• Face-Reading AI Will Tell Police When Suspects Are Hiding Truth

    #Facesoft, a U.K. start-up, says it has built a database of 300 million images of faces, some of which have been created by an AI system modeled on the human brain, The Times reported. The system built by the company can identify emotions like anger, fear and surprise based on micro-expressions which are often invisible to the casual observer.

    “If someone smiles insincerely, their mouth may smile, but the smile doesn’t reach their eyes — micro-expressions are more subtle than that and quicker,” co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Allan Ponniah, who’s also a plastic and reconstructive surgeon in London, told the newspaper.

    #IA #business

  • Bahrain debacle marks crash of Trump team’s campaign to diss Palestinians into submission

    Kushner’s Peace for Prosperity includes Utopian projects funded by non-existent money as part of peace deal that won’t happen
    Chemi Shalev
    Jun 25, 2019 9:12 AM

    The unveiling of the U.S. administration’s long-awaited production of Peace for Prosperity, premiering in Bahrain on Tuesday, garnered mixed reviews, to say the least. Barak Ravid of Axios and Israel’s Channel 13 described it as “impressive, detailed and ambitious – perhaps overly ambitious.” Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and Egypt Dan Kurtzer offered a slightly different take: “I would give this so-called plan a C- from an undergraduate student. The authors of the plan clearly understand nothing,” he said.

    The plan, released in a colorful pamphlet on the eve of the Bahrain economic summit, is being portrayed by the White House as a vision of the bountiful “fruits of peace” that Palestinians might reap once they reach a peace agreement with Israel. Critics describe it as an amateurish pie-in-the-sky, shoot-for-the-moon, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink hodgepodge that promises projects that cannot be implemented, funded by money that does not exist and contingent on a peace deal that will never happen.

    But the main problem with Peace for Prosperity isn’t its outlandishly unrealistic proposals – such as the $5 billion superhighway between the West Bank and Gaza, which Israel will never agree to; or its occasional condescending and Orientalist attitude towards Palestinian society - their great hummus could attract millions of tourists; or even its offer to manage and foster Palestinian institutions and civil society in a way that can be viewed either as implicit state-building or as imposing foreign control on a future Palestinian government.

    >> Read more: ’There is no purely economic solution to the Palestinian economy’s problems’ ■ Trump’s Bahrain conference - not what you imagined ■ Kushner’s deal holds some surprises, but it’s more vision than blueprint ■ The billion-dollar question in Trump’s peace plan

    The Palestinians would have been suspicious in any case, even if Jimmy Carter or Barack Obama were President. They have always been wary of the term “economic peace”, especially when detached from the real nitty-gritty of resolving their dispute with Israel. Nonetheless, if the President was anyone other than Trump, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas would have more or less emulated Benjamin Netanyahu’s reaction: Somber nodding of the head, then a non-committal reaction to Peace for Prosperity, followed by effusive but general praise for our lord and savior Donald Trump. Israelis and Palestinians would have attended the Bahrain conference, while doing their best to suppress their inner guffaws.

    If it was anyone by Trump and his peace team - which often doubles as Netanyahu’s cheerleading squad – the Palestinians might have allowed themselves to believe that A. A comprehensive peace plan isn’t just a mirage and is indeed forthcoming. B. The deal won’t be tilted so far in favor of Israel that it will be declared stillborn on arrival and C. That it isn’t a ruse meant to cast Palestinians as congenital rejectionists and to pave the way for an Israeli annexation of “parts of the West Bank”, as Ambassador David Friedman put it when he pronounced Trump’s imperial edict conceding territory to Israel, which even Palestinian minimalists claim as their own, in advance of any actual talks.

    But because the plan bears Trump’s signature, it was received in most world capitals with shrugs, as yet another manifestation of the U.S. administration’s preposterous handling of foreign policy – see North Korea, Europe, Mexico, Venezuela et al. Israel, of course, didn’t miss the opportunity to regurgitate the cliché about the Palestinians “never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity”.
    A Palestinian man steps on a painting depicting U.S. President Donald Trump during a protest against U.S.-led Bahrain workshop in Gaza City, June 24, 2019.
    A Palestinian man steps on a painting depicting U.S. President Donald Trump during a protest against U.S.-led Bahrain workshop in Gaza City, June 24, 2019. \ MOHAMMED SALEM/ REUTERS
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    For Palestinians and their supporters, however, Kushner’s bid was but the latest in the Trump team’s never-ending stream of slights, slanders and slaps in their collective faces. In Palestinian eyes, the economic bonanza isn’t a CBM – confidence building measure – but a con job and insult rolled into one. It dangles dollars in front of Palestinian noses, implying they can be bought, and it sets up a chain of events at the end of which Jason Greenblatt will inevitably accuse them on Twitter of being hysterical and dishonest while praising Netanyahu’s bold leadership and pioneering vision. They’ve been there, and done that.

    This has been the Trump approach from the outset: Uncontained admiration for Israel and its leader coupled with unhidden disdain for Palestinian leaders and contempt for their “unrealistic” dreams. Trump’s peace team swears by Israel’s security needs as if they were part of the bible or U.S. Constitution; the ongoing 52-year military occupation of millions of Palestinians, on the other hand, seems to have escaped their attention.

    For the first ten months of Trump’s tenure, the Palestinians put up with his administration’s unequivocal pledges of allegiance to Israel as well as the White House’s departure from past custom and continuing refusal to criticize any of its actions – not to mention the appointment of a peace team comprised exclusively of right-wing Netanyahu groupies, which Palestinians initially thought was surely a practical joke.

    Trump’s announcement in December 2017 that he would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. embassy there was both game-changer and deal-breaker as far as the Palestinians were concerned. While Netanyahu and most of Israel were celebrating Donald the Daring and the long-awaited recognition of their eternal capital, Palestinians realized they were facing a President radically different from any of his predecessors - one willing to break the rules in Israel’s favor and to grant his bestie Bibi tangible victories, before, during and after elections - without asking for anything in return.

    The Palestinians have boycotted the Trump administration ever since, embarrassing Friedman, Greenblatt, Kushner and ultimately Trump in the process. They, in response, have increasingly vented their anger and frustrations at the Palestinians, and not just in words and Tweets alone: The administration shut down the PLO’s office in Washington, declared Jerusalem “off the table” and indicated that the refugee issue should follow it, cut aid to UNRWA and is endeavoring to dismantle it altogether and slashed assistance to Palestinian humanitarian organizations.

    In March 2018, in a move strongly supported by Israel and vigorously endorsed by Evangelicals and other right wing supporters, Trump signed the Congressionally approved Taylor Force Act that prohibits U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority as long as it continued to pay monthly stipends to the families of what the Act describes as “terrorists”. Palestinians, who, to many people’s regret, regard such terrorists as heroes and martyrs, noted that the passage of the Taylor Force Act embarrassed Israel and spurred it to legislate its own way to withholding Palestinian tax money for the very same reason.

    Throughout the process, Trump and his peace team have lectured the Palestinians as a teacher reprimands an obstinate child. The Palestinians need to face reality, to lower their expectations, to land back on earth, Kushner and colleagues insist. Not only will they never realize their dreams and aspirations, they should also forget their core demand for an independent state free of outside control and not confide inside Israeli-controlled gates. Israelis are worthy of such independence, the Palestinians are told, but you are not.

    Trump approach is a product, first and foremost, of his own inexperience, arrogance and unwillingness to learn anything from a past in which he wasn’t in charge. It is fed by anti-Palestinian prejudices prevalent in his peace team as well as his advisers and most of his political supporters. Trump and his underlings basically adhere to the arguably racist tenet encapsulated in the Israeli saying “The Arabs understand only force.” The more you pressure them, the greater the chance they will succumb.
    Women protest against the U.S.-led workshop in Bahrain in the Moroccan capital Rabat, June 23, 2019.
    Women protest against the U.S.-led workshop in Bahrain in the Moroccan capital Rabat, June 23, 2019.AFP

    At this point at least, it hasn’t worked out that way. Bahrain, by any measure, is a humiliating bust. As Trump and his aides contemplate the reasons for their abject failure they are likely to blame stubborn Palestinians who don’t know what’s good for them, along with radical Muslims, perfidious Europeans, idiot liberals and all the other usual suspects.

    In a better world, they would take a hard look at themselves in the mirror and possibly have an epiphany. They can make an immediate adjustment that will cost them nothing but possibly achieve dramatic results. Instead of incessantly rebuking, reproaching, reprimanding, threatening and intimidating the Palestinians in a way that garners cheers from Christian messianics and Jewish zealots, they could try and treat them, as Aretha Franklin sang, with just a little respect. And perhaps, if it isn’t asking too much, take down their fawning for Netanyahu a notch or two.

    It might not be enough to reconcile irreconcilable differences or to make peace, but it will signal that Trump is finally getting serious about his claim to be the peacemaker the world has been waiting for. Alternatively, the Palestinians will continue to frustrate his designs and pray to Allah for his quick departure.

  • Egypt’s Former President Morsi Dies in Court : State TV | News | teleSUR English

    Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi died after fainting during a court hearing.

    Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has died in court, state television reported Monday.

    It said Morsi had fainted after a court session and died afterward. He was pronounced dead at 4:50 pm local time according to the country’s public prosecutor.

    “He was speaking before the judge for 20 minutes then became very animated and fainted. He was quickly rushed to the hospital where he later died,” a judicial source said.

    “In front of Allah, my father and we shall unite,” wrote Ahmed, Morsi’s son on Facebook.

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan paid tribute to Morsi saying, "May Allah rest our Morsi brother, our martyr’s soul in peace.”

    According to medical reports, there were no apparent injuries on his body.

    Morsi, who was democratically elected after the popular ouster of Hosni Mubarak, was toppled by the military led by coup leader and current President Abdul-Fattah el-Sissi in 2013 after protests against his rule.

    “We received with great sorrow the news of the sudden death of former president Dr. Mohamed Morsi. I offer my deepest condolences to his family and Egyptian people. We belong to God and to him we shall return,” Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani wrote on Twitter.

    The United Nations spokesperson Stephane Dujarric offered condolences to his supporters and relatives.

    State television said Morsi, who was 67, was in court for a hearing on charges of espionage emanating from suspected contacts with the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza strip that is under blockade by the current Egyptian government and Israel.

