Giorgione's Sleeping Venus
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When the headset goes on, you find yourself sitting across from a blonde woman with a tear-streaked face; she tries to feign a smile.
‘Are there any last words?’ a second woman asks, as she sets a tray of prescription bottles down on the table beside you.
This is ‘The Last Moments,’ a virtual reality assisted suicide film that simulates what a person’s experience might be like at the Swiss clinic Dignitas, where hundreds of people have gone over the last two decades to end life on their own terms.
The Last Moments is the brain-child of London-based writer-director Avril Furness.
Not only does it immerse the viewer in the setting of an assisted suicide clinic, but it allows you to make a choice that will determine whether your virtual life will terminate right there, or if you’ll carry on living.
‘The choice the viewer makes directly impacts the outcome of the film and also allows for choices to be polled to help spark debate on this sensitive issue,’ the creator explains on the website.
A trailer for the film reveals an eerie glimpse into the virtual reality experience, asking, ‘What would your last moments look like?’
Shot from the perspective of the viewer, it allows a person wearing a VR headset to look around and see the room as if they’re really in it.
When the camera pans down a bit, you can even see your own virtual legs.
The trailer focuses on two characters apart from the viewer – a crying loved one, and the woman who presents you with the ultimate choice.
Entering the room with a cup and a tray full of pharmaceuticals, she asks, ‘Are you sure you wish to drink this, in which you will sleep, and you will die?’
In researching at Bristol Museum for a Black Mirror-inspired dystopian script, Furness discovered a full-scale replica of Dignitas Switzerland, where one Briton every two weeks has travelled to end their lives since 1998.
After being immersed in the ‘bleak and ordinary’ space, and listening to recordings of those who’d undergone assisted suicide at the clinic, Furness decided to use virtual reality to put other people in their shoes, Wired reports.
The film was shown to medical specialists, PhD researchers and right to die groups at Euthanasia conference in Amsterdam in May 2016, according to the website.
It’s since gone on to various film festivals, and the creator is even thinking about putting it online for the public to see. But, she is still a bit hesitant.
‘It is finishing on the festival circuit but I’m a little dubious about making the film available online without the necessary context and framework,’ Furness told Wired.
‘It’s important to introduce context upfront, allow the viewer to experience the film, and then provide an “after-care” environment for people to decompress and potentially hold debates around what they’ve just witnessed.’
Neomasculinity is defined by its view on females, and particularly on feminism. It is NOT defined by opinions on race, homosexuality, or religion. For a United Front, we can accept any opinion as long as it matches our views on females and feminism.
Climate change is creating preconditions in Egypt that precipitated the Syrian Civil War.
The Nile Delta, home to 40 million people and source of two-thirds of Egypt’s food production, is disappearing. This is a direct result of climate change and rising sea levels. The Delta, about the size of Delaware, is almost completely flat and at most only one or two meters above sea level. The land itself is sinking and so the relative sea level is rising even more quickly at about seven millimeters a year.
Before the Aswan High Dam was completed in 1970, the Nile used to deposit about 100 million tons of new sediment in the Delta each year, which compensated for the sinking land. The dam has also prevented the replenishment of the fast-eroding protective sand belts off the coast.
The Nile’s problems do not stop there. The Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam, a massive hydroelectric dam due for completion in 2017, will further reduce the flow of the Nile by a quarter for between up to 15 years while the reservoir fills. Egyptian farmers who no longer have enough fresh water for irrigation directly from the Nile are already supplementing with well water from the underground Delta aquifer. The result is that the sea and salt water are intruding further and further inland. In some areas as much as 30 kilometers inland, the water from the aquifer is already too saline to drink. In as little as 10 years the coastal regions will no longer be able to sustain either agriculture or human habitation.
Egypt currently imports half of all the wheat it needs for its booming population, which is around 90 million today and is projected to be 140-160 million by 2050. When Egypt loses the first 10% of the Delta as a source of food and human habitation, this alone will be a disaster of gigantic proportions. Millions of people will be forced out of their homes and off their farms to look for new places to live and for new jobs.
