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The Community Weblog. In byte-sized chunks.

Harmonized data sets with varying sample sizes....

The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World's Richest. The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that distinction. Comparing income by country. About the data.

How Hip-Hop Failed Black America

The Root's ?uestlove on the invisibilizing of Black culture... "...you can point to this as proof of hip-hop's success. The concept travels. But where has it traveled? The danger is that it has drifted into oblivion. The music originally evolved to paint portraits of real people and handle real problems at close range — social contract, anyone? — but these days, hip-hop mainly rearranges symbolic freight on the black starliner. Containers on the container ship are taken from here to there — and never mind the fact that they may be empty containers. Keep on pushin' and all that, but what are you pushing against?"

For those who don't know: Questlove; The Roots.

"For male action heroes, it's an arms race now."

Building A Bigger Action Hero

Dying Of The Light

"These people want to believe in a false reality, they want to believe in conspiracy theories, they want to believe that their government is evil, they want to believe that the biblical Anti-Christ sits in the White House and that the so-called End Times are upon us, they want to believe that the President is plotting their demise because that justifies their hatred and bigotry and their miserable unhappiness." Jim Wright, retired naval officer, occasional military intelligence consultant, craftsman and blogger, illustrates the process by which the media exploits lazy critical thinking to create a false narrative that alienates us from one another.

Identity Dominance: The U.S. Military's Biometric War in Afghanistan

As part of its effort to combat insurgent forces interspersed within an indigenous population, the use of biometrics has become a central component of the U.S. war effort. Having expanded heavily since its introduction during the war in Iraq, biometric identification and tracking of individuals has become a core mission in Afghanistan with initiatives sponsored by the U.S. and Afghan governments seeking to obtain the biometric identifiers of nearly everyone in the country.

Previously in biometrics

Thirty Errol Morris movies that can be streamed

Inside, please find a list of twenty-eight movies, TV episodes, and short subjects by Errol Morris and two movies about Errol Morris, all of which can be streamed, along with some short descriptions of their content.

"Black beauty. Dark beauty."

Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o has landed the cover of People's annual World's Most Beautiful issue. In February, she gave a moving speech (transcript) about how media depictions of "beauty" affected her. Why Lupita Nyong'o's 'People' Cover Is So Significant.

Hippocrat and Midas walk into a clinic.

UC OKs paying surgeon $10 million in whistleblower-retaliation case. 'The settlement ends a case brought by the ex-head of UCLA's orthopedic surgery department, who says the medical school allowed doctors to take industry payments that may have compromised patient care.' 'In 2012, the surgeon sued UCLA, the UC regents, fellow surgeons and senior university officials, alleging they failed to act on his complaints about widespread conflicts of interest and later retaliated against him for speaking up.'[SL LATimes, use privacy settings in browser]

'He also alleged that UCLA looked the other way because the university stood to benefit financially from the success of medical products or drugs developed by its doctors.
One of the orthopedic surgeons that Pedowitz complained about testified at trial about receiving $250,000 in consulting fees in 2008 from device maker Medtronic. In memos to university officials, Pedowitz raised concerns about the financial dealings of other doctors as well.'

'At trial, Pedowitz said he was deeply troubled by the large amount of money Shamie was paid. He testified that he was particularly concerned that Shamie was trying to enroll patients in a research study involving Medtronic at the time.
"I saw this as an obvious problem," Pedowitz testified.'

'"These are serious issues that patients should be worried about," Pedowitz said in an interview. "These problems exist in the broader medical system and they are not restricted to UCLA."

'Before UCLA, Pedowitz worked at UC San Diego and as chairman of orthopedics and sports medicine at the University of South Florida.
Mark Quigley, an attorney representing Pedowitz, said the case could have been avoided if the UC system enforced the policies it already has in place.
"What good are all the policies if they protect the wrongdoers and fail to protect the actual whistleblower?" Quigley said. "The university wanted to cover it all up."'

"Inaccurate maps are valuable aids."

Made for French television to promote a map exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris Raúl Ruiz's (wiki imdb) Zig-Zag is a good place to begin one's trek through the Chilean artists work.

"The metafictional universe of Ruiz is neither real nor realistic — only possible, or let's say conceivable, because Ruiz thinks and films it. Whether this makes it good or bad, commercial or uncommercial, is another matter, existing off somewhere in a parallel universe."

Shorter Documentary
Longer Documentary: (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)

Obituary
Six Functions of the Shot
Partially annotated filmography
Review of Poetics of Cinema

Some films: City of Pirates. Treasure Island. On Top of the Whale. Dog's Dialogue. La chouette aveugle. Tres Tristes Tigres. Histoire de Glace. Querelle de jardins.

"Let's stop telling Adam and Steve jokes."

"We've run off at the mouth, said things we shouldn't have said. We've run around like a peacock all over the platform. We have said things because we were playing to the home team, and they all liked our act. On this issue, nobody likes our act, except the redneck factor." That was Pastor Greg Belser speaking at the Southern Baptist Convention's first ever conference on human sexuality currently being held in Nashville. As promising as those remarks are, however, Slate notes that the SBC still has a long way to go.

Mery Talys and Quicke Answeres

Shakespeare Jest-Books: Reprints of the Early and Very Rare Jest-Books Supposed to Have Been Used by Shakespeare.

