|The Cliff Restaurant – Italy|
[click to enlarge]
[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]
Albert Einstein: Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.
|Cambodian migrants hauled in the nets on a fishing boat in the South China Sea.|
SONGKHLA, Thailand — Lang Long’s ordeal began in the back of a truck. After watching his younger siblings go hungry because their family’s rice patch in Cambodia could not provide for everyone, he accepted a trafficker’s offer to travel across the Thai border for a construction job.It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's Father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.
It was his chance to start over. But when he arrived, Mr. Long was kept for days by armed men in a room near the port at Samut Prakan, more than a dozen miles southeast of Bangkok. He was then herded with six other migrants up a gangway onto a shoddy wooden ship. It was the start of three brutal years in captivity at sea....
The misery endured by Mr. Long, who was eventually rescued by an aid group, is not uncommon in the maritime world. Labor abuse at sea can be so severe that the boys and men who are its victims might as well be captives from a bygone era. In interviews, those who fled recounted horrific violence: the sick cast overboard, the defiant beheaded, the insubordinate sealed for days below deck in a dark, fetid fishing hold.
The harsh practices have intensified in recent years, a review of hundreds of accounts from escaped deckhands provided to police, immigration and human rights workers shows. That is because of lax maritime labor laws and an insatiable global demand for seafood even as fishing stocks are depleted.
"The Web-Connected Car Is Cool, Until Hackers Cut Your Brakes." [NY Times] Excerpt:
WHEN the history of the connected car is written, [the week of July 20] may go down as a pivotal moment for consumers worried about security.
That is because a pair of technology researchers said that they had wirelessly hacked a Jeep Cherokee through its Internet-connected system, allowing them to take control of critical components like the engine, brakes and even steering under certain conditions.
The revelation left automakers scrambling to reassure their customers that security was a top priority, and Fiat Chrysler said that a software patch it had released a week earlier was designed to plug the hole used by the same two researchers, who had alerted the company before going public.
But the breach showed just how vulnerable the new breeds of web-connected vehicles can be, and the challenges that manufacturers face in defending against the types of attacks common in other technology fields....
A video and article posted by the technology news site Wired showed just how helpless a driver would be in a hacking attack: [4:18]
|Stairs to the top of the Rock of Guatapé|
Colombia, South America
"Republican Attacks on Endangered Species Up 600 Percent Per Year." [Center for Biological Diversity Press Release] Synopsis:
It isn't just your imagination: Republicans in Congress are dramatically ramping up their attacks on the Endangered Species Act and the animals and plants it protects. A new Center for Biological Diversity analysis called Politics of Extinction finds that, over the past five years, Republicans in Congress have launched 164 attacks on the Act – a 600 percent increase in the rate of annual attacks over the previous 15 years.Another fine column by Roger Cohen. Each paragraph is a jewel; it'll be difficult to choose which ones to excerpt. "Lovely, Lamentable London." [NY Times] Excerpt:
Although wolves have been repeatedly targeted, this attack campaign has put sage grouse, delta smelt, American burying beetles and lesser prairie chickens in its sights as well. It's also aimed at crippling the Act itself, which protects more than 1,500 species around the country. Not surprisingly this unprecedented onslaught on the Endangered Species Act corresponds with a massive increase in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, big agriculture and other interests that oppose endangered species protection when it interferes with profits.
"We're witnessing a war on the Endangered Species Act unlike anything we've seen before," said the Center's Jamie Pang. "If it's allowed to succeed, this Republican assault will dismantle the world's most effective law for protecting endangered wildlife and put scores of species on the fast-track to extinction."
I left London recently for New York after a five-year stay in the British capital. It would be wrong to say that the place where I grew up after spending my infancy in South Africa has become unrecognizable. Just because there’s a “Pret” on every corner, and a camera on every other corner, and Hoxton is hot, and sleek towers for the world’s financiers dot the City’s skyline does not mean that London is changed utterly. In fact it is familiar, but often in a troubling way, as if the city were one of those buildings transformed within but left with a preserved facade.The morning after the party:
The streets look the same — if spruced for the new gentry from drab and dreary to spick and span — but London’s animating spirit is another. Money, and I mean the world’s money not Britain’s, now determines how London looks, sets it apart from the rest of the country, and defines what it is. Belgravia is still Belgravia. On closer inspection, however, it resembles a mausoleum reserved for the occasional use of the globe’s peripatetic rich and their ample staffs.
Real estate as investment and tax dodge, rather than as dwelling, is a life-sucking force. Georgian mansions of cream-colored splendor sit there, empty much of the time, with a banner to the great unwashed on their shuttered windows proclaiming: Stay out!
Before I get to that, a word about what is right in London. The city works. It is the most open metropolis in Europe by some distance, the polyglot chatter and subcultures of its vast sprawl a constant rebuke to the drumbeat of anti-immigrant bigotry from the Daily Mail and the U.K. Independence Party. The faraway “Continent” of my youth — full of such unfamiliar and vaguely suspicious items as garlic and French intellectuals and edible food — has defied the Channel and arrived. London and gastronomy are no longer strangers.
I remember the bologna of my childhood,
And the bread that we cut with a knife,
When the children helped with the housework,
And the men went to work not the wife.
The cheese never needed a fridge,
And the bread was so crusty and hot,
The children were seldom unhappy
And the wife was content with her lot.
I remember the milk from the bottle,
With the yummy cream on the top,
Our dinner came hot from the oven,
And not from a freezer; or shop.
The kids were a lot more contented,
They didn't need money for kicks,
Just a game with their friends in the road,
And sometimes the Saturday flicks.
I remember the shop on the corner,
Where cookies for pennies were sold
Do you think I'm a bit too nostalgic?
Or is it....I'm just getting old?
Bathing was done in a wash tub,
With plenty of rich foamy suds
But the ironing seemed never ending
As Mama pressed everyone's duds.
I remember the slap on my backside,
And the taste of soap if I swore
Anorexia and diets weren't heard of
And we hadn't much choice what we wore.
Do you think that bruised our ego?
Or our initiative was destroyed?
We ate what was put on the table
And I think life was better enjoyed.
Limerick of the week:
The officer's words have turned the man pale:"Alamance sheriff warns of scammer identifying himself as department 'officer'." [Burlington Times-News] Excerpt:
"Outstanding warrants could put you in jail!"
But then he's relieved –
that end can be weaved:
"Just send money to the bondsman for bail."
The sheriff’s office has received four reports of a man calling local residents identifying himself as “Officer Wright” with the agency, said Kirk Puckett, director of administration and community services.
The unidentified man, calling from a number with a 336 area code, has told those who answered that they have outstanding warrants and needed to turn themselves in. He told them also where they could send money to hire a bondsman so they wouldn’t have to stay in jail.
According to the sheriff’s office, one man in Mebane reported July 23 that he sent $950 to a MoneyGram account after receiving one such calls.
|Copyright © 2015 by Morris Dean|