[syndicated profile] egystreets_feed

Posted by Engy Adham

Egyptian authorities block 21 news websites on claims of “supporting terrorism”.

The sites that have been banned are accused of publishing content that supports terrorism and propagates lies. On the top of the list comes independent news platform

On the top of the list comes independent news platform Mada Masr followed by Al Jazeera, Al Sharq, Masr Al Arabia, Arabic 21, Huffington Post Arabic, Horria post, Klmty, Rassd, elshaab among many others.

This story is still developing…

[syndicated profile] henryjenkins_feed

Posted by Henry Jenkins

Samantha Close: So, thank you all so much for coming. This is really interesting. So, we’ve talked a lot about what we may call it primary texts and primary authors and originators. But one of the things that’s always interested me a lot about the science fiction and fantasy genres is the fandoms and the way that readers become writers and start to interact. And there’s been a lot of conversation in fandom recently about, you know, issues of what does it mean if you take a character and change their race, what does it mean, you know, to reimagine worlds this way, why is this something that hasn’t been done. If we can imagine alien biology, why not a character of a different skin color? And so, I was wondering about the fandoms around these kinds of works.

Nalo: And what specifically about the fandoms are you wondering?

Sam: I guess, we talked a certain amount about this being kind of more underground and more, you know, artistically focused. And so, is that kind of more the mode of fandom where people are reading text and analyzing them or are people kind of transforming, is there interchange between the artists and with the writers and the readers?

Nalo: Some of them, some of them not. They’re not, as far as I have found a lot of people in fandom doing fan writing based in my work. I have found people doing illustrations. And that’s always cool to see how somebody else imagines your work. But it’s also a bit of a shock. What I like about fandom in the science fiction is the ways that it can — they don’t have to have breaks. So, saying earlier that they can imagine stories into places that we might feel we might not want to or might not be able to get published or — and when I first discovered what the term slash came from, which was a fan writing Kirk/Spock fiction where Kirk and Spock were lovers. It made so much sense, I almost stopped breathing. It was, oh my God, of course, I’ve never seen it that way. Of course, that’s what’s going on.

So, I value that. I have to say for myself there is also the reaction of often there isn’t the type of craft I would — that I prefer.

I like the energy of the discussion that happens because they don’t have to deal with the kinds of considerations a published author does. I remember when the last Bordertown anthology came out, it’s a shared world anthology. The world is established and writers are invited to write stories in it. The creative board of talents specifically says, you can write fan fiction, listen, I have no problem with that, you’re not allowed to publish it. And finding a fan discussion board where they’re saying, well, why not, what’s the difference. The writers we’ve invited are writing fan fiction. And they’re getting paid for it.

William: I think the indigenous film and literature sci-fi genre is already so marginal that there’s not a lot, I think, that might be categorized exactly as fan fiction. But I think going back to the idea of imagining and the image, there’s a lot of parody through art. So, if anyone knows Bunky Echo-Hawk, he’s an incredible artist and he’s got a lot of takes on Star Wars. He has this image of Yoda which is titled “If Yoda was an Indian he’d be chief.”

He also engages Darth Vader as Custer, and the mustache works right with his mask. The imperials are the Americans, are the Europeans. So, he plays on that imagery to take it one step further than metaphor. And Walking the Clouds is just great compendium of lots of indigenous science fiction literature. It’s not fan fiction, it’s the canon.

And then there are some things that are parodies, like we watched earlier, the Star Blaks which is from the show Black Comedy in Australia, which is a parody of Star Trek. I think you have more fandom when there is a center to be marginal from.

Muhammad: There’s a lot of re-imaging of familiar western sci-fi. Many things like that are going on in the Muslim world. So, one that I would highly recommend is — there’s a series of paintings by this Turkish artist, Murat Palta. He reimages a lot of western movies like Star Wars, Scarface, Inception, but done in the style of Persian or Ottoman miniature paintings. And those are really amazing. You should — I highly recommend checking them out.

And also in Turkey, I’m not sure if that was intentional, but Turkey — in the 1970s and 1980s, Turkey has this tradition of — reimaging is, I guess reimaging not necessarily the right word, but they re-made some of the western movies like Star Trek and Star Trek, and they have this quality of it’s so bad that it’s good. Those are really interesting to watch.

More recently, there’s a — they just came out just a few months ago. There’s a British-Pakistani artist who reimages Superman but the difference is that his pod lands in Pakistan instead of Kansas. And he actually takes, one could argue that Superman closer to his original looks as compared to what we have been seeing in Superman lately. So, for example, the one thing that — it becomes a political commentary on the Pakistani society as a whole.

So, one thing that Superman — this version of Superman does is that — he does not actively use violence, for example. But during the drone attacks on Afgan-Pakistani border, he actively destroys those bombs which are going to hit civilians, for example. So, it becomes interesting commentary in its own right.