    He was facing at least six trials for politically motivated charges according to his supporters. The former president was also serving a 20-years prison sentence for allegedly killing protesters in 2012.

    Morsi was suffering from various health issues including diabetes and liver and kidney disease. During his imprisonment, he suffered from medical neglect worsened by poor prison conditions.

    Mohammed Sudan, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, said that Morsi’s death was "premeditated murder” by not allowing him adequate health care.

    "He has been placed behind [a] glass cage [during trials]. No one can hear him or know what is happening to him. He hasn’t received any visits for months or nearly a year. He complained before that he doesn’t get his medicine. This is premeditated murder. This is a slow death,” Sudan said.

    Morsi was allowed 3 short visits in 6 years. One in November 2013 after being forcibly disappeared for 4 months, and another in June 2017 when only his wife and daughter were allowed, and the third in September 2018 with security official recording the whole conversation.
    — Abdelrahman Ayyash (@3yyash) June 17, 2019

    #Égypte #islamisme #prison

  • Snowden et le contrôle électronique du parc humain

    Snowden et le contrôle électronique du parc humain

    L’expression parc humain vient de l’incertain Sloterdjik, néo-penseur allemand des nullissimes nineties,aujourd’hui bien oublié. Elle me paraît pourtant bonne. Pour savoir comment nous avons été domestiqués par le marché et par l’étatisme moderne, on relira les classiques que je n’ai cessé d’étudier ici-même : Debord, Mattelart, Marx, Heidegger, Tocqueville et bien sûr Platon (le chant VIII j’allais dire, de la république, qui précise comment on ferme les âmes, pour retourner l’expression du bon maître Allan Bloom). Parfois un contemporain comme l’historien américain Stanley Payne résume très bien notre situation de résignés, d’anesthésiés et de petits retraités de l’humanité. Comme dit l’impayable Barbier, les retraités ont pardonné à Macron. Alors…

    J’ai écrit (...)

  • Article indigent compte tenu de la carrière incroyable de ce géant... très triste... à suivre...

    Le chanteur et pianiste Dr John est mort à l’âge de 77 ans
    Radio Canada, le 6 juin 2019

    Do you know the Dr ? Dr John ? Mac Rebennack ? Such a night... (1976)

    Dr. John Collection on Letterman, 1982-2008

    Et collection de duos ci-dessous...

    #Musique #Dr_John #Nouvelle_Orleans

  • La championne Allyson Felix dénonce le traitement de Nike depuis sa #grossesse

    « J’ai remporté 9 médailles olympiques, ce qui fait de moi l’une des femmes les plus titrées de l’histoire de l’athlétisme. J’ai fait énormément de promotion pour Nike. Ils ont utilisé mon image dans beaucoup de leurs boutiques, de leurs campagnes mais je suis aussi une mère. Je ne crois pas que je puisse rester en retrait plus longtemps. Je veux des protections autour de la #maternité. Je veux que ça change, je sais qu’on en parle mais je veux désormais faire bouger les choses. Je veux être capable de signer un contrat dans lequel il y a des droits pour la maternité. Je peux accepter moins d’argent mais je refuse de négliger le droit à la maternité. Si je ne le fais pas pour moi, au moins que ça serve pour les autres, dans le futur », complète-t-elle dans une vidéo publiée par le « New York Times ».

  • Il faudrait travailler seulement 9h par semaine pour contrer le réchauffement climatique

    Selon une étude britannique, les citoyens européens devraient drastiquement réduire leur temps de travail pour limiter le réchauffement climatique.

    Au rythme actuel des émissions carbone, il faudrait en effet que les Britanniques travaillent seulement 9 heures par semaine pour maintenir le pays sous le seuil critique de 2°C de réchauffement climatique, a établi le thinktank britannique Autonomy, cité par le Guardian.

    Selon les projections de ce dernier - basées sur les chiffres des émissions de gaz à effet de serre - des réductions de temps de travail similaires seraient nécessaires en Suède et en Allemagne.

    Cette étude démontre ainsi la nécessité d’inclure la réduction du temps de travail dans la lutte contre le réchauffement climatique, résume Will Stronge, directeur d’Autonomy. « Une semaine de travail plus courte est non seulement viable (grâce aux progrès technologiques) mais également essentielle » pour la planète, souligne-t-il encore.

  • Gaspard Glanz, en rue libre

    Sèche boule de nerfs toujours prête à exploser, le grand échalas à la voix vite éraillée donne l’impression de devoir sauver le monde à chaque coin de rue : ça doit être épuisant. Son air révolté remonte à loin. A 6 ans, il fait caca devant le bureau de la directrice de son école primaire, mécontent d’avoir été expulsé de classe. Et il en veut encore à ses profs de son redoublement en 6e. « Ce n’était pas à cause de mes notes mais de mon comportement. J’ai eu un sentiment d’injustice immense », dit-il. Les origines familiales, « cinq religions et huit pays différents chez mes arrière-grands-parents », « un mort dans chaque guerre depuis 1870 », l’ont aussi influencé. Il tient en haute estime son grand-oncle, le résistant communiste Maurice Kriegel-Valrimont. « Quand il me mettait sur ses genoux, enfant, je faisais des conneries, et il avait dit à ma grand-mère : "Ça va être un petit con, celui-là !" » dit Gaspard en souriant. « C’est de famille, j’ai aussi un fort caractère, note son père, Eric Glanz, entrepreneur web tandis que sa mère est styliste. Il est hypersensible, très réactif, mais sa révolte est exacerbée, parce qu’il a vu trop de misère. » « Il a une vision romanesque du journalisme, il se met toujours du côté de l’opprimé, du faible », ajoute le photographe Boby Allin, « pote de terrain ». « C’est quelqu’un de loyal, juge le photoreporter Nnoman. Il est droit dans ses positions même si c’est une grande gueule. »

    Les polémiques stériles sur son statut de journaliste, parce qu’il n’a pas la carte de presse faute de revenus suffisants, agacent Glanz au plus haut point. A raison. Engagé, certes. Avec sa propre subjectivité, certes. Et alors ? Il est de gauche et il l’assume. Lui, au moins, on sait d’où il parle. Il s’énerve : « [Les journalistes] du Figaro, de l’Express, ils ne sont jamais accusés d’être militants, eux ! Ils n’existent pas pour moi. C’est eux qui me détestent. Moi, je ne les déteste pas, je les méprise. Ils peuvent écrire leur merde, je m’en fous, mais par contre qu’ils ne me fassent pas chier ! » Ah, Gaspard Glanz, toujours emporté par ses élans passionnels ! « Merde » et « trous de balle » lui viennent souvent à la bouche. Mais est-ce vraiment ses indignations que nous devons interroger ?

    Sinon, Gaspard Glanz vit dans un 17 m2, dans le quartier, avec sa copine serveuse, mais il n’a aucune envie d’en parler. « Ce n’est pas important. C’est de la vie privée, on s’en fout mec. Vous êtes Libé, pas Grazia. Pourquoi tu parles de ça ? C’est de la merde, tu perds des lignes », dit-il, nous enjoignant de retranscrire ces propos. D’accord, patron.

  • En prison depuis quatre mois. Son crime ? Être anarchiste

    Toulouse (Haute-Garonne), correspondance

    En prison pour un jeu de clés. C’est ainsi que l’on pourrait résumer l’affaire de « R. », un jeune homme de 26 ans mis en examen pour « association de malfaiteurs » et détenu depuis près de quatre mois à la maison d’arrêt de Seysses (Haute-Garonne).

    Le 2 février dernier, R. garde la fille d’une amie au domicile de cette dernière. Nous sommes un samedi, jour de manifestation des Gilets jaunes et voyant des policiers contrôler des manifestants, R. descend dans la rue pour observer la scène. Il est lui aussi interpellé par les forces de l’ordre, et refuse de donner son identité.

    Face aux policiers, le jeune homme, de nationalité suisse, affirme s’appeler « Jérôme Schmidt », un nom imaginaire. Dans un premier temps, il est emmené au poste de police pour vérification d’identité, puis placé en garde à vue après avoir refusé le prélèvement de son ADN et de ses empreintes. En droit français, ce refus constitue une infraction. R. est par ailleurs en possession d’un trousseau de clés qui attire l’attention des policiers. Parmi elles, une clé Allen, du type de celles servant à la réparation d’un vélo et un passe PTT permettant l’ouverture de halls d’immeubles et de boîtes aux lettres. Dès lors, les enquêteurs se convainquent qu’il s’agit de preuves matérielles prouvant l’appartenance de R. à la mouvance de l’ultragauche. Dans leur procès-verbal, ils affirment que ces clés sont « caractéristiques du fonctionnement des activistes d’ultragauche pilotant le mouvement des Gilets jaunes et leurs manifestations, en tout cas sur la ville de Toulouse ».

  • Suffering unseen: The dark truth behind wildlife tourism

    I’ve come back to check on a baby. Just after dusk I’m in a car lumbering down a muddy road in the rain, past rows of shackled elephants, their trunks swaying. I was here five hours before, when the sun was high and hot and tourists were on elephants’ backs.

    Walking now, I can barely see the path in the glow of my phone’s flashlight. When the wooden fence post of the stall stops me short, I point my light down and follow a current of rainwater across the concrete floor until it washes up against three large, gray feet. A fourth foot hovers above the surface, tethered tightly by a short chain and choked by a ring of metal spikes. When the elephant tires and puts her foot down, the spikes press deeper into her ankle.

    Meena is four years and two months old, still a toddler as elephants go. Khammon Kongkhaw, her mahout, or caretaker, told me earlier that Meena wears the spiked chain because she tends to kick. Kongkhaw has been responsible for Meena here at Maetaman Elephant Adventure, near Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, since she was 11 months old. He said he keeps her on the spiked shackle only during the day and takes it off at night. But it’s night now.

    I ask Jin Laoshen, the Maetaman staffer accompanying me on this nighttime visit, why her chain is still on. He says he doesn’t know.

    Maetaman is one of many animal attractions in and around tourist-swarmed Chiang Mai. People spill out of tour buses and clamber onto the trunks of elephants that, at the prodding of their mahouts’ bullhooks (long poles with a sharp metal hook), hoist them in the air while cameras snap. Visitors thrust bananas toward elephants’ trunks. They watch as mahouts goad their elephants—some of the most intelligent animals on the planet—to throw darts or kick oversize soccer balls while music blares.

