The Malayan Jungle Nymph (Heteropteryx dilatata) is the heaviest stick insect in the world, weighing around 65 grams (but only if we’re talking about a female). The males are much smaller (4 in.) than the females (6 in.) and lack the bright green, almost leaf-like appearance taken by the females. Instead, they resemble twigs: skinny, long, and mottled brown in color. Either sex is well equipped to camouflage itself amongst the dense brush of the Malaysian forests they inhabit.
Fungal attack on Black Cicada, 10 Jun 2013, HK island east.
This invidiual died from an entomopathogenic fungus belonging to the genus Nomuraea, At least two species from this genus is known to target cicadas, the large black ones of the genus Crytotympana, which are common in HK and Taiwan. (link)
Interesting fact: the dull orange colour of the eyes in these photos is a symptom induced by the infection. The normal eye colour would be black/dark brown.
Two Palestinian women were attacked on a train in Jerusalem by Israeli settlers. Here are some of the comments on Facebook:
Eli Peretz: “Maybe she needed to have her ass knocked up and then had boiling oil poured on it to eliminate this unnecessary slut. Death to Arabs.”
Israel Cohen: “Khaled pollution… I fuck you at checkpoints… and believe me Arabic sluts […] at the checkpoint I will tie your hands while you cry and beg and I won’t do anything.”
Shaul Naftaliev: “It’s a shame the eye is still in place.”
Orel Binihasviti: “I wish she’d die… (daughter of a) whore.”
Shlomi Amitay: “It’s a shame they didn’t sodomize you.”
Ruhama Cohen Cohen: “Next time they will leave you in a coma.”
Mor Mimony: “Why didn’t they kill her?”
Vered Cohen: “She deserved it! So do all Arabs who dare to say a word out of place!!!! And so do all Arabs who dare to open their mouths and look at Jews. Hopefully they will all die!!!!
the racism is absolutely insane.. i can’t even
Verso’s Pocket Communism series seeks to reorient leftist discourse by taking the idea of “communism” as a shared point of departure. In this series of articles and interviews, the Platypus Affiliated Society seeks to host a critical dialogue on this subject in order to clarify the various positions and oppositions that are at work, situate them within the broader history of the Left, and evaluate their salience for the present.
‘Communism’ is still the name to be used to designate radical emancipatory projects. It is a name that can not only express the Idea which guides radical activity, but can also help expose the catastrophes of the twentieth century, including those of the Left.
— Slavoj Žižek and Costas Douzinas, The Idea of Communism(2010), pgs. viii-ix.
I am not in favour of raising any dogmatic banner. On the contrary, we must help the dogmatists to clarify their propositions for themselves. Thus communism in particular is a dogmatic abstraction.
— Karl Marx, “Letter to Arnold Ruge”(September 1843)
Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, anideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism thereal movement which abolishes the present state of things.
— Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology (1845)
The Marxist hypothesis: A response to Badiou’s Communist Hypothesis
by Chris Cutrone
A very different set of historical periodizations, and hence a different history, focused on other developments, might be opposed to Badiou’s. Counter to Badiou’s “communist hypothesis,” which reaches back to the origins of the state in the birth of civilization millennia ago, a “Marxist hypothesis” would seek to grasp the history of the society of capital.
Traversing the heresies: An interview with Bruno Bosteels
by Alec Niedenthal and Ross Wolfe
On October 14th, 2012, Alec Niedenthal and Ross Wolfe interviewed Bruno Bosteels, Professor of Romance Studies at Cornell University and author of such books as Badiou and Politics (2011), Marx and Freud in Latin America (2012), and The Actuality of Communism (2011). Click to view an edited transcript of their conversation.
What is to be done with the actually-existing Marxist Left? An interview with Jodi Dean
by Ross Wolfe
On October 13th, 2012, Ross Wolfe of the Platypus Affiliated Society interviewed Jodi Dean, Professor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith College, and author of Žižek’s Politics (2006) and The Communist Horizon (New York: Verso, 2012). Click to view an edited transcript of their conversation.