Audience 2: Yeah. I had a question actually for William. And it kind of jumps off a little with Professor Jenkins’ asking regarding the colonizing of genres. And it has to do with whether you could talk a little bit about the circulation of skills like production skills in one of your book that you’re working. And I was wondering about kind of the emergence not only of stories or scripts for the films that people are making but whether they are also envisioning kind of aesthetically a different way of telling them or whether they’re kind of like quality and patterns and it’s like western aesthetics or — basically whether the idea of creating science fiction is also — does it come with kind of like a visual kind of reimagining also of how to tell the stories or is it just —

William: Yeah. It’s a good question. This gets into my dissertations, which followed the social life of film projects in indigenous organizations in Australia. There were two outlets, one outwardly focused on production values and end products, and one by, for, and about remote Aboriginal communities.

And so, there’s a long answer. But to quickly answer, when people are making sci-fi films, they’re high budget productions. They usually come out of a Sundance or an imagineNATIVE initiative. But these are unsual and sleek productions. And so it’s not necessarily that people are making anything they want. It has to be discernibly science fiction, perhaps as utopian, dystopian, alien—recognizably in that genre even if it’s radically departing from it as well. So, in the sort of world of indigenous media, these are anomalies in that they’re highly funded and that’s a reason that most of them are very short.

These programs have been very successful in general. People who made these shorts tend to go on to make features, and not necessarily more sci-fi films. At the very least it’s a great career launch pad because people love sci-fi. And I think that they end up having the more freedom after they do these projects to make other media. I can’t think of anyone whose career hasn’t been significantly furthered after producing one of these sci-fi films.

Audience 3: I’m a film director. I just finished a feature-length animated film called Birds Like Us. And it’s inspired by a 11th century Persian poet Farid al-Din Mohammad ‘Attar — and the book that it’s based on is called Conference of the Birds. And I come from Bosnia, from Sarajevo. And I’m raised as a Muslim. I was also growing up in a multicultural society, multi-religious place. I actually had been exposed to all kinds of religions. And my actually first comic books was a comic version of The Bible.

And for me, growing up in a religious environment, I always have felt that the ultimate science fiction actually comes from the holy books where you have a creature who is reaching out to you and saying here I am, your all-seeing, omnipotent creator of everything, every living thing and you can be like me and this is how. And then, in these books, there are set examples of King Solomon who ruled everywhere and there are — where I’m going with this, there is so much of inspiring fiction, and beyond physical evidence of ideas in the holy books, in religious writings.

But somehow we have the communities, the human mankind actually colonized the race color that — and created actually these smaller parts while the higher idea is actually a very inspiring and moving form from — between asking yourself what is actually science fiction and what’s the difference between the fiction, science fiction and the fantasy and all that. Well, it’s purpose is to inspire and move forward and explain, provide a better living inside of your senses, with your perception of the world.

And do you think that your role as writers and contributors to this vision, is it possible to set yourself free from the boundaries of being Islamic science fiction or Jamaican or native Aboriginal or — can you maybe, I don’t know —

Nalo: I do have an answer and that’s that it does — whatever we identify — whatever particular cultural, ethnic or racial version of science which we’re interested in has no boundaries. It’s talking to things that we all care about. So, I don’t feel like I’m boundaried. I mean, I can write whatever I want and do. But I think it’s not as boundaried as you’re fearing that there’s — I want so — Sherman Alexie was at a literary event and somebody in the audience asked him if he ever felt limited. The wrong thing to ask Sherman Alexie. He blasted her. But his basic answer was any great story you can imagine is happening in my community, I can write it.

And that’s been useful for me to think about. So, no, I don’t feel that there is a boundary. I feel that there is this particular set of interest in philosophies and aesthetics, but it’s all over.

Muhammad: Right. And then to that I’ll add that — continuing on same line of thought that there are certain modes of thoughts, philosophies, aspirations, fears that all human cultures and religions throughout space and time that they share. It’s just that in the concept one must include who indigenous people, are Muslims, are Christians, are atheists. It’s through their life experiences, their histories that that’s the metaphors that they use on their cultures to describe those ideas. So, that’s not necessarily the limiting factor. It just shows where they come from.

So, just may we take the example of Farid al-Din ‘Attar’s Conference of the Birds. Although at one level it’s the cultural product of newly Islamized Persia, and the method to express was using metaphors. But that’s a product of its times but at the same time, it also speaks to universal human feelings of, for example, longing for the divine, for example, which regardless of whatever culture we are in, we can share and appreciate.

William: I think that radical assumptions provides a good definition for science fiction in this realm. I’m thinking of my own family not that many generations back, subjected to genocide in German gas chambers—radical assumptions are sometimes as simple as making it to the next year. It’s very relative and science fiction helps you define what radical is by giving the filmmaker the power to normalize things strategically.

But also, driving from the airport and seeing those Hollywood signs was exciting to me. It made me think about how there’s all of this money in Hollywood. There’s endless money and more that I can imagine. And while I like being on production teams with large projects, the biggest film anyone I ever worked on had a $100,000 budget, and that’s just a rounding error in Hollywood.

