Posts categorised ‘News and Politics’

Link: “Why Mickey Mouse’s 1998 copyright extension probably won’t happen again

Original post found at: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/01/hollywood-says-its-not-planning-another-copyright-extension-push/

An article about the last time the US extended copyright terms in the late 1990s, and why they’re not likely to extend them again any time soon (mainly, with the rise of the internet people are much more aware of how draconian copyright law already is, so there’d likely be way more pushback if they tried).

Link: “‘Dirty wee torturers’: Northern Irish man tells of British army abuse during Troubles

Original post found at: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/jan/20/northern-irish-man-british-army-abuse-troubles

A doctor examined Auld and declared him fit for interrogation. For at least seven days and nights he was subjected to what became known – in reports by Amnesty International and other organisations – as the five techniques: the stress position, hooding, white noise, deprivation of sleep and little food and drink. When Auld moved from the stress position he was beaten. Occasionally the hood was removed and lights were shone into his eyes.

Several of the men, including Auld, were bundled on to a helicopter and thrown out, thinking they were high up. They were a few feet from the ground.

Auld assumed he would eventually be killed so tried to end his suffering by hurling himself at heating pipes to break his neck. “But I just hurt my head. That, for me, was the worst because I couldn’t die. That sense of helplessness and isolation was horrendous.”

An article about the “hooded men” of Northern Ireland, whom the British subjected to torture in 1971, and who never really got justice for what occurred. The techniques the British practised there later informed the use of torture during the “War on Terror”, and the Americans referred to the 1978 European Court of Human Rights ruling – that the UK’s actions were “inhumane” but not torture – to justify their own atrocities.

Link: “Intellectual property is theft” by Dominique Cyprès

Original post found at: https://write.hamster.dance/intellectual-property-is-theft

A very thoughtful post about how modern copyright law stifles certain kinds of artistic expression, and how it also doesn’t guarantee that artists get paid for their creations, in spite of most of the defences we hear of it. It makes the case that it’d be better to have more easygoing copyright laws, and a UBI to guarantee an acceptable standard of living for everyone, including artists – an argument I’m very sympathetic to 🙂

Link: “Air pollution is much worse than we thought

Original post found at: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2020/8/12/21361498/climate-change-air-pollution-us-india-china-deaths

Article about the damage air pollution does to people’s health, and how recent research suggests that the amount of damage is actually much larger than had previously been thought – to the point that transitioning to renewable energy would be cost-effective if you looked at the reduced load on the healthcare system alone, and didn’t even take into account climate change (?!).

Link: “Today’s Protests in China Have Been Years in the Making

Original post found at: https://jacobin.com/2022/12/protests-china-zero-covid-policy-free-speech/

I’m struggling to keep up with my feed reader again (what’s new?) but this is an interesting article about the protests in China last month, triggered by the fatal apartment block fire in Ürümqi, where residents were unable to escape because exits had been blocked as part of a Covid-19 lockdown. It talks about how tension’s been simmering, with small-scale protests taking place regularly, in China for decades.

Addendum: there is also this interview about the protests(external link), which highlights the fact that in the lead-up to the apartment block fire, there was already dissatisfaction and controversy over the exploitation (and horrible living conditions) of Chinese workers at Foxconn factories, with the fundamental assent of the Chinese government.

Link: “The Failure of Reconstruction Is to Blame for the Weakness of American Democracy

Original post found at: https://jacobin.com/2022/12/civil-war-by-other-means-book-review-january-6-trump/

Good article about the failure of Reconstruction in the US in the 1870s, which it argues (in contrast to the book it’s reviewing) was motivated by the hostility of the ruling class (industrialists, largescale landowners, etc.) to the economic justice being demanded by formerly enslaved people. It also made this comment about the class composition of January 6th rioters that I found enlightening:

[T]he University of Chicago’s Project on Security and Threats obtained employment data for 501 of the 716 people arrested or charged for their role in January 6. The vast majority were either business owners, self-employed, or white-collar professionals, including doctors, lawyers, bankers, architects, and accountants. Only 22 percent of the sample held what the compilers described as “blue collar” jobs, as either wage-earning or salaried workers. Only 7 percent were unemployed.

a cartoony avatar of Jessica Smith is a socialist and a feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.