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  1.  (10765.1)
    @John Jones:

    Hm, except that this case and that monument are strongly linked by the idea of theocracy. I mean, to me, the idea that you would design a memorial for the victims of the USSR, many of were, you know, Jewish or Atheists or any number of other faiths-or-lack-thereof, to be a gigantic crucifix is already a sketchy proposition, and I think it's not too much of a stretch to see it as indicative of an unacceptable collusion between church and state in the whole former Soviet region. I am not an expert on the politics of the region, but that seems to be the general sentiment being expressed here. I honestly don't see it as much of a leap conceptually, although I also can see how it would garner controversy due to the simple fact that it is a memorial, after all.
    • CommentTimeAug 17th 2012
    Hm, except that this case and that monument are strongly linked by the idea of theocracy.

    You are speaking from ignorance. A religious memorial to victims of the (former) state doesn't really have anything to do with theocracy, which is religion as the state.

    I am not an expert on the politics of the region

    When you thought this, you should have recognized it was not a good idea to then express an utterly uninformed opinion, and instead maybe asked a question, or sought information.

    Sorry to pick on you, but there is nothing in your completely detached from any actual knowledge opinion that is worth consideration by anyone actually interested in understanding what is going on either with the Pussy Riot protest or the nature of the memorial that was destroyed in that video.

    When you don't have knowledge, you shouldn't state opinion. You should instead look for knowledge.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeAug 17th 2012 edited
    Re: the memorial thing. My disclaimer, first off, is that I don't know much about Russia and the Ukraine. I do know, however, given that my fiance's family is from Poland, that when Poland was communist, the government was very anti-catholicism. And the Poles, a lot of them, were very, very Catholic (Edgar's family being some of them, even though he is atheist). So they really had to stick to their guns in continuing with their faith in a country where the government really didn't want that happening. If I can assume the situation was the same in the Ukraine, then I can see why the crucifix would be a memorial to the people of communist Ukraine, given the fact that in Communist Poland, practicing Catholicism essentially was a protest against the government. So, if the situation was the same in the Ukraine, seems like she cut down a symbol of practicing your beliefs despite government disapproval as a way to symbolize practicing your beliefs despite government disapproval. Given the situation in Poland, I am getting the impression that the memorial has nothing to do with theocracy.

    Again, I am ignorant when it comes to Russia and the Ukraine. I am making assumptions based on what I know of Poland. Please correct me if I am wrong.
    • CommentTimeAug 17th 2012
    @Argos - your understanding is what I also suspect.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2012 edited
    My understanding - which is also pretty shaky- is that the Putin regime and their Ukrainian proxies have been using the Orthodox church as a sort of ideological replacement for Communism - a unifying pan-Slavic ideal.

    That sort of thing is particularly dangerous and touchy in the Ukraine where roughly the eastern third of the country including the Crimea is mostly Orthodox and ethnically Russian and wasn't part of the pre-Russian independent Ukrainian state. while there's a significant Orthodox poplation in the western Ukrainian there are also substantial populations of Catholics and Uniates (an offshoot of Orthodoxy that rejects the authority of the Russian Church).

    So, yeah I can actually see a Crucifix in Ukraine in the context of a state-endorsed memorial to the victims of communism beign used as a symbol of the dominance of Russia, the Russian Orthodox church and Russia's local ethnic-Russian stooges. (Bearing in mind that anti-Communism is part of the right-wing authoritarian ideology of Putin's Russia.)
    • CommentAuthorWood
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2012
    And meanwhile :

    Russia Bans Moscow Gay Pride Celebrations For 100 Years

    International lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates are crying foul after a top court ruled to uphold a ban on Pride marches in Moscow for the next 100 years.

    As the BBC reports, the ruling came after Russia's best-known LGBT rights activist, Nikolai Alexeyev, had sought to overturn the city council's ban on Pride festivities. According to the ruling, the earliest that a Pride march, rally or celebration can take place in May 2112, Pink News notes.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2012
    I get updates from Femen on various social media thingies and I'm increasingly sceptical about them.

    Yes, nekkid girls protesting is hawt. But it seems pretty clear the girls are being recruited by someone else who's directing everything and not getting in the firing line. I'd be impressed if that's not the case, but something really seems off about it.
  2.  (10765.8)

    While I understand your point, can I respectfully suggest that your response should have been to actually elaborate on where I was going wrong? Because that's what I'm still not quite understanding.

    I'm coming into this having read repeatedly that the Orthodox church in particular has taken a hardline stance on this trial, which seems to be driving backlash on the other side. With that in mind, it seemed perfectly reasonable to suspect--note, also, how much qualification I gave every single one of my statements--that Femen, at least (Sidenote: is it Femen or FEMEN? I've actually seen it both ways now) was perceiving the memorial as basically indicative of exactly what Kosmopolit just described much more effectively than I did--a collusion between Putin's government and the church.

    The only point I was making was that the choice of target was not random--there was a connection. I was deliberately hesitant about what that connection was, although, yes, I speculated about it, just as others have done. I would be very interested, of course, in hearing just where I'm going wrong since, as I said, most of the impressions I'm getting here come from the news articles that I've read, which have at least partially focused on the religious aspect.


