Christohper Hitchens in Slate on the increasing religious extremism in Israel and the IDF:
Peering over the horrible pile of Palestinian civilian casualties that has immediately resulted, it's fairly easy to see where this is going in the medium-to-longer term. The zealot settlers and their clerical accomplices are establishing an army within the army so that one day, if it is ever decided to disband or evacuate the colonial settlements, there will be enough officers and soldiers, stiffened by enough rabbis and enough extremist sermons, to refuse to obey the order. Torah verses will also be found that make it permissible to murder secular Jews as well as Arabs. The dress rehearsals for this have already taken place, with the religious excuses given for Baruch Goldstein's rampage and the Talmudic evasions concerning the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Once considered highly extreme, such biblical exegeses are moving ever closer to the mainstream. It's high time the United States cut off any financial support for Israel that can be used even indirectly for settler activity, not just because such colonization constitutes a theft of another people's land but also because our Constitution absolutely forbids us to spend public money on the establishment of any religion.
I’m not much of a fan of the new Kanye West album, but the video to his latest single intrigues me. Turns out he uses a novel animation technique called datamoshing in which the compression artifacts of the MPEG codec are purposefully used and exaggerated for artistic effect. Have a look:
COLOURlovers has more examples of the technique at work
An investigation by a group of former Israeli soldiers has uncovered new evidence of the military's conduct during the assault on Gaza two months ago. According to the group Breaking the Silence, the witness statements of the 15 soldiers who have come forward to describe their concerns over Operation Cast Lead appear to corroborate claims of random killings and vandalism carried out during the operation made by a separate group of anonymous servicemen during a seminar at a military college.
Although Breaking the Silence's report is not due to be published for several months, the testimony it has received already suggests widespread abuses stemming from orders originating with the Israeli military chain of command.
“This is not a military that we recognise,” said Mikhael Manekin, one of the former soldiers involved with the group. “This is in a different category to things we have seen before. We have spoken to a lot of different people who served in different places in Gaza, including officers. We are not talking about some units being more aggressive than others, but underlying policy. So much so that we are talking to soldiers who said that they were having to restrain the orders given.”
Oh noes! How come I’m only hearing this now? How come Döner stores all over the world don’t have their Turkish flags flying at half mast? How come my local Döner dealer is still wearing a white(ish) shirt which reads “Döner macht schöner” instead of serving me my favorite fast food snack in a black suit?
- According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Bolivia has about half the world's proven lithium reserves (the element which is an important component in modern batteries)
- Magenta (a.k.a. the Deutsche Telekom colorTM) isn’t really a color at all
- Why are peppers hot?
I never knew the vocal sample in Kanye West’s “All falls down” was originally supposed to come from Lauryn Hill’s infamous unplugged album and was only changed to the now familiar Syleena Johnson vocals when Hill refused to give her approval. Oliver Wang at soulsides has the original Promo version of the song which makes for an interesting contrast with the final cut.
- climate change
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- The Wisdom of Krauts
- War & Peace
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