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June 05, 2014

Overnight open Thread (6-5-2014)

About Those Civilian Taliban Hostages

Well they seem to be a similar type as Bergdahl - naive idealists who thought it would fun to wander around Afghanistan and that their sincerity and niceness would protect them from human predators.

Relatives describe the couple, who wed in 2011 after meeting online, as well-intentioned but naive adventure seekers.

They once spent months traveling through Latin America, where they lived among indigenous Guatemalans and where Boyle grew a long beard that led some children to call him "Santa Claus." The couple set off again in the summer of 2012 for a journey that took them to Russia, the central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and then finally to Afghanistan. With plans to return home in December ahead of Coleman's due date, they checked in regularly via email during their travels - expressing in their writings an awareness of the perils they faced - and toured the region, staying in hostels and their tent.

The communication abruptly ended on Oct. 8, 2012, after Boyle emailed from an Internet cafe in what he called an "unsafe" part of Afghanistan. The last withdrawals from the couple's bank account were made Oct. 8 and 9 in Kabul. Two months later, an Afghan official told the AP that the two had been abducted in Wardak Providence, a rugged, mountainous Taliban haven.

...They really and truly believed that if people were loved and treated with respect that that would be given back to them in kind," said Linda Boyle, Boyle's mother. "So as odd it as it may seem to us that they were there, they truly believed with all their heart that if they treated people properly, they would be treated properly."


Geraghty: Why Most Women Should Cut Themselves Some Slack

There is a booming industry of authors and pundits - mostly successful women - assessing other women's abilities to balance work and everything else: "Lean In." "The Confidence Gap." "Knowing Your Value." "The Tiger Mom." "Thrive." Sometimes the theme is subtle, sometimes it's explicit: American women, you're doing it wrong! Read my book to learn how to do it right!

I am speaking broadly, and generalizing when I make this next statement: Men do worry about this sort of thing, but they don't talk about it. They're generally less likely to obsess about it, and/or publicly beat themselves up about it. There are not nearly as many bestsellers about the struggles of working fathers, magazine covers asking "Can Men Have It All?", daddy blogs with passionate arguments and comments sections aflame, etc. For the most part, for better or worse, men get up and go to work and just deal with it. Any choice they make is going to have trade-offs. They will probably never be the workers they want to be and the spouse they want to be and the father they want to be, and the friend they want to be and all of the other roles simultaneously. That last word is important.

Working moms, trust me. Most of you are doing just fine. You're doing better than you think. Stop letting immensely wealthy women make you feel like you're not living your life correctly!


Classic Classifieds



Chuck Schumer Doesn't Know What Jefferson Thought or Wrote

But has no problem speaking for him.

"I think if Thomas Jefferson were looking down, the author of the Bill of Rights, on what's being proposed here, he'd agree with it. He would agree that the First Amendment cannot be absolute," Mr. Schumer said.

Australia: The Rules Have Changed

You will not make Australia home.

The rules have changed. Check the facts.

Anyone seeking to illegally enter Australia by boat will never make Australia home.

It is the policy and practice of the Australian Government to intercept any vessel that is seeking to illegally enter Australia and safely remove it beyond our waters.

People who travelled to Australia by boat without a visa will not end up in Australia; they have been sent for processing in Nauru or Papua New Guinea.

They won't be able to work, and could be waiting a long time for their claim to be processed.

Australia has the toughest border protection measures ever. The Australian Government has announced that no temporary or permanent protection visas will be granted to anyone who arrives in Australia by boat without a visa until further notice.


Human Rights Watch Doesn't Understand Terrorism, Islam

Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, is a prolific tweeter. And as with most policymakers, analysts, and activists who expound on Twitter, often their tweets can provide windows into their minds more illuminating than carefully edited essays.

Alas, from this recent tweet, it appears that Roth doesn't really understand terrorism. He opines, in twitterese, "Abusive #Nigeria army is big part of why we have Boko Haram. Leahy Law key to ensure US aid doesn't reinforce abuse." Now, don't get me wrong: Nigeria is an extraordinarily corrupt country and its army is often dysfunctional. Nor is the Nigerian army by any means a paradigm of human rights.

