Spanking cliches: a transatlantic comparison:

The Cowboy spanking story is as American as apple pie, while the Schoolmaster caning story reaches its perfection on the other side of the Atlantic.

Interesting for the comments, almost as much as the post itself. It’s somewhat odd how clearly I can see that neither of these appeal to me.


Activists and insurrectionists: an article that gives the most damning definition of activism I could imagine:

. Activism can be defined as any activity which petitions the support of leaders and policy-makers (for the liberal activist) or which petitions the support of “the people” (in the case of “anarchist” activists).

Converting realaudio streams to mp3

To pull a realaudio stream and convert it to mp3:

mplayer -noframedrop -dumpfile out.rm -dumpstream rtsp://media.real.com/showcase/service/samples/b56realaudiog2.rm

ffmpeg -i out.rm out.mp3

[this uses mplayer to pull the stream, and ffmpeg to convert it to mp3.

Or, here’s how to do it in one command-line:

mplayer -noframedrop -dumpfile /dev/fd/3 -dumpstream rtsp://media.real.com/showcase/service/samples/b56realaudiog2.rm 3>&1 1>&2 | ffmpeg -i – /tmp/output.mp3

Why do this? Mainly because I can then use vlc to play the audio speeded up, which is great for slow-moving radio shows.


Perhaps the most successful in a long line of attempts to justify and explain Twilight:

Because Edward Cullen is porn. Weird, pre-sexual, socially conservative, deeply repressed and fucked-up porn, but in a world where ladies’ sexy feelings are fenced in with shame and warnings of danger from Day 1, is it any wonder that porn which consistently ties sex to death and fear and the urgent need for repression is selling to the girls?

Shock Doctrine coming to Haiti

Heritage Foundation, via Naomi Klein, via some new facebook group:

“In addition to providing immediate humanitarian assistance, the U.S. response to the tragic earthquake in Haiti earthquake offers opportunities to re-shape Haiti’s long-dysfunctional government and economy as well as to improve the public image of the United States in the region.”


oooh, a fantastic article in the NY Times:

we in the West have aggressively spread our modern knowledge of mental illness around the world. We have done this in the name of science, believing that our approaches reveal the biological basis of psychic suffering and dispel prescientific myths and harmful stigma. There is now good evidence to suggest that in the process of teaching the rest of the world to think like us, we’ve been exporting our Western “symptom repertoire” as well. That is, we’ve been changing not only the treatments but also the expression of mental illness in other cultures. Indeed, a handful of mental-health disorders — depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anorexia among them — now appear to be spreading across cultures with the speed of contagious diseases. These symptom clusters are becoming the lingua franca of human suffering, replacing indigenous forms of mental illness.


Even the New York Times is getting in on the Paris-bashing party


And here‘s the article from Le Monde. Love the half-hearted defence put up by the mairie:

“Le contexte actuel est difficile pour les professionnels de la nuit, mais il est excessif de dire que la nuit parisienne est morte. Auprès des étrangers, elle garde une excellente image.”

These days, Paris-bashing is starting to seem too easy. Maybe in a decade or two, it’ll be time to rediscover its good side