Showing posts from February 11, 2018

Today's Trumpery


Iranian-Canadian professor Kavous Seyed-Emami reportedly dies in custody

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[I'll keep an eye on the headlines but so far - where is the reaction from the Canadian government? *RON*]

Adam Burns, The Canadian Press / National Post, 10 February 2018

TEHRAN, Iran — The death of an Iranian-Canadian professor in Iran points to a pattern of the country’s judicial authorities targeting dual nationals, according to the head of a non-profit agency that promotes human rights in Iran.

Kavous Seyed-Emami, a professor of sociology at Tehran’s Imam Sadiq University, was detained last month, according to Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran.

He died in custody less than three weeks later, according to a social media post from his son, who goes by the stage name King Raam.

“The news of my father’s passing is impossible to fathom,” Raam wrote in a post on Twitter and Instagram Saturday morning. “I still can’t believe this.”

In an email to The Canadian Press, a spokesperson for Global…

How to Use Critical Thinking to Spot False Climate Claims

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[You can download the paper itself here. *RON*]

Peter EllertonDeSmog Blog, 10 February 2018

Much of the public discussion about climate science consists of a stream of assertions. The climate is changing or it isn’t; carbon dioxide causes global warming or it doesn’t; humans are partly responsible or they are not; scientists have a rigorous process of peer review or they don’t, and so on.

Despite scientists’ best efforts at communicating with the public, not everyone knows enough about the underlying science to make a call one way or the other. Not only is climate science very complex, but it has also been targeted by deliberate obfuscation campaigns.

Read more: A brief history of fossil-fuelled climate denial

If we lack the expertise to evaluate the detail behind a claim, we typically substitute judgment about something complex (like climate science) with judgment about something simple (the character of people who speak about climate science).


The Tilted Road Illusion

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[Just sort of cool, that's all! :-) The latest viral illusion has a known explanation. *RON*]

Susana Martinez-Conde, Scientific American, 9 February 2018

The latest illusion to go viral in social media depicts two side-by-side stretches of a narrow road, receding in the distance. Both images depict the retreating road at an oblique angle, but the right road’s slant is a lot more pronounced than the slant on the left road.

Or is it?

In fact, both pictures are identical. As user djeclipz put it, upon sharing the soon-to-become global sensation on Reddit: “This is the same photo, side by side. They are not taken at different angles. Both sides are the same, pixel for pixel.”

So why do they look so different?

The illusion, created in 2010 by the French artist Daniel Picon and entitled “Roads in Mexico,” is a powerful variant of an earlier perceptual phenomenon discovered in 2007 by vision scientists Frederick Kingdom, Ali Yoonessi, and Elena Gh…

An all-white jury runs from justice in the trial of Gerald Stanley

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[A travesty of justice. See also: How the justice system let race taint the Stanley verdict. *RON*]

Robert Jago,, 10 February 10, 2018

Last night, a crowded Saskatchewan courtroom heard the verdict of the 12-person jury in the trial of 56-year-old Gerald Stanley, the white farmer charged in the 2016 shooting death of Red Pheasant First Nation member Colten Boushie. The decision to find Stanley ‘not guilty’ of the second-degree murder of 22-year-old Boushie set off a firestorm of reaction across social media, on both sides of the case. Here, Indigenous entrepreneur and commentator Robert Jago shares his perspective on what we should take away from the verdict.

There is a video from outside the courthouse in Battleford, Saskatchewan, last night. It shows a screen which is split in four and displaying the courtroom, the jury box, the judge, and the accused in the Gerald Stanley case.

As the verdict is announced, there are gasps and shouts…

In Sweeping War on Obesity, Chile Slays Tony the Tiger

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[New regulations, which corporate interests delayed for almost a decade, require explicit labeling and limit the marketing of sugary foods to children. "Nutrition experts say the measures are the world’s most ambitious attempt to remake a country’s food culture, and could be a model for how to turn the tide on a global obesity epidemic that researchers say contributes to four million premature deaths a year." This is also happening in Canada: Feds propose warning labels for foods high in sugar, fat, salt. *RON*]
Andrew Jacobs, New York Times, 7 February 2018

SANTIAGO, Chile — They killed Tony the Tiger. They did away with Cheetos’ Chester Cheetah. They banned Kinder Surprise, the chocolate eggs with a hidden toy.

The Chilean government, facing skyrocketing rates of obesity, is waging war on unhealthy foods with a phalanx of marketing restrictions, mandatory packaging redesigns and labeling rules aimed at transforming the eating habits …