Yet, despite the endless money in Hollywood, somehow that can’t find a good script. They’re making the same movie a thousand times, with some notable exceptions. But in Aboriginal communities like the one I was working in, there are endless incredible stories to tell, though there’s very little funding.

It’s interesting just how different what the limited resource is in different places. And I think in a lot of Indigenous communities around the world, people have such complicated histories, and very difficult but incredible lives that it is no surprising just how many stories there are to tell. The problem is that there are not enough hours in the day because there’s so much. And while at the genre level there are sybolic boundaries, when people are making things on the ground, I don’t think that many worry about those boundaries and just follow the story.

Nalo: One more thing to add to that in that as somebody creating it, one of the things that science fiction fantasy teach you is if that place that you’re thinking you don’t dare to go, that’s where you should be going. So, if you think there’s a boundary there, what happens if you break it? And see what happens.

Henry: That’s a perfect note to end this session on. So, go on and break some boundaries.

Black scholarship matters

May. 24th, 2017 06:19 pm
[syndicated profile] feministphilosophers_feed

Posted by jennysaul

The Journal of Political Philosophy just published a symposium on Black Lives Matter, which initially sounds like a great idea.  However, Chris Lebron writes (in an open letter to the journal):

So, if you might – please do – try to imagine my distaste when it was brought to my attention that your journal published a philosophical symposium on ‘black lives matter’ with not one philosopher of color represented, without one philosopher of color to convey her or his contextualized sense of a movement that is urgently and justifiably about context.

Melvin Rogers has also written to the journal:

 

I do not typically claim that persons of color have an intellectual monopoly on issues affecting their life chances, but given the meaning and purpose of the movement it seems especially egregious that a person of color was not included.

So I write to find out how it is that these group of papers, only one of which mentions Black Lives Matter, came to be classified under a heading titled Symposium on “Black Lives Matter”? This question is especially important since I have now come to understand that the authors did not know they would be classified as such.

They have already made an initial reply:

Thank you for taking the time to write to us, I really do appreciate
it and am concerned about the issues you raise. I cannot say anything
on behalf of the journal before I have had a chance to talk to the
other editors (all of whom are unavailable for the next while because
they are in Australia or in transit to Europe). For my part I am also
going to need to think about this (and how to learn from it). So I
will be in touch again more fully as soon as I can, but didn’t want
your email to sit long without a response.

I very much urge you to read the whole of both open letters, linked to above.  They lay out with beautiful clarity just why the composition of the symposium is a problem, and correct some widespread misunderstandings of this kind of criticisms.

[What seems to have happened, as far as I understand it, is that a conference was held on political violence.  This conference had much better demographics than the symposium.  A decision was made to do a symposium based on the conference, and all participants were invited to submit.  The only ones who did were white.  Neither the authors nor the conference organiser had any idea that this would be called a Black Lives Matter symposium.  This decision seems to have been wholly made by the journal.]


[syndicated profile] cairogossip_feed

Posted by bcuser

And so here we are again. Ramadan is upon us and with it comes the annual nightlife nulling. A clubbing cull. A bar ban. That last piece of alliteration was a bit lazy, but nonetheless, days to enjoy the kind of late-night fun that we’ll be taking a break from are at a premium. So, why not go out with a bang with one (or several more) of these parties.

BOOGIE & TAMTAM @ CAIRO JAZZ CLUB

boogie-tamtam

We begin with the what has become something of a pre-Ramadan tradition. While many quietly shut-up shop before the sabbatical to come, Cairo Jazz Club gets right into the festive spirit with its annual Boogie & Tamtam event, where Ramy DJunkie brings a different kind of boogie to the table.

SEASON FINALE @ ZIGZAG

zigzag-finale

Zigzag has had a busy season; in addition to its own weekly club and house nights, the Downtown Cairo bar has also hosted everything from Theater of Dreams parties, to Abou Samra’s Anthems series, to Mada Masr’s Playlist Wednesdays. But the the night’s entertainment for the season finale brings back a gang of the bar’s favourites in Aly Goede and Aly B, as well as Omar El Sabh and Mazen, who play back-to-back.

SEBZZ, RAMSI LEHNER & MINUS T @ THE TAP MAADI

tap-maadi

A particularly hard one for Maadi residents to get over for the month, The Tap is bidding farewell to late-night shenanigans for the month with two of the most under-appreciated DJs in Cairo, Sebzz and Minus T, who are as versatile as any of their disc-jockeying peers, as well as the old school stlyings of Ramsi (not Ramy) Lehner.

ARMEN V @ THE TAP EAST

 armen-v-587x315

Armen V might not be a name Cairo’s clubbers come across often, but he’s certainly riled up quite the reputation at The Tap with his perennial spot at Dance Grooves, where he inevitably gets people both dancing AND grooving.

