My Home Is Dying… And So Is Yours

 

In four newly reported findings, U.N. scientists present the case that all across the world we are losing plant and animal life at an alarming rate. They argue that the primary reason for this is that as an intelligent species (wait, we’re the intelligent ones?), we have found ourselves at the top of food chain (arguably, have you seen those pesky mosquitoes?), and because of this we have also found ourselves crowding planet earth more and more. Needless to say, as the dominant species, if we require more space, we will find a way to obtain it. Furthermore, this means that we’re also destroying water and food resources to meet the human’s demands (if only we were cold-blooded!).

It is estimated that if the current rate of change occurring across the globe persists, the Americas will have 40% fewer plants and animals by 2050 than it did in the early 1700’s, and Asia-Pacific will lose 45% of its biodiversity by 2048. Moreover, In Africa, 20% of its species are now threatened, endangered or have already gone extinct, while 28% of the species found in Europe are now threatened.

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Following recent news that the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch is now more than twice as big as Texas, covering 600 thousand square miles (also perceivable as twice the size of France, or three times the size of California), along with the ever-warming planet threaten the melting ice caps pass a point of no return, we are finding ourselves in a time where action must be taken. (I can’t help but feel like we’re in a race against ourselves to see how fast we can destroy our planet… the irony is that if we win, we lose.)

With planet earth now in the palm of our hands, we need to tread lightly – before it falls and crumbles.


 

-Richard Gonzalez


 

Six-Inch Mummy confirmed to be Human

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It is hard for me to look at the above image and not think of aliens. When I was a kid I was obsessed with aliens. I would read science-fiction and hope for the day where we would receive prove that life truly existed in the stars above. When I learned that scientists had found a six-inch mummy with a cone-shaped head, I held my breath. I prayed that it wasn’t some type of hoax.

Unfortunately, Ata is not an alien. She is a human who tragically, yet most likely, died shortly after birth. She is named Ata after the Atacama region in Chile where she was found. She had multiple mutations in her genes that caused her to be born with abnormalities. Scientists also say that her body is probably 40 years old.

Professor Garry Nolan who studies Ata sums it up best:

“While this started as a story about aliens, and went international – it’s really a story of a human tragedy. A woman had a malformed baby, it was preserved in a manner and then “hocked”, or sold.”

-Brayan De Los Rios Guisao


Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Struggle Against Marginalization

It’s normal for government leaders to—at the end of a term—conclude their political careers and enter into virtual irrelevance. Indeed, they are often encouraged to do so. For George W. Bush—this fact is readily conceivable. For Barack Obama—this fact is rather inconceivable. Still, regardless of public sentiment—both men have made this walk into relative obscurity. The question is—what if they hadn’t?

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Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—the silver-tongued former president of Iran—has done just that. Championed as a simple man of the people—Ahmadinejad came into office in 2005 with the crucial support of Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. Then, a series of disputed administrative decisions, several accusations of corruption, and a contested re-election cast a shadow on his relatable populist idealism, and suddenly—at least, according to the U.S. media—Ahmadinejad wasn’t so popular amongst the electorate. At the end of his second term in mid-2013, many assumed the former president would accept hisdismissal into unfavorable obscurity, however, the man is arguably more relevant than ever before.

After years spent protesting the religious regime and explicit advice from the Khamenei to refrain from running for office, Ahmadinejad made a bid to run in the 2017 presidential election—sparking both massive criticism and extreme praise. Unsurprisingly, his candidacy was rejected by the council overseeing the country’s elections—prompting him to heavily criticize the government and call for structural and economic reforms, and thus incite, or rather, contribute to the largest political protests in recent Iranian history.

It seems that in an effort to stifle Ahmadinejad’s attack on multiple current government leaders, his opponents have targeted those close to him. Just last week, Ahmadinejad’s closest ally—former vice-president and chief-of-staff, Rashim Mashaie—wasarrested for undisclosed reasons—an action many are calling a violation of his rights as well as a clear basis to reform the government.

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You may be wondering how one man—albeit, an ex-president—can cause such disturbance for the government. The answer lies in one well known fact: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a remarkable person—humble, bold, charming, and wildly intelligent. His interviews as president—like this one with Larry King—comprise the most memorable TV moments of my childhood. Infamous for his deeply controversial statements on air—I can’t conceive such a clever and audacious individual—with so much to offer his country—ever being marginalized. One thing is for sure: Ahmadinejad—regardless of the grievances against him—is not going anywhere.

-MC


It’s been a weird week for the internet

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I, alongside millions of other Americans, briefly grieved the deactivation of a beloved cultural icon and emblem of the age of Internet Idealism: Craigslist’s Missed Connections. In response to the Senate’s vote to pass the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (FOSTA), which holds website platforms liable for hosting sex trafficking content, Craigslist, alongside other major internet forums such as Reddit, began rapidly adopting their websites to meet the newly imposed standards.In a statement posted to Craigslist, the company said it did not want to jeopardize its business by continuing to accept personal ads. The follow statement appears when ever a user clicks on any of the category links under the “Personals” column of their site:

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President Trump is expected to sign the bill as soon as this week, and as a result we are likely to see websites and services adopt stricter controls and policy over what’s posted on their platforms.

It all seems like a very small price to pay for an anti-sex trafficking bill, which aims to protect the welfare of children. Many agree, standing with the act, while others do not trust that it will produce its alleged results, arguing FOSTA will only make the internet less safe as voluntary sex-workers will be forced deeper into the dark web. Reactions are mixed, triggering a complicated but important debate. Despite the divisiveness, one thing remains clear as day: the internet collectively mourned the cessation of Missed Connection with a type of nostalgia for a time that never truly existed.

Missed Connections, since it’s inception in 1995, quickly became the mascot for a ripe and newly emerging era of hope and unfounded opportunity: the halcyon days of Internet idealism, where you could buy the unthinkable, where you could learn about anything, and where a large world could suddenly become much smaller and more connected at the click of your mouse. In its purest form, Connections was another way to memorialize a fleeting moment, a brief and otherwise forgotten encounter could now become (virtually) sediment — Cute Brunette Girl Reading on 4 Train, White Floral Dress, Headed Uptown, You Asked Me What Song Was Playing, Smiles Shared, M4W. Once the invitation was sent out into the void, the interweb ether, your days became partially motivated by this pending fantasy. And sometimes the fantasy was fulfilled, but more often than not the posts would go unanswered.

Connections was not prized for its functionality — although there are rare stories of reunions and partnerships made through the Craigslist personal ads — but for its ingenuity of collapsing the forlorn days of anonymity and reliance on newspaper advertisements, with the hyperactive, futuristic present. Connections pioneered internet voyeurism (an emerging motif of the millennium), where the mundanity of the Other becomes grossly interesting, where their personal hope could inspire your personal hope, a collective hope.

Amidst breeches of national cyber-security, net neutrality and Zuckerberg’s pleas to not #deleteFacebook, the excavation of Craigslist’s personal ads came as the final farewell to the internet as we knew it. But this mourning didn’t last long. Within days Craigslist responded to the outcry by reactivating Missed Connections under the category of “Community.” With tears dried and breath restored I, alongside millions of other Americans, remain clung to a lingering shred of prenatal internet hope. Refusing to submit to complete distrust.

EC


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