    Meena is one of Maetaman’s 10 show elephants. To be precise, she’s a painter. Twice a day, in front of throngs of chattering tourists, Kongkhaw puts a paintbrush in the tip of her trunk and presses a steel nail to her face to direct her brushstrokes as she drags primary colors across paper. Often he guides her to paint a wild elephant in the savanna. Her paintings are then sold to tourists.

    Meena’s life is set to follow the same trajectory as many of the roughly 3,800 captive elephants in Thailand and thousands more throughout Southeast Asia. She’ll perform in shows until she’s about 10. After that, she’ll become a riding elephant. Tourists will sit on a bench strapped to her back, and she’ll give several rides a day. When Meena is too old or sick to give rides—maybe at 55, maybe at 75—she’ll die. If she’s lucky, she’ll get a few years of retirement. She’ll spend most of her life on a chain in a stall.

    Wildlife attractions such as Maetaman lure people from around the world to be with animals like Meena, and they make up a lucrative segment of the booming global travel industry. Twice as many trips are being taken abroad as 15 years ago, a jump driven partly by Chinese tourists, who spend far more on international travel than any other nationality.

    Wildlife tourism isn’t new, but social media is setting the industry ablaze, turning encounters with exotic animals into photo-driven bucket-list toppers. Activities once publicized mostly in guidebooks now are shared instantly with multitudes of people by selfie-taking backpackers, tour-bus travelers, and social media “influencers” through a tap on their phone screens. Nearly all millennials (23- to 38-year-olds) use social media while traveling. Their selfies—of swims with dolphins, encounters with tigers, rides on elephants, and more—are viral advertising for attractions that tout up-close experiences with animals.

    For all the visibility social media provides, it doesn’t show what happens beyond the view of the camera lens. People who feel joy and exhilaration from getting close to wild animals usually are unaware that many of the animals at such attractions live a lot like Meena, or worse.

    Photographer Kirsten Luce and I set out to look behind the curtain of the thriving wildlife tourism industry, to see how animals at various attractions—including some that emphasize their humane care of animals—are treated once the selfie-taking crowds have gone.

    After leaving Maetaman, we take a five-minute car ride up a winding hill to a property announced by a wooden plaque as “Elephant EcoValley: where elephants are in good hands.” There are no elephant rides here. No paint shows or other performances. Visitors can stroll through an open-air museum and learn about Thailand’s national animal. They can make herbal treats for the elephants and paper from elephant dung. They can watch elephants in a grassy, tree-ringed field.

    EcoValley’s guest book is filled with praise from Australians, Danes, Americans—tourists who often shun elephant camps such as Maetaman because the rides and shows make them uneasy. Here, they can see unchained elephants and leave feeling good about supporting what they believe is an ethical establishment. What many don’t know is that EcoValley’s seemingly carefree elephants are brought here for the day from nearby Maetaman—and that the two attractions are actually a single business.

    Meena was brought here once, but she tried to run into the forest. Another young elephant, Mei, comes sometimes, but today she’s at Maetaman, playing the harmonica in the shows. When she’s not doing that, or spending the day at EcoValley, she’s chained near Meena in one of Maetaman’s elephant stalls.

    Meena Kalamapijit owns Maetaman as well as EcoValley, which she opened in November 2017 to cater to Westerners. She says her 56 elephants are well cared for and that giving rides and performing allow them to have necessary exercise. And, she says, Meena the elephant’s behavior has gotten better since her mahout started using the spiked chain.
    Read MoreWildlife Watch
    Why we’re shining a light on wildlife tourism
    Poaching is sending the shy, elusive pangolin to its doom
    How to do wildlife tourism right

    We sit with Kalamapijit on a balcony outside her office, and she explains that when Westerners, especially Americans, stopped coming to Maetaman, she eliminated one of the daily shows to allot time for visitors to watch elephants bathe in the river that runs through the camp.

    “Westerners enjoy bathing because it looks happy and natural,” she says. “But a Chinese tour agency called me and said, ‘Why are you cutting the show? Our customers love to see it, and they don’t care about bathing at all.’ ” Providing separate options is good for business, Kalamapijit says.

    Around the world Kirsten and I watched tourists watching captive animals. In Thailand we also saw American men bear-hug tigers in Chiang Mai and Chinese brides in wedding gowns ride young elephants in the aqua surf on the island of Phuket. We watched polar bears in wire muzzles ballroom dancing across the ice under a big top in Russia and teenage boys on the Amazon River snapping selfies with baby sloths.

    Most tourists who enjoy these encounters don’t know that the adult tigers may be declawed, drugged, or both. Or that there are always cubs for tourists to snuggle with because the cats are speed bred and the cubs are taken from their mothers just days after birth. Or that the elephants give rides and perform tricks without harming people only because they’ve been “broken” as babies and taught to fear the bullhook. Or that the Amazonian sloths taken illegally from the jungle often die within weeks of being put in captivity.

    As we traveled to performance pits and holding pens on three continents and in the Hawaiian Islands, asking questions about how animals are treated and getting answers that didn’t always add up, it became clear how methodically and systematically animal suffering is concealed.

    The wildlife tourism industry caters to people’s love of animals but often seeks to maximize profits by exploiting animals from birth to death. The industry’s economy depends largely on people believing that the animals they’re paying to watch or ride or feed are having fun too.

    It succeeds partly because tourists—in unfamiliar settings and eager to have a positive experience—typically don’t consider the possibility that they’re helping to hurt animals. Social media adds to the confusion: Oblivious endorsements from friends and trendsetters legitimize attractions before a traveler ever gets near an animal.

    There has been some recognition of social media’s role in the problem. In December 2017, after a National Geographic investigative report on harmful wildlife tourism in Amazonian Brazil and Peru, Instagram introduced a feature: Users who click or search one of dozens of hashtags, such as #slothselfie and #tigercubselfie, now get a pop-up warning that the content they’re viewing may be harmful to animals.

    Everyone finds Olga Barantseva on Instagram. “Photographer from Russia. Photographing dreams,” her bio reads. She meets clients for woodland photo shoots with captive wild animals just outside Moscow.

    For her 18th birthday, Sasha Belova treated herself to a session with Barantseva—and a pack of wolves. “It was my dream,” she says as she fidgets with her hair, which had been styled that morning. “Wolves are wild and dangerous.” The wolves are kept in small cages at a petting zoo when not participating in photo shoots.

    The Kravtsov family hired Barantseva to take their first professional family photos—all five family members, shivering and smiling in the birch forest, joined by a bear named Stepan.

    Barantseva has been photographing people and wild animals together for six years. She “woke up as a star,” she says, in 2015, when a couple of international media outlets found her online. Her audience has exploded to more than 80,000 followers worldwide. “I want to show harmony between people and animals,” she says.

    On a raw fall day, under a crown of golden birch leaves on a hill that overlooks a frigid lake, two-and-a-half-year-old Alexander Levin, dressed in a hooded bumblebee sweater, timidly holds Stepan’s paw.

    The bear’s owners, Yury and Svetlana Panteleenko, ply their star with food—tuna fish mixed with oatmeal—to get him to approach the boy. Snap: It looks like a tender friendship. The owners toss grapes to Stepan to get him to open his mouth wide. Snap: The bear looks as if he’s smiling.

    The Panteleenkos constantly move Stepan, adjusting his paws, feeding him, and positioning Alexander as Barantseva, pink-haired, bundled in jeans and a parka, captures each moment. Snap: A photo goes to her Instagram feed. A boy and a bear in golden Russian woods—a picture straight out of a fairy tale. It’s a contemporary twist on a long-standing Russian tradition of exploiting bears for entertainment.

    Another day in the same forest, Kirsten and I join 12 young women who have nearly identical Instagram accounts replete with dreamy photos of models caressing owls and wolves and foxes. Armed with fancy cameras but as yet modest numbers of followers, they all want the audience Barantseva has. Each has paid the Panteleenkos $760 to take identical shots of models with the ultimate prize: a bear in the woods.

    Stepan is 26 years old, elderly for a brown bear, and can hardly walk. The Panteleenkos say they bought him from a small zoo when he was three months old. They say the bear’s work—a constant stream of photo shoots and movies—provides money to keep him fed.

    A video on Svetlana Panteleenko’s Instagram account proclaims: “Love along with some great food can make anyone a teddy :-)”

    And just like that, social media takes a single instance of local animal tourism and broadcasts it to the world.

    When the documentary film Blackfish was released in 2013, it drew a swift and decisive reaction from the American public. Through the story of Tilikum, a distressed killer whale at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, the film detailed the miserable life orcas can face in captivity. Hundreds of thousands of outraged viewers signed petitions. Companies with partnership deals, such as Southwest Airlines, severed ties with SeaWorld. Attendance at SeaWorld’s water parks slipped; its stock nose-dived.

    James Regan says what he saw in Blackfish upset him. Regan, honeymooning in Hawaii with his wife, Katie, is from England, where the country’s last marine mammal park closed permanently in 1993. I meet him at Dolphin Quest Oahu, an upscale swim-with-dolphins business on the grounds of the beachfront Kahala Hotel & Resort, just east of Honolulu. The Regans paid $225 each to swim for 30 minutes in a small group with a bottlenose dolphin. One of two Dolphin Quest locations in Hawaii, the facility houses six dolphins.

    Bottlenose dolphins are the backbone of an industry that spans the globe. Swim-with-dolphins operations rely on captive-bred and wild-caught dolphins that live—and interact with tourists—in pools. The popularity of these photo-friendly attractions reflects the disconnect around dolphin experiences: People in the West increasingly shun shows that feature animals performing tricks, but many see swimming with captive dolphins as a vacation rite of passage.

    Katie Regan has wanted to swim with dolphins since she was a child. Her husband laughs and says of Dolphin Quest, “They paint a lovely picture. When you’re in America, everyone is smiling.” But he appreciates that the facility is at their hotel, so they can watch the dolphins being fed and cared for. He brings up Blackfish again.

    Katie protests: “Stop making my dream a horrible thing!”