This is not something that could or might happen in the distant future: This catastrophe has already begun to unfold. Moreover, some of Egypt’s biggest cities in the Delta – for example Alexandria, with a population of 5 million – are also losing the battle of keep the sea out. When the sea level rises just one meter, which is at the low end of the range predicted by the year 2100, most of the city will be uninhabitable.
Climate change was one of the contributing causes of the Syrian Civil War. The prolonged drought caused three quarters of Syria’s farms to fail between 2006 and 2011. This forced over 1.5 million Syrians to migrate to the towns. Their plight and protests combined with President Bashar al-Assad’s authoritarian response was a major factor if not the primary cause of the uprising and the subsequent civil war.
The same set of preconditions in Egypt exist on a far larger scale. As in Syria, the disconnect between the heavily armed government elite and the poverty stricken masses is stark. When millions of displaced Egyptians find a leader and a purpose it will be too late. The authoritarian and unsympathetic regime of President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is unlikely to defuse this explosive situation. The result will almost certainly be bloody and destructive.
The Syrian experience tells us that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of displaced Egyptians will attempt to cross the Mediterranean and come to Europe. Many will die in the attempt. Europe is barely coping with the Syrian situation and is completely unprepared for this coming onslaught of refugees.
Donald Trump’s denial of climate change and withdrawal from the Paris Agreement are not only willfully ignorant but are an abdication of leadership in the face of these challenges. Moreover, in view of the likely civil unrest caused by the looming crisis, Trump’s encouragement of President Sisi to use whatever force is necessary to curtail popular dissent is myopic, if not criminal.
95 percent of the victims of violence are men. Because women are natural cowards who send men to handle things when they are dangerous.
A couple of days ago, a petition to the mayor of Toronto, signed by over 40,000 people and boosted by CBC, tried to keep “neomasculinist” speaker and author Roosh V out of Canada. Thankfully, it failed.
Roosh, a pen name of Daryush Valizadeh, was already in North America, and his speech went off just fine. The quality of Canadian defence has been off lately, which is probably why the Stanley Cup was between Chicago and Tampa Bay. Male Canucks are so henpecked that even their hockey is suffering.
Obviously, both the petition and this daft assault were illiberal and dumb. Everyone who added their signature should be quarantined in the one place that is worse than purgatory: Quebec. Finally, the city would have a purpose, keeping feminists and the French from contaminating the wider continent.
But wait, no, now I’m thinking like a progressive, aren’t I. If there’s a Canadian secession, perhaps it should be free-thinking classical liberals breaking off from loony social justice bloggers. Admittedly, such a schism in Canada would create a new country of about 12 people.
In any case, this failed feminist fox hunt is a good excuse to remind those retarded pseudo-French losers what freedom of speech is, and how avoiding and banning speech we dislike is a really, really bad idea, like almost as bad as Avril Lavigne, Rufus Wainwright, Michael Cera, Nia Vardalos or for the love of fucking Christ Shania Twain.
“The past week I received heavy resistance from the Canadian left to shut down my planned Montreal speech,” Valizadeh told me via email yesterday from the land of poutine and transgender four-year-olds. “A petition to ban me from the country topped 35,000 people and the booking to my original hotel venue was cancelled after it was leaked online, putting the entire event in jeopardy.
“The mayor of Montreal, the Canadian state-owned media (CBC), and many thousands of locals combed the entire city trying to find the event venue in order to sabotage it. I stuck to my guns, found another venue, and I successfully held the event. ”
Internet searches for Roosh V have never been higher, so if Canadian liberals were attempting to silence him or drive him into obscurity, well. Lame job guys. If there’s one thing we ordinary folk enjoy it’s something forbidden. And we don’t mind telling you so.
After the talk, Valizadeh had a beer thrown in his face. Regular readers of this column will know the high regard in which I hold feminists, and Canadians, but even by the pathetic standards of #KillAllWhiteMen or #BlackLivesMatter, this was a cowardly stunt of the highest order, and only served to gild Roosh’s victory.
“After the event, I was attacked on the street by a mob who shouted talking points that I remembered reading from CBC articles published a couple days earlier,” explained Valizadeh. “I believe this attack against me approaches a fine line of state-supported violence. I filed a police report against the perpetrators, but those in the CBC should be held responsible for inciting the naive youth of Montreal.”
