oohiwantthis: It’s amazing what a little effort &...: "It’s amazing what a little effort & determination can do. Today I’m officially 20kgs less than my highest weight, I don’t think I’ve been this tiny since I was about 15, and I’ve sure as hell never had abs like this!! "
Obama Says Legalizing Marijuana Would Be 'Progress,' but Why the Rush? - Hit & Run : Reason.com: "Unlike other occasions when he was confronted by this subject, Obama does not laugh, but he does take the opportunity to lecture "young people" about their priorities. "I understand this is important to you," he says, "but, you know, you should be thinking about climate change, the economy, jobs, war and peace. Maybe, way at the bottom, you should be thinking about marijuana."
As Conor Friedersdorf suggests at The Atlantic, there are sound reasons why people might disagree with the ordering Obama suggests, starting with the fact that marijuana prohibition is an obvious injustice with an obvious solution. Speaking as someone who is too old to qualify for Obama's age-based condescension, I think the chance that he and I will agree about marijuana legalization is much greater than the chance that we we will ever see eye to eye on the right approach to climate change, the government's proper role in promoting employment, or the justification for going to war...
The president is more comfortable criticizing "disproportionate prison sentences." He says "our criminal justice system" is "skewed towards cracking down on nonviolent drug offenders," which has "a terrible effect on many communities, particularly communities of color, rendering a lot of folks unemployable, because they [have] felony records." While "substance abuse...is a problem," Obama says, "locking someone up for 20 years is probably not the best strategy." He adds that he is "encouraged" that "you're starting to see not just liberal Democrats but also some very conservative Republicans recognize this doesn't make sense, including the libertarian wing of the Republican Party." But here, too, Obama does not seem to think there is an urgent need for action, as reflected in his lackadaisical approach to clemency."
Vice News Editor Shane Smith Interviews President Barack Obama — The Atlantic: "Obama's skepticism of their priorities is ironic for the following reason: Implicit in the legalization movement is the notion that the president, the executive branch he presides over, and law enforcement all over America spend far too much time and far too many resources waging a doomed campaign against marijuana use.
The young people to whom Obama addressed himself would be fully justified in reversing the criticism: "Given challenges like climate change, an uncertain economy, joblessness, and war, how can you justify spending perhaps $160 billion over the course of your tenure on marijuana prohibition? Isn't it the federal government, not us young people, that has irrationally prioritized marijuana policy? We're fighting for a more rational allotment of resources, where government funds are directed away from weed and toward challenges you listed as more pressing."
Obama went on to speak as if he himself understands marijuana prohibition to be a policy with lots of awful consequences. "There is no doubt that our criminal justice system generally is so skewed toward cracking down on nonviolent drug offenders that it has not just had a terrible effect on many communities, particularly communities of color, rendering a lot of folks unemployable because they got felony records," he declared. "Disproportionate prison sentences. It costs a huge amount of money to states. And a lot of states are starting to figure that out." "
"The idea of trusting somebody to hit you and it being a social interaction... If you take the destructive component out of violence it actually ends up being kind of cute and intimate."
"“The Slap” is a short film by Max Landis about a series of acquaintances and strangers slapping each other. Though initially started as a sort of parody to the short film “FIRST KISS” by Tatia Pilieva, “THE SLAP” eventually evolved into something different according to Landis. I gathered acquaintances, friends both casual and close, paired them randomly, put them in a void, and asked them to hit each other in the face. No one was pressured, and everyone was hit as hard as THEY asked to be hit."
The Slap - Point of Impact - YouTube: "What started out as kind of a parody ended up something much more interesting... I recognized immediately the problem: it would be dismissed as an imitation... The Kiss video had come and gone, and with it a huge legion of parodies of varying quality and intelligence. There was a sense of diminishing returns, one that set on with that inimitable quickness of the internet, an invention that seems to have given the entire world ADHD. The reception was initially warm, but after the truth of The Kiss video's commercial origins were made known, a certain cynicism had set in about that momentarily beloved piece of film making. To me, I was cynical from the start. The Kiss video is beautiful, but it doesn't ask a big question. The "question" of the video seems to be "Do you want to kiss a sexy person who conforms to your preestablished sexual interests?" The answer, I would assume for most everyone, is "yes, I would like that very much, that sounds like it would get me all horned up."
