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: “An Oral History Of The Time Six Doctors Swallowed Lego Heads To See How Long They’d Take To Poo”
Title says it all, really. What a story.
Link: “Here’s Why Movie Dialogue Has Gotten More Difficult To Understand (And Three Ways To Fix It)”
Interesting article talking about why movie dialogue has got harder and harder to understand over time. The biggest one seems to be disrespect on the part of filmmakers and crew for the job that the sound team has to do (at least, the part of it where they record the dialogue at the moment it’s spoken). But other factors include modern actors mumbling/breathing their lines way more than they used to, so they speak less clearly to begin with, and also sound systems (particularly at home but even in cinemas!) not being set up very well.
Neat article about a sign language that had been completely off the radar to the academic community until a chance question from one study participant during research on ISL (“do you want the sign I use with my friends, or the sign I use with my mother?”). A distinctive sign language arose in the Jewish quarter of the Algerian city of Ghardaia, and there’s still a community in Israel using it today! (And possibly also in France, although it’s not clear.) Cool stuff.
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: “Rose Bailey (@Rose_On_Mars@dice.camp): I’m going to tell you the story of the man who solved a crime. …”
Super interesting Mastodon thread about one of the most audacious counterfeit money schemes I’ve ever heard of 🙂
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 🙂
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 (?!).
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 , 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.
Another example of the dangers of facial recognition technology – where the Iranian regime once used to rely on surveillance and informants to oppress women defying its mandatory hijab laws, now it’s increasingly able to automate the process.