The War for India’s Internet – By Rebecca MacKinnon | Foreign Policy

The War for India’s Internet – By Rebecca MacKinnon | Foreign Policy.

A lively national Internet freedom movement has grown rapidly across India since the beginning of this year. The most colorful highlight so far was a seven-day Gandhian hunger strike, otherwise known as a “freedom fast,” held in early May on a New Delhi sidewalk by political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi and activist-journalist Alok Dixit. Trivedi’s website was shut down this year in response to a police complaint by a Mumbai-based advocate who alleged that some of Trivedi’s works “ridicule the Indian Parliament, the national emblem, and the national flag.”

Michigan State Rep. Lisa Brown on religious freedom and vagina

Michigan State Rep. Lisa Brown on religious freedom and vagina.

Banned for using proper scientific terms!?! Rep. Brown said “vagina.” And then she was banned from speaking on the House floor in future debates. Seriously. State Rep. Barb Byrum was also apparently banned from speaking for saying “vasectomy.” Banning life-saving medical procedures: totally OK. Using medically accurate language: silenced forever. (Update: The speaker’s office now says they just can’t speak today. Which I guess makes being silenced for saying “vagina” and “vasectomy” totally OK…)

First Painters May Have Been Neanderthal, Not Human | Wired Science | Wired.com

First Painters May Have Been Neanderthal, Not Human | Wired Science | Wired.com.

European cave paintings are older than previously thought, raising the possibility that Neanderthals rather than Homo sapiens were the earliest painters.

That’s not yet certain: The paintings may have been made by humans at an unexpectedly early date, which would itself raise intriguing questions, though none so tantalizing as Neanderthal painters.

“It would not be surprising if the Neanderthals were indeed Europe’s first cave artists,” said João Zilhão, an archaeologist at Spain’s University of Barcelona, at a press conference on June 13.

Afghan Women’s Writing Project | Hope

Afghan Women’s Writing Project | Hope.

When I was a child
You were the name of my toys
When I grew up

I painted you in my dress
Bright, bright, bright
If I didn’t know you

I could not go on
You are the heart of life
And my heart beats for you

I hold you in every breath
With you, loneliness disappears
Darkness is not deep

Night is short
Light shines
Hope!

My lovely friend
Take my hands
I want to live

With you
Hope, Hope!
Oh my lovely friend!

By Norwan

Indonesia: Sumatra Deforestation Mapping Tool · Global Voices

Indonesia: Sumatra Deforestation Mapping Tool · Global Voices.

This is why big agriculture fears drones and eye in the sky views of how they are despoiling the land and our futures… Google Earth Outreach believes the tool can guide users to verify if the claim of palm oil and paper product companies about sustainable production is true

They also hope to educate viewers about the history and impacts of deforestation on Sumatra. As the project continues, they will demonstrate how global commodities are changing the landscape, often in violation of existing rules and regulations. Members of the public – such as commercial buyers of palm oil and paper products from Sumatra – will be able to ground truth corporate claims of sustainable production without leaving home by creating their own maps with suppliers’ land holdings related to loss of forest, carbon stocks and biodiversity.

Why our food is making us fat | Business | The Guardian

Why our food is making us fat | Business | The Guardian. CORN!!!Earl Butz, an academic from the farming heartland of Indiana, to broker a compromise. Butz, an agriculture expert, had a radical plan that would transform the food we eat, and in doing so, the shape of the human race.

Butz pushed farmers into a new, industrial scale of production, and into farming one crop in particular: corn. US cattle were fattened by the immense increases in corn production. Burgers became bigger. Fries, fried in corn oil, became fattier. Corn became the engine for the massive surge in the quantities of cheaper food being supplied to American supermarkets: everything from cereals, to biscuits and flour found new uses for corn. As a result of Butz’s free-market reforms, American farmers, almost overnight, went from parochial small-holders to multimillionaire businessmen with a global market. One Indiana farmer believes that America could have won the cold war by simply starving the Russians of corn. But instead they chose to make money.

