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      25分钟前 未来汽车日报最新赛麟汽车董事长王晓麟:不应该对造车新势力有偏见

编者按:本文来自36氪「未来汽车日报」(微信公众号ID:auto-time),作者:牛晓通。

作者 | 牛晓通

编辑 | 梁辰

不为大众消费者熟悉的超跑品牌赛麟汽车,正在试图让越来越多的人认识它。

7月19日,赛麟汽车董事长王晓麟对媒体透露,赛麟汽车在中国江苏的生产基地已经建设完成,在今年初进入了设备安装和调试阶段。

赛麟品牌诞生于1983年,由美国职业赛车手史蒂夫·赛麟创立。2000年,赛麟推出第一款完全自主设计的超级跑车赛麟S7,随后赛麟S7在世界超跑锦标赛中击败法拉利等超跑品牌,赛麟跻身于世界顶级超跑行列。

目前赛麟汽车旗下的主要车型是两款超级跑车,S1和S7,前者为已上市的量产车型。

2014年,赛麟S7在北京车展首次展出,随后开始发展中国市场。2016年,美国赛麟国际汽车公司联合国内多家企业投资建立江苏赛麟汽车科技有限公司。2017年,赛麟在江苏投资建设生产基地。

王晓麟透露,目前赛麟在江苏建有一大一小两个生产基地,大厂年产能15万台,具备一般整车厂所需的全部生产线。小厂主要生产超级跑车和电动车,年产能7万台。大厂处于设备调试阶段,小厂已经开始投产。

王晓麟告诉36氪未来汽车日报,赛麟汽车未来的几款车型,包括城市电动车、超跑赛麟S1和超跑型SUV都会在未来12月内投放市场。

就全球汽车市场而言,电动化和智能化是目前最主流的两大趋势。赛麟汽车从超级跑车起家,对汽车发展趋势同样时刻关注。对于目前饱受争议造车新势力,王晓麟对他们“充满敬意”。

“大家对造车新势力也好,互联网造车也好,不应该有任何偏见。”王晓麟认为,如今的造车新势力公司吸收了大量传统车企的精英,同时有创新的互联网思维,也更贴近消费者。

“从这一点来说,传统车企应该向他们学习。”王晓麟说。

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5年前 Egypt, the U.S. and the Limits of Foreign Aid

The Obama administration did not invoke the "coup" clause in the Foreign Aid Bill, so it does not have to automatically cut off all foreign aid to Egypt, yet it announced the withholding of cash transfer of $260 million and some military shipments. A message was sent, but what exactly? To whom? Why now? And what are the expected results?

All these questions should not have been asked if the administration really had a clear and consistent policy with regards to Egypt, but it does not, and so the recent announcement, far from clarifying, just added confusion, and not only in Egypt.

Some context is needed here: Cairo was the scene of the famous speech of President Obama, calling for historic reconciliation with the Muslim world, criticizing authoritarianism and still pledging support and friendship to the host president, Hosni Mubarak. Whether the anti-Mubarak street revolution of early 2011 was exclusively motivated, though belatedly, by the speech is something which commentators already debate and historians are sure to do as well. We simply do not have enough perspective to pass a judgment, but the administration is not about interpreting events for the sake of writing history books, it is about trying to help shape events in a way which will be conducive to American interests and values, so they may deserve credit for being even somewhat responsible to the initial success of the revolution, but not beyond.

At some point the administration policy started to fluctuate, lost any semblance of coherence, and consequently the ability to be an important actor in the thorny road towards democracy; and not less important, also stability in Egypt. There was pressure put on the Egyptian military to hasten the process of handing over control to civilians, something which had to lead to a Muslim Brotherhood [MB] victory, which seemed inevitable to almost every seasoned Egypt observer. The questions that arise are very simple: did the administration believe that the results would be different? In that case, their reading of the situation was grossly flawed.

Or, maybe the administration anticipated a MB victory and was ready to accept it believing that it would bring democracy and stability, while not adversely affecting regional stability. In that case, the grim, inevitable conclusion must be, that the Administration was infected with a very substantial dose of optimism, some will say it was too naïve to believe it.

The MB did not come to power after 80 years of being subjected to sustained repression in order to enjoy just the fruits of government. They came to start a sustained process of Islamization of Egypt. The writing was on the wall, among other things, when the Christian minority became subjected to a campaign of harassment and persecution, and to a lesser extent, also the small Shiite community, and the administration kept mum and said and did nothing.

It should have been crystal clear that the military would not accept complete, one-sided MB control, and not so much for love of democracy, much more importantly, because the military had no intention of relinquishing its dominant position in the politics; and more so, the economy of Egypt. It was also obvious that the anti-MB street protest alone could not bring the MB down. The courage shown by the protestors, first against Mubarak and then against Morsi, is to be admired by all freedom loving people, but the truth, perhaps the uncomfortable one, is that in both cases it was the Egyptian military, NOT the Egyptian people, which clinched the deal, and made the political changes inevitable.

Under these circumstances it was and still is the utmost interest of the administration to work with the Egyptian military, which is there to stay. So, too, will the MB, but the latter are not and would not be reliable partners to the US and the West in building democracy and stability in Egypt. Winning elections is a feature of democracy, but respecting the rights of minorities is also so essential, alongside other manifestations of a genuine democratic regime which Morsi and the MB worked against in a period of just one year.

It follows that the more acceptable, natural allies of the US administration in Egypt are the military and the liberal sections of the population, not the MB. This is not a choice between good and evil, it is a much greyer choice, but still in the Egyptian context, the inevitable one. A choice must be made, because the protagonists in Egypt cannot and will not Come to a democratic accommodation. For both sides, control over Egypt is not just a question of political expediency, it is a matter of survival.

The MB are not the lot of people who will acknowledge American gestures of good will and consequently reciprocate with a policy conducive with American interests and values. By confronting the military as the Obama administration is doing now, when the MB are and will continue to be anti-American, the US is losing its ability to effectively influence the Egyptian situation. The stick of aid is there, but it was used too prematurely, in a way which indicates a desire to save face rather than a result of a strategic, well-calculated decision. The military did not get from the administration the same amount of patience which was shown to towards the MB. They deserved it, even though they made clear that the MB would have to be stopped.

No more democracy will suddenly descend on the Egyptian people, and if this ss what is expected of the latest administration step, it is wrong. But unintended and negative consequences can and are more likely to occur. For example, a growing sense of confusion among most of America's allies in the Middle East, and that in the aftermath of the confusion over Iran and Syria, may prove to be just a little too much in a volatile region. Not something which will serve American interests.

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5年前 The Chutzpa Nation

Ask a roomful of Israelis to explain why Israel is the success story of the twenty-first century and you'll be met with an orchestra of opinions and an ensemble of ideas. Listen closely to this cacophony, however, and you'll hear a common melody -- chutzpa -- playing in the background.

Chutzpa, while common in our vocabulary, is difficult to define but easy to identify -- particularly in Israel. Equal parts grit, guts, and gall, it is the Tel Aviv waiter who serves relationship advice with your entrée. And it's the cab driver who shares his roadmap for peace while navigating the winding streets of Jerusalem.

It would seem that chutzpa is encoded into the DNA of the Jewish people. Abraham, the first Jew, had the audacity to argue with God and the Jewish people seemed to infer that if you can argue with the Divine, surely you can argue with anyone.

Looking back on Jewish history, it seems that chutzpa is a mix of both nature and nurture. For almost two millennia, Jews have studied the Talmud; 63 volumes that explore the depths of Jewish law, philosophy and ethics. Like an ancient Da Vinci code, the Talmud is ripe with brainteasers that children as young as six are taught to unravel. In the process, they sharpen their minds and develop unparalleled analytical skills.

Over time, the lively debates in our study halls spilled into our dining halls. When Jewish families gather around the Shabbat table, they aren't just spooning up steaming bowls of chicken soup. They are dishing out opinions on every subject from science to sport, dating to dieting, and politics to pop culture. While some might describe Israelis as argumentative, we believe our no-nonsense approach is a recipe for success.

In just sixty-five years, the Jewish state has become an oasis of innovation in an otherwise arid region. Small, isolated, and lacking the natural reserves of our well-oiled neighbors, Israelis have had to work from the neck up to survive. Nicknamed the Startup Nation, Israel has more start-ups per capita than any other country and attracts more venture capital dollars per person than any other nation.

Over the past sixty-five years, Israelis have launched one startup after another. Beginning a new enterprise is always a risky business, but doing so in an economic downturn is nothing short of chutzpa.

