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Current Topic: Society

Two Brothers Foundation
Topic: Society 1:55 am EDT, May 13, 2006

We are a nonprofit organization based in the United States and Brazil whose mission is to provide educational opportunities in the favela of Rocinha in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, through local and international community service and cultural exchange.

Go and live in the favela...

Two Brothers Foundation

Red Lights on Capitol Hill? (
Topic: Society 6:30 pm EDT, May  6, 2006

It gets even more interesting: the man who has been identified as the CEO of Shirlington has a 62-page rap sheet (I recently obtained a copy) that runs from at least 1979 through 1989 and lists charges of petit larceny, robbery, receiving stolen goods, assault, and more. Curiously—or perhaps not so curiously given the company's connections—Shirlington Limousine is also a Department of Homeland Security contractor; according to the Washington Post, last fall it won a $21.2 million contract for shuttle services and transportation support. (I tried to contact Shirlington but was unable to get past their answering service.)

Red Lights on Capitol Hill? (

Frog in a Well - The Japan History Group Blog
Topic: Society 4:54 am EDT, Apr 29, 2006

I will start with the conclusion that karate was born old, asking not: how did karate foretell itself? but: when did karate authors begin to question their origins? From what vantage point did they look back and decide, a little spontaneously and even a little arbitrarily, that what their ancestors practiced was karate, or tō-te, or just plain te? In other words, perhaps they made such fine distinctions between these terms, not because such distinctions had always been made, but because those terms told the story of who they wanted to be.

Frog in a Well - The Japan History Group Blog

Tsar Bomba: Largest Thermonuclear Bomb Ever Built or Detonated
Topic: Society 5:14 pm EDT, Apr 26, 2006

Tsar Bomba (Russian: Царь-бомба, literally "Emperor of bombs") is the Western name for the largest nuclear explosive ever detonated. Developed by the Soviet Union, the 57 megaton bomb was codenamed Ivan (Russian: Иван) by its developers.

They have the 'Tsar Bomb' the 'Tsar Cannon' the 'Tsar Bell' and they had the 'Tsar Tank' (that one is a big laugh). What is it about Russians and building large things? ;)

Tsar Bomba: Largest Thermonuclear Bomb Ever Built or Detonated

Does Eating Salmon Lower the Murder Rate? - New York Times
Topic: Society 12:00 pm EDT, Apr 16, 2006

Of course, seeing a correlation between fatty acids and nonviolence doesn't necessarily prove that fatty acids inhibit violence. Bernard Gesch, a senior research scientist at Oxford University, set out to show that better nutrition does, in fact, decrease violence. He enrolled 231 volunteers at a British prison in his study; one-half received a placebo, while the other half received fatty acids and other supplements. Over time, the antisocial behavior (as measured by assaults and other violations) of the inmates who had been given the supplements dropped by more than a third relative to their previous records. The control group showed little change. Gesch published his results in 2002 and plans to start a larger study later this year. Similar trials are already under way in Holland and Norway.

Does Eating Salmon Lower the Murder Rate? - New York Times

NATIONAL JOURNAL: Insulating Bush (03/30/2006)
Topic: Society 6:08 am EST, Mar 31, 2006

Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush's 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration. Rove expressed his concerns shortly after an informal review of classified government records by then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley determined that Bush had been specifically advised that claims he later made in his 2003 State of the Union address -- that Iraq was procuring high-strength aluminum tubes to build a nuclear weapon -- might not be true, according to government records and interviews.

NATIONAL JOURNAL: Insulating Bush (03/30/2006)

The Girls Next Door
Topic: Society 3:39 pm EST, Mar 25, 2006

That, in the end, is the most striking thing about Playboy’s centerfolds: how old-fashioned they seem. This whole “bachelor” world, with the brandy snifters and the attractive guest arriving for the night: did it ever exist? Yes, as a fantasy. Now, however, it is the property of homosexuals. (A more modern-looking avatar of the Playmates’ pneumatic breasts is Robert Mapplethorpe’s Mr. 10 ½.) Today, if you try to present yourself as a suave middle-aged bachelor, people will assume you’re gay. But though times have changed, Hefner hasn’t. He has described Playboy as a projection of “the wonderful world I dig,” and he has gone on innocently digging it no matter what.

The Heff.

The Girls Next Door

Legal Rave raided in Utah, complete with tear gas
Topic: Society 4:39 am EST, Mar  9, 2006

Well, if this isn't an example of fascism, I don't really know what one requires to qualify... Perhaps a swastika and golden eagle medallion on the jackbooted thugs.

A 100% legal, permitted, and well-administrated rave was shut down in Utah, and rather extreme violence was visited on the heads of those involved. ...with basically no justification whatsoever other than some asshats wanted it shut down.

The URL has embedded footage showing exactly what kind of force was brought to bear on the least violent sub-culture our country has.

Way to go Fascism!

Legal Rave raided in Utah, complete with tear gas

THE WORLD QUESTION CENTER 2006: What is your Dangerous Idea?
Topic: Society 9:15 pm EST, Jan 20, 2006

history of science is replete with discoveries
that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally
dangerous in their time; the Copernican and
Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious.
What is your dangerous idea? An idea you think
about (not necessarily one you originated)
that is dangerous not because it is assumed
to be false, but because it might be true?

Some really smart people on page 5. This thing is worth a read. Lots of well known folks giving their 'dangerous ideas.'

THE WORLD QUESTION CENTER 2006: What is your Dangerous Idea?

The invention of the Hindu
Topic: Society 9:57 pm EST, Jan 11, 2006

The marriage of Indian religiosity and western materialism Vivekananda tried to arrange makes him the perfect patron saint of the BJP, a political party of mostly upper caste middle class Hindus that strives to boost India's capabilities in the fields of nuclear bombs and information technology and also reveres the cow as holy. A hundred years after his death, the BJP has come closest to realising his project of westernising Hinduism into a nationalist ideology: one which has pretensions to being all-inclusive, but which demonises Muslims and seeks to pre-empt with its rhetoric of egalitarianism the long overdue political assertion of India's lower caste groups.

     Vivekananda's modern-day disciples are helped considerably by the fact that the Indian bourgeoisie is no longer small and insignificant. It is growing—the current numbers are between 150-200 million. There are millions of rich Indians living outside India. In America, they constitute the richest minority. It is these affluent, upper caste Indians in India and abroad who largely bankrolled the rise to power of Hindu nationalists, and who now long for closer military and economic ties between India and western nations. The new conditions of globalisation—free trade, faster communications—help them work faster towards the alliance Vivekananda proposed between an Indian elite and the modern West. As a global class, they are no less ambitious than the one which in the Roman empire embraced Christianity and made it an effective tool of worldly power. Hinduism in their hands has never looked more like the Christianity and Islam of Popes and Mullahs, and less like the multiplicity of unselfconsciously tolerant faiths it still is for most Indians. Their growing prominence suggests that Vivekananda may yet emerge as more influential in the long run than Gandhi, Nehru or Tagore—the three great Indian leaders, whose legacy of liberal humanism middle class India already seems to have frittered away as it heads for intellectually and spiritually oppressive times.

Interesting article on the historical roots of the BJP fascist ideology.

The invention of the Hindu

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