Aerial America is an informative and relaxing look at each US state entirely via aerial footage. The series is gradually being posted to YouTube, and as of this writing they have added all states alphabetically through Louisiana. Alaska's Call of the Wild is particularly nice. Read the rest
Shannon LaNier is a television reporter, actor, author, and a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States. He's also a Black man — the sixth great-grandson of Jefferson and Sally Hemings, an enslaved woman who had six children with the Founding Father. Read the rest
See below. Yes, the U.S. Government Publishing Office Style Manual refers to residents of Hawaii as "Hawaii residents." This change occurred last year thanks to Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) who pushed for clarification that not everyone who lives in Hawaii is a Native Hawaiian.
Read the rest
For the past couple of years, the United States has been investigating allegations that Huawei shipped American-made products to Iran. The why of the matter is that having Iran get their mitts on US goods is a violation of the trade sanctions that the United States government imposed on the middle eastern nation.
The Justice Department Investigation into Huawei was kept quiet until The Wall Street Journal broke the news on it this past April. From the looks of things, investigators must have come up with some pretty solid dirt as Canadian law enforcement officials arrested one of Huawei's highest ranking officers, earlier this week:
From The Globe and Mail:
Read the rest
Canada has arrested the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies who is facing extradition to the United States on suspicion she violated U.S. trade sanctions against Iran.
Wanzhou Meng, who is also the deputy chair of Huawei’s board and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Vancouver at the request of U.S. authorities.
“Wanzhou Meng was arrested in Vancouver on December 1. She is sought for extradition by the United States, and a bail hearing has been set for Friday,” Justice department Ian McLeod said in a statement to The Globe and Mail. “As there is a publication ban in effect, we cannot provide any further detail at this time. The ban was sought by Ms. Meng.
Ms. Meng, a rising star at Shenzhen-based Huawei, now the world’s second-largest maker of telecommunications equipment. Reuters reported in 2013 that Ms.
This vintage-style map of the USA puts the titles of songs that mention place names onto their corresponding geographical spot. So, for example, the Beasties Boys' "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" is placed right on top of Brooklyn.
Some of our favourite song choices are the ones which require you to think a little harder about connections, such as Space Oddity (David Bowie) which signposts Cape Canaveral, After the Gold Rush (Neil Young) which references Sutter’s Mill, and Homecoming (Kanye West) which is placed near the rapper’s home town of Chicago.
You can get the map for £30 (~$39) at UK-based studio Dorothy. They also have a world song map (also £30/~$39) and a special edition world song map (£35/~$45). Head to Spotify to see the accompanying playlist.
(The Awesomer) Read the rest
This isn't a long post, but damn it's an important one. Read the rest
My American friends: I regret to inform you that your dream of declaring ding as duty-free swag when crossing back from Canada into the United States is oh, so very stillborn.
U.S. customs and border agents are bracing for Canada’s legalization of recreational marijuana, saying they will continue to enforce federal law along the northern border.
“Although medical and recreational marijuana may be legal in some U.S. States and Canada, the sale, possession, production and distribution of marijuana all remain illegal under U.S. federal law,” Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials told Detroit’s Local 4 news.
The unidentified officials said that anyone attempting to enter the U.S. with cannabis may have the products seized, as well as face fines and possible “apprehension.”
That said, our rye whiskey, Hudson Bay blankets and maple syrup still love you and would be thrilled if you gave them a forever home, south of our border.
The ban holds true, even if you're a resident of border states like Vermont, Washington and as of October, Michigan, where toking, and otherwise buddying up with cannabis is fine and dandy. It's not just American citizens who have to watch their ass at the border, either. According to Newsweek, Canadians who admit to having used dope at any point in their lives could face a lifetime ban on entering the United States.
While I'm a whiskey sorta guy, I feel for anyone that has to put up with this nonsense.