Israelis view failure through a prism of positivity and so every setback is seen as a step towards success. This determination to succeed against the odds is refined in our military. Based on a series of sophisticated tests administered in high school, young men and women are placed in units that will cultivate their skills and challenge them to solve problems under pressure and with precious few resources. By the time they finish their service, they have received high-tech training, life experience, and responsibility that is unmatched by any university or program anywhere in the world.

Alumni of elite technology units have applied their expertise in cybersecurity, data storage, and analytical algorithms to found successful businesses like Waze, which was recently bought by Google for more than one billion dollars.

Many innovators have also used their skills to overcome the most daunting of challenges. Just ask the creators of the Iron Dome missile defense system. As rockets rained down on our cities and towns, a group of Israeli engineers were determined to save lives by developing an effective interceptor system. Undaunted by the naysayers who said it was a futuristic dream; they went from the drawing board to defending Israel's borders in world-record speed.

Exiled, tormented and persecuted like no other people, the story of the Jews is a story of courage, innovation, and reinvention culminating in the creation of the State of Israel. We revived a faith that nearly vanished with the Jews of Europe; we cultivated a barren land and made it flourish; and we took a nation of immigrants and built a state that is today, the pride of the Jewish people. We have had the courage to fail, the courage to challenge the status quo, and the courage to reimagine the world. In six and a half decades, the State of Israel has achieved the unimaginable. And just think, the chutzpa nation is only getting started.

Ron Prosor is Israel's ambassador to the United Nations.

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5年前 Malala's Muslim Faith: A Voice Of Islam For The Next Generation

Malala Yousufzai was shot by the Taliban for standing up for the education of girls and has electrified the world with her determination and courage in the face of ignorance and hate.

She's also the voice of Islam's next generation of moderate Muslims.

Though only 16 years old, the charismatic teenager fearlessly articulates how her faith grounds her and gives her the courage to back up her views on peace and the importance of education. Her father is a teacher and outspoken activist for education, as well as a devout Muslim who opposes the Taliban's narrow-minded interpretation of Islam.

Malala presents an alternate narrative to the hijacking of Islam by the Taliban; using the Muslim faith as a framework to argue for the importance of education rather than making Islam a justification for oppression. She doesn't hesitate to directly challenge the Taliban, saying in a speech to the UN, ""They think that God is a tiny, little conservative being who would send girls to the hell just because of going to school. The terrorists are misusing the name of Islam and Pashtun society for their own personal benefits."

During her speech to the UN, she said "Islam says that it is not only each child's right to get education, rather it is their duty and responsibility."

Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told AFP last week, "We attacked Malala because she was used to speak against Taliban and Islam and not because she was going to school," showing that for them, the idea of Islamic reform is more threatening than education for girls.

It's been just over one year since the Taliban's bullet hit her point blank in the skull, but rather than silencing her voice, the attempted murder only served to amplify her message of equality, opportunity, and moderate Islam.

She's since addressed the UN General Assembly, received the Children's Peace Prize, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from the European Parliament, and is currently in the running for the Nobel Peace Prize, which will be announced on Friday. Her foundation, the Malala Fund, works to make the education of girls in developing countries a global priority. "I Am Malala," her recently published book, is a bold, frankly told account of the problems faced by Pakistan as well as the rest of the world when it comes to the radical brand of Islam pushed forward by the Taliban.

Named after Afghanistan's own version of Joan of Arc, Malalai of Maiwand, there is a prophetic quality to Malala's deeply held convictions that sits alongside her youthful innocence. Malalai is a Pashtun heroine who inspired an entire battlefield to turn a losing battle into one of the worst defeats in the history of the British army, giving her life for her country.

Malala is an inspiration to girls all over the world, particularly young Muslim women who see her as an example of what it means to be a strong, outspoken advocate while still holding fast to the Islamic faith. Islam doesn't have to be a religion of seclusion or oppression, and Malala is a bold manifestation of that truth.

Zabe Shafi, a 20-year-old senior at the University of Arizona, admires Malala for her ability to show the world that Muslim women can be strong, capable leaders in their own right. She told the Huffington Post, "Malala is a representation of the modern Muslim woman, whether that be the girls living in Swat Valley or women like me in the US." Shafi applauds Malala for her resistance to the Taliban and commitment to women's rights through education.

Though the Taliban would have the world believe that Islam mandates the oppression and seclusion, Malala's Islam is different. She believes that her religion values education for all, declaring in a speech to open a library that "There is no better way to explain the importance of books than to say that even God chose the medium of a book to send His message to His people."

Read some of her quotes on faith, God, and spirituality here:

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5年前 In Russia, Every Day Should Be National Coming Out Day

On October 11, National Coming Out Day will be celebrated in many countries of the world. That day gives lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people an opportunity to talk about their coming out. Their stories might inspire others who are still in the closet, to open the door and make a new start in life without hiding their sexual orientation or gender identity.

As a young boy, growing up in the Netherlands in the seventies, it was not easy to find a suitable role model, an inspiring and respected gay man who publicly talked in a candid and serious way about his homosexuality. In fact there were no such role models to look up to. Surely I could have used such an example, and my parents as well, when I finally came home and told them about my sexual orientation. They did not even know an openly gay person and feared that my life was ruined.

I was reminded about the loneliness before my coming out when the speaker of the Russian State Duma, Sergey Naryshkin, addressed the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on October 1. Members of the parliament questioned him about the anti-gay propaganda law that prohibits speaking publicly in a positive way about homosexuality when children are involved. The Duma speaker defended this law (which targets "non-traditional" sexuality, code for LGBT people) by claiming there is no discrimination against LGBT people in Russia. The description he gave of the freedom Russian LGBT people enjoy is chilling:

We have many successful individuals who have a non-traditional sexual orientation in the areas of business, culture, and the arts. Such people have the right to vacation anywhere. In Moscow, there are even gay clubs. I have never been to one, but I have been told that these people feel quite comfortable in them and can have a good time.


OK, so Russian LGBT people have the right to vacation anywhere and can meet each other in Moscow in a gay club, but are not allowed to express their sexual orientation in public. According to the speaker, Russian children have to be protected against positive information on homosexuality as such information is considered harmful homosexual propaganda.

This argument has been rejected by the Council of Europe's advisory body on constitutional matters, known as the Venice Commission. Russia is a member of the Council of Europe. The commission directly challenged the argument that the anti-gay propaganda law fell within Russia's discretion to protect morals or public health, finding that it was not necessary in a democratic society to pursue these aims. As the commission concluded, "It cannot be deemed to be in the interest of minors that they be shielded from relevant and appropriate information on sexuality, including homosexuality."

The Russian authorities ignore that children also have the right to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds to develop their identity and assess their health and sexuality. This includes information about homosexuality. This right is protected by article 13 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Already in 2002 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child criticized British legislation prohibiting teaching about homosexuality in schools. The committee concluded that the state needed "to provide adequate information and support to homosexual and transsexual young people." And the committee advised the United Kingdom to repeal the law that prohibited information about homosexuality to minors. Subsequently, the law was repealed.

The anti-gay propaganda law in Russia frustrates a serious celebration of National Coming Out Day. If an LGBT person would speak out in public about his or her coming out, he or she would face the risk of being fined. Foreigners who do the same can even be detained, fined, and then deported from Russian soil. The horrendous situation in which LGBT people find themselves in Russia nowadays is showcased by a new law proposal that has been introduced in the Russian Duma. It aims to change the Russian Family Code and takes away parental rights of a parent who raises a child while in a "non-traditional sexual relationship." If enacted, this might lead to authorities knocking on the door of gay parents and taking their children away. The law has not been approved yet in a final vote, but the mere contemplation of it shows how determined the Russian authorities are to push Russian LGBT people back into the closet.

The anti-gay propaganda law and the law proposal to strip parents from their parental rights are clear violations of the human rights of children to freely access vital information on their health, their sexuality, and their identity as well as the right to be raised by their parents in a safe environment without interference of state authorities.

National Coming Out day is only one day a year. In Russia there is an urgent need to celebrate it every day.

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5年前 In Russia, Every Day Should be National Coming Out Day

On October 11 National Coming Out Day will be celebrated in many countries of the world. That day gives lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people an opportunity to talk about their coming out. Their stories might inspire others who are still in the closet, to open the door and make a new start in life without hiding their sexual orientation or gender identity.

As a young boy, growing up in the Netherlands in the seventies, it was not easy to find a suitable role model, an inspiring and respected gay man who publicly talked in a candid and serious way about his homosexuality. In fact there were no such role models to look up to. Surely I could have used such an example, and my parents as well, when I finally came home and told them about my sexual orientation. They did not even know an openly gay person and feared that my life was ruined.

