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‘I Was Showered in Blood’: What Happened When ISIS Came to Our Camp 

I woke up at 3AM this morning for guard duty—two hours alone on the roof of our sleeping quarters. Squinting out into the night, I could see nothing but darkness. I nibble on a packet of sunflower seeds.

I’m always terrified on guard duty. All I think is, “Oh god, what if an ISIS sniper pops me off with one shot and sneaks into the building and blows up my friends?” I’ve never heard of that happening, but it’s a psychological thing. There’s no way to prevent being shot by a sniper if you’re on guard. That would be it—lights out. I wouldn’t know a thing. But like my commander, 30-year-old Sorxwîn, always says: “Fear is good; it keeps you alert.’

https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/i-was-showered-in-blood-what-happened-when-isis-came-to-our-camp

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Surprising Things I Learned as a Woman Fighting ISIS 

I woke up 7AM this morning to the sound of radios going crazy. Friends said they could see movement, but no one was sure. Then I heard gunfire.

We’ve spent the past week liberating frontline villages along the Euphrates River towards Raqqa, ISIS’ capital city. Last night, my tabur [platoon]—a mix of eight YPJ women and six YPG men, plus a female commander named Sorxwin— camped in a town a few hundred metres behind the frontline. Today was supposed to be our day off, which is why we’d slept in later than usual. ISIS often attack then. They think they can catch us off guard behind our lines. But they are lashing out like a cornered dog: we’re stronger, more organized, have the might of coalition airstrikes on our side, and have almost completely encircled Raqqa. They’ve nowhere left to run.

https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/surprising-things-i-learned-as-a-woman-fighting-isis

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Rouhani’s victory is good news for Iran, but bad news for Trump and his Sunni allies

So it’s a good win for the Iranian regime – and its enormous population of young people – and a bad win for Trump’s regime, which would far rather have had an ex-judicial killer as Iranian president so that Americans would find it easy to hate him. Maybe Hassan Rouhani’s final-week assault on his grim rival candidate and his supporters – “those whose main decisions have only been executions and imprisonment over the past 38 years” – paid off. Who among Iran’s under 25s, more than 40 per cent of the population, would have wanted to vote for Ebrahim Raisi whose hands had touched the execution certificates of up to 8,000 political prisoners in 1988?
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/iran-election-rouhani-saudi-arabia-trump-bad-news-a7746146.html?amp

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Until we treat rapists as ordinary criminals we won’t stop them 

There is a simple and surprisingly durable myth about what causes men to rape women. It goes like this: if a man is too horny, from sexual deprivation or from being constitutionally oversexed, he will lose control in the presence of an unguarded woman. Through the early days of psychology as a science, this basic assumption remained the same. When Richard von Krafft-Ebing wrote Psychopathia Sexualis (1886), he assumed that rapists suffered from either ‘priapism and conditions approaching satyriasis’ or a ‘mental weakness’ that allowed lustful urges to escape their control. It was a simple matter of hydraulics. If the pressure was too great, or the vessel too weak, a horrifying crime would burst forth.
https://aeon.co/essays/until-we-treat-rapists-as-ordinary-criminals-we-wont-stop-them

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Chelsea Manning Is a Free Woman: Her Heroism Has Expanded Beyond Her Initial Whistleblowing

EVER SINCE Chelsea Manning was revealed as the whistleblower responsible for one of the most important journalistic archives in history, her heroism has been manifest. She was the classic leaker of conscience, someone who went at the age of 20 to fight in the Iraq War believing it was noble, only to discover the dark reality not only of that war but of the U.S. government’s actions in the world generally: war crimes, indiscriminate slaughter, complicity with high-level official corruption, and systematic deceit of the public.
https://theintercept.com/2017/05/17/chelsea-manning-is-a-free-woman-her-heroism-has-expanded-beyond-her-initial-whistle-blowing/

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2017 in North America

 

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Donald Trump Is a Menace to the World

Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States. He does not possess the requisite intellect and does not understand the significance of the office he holds nor the tasks associated with it. He doesn’t read. He doesn’t bother to peruse important files and intelligence reports and knows little about the issues that he has identified as his priorities. His decisions are capricious and they are delivered in the form of tyrannical decrees.He is a man free of morals. As has been demonstrated hundreds of times, he is a liar, a racist and a cheat. I feel ashamed to use these words, as sharp and loud as they are. But if they apply to anyone, they apply to Trump. And one of the media’s tasks is to continue telling things as they are: Trump has to be removed from the White House. Quickly. He is a danger to the world.