Image via Wikipedia Commons Read the rest
Remember last week when we told you that there was some jibba-jabba about the possibility of Brazil sliding back into being a military dictatorship? According to Reuters, far-right leaning presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, has named a retired general as his running mate in the nation’s upcoming elections. Here’s the shit-and-giggle part: the general in question is Antonio Hamilton Mourão. He’s the same fella that told the media that there was a possibility of there being a military coup if the Brazilian government didn’t get its shit together.
Bolsonaro, running as a candidate for the small Social Liberty Party (PSL), has pegged much of his candidacy on controversial remarks, whether defending of the past military dictatorship or suggesting acts of violence against homosexuals.
In an interview last year with Reuters, the candidate for the Social Liberty Party (PSL) played down Mourão’s remarks.
“It was just a warning. Nobody wants to seize power that way,” Bolsonaro said. “Maybe we could have a military man winning in 2018, but through elections.”
Bolsonaro had struggled to find a running mate as other parties tried to distance themselves from his controversial comments. Other proposed vice presidential candidates - including another general, an astronaut and a sitting senator - ultimately fell through.
Encouraging acts of violence against homosexuals and propping up the deeds of a past dictatorship. I can’t imagine why Bolsonaro was having problems finding a running mate.
Unfortunately, as we’ve learned over the past few years, having no moral compass or compassion for minorities won’t stop a dangerous bully or a dictator from coming to power during an election year. Read the rest
Earlier this month, the United Nations Relief and Works agency for Palestinian refugees in the near-east (UNRWA) warned that it’d have no choice but to make deep cuts to its programs, due to a funding freeze enacted by the United States Government. Last week, in light of a 217 million dollar funding shortfall, UNRWA lowered the boom: employees for a number of vital programs, including housing assistance, medical and mental health support, education and employment programs have either been given drastic pay cuts or told that they no longer have jobs. According to The Washington Post, UNRWA dismissed 154 of its employees, 125 of which are located in Gaza, and downgraded another 580 to contract workers. The head of UNRWA’s Palestinian employees union, Amir al-Miss’hal stated that in addition to this, UNRWA has also canceled an additional 1,000 jobs by ordering a hiring freeze of employees destined to fill in for UNRWA workers approaching retirement.
Unsurprisingly, shit is now going down: hundreds of UNRWA declared a sit-in, this past Monday, with threats from the UNRWA employee’s union of a strike that could throw Gaza into chaos. One UNRWA was so unhinged by losing his to job that he attempted to set himself on fire, this past Wednesday.
From The Washington Post:
Read the rest
Earlier this year, the U.S. cut around $300 million in funding to UNRWA, resulting in a $217 million budget shortfall. U.N. officials say the cuts are “the largest ever reduction in funding UNRWA has faced.”
Of the five areas in which the agency operates, Gaza is the most vulnerable given its dire living conditions and devastated economy after more than a decade under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade.
In a country that has so much, it should be a crime to leave the less fortunate with so little. But it isn't, so here we are: As part of a United Nations study on poverty and human rights abuses in America, researchers have stated that rural Alabama is home to the worst poverty in the developed world.
According to Advance Local, the U.N. Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, was shocked at the level of environmental "degradation," economic inequality and systematic racism in the state:
Of particular concern to Alston are specific poverty-related issues that have surfaced across the country in recent years, such as an outbreak of hookworm in Alabama in 2017—a disease typically found in nations with substandard sanitary conditions in South Asia and Subsaharan Africa.
You should know that economic inequality and racial discrimination lend themselves to civil rights abuses. That makes poverty a human rights issue.
A lot of us, including myself, live comfortably enough. I know where my next meal is coming from. Too many of our fellow citizens aren't as fortunate. The fault for this, according to Alston, can be laid at the feet of our governments:
Read the rest
“The idea of human rights is that people have basic dignity and that it’s the role of the government — yes, the government! — to ensure that no one falls below the decent level,” he said. “Civilized society doesn’t say for people to go and make it on your own and if you can’t, bad luck...