I was reminded about the loneliness before my coming out when the speaker of the Russian State Duma, Sergey Naryshkin, addressed the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on October 1. Members of the parliament questioned him about the anti-gay propaganda law that prohibits speaking publicly in a positive way about homosexuality when children are involved. The Duma speaker defended this law (which targets "non-traditional" sexuality, code for LGBT people) by claiming there is no discrimination against LGBT people in Russia. The description he gave of the freedom Russian LGBT people enjoy is chilling.

"We have many successful individuals who have a non-traditional sexual orientation in the areas of business, culture, and the arts. Such people have the right to vacation anywhere. In Moscow, there are even gay clubs. I have never been to one, but I have been told that these people feel quite comfortable in them and can have a good time."

OK, so Russian LGBT people have the right to vacation anywhere and can meet each other in Moscow in a gay club, but are not allowed to express their sexual orientation in public. According to the speaker, Russian children have to be protected against positive information on homosexuality as such information is considered harmful homosexual propaganda.

This argument has been rejected by the Council of Europe's advisory body on constitutional matters, known as the Venice Commission. Russia is a member of the Council of Europe. The commission directly challenged the argument that the anti-gay propaganda law fell within Russia's discretion to protect morals or public health, finding that it was not necessary in a democratic society to pursue these aims. As the commission concluded, "It cannot be deemed to be in the interest of minors that they be shielded from relevant and appropriate information on sexuality, including homosexuality."

The Russian authorities ignore that children also have the right to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds to develop their identity and assess their health and sexuality. This includes information about homosexuality. This right is protected by article 13 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Already in 2002 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child criticized British legislation prohibiting teaching about homosexuality in schools. The committee concluded that the state needed "to provide adequate information and support to homosexual and transsexual young people." And the committee advised the United Kingdom to repeal the law that prohibited information about homosexuality to minors. Subsequently, the law was repealed.

The anti-gay propaganda law in Russia frustrates a serious celebration of National Coming Out Day. If an LGBT person would speak out in public about his or her coming out, he or she would face the risk of being fined. Foreigners who do the same can even be detained, fined, and then deported from Russian soil. The horrendous situation in which LGBT people find themselves in Russia nowadays is showcased by a new law proposal that has been introduced in the Russian Duma. It aims to change the Russian Family Code and takes away parental rights of a parent who raises a child while in a "non-traditional sexual relationship." If enacted, this might lead to authorities knocking on the door of gay parents and taking their children away. The law has not been approved yet in a final vote, but the mere contemplation of it shows how determined the Russian authorities are to push Russian LGBT people back into the closet.

The anti-gay propaganda law and the law proposal to strip parents from their parental rights are clear violations of the human rights of children to freely access vital information on their health, their sexuality, and their identity as well as the right to be raised by their parents in a safe environment without interference of state authorities.

National Coming Out day is only one day a year. In Russia there is an urgent need to celebrate it every day.

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5年前 Man Develops Rare Case of Melanoma in the Gums

By Bahar Gholipour, Staff Writer
Published: 10/09/2013 05:12 PM EDT on LiveScience

A 45-year-old man in China who developed a large, dark discoloration of his upper gums had a rare type of melanoma, a cancer that usually happens on the skin, according to a new report of his case.

"This is an unbelievably rare type of melanoma," said Dr. Susan Muller, professor of head and neck surgery at Emory University, who wasn't involved with the case.

This type of melanoma, medically known as mucosal melanoma, constitutes less than 1 percent of all melanoma cases, Muller said.

The area of the man's gums that was darkly pigmented measured about 0.5 inches wide by 1.5 inches long (1.5 centimeters by 4 cm). When a biopsy showed the dark lesion was, indeed, cancerous, doctors removed not only the gums but also parts of the man's upper jaw, according to the case report, published today (Oct. 9) in The New England Journal of Medicine. [Image of the mucosal melanoma]

Melanoma is cancer of melanocytes, cells that produce the pigments that color the skin. It is the least common type of skin cancer, but one of the most dangerous if it's not caught early. Melanocyte cells exist in some other parts of the body, too — for example, in the eyes, sinuses and mouth — but their function in these places is not clear.

"At this point, we don't know, first, why there are melanocytes in the mouth, and second, what makes those cells go bad and become malignant," Muller told LiveScience.

Muller and her colleagues previously looked at people with melanomas in the head and neck region who were treated at Emory University and affiliated hospitals. Over a 20-year period, they found 22 people who had melanoma in the sinuses, and only eight people who had melanoma in the mouth. Their study was published in the journal Oral Oncology in 2008.

Similar to the man in the new case report, in every instance of oral melanoma in Muller's study, the cancer grew in the patient's upper jaw and roof of the mouth. "We have no idea why that happens," Muller said.

In the man's case, when doctors followed up with him six months after his surgery, they found no signs that the cancer had come back.

Pigmentation in the mouth is not uncommon, and can be caused by many things, Muller noted. Although dark spots in the mouth might look like melanoma, they are usually benign. However, nothing other than melanoma would look like the black, large, diffuse pigmentation seen in this patient, Muller said.

Treating melanomas that occur in the head and neck region can be challenging. When removing any tumor, doctors like to have "clear margins" — meaning they have removed a big enough area of tissue around the cancer to lower the chance that cancer cells remain in the body. This can be problematic when the cancer is in the head and neck area, Muller said. [13 Oddest Medical Case Reports]

"If you have cancer in the liver, they can remove the liver — but if you have cancer in the head, you can't remove the head," Muller said. What's more, melanomas in the head and neck region are not as responsive to the chemotherapy used for melanomas of the skin.

Another challenge in treating some cases is that the melanoma might be hidden from sight. When that happens in the sinuses, it can be hard to notice. However, melanoma in the mouth can be detected early, by dentists or patients, Muller said.

Should people examine their mouth, along with their skin, for early signs of melanoma?

"No, there's enough to worry about — the risk of oral cancer is much higher," Muller said. "This case is a good reminder that melanoma could happen in the oral cavity, but it's a very rare event."

Email Bahar Gholipour or follow her @alterwired. Follow LiveScience @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.



Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. ]]>

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5年前 Argentina Grants Lulu, 6-Year-Old Transgender Child, Female ID Card

Argentina's government has granted a six-year-old transgender girl an ID that corresponds with her realized gender identity.

Late last month, government officials granted Lulu, who was born biologically male but reportedly dressed and identified as a female since she could talk, a female identification card under the country's Gender Identity Law, according to the International Business Times.

As the Associated Press notes, it is the first case of a minor legally changing their sex on a government document since officials passed the legislation last year.

Passed in January 2012, Argentina's Gender Identity Law enables citizens to change their names and government-sanctioned sex on official documents without approval from a judge or doctor. With an awareness of how government documents designating one's assigned sex can function as a form of body policing and gatekeeping, Argentina remains the only country in the world to allow individuals to change one's sex without medical or legal approval.

The law reportedly states:

Gender identity is understood as the internal and individual way in which gender is perceived by persons, that can correspond or not to the gender assigned at birth, including the personal experience of the body. This can involve modifying bodily appearance or functions through pharmacological, surgical or other means, provided it is freely chosen. It also includes other expressions of gender such as dress, ways of speaking and gestures.


"The government of the province of Buenos Aires has decided to provide a solution to this particular case raised by the family," Alberto Perez, Chief of Staff to the governor of Buenos Aires, is quoted by The Telegraph as saying.

Recently, children and minors who identify as transgender have gained further visibility within both political and social realms. Throughout the battle for the passage of California's Transgender Student Rights bill, the world became familiar with Ashton Lee, a 16-year-old transgender student who was at the forefront of advocacy efforts to institutionalize the bill as law.

Six-year-old Cory Mathis also brought rights for transgender students in public schools into a national dialogue when Colorado school officials refused to let her use the girl's bathroom. The court eventually ruled in her favor, with many citing the case as the first such ruling in the next frontier of civil rights.

Additionally, 12-year-old transgender Jazz contributed to changing perceptions surrounding gender identity in minors when she spoke with Barbara Walters about her gender identity, and later to HuffPost Live about her desire to become a mother.

In terms of Lulu's victory in Argentina, officials made the decision to grant her the proper identification after her mother, Gabriela, wrote to Daniel Scioli, the governor of Buenos Aires, as well as Argentinian President Cristina Kirchner, according to The Telegraph's report.

“By accepting that my son was not the son I gave birth to, but a girl," Gabriela told reporters. "I accepted her identity and put myself at her side."

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5年前 Iraq Carries Out 42 Executions In Single Week

Iraq has executed 42 "terrorism" convicts over the past week, the justice minister said Thursday, defying condemnation of its extensive use of the death penalty as violence intensifies.

"In the course of the past week, the ministry has carried out the death sentences handed down against 42 people, one of them a woman, who were all convicted of terrorism offences, in accordance with Article 4 of the anti-terrorism law," Hassan al-Shammari said.

