Posts from December 28, 2004

Shooting lutefisk in a barrel

Shooting lutefisk in a barrel

: In The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell reviews a book by Jared Diamond swallowing the assumption that ancient Norske had fishphobia but then Matthew Yglesias does 20 minutes of Googlechecking (previously known as fact-checking).

: Fritz Schranck fishes yet deeper.

Numbers too big to bear

Numbers too big to bear

: The number keeps growing bigger and more incomprehensible. They always do. The latest says 59,000 died in the tsunami.

For perspective, this is rising almost to the number of all people killed in natural disasters last year, which itself was multiples over the totals in years before:

According to an annual survey by the German reinsurance giant Munich Re, 75,000 people were killed in natural disasters last year – up from 11,000 in 2002 and 25,000 in 2001. Most devastating were the Bam earthquake (40,000 dead, 30,000 injured) and heatwaves in Europe that claimed more than 20,000 lives. Economic losses were put at $US65 billion, up $10 billion on the previous year.

: UPDATE: An Italian official says the toll could reach 100,000.

Socialized medicine indeed

Socialized medicine indeed

: In posts below on godless Britain, some frustrated folks are trying to put up comments using the word “socialism.” They are stopped in their tracks and they think there’s some vast conspiracy (they can’t decide whether it’s of the left or the right) stopping them. But of course, it’s not a PC cop. It’s a spam cop that guards the door. MT Blacklist prevents the spammer evildoers from posting comments linking to their dubious business endeavors. And so what’s wrong with socialism? Well, at its heart, as you can see, socialism is all about erectile dysfunction. The opiate of the masses, indeed.

Bloggers tortured in Iran, says ex-VP

Bloggers tortured in Iran, says ex-VP

: Iranian blogger Parthisan left a comment below urging us to read his translation of a post by Mohammed Ali Abtahi, the former VP of Iran — renowned for blogging himself — reporting on the imprisonment and torture of bloggers in Iran. It is his report on a committee meeting with imprisoned bloggers, called for by the president of Iran. An excerpt:

1- Physical torture, punches and kicks: “he banged my head to the bench that made my recently-operated nose bleed, and later I found out that they broke my nose”; “they punched us”; “we were alone in single cells for months”; and things of this kind…

2- The classical questions about sexual relationships [to create moral scandals]: “Write down the names of your boy/girl friends”; “tell us about your illegal [= out of marriage] sexual relationships”; “what kind of relationship have that girl/guy had with you?”; “how many times have you been raped, or have you raped?”; and worst of all, they gave the names of 6 reformist activist to one of the girls asking her to confess in writing that she had had illegal sexual relationship with them. And when the girl refused, they brought in a former prisoner (who had turned to their side under torture) who told the girl face to face that he had had sexual relationship with her!

3- The interrogations were managed by a formerly arrested blogger. A few other bloggers who had [given up and] repented before were under less pressure, and were in a way helping the interrogators who had lack of technical knowledge on the subject [of internet and blogs]. This proves that weak people cannot be trusted in politics. However, we understand the situation they’re in and can’t really blame them for what they’ve done.

And more….

I first discovered the amazing Iranian blogosphere when the government arrested fellow blogger Sina Motallebi. I blogged that. Others blogged that. Major media picked up the story. Motallebi got out of jail and then out of Iran and he has credited the attention his plight got from bloggers.

If what we read here is true, then it is incumbent of us to bring attention to this abuse who are doing nothing more than we are doing: excercising our right to free speech. This is citizens’ media and these are our fellow citizens.

Spread the word.

A world of witnesses, a world of reporters

A world of witnesses, a world of reporters

: Following up on yesterday’s post about finding photos and video and the tsunami, Brian TVNewser Stelter sends this good quote from David Carr’s NY Times story:

Bob Calo, an associate professor at the graduate school of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, said that there had been something of a reversal in the news-gathering process. “If you think back, news gatherers would get the story and then commission a photographer to go and get the pictures,” he said. “Now we have flipped it around to where reporters are chasing the pictures, trying to create some context for what viewers are seeing.”

We are all reporters. I’ve written often that I wonder what would have been different if I’d had a camera or cameraphone with me at the World Trade Center on 9/11: An event viewed from a rooftop three miles away would have been viewed from a human level instead.

: Meanwhile, Punditguy sends a link to this dramatic tourist video of the wave engulfing a resort and these photos. Those photos are taken by an American in Thailand named Ernest and if you scroll down on his blog, you will read how he ended up in Phuket. This makes the news very human.