kutsuwamushi: (Default)
The last speaker of the Bo language has died. Bo was an Andamanese language. The Andamanese languages have evolved independently for as far back as we can know; most are extinct. Wikipedia has this interesting tidbit on their Andamanese languages article:
Possibly their most distinctive characteristic is a noun class system based largely on body parts, in which every noun and adjective may take a prefix according to which body part it is associated with (on the basis of shape, or functional association).
(They cite "Deep Linguistic Prehistory: with particular reference to Andamanese" by Niclas Burenhult, which I haven't had a chance to read yet. It's not that long and I plan to.)

The Metafilter post I linked to has links to pages with more information about Bo, including one that has sound files of Bo being spoken. You can probably ignore most of what's said about Bo in mainstream news sources, though.

Here are some colorful pictures from India during the last month. Everything from traditional Kathakali dancers to motorcycle stunts. And an escaped tiger. But my favorite is this one:

Queens girl Alexa Gonzalez hauled out of school in handcuffs after getting caught doodling on desk -- in erasable marker, no less. What the hell is wrong with people? This was the part of the article that really stood out for me: :
She and her mom went to family court on Tuesday, where Alexa was assigned eight hours of community service, a book report and an essay on what she learned from the experience.
I imagine myself as the twelve-year-old arrested for scribbling on a desk with erasable marker and asked to write an essay about what I learned:

"I learned that when people are given control over other people, it encourages their worst authoritarian impulses. Any infraction, no matter how minor in reality, becomes serious in their minds because they see it as a threat to their authority. This is why kids get arrested for drawing on desks or their wrists broken for dropping some cake."

"My experience has taught me if I actually turn in an essay that describes what I learned truthfully, it will also be seen as a threat to authority, and I'll probably be punished. It has taught me to toe the line. Fuck you all."

(Of course, when I was twelve, I wasn't that well-spoken, but it would have had a similar sentiment.)
kutsuwamushi: (Default)
It's hard to imagine the mindset of law enforcement that would do this:
Tabitha has been working as a prostitute in New Orleans since she was 13. Now 30 years old, she can often be found working on a corner just outside of the French Quarter. [...] New Orleans city police and the district attorney’s office are using a state law written for child molesters to charge hundreds of sex workers like Tabitha as sex offenders.
The only way I can wrap my head around it is to imagine them as full of contempt for sex workers; they think they're so low that they don't deserve fairness or empathy. They deserve to be treated like child molesters, even though many of them started sex work while children themselves.

If I adopt that view, then it makes sense that the majority of people convicted under this law are non-white, poor women. The person with the most privilege in the exchange--the john--escapes without charges.

Ignoring the fact that this is wrong, it doesn't even make sense from a practical standpoint: This will only make it harder for prostitutes to find housing and work, further narrowing their already narrow opportunities and trapping them in the sex work that law enforcement supposedly wants to stop.
kutsuwamushi: (Default)
I'm sure that most of the people who read my journal remember the outrage over Wasilla charging rape victims for their rape kits under Sarah Palin's watch. Well, that wasn't an isolated incident -- and it's still happening across the United States.

VAWA funds are contigent on discontinuing the loathsome and deeply discriminatory practice, but the regulations aren't being enforced.

Texas Charging Rape Victims for Rape Kits
The State of Texas is currently demanding that rape victims pay for their own rape kits—and if they don't, they face ruined credit and debt collectors. An average rape kit can cost up to $1800.
Link is to the Jezebel post, since it contains a good collection of links if you want to read more.

And on a completely unrelated note:

I have an external drive that I use to keep large files like videos. It's 500GB, and currently has about 250GB on it -- in other words, it's not full.

I'm having recurring problems copying files over to it. I get an error message that says that the file can't be read or written. It's not the files. They're from various sources and in various formats and they'll copy to the hard drive fine.

It was used with a Windows machine before (I'm now on a Mac) and so I tried reformatting it, but as soon as I had gotten about 200GB worth of files back on it, it started acting up again. It's gotten worse as it's gotten more full--it was just every once in a while a file wouldn't copy before, but now most won't copy.

Does anyone have any idea what to try next?


May. 8th, 2009 08:35 am
kutsuwamushi: (Default)
Corrections sergeant shocks kids with stun gun during prison visit
It was "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day" at the Franklin Correctional Institution, and Sgt. Walter Schmidt wanted to give the kids an idea of what their parents do.

So he took out a handheld stun device and zapped them with 50,000 volts of electricity.
He was fired, which is absolutely, completely appropriate, but what I want to know is: Why hasn't he been arrested for assault? It doesn't matter that he had the parents' permission. A parent can't give permission for someone to assault their child.

But wait, there's more!

Two other Florida prisons zapped visiting kids with stun guns
Two more state prisons have acknowledged incidents in which guards zapped visiting children with handheld stun guns, bringing to three the number of facilities where the unapproved demonstration was used on "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day."
Hey, Florida, there's a reason it's not called "Zap Our Daughters and Sons with 50,0000 Volts of Electricity Day" -- because that would be insane.


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