Iraq executed 23 people during two days in September, most of them convicted on terrorism charges, the ministry said on October 1.

Executions in Iraq, which are usually carried out by hanging, have drawn widespread condemnation from the European Union, the United Nations and human rights watchdogs.



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5年前 The Vast Climate Conspiracy

Don't believe in conspiracies? Sure. But what about the still thriving literature about the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderbergers, Bohemian Grove, Skull and Bones, and the shelves full of assassination theories?

So. Maybe we should be open to a simple idea. Maybe all the renewed hoopla about global climate change being caused by humans and our thirst for fossil fuels that has followed the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Global Climate Change (IPCC) is really the product of a few biased, left-wing scientists and Al Gore. Maybe it is a conspiracy carried out inside Priuses and passive solar houses to take over the world. But, Houston, we have a problem. The conspiracy to dupe the public and policy makers and screw the oil, gas and coal companies has to be pretty vast. Take that bastion of leftist pronouncements, the Vatican.

Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI both weighed in, starting in 1990, that global climate change is real, caused by humans, and that we should take action to slow and stop it. Of course the increasingly populist Pope Francis has been taken in, but how about this recommendation? "All nations must focus on a rapid transition to renewable energy sources and other strategies to reduce CO2 emissions." Michael Mann and those pesky Nobel Peace Prize-winning scientists? No. The radicals urging we shut down the fossil fuel industry are from the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in a 2011 scientific report for the Vatican! There are also over 100 Roman Catholic agencies, including nasty folks like Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities, and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, who have formed a Catholic Climate Covenant that has people signing a St. Francis Pledge to take action to prevent global warming.

OK, OK! But what about really conservative Christians like the Southern Baptists? Aren't they opposed to Gore and the mad scientists? (We know that mainline Protestants, Jews, and other religions will go along with any liberal cause, so they don't count, even if the National Council of Churches, representing some 55,000,000 Americans, has been actively working on climate change for decades). Sorry. The Southern Baptists saw the light a few years ago and now have the Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change. It affirms the science behind global warming and calls for action.

Well, what about really tough conservative political leaders? No wimps, please! OK. The Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of Great Britain, came out against human-caused global warming as early as the 1980s as soon as she was briefed by top scientists. Her Tory Environment Minister, John Gummer, is still at it. And so is the conservative-led government of England. Why this British conservative tradition of concern with human-caused climate change? Thatcher was trained in chemistry and believed in science. Her friend, Ronald Reagan, believed in stories.

The conspiracy to convince the easily led that we need individual, local, national and international rules and regulations to move away from fossil fuels is even bigger than you know. It includes over 670 U.S. college presidents who are publicly committed to move their campuses to carbon free zones with green curricula and projects; over 1000 U.S. mayors committed to do the same with their cities, major labor unions, and major corporations, 45 of whom banded together to lobby for President Obama's cap and trade bill. Yeah, Yeah. But what about real Americans?

Surely our square-jawed, steely-eyed generals and admirals to whom we entrust our nation's defense don't buy the snake oil of climate change. Wrong again. The vast climate conspiracy extends to the Armed Forces! There is a navy "Green Fleet," Air Force biofuels, and green projects to cut carbon emissions at places like Fort Benning which now sports hybrid and electric vehicles, solar roof panels, LED lights, and much more to reduce the military's carbon boot print.

Egad! Who's left who doesn't "believe" in the well-documented causes of recent, accelerating global climate change and its awful spate of droughts, fires, floods, and super storms? The IPCC Report just released was written by hundreds of the top climate scientists in the world who had to bring along their governments. They reviewed thousands of peer reviewed articles and have convinced the Chinese, the Russians, and just about everybody in the world to agree. This global conspiracy is so vast that it only leaves out a few people and entities we could name. Oil companies like Exxon/Mobil, coal companies like the Southern Company and Peabody Coal, railroads that haul coal, like CSX, a couple of think tanks, like the Cato Institute, that get major funds from the Koch brothers with vast holdings in fossil fuels, and a handful of ideological politicians who don't like any government action at all.

I'm open to the idea and trying to hang on to the notion that scientists and religious leaders, labor, business, colleges, mayors, the military, most of the governments of the world, and some of my best friends, are part of a vast, global conspiracy to push global warming theories and squash society. But it just gets harder and harder to believe that all those folks are wrong and are simply out to fool me.

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5年前 HuffPost Launches In Germany (PHOTOS)

On Thursday, The Huffington Post launched its eighth international edition, The Huffington Post Deutschland, in Munich. The site, created in partnership with Hubert Burda’s Tomorrow Focus Media, is HuffPost’s fifth edition in Europe, joining the UK, France, Spain and Italy. The site's editorial director is Cherno Jobatey, who for 20 years was the host of the popular morning show ZDF-Morgenmagazin, and the editor in chief is Sebastian Matthes. who most recently led science and technology coverage at the German business news magazine Wirtschaftswoche.

In her blog post introducing the site, Arianna wrote that:

HuffPost Deutschland is launching at a time of transition and disruption in the German media. Blogging is still in its early stages here, which means the opportunities for growth are tremendous for HuffPost, which is a media hybrid -- a combination of a journalistic outlet that last year won a Pulitzer Prize for its investigative reporting and a powerful platform bringing thousands of voices that otherwise would not have a platform into the global conversation. Our goal is not just to be telling the most important stories but to be helping the people of Germany tell their stories themselves -- in words, in pictures, and in video.


In Munich on Thursday for the event was Arianna and HuffPost CEO Jimmy Maymann. They were joined at a press conference at Munich's Literaturhaus by Tomorrow Focus AG CEO Toon Boutin, member of the Management Board at Tomorrow Focus AG Christoph Schuh, Managing Director of Tomorrow Focus Media Oliver Eckert, as well Jobatey and Matthes.


PHOTOS OF THE TEAM



PHOTOS OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE

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5年前 HuffPost Launches in Germany (PHOTOS)

On Thursday, The Huffington Post launched its eighth international edition, The Huffington Post Deutschland, in Munich. The site, created in partnership with Hubert Burda’s Tomorrow Focus Media, is HuffPost’s fifth edition in Europe, joining the UK, France, Spain and Italy. The site's editorial director is Cherno Jobatey, who for 20 years was the host of the popular morning show ZDF-Morgenmagazin, and the editor in chief is Sebastian Matthes. who most recently led science and technology coverage at the German business news magazine Wirtschaftswoche.

In her blog post introducing the site, Arianna wrote that:

HuffPost Deutschland is launching at a time of transition and disruption in the German media. Blogging is still in its early stages here, which means the opportunities for growth are tremendous for HuffPost, which is a media hybrid -- a combination of a journalistic outlet that last year won a Pulitzer Prize for its investigative reporting and a powerful platform bringing thousands of voices that otherwise would not have a platform into the global conversation. Our goal is not just to be telling the most important stories but to be helping the people of Germany tell their stories themselves -- in words, in pictures, and in video.


In Munich on Thursday for the event was Arianna and HuffPost CEO Jimmy Maymann. They were joined at a press conference at Munich's Literaturhaus by Tomorrow Focus AG CEO Toon Boutin member of the Management Board at Tomorrow Focus AG Christoph Schuh, Tomorrow Focus Managing Director of Tomorrow Focus Media Oliver Eckert, as well Jobatey and Matthes.


PHOTOS OF THE TEAM



PHOTOS OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE

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5年前 UK Government Introduces Tough Immigration Bill

LONDON -- LONDON (AP) — The British government has introduced legislation to block immigrants living in the country illegally from opening bank accounts, require landlords to check tenants' immigration status and make it harder for migrants to appeal deportation.

The bill has been slammed by lawyers and rights campaigners. Immigration is a sensitive political issue in Britain given the country's unemployment rate and several drawn- out, high-profile deportation sagas. Home Secretary Theresa May and Prime Minister David Cameron want to reduce net migration from non-European countries from 176,000 last year to fewer than 100,000 before the next election in 2015.

Immigration Minister Mark Harper said Thursday the new bill will stop migrants using public services to which they are not entitled and reduce the factors which encourage people to come to the U.K.

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5年前 What German Wisdom Can Teach The Rest Of The World About The Good Life

The people of Germany, with their reputation for having an industrial-strength work ethic, may not spring to mind as the happiest or healthiest people around. Yes, Germans are better known for their beer and brats than their wellness rituals. But at the same time, with their unique ways to relax, unplug, enjoy nature, and tap into the wisdom of their rich traditions, Germans have lot to teach the rest of the world about living the good life.

In honor of the launch of HuffPost Germany, here are seven things that Germany can teach the rest of the world about living well.