TECH IT UP @ THE GARDEN NILE FRONT

tech-it-up

 Although this marks only the third edition of Tech it Up, it’s certainly picked up speed early on. Having featured Abou Samra in its inaugural night, the men that also kicked off the series, Fuzzy, Tariq Siddiq and Karim Niazy, are back at The garden Nile Front in Manial for a tech-heavy send-off.

FEEDO & SOUL M @ VENUE LOUNGE & BAR

feedo-soul-m

Zamalek’s often ignored Nile-side haunt, Venue Lounge & Bar, is taking its cup of pre-Ramadan fun with two spoons of hip-hop, courtesy of DJ Feedo and Soul M – a couple of guys that know all about bumping, grinding, popping, locking and other equally hilarious;y-named hip-hop moves.

***POTENTIAL, MAYBE, WILL IT, WON’T IT BONUS PARTY***

FANTASTIC FOUR @ CAIRO JAZZ CLUB

f4

Only Cairo Jazz Club would have the intestinal  fortitude, chutzpah and melons, to schedule a party on a night that might end up being the first day of Ramadan. But it’s not even a filler event – they’ve gone all out and booked not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR DJs CJC-ians know all about – Mohasseb, Tahawy, Omar Sherif and SHawky. Fours don’t get more fantastic than that. In all seriousness, though, this event might not happen depending on the mood the moon is in.

[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

Dear Captain Awkward,

I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and just love it! Your answers and the community here are both awesome. So thanks. My question is really tough and I’m afraid your answer is going to be “there is no actual compromise possible here.” But I’m going to try.

My husband and I were both raised as extremely religious Catholics. When we were dating (courting??) we both agreed that we wanted to have lots of kids, like a dozen, and homeschool them all. Over eight years of marriage, we’ve both changed a lot. We’re both a lot more liberal and our kids are going to public school. After the third kid, we both agreed that we no longer wanted to have any more kids. But, being Catholic, there are only two allowed solutions: NFP (natural family planning, also known as Vatican Roulette), and total abstinence. We did that for a miserable year and a half and then, predictably, got pregnant with our fourth.

I cannot describe how horrible this has all been to me. Four kids is A LOT OF KIDS, especially given that the oldest is only seven. I loathe being pregnant with the fiery heat of a thousand suns. All of them have been high needs. I haven’t slept well since 2009. My husband is exhausted too; he cried like a baby when he found out we were having the fourth and I believe he is still depressed about it four months after she was born.

And I no longer see any point to this punishingly difficult lifestyle since I am no longer Catholic. Between kid 3 and kid 4, I did a lot of studying and am now entirely agnostic. My husband was really upset by my deconversion and mostly prefers not to talk about it at all. He’s become a lot more skeptical about his faith, but he does think it’s true and it worries him to think I might be going to hell. Meanwhile I now think that birth control is definitely the greatest thing since indoor plumbing.

Our birth control method now, given that NFP so obviously does not work, is abstinence. Every couple of weeks my husband can’t stand it anymore so we have non-PIV sex. Only there is zero communication about this. I think his perspective is that, if he’s got to “sin,” at least he’s not going to make it worse by premeditating it. The problem is that it’s obvious both of us want to take it further and I know from experience how hard it is to think clearly when you’re horny. I am terrified that sooner or later we’re going to get pregnant again. I cannot, CANNOT go through pregnancy again; I get the shakes just thinking about it. Meanwhile our sex life is completely screwed up from the NFP and then the whatever-this-is we’re doing now, so that neither of us is really enjoying it that much and we both kinda feel like roommates. It sucks and the thought of doing this till menopause is awful.

I want to go on birth control. He doesn’t even want to discuss it. He told me some time ago that if I did go on birth control, he’d continue to feel obligated to never have sex again because contracepted sex is a sin. I don’t want to do something unilaterally if it truly would upset him, but on the other hand I feel like his religion will make it impossible for him ever to agree to it, even if he WERE okay with it, because that would implicate him in the “sin.” So I can’t find out how he really feels about it. And then there’s the money issue … we don’t have insurance and all the really effective birth control methods are pretty expensive. With his cooperation we could easily save up the money for it in a couple of months, but since I’m a full-time carer for the kids, I don’t have much in the way of my own separate money. And it’s not like a couple thousand dollars are sitting around in the bank right now for me to just take and use … even if I would feel okay unilaterally spending that amount of money, given that normally all major purchases have to be okayed by both of us. And I have almost no one in my life who isn’t fanatically Catholic, certainly no one I could call on to drive me home from getting my tubes tied.

What, dear Captain, would you do? Can you help me come up with a script for “seriously, we need to actually TALK about what we’re doing and your Catholic guilt and denial are not helping”? I have been quietly waiting for the past two years or so for him to come around, but he hasn’t, and I feel our disastrous fourth pregnancy is my fault for agreeing to rely on the broken fire escape that is NFP instead of going behind his back and somehow getting an IUD. Yet I still hesitate to make such a big decision unilaterally; I’m equally scared to tell him (and face his hurt feelings) or not tell him (and have a big whopping secret looming over my head). And of course there are the practical issues.