Source: Donald Trump Is a Menace to the World: Opinion – SPIEGEL ONLINE

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2017 in North America

 

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Donald Trump’s extravagant trip to Saudi Arabia is a desperately-needed distraction from his crisis at home

President Trump arrives in Saudi Arabia tomorrow, mere hours after US bombers attacked pro-Assad militiamen whom the US military say were threatening a base in southern Syria where US and British Special Forces are training rebel fighters.

It would be naïve to imagine that the timing of the US attack, the first intentionally made against Syrian government ground forces in six years of war, was not geared to Trump’s Saudi visit. It has the additional great advantage, from the point of view of the White House, of distracting attention from Trump’s disasters in Washington since he sacked James Comey as head of the FBI and saw a Special Counsel appointed to investigate links between his associates and Russia.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/donald-trump-middle-east-trip-saudi-arabia-airstrike-syria-distraction-tactic-fbi-comey-russia-a7745296.html

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2017 in Middle East, North America

 

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The Doomsday Glacier

Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica is so remote that only 28 human beings have ever set foot on it.Knut Christianson, a 33-year-old glaciologist at the University of Washington, has been there twice. A few years ago, Christianson and a team of seven scientists traveled more than 1,000 miles from McMurdo Station, the main research base in Antarctica, to spend six weeks on Thwaites, traversing along the flat, featureless prairie of snow and ice in six snowmobiles and two Tucker Sno-Cats. “You feel very alone out there,” Christianson says. He and his colleagues set up camp at a new spot every few days and drilled holes 300 feet or so into the ice. Then they dropped tubes of nitroglycerin dynamite into these holes and triggered a blast. Sensors tracked vibrations as they shot through the ice and ricocheted off the ground below. By measuring the shape and frequency of these vibrations, Christianson could see the lumps and ridges and even the texture of a crushed continent deeply buried beneath the ice.But Christianson and his colleagues were not just ice geeks mapping the hidden topography of the planet. They were mapping a future global disaster. As the world warms, determining exactly how quickly ice melts and seas rise may be one of the most important questions of our time. Half the world’s population lives within 50 miles of a coastline. Trillions of dollars of real estate is perched on beaches and clustered in low-lying cities like Miami and New York. A long, slow rise of the waters in the coming decades may be manageable. A more abrupt rise would not be. “If there is going to be a climate catastrophe,” says Ohio State glaciologist Ian Howat, “it’s probably going to start at Thwaites.”

Source: The Doomsday Glacier – Rolling Stone

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2017 in Reportages

 

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Is an Open Marriage a Happier Marriage?

When Daniel and Elizabeth married in 1993, they found it was easy enough to choose a ring for her, but there were far fewer choices for him. Daniel, then a 27-year-old who worked in information technology, decided to design one himself, requesting that tiny stones be placed in a gold band, like planets orbiting in a solar system. He was happy with the ring, and what it represented, until it became obvious after the wedding that he was allergic to the nickel that was mixed in with the gold in the band. As if in revolt, his finger grew red and raw, beneath the circle of metal. He started to think of the ring as if it were radioactive, an object burning holes in his flesh. A month into the marriage, he took it off and never got around to replacing it.He and Elizabeth might not tell the story of that ring, with all its obvious metaphorical meaning, as readily as they do if Daniel were, in fact, ambivalent about marriage, so resentful of its boundaries that he found its most potent symbol too toxic to bear. But Daniel is a softhearted bear of a man, affectionate and affection-seeking, someone who entered marriage expecting, if not everlasting passion, at least an enduring physical connection. He was relieved to find, as the years passed, that he still loved his wife — they kissed hello each time they reunited, they made each other laugh and he was someone inclined to appreciate what he had. They had, by all appearances, a happy marriage.But as with any happy marriage, there were frustrations. Daniel liked sex, and not long after they were married, it became clear that Elizabeth’s interest in it had cooled. She thought hers was the normal response: She was raised by strict Catholics, she would tell Daniel, as if that explained it, and she never saw her own parents hold hands, much less kiss. It was not as if she and Daniel never had sex, but when they did, Daniel often felt lonely in his desire for something more — not necessarily exotic sex but sex in which both partners cared about it, and cared about each other, with one of those interests fueling the other.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2017 in Reportages

 

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The Mozart in the Machine

Sometime in the coming decades, an external system that collects and analyzes endless streams of biometric data will probably be able to understand what’s going on in my body and in my brain much better than me. Such a system will transform politics and economics by allowing governments and corporations to predict and manipulate human desires. What will it do to art? Will art remain humanity’s last line of defense against the rise of the all-knowing algorithms?In the modern world art is usually associated with human emotions. We tend to think that artists are channeling internal psychological forces, and that the whole purpose of art is to connect us with our emotions or to inspire in us some new feeling. Consequently, when we come to evaluate art, we tend to judge it by its emotional impact and to believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Source: The Mozart in the Machine – Bloomberg

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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