Truth be told, my research team is divided on the subject of Roosh, which is why I found it interesting that my most liberal colleague was the one who stepped up to do the work on this article. He didn’t say why, but I suspect he did it for the same reason I’m writing this article: because he’s more worried about a world where ideas cannot get their day in court than anything Roosh V writes on his blog.
Veteran Reason and TIME journalist Cathy Young, who has little time for Valizadeh’s opinions on women, was nonetheless forthright on his right to speak unmolested when I asked her yesterday whether his event ought to have been shut down and whether threats of violence against speakers are ever justified.
“Threats of violence are usually more about venting than about actual intent to carry out violent acts,” said Young. “That said, given that feminists have made such a big issue of violent threats to women – and specifically to feminist activists and speakers – making or condoning threats toward Roosh and his guests certainly seems hypocritical.
“As for actual violence, I would say that it’s never justified in response to speech, though there are probably times when I would be inclined to sympathize with the perpetrator, for example. if it was a Holocaust survivor punching a Holocaust denier.”
“I will also add that, to the extent that Roosh has a following, it’s largely thanks to the toxic atmosphere radical feminists have helped create,” added Young, who has reported extensively on the excesses of the modern third-wave feminist movement.
“When preaching hatred toward men is normalized and demonising male behaviour becomes part of normal discourse, it’s not surprising that frankly misogynistic rhetoric in the ‘manosphere’ will gain more appeal. Feminists should worry less about Roosh and more about their own failure to offer a positive vision of male-female relationships.”
In other words, revolutionaries will always breed counter-revolutions.
No-platforming, a favourite tactic of the progressive left, denies us, the public, the ability to interrogate a speaker ourselves. It’s not only illiberal and profoundly anti-intellectual but it can create a halo of martyrdom around people who are already pushing at an open door – such as men’s rights activists, who rightly point to dozens of structural inequalities in the way men are spoken about and treated in today’s uber-progressive societies.
And when one person refuses to talk to another, the only remaining option is violence. By and large, it’s the political left doing the violence these days, and it’s not just directed at men’s rights activists or conservative speakers: even Bernie Sanders is getting shoved around.
With some justification, Roosh views his experience as, “one of the biggest free speech victories that Canada has ever seen, where a small group of intelligent and masculine men stood up the entire establishment and won decisively. I’m still on cloud nine from it.”
I say “with some justification” because liberals really shot themselves in the foot on this one. Valizadeh will be thanking his lucky stars for the notoriety these authoritarian pearl-clutchers just handed him. I imagine his book sales are through the roof. (He was too discreet to comment.)
As for the claim that Valizadeh is a “rape apologist,” he says this: “It’s absolutely false. My ‘How To Stop Rape’ article, a big source of the outrage in Canada, was a mere thought experiment to show how a woman who takes personal responsibility of herself will experience less sexual assault. The sad fact that they didn’t even read the article, where I clearly state the importance of consent, shows their lack of comprehension and reason.”
Channeling tens of millions of refugees to Europe can kill feminism and Europe. It can do so reliably in the span of two decades. And to aide it is low risk political activism for people with a lot of money. Suited for Qatari and Russian billionaires. Just finance humanitarian efforts, such as rescue vessels on the Mediterranean, or life vests for those who board in Libya.
Why are orgasms so intensely pleasurable? How come women can experience multiple orgasms? And does the fabled G-spot even exist?
[T]here do seem to be physical differences between women who claim to experience vaginal orgasm and those who don’t. In 2008, [Emmanuele Jannini at the University of Rome Tor Vergata ] published a study involving nine such responders, and 11 who said they’d never climaxed during penetrative sex alone. Ultrasound scans revealed a thicker area of tissue in the space between the vagina and the urethra in those that could.
“The word spot suggests a button; something that you can push to obtain an orgasm or pleasure,” [Jannini] says. “It implies a concrete structure that’s either there or it’s not. No-one has been able to clearly describe such a structure as a spot.”
