially during extended trips. These three accessories make it easier than ever to securely attach your gear to your car. So if you're planning to embark on a outdoor adventure soon, you'd be wise to check out these options:
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[The selloff of the .ORG domain name registry to a private equity fund is fractally terrible, but it's in danger, thanks to public outcry. My EFF colleague Mitch Stoltz lays out the grotesque contours of the deal and its many deficiencies in this comprehensive overview. -Cory]
Over 21,000 people, 660 organizations, and now six Members of Congress have asked ICANN, the organization that regulates the Internet’s domain name system, to halt the $1.135 billion deal that would hand control over PIR, the .ORG domain registry, to private equity. There are crucial reasons this sale is facing significant backlash from the nonprofit and NGO communities who make the .ORG domain their online home, and perhaps none of them are more concerning than the speed of the deal and the dangerous lack of transparency that’s accompanied it.
Late last year, the nonprofit Internet Society abruptly announced a deal to sell control over the Public Interest Registry (which manages all .ORG domain registrations) to Ethos, a newly created private equity fund capitalized by three politically connected families of Republican billionaires. Under the deal, ISOC would get $1.135B to spend on various projects, and PIR would have to return a profit to their private equity investors.
It seems like AI is everywhere these days, from the voice recognition software in our personal assistants to the ads that pop up seemingly at just the right time. But believe it or not, the field is still in its infancy.
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It's fascinating to see this round table discussion on The Dick Cavett Show about the assassination of Robert Kennedy. People had the same concerns about gun violence 50 years ago, but the way people talked about it on TV in 1968 is inconceivable today. The panelists were allowed to speak for more that 15 seconds without being interrupted, and the other panelist appeared to be listening to what the others were saying. The panel consisted of actor Robert "Man From U.N.C.L.E." Vaughn (a politically active friend of the Kennedys), NAACP executive director Roy Wilkins, psychiatrist David Abrahamsen (author of "A Study of Lee Harvey Oswald: Psychological Capability of Murder"), and broadcast journalist David Schoenbrun.
Chicago's Volante (previously) bills itself as "streetwear for superheroes," and I love their clothes. They've just released an addition to their existing canon of Star Trek-themed, cosplay-adjacent clothes: the Picard Sweater, a stretchy knit tribute to Jean-Luc himself, the perfect thing to wear while you're watching Wil Wheaton host "The Ready Room," which airs after every episode.
A guy who was waiting for his flight at the airport in Portland wanted more screen display space for his Playstation video game session, so he plugged his PS4 into a public computer screen that was displaying a map of the airport.
The massive scale and force of the ongoing bushfires in Australia is hard to comprehend. (more…)
“El Chapo” ran a global narcotics crime ring and escaped two maximum security prisons before being captured, extradited to the United States in 2017, found guilty in 2019, and sentenced to life in prison.
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman's daughter Alejandrina Guzman just launched a beer branded with her dad's name, because nothing matters.
Excerpt from Reuters:
The beer is part of the “El Chapo 701” brand, which has already launched a clothing line, and gets its name from when Forbes named him the 701st richest person in the world in 2009. Forbes estimated his net worth at $1 billion at the time.
“This is an artisanal beer, with 4% alcohol. This prototype is a lager, and it’s made up of malt, rice and honey so it’s good,” said Adriana Ituarte, a salesperson for the brand. “And the idea is for it to be sold at bars that stock craft beer.”
A 355 ml bottle is due to be priced at 70.10 pesos ($3.73).
Drink like a Mexican kingpin: 'El Chapo' beer launched by daughter [reuters.com, Jose Luis Osorio, 1-17-2020, image courtesy El chapo beer]
“To the world leaders and those in power, I would like to say that you have not seen anything yet. You have not seen the last of us, we can assure you that. And that is the message that we will bring to the World Economic Forum in Davos next week.”
In the Swiss city of Lausanne on Friday, Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and was joined by an estimated 10,000 others for a protest march, before many of them travel to Davos for next week's annual gathering of political and business elites. Their goal: Draw attention to the urgent need for world leaders to fight our worsening climate crisis.