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Why the “carry letter”? | In Transit: Embodied Differences
A “carry letter” serves to protect a transgender person from harassment by any individual or entity, especially airport security, government agencies, law enforcement officers — anywhere IDs may be required and where a mismatch between the ID and the person would raise an eyebrow. The letter is usually written by a clinical psychologist.

Luckily, I have never been harassed and never had to use the letter, but in an ideal world no one should have to feel dehumanized by having to carry such a permit simply to live. No one should live in fear.

Usually, this kind of letter has language to explain the condition and what gender transition entails.
trans  documentation  identity  papernet 
7 hours ago
Attacking the Stream | Dissent Magazine
Does it matter that our spaces of communication are operated by mega-corporations and tracked constantly by the government? It may seem naive to talk about tech after 2013 without talking about the NSA. But for those of us in marginalized communities, surveillance is a part of life that we have long been accustomed to. We know we are being watched and measured. Unlike many who bemoan a more innocent era of tech, we have come to accept those conditions because they were practiced on us first. So rather than falling into a fight or flight mentality, we find the cracks in the infrastructure and break through them.
race  surveillance 
yesterday
Chelsea Manning’s New Lawyers Will Challenge ‘Frightening’ Espionage Act Charges on Appeal | The Dissenter
Hollander drew attention to the over-classification of what the government calls “national security information,” even noting that at Guantanamo Bay prisoners’ “thoughts, perceptions and observations” (including of their own torture) have been classified by the governmen

“This kind of over-classification is wrong. It’s illegal. It’s a violation of the executive order that creates classified information. The government cannot classify information solely to prevent embarrassment to itself. That’s right in the executive order and that’s exactly what it is doing more and more.”
overclassification  manning  gitmo 
3 days ago
Taiwan’s Sunflower Protests: A Q&A with Shelley Rigger | Dissent Magazine
I think it’s extraordinary that this is still going on, and it illustrates the degree to which Taiwanese politicians give deference to student movements. Students are a privileged group in politics—they are assumed to be pure, not motivated by personal gain or ambition. The fact that this crisis has dragged on three weeks might be surprising to people in other countries, where protesters routinely get hauled away after a few hours, but in Taiwan, even people who don’t agree with their goals can admire their conviction..Taiwan is not that different from other postindustrial democracies. It is suffering from widening income inequality, slow growth, wage stagnation, unemployment, inflated housing prices—all the problems we see in the United States, Europe, Japan. The difference is that it’s very easy for Taiwanese to view these problems as consequences of their dependence on the Chinese economy.
taiwan  activism  china 
4 days ago
Inquirer's Saffron, critic of the built environment, wins Pulitzer
Saffron's "Changing Skyline" column has been a popular feature in The Inquirer since 1999. Pushing beyond the usual boundaries of architectural criticism, her columns focus on the buildings and public spaces that Philadelphians encounter in their daily lives.
architecture  writers 
4 days ago
Google, once disdainful of lobbying, now a master of Washington influence - The Washington Post
What the guests had not been told was that the day-long academic conference was in large part the work of Google, which maneuvered behind the scenes with GMU’s Law & Economics Center to put on the event. At the time, the company was under FTC investigation over concerns about the dominance of its famed search engine, a case that threatened Google’s core business.
google  institutions  politics  sponsorship 
4 days ago
Did NSA-Style Snooping Blind the FBI to Boston's Bombers? | Vocativ
Millions of people are listed in government databases as potential terrorist threats,” says Crockford. “The FBI has the legal authority to approach anyone for an interview, at any time. Tamerlan’s case confirms what we have long suspected: The databases are so large that they are practically useless. When everyone is a suspect, no one is a suspect.”