    Rae Stone, president of Dolphin Quest and a marine mammal veterinarian, says the company donates money to conservation projects and educates visitors about perils that marine mammals face in the wild. By paying for this entertainment, she says, visitors are helping captive dolphins’ wild cousins.

    Stone notes that Dolphin Quest is certified “humane” by American Humane, an animal welfare nonprofit. (The Walt Disney Company, National Geographic’s majority owner, offers dolphin encounters on some vacation excursions and at an attraction in Epcot, one of its Orlando parks. Disney says it follows the animal welfare standards of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, a nonprofit that accredits more than 230 facilities worldwide.)

    It’s a vigorous debate: whether even places with high standards, veterinarians on staff, and features such as pools filled with filtered ocean water can be truly humane for marine mammals.

    Dolphin Quest’s Stone says yes.

    Critics, including the Humane Society of the United States, which does not endorse keeping dolphins in captivity, say no. They argue that these animals have evolved to swim great distances and live in complex social groups—conditions that can’t be replicated in the confines of a pool. This helps explain why the National Aquarium, in Baltimore, announced in 2016 that its dolphins will be retired to a seaside sanctuary by 2020.

    Some U.S. attractions breed their own dolphins because the nation has restricted dolphin catching in the wild since 1972. But elsewhere, dolphins are still being taken from the wild and turned into performers.

    In China, which has no national laws on captive-animal welfare, dolphinariums with wild-caught animals are a booming business: There are now 78 marine mammal parks, and 26 more are under construction.

    To have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see rare Black Sea dolphins, people in the landlocked town of Kaluga, a hundred miles from Moscow, don’t have to leave their city. In the parking lot of the Torgoviy Kvartal shopping mall, next to a hardware store, is a white inflatable pop-up aquarium: the Moscow Traveling Dolphinarium. It looks like a children’s bouncy castle that’s been drained of its color.

    Inside the puffy dome, parents buy their kids dolphin-shaped trinkets: fuzzy dolls and Mylar balloons, paper dolphin hats, and drinks in plastic dolphin tumblers. Families take their seats around a small pool. The venue is so intimate that even the cheapest seats, at nine dollars apiece, are within splashing distance.

    “My kids are jumping for joy,” says a woman named Anya, motioning toward her two giddy boys, bouncing in their seats.

    In the middle of the jubilant atmosphere, in water that seems much too shallow and much too murky, two dolphins swim listlessly in circles.

    Russia is one of only a few countries (Indonesia is another) where traveling oceanariums exist. Dolphins and beluga whales, which need to be immersed in water to stay alive, are put in tubs on trucks and carted from city to city in a loop that usually ends when they die. These traveling shows are aboveboard: Russia has no laws that regulate how marine mammals should be treated in captivity.

    The shows are the domestic arm of a brisk Russian global trade in dolphins and small whales. Black Sea bottlenose dolphins can’t be caught legally without a permit, but Russian fishermen can catch belugas and orcas under legal quotas in the name of science and education. Some belugas are sold legally to aquariums around the country. Russia now allows only a dozen or so orcas to be caught each year for scientific and educational purposes, and since April 2018, the government has cracked down on exporting them. But government investigators believe that Russian orcas—which can sell for millions—are being caught illegally for export to China.

    Captive orcas, which can grow to 20 feet long and more than 10,000 pounds, are too big for the traveling shows that typically feature dolphins and belugas. When I contacted the owners of the Moscow Traveling Dolphinarium and another operation, the White Whale Show, in separate telephone calls to ask where their dolphins and belugas come from, both men, Sergey Kuznetsov and Oleg Belesikov, hung up on me.

    Russia’s dozen or so traveling oceanariums are touted as a way to bring native wild animals to people who might never see the ocean.

    “Who else if not us?” says Mikhail Olyoshin, a staffer at one traveling oceanarium. And on this day in Kaluga, as the dolphins perform tricks to American pop songs and lie on platforms for several minutes for photo ops, parents and children express the same sentiment: Imagine, dolphins, up close, in my hometown. The ocean on delivery.

    Owners and operators of wildlife tourism attractions, from high-end facilities such as Dolphin Quest in Hawaii to low-end monkey shows in Thailand, say their animals live longer in captivity than wild counterparts because they’re safe from predators and environmental hazards. Show operators proudly emphasize that the animals under their care are with them for life. They’re family.

    Alla Azovtseva, a longtime dolphin trainer in Russia, shakes her head.

    “I don’t see any sense in this work. My conscience bites me. I look at my animals and want to cry,” says Azovtseva, who drives a red van with dolphins airbrushed on the side. At the moment, she’s training pilot whales to perform tricks at Moscow’s Moskvarium, one of Europe’s largest aquariums (not connected to the traveling dolphin shows). On her day off, we meet at a café near Red Square.

    She says she fell in love with dolphins in the late 1980s when she read a book by John Lilly, the American neuroscientist who broke open our understanding of the animals’ intelligence. She has spent 30 years training marine mammals to do tricks. But along the way she’s grown heartsick from forcing highly intelligent, social creatures to live isolated, barren lives in small tanks.

    “I would compare the dolphin situation with making a physicist sweep the street,” she says. “When they’re not engaged in performance or training, they just hang in the water facing down. It’s the deepest depression.”

    What people don’t know about many aquarium shows in Russia, Azovtseva says, is that the animals often die soon after being put in captivity, especially those in traveling shows. And Azovtseva—making clear she’s referring to the industry at large in Russia and not the Moskvarium—says she knows many aquariums quietly and illegally replace their animals with new ones.

    It’s been illegal to catch Black Sea dolphins in the wild for entertainment purposes since 2003, but according to Azovtseva, aquarium owners who want to increase their dolphin numbers quickly and cheaply buy dolphins poached there. Because these dolphins are acquired illegally, they’re missing the microchips that captive cetaceans in Russia are usually tagged with as a form of required identification.

    Some aquariums get around that, she says, by cutting out dead dolphins’ microchips and implanting them into replacement dolphins.

    “People are people,” Azovtseva says. “Once they see an opportunity, they exploit.” She says she can’t go on doing her work in the industry and that she’s decided to speak out because she wants people to know the truth about the origins and treatment of many of the marine mammals they love watching. We exchange a look—we both know what her words likely mean for her livelihood.

    “I don’t care if I’m fired,” she says defiantly. “When a person has nothing to lose, she becomes really brave.”

    I’m sitting on the edge of an infinity pool on the hilly Thai side of Thailand’s border with Myanmar, at a resort where rooms average more than a thousand dollars a night.

    Out past the pool, elephants roam in a lush valley. Sitting next to me is 20-year-old Stephanie van Houten. She’s Dutch and French, Tokyo born and raised, and a student at the University of Michigan. Her cosmopolitan background and pretty face make for a perfect cocktail of aspiration—she’s exactly the kind of Instagrammer who makes it as an influencer. That is, someone who has a large enough following to attract sponsors to underwrite posts and, in turn, travel, wardrobes, and bank accounts. In 2018, brands—fashion, travel, tech, and more—spent an estimated $1.6 billion on social media advertising by influencers.

    Van Houten has been here, at the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, before. This time, in a fairly standard influencer-brand arrangement, she’ll have a picnic with elephants and post about it to her growing legion of more than 25,000 Instagram followers. In exchange, she gets hundreds of dollars off the nightly rate.

    At Anantara the fields are green, and during the day at least, many of the resort’s 22 elephants are tethered on ropes more than a hundred feet long so they can move around and socialize. Nevertheless, they’re expected to let guests touch them and do yoga beside them.

    After van Houten’s elephant picnic, I watch her edit the day’s hundreds of photos. She selects an image with her favorite elephant, Bo. She likes it, she says, because she felt a connection with Bo and thinks that will come across. She posts it at 9:30 p.m.—the time she estimates the largest number of her followers will be online. She includes a long caption, summing it up as “my love story with this incredible creature,” and the hashtag #stopelephantriding. Immediately, likes from followers stream in—more than a thousand, as well as comments with heart-eyed emoji.

    Anantara is out of reach for anyone but the wealthy—or prominent influencers. Anyone else seeking a similar experience might do a Google search for, say, “Thailand elephant sanctuary.”

    As tourist demand for ethical experiences with animals has grown, affordable establishments, often calling themselves “sanctuaries,” have cropped up purporting to offer humane, up-close elephant encounters. Bathing with elephants—tourists give them a mud bath, splash them in a river, or both—has become very popular. Many facilities portray baths as a benign alternative to elephant riding and performances. But elephants getting baths, like those that give rides and do tricks, will have been broken to some extent to make them obedient. And as long as bathing remains popular, places that offer it will need obedient elephants to keep their businesses going. 

    In Ban Ta Klang, a tiny town in eastern Thailand, modest homes dot the crimson earth. In front of each is a wide, bamboo platform for sitting, sleeping, and watching television.

    But the first thing I notice is the elephants. Some homes have one, others as many as five. Elephants stand under tarps or sheet metal roofs or trees. Some are together, mothers and babies, but most are alone. Nearly all the elephants wear ankle chains or hobbles—cuffs binding their front legs together. Dogs and chickens weave among the elephants’ legs, sending up puffs of red dust.

    Ban Ta Klang—known as Elephant Village—is ground zero in Thailand for training and trading captive elephants.

    “House elephants,” Sri Somboon says, gesturing as he turns down his TV. Next to his outdoor platform, a two-month-old baby elephant runs around his mother. Somboon points across the road to the third elephant in his charge, a three-year-old male tethered to a tree. He’s wrenching his head back and forth and thrashing his trunk around. It looks as if he’s going out of his mind.

    He’s in the middle of his training, Somboon says, and is getting good at painting. He’s already been sold, and when his training is finished, he’ll start working at a tourist camp down south.

    Ban Ta Klang and the surrounding area, part of Surin Province, claim to be the source of more than half of Thailand’s 3,800 captive elephants. Long before the flood of tourists, it was the center of the elephant trade; the animals were caught in the wild and tamed for use transporting logs. Now, every November, hundreds of elephants from here are displayed, bought, and sold in the province’s main town, Surin.

