NY Times: Countries Divided on Future of Ancient Buddhas.
“I’ve talked with many Afghans, and they do not want that their children and grandchildren are forced by the Taliban to see only ruins.” If restoration is nearly impossible, store the best chunks in a museum, and create at least one new Buddha from modern materials. But do restore the wooden face, jeweled eyes with lanterns behind. That would annoy the destroyers in perpetuity. Kickstarter/IndieGogo.
The Atlantic: Must Every YA Action Heroine Be Petite?
“Some readers became so attached to the image of a short, emaciated girl claiming victory in the battle-royal arena that when Jennifer Lawrence was cast as Katniss, multiple critics complained that she was too ‘big-boned’ for the part.” Oh, for heaven’s sake. My only complaint was that the onscreen character’s thoughts were unscripted. In the book, we hear what is in Katniss’ head. On the screen, we don’t. The vacuum prevented me from fully appreciating the film.
The Atlantic: The Conservative Myth of a Social Safety Net Built on Charity.
Good read. As I’ve mentioned before, my late father was orphaned before the Depression. Private and religious charity was fly-by-night. There was no stronger advocate for Federal aid programs than ol’ Dad. He’d been there.
NY Times: Fukushima’s Shameful Cleanup.
“It is long past time that the government take direct control of the disaster site.” What’ve I been saying for a year or so?
SciAm: New Mexico Cancels Permit to Expand Leaky Nuclear Waste Site.
“New Mexico on Friday withdrew a temporary permit allowing two new disposal vaults at a U.S. government nuclear waste dump grappling with a release of radiation in February, state regulators said.” Remember, the Feds really wanted to widen the scope of WIPP to detritus with higher radioactive levels. Now they find they can’t even handle the low-grade stuff properly.
SciAm:New Drugs May Transform Down Syndrome.
“The possibility of actually giving Down syndrome people the ability to improve learning and memory significantly—that’s something I never thought I’d see in my entire career. [snip] And it’s now happening. The game has changed.”
WaPo Factchecker: Ted Cruz’s ‘biggest lie in politics’; Is it actually the truth?
“One could have the opinion that Republican policies will be better for the poor, and obviously Cruz believes that. But, without more evidence, Cruz simply can’t pair it with a sweeping statement that saying Republicans are the party of the rich is ‘the biggest lie’ when decades of economic data show the poor do better under Democrats, that the rich tend to vote Republican and that most Americans believe Republican policies favor the rich.”
The Week: L’Wren Scott, and the awful truth about women’s obituaries.
Never, ever characterize an accomplished woman as “so-and-so’s girlfriend/wife/partner.” Using a male yardstick sounds so ‘50’s.
Guardian.UK: Bring back ideology - Fukuyama’s ‘end of history’ 25 years on.
“In 2006, in the wake of George W Bush’s catastrophic blunders in Iraq and Afghanistan, Fukuyama repudiated neoconservatism in a book titled America at the Crossroads. In order to keep his end-of-history thesis intact, Fukuyama argued that the neocons had gone off on a Leninist tangent of historical determinism and artificial nation-building, and had departed from the correct understanding of historical evolution as an organic byproduct of material comfort and access to consumer goods.” More fun within this article.
Vanity Fair: How 1,280 Artworks Stolen by the Nazis were Hidden Until 2012.
Long read, saved for the weekend.
The Dish: It Doesn’t Feel Like A Recovery.
The higher financial echelons see it; the rest of us don’t.
Yahoo: States looking at $0 community college tuition.
nakedcap: Just 83,000 Homeowners Get First-Lien Principal Reductions.
“In other words, to pay a penalty for misconduct, Bank of America mostly did what it would have normally done anyway in its course of business, facilitating short sales and extinguishing worthless second liens. Only this time, they got credit for those routine activities, to rid themselves of their penalty.”
The Atlantic: Doing Business With a Company That Took Jews to Their Deaths.
Corporate personhood only when convenient.
LA Times: Fed report slams safety lapses at New Mexico nuclear facility.
“Workers at a New Mexico nuclear waste storage facility that suffered an underground fire and radiation leak last month lack adequate safety training, oversight or a proper response plan for emergencies, a federal investigation has found.” Surprised? No. Concerned? Yes.
The Smart Set: The Two Souls (of Maximilian Schell).
ArtDaily: Auschwitz acquires stamps used to tattoo prisoners at the infamous death camp.
“The Nazis pressed the needle-studded plates into an inmate’s skin, before rubbing ink into the wound to create the tattoo. They first tattooed chests, then later left forearms. ” We all know the infamous tattoos. What a find.
Guardian.UK: NASA-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for ‘irreversible collapse’?
“A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.” The new Y2K.
FirstLook: The White House Has Been Covering Up the Presidency’s Role in Torture for Years.
Power, once obtained, is almost never released. [”Gollum?”]
Guardian.UK: New York homeless shelters housing record-high 53,000 people per night.
“The report blames the city’s homeless crisis on a combination of factors. It cites the ‘disastrous homeless policies’ implemented by then-mayor Michael Bloomberg; the city’s worsening housing affordability; and the growing income inequality gap.” Hard to believe it could be worse than the ‘80’s. The Franciscans did particularly good work in the ‘80’s. Their website. What I used to do, going out to lunch, was to swing into a McD’s on my way back to the office and buy a ‘Happy Meal’ and hand it to a random homeless individual. I was never ‘attacked’, never insulted, always thanked.
naked capitalism: Washington Does Not Have a Natural Gas Weapon Against Moscow.
Hmmm. No doubt there are some old-school right-wingers who’d love to link “Drill, baby, drill” to bringing down the ‘new’ Soviet/Communist threat.
SciAm: Infrastructure Threatened by Climate Change Poses a National Crisis.
“The difficulty of strengthening the systems that support the American economy — from electricity to drinking water — poses significant problems requiring large investments at a time of rising risk and receding political appetite for big spending initiatives.” Climate change or not, I’ve been personally banging on about infrastructure since the Reagan years.
CNN: Baby left in toilet now 27, curious.
Born in ‘87. Middle of the crack cocaine epidemic in a state that suffered particularly badly throughout. There were many worse outcomes than being left in a bathroom.
ProPublica: Drilling for Certainty - The Latest in Fracking Health Studies.
Youtube: Life after Pi.
Statements on the VFX situation of modern filmmaking. Worth the watch.