“The FBI, originally, was an investigative agency,”
fbi  surveillance  too-much-hay 
4 days ago
The Call of Things: Jane Bennett Talks About Hoarders at the Vera List Center - WNYC
Her talk examined the idea that hoarders (as portrayed on the A&E reality show “Hoarders”) might be viewed not within the framework of socio-pathology, but as “people who are preternaturally attuned to things.” From this platform, Bennett went on to examine and classify the intrinsic power of inanimate objects, while avoiding the idea of animism.
objects  materiality 
4 days ago
Jane Bennett - Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things
In Vibrant Matter the political theorist Jane Bennett, renowned for her work on nature, ethics, and affect, shifts her focus from the human experience of things to things themselves. Bennett argues that political theory needs to do a better job of recognizing the active participation of nonhuman forces in events. Toward that end, she theorizes a “vital materiality” that runs through and across bodies, both human and nonhuman. Bennett explores how political analyses of public events might change were we to acknowledge that agency always emerges as the effect of ad hoc configurations of human and nonhuman forces. She suggests that recognizing that agency is distributed this way, and is not solely the province of humans, might spur the cultivation of a more responsible, ecologically sound politics: a politics less devoted to blaming and condemning individuals than to discerning the web of forces affecting situations and events.
toread 
4 days ago
Britain didn't understand the enemy in Helmand - Telegraph
According to the “insurgency narrative” widely espoused by Western governments, a legitimate Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA), which is recognised and supported by the international community, is violently opposed by a movement of insurgents, called the Taliban, who have sanctuary in Quetta, Pakistan...Today, much of the violence is mischaracterised as “Taliban” insurgent violence, when in fact it is not linked to the Taliban or the GIRoA, but is driven by local dynamics between groups and individuals on the ground
strategy  Afghanistan  pakistan  uk 
5 days ago
Bruce Schneier on Surveillance at Source Boston keynote | Threatpost | The first stop for security news
“Surveillance is the business model of the Internet,” Schneier said. “We build systems that spy on people in exchange for services.”
surveillance 
5 days ago
Hackers Lurking in Vents and Soda Machines - NYTimes.com
Unable to breach the computer network at a big oil company, hackers infected with malware the online menu of a Chinese restaurant that was popular with employees. When the workers browsed the menu, they inadvertently downloaded code that gave the attackers a foothold in the business’s vast computer network.
security  countermeasures 
5 days ago
Fascinasians
That’s exactly what we wanted — for Asian American feminists, womxn of color, and typically oppressed voices to seize the opportunity to tell their own stories and be their own heroes. But still, as someone who was part of it from the beginning and facilitated the conversation and did my best to push for it to trend, the following erasure of my contributions hurt. I think that now is a good time as any to talk about the aftermath and media circus following #NYAS.
erasure 
5 days ago
Frieze Magazine | Archive | Iconoclash
Laric believes – like Price, and as Marcel Broodthaers is quoted as saying at the beginning of the ‘Dispersion’ essay – that ‘artistic activity occurs, first of all, in the field of distribution’...The paradoxes of collective authorship also draw Laric toward religious objects, as well as memes, whose communal authors are anonymous: both are acheiropoieta, or ‘made without hands’, as Laric points out, using the theological term for icons which are said to have originated without human intervention. ‘Long before the hammer strikes them, religious images are already self-defacing,’ wrote art historian Joseph Koerner, who also provided Laric with the words for the sweeping iconoclastic scene with which the 2010 Versions film begins.
art  images  artist  internet 
7 days ago
Before the Holocaust: Nixon's War
Yet despite the months of airstrikes, the bombings did little to curb NVA activities. On the contrary, communist forces crept further and further into Cambodia. The US bombers followed suit. Significant populations of Cambodian peasants were now at risk, though no one knows how many of them were killed during the campaign. And the Khmer Rouge, previously a weak guerrilla force run by disenfranchised leftist politicians, grew in the wake of the bombings, as each attack on Cambodian land legitimized their virulent hatred of Sihanouk. They would still need more fighters and weapons if they ever wanted to rule Cambodia, but at least the bombings reinforced the Khmer Rouge's taste for violence. The war in Cambodia was escalating, spiraling out of control. Sihanouk, whose greatest evidence of his mandate from heaven was that he had kept his people out of the war, no longer had the right to that claim. His days were numbered.
vietnam  cambodia 
7 days ago
Cosmetic eye surgery costs only $3 in North Korea, but it’s punished with forced labor
Plastic surgery is illegal there, considered an ideologically subversive form of individual and class self-expression. But it's still highly sought-after and, Yoon says, costs the equivalent of just $2 to $3. That's no small sum in North Korea, one of the world's poorest countries, but it's still remarkably cheap...Anyone suspected of having artificially widened her eyelids would be made to do punitive labor, to "donate" costly building materials such as concrete or at the very least to write a formal apology,
harrison-bergerson  north-korea 
7 days ago
Masanjia Labor Camp - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Falun Gong and members of underground Christian churches made up the bulk of the inmates; there were also prostitutes, drug addicts, and petitioners who had been more persistent than was tolerable to local authorities. Former inmates described forced labor and abuse with recalcitrant Falun Gong members targeted for extensive and sustained abuse.
torture  china 
7 days ago
Twitter / JamesDresnok: Although imported cell phones ...
Although imported cell phones are not permitted in DPRK, iPads are unofficially permitted, even if they use cellular technology!
north-korea 
7 days ago
American Jihadist Who Fought in Syria Dies of an Overdose in Arizona - The Daily Beast
“If this guy’s telling the truth, there’s an interesting question as to why we’re prosecuting him. He seems to be fighting on the U.S. side, but with the wrong people.”
syria  military  terrorism 
7 days ago
No, Kim Jong Un probably didn’t feed his uncle to 120 hungry dogs
A friend who's covered North Korea for several years and has visited the country, Isaac Stone Fish, now of Foreign Policy, once joked to me that as an American journalist you can write almost anything you want about North Korea and people will just accept it. Call it the Stone Fish Theory of North Korea coverage. We know so little about what really happens inside the country, and especially inside the leader's head, that very little is disprovable. But the things we do know are often so bizarre that just about anything can seem possible.
fake  traffic  internet-of-dreams  media  north-korea 
7 days ago
Twitter / dennisrodman: I'm calling on the Supreme ...
I'm calling on the Supreme Leader of North Korea or as I call him "Kim", to do me a solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose.
north-korea 
9 days ago
Today Breaking NEWS - YouTube
like that weird cartoon service

