You can’t say “I don’t do politics,” because silence is a political statement.

Tariq Ramadan (via brooklynmutt)

(Source: uniteforpalestine, via brooklynmutt)


Dustin Shillcox Is Paralyzed. Now, He Can Stand.

Hey guys. I spent a couple weeks working on this interview. It’s about a groundbreaking medical procedure that can effectively repair spinal cords with a very simple device.

Please give it a read and a share.

Dustin is one of four people in the world who have undergone a new medical procedure called an epidural stimulator. Think of it as “a pacemaker for your spine”—essentially a little, iPhone-sized box implanted at the back of his stomach that has allowed him to regain the ability to use his lower half again, to a certain degree. While it may not be the wheelchair-to-walking cure that many envision and yearn for, it provides the wearer the ability to stand up and use their core muscles—something that they would not be able to do without the device.

The landmark procedure took place at the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center under the supervision of Dr Susan Harkema, PhD. It’s still somewhat of an experimental procedure, but Dustin hopes after some good ol’ fashioned media exposure and some further research, it will become a common one.

Read more. 


The Site of Several 2016 Olympic Aquatic Events Has 195 Times the Safe Amount of Sewage in the Water

RIO DE JANEIRO – Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Ipanema goes … “Ew, what’s that smell?”

At Ipanema beach in January, the organization Meu Rio staged a protest in an attempt to make it known that thousands of gallons of raw sewage are dumped into the ocean off Rio’s coast each day.

“For three months we held protests every weekend to turn an invisible problem into a visible one,” Leona Deckelbaum, the campaign coordinator with Meu Rio, said in a recent interview. Only about 34 percent of Rio’s sewage is treated, and the rest simply washes into the azure waters, giving new meaning to the nautical term poop deck.

Guanabara Bay, the site of several 2016 Olympic sailing events, has 78 times Brazil’s legally allowed limit of fecal pollution, and 195 times the U.S. limit. In addition to human waste, the bay is also a receptacle for trash from ships and the bay’s 15 adjacent communities, as well as toxic runoff from a former landfill. And its not just Guanabara–the ritzy Leblon and Ipanema beach areas are plagued with similar pollution problems. The state environmental agency, INEA, found that Leblon and Ipanema were unfit for swimming for 40 percent of 2011. Botafogo Beach had so much fecal pollution that it did not pass a single INEA test in 2013, according to the BBC

"In the waters just off Copacabana beach, the measurement of fecal coliform bacteria spiked to 16 times the Brazilian government’s satisfactory level as recently as three weeks ago, bad news for the marathon swimmers and triathletes set to compete there," the AP noted in November.

Olympic teams are getting grossed out and nervous.

Read more. [Image: Felipe Dana/AP]


How the FBI Goes After Activists

Tom Burke was driving through a sleepy part of Grand Rapids, Michigan—an empty neighborhood full of abandoned warehouses—when he first noticed the vehicle tailing him. “I was like, Why is this car turning left whenever I turn left?” he recalled. “I figured out I was being followed.”

Tom, a 49-year-old who has been active in antiwar and labor circles for decades, had been monitored for months by the FBI, and that morning, September 24, 2010, the Bureau was moving against him and his fellow activists. Agents had raided the homes of some of Tom’s friends, seizing computers and tearing apart rooms as part of an investigation into whether they were planning an armed revolution and providing aid to terrorist organizations. In response, Tom was on his way to an internet café to issue a press release telling the world what was happening, which was about all he could do given the circumstances.

That same morning, he and his wife were served with subpoenas demanding they testify before a grand jury. By December, 23 activists across the Midwest were subpoenaed and asked to answer for their activism. Among other things, they were accused of providing “material support” for terrorism, a charge that can mean anything from providing guns to a terrorist group to providing any sort of “advice or assistance” to members of such a group, even if that advice is “lay down your arms.” (Former president Jimmy Carter warned a few months before the raids that the threat of a “material support” charge “inhibits the work of human-rights and conflict-resolution groups.”)

Nearly four years later no one has been charged with a crime, and an unsealed affidavit, which the FBI used to get a federal judge to sign off on the 2010 raids, even notes that this group of mostly middle-aged peace activists explicitly rejected the idea of providing arms to anyone. The document, released by court order last month in response to requests from the activists, shows that an undercover special agent was intent on luring people into saying ominous things about “revolution” and, sometimes, some of these people indulged her, which provided the pretext for legally harassing a group known to oppose US policy at home and abroad.


(via maneatingbadger)


Here’s what The Flash will look like in his upcoming TV pilot
If everything goes to plan, there will soon be another superhero show on TV. CW has ordered a pilot for The Flash, and with production set to begin next week, the network is giving us our first peek at the latest incarnation of DC Comics’ fastest man on Earth. Little is known about the series so far, but Grant Gustin (Glee) will play scientist Barry Allen. Like in the comic books, he gains his super speed from an experiment gone wrong.


Iraq death toll tops 700 in February

The United Nations said Saturday that violence across Iraq in February killed 703 people, a death toll higher than the same month last year, as the country faces a rising wave of attacks rivaling the sectarian bloodshed that followed the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

The figure, issued by the U.N.’s mission to Iraq, comes close to January’s death toll of 733, showinga surge of violence that began 10 months ago with a government crackdown on a Sunni protest camp is not receding. And, as a new month began, attacks Saturday killed at least five people and wounded 14, authorities said.

Attacks in February killed 564 civilians and 139 security force members in February, the U.N. said. The violence wounded 1,381, the vast majority civilians, it said. The numbers far surpass those of February 2013, when attacks killed 418 civilians and wounded 704.

Read more

(Photo: Azhar Shallal/AFP/Getty Images)

Arguably the most Australian thing I’ve ever seen.

(Source: tinakris, via pleatedjeans)