They take time to slow down.

germany vacation

Gemütlichkeit, a German word without a clear English translation, indicates a state of coziness and intimacy, and an unhurried pace to counter the frenetic speed of modern life. And although the Germans are known to work hard and take their careers seriously, they also make plenty of time for this gemütlichkeit.

The German "work, work, work" stereotype may actually be an outdated one -- Germans actually take more vacation time than citizens of any other European country. In a 2010 European Union report on holidays, Germany tied with Denmark for the number-one slot, with 30 days of paid vacation a year. The UK, by comparison, has an average of 24 days of paid annual vacation.

They get back to nature.

germany black forest

In the German language, there's a word, wandervogel, which can be translated as "rambling, hiking, or wandering bird." Wandervogel was also a German youth movement that started in the late 1800s with a group of young people who wanted to free themselves from the restrictions of society and return to the freedom of nature. The movement was reestablished in the mid-20th century and has several thousand members across Germany today.

Wandervogel closely tied to the German idea of naturmensch, or "natural man." And in Germany, it's easy to get back to nature: There's no shortage of untouched natural beauty in the country, from the Black Forest to the romantic Rhine.

They ask the big questions.

kant

Germany has a robust philosophical tradition that includes some of the world's greatest thinkers, from Nietzsche and Marx to Hegel and Heidegger. The German idealism movement, which began with Kant and extended through Hegel, asked the big questions of human life and the meaning of existence. To this day, the German philosophical tradition stays strong at the country's many top-notch universities.

We could all stand to benefit from their timeless wisdom on happiness, morality and human nature. As Kant summed it all up with his three rules for happiness, seek "something to do, someone to love, something to hope for.”

They invest in holistic health care.

hospital patient

Germany has a strong tradition of holistic medical research and naturopathic healthcare. The "Father of American naturopathy," Benedict Lust, was trained in hydrotherapy and natural medicine in Germany during the late 19th century before bringing his "nature cure" teachings to America.

Naturopathic health care is readily available in Germany to this day. The alternative medicine industry is regulated by the government, and CNN reported in 1998 that the herbal mood-booster St. John's wort was the most commonly prescribed anti-depressant in Germany, as opposed to Prozac in the U.S.

They harness the healing powers of water.

thermal spa

Spas throughout Germany use the power of water for healing, as they have since the birth of hydrotherapy in the early 1800s. Resorts and wellness centers across the country attract tourists by offering Kneipp hydrotherapy, a type of water therapy meant to strengthen and revitalize the immune system. If you're visiting, consider a stay at Göhren, a seaside hydroptherapy resort on the island of Rügen.

They support the arts.

berlin art

Young and up-and-coming artists are well supported in Germany. Not only do the country's major cities (especially Berlin) have thriving art scenes, but the government also provides funding to support emerging artists. Many creative workers in Germany are eligible to receive financial support from the government.

They're prioritizing happiness.

happiness

Happiness hasn't always been Germany's forte, but the government is working to change that. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said recently that gross domestic product (GDP) isn't the only important marker of Germany's success -- individual and collective well-being also matter. Germany has recently been one of the lowest-ranked European countries in happiness and well-being, but Chancellor Merkel is determined to help Germany turn that around.

"We look at the stock exchange index or currencies on the news each morning and talk a lot about growth in terms of gross domestic product, but we often don't prioritize what is really most important to people," Merkel said at a recent forum, "What Matters to People: Well-being and Progress," vowing to focus more on boosting well-being.

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5年前 Living on Four Liters of Water

Four liters of water. It sounds a fair amount. So just how challenging can it to be to survive on this amount for a day? It's a challenge almost 1 billion face on a daily basis -- with no choice in the matter.

The innovative 4Liters project run by water NGO Dig Deep is asking those of us who do have a choice to choose to live like nearly 1 billion do. It's an act of solidarity, but more than this, it's a tool of education -- it teaches us just how much water we consume in the global North and just how little we value this precious resource which so many lack access to.

I took this challenge on for one day. And that was more than enough for someone already aware of the water and sanitation crisis facing the world to have a far better understanding of what this means in practice.

A typical day starts with a coffee. That cup needs washing. Turn away for a moment and that running tap spouting forth unlimited crystal clear water -- water free from disease -- can take 1/8 of your daily allowance in the blink of an eye. Want a shower? Want to use the toilet and flush it? Forget about drinking much for the rest of the day and get used to the ensuing dehydration headache.

The simple yet resoundingly powerful message the 4Liters challenge has imparted to me is that, in the wealthy global North, it is near impossible to live on four liters of water a day. This is a vicious reminder of the stark inequalities we face in a world where so many people simply cannot, as much as they may want to, live on more.

The concept of "virtual water" is instructive here. Developed by Professor Tony Allan, a University of London geographer, virtual water is a means for calculating the amount of water locked in to the food and goods we encounter in our everyday lives.

That cup of coffee -- it didn't take up just the water used to pass through ground coffee beans to produce the daybreak elixir of choice for so many. Allan's calculations show it used an astonishing 140 liters to get from farm to cup. Steak at lunchtime? If it's grain-fed, you're looking at using an astounding 13,000 liters of water per kilo. Want to track the virtual water of items you encounter in your daily life? Grab the iPhone app -- and be mindful of the water used in its production that is so clean it can damage human bodies.

Now let's take a look at this from the other end of the spectrum. More than one in six people worldwide -- 894 million -- don't have access to 20-50 liters of safe freshwater a day. Accessing 50 liters is considered by the UN to be the amount needed for a healthy lifestyle.

And how do they get this water? It's a much longer and more risky journey than reaching for a tap -- women in the poorest parts of the world spend some 200 million hours a day collecting water, walking an average of about 4 miles a day and carrying a weight of about 44 pounds on their heads.

Such long walks raise immense threats of attack -- a situation that's even worse when searching for a place to go to the toilet after dark. And the threat doesn't end when the water eventually arrives at home. It's estimated that about 70 percent of the world's blind are women, many of whom have been infected, directly or through their children, with trachoma, a bacterial eye infection occurring in communities with limited access to water -- and that's just one of many health issues associated with dirty water.

This all has ramifications in terms of what people could have been doing instead of fetching water and then suffering the ill health it can cause. They could be working in jobs to provide for their families, that support a local business to grow and employ more people while adding to a national tax base. They could be enabling their children -- or even themselves -- to be enrolled in full time education heightening their chances of escaping the cycle of poverty.

At the heart of this is the issue of choice. The poorest have no choice and, as I learned, we in the global North have less leeway than one might think. But as 4Liters shows, we can learn more about our own water consumption, and we can be more measured in our use of this precious resource. If we as individuals seek to make this first step, however difficult, we will be actively supporting any policies that seek to redress the balance and at the same time be living with greater solidarity for our fellow humans who have so little.

Today, at the Budapest Water Summit, where talks are ongoing towards what a future water and sanitation "sustainable development goal" should look like, UN Special Rapportuer on the Right to Water and Sanitation, Caterina de Albuquerque, made a telling point. She explained that she had sought to show her 10-year-old daughter how inequitable global access to water and sanitation is.

Her daughter understood -- crucially, she understood it was wrong. As Alberquerque asked, if her 10-year-old daughter can understand this, why can't we all? More to the point, why can't we do something about it, so that the poorest are no longer faced by a life of thirst, the threat of disease, and sexual assault in their search for either a toilet or a drink, while for the richest, the largesse of our seemingly unlimited access to water faces us in almost everything we consume.

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5年前 Where In The World You're Most Likely To Hate Your Job

A full 18 percent of U.S. workers spend their days being actively negative or hostile toward their coworkers, which is nothing compared to parts of the Middle East and North Africa where more than half of workers report they are actively disengaged, according to a new Gallup survey of employees across the world.


Infographic by Alissa Scheller for The Huffington Post.

The Gallup report points out that high levels of active disengagement tend to occur in countries with unemployment crises, since people keep jobs they hate when no alternatives are available. While China's unemployment rate is low, around four percent, the country has one of the lowest levels of engagement in the world with just six percent of its employees engaged — which could jeopardize its productivity and slow the fast-paced growth of its economy.

The survey measured workplace engagement based on a dozen elements linked to performance outcomes, using interviews with employees at all levels of organizations across most industries in the countries studied. Workers who were actively disengaged were, understandably, more likely to have experienced stress and anger the previous day and less likely to have been happy or experienced enjoyment.

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5年前 The Etiquette of War and Surveillance

Letters to Colonel Manners (Ret.)

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

[Editor’s Note: In the sequester and government-shutdown era, the classic military newspaper Stars and Stripes is facing some of the problems of its civilian brethren and so downsizing its print edition. Among the features to go: Dear Abby. As it happens, TomDispatch is ready to step into the breach.  We’ve called on an old and knowledgeable friend, Colonel Manners (ret.), whose experience in military and surveillance matters is evident from his impressive CV (unfortunately, a classified document). His assignment: to answer letters from Americans puzzled by the etiquette, manners, and language of the arcane national security world of Washington. Here is a first sampling from a column that, in syndication, could go global.]


