Adventures in Links – April 9, 2016 (Awesome Girls)

Theme: Awesome girls

Every child has the ability to affect change in their community, but we often try to silence them, especially girls. Girls across the world are told who to be, what to think, what to do, and what their future will be. They are kept from math and science courses, forced to give up school entirely, accused of violating the gender binary, and much, much worse.

But girls are resilient. They are strong. They are innovative. They are intelligent. They are compassionate. They are ambitious. They have the potential to change the world. So, in honor of all the awesome girls out there, I’m going to share the stories of just a very few of them. You’ll learn about girls in the Middle East fighting for their right to go to school. You’ll learn about girls in Asia petitioning the government for better infrastructure. You’ll learn about girls in the US writing books against bullying and going to college in their teens. And, most of all, you’ll learn that girls are awesome.

Enjoy! Continue reading

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Gun Laws, State by State – Alaska

Note: As mass shootings gain more media attention, more and more people are discussing gun control. While many seem to believe that registering all guns, requiring background checks for all purchases, and preventing identifiably dangerous people from purchasing guns are all good ideas, just as many seem to be afraid that any gun control law will mean the loss of all civilian guns. Organizations like the NRA play on these fears, telling people that guns are already too regulated and any further action will mean the loss of the much cherished 2nd Amendment (which is more for well-regulated militia than civilians, but that’s an argument for another day).

So I wanted to see what exactly the gun laws are in each state. Are guns too regulated? Do states with tight gun laws have more gun violence or less? What does it even take to get a gun nowadays? With these questions in mind, I’ll be starting a new weekly series – Gun Laws, State by State. I will try to document the most up-to-date gun laws in each state as well as provide facts on gun deaths in each state. Hopefully, by the time I get to the last state, we will all be better educated on gun control and gun deaths. If you have any additional information on the state in question, add it in the comments.

Previous post: Hawaii Continue reading

Adventures in Links – March 19, 2016 (International Women’s Day)

Picture: Google Doodle March 8, 2016

Theme: International Women’s Day

As some of you may know, March 8th was International Women’s Day, a worldwide event meant to celebrate women. In countries as diverse as the US and Ukraine, China and Turkey, Australia and Uganda, people took the day to celebrate the women in their lives and histories that they loved, respected, and appreciated. So, despite the fact that I’m a solid 11 days late, I’d still like to share a little information about the holiday. Enjoy! Continue reading

Daily WTF: Getting Your News from Unscrupulous Sources

Up until about a year and a half ago, I wasn’t aware that Breitbart existed, and once I did learn about it, I thought it was a joke site. It’s such an absurd web site, frequently publishing articles about Obama trying to destroy America, the liberal bias in the media, how terrible immigrants are, and why the gays are ruining democracy. What’s worse is that many of its stories aren’t even real. Instead, it layers its own articles as its sources, forcing conscientious readers to wade through several levels of falsehoods before finally discovering, yep, everything was made up.

However, Breitbart is not the only unscrupulous “news” source out there. In fact, there are many with liberal biases, including US Uncut, Daily News Bin, and Crooks and Liars. What all of these, conservative and liberal, “news” web sites have in common is the explicit objective of telling the “true” story, of eschewing “old media,” and of being a source for the “American people.” Each and every one of them would like their readers to know that they and only they will be telling you the truth – so feel free to blindly believe everything they say and ignore everyone else. Continue reading

Daily WTF: Claiming That Bernie Can’t Win the Nomination

 

Image taken from http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/hillary-clinton-wins-big-in-vegas

Full disclosure: I’m voting for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. If all goes well, I will vote for her to become President and take off work and gleefully throw an epically obnoxious party when she’s inaugurated. I’m already thinking about what desserts to make.

However, I simply don’t understand people’s assumption that Bernie Sanders’ campaign is dead after Hillary’s big wins yesterday in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri. Yes, Hillary did widen her delegate lead by about 100 and netted another 100 super delegates, but there are still over 2000 delegates and 25 states to win, including California in June, which has 475 delegates to give. If Sanders can keep within 200 – 300 delegates and win big in key states like New York, Pennsylvania, and California, he could edge by her and win the nomination. And this isn’t just the hopeful rantings of a “BernieBot.” This is a pragmatic Hillary supporter telling you that her candidate could very well still lose. The popular vote is a hell of a thing. Continue reading

Daily WTF: The Continued Devaluation of Liberal Arts and Humanities Degrees

 

This past Tuesday, Kentucky governor Matt Bevin unveiled his newest budget which, truth be told, was not as horrible as many people feared. However, the biggest black mark against it was not so much a cut but an explanatory comment he had about the type of funding he’d like to implement in 2018 towards public universities. His exact words were, “I want funding that incentivizes outcomes that are specific to the things people want. There will be more incentives to electrical engineers than French literature majors, there just will. All the people in the world who want to study French literature can do so, they’re just not going to be subsidized by the taxpayers like engineers will be, for example.”