So what's the more interesting question? There've been a lot of imitators with variations on the original; I admit I haven't watched most of them. The majority were either fake for "internet comedy" or asked an even less interesting question, like "What if it were a REAL (meaning widely considered ugly) person?" "Will these straight people hug these gay people?" Stuff like that, usually loaded with false, contrived sincerity, something I find repellent. Sexuality wasn't interesting enough. Too vague, too easy. There was the white space though. So...Violence. Sexuality, no. Violence on the other hand... What is violence? It's really just a label, isn't it, if you let your mind go to a dark place. I decided to define violence as "nonconsensual physical interference;" wordy I know, but it lent itself to a wider idea. Something as simple as someone grabbing your butt or hugging you a little too long or too tight can feel violent; granted, not as painful as a knife to the gut or a bullet to the head, but still, violent. Invasive.
But what if we took the non-consensual part out of it? What if you agreed, in some small way, to a measure of pain, and in doing so, earned the opportunity to inflict a little of your own, free of consequence, divorced from the more traditional contexts of a fight or anger or rough sex, and hit someone in the face? What is trust? Do you trust someone not to hurt you? Are you even thinking about it? Do you care if they hurt you if you trust them? I started asking all kinds of questions. I went totally up my own ass with this. What does trust have more to do with, logic or fun? How much fun is it to trust someone, versus how logical it is to trust them, to hit you in the face and be hit by you in the face? Granted, it's just a stupid internet video, but what isn't, these days? I had a theory: if we let people slap each other, most of them, after the initial hit, will start testing each other and themselves, playing with their own boundaries. Maybe not every time, ut some timess. Most times. The theory was: people will want to do it more than once. The theory was: in this bizarre scenario, a slap won't be a slap. It'll become a different type of physical exchange. The theory was: A slap, robbed of its violating context, is more intimate than a kiss. My theory, as it turned out, was right, which was fun, and gratifying. But intellectual gratification is, to me, secondary to the visceral feeling that came from hitting, being hit, and better yet, watching everybody hit each other. I saw the strangest mutations of intimacy, and trust, in that empty void. Everything you see on camera is real and spontaneous."
I don't regularly watch wrestling, but I watched all 24 minutes of this, and it's fantastic.
"A somewhat-mostly-accurate educational parody film by Max Landis."
‘Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling’, A Funny Star-Studded Retelling of Triple H’s Professional Wrestling Career: "‘Max Landis, son of filmmaker John Landis, grabs a beer and embarks on a wild ride through the history of Triple H‘s (Hunter Hearst Helmsley) ridiculous WWE career in Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling. As he enthusiastically details all of the dramatic wrestling moments, women and well-known actors lip sync and act out Triple H’s career in various live-action sequences. Macaulay Culkin, David Arquette, Haley Joel Osment, Seth Green, Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, and pro wrestler Chris Hero are among the few familiar faces featured in Landis’ short film."
"Humans crave melodrama. They crave fiction... Our imagination is our greatest gift and our greatest curse. Because we're bored all the time. And that's what fiction does for us. It gives us a sort of simulator for bigger stories and bigger emotions... that's everything. It's us watching and feeling. The human capacity for empathy through imagination. That's why we have stories... And that's what ya need, man. That's what we all want... We love watching people grow, change, struggle. Good people, bad people, we don't care. We want to see it, man... and when you watch wrestling, that's what you get... Now don't get me wrong, a lot of wrestling sucks, but when it's good, it's fucking great."
Thailand Cautions Women Against 'Underboob Selfies' : The Two-Way : NPR: "Citing both potential harm to society and the Computer Crimes Act, Thailand's Culture Ministry is urging women to resist what it says is a new trend of taking photos that focus on the midriff and the lower portion of their breasts.
The warning was issued Monday — and a ministry official acknowledged that in speaking out against an online trend, the agency ran the risk of drawing more attention to it.
News site Thai Visa reports that Yupha Thaweewattanakijborworn, the director of the Culture Watch Office of the Culture Ministry, "urged the Thai media not to play up the trend if the media has not seen underboob selfies by Thai women yet. She explained that such reports might backfire rather than doing good to the society."
Noting that Thailand's Computer Crimes Act of 2007 includes a provision against pornography, Reuters says offenders who are convicted could face five years in prison."
Because that’s the thing about Scooby-Doo: The bad guys in every episode aren’t monsters, they’re liars.