Dear Col. Manners,


I’m an embattled newspaper editor.  Recently, I read a New Yorker piece by Ken Auletta that included this disturbing passage about the New York Times: "In early August, the Times was working on a story about an intercepted terror threat when James R. Clapper, the administration’s director of intelligence, asked the paper’s Washington bureau to withhold certain details. Clapper warned that, if the full version were made public, the Times 'would have blood on our hands.'" The Times withheld those details.  However, with so many classified documents pouring out of Washington and the possibility that some might come into the possession of my paper, I worry about finding blood on my hands, too.  On a personal note, I’m extremely squeamish.  In college, I had to leave my biology class when the professor showed a film on Harvey’s discovery of the circulatory system.  While watching Grey’s Anatomy, I have to close my eyes whenever surgery comes on screen.  I grow faint if I get a paper cut.  Any suggestions?


Stressed and Bloody Anxious in Chicago


Dear Stressed and Bloody Anxious,


I see your problem.  Fortunately, I can assure you that it’s all in your head.  To understand why, you need to grasp a distinction that’s clear in Washington, but might be less so in Chicago.  When a government official suggests that an outsider might have “blood” on his or her hands -- as happened repeatedly, for instance, during the Bradley Manning imbroglio -- they are talking about prospective blood, future blood.  Negative reactions to blood, according to scientific studies, are due, in part, to its alarming red color.  Future blood, being metaphorical, is not red.  If it gets on your hands, you will not actually “see” it.


In Washington, this is similarly true of past blood.  Take National Intelligence Director Clapper.  From 2001-2006, he was the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, then undersecretary of defense for intelligence, before being nominated in the Obama years to head the office of national intelligence.  In other words, he has served in Washington throughout the Iraq and Afghan Wars, as well as the Global War on Terror.  Like many Washington officials, military and civilian, who supported the American global mission in those years, he might be said to have some responsibility for any number of deaths and so to have “blood on his hands.”  Think of the almost 4,500 Americans who died in Iraq or the nearly 2,300 who have, thus far, died in Afghanistan, or the tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans who died in those years.


Now, here’s the point: Washington is not disturbed by such blood.  The reason is simple.  It, too, can’t be seen.  I’ve met Clapper and I can assure you that, when he shakes your hand, there is not the slightest trace of a reddish tint anywhere on it.  (He’s got an impressively firm grip, by the way!)  This, I hope, will lighten your unnecessarily grim mood.  Like so many other stalwarts in our national security universe, Clapper is a model.  He is unfazed, and his “blood” is far more real than the highly speculative and metaphorical blood that might someday be on your hands for a killing related to the release of a classified document.  Note that, despite the appearance of startling numbers of such documents in recent years, there is no record of prospective blood actually being spilled.


Yours truly,
Col. Manners (ret.)  



***


Dear Col. Manners,


As the owner of a furniture store in Kalamazoo, Michigan, I’ve been worried about our competitors, especially IKEA, getting a step on us.  So here’s what I want to know: recently, speaking of Iran, President Obama said that he was keeping “all options on the table,” adding that “we will do anything to make sure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon.”  I’ve noticed that this phrase has, since 9/11, grown ever more popular in Washington.  I was wondering about that table everyone is talking about.  Given that it seems to be reserved for major weapons systems of various sorts and nothing else (at least nothing else is ever mentioned), who manufactures such a table?  Can I order it somewhere?  Does it really exist or is it just an image meant to stand in for a future military assault on Iran (or wherever)?  Would it be too big to fit in my store?  I’m most appreciative for any information you could give me on the subject. 


Tabled in Kalamazoo


Dear Tabled in Kalamazoo,


That table is quite real.  I saw one once.  I obviously can’t say where, though it held a set of bunker-busting missiles.  I should add that it is not a table in the normal sense -- i.e., one of those four-legged, flat-topped structures we tend to place in our dining rooms or kitchens.  Again, I can say no more.  Rest assured, however, that when the president says “all options are on the table,” he means it.  And you are quite accurate in pointing out that on such tables “all” the options are indeed military.  Though always referred to in the singular, in reality, there are a number of such tables for each country mentioned; the Syrian ones, for example, hold Tomahawk missiles and B-2 bombers; the Iranian ones, those bunker-busters, among other major weapons systems.


I don't know if you noticed, but on the night before the recent government shutdown, the Pentagon went on a buying spree, dumping $5 billion into the accounts of major weapons makers (and others).  According to someone I trust in Washington, the intelligence community similarly dipped into its black budget accounts and bought a number of things, including at least three back-up “option tables” at a cost of millions of dollars.  (Again, I can’t tell you exactly how much.)  Unfortunately, you cannot purchase such products for your store.  The good news is that neither can IKEA.


Sincerely,
Col. Manners (ret.)


***


Dear Col. Manners,


I have to ask for your discretion, for reasons that will quickly become apparent.  There are 12 documented cases in which a National Security Agency employee used NSA surveillance programs to hack into a partner’s, lover’s, or romantic interest’s email or listen in on his or her phone calls.  And this is generally considered just “the tip of the iceberg.”  I am a civilian employee of the NSA.  Consider me the unlucky thirteenth case.  I know that such acts are sardonically known as LoveINT, but in my case that wasn’t it.  As I’ve told my former partner, I just wanted to know if she and a friend of ours were planning a surprise birthday party for me.  (I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to be caught off-guard.)


The Agency took no action against me, but my partner has never forgiven me.  (She’s now living with our former mutual friend.)  She still insists that I should apologize. I consider this irrational.  I say that no harm was done.  I’ve pointed out to her that the NSA hacked into the emails and phone calls of Dilma Rousseff, the Brazilian president, and the president of the United States has refused to apologize.  His only response was to launch a many months-long “broad review” of NSA practices.  (Believe me, there’s nothing to investigate.  We did it.)  As far as I can see, there’s an equivalency in the two cases: like my partner, Rousseff responded in an overly emotional way, calling off a long planned trip to Washington and later denouncing the U.S. at the United Nations.  Here’s my question: if the president doesn’t have to apologize, why should I?  Who’s in the right here?  Please settle this dispute for me.


Unlucky 13


Dear Unlucky 13,


I’m afraid that the rules of etiquette are different in the two cases you cite.  While I regret to tell you this, you are in the wrong and should apologize.  In our personal lives, it is important to say we’re sorry to those we treat badly, and hacking into your partner’s email is, by definition, bad manners. 


Similarly, on a global scale, if, say, the Argentinean government had hacked into President Rousseff’s email, an apology would indeed be in order.  It’s clearly not a good neighborly thing to do.  But I hardly need to add the obvious: the United States is not a normal nation.  It’s the planet's sole superpower.  It goes by a different rulebook, which it writes itself, and that is as it should be.  So if we Americans have been playing by house rules in the case of the NSA and Rousseff, then what is there to apologize for?


It’s common knowledge that an American president does not apologize for the acts of his hackers or his soldiers or his spies or his officials or his drones.  In addition, it’s obvious that such an apology would be impractical and set this country on the road to hell.  After all, once a president stopped playing by the superpower rulebook and started apologizing, just consider the Pandora’s box he would open (without a hint of hope at the bottom).  If we were a normal nation, there would be a vast list of things he would have to apologize for, including, just in the last decade, kidnappings, torture, abuse, murder, imprisonment in black sites, assassination, and so on and so forth.


So, Unlucky 13, swallow your bad luck and say you’re sorry, but don’t ask the president to do the same.


Confidentially yours,
Col. Manners (ret.)


***


Dear Col. Manners,


I’m a housewife in Tulsa and I had a question for you about the president’s plan for a Syrian intervention.  I know that, in the end, it didn’t happen, and I hope you won’t think it’s frivolous of me to bring it up a month later, but I simply couldn’t get it out of my mind.  Here’s what I’ve been wondering about: Why is it called “humanitarian intervention” when the president’s (and Pentagon’s) plan, as best I understood it, was to loose Tomahawk missiles and bombers on Damascus?  I don’t see anything “human” or "humanitarian" in that.  And here’s another related question: why are such strikes always referred to as “surgical” and “precise” when, as far as I can tell, they invariably kill civilians?


Oklahoma Gal


Dear Oklahoma Gal,


Nothing frivolous about your thinking!  Let me start with that “surgically precise.”  The answer is: American weapons makers are the best in the world and so all of our latest weapons are indeed surgical and precise in their impact.  Keep in mind, however, that, as studies have shown, “surgically precise” is a term with significant latitude.  Consider, for instance, that, according to a report published in the Archives of Surgery, in a six-and-a-half-year period, Colorado doctors operated on the wrong patient at least 25 times, and another 107 times on the wrong body part.  So, surgically precise -- yes, indeed!