I have one thing to say about that: fuck you, Governor Bevin. Continue reading

Daily WTF: Donald Trump’s Manipulative and Abusive Campaign Tactics

How do you manipulate people? Well, there are two things you need to do first: 1) isolate that person and 2) get them to rely on you (and only you). If you can convince a person or group of people that they are alone, under attack, underappreciated, or otherwise marginalized, you can control who has access to them and who they can contact. This makes it easier to force them to rely on you, to make them listen to you, and to listen to only you. Then you can start getting them to do what you say.

To maintain their loyalty and isolationism (because it’s easier to manipulate someone who wants to listen to you), you have to periodically praise them, often at the expense of others. “You’re so smart,” you say, “Unlike your sister,” or “You’re so much prettier than the other girls,” or “Did you see what stupid thing such-and-so did? I know you would never do that.” Complimenting people in that fashion pits them against others, further isolating them, and intrinsically implying that, should they stop being so smart, loyal, etc., they will lose your love and respect and everything that goes with it. And you wouldn’t want that, would you?

Then the real horror begins because if you have an isolated person who only relies on you, only believes in you, and only listens to you, they’re going to do whatever you want without questioning you. This will lead you to spit on, beat, and scream racial slurs at dissenters, especially if your leader is egging you on. This will compel you to ignore outside facts and accuse those fact-holders of either being mean to your leader or to you. This will allow you to forgive your leader for whatever they do, regardless of how vile, cruel, violent, or hateful.

This is how Donald Trump can tell a group of supporters that he could shoot someone in broad daylight and not lose any voters. Oh, and those supporters will cheer. Continue reading

Daily WTF: Parents Teaching Their Kids to Hate

One of a parent’s most important duties is raising a child that will benefit their species. This child should be kind, responsible, accepting, and understanding regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic level, sex, gender, sexual orientation, etc. No, the child will not be perfect (no human is), but they should be capable of putting more goodness into the world than hate.

And yet, some parents go out of their way to teach their children to be cruel, judgmental creatures. They take them to anti-abortion rallies and have them scream at the men and women that are trying to use the facilities. They hand their children signs that say, “God hates fags!” and make them sabre rattle them. Or, like the father in this article, they point at fat women and say, “Look at that cow donkey [fat person].” Continue reading

Daily WTF: The Fanaticism of Some Bernie Sanders Supporters

You know who’s a good Presidential candidate? Bernie Sanders. He’s been in politics for about 50 years and almost always stands on the right side of history, whether participating in the Civil Rights Movement, voting against the Iraq War, voting for veterans benefits, supporting women’s reproductive health, proposing feasible solutions to funding free public college, or chairing committees to investigate the exorbitant increases in medication. He refuses to drag others through the mud and does his best to stay on topic. He’d probably make a fine President.

Despite these qualifications, people still won’t vote for him – and not just Republicans either. That’s because his Democratic opponent is Hillary Clinton, a woman with a political career just as long and just as strong as Sanders’. She’s been an advocate of improved health care since her days as First Lady, weathered countless interrogations with a cool head, was the first female senator from New York, and is one of the most well-traveled and internationally well-liked Secretary of States in history. Her most marked differences from Sanders are that she will occasionally come down on the wrong side of history (like when she opposed same-sex marriage and supported the Iraq War – only to change her mind a few years later) and has major corporate funders. Continue reading

Adventures in Links — January 1, 2016 (New Year’s Celebrations)

Theme: New Year’s Celebrations

By now, every country on the planet has rung in the New Year starting from 5:00am EST December 31 in Samoa to 7:00am EST January 1 in the minor US outlying islands. Happy New Year, everyone! You’ve made it through another year. That’s a personal best. 🙂

But how do we celebrate the New Year? To learn more about this truly international celebration (and see some pretty cool pictures of fireworks and festivities), read on. Continue reading