    It seemed odd that they were sort of just chainsawing a (national?) monument fairly openly without being hauled away by some law enforcement or other. Any thoughts as to who might be pulling the strings?
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2012
    Okay, upon repeated viewing... those rockabilly looking dudes in the background, acting very nonchalant about what they couldn't help but hear, even if they couldn't see it (not sure what their line of sight on the act would have been).

    That's sort of strange, right?
  3.  (10765.10)
    Frustratingly, I'm not finding a lot of detailed coverage that isn't from Huffington Post or Gawker.

    Reuters is reporting that, yes, this was a protest specifically against the Orthodox church:

    "No business, not even one as successful as the church, has the right to attack women's rights," Shevchenko, 22, a veteran of several Femen protests, said after bringing down the cross.

    So, this seems like a reaction against not just political but also religious authority, what with the fact that the ruling stated specifically that this was "hooliganism driven by religious hatred." Interestingly, the monument was erected in 2005, so it's actually relatively recent. I think that lends credence to what Kosmopolit said about this being a symbol not just for memorial or for religion but for contemporary Russian power. I can't find anything that says how prominent the monument was, though. Reuters described this as overlooking the city center, though, so the fact that no one noticed the thing getting chainsawed down (or the fact that they noticed and didn't care) does seem a little strange, yeah.
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2012
    It's interesting to me that she wrote on her body in English.
    It seems to me like the ones that this video targets are the white cis American feminists more than anything, as they've (we've, I guess) made a lot of noise about this particular issue. From what I've seen in my reading about everything to do with Pussy Riot, not many people would know about it or be protesting if it weren't for the American noise. But we don't really understand what's going on. From the white American Feminist point of view, most any church is seen as a patriarchal institution, and seeing a cross cut down from our eyes is seeing a cross cut down. It's hard not to bring one's own context based on personal experience. So why write in the language Americans speak? The feminists here have power, sure, but we don't have that context. Why would they want people to talk about it when they are completely ignorant about the reasoning?
    And that definitely leads me to wonder if you guys are right about this just not being very well thought out, if it was just made for Americans or others who are far away from the situation and sort of stupid about the whole thing.

    Other than that, I was just really worried about her safety, like Greasemonkey. I couldn't get myself to watch the whole video because I just kept thinking about what could go wrong there at any second.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2012
    @KeeperofManyNames - I genuinely don't know. Most of their protests are anti-Islam though, which always plays well to a certain audience. I may well be being too cynical, or slightly sexist or ageist, but I just don't see the girls that Femen sticks in front of the cameras doing this on their own. Something about it smells weird anyway.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2012
    Well, I say anti-Islam, they're really pro-women in Islamic countries, that would be fairer. It's just, all the travelling they do and videos and photoshoots. That takes budget and I may be missing it, but I don't see them fundraising.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2012
    Ah. If I were paying attention I'd have seen that DJ Hell was funding them with proceeds from happy hardcore and german techno.
  4.  (10765.15)
    Hackers backdoor the human brain, successfully extract sensitive data

    With a chilling hint of the not-so-distant future, researchers at the Usenix Security conference have demonstrated a zero-day vulnerability in your brain. Using a commercial off-the-shelf brain-computer interface, the researchers have shown that it’s possible to hack your brain, forcing you to reveal information that you’d rather keep secret.
    • CommentAuthorWood
    • CommentTimeAug 19th 2012
    Republican Senate Nominee: Victims Of ‘Legitimate Rape’ Don’t Get Pregnant
    Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri who is running against Sen. Claire McCaskill, justified his opposition to abortion rights even in case of rape with a claim that victims of “legitimate rape” have unnamed biological defenses that prevent pregnancy.

    “First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
    • CommentAuthorWood
    • CommentTimeAug 19th 2012
    But all is not lost :

    Curiosity's laser just zapped its first rock

    ZAP! ZAP! You show'em, Curiosity !
    • CommentTimeAug 19th 2012 edited
    Someone needs to warn Femen that they almost caused a horrible accident. One of those women is going to fucking die if they try this again.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeAug 20th 2012
    • CommentAuthorWood
    • CommentTimeAug 20th 2012
    Israel Police: Hundreds watched attempt to lynch Palestinians in Jerusalem, did not interfere

    Four minors between the ages of 13-15, including one girl, were arrested on Sunday in connection with the attack at Zion Square, in which one victim was seriously injured and three others were slightly hurt.

    Earlier, the court extended by four days the detention of the 19-year-old man arrested Friday. Police believe there will be further arrests.

    Sergeant First Class Shmuel Shenhav defined the attack as a lynch, and said: "The victim lost his consciousness and was thought to be dead until a Magen David Adom [emergency paramedic] crew arrived and resuscitated him. He was anesthetized and on a respirator in the hospital for days. This was an extremely severe crime. Only a miracle saved him from death."

    The suspect's brother, who was also present at the scene, said outside the court that it was the four Arab youths who had provoked passersby and "made passes at Jewish girls." He added: "Why should an Arab make passes at my sister? They shouldn't be here, it's our area. For what other reason would they come here if not to make passes at Jewish girls?"

    Lynched for looking at white girls... man, where have we heard that before ?