As for that term “humanitarian intervention,” as you probably know, the Supreme Court long ago turned the corporation into a “person” for matters of law.  The Pentagon has functionally done the same thing for weapons like the Tomahawk missile for matters of war.  That transformation may not have the force of law, but it does have force, so to speak.  Because the Tomahawk is an American missile (produced by the Raytheon corporation, a genuine American outfit), and because, by definition, what we Americans do always comes from the best of intentions and an essential goodness of heart, because, that is, we are as exceptional, as one of a kind, in war as in peace, a missile attack on Syria (or elsewhere) would, by definition, be both “human” and “humanitarian” -- and to complete the phrase in question, no one could deny that, had it happened, it would also have been an “intervention.”  After all, Washington’s record on interventions speaks for itself.  No country in memory has been as prolific an interventionist as the U.S.A. -- and it’s a record, like all records, worth taking some pride in.


Yours definitionally,
Col. Manners (ret.)


Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project and author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture (now also in a Kindle edition), runs the Nation Institute's TomDispatch.com. His latest book, co-authored with Nick Turse, is Terminator Planet: The First History of Drone Warfare, 2001-2050.


Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook or Tumblr. Check out the newest Dispatch book, Nick Turse’s The Changing Face of Empire: Special Ops, Drones, Proxy Fighters, Secret Bases, and Cyberwarfare.

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5年前 Democracy in America? It Would Be a Good Idea

This is a Tocqueville meets Gandhi moment. Gandhi famously answered a question about Western civilization by retorting: "it would be a good idea," suggesting that the colonial West was not civilized. The shutdown of the Federal government is but a symptom of a much larger problem. Analysts have pointed out that the far right-wing of the Republican party is gunning for Obama and scaring the daylights out of so-called moderate Republicans. Even Wall Street is apparently stymied by the hotheads of the Tea Party. Those Paul Krugman calls the "Boehner bunglers" do not care about the health of Americans, nor of the American economy and could not care less, they imagine, about the world economy. They are Thomas Frank's "wrecking crew" who have "beggared the nation."

Who do these wreckers and bunglers represent? Are they the elected representatives of the American people? In their excellent and incredibly well-researched book, Dollarocracy John Nichols and Robert McChesney point out all the schemes Republicans have resorted to game the electoral system. Democrats had a majority of votes in the House of Representatives election yet not majority of seats. This is due to unfair redistricting, voter exclusion, and mostly the power of money, which they appropriately call the "Money Power." Dollarocracy is a neologism for plutocracy and many writers have pointed out that the U.S. is a plutocracy or an oligarchy in which only a few get to decide what happens in Washington. The few are the rich and corporations. Sheldon Wolin in his landmark book, Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, had already identified the problem.

The Tea Party wreckers are a minority within a minority party and yet they have the power to wreck everything around them. In Congressional elections the turnout is low for many feel voting has become irrelevant, but their depoliticization is encouraged by the media and the money power. The voice of the underprivileged and the middle class is not heard. What happens within the Beltway is totally at odds with what the people want. This diagnosis is well-known and anyone who cares about the U.S. and wants to know how it ticks is aware of it. (See Domhoff )

Although racism does play a part in the current shenanigans and also anti-feminism, which is common among those who favor guns and the death penalty but oppose abortion, it would be an error to imagine that the wreckers are primarily racists or sexists. They may welcome a Herman Cain and a Michele Bachmann while depriving the poor of any color, creed or background from access to food stamps.

While the shutdown is happening in the U.S., "the whole world is watching" (to adapt a phrase used by Todd Gitlin as the title of one of his books). The U.S. had already lost a lot of its prestige with its constant wars of choice, its use of drones and its outlandish TV debates during election campaigns. Now, the promoter of democracy the world over appears as a bunch of childish politicians who bicker, break up their institutions and foul their own nest. Democracy has brighter colors in Finland, Iceland, Germany or Sweden. Britain, Brazil and France, for all their many problems also have a more vibrant democracy than the U.S.

While ALEC happily wrecks institutions, blocks people from voting and destroys the environment, and while the 1 percent arrogantly pocket more and more wealth when the poor get poorer, the world keeps changing and the nation which believes itself exceptional is losing its grip and endangering its hegemony.

The Chinese have to contend with a very unfair system but they may rejoice about the havoc caused by Tea Party bunglers. Brazilians may find compensation for the NSA bugging the computers and phones of their leaders in this picture of Uncle Sam paralyzed by its own imbecility. Instead of being the city upon a hill, a beacon of hope, the U.S. is fast becoming a laughing-stock among nations: a permanent warrior which keeps killing but also keeps losing wars, an expert at shooting itself in the foot. The professor of democracy should take lessons from others and buy a looking-glass to realize how pathetic its exceptionalism is in the eyes of others.

There are "Americas" that the world likes, it liked Obama when it thought Obama could return the U.S. to its senses and stop permanent war, it liked Occupy Wall Street, and many areas of the world from Greece to Spain to Egypt and Tunisia felt a bond with the outraged protesters in New York or Seattle. The world likes American creativity, artists, singers and philosophers. I personally like America's alternative media, for instance the wonderful and fair Democracy Now! TV network. Democracy Now! Actually quite a good motto, echoed in Spain by the Democracia Real slogan.

With the shutdown the U.S. can expect a lot of schadenfreude in all the areas where the U.S.'s armed fist has been active. This schadenfreude, of course, is misguided for like the poor and middle class in the U.S., the world can only suffer from the wreckers' games on Capitol Hill. A strong America that does not choose war and drones but gets its house in order, repairs its almost defunct democracy and starts greening its industrial activities might indeed become a beacon for all the peoples aspiring to be free. There is no magic wand to get there and it can only be a long drawn out process. If the wreckers win, the U.S. will go where empires go to die.

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5年前 Thailand's Vegetarian Festival In Phuket Is Spectacular And Bloody Procession (PHOTOS)

Walking on fire or driving a brace of swords through your cheeks may not be activities most commonly associated with vegetarianism. But for participants of one Thai festival it's the height of religious devotion.

Thailand's nine-day Vegetarian Festival in the tourist island of Phuket is a spectacular -- and bloody -- Chinese Taoist procession in which devotees purify themselves in public displays of self-mutilation.

"It is not a trick, it is real, real bodies," said Chanchai Doungjit, director of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in Phuket.

"It is believed that pure men can walk on fire without getting burned," he said.

Thousands of people, almost all dressed in white, lined the procession route on Thursday to pay their respects and receive blessings.

Mediums taking part -- the majority of them men -- eschew meat for several months before the festival, which began on October 5 and will finish on Sunday.

These participants believe they become possessed by spirits and, imbued with the power of otherworldly beings, are able to skewer their bodies and faces with a variety of imaginative implements, including guns, guitars and garden umbrellas.

The aim is to rid the area of evil spirits and thus bring good fortune to local communities.

"Even children can watch it," said Chanchai, but added that "they might find it frightening and might wonder why the mediums have to torture themselves".

The Vegetarian Festival honours Chinese gods and is thought to have begun in 1825 in Phuket, which has a sizeable ethnic Chinese population.

During the festival, celebrants refrain from vice and maintain a vegetarian diet.

Pregnant women are forbidden to watch any of the rituals because they are considered impure.

The purification festival attracts some 100,000 people, according to TAT.

Half of those visiting the festival tend to be Thais from nearby provinces, with a further 40 percent from other Asian nations and 10 percent from countries further afield like Russia and Australia.

"Phuket has the biggest vegetarian festival in the country," said Chanchai, adding that some 600 million baht ($19 million) is spent by visitors in Phuket province during the festivities.