    One evening I sit with Jakkrawan Homhual and Wanchai Sala-ngam. Both 33, they’ve been best friends since childhood. About half the people in Ban Ta Klang who care for elephants, including Homhual, don’t own them. They’re paid a modest salary by a rich owner to breed and train baby elephants for entertainment. As night falls, thousands of termites swarm us, attracted to the single bulb hanging above the bamboo platform. Our conversation turns to elephant training.

    Phajaan is the traditional—and brutal—days- or weeks-long process of breaking a young elephant’s spirit. It has long been used in Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia to tame wild elephants, which still account for many of the country’s captives. Under phajaan, elephants are bound with ropes, confined in tight wooden structures, starved, and beaten repeatedly with bullhooks, nails, and hammers until their will is crushed. The extent to which phajaan persists in its harshest form is unclear. Since 2012, the government has been cracking down on the illegal import of elephants taken from the forests of neighboring Myanmar, Thailand’s main source of wild-caught animals.

    I ask the men how baby elephants born in captivity are broken and trained.

    When a baby is about two years old, they say, mahouts tie its mother to a tree and slowly drag the baby away. Once separated, the baby is confined. Using a bullhook on its ear, they teach the baby to move: left, right, turn, stop. To teach an elephant to sit, Sala-ngam says, “we tie up the front legs. One mahout will use a bullhook at the back. The other will pull a rope on the front legs.” He adds: “To train the elephant, you need to use the bullhook so the elephant will know.”

    Humans identify suffering in other humans by universal signs: People sob, wince, cry out, put voice to their hurt. Animals have no universal language for pain. Many animals don’t have tear ducts. More creatures still—prey animals, for example—instinctively mask symptoms of pain, lest they appear weak to predators. Recognizing that a nonhuman animal is in pain is difficult, often impossible.

    But we know that animals feel pain. All mammals have a similar neuroanatomy. Birds, reptiles, and amphibians all have pain receptors. As recently as a decade ago, scientists had collected more evidence that fish feel pain than they had for neonatal infants. A four-year-old human child with spikes pressing into his flesh would express pain by screaming. A four-year-old elephant just stands there in the rain, her leg jerking in the air.

    Of all the silently suffering animals I saw in pools and pens around the world, two in particular haunt me: an elephant and a tiger.

    They lived in the same facility, Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo, about 15 miles south of Bangkok. The elephant, Gluay Hom, four years old, was kept under a stadium. The aging tiger, Khai Khem, 22, spent his days on a short chain in a photo studio. Both had irrefutable signs of suffering: The emaciated elephant had a bent, swollen leg hanging in the air and a large, bleeding sore at his temple. His eyes were rolled back in his head. The tiger had a dental abscess so severe that the infection was eating through the bottom of his jaw.

    When I contacted the owner of the facility, Uthen Youngprapakorn, to ask about these animals, he said the fact that they hadn’t died proved that the facility was caring for them properly. He then threatened a lawsuit.

    Six months after Kirsten and I returned from Thailand, we asked Ryn Jirenuwat, our Bangkok-based Thai interpreter, to check on Gluay Hom and Khai Khem. She went to Samut Prakan and watched them for hours, sending photos and video. Gluay Hom was still alive, still standing in the same stall, leg still bent at an unnatural angle. The elephants next to him were skin and bones. Khai Khem was still chained by his neck to a hook in the floor. He just stays in his dark corner, Jirenuwat texted, and when he hears people coming, he twists on his chain and turns his back to them.

    “Like he just wants to be swallowed by the wall.”

    #tourisme #nos_ennemis_les_bêtes

  • Tlaib says she is humbled her ancestors provided ’safe haven’ for Jews after Holocaust
    The Palestinian-American Democrat charged in an interview that Netanyahu could not look her grandmother in the eye and say ’you are as human as I am to you’
    Allison Kaplan Sommer - May 11, 2019 11:10 PM

    Rep. Rashida Tlaib said that she “loves the fact” that her “Palestinian ancestors” were part an attempt “to create a safe haven for Jews” after the Holocaust, although the role “was forced on them” and took place “in a way that took their human dignity away.”

    In an interview on the Skullduggery, Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat and the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in Congress as well as one of the first two Muslim female lawmakers, also harshly condemned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “coming from a place of division and inequality” and refusing to acknowledge her grandmother, who lives in the West Bank, as his equal.

    Having grown up in an African-American neighborhood of Detroit, Tlaib says that she viewed Netanyahu and his government through the lens of someone who understood “inequality and oppression” and that she condemns the Israeli leader’s endorsement of U.S. President Donald Trump’s border wall and his treatment of Palestinians.

    “We can smell it from far away, that no - you don’t want to look at my grandmother in the eye, Netanyahu, and say ‘you are equal to me. You are as human as I am to you.’“

    Tlaib referred to the recent commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day when asked about her decision to support a one-state solution, becoming the only Democratic member of Congress to buck her party’s position in favor of two states.

    “There’s always kind of a calming feeling when I think of the tragedy of the Holocaust, that it was my ancestors - Palestinians - who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence, in many ways, has been wiped out … in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-Holocaust, post-tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time. And I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that in many ways,” said Tlaib.

    “So when I think about one state, I think: why can’t we do it in a better way? I don’t want people to do it in the name of Judaism just like I don’t want people to use Islam in that way. It has to be done in a way of values around equality, around the fact that you shouldn’t oppress others. So that you can feel free and safe. Why can’t we all be free and safe together?”

    Pressed as to why she was the only Democrat who has publicly “given up” on a two-state vision, she responded: “I didn’t give it up. Netanyahu and his party gave it up - the Israeli government gave it up.”

    Tlaib said that the Israeli premier has the power to push for a two-state solution, if he “gets up tomorrow morning and decides: ‘I’m going to take down the walls, I’m not going to expand settlements, enough is enough.’”

    If he were to do so, she said, perhaps “people like myself and others would truly believe in that. But uprooting people all over again? When you look at the landscape and map it out, it is almost absolutely impossible with how he has proceeded to divide, dissect and segregate communities.”

    In the current reality, Tlaib said it was “impossible” for her “to see a two-state solution without more people being hurt.”

    Tlaib said her one-state position should not be compared to that of Hamas and others who wished Israel’s destruction because “I’m coming from a place of love, for equality and justice, I truly am. I want a safe haven for Jews: who doesn’t want to be safe? I am humbled by the fact that it was my ancestors that had to suffer for that to happen. I will not turn my back and allow others to hijack it and say it is an extremist approach.”

    She added emotionally: “But how can I say to my grandmother in her face, that she doesn’t deserve human dignity, that she is less than, because she is not of Jewish faith... I keep saying to people, how is that not wrong? How is it that we aren’t saying that we going to create a place that is safe for everybody in the state of Israel and in the Palestinian occupied territories?”

    Tlaib has made waves on Capitol Hill by announcing her leadership of a summer trip to the West Bank that would counter the Israel trips organized by the American Israel Education Foundation, an affiliate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). In the interview she said she did not envision the trip as involving any meetings with Palestinian or Israeli officials, but one in which both Israeli and Palestinian individuals would be heard.

    “At a town hall - you want to talk to the people,” she said. “And I’m hoping this trip is a massive town hall.”

  • The Challenge of Going Off Psychiatric Drugs | The New Yorker

    Laura had always assumed that depression was caused by a precisely defined chemical imbalance, which her medications were designed to recalibrate. She began reading about the history of psychiatry and realized that this theory, promoted heavily by pharmaceutical companies, is not clearly supported by evidence. Genetics plays a role in mental disorder, as do environmental influences, but the drugs do not have the specificity to target the causes of an illness. Wayne Goodman, a former chair of the F.D.A.’s Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee, has called the idea that pills fix chemical imbalances a “useful metaphor” that he would never use with his patients. Ronald Pies, a former editor of Psychiatric Times, has said, “My impression is that most psychiatrists who use this expression”—that the pills fix chemical imbalances—“feel uncomfortable and a little embarrassed when they do so. It’s kind of a bumper-sticker phrase that saves time.”

    Dorian Deshauer, a psychiatrist and historian at the University of Toronto, has written that the chemical-imbalance theory, popularized in the eighties and nineties, “created the perception that the long term, even life-long use of psychiatric drugs made sense as a logical step.” But psychiatric drugs are brought to market in clinical trials that typically last less than twelve weeks. Few studies follow patients who take the medications for more than a year. Allen Frances, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Duke, who chaired the task force for the fourth edition of the DSM, in 1994, told me that the field has neglected questions about how to take patients off drugs—a practice known as “de-prescribing.” He said that “de-prescribing requires a great deal more skill, time, commitment, and knowledge of the patient than prescribing does.” He emphasizes what he called a “cruel paradox: there’s a large population on the severe end of the spectrum who really need the medicine” and either don’t have access to treatment or avoid it because it is stigmatized in their community. At the same time, many others are “being overprescribed and then stay on the medications for years.” There are almost no studies on how or when to go off psychiatric medications, a situation that has created what he calls a “national public-health experiment.”

    Roland Kuhn, a Swiss psychiatrist credited with discovering one of the first antidepressants, imipramine, in 1956, later warned that many doctors would be incapable of using antidepressants properly, “because they largely or entirely neglect the patient’s own experiences.” The drugs could only work, he wrote, if a doctor is “fully aware of the fact that he is not dealing with a self-contained, rigid object, but with an individual who is involved in constant movement and change.”

    A decade after the invention of antidepressants, randomized clinical studies emerged as the most trusted form of medical knowledge, supplanting the authority of individual case studies. By necessity, clinical studies cannot capture fluctuations in mood that may be meaningful to the patient but do not fit into the study’s categories. This methodology has led to a far more reliable body of evidence, but it also subtly changed our conception of mental health, which has become synonymous with the absence of symptoms, rather than with a return to a patient’s baseline of functioning, her mood or personality before and between episodes of illness.

    Antidepressants are now taken by roughly one in eight adults and adolescents in the U.S., and a quarter of them have been doing so for more than ten years. Industry money often determines the questions posed by pharmacological studies, and research about stopping drugs has never been a priority.

    Barbiturates, a class of sedatives that helped hundreds of thousands of people to feel calmer, were among the first popular psychiatric drugs. Although leading medical journals asserted that barbiturate addiction was rare, within a few years it was evident that people withdrawing from barbiturates could become more anxious than they were before they began taking the drugs. (They could also hallucinate, have convulsions, and even die.)