Thanks for reading my lengthy novel,

Offred (Just Kidding) (Mostly)

Hi “Offred” (No Joke!):

When spouses don’t agree about birth control…the person with the greatest pregnancy risk gets use birth control if they want to. If you were my friend and you wanted an IUD and your husband didn’t want you to have an IUD, I’d have you at that appointment today*, so I’m not sure that asking what I would do is the most helpful thing for you. Still, I’m really glad you wrote, so, hi!

This shouldn’t a surprise, but I’m firmly in the “Can the Pope get pregnant? No? Could any of the men who have ever been responsible for deciding and promulgating this doctrine (i.e. the literal Patriarchy) get pregnant? Mostly…not…(though I’m sure a few transgender men were in the historical mix)? Can your husband get pregnant? Really unlikely? Do any of these people live in your body? Then their opinions about this are not the most important opinionscamp.

This doctrine in particular is one of the reasons I personally broke with the church. I respect people’s right to make their own reproductive decisions and their right to factor religious faith into those decisions. I also believe those rights stop at the borders of your own body, so I don’t respect the way this doctrine has made life harder for countless women and people who can get pregnant, and I don’t respect the Church’s political activism around making contraception harder to access. If you wanted a nuanced, neutral, “Well, religious doctrine is super important too, so, tread carefully!” answer, I’m 100% not your lady.

The good news is, enough Catholic families (I’ve seen numbers as high as 98% of sexually active practicing Catholic women have used contraception) are going to church and then also quietly going to the doctor and locking their birth control stuff down that I’d bet *someone* in your community would drive you wherever you needed to go (and/or trade off rides in the future). They’re just being quiet about it the way you are being quiet about it because they don’t want to wake the Patriarchy. The “everyone else does it” argument probably isn’t going to convince your husband, but I think it might help you to remind yourself that facts and precedent are on your side.

You are the only adult in your family who can get pregnant. To me, that makes you the only decider about whether you want to be pregnant and what steps and trade-offs you are willing to make to prevent pregnancy. The teachings of your husband’s church and his worries about sin and his hurt feelings do not outweigh your human right to make this decision for yourself or obligate you to keep gestating an Adorable Gift From The Vatican! every couple of years. You can love your kids without wanting more of them. You can love God without wanting more kids. You can love your husband and still draw a line about this. He can have unsettled feelings about this, but you have a right to bodily autonomy and a right make your own decisions about your own ethics and religious beliefs.

You say that this issue has been on the table for two years while you wait for him to come around. If you want to give him one more chance to “come around,” here’s a possible script:

Husband, I don’t want to get pregnant again, and I want to be able to have sex with you without that risk, so I am going to get an IUD** as soon as possible. I’ve done some research and the device and insertion will cost $X, so we need to start putting $Y aside from the household budget to pay for it. Until that’s handled, I don’t want to have any penetrative sex. I know you are uncomfortable with this decision, but this is the right decision for me and I need you to be on my team right now.

He’ll have some stuff to say and maybe some weird feelings about it. You can get the IUD anyway. 

Things might get really weird between you for a little while.You can get the IUD anyway.

He may try refuse to help pay for it. You can get the IUD anyway. Planned Parenthood and other organizations offer free or sliding-scale birth control. In searching for “free birth control” I also found this clinic locator. Chicago has this absolute treasure of a sliding-scale women’s health center, maybe there is something like this near you? Incidentally, one partner using finances to control another’s medical decisions or refusing to pay for the other’s medical care is not okay.

Your follow-up script can be “I’ve prayed about it, I’ve thought about it, and I need to do this to take care of myself. If you are uncomfortable, I understand, I’ve really tried to respect that and to give church-approved methods a chance, but it’s not working for me and my mind is made up.”

Warning: He may try (out of guilt, a desire for control, a desire for The Last Word, who knows) to keep having penetrative sex with you while you save up. THAT IS NOT OKAY. It is also the reason that you need the IUD. If you think this might happen, it’s also an argument for unilaterally and quietly taking care of it on your own. It sucks to keep secrets in a marriage and I understand why you don’t want to. I also think that unreasonable people who don’t give you a safe way to tell them the truth don’t get to be outraged if you choose to quietly prioritize your own safety.

Your husband doesn’t really want more children. He also does not want to commit to only non-penetrative sex forever (Exhibit: Baby #4). He doesn’t want to “sin” by using contraception, but he’s not the one who is going to get pregnant. Does he want to be scot-free of this particular “sin” so badly that he’s willing to risk your health, your life, your economic well-being (Four kids under 8 and no health insurance for you?? How did y’all pay for your pregnancy and delivery? None of my business, really, but that sounds REALLY, EPICLY HARD!!!???!!!)? Is he willing to risk the trust and closeness of your marriage to get what he wants?

