Category Archives: Around the World

“When, exactly, do abortion opponents think life begins?”

The New York Times – Opinion: Life Begins at Conception (Except When That’s Inconvenient for Republicans). “It’s almost as if abortion bans aren’t actually about “life” at all.” By Molly Jong-Fast.

“But what are we to make of what happened on Feb. 22, when a 24-year-old woman from Honduras went into labor at 27 weeks pregnant and delivered a stillborn baby at an ICE detention center? According to ICE, “for investigative and reporting purposes, a stillbirth is not considered an in-custody death.” Where were the cries of outrage from pro-life corners? Do some lives begin at conception and others don’t? Is an immigrant fetus less of a person than a citizen fetus?

Many pro-choice pundits make the argument that abortion opponents are hypocrites for their lack of concern about maternal health and early-childhood programs, and they are. But these inconsistencies about when “life” begins are far more revealing. The idea that fertility clinics should be allowed to end “life” in the pursuit of resolving infertility is wholly illogical; the notion that an in-custody stillbirth at 27 weeks is not a death, but that an abortion at six or eight weeks is a murder punishable by up to 99 years in prison, requires wild feats of mental jujitsu.

It’s almost as if the Republican Party considers “life” to be a completely arbitrary notion. It’s almost as if this isn’t actually about “life” at all.”

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Legendäres, legales Bauwerk

Deutsche Welle: Bauarbeiten an Sagrada Familia erstmals legal. “Nach 137 Jahren dürfen Architekten, Ingenieure und Bauarbeiter endlich an der unvollendeten Basilika Sagrada Familia in Barcelona werkeln, ohne das Gesetz zu brechen. Eine Baugenehmigung hatte bisher gefehlt.”

“Die Behörden der katalanischen Metropole hatten erst 2016 entdeckt, dass Gaudí 1882 ohne jegliche Bewilligung mit dem Bau seiner Kirche begonnen hatte. Drei Jahre später beantragte er eine Baugenehmigung, bekam aber nie eine Antwort. Unverdrossen baute er weiter, bis er im Juni 1926 von einer Straßenbahn erfasst wurde und wenige Tage später starb. In seinem 100. Todesjahr sollen die Bauarbeiten endlich abgeschlossen werden.”

Russia’s manipulation of Twitter much larger than believed previously

Gillian Cleary, Senior Software Engineer, Symantec: Twitterbots: Anatomy of a Propaganda Campaign. “Internet Research Agency archive reveals a vast, coordinated campaign that was incredibly successful at pushing out and amplifying its messages.”

“While this propaganda campaign has often been referred to as the work of trolls, the release of the dataset makes it obvious that it was far more than that. It was planned months in advance and the operators had the resources to create and manage a vast disinformation network.

It was a highly professional campaign. Aside from the sheer volume of tweets generated over a period of years, its orchestrators developed a streamlined operation that automated the publication of new content and leveraged a network of auxiliary accounts to amplify its impact.

The sheer scale and impact of this propaganda campaign is obviously of deep concern to voters in all countries, who may fear a repeat of what happened in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential election in 2016.

A growing awareness of the disinformation campaigns may help blunt their impact in future.”

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‘Jaw dropped’

BBC News: Long-lost Lewis Chessman found in Edinburgh family’s drawer. “A medieval chess piece that was missing for almost 200 years had been unknowingly kept in a drawer by an Edinburgh family.”

“They had no idea that the object was one of the long-lost Lewis Chessmen – which could now fetch £1m at auction.

The chessmen were found on the Isle of Lewis in 1831 but the whereabouts of five pieces have remained a mystery.

The Edinburgh family’s grandfather, an antiques dealer, had bought the chess piece for £5 in 1964.

He had no idea of the significance of the 8.8cm piece (3.5in), made from walrus ivory, which he passed down to his family.

They have looked after it for 55 years without realising its importance, before taking it to Sotheby’s auction house in London.”

Previously.

“[E]ngagement is growing, but it’s vapid, devoid of the deeper reflection that being in nature is meant to inspire”

The Walrus: How Selfie Culture Ruins the Great Outdoors for Everyone Else. “Social media has made natural spaces more popular. It could also destroy them.”

“For years, natural reserves have been seen as havens from the modern world, places where quotidian life gives way to quiet reflection and contemplation, often in relative isolation. But social media has disrupted the way we interact with the environment. With the right hashtag, anyone can view thousands of potential destinations—and choose which to visit based on aesthetics alone. A single social-media post can expose lesser-known or isolated places to the world. And that means good places can no longer hide. “They used to be local parks,” says Mairi Welman, head of communications for the District of North Vancouver, which manages two popular parks near the city. “But now we’re starting to see international visitors coming—and those parks were never designed to handle those kinds of numbers.” The influx has resulted in a host of problems, from woefully unprepared hikers getting hurt to people “using the environment as a bathroom.” And then there’s the parking: “There have literally been screaming matches and fist fights over parking spots,” she says. “It can be like a shopping mall at Christmas.””

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