But even if the Nigerian army is complicit in human rights abuses, Boko Haram doesn't exist as a protest against the army. It exists because of the influence of Saudi-funded preachers who have for decades sought to introduce radical theological interpretations into Western Africa and elsewhere in the world, some of which have taken root. The speech by Boko Haram leader Abubakr Shekau, which I have previously written about and in which he justified his kidnapping of the still-missing Nigerian school girls, is quite illuminating. It is at once a rant against Christianity, a call for the re-institution of slavery and what in Shekau's mind would be a perfect Islamist order, and finally a general condemnation of both democracy and the West.

Perhaps if the Nigerian army had been just a bit nicer Boko Haram wouldn't have had to kill all those people and sell those girls into sex slavery.

boko haram_2_0

How Bad Kitty Litter Ruined Our Most Successful Nuclear Waste Storage Site

Lesson from this debacle:

1. Always follow directions when storing your nuclear waste

2. Always stick with scoopable, clay-based kitty litter from reputable brands.

3. Anything that's labeled 'Green' sucks, is expensive, and may render entire areas unihabitable or possibly all three.


Also: Why You Should Hold Off Giving any Money to the Humane Society and the ASPCA

Any money you give them now will just go to paying off their millions in lawsuit claims after being found guilty of attempting to frame the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus with animal cruelty over 14 years.

Secret Service Wants Software to Detect Snark and Sarcasm

The Secret Service is currently using FEMA Twitter analytics currently, according to Donovan, adding that the sarcasm feature is a very minute.

"Our objective is to automate our social media monitoring process. Twitter is what we analyze. This is real time stream analysis. The ability to detect sarcasm and false positives is just one of 16 or 18 things we are looking at. We are looking for the ability to quantity our social media outreach," he told The Washington Post. "We aren't looking solely to detect sarcasm."

Tech experts, however, note that anti-snarky software is not currently available.

"We are not currently aware of any automated technology that could do that (detect sarcasm). No one is considered a leader in that," Jamie Martin, a data acquisition engineer at Sioux Falls, SD based Bright Planet, told CBS News while rolling his eyes and making a jack-off motion.

I may have added a little to the quote in order to assist in the testing of SnarkDetect beta 0.17.

How to Do Visual Comedy

Or how American comedies have gotten visually lazy.

Scientists: Like What's Up With Sun?

Sun God is...unsettled.

The sun has been acting strangely of late, prompting some solar physicists to suggest that once current sunspot activity peaked, which appeared to happen last fall, it could tank and remain that way for several decades.

A prolonged period with few or no spots would have a slight, temporary cooling effect on Earth's climate and a general calming effect on space weather, which would be good news for astronauts and satellites.

...But as cautious as scientists were in 2009, when they first raised the possibility of a looming so-called grand minimum, those earlier suggestions have given way to shrugs of "who knows?"

It's not for lack of trying to understand Earth's host star, say solar physicists attending the June meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Boston. But it's been hard. Some of the evidence that researchers pointed to in suggesting the coming of a grand minimum has vanished. Also, only in the past four years have sun-watchers had the tools to dig deep into the underlying mechanisms driving sunspot cycles.

And if one looks far enough into the past, at least one solar maximum in the past 100 years has been as lackluster as the current one.

If a prolonged dearth of sunspots lies ahead, researchers would be hard pressed to predict it because they don't know what the run-up to a grand minimum looks like. None of the tools in space or on Earth today were available between the mid-1600s and the early 1700s, when the sun went through the Maunder Minimum.

'YMCA' Performance banned at School

Can you guess the reason why?

11 Celebrities Who Were Secretly Badasses

Also including Walt Disney's last words.


Celebrities and Their Pr0n Doppelgangers

I guess it's true that everyone has a twin somewhere in the world...of porn.


Eyebrow Transplants

Sure why not.

eyeborwWomen Logic_5eabbd_4939133

Yahoo group. That is all.

Come on be a smartie and join the yahoo group party! For the children.

And my lo-fi Twitter spew.

Tonight's post brought to you by the beaches of Normandy - then and now:


Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips plus $1 for S&H to maetenloch at gmail. Otherwise send your scraps to BizarroAce. Do not taunt happy-fun ball.

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posted by Maetenloch at 10:29 PM

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