"a-circumflex..."
algos 
9 days ago
Call climate change what it is: violence | Rebecca Solnit | Comment is free | theguardian.com
The message is that ordinary people will behave badly in an era of intensified climate change.

All this makes sense, unless you go back to the premise and note that climate change is itself violence. Extreme, horrific, longterm, widespread violence.
climate-change  environment  violence 
9 days ago
Book Review: “Visual Politics and North Korea” | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea
belief that documentary photography and satellite imagery reproduce reality and truth exactly as they are is misguided. Rather, they produce a subjective interpretation of who or what deserves representation. In the case of North Korea, this subjective interpretation, or “hegemonic form of visuality,” funnels everyday life in North Korea through the prisms of isolation, scarcity and bleakness, and portrays North Korea in general as different, distant and other...by dismissing representations of “happy” North Koreans crafted by the North Korean state or foreign visitors as merely “propaganda,” a dominant mode of representation—such as the one given by van Houtryve—is privileged as somehow divested of power relations, when in fact, all representations, whether “negative” or “positive,” are imbued with a certain political perspective.
photography  journalism  north-korea  subjectivity  satellite 
9 days ago
What if Google ruled North Korea?
The desire for surveillance is as old as espionage itself. A real bias towards mass surveillance of society exists, but it comes from a socio-political context geared toward what James Burnham called "managerialism," the mid-20th century ideology that promised the rule of experts. Big data just gives managerialism a steroidal strength and rage. It also gives the digirati and their apologists a leg up on sociology majors in the scramble for managerial authority.
legibility 
9 days ago
"Amidon" Drug Wreaking Havoc in North- Daily NK
Furthermore, “The number of female users is also on the rise.  They use it to relieve fatigue from working in the markets and undergoing forced labor.  It’s also secretly given as a gift on holidays, like the Lunar New Year.”
soma  north-korea 
9 days ago
So You Think You're Smarter Than A CIA Agent : Parallels : NPR
WTF?????

"I'm just a pharmacist," she said. "Nobody cares about me, nobody knows my name, I don't have a professional reputation at stake. And it's this anonymity which actually gives me freedom to make true forecasts."

Rich does make true forecasts; she is curiously good at predicting future world events.

Better Than The Pros

For the past three years, Rich and 3,000 other average people have been quietly making probability estimates about everything from Venezuelan gas subsidies to North Korean politics as part of the Good Judgment Project, an experiment put together by three well-known psychologists and some people inside the intelligence community.
intelligence  markets  crowdsourcing  cia 
9 days ago
Why Do Chinese Investors Want to Build a Dubai-Style City In Kenya?
The new economic zone outside of Nairobi would include "at least 20 skyscrapers" and boast "a shopping destination that stocks Chinese and other global products," according to Construction Weekly. It seems that, as investors ramp up investment in East Africa, they want to build a self-controlled pseudo-urban enclave from which to do so.
kenya  cities 
10 days ago
Psychopaths: how can you spot one? - Telegraph
“Cognitive empathy is the ability to know what other people are feeling, and emotional empathy is the kind where you feel what they’re feeling.” Autistic people can be very empathetic – they feel other people’s pain – but are less able to recognise the cues we read easily, the smiles and frowns that tell us what someone is thinking. Psychopaths are often the opposite: they know what you’re feeling, but don’t feel it themselves. “This all gives certain psychopaths a great advantage, because they can understand what you’re thinking, it’s just that they don’t care, so they can use you against yourself.”
10 days ago
Snowden Speaks: A Vanity Fair Exclusive | Vanity Fair
On rumors concerning the number of documents he has: Snowden cautions about some of the numbers that investigators have publicized, especially the 1.7 million figure, which, he tells Vanity Fair, is “simply a scare number based on an intentionally crude metric: everything that I ever digitally interacted with in my career.”
10 days ago
NSA logs reveal flood of post-Snowden FOIA requests | Al Jazeera America
In fact, requesters may find they have a better shot at accessing the NSA's records on UFOs. It worked for William Jackobs. On Aug. 15, 2013, he filed a request demanding that the NSA "declassify all UFO related documents and stop using the excuse we can’t because of national security issues."

The NSA obliged, according to the logs, responding that the request was granted in full.
overclassification  secrecy 
10 days ago
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