By the mid-70s, there was a surplus of corn. Butz flew to Japan to look into a scientific innovation that would change everything: the mass development of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), or glucose-fructose syrup as it’s often referred to in the UK, a highly sweet, gloppy syrup, produced from surplus corn, that was also incredibly cheap. HFCS had been discovered in the 50s, but it was only in the 70s that a process had been found to harness it for mass production. HFCS was soon pumped into every conceivable food: pizzas, coleslaw, meat. It provided that “just baked” sheen on bread and cakes, made everything sweeter, and extended shelf life from days to years. A silent revolution of the amount of sugar that was going into our bodies was taking place. In Britain, the food on our plates became pure science – each processed milligram tweaked and sweetened for maximum palatability. And the general public were clueless that these changes were taking place.

Civil Eats » Blog Archive » Court to FDA: Follow the Law on Curbing Overuse of Antibiotics in Livestock

Civil Eats » Blog Archive » Court to FDA: Follow the Law on Curbing Overuse of Antibiotics in Livestock.

The Court wrote:

“[T]he statutory scheme requires the Agency to ensure the safety and effectiveness of all drugs sold in interstate commerce, and, if an approved drug is not shown to be safe or effective, the Agency must begin withdrawal proceedings. The Agency has forsaken these obligations in the name of a proposed voluntary program, Guidance # 209, and acted contrary to the statutory language.

. . .

[FDA] must evaluate the safety risks of the petitioned drugs and either make the finding that the drugs are not shown to be safe or provide a reasoned explanation as to why the Agency is refusing to make such a finding.”

The Citizen Petitions asked FDA to act on medically important antibiotics that are being fed to healthy livestock and are contributing to the looming public health crisis of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance can lead to longer illnesses, the use of antibiotics with greater side effects, and even death when treatments fail. Almost seventy percent of all antibiotics sold in the US are used on healthy livestock, to promote faster weight gain and compensate for unsanitary, crowded conditions. Yet, in the face of the rising public health threat of antibiotic resistance, the FDA has largely failed to act. This is in spite of the fact that, as the Court notes, “the Agency has all but made a finding that the subtherapeutic use of antibiotics in food-producing animals has not been shown to be safe.”

Nuns Mad As Hell | Women’s Media Center

Nuns Mad As Hell | Women’s Media Center.

What drew the ire of the nuns was an investigation of their group that concluded with a bishop being appointed to oversee their every move, and to decide which speakers they could have at their conferences, and what sort of programs they could offer. Their sins? According to the investigation ordered by Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the sisters were guilty of advancing “radical feminist themes,” not speaking out against same-sex marriage and abortion, and failing to withdraw a 1977 statement that called for the priesthood to be opened to women.

Afghan Women\’s Writing Project | Second Chance

My time is up. I hear them calling me. What am I to do? They are calling my name. My heart is beating fast. What am I to do? I’m scared. My knees and hands are shaking, my mouth is dry. I feel sick.I’m getting paler and colder with every second that passes. What am I to do, they are still calling my name. I have no choice but to go. I want to walk slowly, but my feet act independently. I pass many people who look worse than I. My eyes are full of tears. No one cares. I am on my own now.I realize everyone is on their own.I need more time… I’m not ready for this…!I want to yell More time! But no voice comes from my mouth.My feet stop. I look up and I’m standing in front of them. Three angels; so beautiful and bright. I can’t see them clearly.  They gently call my name.Do you want time? Do you want another chance?My voice is shaky … Yes. Then close your eyes. When you open them, you should know this is your second chance. Use it wisely and make the right choices. Know that God is great, but if you fall there is no getting up!I open my eyes. I’m in my room. I rush to the window. Is it morning? The sun is not out. I can see stars and hear the morning prayers from the mosque outside my home: “Your prayer is better then your sleep!”I realize that it was a dream. No, not a dream, a warning. A second chance cannot be given a second time.By Aisha 

via Afghan Women\'s Writing Project | Second Chance.

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