Although to most people, the clitoris is just a pea-shaped bobble under the surface of the skin, recent MRI studies suggest that the clitoris is far from diminutive.
[The vagina’s] complexity may explain why it has been so difficult to prove – or disprove – the existence of the G-spot; it’s not easy to stimulate the frontal wall of the vagina in isolation. You’re also likely rubbing up against the internal portions of the clitoris and the urethra as well.
Botox weakens muscles. They can't contract. Therefore, when Botox in small amounts is injected into the corpora cavernosa of the penis, there is vasodilation for the vital organ. The result is better, fuller, and longer lasting erections.
The Asian Age
There are many men that have to deal with erectile dysfunction and a dissatisfied sex life and disappointed partner. While there are many tips that doctors give to improve the situation it may not always work. Two Canadian urologists however have found the solution to the problem and they found that botox can improve sex lives of men suffering from the problem.
According to a report in the National Post, the Canadian urologists believe that injecting botox can help cure erectile dysfunction. The botulinum toxin injections can increase blood flow to the penis and paralyse the nerves that help the smooth muscles contract in the penis. The treatment would mostly last six months for anybody who would be interested in the injection.
The injection created by Dr. Sidney Radomski and Dr. Gerald Brock is yet in testing but can be a “game changer” for Erectile Dysfunction. The injection which has been previously used to treat wrinkles can cure most men with impotence in the process and help them have a better sex life. Interestingly, the drugs also do not have any side-effects like previously used methods so it will be a safer option.
Khmer Rouge terror in Cambodia
The phrase "Verschärfte Vernehmung" is German for "enhanced interrogation". Other translations include "intensified interrogation" or "sharpened interrogation". It's a phrase that appears to have been concocted in 1937, to describe a form of torture that would leave no marks, and hence save the embarrassment pre-war Nazi officials were experiencing as their wounded torture victims ended up in court. The methods, as you can see above, are indistinguishable from those described as "enhanced interrogation techniques" by the president. As you can see from the Gestapo memo, moreover, the Nazis were adamant that their "enhanced interrogation techniques" would be carefully restricted and controlled, monitored by an elite professional staff, of the kind recommended by Charles Krauthammer, and strictly reserved for certain categories of prisoner. At least, that was the original plan.
Also: the use of hypothermia, authorized by Bush and Rumsfeld, was initially forbidden. 'Waterboarding" was forbidden too, unlike that authorized by Bush. As time went on, historians have found that all the bureaucratic restrictions were eventually broken or abridged. Once you start torturing, it has a life of its own. The "cold bath" technique - the same as that used by Bush against al-Qahtani in Guantanamo - was, according to professor Darius Rejali of Reed College, pioneered by a member of the French Gestapo by the pseudonym Masuy about 1943. The Belgian resistance referred to it as the Paris method, and the Gestapo authorized its extension from France to at least two places late in the war, Norway and Czechoslovakia. That is where people report experiencing it. In Norway, we actually have a 1948 court case that weighs whether "enhanced interrogation" using the methods approved by president Bush amounted to torture. The proceedings are fascinating, with specific reference to the hypothermia used in Gitmo, and throughout interrogation centers across the field of conflict. The Nazi defense of the techniques is almost verbatim that of the Bush administration...
Here's a document from Norway's 1948 war-crimes trials detailing the prosecution of Nazis convicted of "enhanced interrogation techniques" in the Second World War. Money quote from the cases of three Germans convicted of war crimes for "enhanced interrogation":
Between 1942 and 1945, Bruns used the method of "verschärfte Vernehmung" on 11 Norwegian citizens. This method involved the use of various implements of torture, cold baths and blows and kicks in the face and all over the body. Most of the prisoners suffered for a considerable time from the injuries received during those interrogations.
Between 1942 and 1945, Schubert gave 14 Norwegian prisoners "verschärfte Vernehmung," using various instruments of torture and hitting them in the face and over the body. Many of the prisoners suffered for a considerable time from the effects of injuries they received.
On 1st February, 1945, Clemens shot a second Norwegian prisoner from a distance of 1.5 metres while he was trying to escape. Between 1943 and 1945, Clemens employed the method of " verschäfte Vernehmung " on 23 Norwegian prisoners. He used various instruments of torture and cold baths. Some of the prisoners continued for a considerable time to suffer from injuries received at his hands.