    Valium and other benzodiazepines were introduced in the early sixties, as a safer option. By the seventies, one in ten Americans was taking Valium. The chief of clinical pharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital declared, in 1976, “I have never seen a case of benzodiazepine dependence” and described it as “an astonishingly unusual event.” Later, though, the F.D.A. acknowledged that people can become dependent on benzodiazepines, experiencing intense agitation when they stop taking them.

    In the fifth edition of the DSM, published in 2013, the editors added an entry for “antidepressant discontinuation syndrome”—a condition also mentioned on drug labels—but the description is vague and speculative, noting that “longitudinal studies are lacking” and that little is known about the course of the syndrome. “Symptoms appear to abate over time,” the manual explains, while noting that “some individuals may prefer to resume medication indefinitely.”

    Audrey Bahrick, a psychologist at the University of Iowa Counseling Service, who has published papers on the way that S.S.R.I.s affect sexuality, told me that, a decade ago, after someone close to her lost sexual function on S.S.R.I.s, “I became pretty obsessive about researching the issue, but the actual qualitative experience of patients was never documented. There was this assumption that the symptoms would resolve once you stop the medication. I just kept thinking, Where is the data? Where is the data?” In her role as a counsellor, Bahrick sees hundreds of college students each year, many of whom have been taking S.S.R.I.s since adolescence. She told me, “I seem to have the expectation that young people would be quite distressed about the sexual side effects, but my observation clinically is that these young people don’t yet know what sexuality really means, or why it is such a driving force.”

    #Psychiatrie #Big_Pharma #Addiction #Anti_depresseurs #Valium

    • Le problème, c’est que les psychiatres ont surtout le temps pour prescrire, pas pour creuser. Et que le temps de guérison entre frontalement en conflit avec le temps de productivité.

      Le temps de guérir est un luxe pour les gens bien entourés et avec assez de moyens financiers.

      Et il manque toujours la question de base : qu’est-ce qui déclenche ses réponses psychiques violentes ?

      J’aurais tendance à dire : un mode de vie #normatif et étroit qui force certaines personnes à adopter un mode de vie particulièrement éloigné de ce qu’elles sont, de ce qu’elles veulent. Notre société est terriblement irrespectueuse et violente pour tous ceux qui ne se conforme nt pas au #modèle unique de la personne sociale, dynamique et surtout, bien productive !


  • Snuff

    Michael & Roberta Findlay, Horacio Fredriksson, Simon Nuchtern, 1981, US, 35mm, VO 80’

    1971, peu de temps après la fin du procès de la Manson Family, Michael et Roberta Findlay se rendent en Argentine pour réaliser un film d’exploitation fauché nommé « Slaughter ». On y suit une biker psychotique adepte d’un culte sanguinaire - les Filles de Satan - dont l’une des victimes est une actrice enceinte. L’air du temps sans doute. Le film reste coincé dans les cartons jusqu’à ce qu’Allan Shackleton, un distributeur et producteur opportuniste, flaire un bon coup : et si on transformait ce film sans avenir en Snuff Movie ? Au film des Findlay, Shackleton commande un épilogue qui prétend montrer le meurtre véritable, le démembrement, et l’éviscération d’une femme sur le plateau de tournage. Avec (...)

  • Les coachs d’orientation se positionnent sur le « nouveau lycée » (Le Monde)

    Grâce aux réformes Blanquer, le “Marché de l’angoisse” (et ses acteurs privés) est en pleine expansion.

    Pour y voir plus clair dans son orientation, Maxime, 15 ans, et sa famille ont fait appel à un cabinet privé. Une démarche qui arrive de plus en plus tôt dans la scolarité.


    Lui comme plusieurs coachs privés d’orientation interrogés par Le Monde observent ce mouvement : la cible de leurs clients s’est élargie. Si les jeunes de terminale restent majoritaires, des élèves de première, mais aussi de seconde viennent frapper à leur porte.

    #éducation #secondaire #baccalauréat #orientation

    • Il a fallu accélérer la cadence. « Quand nous avons vu qu’il fallait choisir dès cette année des spécialités pour la classe de première, on a décidé de faire appel à un cabinet d’orientation plus tôt que prévu », rapporte Laura, dont le fils, Maxime (les prénoms ont été changés à leur demande), 15 ans, suit son année de seconde au lycée Notre-Dame-du-Grandchamp, à Versailles.

      Mère, père et fils sont installés autour de la table, ce lundi 11 mars, dans une petite salle d’un appartement de bureaux d’un immeuble chic du 8e arrondissement parisien, pour clore le bilan d’orientation du jeune homme. « Nous allons regarder ensemble tes dominantes, parmi les 50 critères de personnalité qui ressortent de l’étude de potentiel que tu as remplie », expose Alexandre de Lamazière, costume noir rayé et chevalière au doigt, président du cabinet privé ODIEP depuis 2009, qui suit quelque 300 jeunes par an.

      Lui comme plusieurs #coachs privés d’orientation interrogés par Le Monde observent ce mouvement : la cible de leurs clients s’est élargie. Si les jeunes de terminale restent majoritaires, des élèves de première, mais aussi de seconde viennent frapper à leur porte. « On se pose la question de l’orientation de plus en plus tôt », estime Armelle Riou, PDG de Mental’O.

      « Inquiétude parentale »
      « Le #coaching_scolaire est une pratique qui date du début des années 2000, mais elle est montée en puissance ces dernières années, avec l’arrivée des “#coachs_d’orientation ” », constate Anne-Claudine Oller, maîtresse de conférences en sciences de l’éducation à l’université Paris-Est-Créteil. Outre un « mouvement général de société mettant l’accent sur la performance et le développement personnel », la sociologue pointe un facteur double dans le monde de l’éducation : d’un côté « l’inquiétude parentale face à l’insertion sur le marché du travail », de l’autre « des réformes qui se succèdent et alimentent l’angoisse, d’APB [la plate-forme Admission post bac] à Parcoursup, en passant par le lycée réformé cette année ».

      Les voies générales S, ES, L vont disparaître à la prochaine rentrée, au profit de trois spécialités à prendre en classe de première, deux en terminale, adossées à un tronc commun. « Il va falloir développer des démarches stratégiques pour savoir comment choisir ces options », résume-t-elle.

      La question est au cœur des discussions entre le coach parisien et la famille de Maxime, second d’une fratrie de cinq enfants et au profil de bon élève. « Tu as un profil très créatif », décrypte le coach au regard du test de Maxime, qui a suivi trois autres rendez-vous depuis février, pour un coût de 700 euros. Avant d’évoquer différents parcours possibles pour rejoindre les métiers de la communication, du numérique, ou encore du graphisme.

      Une spécialité fait longuement débat : faut-il prendre les maths ? Le lycéen n’aime pas franchement la matière. « Mais si tu ne prends pas les maths, beaucoup de portes vont se fermer ensuite », juge Alexandre de Lamazière, alors que Maxime s’inquiète déjà du niveau difficile promis dans la discipline.

      « Stratégie complexe »

      « Les attendus du postbac, ils ont été dévoilés ? », interroge Laura. Un ange passe. « Mais pourquoi ils n’ont pas gardé les maths dans le tronc commun ? », s’interroge le père, commercial dans une entreprise en logiciel. Compromis va être in fine trouvé, en choisissant au moins les maths en première, « par sécurité ».

      Mais la réflexion n’est pas si simple. « Si tu abandonnes les maths, il te restera SVT et histoire-géographie en terminale, constate Laura, au regard des deux autres options envisagées par son garçon. Pas très cohérent… » « C’est vraiment de la stratégie complexe », lâche son mari, désarçonné. Exit les sciences de la vie et de la Terre donc, ce seront les sciences économiques et sociales.

      « Finalement, c’est un peu ce que je pensais au début », réagit le jeune homme, qui avait remis le matin même ses souhaits de spécialités à son lycée. « Maintenant, on en est sûr », ajoute Alexandre de Lamazière, tout en lui conseillant dans tous les cas de « bien “performer” » par la suite. « Même dans les établissements publics et les facs, c’est difficile de rentrer maintenant ! »

      Réforme du lycée : « Les professeurs font tenir un système qui engendre une #angoisse permanente » , TRIBUNE, Thibaut Poirot, Professeur d’histoire en lycée, 04 février 2019

      Le professeur agrégé d’histoire Thibaut Poirot réagit aux propos du ministre Jean-Michel Blanquer, qui a qualifié les enseignants sceptiques à l’égard de la réforme du lycée de « ventilateurs d’angoisse ».Publié le 04 février 2019 à 16h40 -

      Monsieur le Ministre,
      Vous avez qualifié les sceptiques à l’égard de la réforme du lycée de « ventilateurs à angoisse » dans votre interview au JDD du dimanche 3 février. Je tenais à vous faire part respectueusement d’un fait : j’en suis un. Comme des centaines de milliers d’agents du premier service public de France. Non par conservatisme professoral, qui relève du mythe. Oui, le baccalauréat doit changer. Mais je suis devenu un ventilateur, par accumulation. Les courants du doute font tourner de plus en plus rapidement les pales de mon angoisse. Parce que je vois comme d’autres que nous courons à la catastrophe, par habitude si française de préparer sans soutien et sans vrai temps de réflexion une réforme au pas de charge, sans prendre garde aux obstacles et aux difficultés, aux motifs sérieux d’inquiétude sur les motivations, sans entendre les questions concernant les moyens de sa mise en œuvre.
      Je suis bien un ventilateur à angoisse et je le regrette. Car comme nombre de mes collègues, je vois arriver avec un certain malaise les échéances d’une réforme illisible, mal préparée, tant pour le bac 2021 que pour le lycée professionnel.

      « Ventilateurs à angoisse ». Oui, Monsieur le Ministre. Il n’y a rien d’étonnant. Serions-nous dans un tel état si cette année n’avait pas enchaîné depuis le 1er septembre les annonces contradictoires, les décisions unilatérales de dernière minute ?

      Pas d’effet magique de la réforme
      Monsieur le Ministre, les professeurs sont des individus comme les autres : normalement constitués, dotés d’un cerveau et capables de s’en servir. Quand l’arrivée de la fameuse « DHG » (Dotation horaire globale, qui fixe les moyens d’un établissement) largement ignorée du grand public s’apparente cette année dans chaque lycée de France à une angoisse collective, oui, nous avons un problème. J’ai bien du mal à croire, Monsieur le Ministre, que nous n’aurons que 27 élèves par classe au lycée à la rentrée prochaine, comme vous le laissiez entendre. Il n’y a pas d’effet magique de la réforme.