I can’t imagine how scandalized those critics who were relieved to have something that was mild enough to not excite their kids would’ve been if they’d stopped for a second and realized what was actually going on. The very first rule of Scooby-Doo, the single premise that sits at the heart of their adventures, is that the world is full of grown-ups who lie to kids, and that it’s up to those kids to figure out what those lies are and call them on it, even if there are other adults who believe those lies with every fiber of their being. And the way that you win isn’t through supernatural powers, or even through fighting. The way that you win is by doing the most dangerous thing that any person being lied to by someone in power can do: You think...
But it’s not just that the crooks in Scooby-Doo are liars; nobody ever shows up to bilk someone out of their life savings by pretending to be a Nigerian prince or something. It’s always phantasms and Frankensteins, and there’s a very good reason for that. The bad guys in Scooby-Doo prey on superstition, because that’s the one thing that an otherwise rational person doesn’t really think through. It’s based on belief, not evidence, which is a crucial element for the show. If, for example, someone knocks on your door and claims to be a police officer, you’re going to want to see a badge because that’s the tangible evidence that you’ve come to expect to prove their claim. If, however, you hold the belief that the old run-down theater has a phantom in the basement, then the existence of that phantom himself — or at least a reasonably convincing costume — is all the evidence that you need to believe that you were right all along. The bad guys are just reinforcing a belief that the other characters already have, and that they don’t need any evidence before because it’s based in superstition, not reason...
There’s an underlying logic to the world of Scooby-Doo that just boils down to Reason vs. Superstition, and in that battle, superstition can never win."
The untold story of how the sugar industry shaped key government research about your teeth - The Washington Post: "Decades-old documents have surfaced showing that the powerful U.S. sugar industry skewed the government's medical research on dental care—and ultimately what officials recommended for American diets.
Despite a widespread understanding that sugar played a key role in tooth decay, sugar industry leaders advocated for policies that did not recommend people eat less sugar, according to an archive of industry letters dating back to the 1950s preserved by the University of Illinois and analyzed by a team of researchers at the University of California in San Francisco. And the government listened, according to a new report published in the journal PLOS Medicine.
In the 1960s, amid a national effort to boost cavity prevention, the U.S. government spearheaded a research program, known as the National Caries Program (NCP), which aimed to eradicate tooth decay by the end of the 1970s.
But instead of turning to an obvious solution—having people eat less sugar—the government was swayed by industry interests that pushed alternative methods, such as ways to break up dental plaque and vaccines for fighting tooth decay, according to more than 300 internal industry documents, including old letters and meeting minutes.
How did the industry wield so much power?
For one, the sugar industry had a strong presence in the subcommittee that developed the very research priorities that later guided dental care policies. A task force committee that was set up by the government to set research priorities for the NCP included many doctors and scientists who were also working closely with the sugar industry. These committee members were also part of another group called the International Sugar Research Foundation, which was established by the sugar industry."
Another Would-Be Critic of Libertarianism Takes on a Straw Man - Reason.com: "The latest cheap shot is David Masciotra’s piece at Alternet, '"You’re Not The Boss of Me!' Why Libertarianism Is a Childish Sham." As the title indicates, the upshot of the piece is that only a child would wish not to be subject to the arbitrary will of others. Thus Masciotra has disguised a brief for authoritarianism as a plea for communitarianism...
So what does Masciotra have to say? Let’s sample his "critique": Libertarians believe they are real rebels, because they’ve politicized the protest of children who scream through tears, "You’re not the boss of me." The rejection of all rules and regulations, and the belief that everyone should have the ability to do whatever they want, is not rebellion or dissent. It is infantile naïveté.
This is a typical misrepresentation: libertarians reject all rules and regulations; they demand the freedom to do "whatever they want." I wonder if Masciotra’s failure to qualify "rules and regulations" with the word government is an innocent oversight. Or is he trying to sneak something by his uninitiated readers? Obviously, libertarians believe that each person’s life, liberty, and justly acquired property should be respected as essentially inviolable. (Emergencies may create exceptions with respect to property.) Libertarians also advocate freedom of contract. All of that amounts to a web of rules and regulations that constrain the individual’s conduct. When libertarians say the equivalent of "You’re not the boss of me," they are saying that no one may properly threaten or use physical force to compel them do anything they have a demonstrable right to not do or compel them not to do anything that they have a demonstrable right to do."