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‎99% Invisible: 403- Return of the Yokai via Apple Podcasts

July 8th, 2020 No comments
In the US, mascots are used to pump up crowds at sporting events, or for traumatizing generations of children at Chuck E. Cheese, but in Japan it’s different. There are mascots for towns, aquariums, dentists’ offices, even prisons. There are mascots in cities that tell people not to litter, or remind them to be quiet on the train. Everything has a mascot and anything can be a mascot. The reason why mascots and character culture flourish in Japan is connected with the nation’s fascinating history with mythical monsters known as Yokai.

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An interesting link found among my daily reading

If you see the cops, start recording via The Verge

June 5th, 2020 Comments off

Police violence against people peacefully assembling in the United States is being documented across the country thanks to the combined efforts of professional journalists and anybody with a smartphone. As protests grow in all 50 states, more and more videos are surfacing of police violently and lawlessly attacking people in public places who are protesting peacefully or not even protesting at all. And while video of police brutality has largely done nothing to stop it — and, in fact, may further traumatize the communities being brutalized by police — the current historical moment demands a complete record.

Justice is not guaranteed by taking video, but we are seeing some results as the volume of police violence increases. On June 4th, two Buffalo, New York police officers were filmed assaulting a 75-year-old man who appeared to simply be speaking to them. The officers pushed the man, who then stumbled backward and fell, hitting his head on the pavement. Blood could be seen spilling from the man’s ear as several officers could be seen walking past his body on the ground.

Read If you see the cops, start recording via The Verge


An interesting link found among my daily reading

‎99% Invisible: 401- The Natural Experiment via Apple Podcasts [Audio]

May 26th, 2020 Comments off
99% Invisible: 401- The Natural Experiment via Apple Podcasts [Audio]
In general, the coronavirus shutdowns have been terrible for academic research. Trips have been canceled, labs have shut down, and long-running experiments have been interrupted. But there are some researchers for whom the shutdowns have provided a unique opportunity—a whole new data set, a chance to gather new information, or to look at information in a new way. And so, this week, we’re bringing you stories very different academic fields, about researchers who are using this bizarre, tragic moment to learn something new about the world.

States Are Reopening: See How Coronavirus Cases Rise or Fall via Articles and Investigations – ProPublica

May 20th, 2020 Comments off

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published.

Many states are lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions on social and business activity that were put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19. Questions linger, however, about whether some states meet criteria set by public health experts and the federal government for doing so. Experts are keeping a close eye on whether states that have reopened are seeing an uptick in cases or a worsening in other key metrics.

To give people context on state reopenings, and what happens afterward, we are tracking metrics derived from a set of guidelines published by the White House for states to achieve before loosening restrictions. Even if these criteria are met, without a vaccine, reopening may cause an increase in cases. What’s more, some states may meet all of the criteria and still have a high infection rate.

To Be Read: Democracy and Dictatorship in Europe: From the Ancien Régime to the Present Day

May 7th, 2020 Comments off

To Be Read: Democracy and Dictatorship in Europe: From the Ancien Régime to the Present Day

Dictatorship

At the end of the twentieth century, many believed the story of European political development had come to an end. Modern democracy began in Europe, but for hundreds of years it competed with various forms of dictatorship. Now, though, the entire continent was in the democratic camp for the first time in history. But within a decade, this story had already begun to unravel. Some of the continent’s newer democracies slid back towards dictatorship, while citizens in many of its older democracies began questioning democracy’s functioning and even its legitimacy. And of course it is not merely in Europe where democracy is under siege. Across the globe the immense optimism accompanying the post-Cold War democratic wave has been replaced by pessimism. Many new democracies in Latin America, Africa, and Asia began “backsliding,” while the Arab Spring quickly turned into the Arab winter. The victory of Donald Trump led many to wonder if it represented a threat to the future of liberal democracy in the United States. Indeed, it is increasingly common today for leaders, intellectuals, commentators and others to claim that rather than democracy, some form dictatorship or illiberal democracy is the wave of the future.

In Democracy and Dictatorship in Europe, Sheri Berman traces the long history of democracy in its cradle, Europe. She explains that in fact, just about every democratic wave in Europe initially failed, either collapsing in upon itself or succumbing to the forces of reaction. Yet even when democratic waves failed, there were always some achievements that lasted. Even the most virulently reactionary regimes could not suppress every element of democratic progress. Panoramic in scope, Berman takes readers through two centuries of turmoil: revolution, fascism, civil war, and – -finally — the emergence of liberal democratic Europe in the postwar era. A magisterial retelling of modern European political history, Democracy and Dictatorship in Europe not explains how democracy actually develops, but how we should interpret the current wave of illiberalism sweeping Europe and the rest of the world. — Amazon.com