Typically other people’s problems seem simpler, uncomplicated and easier to solve than those of one’s own society. In this context, the decontextualized hunger and homelessness in Haiti, Cambodia or Vietnam is an easy moral choice. Unlike the problems of other societies, the failing inner city schools in Chicago or the haplessness of those living on the fringes in Detroit is connected to larger political narratives. In simple terms, the lack of knowledge of other cultures makes them easier to help.

The white tourist’s burden | Al Jazeera America

There’s nothing “normal” about having a middle class. Having a middle class is a choice that a society has to make, and it’s a choice we need to make again in this generation, if we want to stop the destruction of the remnants of the last generation’s middle class. Despite what you might read in the Wall Street Journal or see on Fox News, capitalism is not an economic system that produces a middle class. In fact, if left to its own devices, capitalism tends towards vast levels of inequality and monopoly. The natural and most stable state of capitalism actually looks a lot like the Victorian England depicted in Charles Dickens’ novels.

The Middle Class Is Not ”Normal” (via azspot)

(via azspot)

Hou’s discovery is one of about a dozen sign languages identified for the first time by linguists in the last decade, and more are popping up. Most recently a group of American and Israeli linguists have been studying two new sign languages in Israel, one of which arose only four generations ago in a Bedouin village with an unusually large deaf population. Such “village sign languages,” as they’re called, appear all over the world. There is Ban Khor, a sign language used by about a thousand people in a village in Thailand; Adamorobe, a language in Ghana that shares a number of traits with other West African sign languages, like loose hand shapes and sweeping gestures; and Kata Kolok (literally “deaf language”), which developed in Bengkala, Indonesia, where villagers share a belief in Bhatara Kolok, a deaf god.

AJAM, "Inventing a New Language"

I hope that the players at Northwestern will understand that when NCAA president Mark Emmert says that “no one up here” believes a union is necessary, what he means is, “No one up here in the offices of the NCAA, which generated $913 million in revenue last year thanks in large part to the unpaid players in Division I men’s basketball and football, sees a problem with the current system, which serves our interests quite well. Neither I, Mark Emmert, who made $1.7 million in 2011, nor your coach, Pat Fitzgerald, who was paid $2.2 million the same year, believe that you, the unpaid players, need a union to protect and advance your interests. We, the highly paid kings of college athletics, believe that the current situation in which we have all of the power and money and you have none is preferable.”

That is what NCAA president Mark Emmert is saying to you, college athletes. Just to be clear.

http://gawker.com/college-athletes-unionize-if-you-want-to-be-ripped-off-1559974756 ;-)



Animated artwork by Rebecca Mock

Fine, detailed and subtle animated artwork created by New York illustrator Rebecca Mock. Apparently the animated gif back to stay, gradually more and more people are exploring this old format and customers asking for shouting. Several of these illustrations were created for the New York Times or The Warlus magazine.

Beautiful gif art. <3

Oh my Lord. We have to have these at AJAM.

(via npr)

In December 2010 [Silver] set out to acquit WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of sexual assault allegations in the court of statistics. Silver used a technique called Bayesian inference, in which he split factors into underlying conditions and new information, arriving after some analysis at the conclusion that the charges against Assange were (likely) trumped up. But one underlying factor Silver wasn’t considering was himself. A survey of research in the 2002 paper “Effects of victim sex and sexual orientation on perceptions of rape” in the journal Sex Roles cited a bundle of studies finding men “more likely to believe that a rape victim is responsible for her own victimization, that she provoked the assault by her relationship with the perpetrator, that she wanted sex, or that her behavior invited the rape.” Could an evaluation of his own underlying conditions have affected Silver’s calculation? What would the results of “critical” Bayesian inference look like? That’s the kind of truth that I fear will remain “beyond our perception.”

There are many good counters to Nate Silver’s launch-trolling, but this is by far the best

(Why Nate Silver Can’t Explain it All, Al Jazeera America)