There is a compromise possible here, it’s called: “You get the medical care you want and need, and he agrees to handle his complicated feelings about that without making them (literally) your problem to carry.”

Look at it this way: You getting an IUD inserted doesn’t obligate him to have sex with you. If penetrative sex with a woman on birth control is too much of a sin for him to even contemplate, then he also has the option of continuing with the non-penetrative kind of sex once you are on birth control so that his conscience will be clear. Does that sound deeply unrealistic for him? YES, OF COURSE IT DOES THAT’S WHY YOU HAVE THIS PROBLEM (AND A FOURTH BABY).

If he can’t be on your team about this,  I do not think you are a bad person or a bad wife if you quietly take care of yourself around this and present him with a fait accompli. You don’t need his permission. Family money is your money, too. Ideally spouses would make these kinds of decisions together, but when the chips are down, the person with the pregnancy risk gets to make the final call.

Signed,

Jennifer Women’s Rights Are Human Rights, Abortion Is Necessary Healthcare, and Planned Parenthood Is A National Treasure Captain Awkward Leigh Peepas

*If you live in or near Chicago, email me?

**Substitute whatever birth control method you and your doctor choose, including tubal ligation.

Moderation Notes: I do not want to moderate a discussion about this today. If the Letter Writer wants community input or to find a local-to-her-ride-to-the-clinic, the forums at friendsofcaptainawkward.com might be a good place for that discussion.


Little Debbie Gluten Free Brownies

May. 24th, 2017 03:00 pm
[syndicated profile] gfshoestring_feed

Posted by Nicole Hunn

These Little Debbie gluten free brownies are just as fudgy and chewy as you remember, and they’re made with regular gluten free pantry ingredients. You’ll want to make them immediately!

Just push play ▶️ to see the one minute video how-to that proves just how easy this recipe really is.

Whether you prefer your brownies fudgy or cakey, chewy or more tender, rich in chocolate or a bit lighter, Little Debbie brownies seem to hit that sweet spot for everyone.

Gluten Free "Little Debbie" Cosmic Brownies—from Gluten Free Classic Snacks

These are no ordinary gluten free brownies. Oh no no no. Rich and fudgy, without being overwhelmingly sweet, I think of them like a brownie’s brownie. The kind of brownie a real brownie-eater reaches for. For sure, they could never be mistaken for chocolate cake!

And since I can’t stand the thought of your not having them in your gluten free baking repertoire, especially as the weather warms and brownies are basically a food group at every picnic and barbecue, this recipe from Gluten Free Classic Snacks is on the blog for all to enjoy.

Gluten Free "Little Debbie" Cosmic Brownies, Step by Step—from Gluten Free Classic Snacks

Growing up, I didn’t have a ton of experience with Little Debbies—except for cosmic brownies. Since I was flat out offended by walnuts in brownies, the cosmic brownies were the way to go. Of course, I wouldn’t turn away a fudge brownie since I wasn’t above picking off the walnuts.

I think that the closest thing to the chocolate candies on top of cosmic brownies are those rainbow miniature chips (I think Wilton sells them), but no way those are going to be gluten free. I went with miniature M&Ms, but you could also use Sixlets or even (gasp) walnuts if the M&Ms aren’t gluten free where you live (hello👋🏻 Aussie friends!).

Gluten Free "Little Debbie" Cosmic Brownies—from Gluten Free Classic Snacks!

These brownies are truly my go-to recipe for “regular” brownies whenever I need to make a batch. I leave off the chocolate ganache topping if I’m ever transporting them anywhere.

The recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9-inch x 12-inch pan, but I recommend lowering the baking temperature to 325°F and increasing the baking time to about 45 minutes. Do keep an eye on them because the bottom may burn. You’re better off baking a double batch in 2 separate 8-inch square pans.

Substitutions

  • Dairy free: In place of butter, you can try using Earth Balance Buttery Sticks. That should work fine, although I’ve never tried it so I’m not entirely sure. The heavy cream in the ganache can be replaced with coconut cream. Just use dairy free chocolate.
  • Egg free: My favorite egg substitute is a “chia egg” (but use ground chia flour, not whole seeds), but I haven’t tested it in this recipe. Feel free to experiment!
  • Corn syrup: Light corn syrup is not at all the same as the much-hated high-fructose corn syrup. It is an “invert sugar,” which just means that it’s a mixture of two sugars (glucose and fructose) and is less likely to crystallize. In this particular recipe, you can replace it with honey (which will impart a distinct taste) or a rich simple syrup (which won’t).

P.S. In case you’re looking for more gluten free brownie recipes

These Little Debbie gluten free brownies are just as fudgy and chewy as you remember, and they're made with regular gluten free pantry ingredients. You'll want to make them immediately!

The post Little Debbie Gluten Free Brownies appeared first on Great gluten free recipes for every occasion..

[syndicated profile] egystreets_feed

Posted by Engy Adham

Egyptian lawyer and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali. AFP / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED (Photo credit: MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images)

The Dokki Prosecution has ordered release of rights lawyer and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali on EGP 1000 bail.

