Half of world’s food is wasted

A recent report from the British Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IME) says that as much as half of all the food produced in the world – equivalent to 2-billion tons – ends up as waste every year. As reported today in The Guardian:

“The UK’s IME blames the “staggering” new figures in its analysis on unnecessarily strict sell-by dates, buy-one-get-one free and Western consumer demand for cosmetically perfect food, along with “poor engineering and agricultural practices”, inadequate infrastructure and poor storage facilities.

“In the face of United Nations predictions that there could be about an extra 3 billion people to feed by

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Continue reading “Half of world’s food is wasted”

A message from your future

We’re not sure how many people worry about this, but think for a minute about the future you.

That’s right, you, in maybe 10 years.

Apparently most people are incapable of doing this is any realistic sense. They can look back on their lives and see all of the various changes and

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bumps in the road. But looking forward, people only see an eternal now. They see themselves unchanged.

 

Why does this matter? We at Worlding think it may say something about attitudes toward difference and newness. People who don’t expect to change could very well resist ideas they don’t understand. And let’s not even think about people who live in the past. Certainly the last year’s political confrontation have shown us the close-mindedness of Teapartiers and others who cling to memory at the expense of all else. So, as the New York Times reports:

“When we remember our past selves, they seem quite different. We know how much our personalities and tastes have changed over the years. But when we look ahead, somehow we expect ourselves to stay the same, a team of psychologists said Thursday, describing research they conducted of people’s self-perceptions. Continue reading “A message from your future”

US building air capacity to strike China

imgres-1The U.S. military has begun a staged build-up of military airpower within striking distance of China. Reported today in Danger Room, the five-year process that will see each of America’s three main stealth warplane types deployed to bases near China.

“When the deployments are complete in 2017, Air Force F-22s and B-2s and Marine Corps F-35s could all be within striking range of America’s biggest economic rival at the same time. With Beijing now testing its own radar-evading jet fighters — two different models, to be exact — the clock is counting down to a stealth warplane showdown over the Western Pacific. Continue reading “US building air capacity to strike China”

Absolutely relative

The Tea Party’s use of history illustrates a public yearing for clear answers in a time of economic stress and national insecurity. Seeing the American Constutition as clear set of eternal “truths” also enables its use as a bludgeon in political rhetoric, while describing the documets as cauldron of competing ideas neutralizes  such claimstea-party-food2.

This type of “absolutism” has been a tool  of many populist movements through out history, from the religious crusades of byegone ages, to the fascist movements nineteenth and twentieth centuries, to Cold War paranoia, to contemporary panics about against minority groups, and to our current political contests.  Absolutism is the belief that there are concrete standards against which moral questions can be judged, and that certain actions are right or wrong, regardless of the context in which they occur. Absolutism is often contrasted with moral “relativism,” which asserts that moral truths are contingent upon social or historical circumstances. Absolutists believe that morals are inherent in the laws of the universe, the nature of humanity, or the will of God. From this perspective, all actions can be evaluated as either inherently moral or immoral. For example, an unprovoked war might be deemed a moral act by an absolutist. Continue reading “Absolutely relative”

Miss USA contestant to pay $5-million for defamation

“A beauty queen who claimed this year’s Miss USA contest was fixed has been ordered to pay the pageant organization $5 million for defamation,” reports Yahoo News today.usa

“In a decision signed last week, an arbitrator found that the comments from Miss Pennsylvania USA Sheena Monnin were false, harmful and malicious. Monnin had alleged that the five finalists had been selected in advance of the pageant’s live telecast.

“The arbitrator, Theodore Katz, said Monnin had two motives: ‘She was a disgruntled contestant who failed to make it past the preliminary Continue reading “Miss USA contestant to pay $5-million for defamation”

Obama to consider American Sign Language proposal

“For more than a hundred years, American Sign Language (ASL) has been persecuted as a ‘lesser’ language. It is a homegrown and complete language that has survived efforts to wipe it out,” says a petition that the White House will consider in coming weeks. As DisabilityScoop reported today:

“More than 29,000 people from across the country signed a petition on the White House website this fall seeking to gain stature for the visual language. President Barack Obama’s administration has pledged to provide an official reply to any petition on the site that attracts at least 25,000 signatures within 30 days, a threshold that the sign language petition met earlier this month.signlanguage1280x1024

Continue reading “Obama to consider American Sign Language proposal”

Sales booming for bullet-proof backpacks

No this isn’t a joke. The Nation today reports that such things actually exist and that people are buying them for their children like crazy in the wake of the school shootings:

“Firms selling bullet-proof children’s gear – including Disney Princess and Avengers backpacks lined with Kevlar-type sheeting – are reporting a massive surge in sales in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre.

“Salt Lake City-based Amendment II is among several firms being accused of callously cashing-in on the tragedy in which 26 people were gunned down including 23 children.525082_10151216477798802_1898309770_n

“The firm is currently promoting a range of $300 bulletproof backpacks, Continue reading “Sales booming for bullet-proof backpacks”

Biden pardons single yam in Thanksgiving ritual

WASHINGTON—“In keeping with a longstanding Thanksgiving tradition, Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially pardoned a 4-pound yam today at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden.”