WARNING: SOME READERS MAY FIND PHOTOS IN SLIDESHOW DISTURBING





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5年前 陌陌,一线城市的约炮,三四线城市的社交 沙水

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国庆期间,沙水又回了趟老家,跟女朋友一起去见了见她父母和亲戚朋友。然后认识了她的一个高中同学,男生,大学毕业后入伍两年,如今在家考公务员,算是闲赋在家。偶然间看见他手机里面装了陌陌和遇见,于是我的好奇心油然而生,开始聊起来。

他说,他建立了一个群组,经常和周边的朋友组织各种聚会,每次聚会都有一二十人参加,在当地县城大概认识了几百个朋友。聚会形式主要是唱K、吃饭、打牌等,更夸张的一次是今年4月份,农田准备插秧的时候,他发起了一个插秧+游泳的活动,男男女女一共十多人参加了,大家先去他家帮忙把农田插好秧,然后一起去河里游泳,虽然天气不是很热,但大家玩得很开心,很多没有带装备的女生也被他们拉下了水。他说得神采飞扬的,看得出是一次很有意思的经历。

就在我们见面的那天晚上,大家在他们镇上的一家KTV唱歌,结束后已经是12点了。期间,从隔壁包房进来一个女生找他,是他陌陌上的朋友,他们也组织在这里聚会,所以我们结束后他又赶到了另一个场子继续玩。第二天,他来我女朋友家吃饭,说起了昨晚了奇特经历:因为他家小区晚上十点就关门了,所以他住到了一个陌陌上的朋友家。那朋友是个女的,在镇上开美容院的,更狗血的是半夜那女性朋友的妈妈回来了,把他吓得只好躲进了她家楼上的阁楼蹲了一晚。而且,他介绍说每次当他晚上玩得太晚回不去的时候,一般都是求助陌陌上的朋友寻求借宿,每次都能成功。

听完他讲述完关于陌陌的那些神奇经历,沙水不禁感叹:陌陌居然也能这么玩!如果在北京,朋友几个聚会说起陌陌,不约而同想到的是“约炮神器”,甚至免不了神秘的一笑,相互调侃一番战果如何等等。而我这次的经历却让我强烈的感觉到,同一款社交工具,对于不同的人群来说,它所展现出来的核心需求是完全不一样的。而这巨大差异背后的原因,我也在思考、分析,最终得出了以下两种可能的解释。

1、城乡结构下的社群属性差异

北上广深等一二线城市经济较为发达,外来务工人员较多,人口流动性大,其中不乏孤独寂寞冷的单身青年们,而陌陌最开始的营销亮点便是“约炮”,由此带动了其最初的火热,同时也使得陌陌的品牌背上了这样一笔“孽债”。而在三四线城市(城镇为主),经济不太发达,多以本地居民为主,尤其在乡镇一级大多保持着传统社会的熟人社群模式,而这种熟悉使彼此间多了一份与生俱来的宝贵信任基础。

正如费孝通先生在《乡土中国》那本小册子里描述的那样:

“现代社会是个陌生人组成的社会,各人不知道各人的底细,所以得讲个明白;还要怕口说无凭,画个押,签个字。这样才发生法律。在乡土社会中法律是无从发生的。……乡土社会里从熟悉得到信任。乡土社会的信用并不是对契约的重视,而是发生于对一种行为的规矩熟悉到不加思索时的可靠性。……陌生人所组成的现代社会是无法用乡土社会的习俗来应付的。”

信任的缺失增加了互联网上各种需求实现的交易成本。对于陌陌这样一款陌生人社交应用来说,想要在半夜寻求借宿这一类行为在大城市来说实现难度是很高的,成功概率是极低的,经常成功那是想都不能想的。而这样的需求在一个三四线城市的乡镇却能实现,更多的是基于乡土社会的传统模式,每个人都扎根于此,都与本地的方方面面产生着交集与联系,信任因为熟悉而产生,即便有道德风险发生的可能,但由此产生的惩罚会更加严重,甚至可能让你在本地声名尽失。于是,同样一个社交应用,在不同的社会环境下,它所展现的功能与面貌才有了这么大的差异。

 

2、城乡用户的需求差异

谈到用户需求,就不得不借用下马斯洛的需求层次理论。马斯洛把人的需求分为5个层次,由低到高分别是生理需求、安全需求、社交需求、尊重需求与自我实现需求,当一个人满足了低一级的需求后便会向着更高一级的需求去努力,在理论层面上可以如此理解。

对于陌陌这样一款基于LBS的陌生人社交应用,满足人的社交需求应该是其核心功能。但是,陌陌推出之初,却借着“约炮神器”的名号火了,并快速发展,积累的众多用户,至今未见衰落。按照马斯洛需求层次理论来说,“约炮”是属于最低级别的生理需求,但是“找炮友”是绝对的社交需求,两者二位一体后,“性+交友”这一核武器般的组合就释放出了无限的能量,恰好满足了大城市里孤独寂寞冷等单身人群的核心需求。

弗洛伊德说,性解释了一切,也主宰了一切,性本能冲动是人一切心理活动的内在动力。在城市结构下,人与人的陌生感让原始性的“本我”尽情释放,有意或无意中,基于性冲动的“约炮”需求占据主导,影响着也推动着这一进程。

但是,在乡土气息较为浓重的三四线城市,受地域范围与人口规模的限制,大家生活在一个相对熟悉的熟人社会,“约炮”的需求肯定存在,却会受到诸多制约。如撞见熟人、约到不该约的人、影响名声等顾忌性因素相对较多,这时候基于理性思考的“自我”状态会约束“本我”的放肆。

另外,三四线城市的本地人群婚育大多比一二线城市人群早,外出务工的人也相对较多,这时就有一种状况出现:身边同龄的一些朋友在外工作,另一些已经结婚生子,单身用户面临朋友圈变窄的问题,陌陌群组的出现刚好能满足结交新朋友的社交需求,于是便可以很好地解释为什么陌陌的群组交友聚会会在一个县城发扬光大。

通过这一次经历,我也深刻的感觉到移动互联网已经开始深刻影响到三四线城市用户的生活。但是,同样一个互联网产品,在具有不同社群属性的地域和应用场景下,所满足的用户需求以及由此形成的用户行为实际有着很大的差异,因而在需求分析、产品设计、营销推广上理应有所兼顾或侧重。就像陌陌“约炮”的名号如果在三四线城市人尽皆知,那么陌陌有可能会在乡土气息浓厚的小城市成为手机里不敢示人的秘密装备,这也是城乡差异的现实之一。

所以,沙水也建议关心三四线城市互联网用户的产品经理们能够多多下去走走看看,了解不一样的用户群体的不同需求。这里的用户与用户之间联系更紧密,忠诚度更高,口碑传播效果也更好,这里还是一片蓝海,等待着你们去挖掘与开拓。

 

【作者微信号:ITshayan】

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5年前 Passions v. Interests in Former Yugoslavia

The disintegration of Yugoslavia was a triumph of nationalist passions over political interests. If the latter had prevailed, the process would at least have proceeded peacefully, as was the case with Czechoslovakia. Instead, three wars took place one after the other, in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo, along with NATO attacks on Serbia.

Some of those passions can still be glimpsed in the region - in divided Kosovo, in a Macedonia busy building statues to Alexander the Great. But the worst excesses have subsided.

"If you look back at the nationalist forces and parties in politics, society, and culture from the late 1980s, they certainly don't have the same ferocious, expansionist, and very self-intoxicated appearance," Mark Thompson, author of A Paper House: The Ending of Yugoslavia, told me in a short interview in London in January. "It's not revolutionary in the way that it was. It's not euphoric in the way that it was then when those individuals and groups who were opposing radicalism and starting to speak up for compromise were outshouted. Those groups supporting compromise appeared hopelessly tawdry and dull compared to these yelling, bellowing, all-singing, all-dancing popular fronts of nationalist mobilization. That's no longer there."

As the passions subside, political interests are reasserting themselves. "It's already the case in the cultural sphere," Thompson continued. "Economically, it's happening and will continue to grow. In some ways, after all, the establishment of sovereignty by the entities of the former Yugoslavia was a charade: a manifestation of largely non-existent power."

In the interview, Thompson also reflected on the role that social media might have played in the conflict if Twitter and Facebook had been around at the time.

The Interview

Some in the region, particularly those in Serbia who fought a long time against Milosevic, felt that it didn't have to happen the way it did, that the dissolution of the country didn't have to result in war. And the reason that it resulted in war was largely the function of a small coterie around Milosevic who had a particular political program and followed through on it rather ruthlessly. Do you agree with that?

If I had to summarize the key dynamics on the back of a postage stamp, I would use the language that you used. One can go on endlessly about the contributing factors and the further causes. But in essence the conviction of the elite of the League of Communists of Serbia was that they could recentralize the federation on Serbian terms, and they would use the threat of internecine violence as leverage to achieve that.

Milosevic was simply 10 years too late. If the Cold War had still been in existence, with that great iron brace around Yugoslavia effectively preventing a break-up or making a breakup by the most dissatisfied republics very much harder to achieve, then his coercive recentralization of the federation would very likely have succeeded.

Jumping ahead, some folks in the former Yugoslavia foresee a kind of recreation of Yugoslavia, not as a country of course but as some kind of regional network in which some of the economic structures are reconfigured, transportation systems reestablished, and so on. The now six or seven countries have still a lot in common and could benefit in fact from this kind of cooperation. Is that utopianism or a realistic scenario?

To read the rest of the interview, click here.

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