Freezing prisoners to near-death, repeated beatings, long forced-standing, waterboarding, cold showers in air-conditioned rooms, stress positions [Arrest mit Verschaerfung], withholding of medicine and leaving wounded or sick prisoners alone in cells for days on end - all these have occurred at US detention camps under the command of president George W. Bush. Over a hundred documented deaths have occurred in these interrogation sessions. The Pentagon itself has conceded homocide by torture in multiple cases. Notice the classic, universal and simple criterion used to define torture in 1948 (my italics):
In deciding the degree of punishment, the Court found it decisive that the defendants had inflicted serious physical and mental suffering on their victims, and did not find sufficient reason for a mitigation of the punishment in accordance with the provisions laid down in Art. 5 of the Provisional Decree of 4th May, 1945. The Court came to the conclusion that such acts, even though they were committed with the connivance of superiors in rank or even on their orders, must be regarded and punished as serious war crimes.
The victims, by the way, were not in uniform. And the Nazis tried to argue, just as John Yoo did, that this made torturing them legit. The victims were paramilitary Norwegians, operating as an insurgency, against an occupying force. And the torturers had also interrogated some prisoners humanely. But the argument, deployed by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the Nazis before them, didn't wash with the court. Money quote:
As extenuating circumstances, Bruns had pleaded various incidents in which he had helped Norwegians, Schubert had pleaded difficulties at home, and Clemens had pointed to several hundred interrogations during which he had treated prisoners humanely.
The Court did not regard any of the above-mentioned circumstances as a sufficient reason for mitigating the punishment and found it necessary to act with the utmost severity. Each of the defendants was responsible for a series of incidents of torture, every one of which could, according to Art. 3 (a), (c) and (d) of the Provisional Decree of 4th May, 1945, be punished by the death sentence.
So using "enhanced interrogation techniques" against insurgent prisoners out of uniform was punishable by death. Here's the Nazi defense argument:
(c) That the acts of torture in no case resulted in death. Most of the injuries inflicted were slight and did not result in permanent disablement.
This is the Yoo position. It's what Glenn Reynolds calls the "sensible" position on torture. It was the camp slogan at Camp Nama in Iraq: "No Blood, No Foul." Now take the issue of "stress positions", photographed at Abu Ghraib and used at Bagram to murder an innocent detainee. Here's a good description of how stress positions operate:
The hands were tied together closely with a cord on the back of the prisoner, raised then the body and hung the cord to a hook, which was attached into two meters height in a tree, so that the feet in air hung. The whole body weight rested thus at the joints bent to the rear. The minimum period of hanging up was a half hour. To remain there three hours hung up, was pretty often. This punishment was carried out at least twice weekly.
This is how one detainee at Abu Ghraib died (combined with beating) as in the photograph above. The experience of enduring these stress positions has been described by Rush Limbaugh as no worse than frat-house hazings. Those who have gone through them disagree. They describe:
Dreadful pain in the shoulders and wrists were the results of this treatment. Only laboriously the lung could be supplied with the necessary oxygen. The heart worked in a racing speed. From all pores the sweat penetrated.
Yes, this is an account of someone who went through the "enhanced interrogation techniques" at Dachau. (Google translation here.)
Critics will no doubt say I am accusing the Bush administration of being Hitler. I'm not. There is no comparison between the political system in Germany in 1937 and the U.S. in 2007. What I am reporting is a simple empirical fact: the interrogation methods approved and defended by this president are not new. Many have been used in the past. The very phrase used by the president to describe torture-that-isn't-somehow-torture - "enhanced interrogation techniques" - is a term originally coined by the Nazis. The techniques are indistinguishable. The methods were clearly understood in 1948 as war-crimes. The punishment for them was death.
Terrorist groups that aim to destroy Europe are strategy amateurs. A professional strategy would be one that employs minimal resources to achieve maximal effects. Any number of suicide bombers won't do the trick. But mass migration from Africa and South Asia can. Channeling huge numbers of refugees to Europe will erode and destroy Europe more reliably than conventional terrorism, and the risk for perpetuators is very low.
