Stasi, the secret police of East Germany, used Orwell's 1984 as a training manual for torture and degradation. Some Catholic nuns in Colombia apparently looked to psychopathic torturer Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid's Tale for child rearing lessons. Read the rest
Timothy from Creative Commons writes, "A few weeks ago Diego Gómez, the former Colombian student who's been prosecuted for sharing a research paper online, was acquitted of criminal charges.
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In a post to the venerable NANOG list (mirrored since to Dave Farber's Interesting People list), anti-spam researcher Ronald F. Guilmette posts the results of his investigation into the IP addresses claimed by a mysterious company called host-offshore.com -- IP addresses assigned to "various parties within the nation of Columbia (including the National University thereof)" but, strangely, routed through Bulgaria. Read the rest
Timothy writes, "Diego Gómez is a Colombian conservation biologist. When he was a college student, he shared a single research paper online so that others could read and learn from it, just as he did. Diego was criminally prosecuted for copyright infringement, and faced up to 8 years in prison." Read the rest
With the shambolic FARC peace deal finally in place, the Colombian government is hoping to shift the country's farmers from Colombia's major cash crop: the coca leaves that are refined into the world's cocaine supply. Perhaps with the guerrillas no longer defending the crops they relied on for operating capital, Colombia can put coca behind it. Read the rest
Authorities say Tulsa maintenance base workers workers for American Airlines found seven bricks of cocaine weighing 31 pounds with a street value of about a half a million dollars hidden in the nose of an AA aircraft. Read the rest
This modular piece of art would be cool with the intricate woodcarving alone, but the meticulously placed beads in the style of indigenous Camentsá artists from Colombia take it to the next level. Read the rest
In Rich do not rise early: spatio-temporal patterns in the mobility networks of different socio-economic classes, a group of transportation engineers analyze an open data-set about the commutes of people in the Colombian cities of Medellín and Manizales, concluding that the rich and the poor commute the furthest distances, but that the rich have much shorter commutes, thanks to private transport and superior routing, which translates to substantially more sleep for the wealthy. Read the rest
As the "cool Pope" and other conservative religious leaders wage a war on "gender ideology," one of the biggest casualties may have been the peace vote to end Colombia's decades-long civil war.
Trans rights are increasingly used as a wedge issue by conservatives, and it often involves moral panics around "protecting children" from LGBT people in general and transgender people in particular.
The controversy began earlier this year when an unfinished draft of a teaching handbook, produced by the education ministry in tandem with international agencies including UNICEF, was published online. One sentence sparked particular fury: “One isn’t born a man or a woman, but rather learns to be one, according to the society and age in which they grow up,” it read. That passage, along with false versions of the handbook and other misinformation, circulated widely on social media. Critics accused then-Education Minister Gina Parody, a lesbian, of trying to indoctrinate students with “gender ideology,” a term used by many conservative groups and leaders throughout Latin America. Parody quickly became the center of a smear campaign, while others argued children needed to be protected from same-sex marriage. That was when the lines between the handbook controversy and the peace deal vote started to blur.
• Did an Anti-LGBT Panic Help Defeat Colombia’s Peace Deal? (Americas Quarterly)
Image: Iván Erre Jota Read the rest
After half a century of war, the Colombian government and Farc rebels say they have reached a historic peace agreement. The two sides have been meeting in Havana, Cuba since November 2012. Both signed a bilateral ceasefire in June, which was needed before a final agreement could be reached.
An estimated 220,000 people have died in the decades-long conflict, and millions have been displaced.
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In 2003, Colombians began to report encounters with the wild hippos that escaped from Pablo Escobar's private zoo after he was killed by police and his estate was left to rot. Read the rest
Herman from Colombia's Proyecto Liquido writes, "This is part of Medellín Steampunk a city project that resulted from a partnership between Fractal and the Secretary of Culture of the Medellín Mayor's Office. Read the rest
Karen from the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes, "EFF is teaming up with groups in Latin America to take our 'Who Has Your Back' report international!" Read the rest
Danny sez, "Lumera is an open-hardware, open source prototype that plugs into your fancy SLR camera, connects to your phone via WiFi or Bluetooth, and lets you automatically upload pictures to sites like Flickr or a USB backup, change your camera settings like focus or ISO settings, or run timelapsed photograph sessions." Read the rest
Colombia's draconian copyright law (passed after US pressure) provides for prison sentences for simple copyright infringement; Diego Gomez, a biodiversity conservation Master's candidate at University of Quindío shared a paper related to his fieldwork, and the paper's author has brought a prosecution against him. Read the rest
Ogilvy Colombia did a promotion for Coca-Cola wherein they dispensed The Black Waters of American Imperialism in rather appealing little bottles made of ice. I'm fond of ice shot-glasses full of vodka -- similar principle.
Ice marketing is hot (and eco-friendly)
(via Neatorama) Read the rest
In 1993, Stanley Williams survived a close-encounter with a volcano. A volcanologist, he was standing on the rim of Colombia's Galeras volcano when it erupted with little warning. Six of his scientific colleagues and three tourists were killed. Williams fled down the mountain's slope — until flying rocks and boulders broke both his legs. With a fractured skull, he managed to stay conscious enough to huddle behind some other large boulders and dodge flying debris until the eruption ended and his grad students rescued him.
Williams and the other scientists were there to study Galeras, and hopefully get a better idea of what signals predicted the onset of eruptions.
This is something we still don't understand well.
While volcanologists have identified some signals — like distinctive patterns of small earthquakes — that increase the likelihood of an oncoming eruption, those signals aren't foolproof predictions. There are still volcanoes like Galeras that give no warning. And volcanoes like Mt. St. Helens. In 2004, that volcano gave signals that it would erupt. And it did. Sort of. The Seattle Times described it as "two small burps and a lava flow". Basically, the signals don't always precede an eruption, and even when they do happen it doesn't tell you much about how big any ensuing eruption will be.
And that presents an interesting question, writes Erik Klemetti at Wired's Eruptions blog. How close to volcanoes should tourists really be? That's a question with real-world applications. This year, New Zealand's White Island volcano has been ... Read the rest