Ali has been referred to Dokki misdemeanors court for trial on 29 May.

Ali was questioned by the prosecution and ordered detained for 24 hours pending investigations on charges of making an obscene hand gesture in public in front of the State Council.

Ali has recently announced that he is planning on running for Egypt’s presidential elections that are set to be held in 2018.

The rights lawyer had previously nominated himself in the presidential elections that were held in 2012. However, he couldn’t make it to the runoff.

Ali openly defied president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and filed a case against Al-Sisi and the government, accusing them of selling Tiran and Sanafir without a legal base, further saying that they violated the constitution.

Also, Human rights defender and Director for the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) Mohamed Zaree was released on EGP 30,000 bail, further investigations are still ongoing. Zaree has been arrested in a foreign funding case.

Last year, Zaree has been banned from travel as part of an ongoing investigation involving NGO foreign funding case.

[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Ian Nahan

When we see individuals holding cardboard signs and asking for spare change wearing camouflage, homelessness among veterans can seem like an epidemic. Recently, however, government efforts to reduce veteran homelessness have had great success. In response to a federal strategy known as Opening Doors, since 2010 veteran homelessness has declined by almost 50%. And in that time period some cities, such as New Orleans, have reported veteran homelessness at functional zero. 

You would never know it from social media. As the world has grappled with the Syrian civil war, political memes have emerged in the U.S. that make the case that we should prioritize homeless veterans over Syrian refugees. These memes foreground a competition between homeless veterans and Syrian refugees in order to make a misleading, emotionally-appealing argument against the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

Deliberately or not, the online images are similar to propaganda. Actors create emotionally-charged illustrations with biased and one-sided evidence to encourage a political point. The memes push a narrative of homeless veterans as overlooked by the government, while this goes against the facts. They also suggest a fallacious argument that the Department of Veterans Affairs will lose funds because of the refugee resettlement program. This is not the case.

At the same time the memes appeal to our sentiments. Features writer for Mashable, Rebecca Ruiz, contends that memes like these pose the emotional question, “If people in the U.S. are suffering, why are we helping refugees?” What if veterans are those slighted? This is a powerful idea because Americans revere veterans.

In Coming Home: Attitudes toward U.S. Veterans Returning from Iraq, sociologists Alair MacLean and Meredith Kleykamp argue that male veterans involved in recent military-related combat are still supported by the general public, even in light of the idea that those exposed to combat have mental health issues and substance abuse problems. They add that veterans are privileged by symbolic capital, or prestige related to their service. A meme that presents veterans as treated unfairly is likely to produce an emotional reaction, something that is known to simplify our thinking and decision-making.

While the digital messages premised on helping veterans are compelling, they are false and a strategic exploitation of our feelings, one with xenophobic, white nationalist, and anti-immigrant goals. They urge us to advocate against Syrian resettlement to solve an unrelated problem that is already diminishing.

Ian Nahan has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in both sociology and social work. He plans on working with veterans once he obtains a master’s degree in social work at the University of Pennsylvania.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

How to Do Oversized

May. 24th, 2017 01:19 pm
[syndicated profile] alreadypretty_feed

Posted by Sally

I remember being in middle school and seeing a scene from “Sleeping with the Enemy” in which a young, coltish Julia Roberts scampers around an empty house in nothing but a giant men’s button-down. And she looked SO SEXY, and I...

READ MORE > > >

Walking in the Rain

May. 24th, 2017 12:41 pm
[syndicated profile] tinycatpants_feed

Posted by Aunt B.

The dog and I went for a walk, even though it was raining. He went on three bunny chases. One was clearly just optimism. No bunny; he just hoped a bunny would be there when he got there. The second was a genuine bunny, but it was so close to the woods that it was gone by the time the dog had taken three steps toward it. The third time, though, I think was just for fun. He got back from the second run, seemed so happy with having done it, and he took off again.

I mean, I don’t blame him. Bunny chases are awesome. He sprints off as fast as he can. He comes to a screeching halt. He stares intently into the woods, sometimes pacing a little, and then he comes ambling back to me so that I can take his leash again. All the while I’m telling him what a good boy he is and how brave he is for taking on the bunny and how proud I am of him coming back when he’s called.

I need to remember to get a ball the next time I’m at Petco or Tractor Supply. When we first got him, he was not interested at all in Fetch. It seemed to hurt his feelings that we would throw his stuff away from him.

But now he seems to enjoy playing. I mean, he’s not serious about catching the bunnies or he’d be sneakier about it. It’s just fun for him to chase after them. I mean, two out of three bunny chases today, there was no bunny. And he’s gotten much better about coming when he’s called and he really seems to enjoy the part of bunny chasing where he returns to me with effusive praise.