A remembrance of things past: An interview with Boris Groys
by Ross Wolfe
On December 15th, 2012, Ross Wolfe interviewed Boris Groys, Global Distinguished Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University. His numerous published books include The Total Art of Stalinism (1986), Art Power(2008), and The Communist Postscript(2009). Click to view an edited transcript of their conversation.
- Chris Cutrone, “Chinoiserie: A critique of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA’s ‘New Synthesis’.” A review ofCommunism: The Beginning of a New Stage, a manifesto from the RCP, USA; and Raymond Lotta, Nayi Duniya, and K. J. A., “Alain Badiou’s ‘Politics of Emancipation’: A Communism Locked Within the Confines of the Bourgeois World” Demarcations 1 (Summer–Fall 2009).
- Bruno Bosteels (Historical Materialism), Chris Cutrone (Platypus), and Nayi Duniya (RCP-USA), “Debating Alain Badiou’s ‘politics of emancipation’: An exchange on communism and the historical moment.” Audio of discussion from the Left Forum, 2011. See also the text from Cutrone’s presentation, “Badiou’s ‘communism’ — a gerontic disorder.”
- Atiya Khan, “1968.” From Toward a Theory of Historical Regression: The Decline of the Left in the 20th Century.
- Chris Cutrone (Platypus), Ben Lewis (CPGB), and Tom Riley (IBT), “Lenin and the Marxist Left after #Occupy.”
- Doug La Rocca and Spencer Leonard, “These petrified relations must be forced to dance”: An interview with Dick Howard.”
- Benjamin Blumberg, “To the victor, the spoils: Review ofArtforum’s May 2008 issue ‘May ’68′.”
Taking stock of the universe of positions and goals that constitutes leftist politics today, we are left with the disquieting suspicion that a deep commonality underlies the apparent variety: What exists today is built upon the desiccated remains of what once was possible.
In order to make sense of the present, we find it necessary to disentangle the vast accumulation of positions on the Left and to evaluate their saliency for the possible reconstitution of emancipatory politics in the present. Doing this implies a reconsideration of what is meant by the Left.
Our task begins from what we see as the general disenchantment with the present state of progressive politics. We feel that this disenchantment cannot be cast off by sheer will, by simply “carrying on the fight,” but must be addressed and itself made an object of critique. Thus we begin with what immediately confronts us.
The Platypus Review is motivated by its sense that the Left is disoriented. We seek to be a forum among a variety of tendencies and approaches on the Left — not out of a concern with inclusion for its own sake, but rather to provoke disagreement and to open shared goals as sites of contestation. In this way, the recriminations and accusations arising from political disputes of the past may be harnessed to the project of clarifying the object of leftist critique.
The Platypus Review hopes to create and sustain a space for interrogating and clarifying positions and orientations currently represented on the Left, a space in which questions may be raised and discussions pursued that would not otherwise take place. As long as submissions exhibit a genuine commitment to this project, all kinds of content will be considered for publication.
The May 10 conviction of Guatemala’s Efrain Rios Montt for genocide perpetrated against the Maya Ixil people of that tortured land—though reversed at least temporarily on May 31 by a 3-2 margin of the oligarchical elite’s Constitutional Court—is a world historical precedent that started 13 years ago with a small but determined group of survivors of the U.S.-sponsored massacres of the 1980s.
Like the Ixil, the grassroots people of the Lakota (Sioux) nation are appealing for international support in their struggle to survive against a genocidal onslaught by the U.S. that began more than one and a half centuries ago and continues to this day. Long among the most formidable internal opponents to U.S. colonization, the Lakota remain at the forefront of indigenous resistance to corporate and governmental hegemony at the state, national, and international level.
When a delegation led by Lakota grandmothers attempted to file a formal complaint of genocide against the U.S. and its constituent states with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on April 9, the elders and their supporters were penned in like cattle and blocked by security agents from entering the UN headquarters in New York.
“Our nation is experiencing genocide, and we have been coming to this house called the United Nations since 1984 asking for help, and they never, ever allow us in. We should be in there, we should be able to use the International Court of Justice,” said Charmaine White Face. “No one wants to stand up to the United States. They’re too scared of the United States. But who is the United States? It’s every one of you.”