A young man facing beheading and crucifixion in Saudi Arabia was tortured and sentenced for political reasons, according to rights groups and a source close to his family calling for a halt to his execution.
Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was arrested in 2012 when he was 17 years old for participating in a protest. He was later sentenced to death for joining a criminal group and attacking police forces in proceedings which a United Nations body said "fell short of international standards."
The conviction was upheld this week by Saudi Arabia's highest court, and the execution could take place at any time. Al-Nimr's family has appealed for Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz to issue a pardon during the current Muslim holiday period of Eid.
"We hope that the king will not sign [the execution order]," al-Nimr's father Mohammed told Agence France Presse, warning that his son's grisly execution could also provoke a violent reaction in the minority Shiite community.
"We don't need that, we don't need even one drop of blood," he said.
The crucifixion sentence means that al-Nimr will most likely be beheaded first and his body later displayed on a cross in a public location, according to campaigners.
The fear that al-Nimr could be executed at any time has taken a steep toll on his father and other relatives, a source close to the family told NBC News.
They are "acting like they are okay, but I know the family and they are not," the source said, adding that Ali was defiantly "dreaming about the future" and was still hoping to study psychology one day.
A group of United Nations experts on torture and capital punishment urged Saudi Arabia to halt the execution, saying that al-Nimr was a child at the time of his offense and that the proceedings against him were flawed.
"Any judgment imposing the death penalty upon persons who were children at the time of the offence and their execution, are incompatible with Saudi Arabia's international obligations," they said in a statement, citing Saudi Arabia's ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Human-rights charities Reprieve and Amnesty International claim that Ali was tortured and forced to sign a confession after being arrested.
Maya Foa, director of Reprieve's death penalty team, called Ali's fate "an outrage" and said it was "deeply troubling" that the United States and other allies of Saudi Arabia were "staying silent" over the case.
"The international community must stand firm against this utterly unjustified sentence," she said in a statement.
Repeated approaches by NBC News to the Saudi authorities for comment have not received a response.
Ali was convicted in 2014 on range of charges including being part of a terrorist organization, carrying weapons and targeting security patrols with Molotov cocktails, the charity said. Additional charges included encouraging others to protest using his BlackBerry and explaining to others how to give first aid, they added.
Reprieve said Ali raised the torture claims at trial but that no investigation took place and the court used the confession to sentence him. Ali's final appeal was held in secret, according to Reprieve.
Ali's lawyer, Dr. Saqeb Mohamed tweeted on Tuesday that the defense team had not been able to visit his client or object to the sentence, adding that he was "surprised" the court had ratified the conviction.
He also called for Saudi authorities to investigate the case.
In the wake of the March 2011 Arab Spring, thousands took to the streets to protest decades of discrimination and religious and political repression by the country's Sunni dynasty, House of Saud, which has controlled the Arabian Peninsula since the 1930s. The uprising was met with a violent crackdown from the government.
The source close to the family admitted that al-Nimr had attended demonstrations and anti-government protests in his hometown of Qatif — but that the young man was not political.
The source suggested that political "revenge" was behind the charges laid against the young man — who is the nephew of Shia cleric and activist Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, also separately facing execution.
Al-Nimr's cleric uncle was sentenced to death in a separate trial on terrorism charges and for "waging war on God" because of his speech during anti-government protests in Qatif, according to Amnesty International.
Amnesty called Sheikh al-Nimr's trial "deeply flawed" and said it was "part of a campaign by the authorities in Saudi Arabia to crush all dissent, including those defending the rights of the Kingdom's Shia Muslim community."
There have been 134 executions in Saudi Arabia this year, compared with 90 last year, they said.
The younger al-Nimr had no ambitions to follow his uncle's footsteps, the source close to the family said — describing a normal teen, who liked motorcycles, movies and photography.
Now the family hopes his life will be spared so they could spend more time with him.
"We are praying to God," they said. "It is all we can do. We are hopeful."
As long as you can fall in love again with a beautiful young woman, you will never die. That is the power of butea superba.
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