Dedicated "to those who have held the bag on a Snipe hunt"

Published in 1910, William T. Cox's Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods, With a Few Desert and Mountain Beasts is one of the earliest written accounts describing fabulous beasts of lumberjack lore, together called "fearsome critters." Read of tales of the peculiar wapaloosie, the spiky, hairless hodag that swallows trees whole, and the bizarrely violent splinter cat, which smashes trees with its head until it finds food. When you've been there a spell, take a gander through Paul Bunyan's Natural History, in which the goofang fish swims backwards to keep water out of its eyes and the teakettler walks backwards, nostrils steaming. For more harrowing yarns on yesterday's monsters, thumb through Henry Tryon's Fearsome Critters, which closes with a tantalizing snipet about an eternally elusive bird.

3 levels of lasers. It's rescanning the udder and looking for the teats

Something strange is happening at farms in upstate New York. The cows are milking themselves. Rise of the Milkbots.

"So... do you... do you suppose we should... talk about money?"

Introducing Sociology: Tim Kreider's influential 1999 essay (previously) on how Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut uses sex and infidelity to cover up a story of greed and murder by the elite gets a brand new afterward by the author to introduce a new site for his non-fiction writing, TimKreider.com

The Most Dangerous Mission...The Most Daring Escape...Behind Enemy Lines

VHS Cover Junkie showcases examples of the now lost art of the home videotape cover. [SLTumbr]

Inside the giant panda research centre

Photographer Ami Vitale was allowed exclusive access into the Wolong National Nature Reserve managed by the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda as it trains pandas to be released into the wild.

The Problem With Pandas.
Is Breeding Pandas in Captivity Worth It?
How China's Panda Business Works
Eats Shoots, Leaves and Much of Zoos' Budgets

Truception

The Truman Show, a critically (yt) acclaimed movie from 1998, is set to become a TV series. [h/t to mwhybark, ahere.]

ROMEO: I WILL NEVER LOVE AGAIN

Dirtbag Romeo and Juliet

HBO content to be available via Amazon Prime

"Amazon and HBO on Wednesday announced a first-of-its-kind deal that will make HBO content available to Amazon Prime subscribers. ... Content covered in the new deal includes The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Eastbound & Down, Family Tree, Treme, Band of Brothers, John Adams, and early seasons of Boardwalk Empire and True Blood." No Game of Thrones yet, however. Read more here. And here.

"Whip out your gun and follow that car." ~ Vladimir Nabokov

Dmitri Nabokov, Car Guy [Part One], Dmitri Nabokov, Car Guy [Part Two]: Dmitri Nabokov, son of Vladimir: his father's work (Lolita, Pale Fire, Ada, etc.), and cars.

Some stand out photos include:

- Véra Nabokov with the Bizzarrini Strada
- Four of Dmitri's cars in Switzerland: Ferrari 348 TB, Ferrari 456 GT, Viper, my second Ferrari 308 (GTBi Quattrovalvole)
- In San Remo, with Véra and Vladimir Nabokov, aunt, and cousin
- Vera Nabokov with a Ferrari 308
- Dmitri in Viper GT2

36 ventilators, 4.7m³ packing chips

36 ventilators, 4.7m³ packing chips (SL video)

Interior Design

Curiosity led me to cut my collection of golf balls in half to see what the cores looked like. To my surprise, what I found inside inspired me to consider that I could discover, in the unlikeliest of places, elegant formal qualities and surprising metaphorical possibilities.

Bounty Mutiny

"If an NHS trust proposed today that it was going to introduce Viagra sales reps into men's genitourinary wards, or reps for walking aids to orthopaedic wards, the very least you'd expect would be some stout resistance. It is a measure of the strength of the association between "motherhood" and "buying stuff" that the presence of commercial representatives on maternity wards has been tolerated for so long."


For several decades, the NHS has given 'parenting club' and data marketing company Bounty direct access to pregnant women and new mothers, in exchange for an estimated £2.3 million per year. In participating NHS trusts, pregnant women are given 'Bounty packs' by midwives at antenatal appointments and are visited by sales reps from Bounty in hospital after giving birth, who give out more packs, offer to sell baby photographs, and take details to sell onto third-party companies. Bounty are also paid by the government to distribute forms for claiming Child Benefit (a payment the majority of UK families with children are eligible for), which are included in the postnatal Bounty packs.

Recently, both Bounty and the NHS have come under fire for the commercial partnership. The British Medical Journal published an editorial from Dr Margaret McDonald questioning the ethics of combining commercial advertising with NHS advice, the National Childbirth Trust criticised the arrangement with Bounty specifically, and a House of Commons motion called for an end to the practice of allowing sales representatives on maternity wards.

The parenting site Mumsnet has been campaigning against Bounty with its Bounty Mutiny, which began after a number of the site's members shared their experiences of sales reps using dishonest, invasive or high-pressure tactics to get them to give their details or buy photographs of their babies.

But can the NHS afford to end its partnership with firms like Bounty? As the continuing crisis into NHS maternity services (particularly in England) continues, it is unclear how the Department of Health can afford, or practically implement, improvements.

U.S. Supreme Court upholds Michigan's ban on affirmative action

The U.S. Supreme court has decided to uphold Michigan's ban on affirmative action. Here is a a brief summery of the history behind the case. The court has made their opinions available here. Also, how states with affirmative action bans have fared.

There are options, so long as you choose ours.

It's simple. Just say Yes. Campbell Newman's LNP government has asked the residents of Queensland to help balance their budget. Strong Choices is an online survey giving respondents the opportunity to suggest reduction targets by selecting taxation or reduction in services or benefits. Problem is, there doesn't seem to be much choice. If you'd like to play along, you'll need a Queensland postcode. I chose Mooloolaba.