I wanted to say something intelligent about this and all I can think of is frightening. It’s astounding to me that this is still even in question. That there is so much energy being spent on both sides that there is not proper mapping of the pipeline’s route. They obviously don’t want the impacted communities to know their potential fate. How short sighted (or bought off) can Obama and the State Department leaders really be? Apparently there is severe division within the administration over this issue. Bloomberg reports that, “The Obama world’s split on Keystone is so deep that it even divides White House aides who’ve left the administration.” And that, ‘The internal divisions among Obama supporters driven by Keystone threaten to sap dollars and volunteer enthusiasm from Organizing for Action, the policy group born out of Obama’s re-election campaign that raised $4.9 million in the first three months of this year. The split may hurt OFA’s ability to build support for the president’s other initiatives, such as immigration and revising the tax code.”
While we know the proposed Keystone XL pipeline expansion will travel the entire length of the country, the exact path has been somewhat unclear. Since neither TransCanada Corporation nor the U.S. Department of State has been willing to give Americans an exact map of where the tar sands pipeline will be installed, author and photographer Thomas Bachand decided to tackle it himself.
Bachand is the founder of the Keystone Mapping Project (KMP) a nationally recognized multimedia and photography project examining land use and climate change in America through an exploration of the Keystone XL. He’s been fighting tooth and nail to hammer out an actual map of the pipeline’s proposed route, so that we can see just how close to our backyards, schools, and water supplies it will run.
Image via KMP
It’s incredible that a project as massive and with such potentially sweeping consequences as the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would lack something as simple as a map for public inspection–but according to Bachand, that’s the sad truth.
“Prior to the Keystone Mapping Project, only rudimentary maps of the pipeline were available,” Bachand explained in an email. “The maps issued with the FEIS [Final Environmental Impact Statement] have been stripped of all lat/long information. The FEIS is also missing key location information, including milepost markers and waterbody crossings. Without this information, it is impossible to conduct any meaningful analysis of the pipeline, let alone determine its environmental impacts.”
Making that information available, for landowners, communities, non-profits fighting the pipeline, and journalists trying to unravel the forces pushing for its approval, has been the biggest impact of Bachand’s project thus far.
Combining satellite imagery with custom mapping features, the images depict a hypothetical voluntary evacuation zone should an oil spill occur. Individually, the panels examine the interplay of physical and human geography. In series the photography reveals broader patterns and larger questions.
Image via Thomas Bachand
“Larger questions” are probably whythe Federal Government isn’t very eager for the KMP to succeed. Blog posts on Bachand’s website detail many months of slashing through red tape in an attempt to obtain the comprehensive GIS data set that should accompany the FEIS.
“Currently, I am using data acquired from state agencies, others’ FOIA requests, and my own independent analysis,” said Bachand. “I can only speculate as to why the GIS data remains a secret, as neither TransCanada nor the DOS will provide me with a credible answer. The objective seems to be to forestall independent and detailed analysis.”
Follow Bachand’s progress and support the KMP here.
Thanks to TB for forwarding this post.
New documents reveal TransCanada is secretly instructing police how to handle Keystone XL protesters, and urging terrorism prosecutions for non-violent activists.
Please REBLOG if you stand with the pipeline protesters!
The culture of secrecy that pervades Washington borders on the absurd. American officials say they cannot discuss “classified” U.S. counter-terrorism tactics that are well-known worldwide - from water-boarding to drone strikes to data mining.
The White House refuses to release the legal memo it used it used to justify the killing of an American citizen in a drone strike in Yemen. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court will not publish summaries of the rulings that made data mining legal. And Feinstein will not declassify a redacted version of her committee’s 6,000 page report on the Bush administration’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques.
Tara Dodrill | Tom Francois was visited by the Secret Service merely because he posted anti-Obama messages for his “large” Twitter following to read.
A nation continues to wait for final word on the Supreme Court’s Big Four cases, but the justices’ closest call arrived first on Monday, in a ruling that just made your right to remain silent a lot more complicated — just ask Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
A nation continues to wait for final word on the Supreme Court’s Big Four cases this term — voting rights, affirmative action, DOMA, and Proposition 8 — but the justices’ closest decision arrived first on Monday, in a 5-4 ruling on Salinas v. Texas in which the conservative members of the Court and Anthony Kennedy determined that if you remain silent before police read your Miranda rights, that silence can and will be held against you. Here’s what that means.