      Quand votre consultation des professeurs n’entraîne aucun changement majeur des nouveaux programmes inapplicables du lycée, je suis angoissé. Quand vous balayez le vote du Conseil supérieur de l’éducation sur ces programmes, je suis angoissé. Quand nous ne connaissons toujours pas les modalités d’évaluation au baccalauréat dont les nouvelles épreuves commencent dès janvier 2020 (épreuve de contrôle continu), je suis angoissé. Quand nous n’avons pas de réponses à des questions essentielles à six mois d’une rentrée qui se veut une révolution au lycée, je suis angoissé. Quand nous ne savons pas à quoi nous préparons nos élèves, je suis plus qu’angoissé. Aucune heure de préparation au fameux grand oral, aucun moyen effectif sur l’accompagnement à l’orientation, aucune idée des formats d’épreuves. Le vide crée l’angoisse.

      Mais les enseignants ne la montrent pas, cette angoisse. Ils font tenir un système qui engendre pourtant cette angoisse permanente. Cette angoisse, ils la cachent aux familles. Ils conseillent, tentent d’anticiper les effets sur l’orientation. Car les parents, eux aussi, sont angoissés. Comme pour Parcoursup l’an dernier, les enseignants encaissent vos choix, avec l’espoir que cette fois-ci la méthode sera meilleure, les inquiétudes écoutées, le calendrier tenable. Vœux pieux. Pourtant, ils continuent d’être ce filet de sécurité social et politique dans une France de plus en plus angoissée.

      Désengagement des professeurs

      Monsieur le Ministre, je suis un citoyen comme les autres. Je vote (encore). Le corps professoral fait (faisait ?) encore partie de cette frange de la population dont le réflexe républicain à chaque élection est fort. Et depuis 2014, les enseignants ont été bien souvent (trop souvent) au cœur de ce « barrage contre l’extrême droite » qui sert aujourd’hui de mot d’ordre au président de la République.

      Mais voyez-vous, Monsieur le Ministre, tout ce qui concourt à faire passer une vérité auprès de l’opinion en balayant les alarmes, les alertes sur un manque de pilotage d’une réforme, je me dis que ce réflexe ne durera pas longtemps. Je le déplore, j’en ai des angoisses (encore d’autres angoisses…), mais c’est ainsi. Et il faudra encore de nombreuses années pour réparer les blessures, la vindicte, les mots qui n’ont rien à envier aux fameux « cyniques et fainéants » du président. L’angoisse n’est pas seulement un état, Monsieur le Ministre, elle est le terrain du désengagement des professeurs qui refusent de servir de vigies républicaines aux élections pour porter au pouvoir une politique qui renie l’idée même d’un système éducatif républicain, c’est-à-dire respectueux de ses agents.

      Je voudrais, nous voudrions du temps, du temps pour comprendre, pour préparer, pour accompagner. Ce temps, vous le refusez. Mais le temps, joue aussi contre le politique. Ce temps, c’est celui qui prépare les crises démocratiques.
      Par deux fois dans notre histoire récente, si l’extrême droite a pu accéder au deuxième tour de l’élection présidentielle, c’est parce qu’un gouvernement de gauche n’a pas su écouter ses professeurs. Certes, me direz-vous, vous n’êtes pas de gauche. Mais le passage de M. Allègre au ministère [de 1997 à 2000] comme la réforme des zones d’éducation prioritaire et la réforme du collège ont eu des conséquences démocratiques. Parce qu’aucune organisation n’avait mis quelque énergie à écouter ce que les enseignants avaient à dire. Dispersés, déboussolés, ils ont fait défaut à ceux qui pensaient être « le parti traditionnel des professeurs ».

      La leçon vaut pour la gauche, pour la droite, pour toute organisation politique. Je crois que demain, ces électeurs-là ne vous feront pas seulement défaut. Ils refuseront sans doute une nouvelle fois de servir de renfort démocratique quand le scénario politique du pire se reproduira encore. La France y perdra, votre réforme aussi. Monsieur le Ministre, donnez-nous du temps.

  • The Software That Shapes Workers’ Lives | The New Yorker

    How could I know which had been made ethically and which hadn’t?

    Answering this question can be surprisingly difficult. A few years ago, while teaching a class about global labor at the University of California, Los Angeles, I tried assigning my students the task of analyzing the “supply chain”—the vast network of factories, warehouses, and shipping conduits through which products flow—by tracing the components used in their electronic devices. Almost immediately, I hit a snag: it turns out that even companies that boast about “end-to-end visibility” and “supply-chain transparency” may not know exactly where their components come from. This ignorance is built into the way supply chains work. The housing of a television, say, might be built in a small factory employing only a few people; that factory interacts only with the suppliers and buyers immediately adjacent to it in the chain—a plastic supplier on one side, an assembly company on the other. This arrangement encourages modularity, since, if a company goes out of business, its immediate partners can replace it without consulting anyone. But it also makes it hard to identify individual links in the chain. The resilient, self-healing quality of supply chains derives, in part, from the fact that they are unsupervised.

    When people try to picture supply chains, they often focus on their physical infrastructure. In Allan Sekula’s book “Fish Story,” a volume of essays and photographs produced between 1989 and 1995, the writer and photographer trains his lens on ports, harbors, and the workers who pilot ships between them; he reveals dim shipboard workspaces and otherworldly industrial zones. In “The Forgotten Space,” a documentary that Sekula made with the film theorist Noël Burch, in 2010, we see massive, gliding vessels, enormous machines, and people rummaging through the detritus around ports and harbors. Sekula’s work suggests the degree to which our fantasy of friction-free procurement hides the real, often gruelling, work of global shipping and trade.

    But supply chains aren’t purely physical. They’re also made of information. Modern supply-chain management, or S.C.M., is done through software. The people who design and coördinate supply chains don’t see warehouses or workers. They stare at screens filled with icons and tables. Their view of the supply chain is abstract. It may be the one that matters most.

    Most of the time, the work of supply-chain management is divided up, with handoffs where one specialist passes a package of data to another. No individual is liable to possess a detailed picture of the whole supply chain. Instead, each S.C.M. specialist knows only what her neighbors need.

    In such a system, a sense of inevitability takes hold. Data dictates a set of conditions which must be met, but there is no explanation of how that data was derived; meanwhile, the software takes an active role, tweaking the plan to meet the conditions as efficiently as possible. sap’s built-in optimizers work out how to meet production needs with the least “latency” and at the lowest possible costs. (The software even suggests how tightly a container should be packed, to save on shipping charges.) This entails that particular components become available at particular times. The consequences of this relentless optimization are well-documented. The corporations that commission products pass their computationally determined demands on to their subcontractors, who then put extraordinary pressure on their employees. Thus, China Labor Watch found that workers in Heyuan City, China, tasked with producing Disney’s Princess Sing & Sparkle Ariel Bath Doll—retail price today, $26.40—work twenty-six days a month, assembling between eighteen hundred and twenty-five hundred dolls per day, and earning one cent for each doll they complete.

    Still, from a worker’s point of view, S.C.M. software can generate its own bullwhip effect. At the beginning of the planning process, product requirements are fairly high-level. But by the time these requirements reach workers, they have become more exacting, more punishing. Small reductions in “latency,” for instance, can magnify in consequence, reducing a worker’s time for eating her lunch, taking a breath, donning safety equipment, or seeing a loved one.

    Could S.C.M. software include a “workers’-rights” component—a counterpart to PP/DS, incorporating data on working conditions? Technically, it’s possible. sap could begin asking for input about worker welfare. But a component like that would be at cross-purposes with almost every other function of the system. On some level, it might even undermine the purpose of having a system in the first place. Supply chains create efficiency in part through the distribution of responsibility. If a supervisor at a toy factory objects to the production plan she’s received, her boss can wield, in his defense, a PP/DS plan sent to him by someone else, who worked with data produced by yet another person. It will turn out that no one in particular is responsible for the pressures placed on the factory. They flow from the system—a system designed to be flexible in some ways and rigid in others.

    #Algorithmes #SAP #Droit_travail #Industrie_influence

  • About automatic writing and autocomplete: the poetics of technology

    Writing and reading are no longer the exclusive right of the paper. For most authors, their practice is intimately intertwined with software and a networked infrastructure. What does it mean to consciously include this technological context in the literary creation process? How does the use of code - active or passive - change the notion of literature? What happens to the status of the author? And the role of the reader? Allison Parrish, poet and professor of literary creation with code at (...)


    / #Lecture, #Netnative_literature, #Algorithm

  • Le Conseil d’Etat annule des arrêtés autorisant la chasse à la glu

    Le lundi 25 février, le Conseil d’Etat a annulé les arrêtés du 27 juillet 2017 fixant les quotas de #piégeage_à_la_glu pour la saison de #chasse 2017-2018 pour les départements des Alpes-Maritimes, des Bouches du Rhône, du Var et du Vaucluse.

    Le juge a suivi les conclusions du rapporteur public qui avait considéré lors de l’audience du 4 février 2019, que l’objet de ces arrêtés et leur caractère dérogatoire établissait « l’existence d’une incidence directe et significative sur l’environnement ». Et que, par conséquent, les arrêtés en question auraient dû faire l’objet d’une consultation publique préalable.

    Anticipant peut-être cette décision, en 2018, le ministère en charge de l’Écologie a procédé à une consultation publique concernant le projet de piégeage pour la saison de chasse 2018-2019. 90 % des répondants à cette consultation se sont dits opposés à cette pratique, jugée « cruelle et non sélective » par la Ligue de protection des oiseaux (LPO). Les quotas des prises autorisées ont été réduits, mais le ministre a tout de même signé les arrêtés.