U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter released a statement today confirming that America's "current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions." Read the rest
Many troubling stats about climate change's effect in the North Pole region are tucked into Newsweek's article on the geopolitical gold rush taking place up there. Read the rest
On the night of August 20, 1863, proslavery guerrillas from Missouri set off to attack the antislavery stronghold of Lawrence, Kansas, burning it to the ground and killing at least 150 people. There's an organized reenactment happening on Twitter tonight and tomorrow, under the hashtag #qr1863. It features Twitter accounts for Lawrence townspeople of the time, as well as Union soldiers, and proslavery leader William Quantrill — all tweeting their perspective of the raid using real historical sources.
The hashtag is just getting started up now. The real action will kick in tomorrow, on the anniversary of the attack. Fascinating use of tech to draw attention to an oft-overlooked part of history!
EDIT: Reader slowglowing posted a link in the comments that allows you to see just the historical reenactment tweets, with none of the modern people getting in the way. Read the rest
Hopefully, Edward Snowden's sojourn in Russia will go better than most of the historic examples of Americans defecting to that country. Read the rest
Amidst all the other election craziness last night, Puerto Ricans voted in favor of becoming the 51st U.S. state. Currently, Puerto Rico is a territory — they've got a non-voting rep in Congress, they don't pay taxes, and they get U.S. military protection and some social services. The results from last night don't actually change anything about that position, but they do put the ball in Congress' court. Puerto Rico wants to be a state. Now it's up to Congress to decide what to do about that. (Via Aaron Olsen) Read the rest
It began with a few small mistakes.
Around 12:15, on the afternoon of August 14, 2003, a software program that helps monitor how well the electric grid is working in the American Midwest shut itself down after after it started getting incorrect input data. The problem was quickly fixed. But nobody turned the program back on again.
A little over an hour later, one of the six coal-fired generators at the Eastlake Power Plant in Ohio shut down. An hour after that, the alarm and monitoring system in the control room of one of the nation’s largest electric conglomerates failed. It, too, was left turned off.
Those three unrelated things—two faulty monitoring programs and one generator outage—weren’t catastrophic, in and of themselves. But they would eventually help create one of the most widespread blackouts in history. By 4:15 pm, 256 power plants were offline and 55 million people in eight states and Canada were in the dark. The Northeast Blackout of 2003 ended up costing us between $4 billion and $10 billion. That’s “billion”, with a “B”.
But this is about more than mere bad luck. The real causes of the 2003 blackout were fixable problems, and the good news is that, since then, we’ve made great strides in fixing them. The bad news, say some grid experts, is that we’re still not doing a great job of preparing our electric infrastructure for the future. Read the rest
When blogger Melissa moved to Canada in 2008, she identified as a conservative, Republican evangelical Christian. Part of that identity included a deep mistrust of Canada's universal healthcare system. Before the move, she was terrified that she was going to place that would limit her medical choices, tell her what to do with her body, and push abortions (paid for with her money) on any woman who was unsure of what to do about an unwanted pregnancy. She was afraid of losing her freedom. She was afraid of losing her religious liberty.
But that's not what she found in Canada.
Instead, Melissa slowly came to realize that the Canadian system was actually more family friendly than the American one. In Canada, there is significantly less demand for abortion. In Canada, she says, it's easier to be a stay at home parent, and it's easier to ensure the health of your children. She also found that abortion wasn't pushed (merely offered as one of many options) and that Catholic hospitals weren't forced to offer abortions if they didn't want to. Meanwhile, Canada does a better job than we do at balancing their national budget and has far, far, far less national debt.
Read the rest
I started to wonder why I had been so opposed to government mandated Universal Health care. Here in Canada ... People actually went in for routine check-ups and caught many of their illnesses early, before they were too advanced to treat. People were free to quit a job they hated, or even start their own business without fear of losing their medical coverage.