Basically, if you’re ever in any trouble with police (no, we don’t condone breaking laws) and want to keep your mouth shut, you will need to announce that you’re invoking your Fifth Amendment right instead of, you know, just keeping your mouth shut. “Petitioner’s Fifth Amendment claim fails because he did not expressly invoke the privilege against self-incrimination in response to the officer’s question,” reads the opinion from Justice Samuel Alito, which Justice Kennedy and Chief Justice John Roberts backed. Justices Thomas and Scalia had a concurring opinion while the remaining four Supremes dissented.
The Salinas case revolves around Genovevo Salinas, a man who was convicted of a 1992 murder of two brothers. Salinas was brought in for police questioning in January 1993. According to the dissenting opinion of Justice Breyer, he was called in to “to take photographs and to clear him as [a]suspect” and Salinas was questioned without being read his Miranda rights:
Because he was “free to leave at that time,” [App.14], they did not give him Miranda warnings. The police then asked Salinas questions. And Salinas answered until the police asked him whether the shotgun from his home “would match the shells recovered at the scene of the murder [Id., at 17.] At that point Salinas fell silent.
That silence was then used against Salinas in court, and he was eventually convicted. But the bigger question in revisiting this 20-year-old murder case was whether or not prosecutors were allowed to point to that silence, and win a case using Salinas’ own silence against him.
You know what’s a much more recent wrinkle to the potential precedent effect of today’s ruling? A case like that of the younger Boston Marathon suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who reportedly sat through 16 hours of questioning before he was read his Miranda rights. Had Tsarnaev, who was recovering from serious injuries at the time, remained silent during questioning without explicitly invoking his Fifth Amendment, prosecutors could, under the Salinas ruling, now use that silence to their advantage.
It all seems ridiculously terrifying, this idea that in order to claim your Fifth Amendment, you now need to know how to call the on-the-fly legal equivalent of “safesies.” Your right to remain silent just got more complicated, and it will require potential criminals to be more informed about their protections and the linguistic details on how to invoke them. “But does it really mean that the suspect must use the exact words ‘Fifth Amendment’? How can an individual who is not a lawyer know that these particular words are legally magic?” Breyer wrote.
“Every plant and tree died” in the area touched by the spill, said James Ahnassay, chief of the Dene Tha First Nation, whose members run traplines in an area that has seen oil and gas development since the 1950s.
Mother Wants Class Photo Retaken After Disabled Son Placed Far To Side Away From Classmates [TW: Ableism, Discrimination Against Disabled People]
A heartbreaking photo of a second grader with spinal muscular atrophy who was forced to “sit out” his class photo went viral over the weekend, sparking accusations of discrimination directed toward the school photography company Lifetouch Canada Inc.
“I couldn’t comprehend how the photographer could look through the lens and think that this was good composition,” Miles Ambridge’s mom Anne Belanger told the Toronto Star. “This just boggled the mind.”
The New Westminster, British Columbia, native said she refused to show her 7-year-old the photo — “Look at the angle that he was in. He wants to be part of the gang so much,” she told The Province — but did post it on Lifetouch’s Facebook page to bring the injustice to the company’s attention.
“This was not a malicious act,” Belanger acknowledged. “I don’t think it was done on purpose. I just don’t think there was any rational thinking behind it.”
“For some reason it makes me feel even worse that he’s so happy in the picture,” said Miles dad, Don Ambridge. “I think it’s because he’s still innocent…He’s still naive to how other people can treat him.”
Following significant “coaxing,” Lifetouch finally agreed that the photo was a “mistake,” and arranged to have the photo re-shot, this time with Miles sitting on a bench beside his classmates with a caregiver providing him with support off-camera.
Despite the rectification, Herbert Spencer Elementary School said it would no longer be employing the company’s services following a number of complaints concerning the photographers’ lack of concern.
“We had several comments from teachers who said they just didn’t feel that they had taken the time,” said school principal Tracy Fulton.
Lifetouch has yet to issue a public statement concerning the incident.
[family photo via The Province]