    Pour la LPO, Allain Bougrain Dubourg a rappelé dans un communiqué que cette pratique du piégeage à la glu est désormais interdite dans tous les pays d’Europe : « La France ne peut pas continuer à se revendiquer comme un exemple à suivre en matière de protection de la biodiversité (...) et laisser perdurer des pratiques infâmes et d’un autre âge contre les oiseaux. »

  • Your Complete Guide to the N.Y. Times’ Support of U.S.-Backed Coups in Latin America

    A survey of The New York Times archives shows the Times editorial board has supported 10 out of 12 American-backed coups in Latin America, with two editorials—those involving the 1983 Grenada invasion and the 2009 Honduras coup—ranging from ambiguous to reluctant opposition. The survey can be viewed here.

    Covert involvement of the United States, by the CIA or other intelligence services, isn’t mentioned in any of the Times’ editorials on any of the coups. Absent an open, undeniable U.S. military invasion (as in the Dominican Republic, Panama and Grenada), things seem to happen in Latin American countries entirely on their own, with outside forces rarely, if ever, mentioned in the Times. Obviously, there are limits to what is “provable” in the immediate aftermath of such events (covert intervention is, by definition, covert), but the idea that the U.S. or other imperial actors could have stirred the pot, funded a junta or run weapons in any of the conflicts under the table is never entertained.

    (bourré de citations accablantes...) #venezuela #medias

    • More often than not, what one is left with, reading Times editorials on these coups, are racist, paternalistic “cycle of violence” cliches. Sigh, it’s just the way of things Over There. When reading these quotes, keep in mind the CIA supplied and funded the groups that ultimately killed these leaders:

      – Brazil 1964: “They have, throughout their history, suffered from a lack of first class rulers.”
      – Chile 1973: “No Chilean party or faction can escape some responsibility for the disaster, but a heavy share must be assigned to the unfortunate Dr. Allende himself.”
      – Argentina 1976: “It was typical of the cynicism with which many Argentines view their country’s politics that most people in Buenos Aires seemed more interested in a soccer telecast Tuesday night than in the ouster of President Isabel Martinez de Perlin by the armed forces. The script was familiar for this long‐anticipated coup.”

      See, it didn’t matter! It’s worth pointing out the military junta put in power by the CIA-contrived coup killed 10,000 to 30,000 Argentines from 1976 to 1983.

  • Why Every University Should Take in Refugee Students and Scholars

    The Institute of International Education’s Allan Goodman and Katherine Miller speak with Refugees Deeply about their work to help more refugee students access higher education and to protect refugee scholars.

    #études_universitaires #université #asile #migrations #intégration_professionnelle #éducation #réfugiés #intégration

  • Overload 148 is now available

    ACCU’s Overload journal of December 2018 is out. It contains the following C++ related articles.

    Overload 148 is now available

    From the journal:

    Revolution, Restoration and Revival. Trends cycle in seasons. Frances Buontempo wonders what programmers should on the lookout for. Diseconomies of Scale. Bigger is not always better. Allan Kelly considers when smaller is more productive. Flip Model: A Design Pattern. Publishing dynamic, complex data to many clients in a threadsafe manner is challenging. Daniele Pallastrelli presents the Flip model pattern to overcome the challenges. Memory Management Patterns in Business-Level Programs. There are many memory management patterns. Sergey Ignatchenko considers these from an application level. Compile-time Data (...)


  • Is Saudi Arabia repaying Trump for Khashoggi by attacking Linda Sarsour?

    A Saudi-owned website considered close to the royal family claimed that Sarsour, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are agents of Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood who declared a ’jihad’ on Trump

    Allison Kaplan Sommer
    Dec 10, 2018

    There is nothing earth-shattering about seeing Women’s March leader and Arab-American activist Linda Sarsour criticized as a dangerous Islamist by the conservative right and pro-Israel advocates in the United States. But the latest attack on the activist comes from a new and somewhat surprising source: Saudi Arabia.
    Al Arabiya, a Saudi-owned, pan-Arab news channel closely linked to the country’s royal family and widely viewed as reflecting Saudi foreign policy, published an article Sunday strongly suggesting that Sarsour and two incoming Muslim congresswomen are puppets planted by the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar to undermine the Trump administration.
    The feature, which profiles Sarsour, seems to cast her as the latest proxy figure in the kingdom’s bitter dispute with Qatar, and its bid to strengthen ties and curry favor with the White House.
    It also focused on two Democratic politicians whom Sarsour actively campaigned for in the 2018 midterms: Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar and Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib, who are set to be the first-ever Muslim congresswomen when the House reconvenes in January.

    The Al Arabiya story on Linda Sarsour’s links to the Muslim Brotherhood, December 9, 2018.Screengrab
    Headlined “Details of calls to attack Trump by US ‘Muslim Sisters’ allied to Brotherhood,” the article is light on actual details but heavy on insinuation.
    Activists like Sarsour, and politicians like Tlaib and Omar, the Saudi publication wrote, are “mujahideen” (a term used to describe those involved in jihad) – fighting against “tyrants and opponents of Trump’s foreign policies.”

    The story says the policies they are fighting include “the siege of Iran, the fight against political Islam groups, and [Trump’s] choice of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a strategic ally.”
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    Tlaib and Omar, Al Arabiya asserts, are agents designed to “restore” control of political Islamist movements on the U.S. government by attacking Trump. The article says this effort is being directed by Sarsour – who, it writes, is purportedly funded and controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood - a claim it fails to provide any clear basis for.
    Tamara Cofman Wittes, a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, Washington, says it should come as little surprise to those familiar with the region that “a state-owned Arabic news outlet would publish conspiracy theories about people whose views don’t accord with those of the government that funds it.”
    Al Arabiya, based in Dubai, but Saudi-owned, was founded in 2002 as a counter to Qatar’s popular Al Jazeera TV station – which frequently runs material sharply critical of the Saudis – as well as other Arabic media outlets critical of Saudi influence and supportive of political Islam.
    The article comes as rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Qatar has heated up in recent times, with Qatar’s emir skipping this weekend’s Gulf Cooperation Council summit hosted by Saudi Arabia, which has led a diplomatic war on its neighbor for the past 18 months.
    Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and non-GCC member Egypt cut diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar in June 2017, charging that the country supports terrorism. Qatar denies the charges and says the Saudi boycott aims to curtail its sovereignty. Last week, the Gulf nation announced it was withdrawing from the OPEC oil cartel.
    Islamists vs Islamists
    “Democrats’ battle against the Republican control of the U.S. Congress led to an alliance with political Islamist movements in order to restore their control on government, pushing Muslim candidates and women activists of immigrant minorities onto the electoral scene,” the report states.
    The “common ground” between Omar and Tlaib, the article adds, is to battle Trump’s foreign policy “starting from the sanctions on Iran to the isolation of the Muslim Brotherhood and all movements of political Islam. Those sponsoring and supporting the two Muslim women to reach the U.S. Congress adopted a tactic to infiltrate through their immigrant and black minority communities in general, and women’s groups in particular.
    The article ties Sarsour to Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood through multiple associations with the Arab American Association of New York, which “was created by Palestinian Ahmed Jaber, a member of the Qatar International Foundation responsible for funding the association,” and also her attendance at an annual meeting of the International Network of Muslim Brotherhood in North America and Canada in 2016.
    The article compares Sarsour’s rhetoric to that “used by Muslim Brotherhood teachings and in the views of Sayyid Qutb, a scholar and co-founder of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, as well as from Abul A’la Maududi’s books ‘Islam and Ignorance’ and ‘Fundamentals of Islam.’
    “From all that is mentioned, we can touch the influence of Muslim Brotherhood in shaping the thoughts of American activist Linda Sarsour and consequently her declaring her ‘jihad’ against U.S. President Donald Trump, in addition to her call for the application of ‘Sharia,’ the rule of Islam in the United States of America,” the piece asserts.
    No one knows for sure whether Al Arabiya received direct orders from the Saudi government to attack Sarsour, Tlaib, Omar and other politically active Muslim women on the American left.
    Those familiar with Middle East media say conspiracy-minded attacks against figures in American politics aren’t particularly unusual in Arabic,
    but what is unique about this article is the fact it appeared in English on the network’s website.
    It seems to be a highly creative attempt to somehow repay the Trump White House as it deals with the fallout from the Jamal Khashoggi assassination. As Trump continues to take heat for staying close to the Saudis, they, in turn, are demonstrating their loyalty with their willingness to vilify people who were President Barack Obama’s supporters and are now Trump’s political enemies – even if they wear a hijab.

    Allison Kaplan Sommer
    Haaretz Correspondent

  • 50 years on, we’re living the reality first shown at the “Mother of All Demos” | Ars Technica

    A half century ago, computer history took a giant leap when Douglas Engelbart—then a mid-career 43-year-old engineer at Stanford Research Institute in the heart of Silicon Valley—gave what has come to be known as the “mother of all demos.”

    On December 9, 1968 at a computer conference in San Francisco, Engelbart showed off the first inklings of numerous technologies that we all now take for granted: video conferencing, a modern desktop-style user interface, word processing, hypertext, the mouse, collaborative editing, among many others.

    Even before his famous demonstration, Engelbart outlined his vision of the future more than a half-century ago in his historic 1962 paper, “Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework.”

    To open the 90-minute-long presentation, Engelbart posited a question that almost seems trivial to us in the early 21st century: “If in your office, you as an intellectual worker were supplied with a computer display, backed up by a computer that was alive for you all day, and was instantly responsible—responsive—to every action you had, how much value would you derive from that?”

    Of course at that time, computers were vast behemoths that were light-years away from the pocket-sized devices that have practically become an extension of ourselves.

    #Histoire_informatique #Mother_of_all_demos #Douglas_Engelbart

  • Julien Coupat, le Préfet de Police Delpuech, les Gilets Jaunes, Tarnac et moi

    Sitôt connue, l’interpellation de Julien #Coupat « à titre préventif », le matin de l’acte IV des #GiletsJaunes, a tourné en boucle sur les radios et TV.

    Lors de l’affaire dite de « #Tarnac », j’avais rencontré celui qui n’était pas encore Préfet de Police de Paris, mais qui avait été à la manœuvre lors de l’affaire. Michel #Delpuech était l’ancien directeur de cabinet de Michèle Alliot-Marie au plus fort des événements.

    Afin d’éclairer les événements du week-end, voici le chapitre complet que je lui consacre dans mon livre « Tarnac, Magasin général » (Calmann Lévy / Pluriel)

    #Police #Justice #Répression