I wonder now if he might enjoy Fetch. But, oh boy, I am wondering if I can do it–train him to play Fetch. I’m not even sure how I got him to start coming pretty consistently when he’s called. I mean, I know at some level, it’s constant repetition, strong expectations, and rewards he likes. But the things I’ve managed to train this dog to do are mostly matters of grave importance–like recall and not walking like a complete doofus on the leash–or are building off skills he already had–like he likes to get up on the couch, so training him what “up” meant was not difficult.

And I think he could definitely learn to play Fetch. But, y’all, I’m not sure I’m smart enough to take this dog and give him a whole new skill. But I think he would love it, so I want to try. If he’s willing to stick with his hill-rolling-down practice even when it terrified him so that he could reach these days of happily rolling down the hill, I should be willing to work on my Fetch training skills even when it’s hard so that we can get to happy days of me throwing a ball and him running after it.


[syndicated profile] polviolence_feed

Posted by politicalviolenceataglance

By Michael Findley, Oliver Kaplan, and Joseph K. Young.

A group picture from the hackathon. Photo via Oliver Kaplan.

[This is the first post of a multi-part series that introduces hackathon-style events, exchanges that bring policymakers and academics together to solve public policy challenges. Subsequent posts will discuss what we learned from a recent peace hackathon. The final post will discuss next steps for this hackathon and for conducting additional hackathons.]

Earlier this month we trialed an innovative approach to engaging scholars and policymakers in Bogotá, Colombia, with the hope of addressing the challenges of implementing the peace agreement ratified by the Government of Colombia and the FARC rebels in December 2016: a peace “hackathon.” Combining inspiration from Think Tanks and computer science, our hackathon sought to bridge the academic-policymaker gap. The laudable aim of academics is to produce rigorous, deliberate research, though they often work on a slow timeline. Policymakers, by contrast, need to make decisions in short order, but as a result can lack strong bases of evidence. Because of their differing procedures and incentives, scholars and policymakers can end up talking past each other, perhaps at the expense of those who need help during global crises. The rapid pace of global events and limited time to ingest expertise calls for new models like hackathons to generate evidenced-based policy for contemporary challenges.

The hackathon idea is focused on near-term policy issues and is intended to go beyond simply generating policy-academia dialogue. Instead, the aim is to rapidly produce novel research findings and policy implications through an interactive process. Our hackathon focused on the implementation challenges to the peace agreement. One participant characterized herself as a “paranoid optimist,” since the peace accord is in place but faces the headwinds of few resources, unfavorable public opinion, and questions about how to overcome entrenched governance and security obstacles.

Data4Peace, an initiative jointly sponsored by the University of Texas at Austin, Universidad de los Andes (Angelika Rettberg and Michael Weintraub), and Cifras y Conceptos (Cesar Caballero), brought together faculty and graduate students from American University, University of Denver, Princeton University, Universidad del Rosario, and Universidad Externado de Colombia, as well as over 30 policymakers and practitioners from all levels of elected office and from the NGO community. In true hackathon style, we did not begin with answers in mind. Ahead of the event we had some exploratory conversations with local mayors in conflict-affected areas, identified some broad topics, and then gathered up some (mostly) publicly available data that could be used at the event. Together, the academics, policymakers, and practitioners worked collaboratively on data and analysis and crowd-sourced expertise.

We began by interviewing local authorities from conflict-affected regions. We asked them, “What challenges do you see for implementation of the peace agreement?” We grouped concerns into three broad areas: (1) Territorial security; (2) Political participation; (3) Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR). We then brainstormed specific questions about implementation of the agreement in those areas. Efforts then turned to gathering lots of new and exciting data, much of it in collaboration with Cifras y Conceptos, and conducted statistical analysis to better understand challenges and possible solutions.

In the true spirit of learning and exchange, we devoted the final day to a joint academic-policy discussion of what we learned from the data about the peace implementation challenges. We also identified several policy recommendations. We will discuss the specific recommendations and research findings in upcoming posts.

Reading Wednesday 24/05

May. 24th, 2017 12:37 pm
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
[personal profile] liv
Recently read: The hundred trillion stories in your head, a bio of Ramón y Cajal by Benjamin Ehrlich. (Contains some detail of Ramón y Cajal's rather grim childhood.)

Currently reading: Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee. Partly because it's Hugo nominated, and partly because [personal profile] jack was excited to talk about it so I've borrowed his copy. I'm halfway through and enjoying it a lot; it's a bit like a somewhat grimmer version of Leckie's Ancillary books. It has too much gory detail of war and torture for my preferences but it's also a really engaging story.

Up next: Quite possibly Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer, since I'd like to read at least the Hugo novels in time for Worldcon.

Season Finale @ Zigzag

May. 24th, 2017 09:15 am
[syndicated profile] cairogossip_feed

Posted by bcuser

Downtown Cairo’s Zigzag bids adieu to a busy season with a huge send-off that will see bar favourites, Aly B and Aly Goede, take to the stage on a night that will also see Omar El Sabh and Mazen play back-to-back. For more information and reservations, call 0115 1045544.

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