As The Onion continues it’s holiday parody: ‘Under my authority as vice president of the United States of America, I hereby grant this yam full and unconditional clemency,’ a smiling Biden declared as he gently patted ‘Spud,’ a Beauregard sweet potato grown in Louisiana and selected from millions of candidates yielded by this year’s harvest. ‘May he never find himself in a casserole. Right, little guy?’ Like yams reprieved before him, Spud will ride as an honored guest aboard the second float of the Disneyland Thanksgiving Day Parade before spending the rest of his life in the comfort and safety of a tuber petting zoo.”

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Transgender day of remembrance

November 20 is the international Transgender Day of Remembrance, an opportunity for communities to come together and mark the passing of transgender and gender-variant individuals, or those perceived to be transgender.

For complete listings of events and specific memorials, see “International Transgender Day of Remembrance.”

Rising protests over french marriage equality

Shortly after taking office, French President Francois Hollande vowed to implement marriage equality with one year. In the wake of this week’s reaction by to Vatican to pro-LGBT outcomes in several American states––French Catholics have taken to the streets. As Al Jazeera reports, “

“More than 100,000 people have taken to the streets across France to protest the government plans to approve same-sex marriage and adoption.Saturday’s protest, called the “March for Everyone,” included pro-family and Catholic groups. Several thousand people marched in Paris, carrying signs with slogans such as “One child (equals) one father + one mother.”Some 70,000 people joined the Paris rally on Saturday, police said, though organisers put the figure at 200,000, with more than 30,000 others holding similar protests in towns around the country.

“In the southeastern city of Lyon, 22,000 people protested, police said. Officers there detained around 40 youths who had come to oppose the main rally.There were other protests in the northwestern towns of Rennes and Nantes, and in the northern town of Laon. Up to 8,000 also marched in the southern city of Marseille, where they too were confronted by supporters of gay marriage.

“In the southwestern city of Toulouse, police used tear gas against a group of several hundred activists who tried to confront the main rally of several thousand in a counter-protest.”

Games and gender discussed in new journal

The regressive norms of gamer culture are no secret. Despite recent efforts to create socially responsible games, troubling levels of sexism, racism, and homophobia persist – both among player groups and in many games themselves. A welcome new online place to find intelligent discussion of these issues is ADA: Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology. Below is a short excerpt from a recent piece by Mia Consalvo entitled “Confronting Toxic Gamer Culture: A Challenge for Feminist Game Studies Scholars.”

“With increasing frequency the ugliness of gamer culture is being put on display for the wider world to see. While I was writing this piece, for example, a Canadian blogger created a game where one can punch and bruise the face of Anita Sarkeesian, creator of the popular website Feminist Frequency: Conversations with Pop Culture (Spurr, 2012). The game was in response to news of her Kickstarter campaign, where she proposed investigating portrayals of women in videogames over the past few decades. The game was only the latest in a string of attacks on Sarkeesian for her proposed project: she also received death threats, had her Wikipedia page defaced with pornographic imagery, and was repeatedly harassed on the Kickstarter page and elsewhere. About a month prior to that, in June 2012 a controversy erupted about Lara Croft’s alleged past in the latest Tomb Raider game, where sexual assault had helped form her character according to one of the game’s developers (Schreier, 2012). In May, the annual videogame expo E3 became the topic of controversy when multiple sources declared it a space hostile to women and juvenile in its approach to games (Alexander, 2012; Williams, 2012). Brenda Brathwaite tweeted while at the event about feeling harassed simply by walking the show floor, and games journalist Katie Williams related stories of industry PR reps that immediately discounted her ability to play their games, saying to her “I think I better play it for you,” and then “prying my hands away and turning the keyboard towards himself” (Williams, 2012).

 

“And we can keep going back. Earlier this year, Jennifer Hepler, a writer for BioWare titles like Dragon Age and Star Wars: The Old Republic, had sexist assaults launched at her for daring to suggest games might allow players to press a button to skip combat, much like some games allow players to press a button to skip cut-scenes. Around the same time the fighting game community became embroiled in a controversy about its history of sexist language and practices. During a reality television show about competitions, one team’s coach proclaimed that sexual harassment is an “important part” of the fighting game community and it needs to continue (Hamilton, 2012). And over the span of many months beginning in August 2010 Penny Arcade became embroiled in a wide-ranging debate centering on a comic featuring a joke about dickwolves and rape. The initial strip led to protests by upset readers, followed by indifferent responses by the creators, real life threats of rape against some women who dared to speak out, and the creation by Penny Arcade authors of “team dickwolves” t-shirts that were going to be on sale at PAX East, but were later removed from circulation.”

Facial recognition tracking shoppers in Japan

“You might want to think twice about how often you hang out at your local Best Buy in the future. In Japan, NEC has developed a new facial recognition system geared towards retailers that determines the age and gender of shoppers, and tracks how long and how often they visit a given store.” This story appears in today’s Gizmodo.

“The collected data can be used by a retailer to analyze trends in who exactly is visiting its stores, and what they can do to encourage repeat visits. And because the database of shoppers is stored in the cloud, it can’t be fooled by simply visiting another location on the other side of town. It will recognize you no matter where you shop, unless you invest in a believable fake beard and oversized sunglasses”