Monday, 19 March 2012

When is a War Criminal not a War Criminal?

Or in other words, when does bringing a war criminal to justice seem somehow less important than trying to dismiss an online campaign to bring a war criminal to justice?

… When you and your army find it too embarrassing …

… When you’re a Rightie and you think the campaigners are too Liberal

… When you’re a Leftie and you think the campaigners are too Capitalist

… When you think it’s all about One World Government and the Illuminati …

… When it doesn’t suit Western 'clientele diplomacy' ...

… When the issues are ‘problematic’ …

… When the whole thing is just too bloody complicated

At the time when Karadzic and Mladic were still at large in Europe, the pressure on the relevant authorities to capture these men to bring them to justice for their past crimes was ever stronger - and caught they were! In principle, is Kony, somewhere in Africa  any different?

Ever more analysis here, here, here, here, here, here, and just about everywhere else you look.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

EU Carries On Up the Khyber

Horror, confusion, embarassment and hilarity broke out in abundant measure yesterday amongst EU functionaries, Kremlinologists and, well, basically anyone who saw it, when a new video promoting EU er 'Enlargement' (cough cough) inserted itself into the public discharge discourse, only to promptly uninsert itself as soon as the full extent of the gaffe became apparent.

The video, entitled "Growing Together" has fortunately been saved for posterity to laugh at (here).

The only types who did find the video's semiotics right up their alley were those who inhabit certain online bulletin boards for white nationalist activists. They, of course, gave it their enthusiastic seal of approval as an accurate portrayal of the position of poor harassed Europa today, beset as she is on all sides by alien hordes and assailants.

The Guardian has lots of brilliant comments on the debacle below the line, here.

The Third Foot and Mouth would be proud!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Reply Girls v Reply Boyz

The Sex War is a continually breaking thing. Here's one latest manifestation of the ancient struggle, on Youtube. Caught in mid-flow, it embodies some of the differences all too clearly, stm:

First up MeganSpeaks.

Now hear the oppo.

The 'Boyz' here win on rhetoric and humour - by a long way, no surprise - but it doesn't take a Professor of Feminist Theory to see that there's a deep vein of misogyny running beneath all this.

The Berakhah for Bacon

You might say that being as how I use GoggleCorp and associates as some kind of a kostenlos general purpose augur cum cipher for every kind of information under the sun, that it's only fair for me to allow said corporation free and easy access to all my data, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.

Well ...

Do I have a choice?

It appears not.

So analyze that!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Killing Me Loudly

'There was a dramatic reduction in ship traffic that day. It was like being on the primal ocean.'

Rosalind Rolland of the New England Aquarium "was at sea in the Bay of Fundy on 11 September 2001 ... [when] ...  noise levels from shipping fell by half, as transport was shut down in response the terror attacks" reports Environmental Research Web.

"Whales use sound as their primary sense, just as humans use sight, and their singing enables them to find food, mates and to navigate. They are believed to be able to communicate over hundreds of kilometres. But the frequencies they use largely overlap with the frequencies generated by human activities in the oceans, which have increased tenfold in volume since the 1960s, disrupting their ability to communicate" and inflicting chronic long-term stress due to the man-made noise pollution which endangers their health and life.

Cetaceans are not the only wild creatures who benefit from a drastic reduction in human activity. In that same year, 2001, Foot and Mouth Disease shut down human access to the Cornish coastline, at which point a couple of wild Choughs (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) chose to alight in the newly peaceful habitat. As Peter Marren was amused to recount in British Wildlife (14:2 pp 77-8):

"The release of captive-bred Choughs ... would, it was hoped, result in the establishment of a resident population ... However, foot-and-mouth restrictions placed the project on hold, and in the meantime some wild Choughs turned up out of the blue on the Lizard. [They] ... promptly nested and raised four chicks."

Maybe the best single thing that we humans, as a mass, could do for wildlife is to learn to sit down and shut up for a change.