Zoos: why a revolution is necessary to justify them

by Jeremy Leon Hance,  Life is Good: Conservation in an Age of Mass Extinction

“Think about it: the zoological park in which living animals are subjected to strict confinement; where they must live a life that, no matter the size and ‘naturalness’ of the cage, is wholly different from the natural one to which they are suited; where their instincts are dulled, tamed, and corrupted (eating involves no hunting or foraging and sexual relations are interfered with and closely monitored) allows such seemingly needless suffering to fellow creatures that we, as (hopefully) ethical animals, must not only supply a very good reason for this subjugation, but also live up to it… the zoo should be a local Conservation Center, focusing wholly on saving (or reinstating) species in the wild and on educating the public about the importance of conservation and biodiversity. […]

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1st Post!

In my women studies gender, media and technology class we read The Riot Grrrl Collection. This 90’s punk feminist zine inspired me to make this blog for my final project. My goal is to do what Riot Grrrl didn’t and include all races, ages, classes, disabilities, genders, sexual orientation, educational backgrounds, sizes and religions. I will be sharing my personal critiques, visions and strategies on society and pop culture. Also so that there can be some variety I will be interviewing people I know of different races and experiences to give their stories in a feminist perspective. I feel this can be a learning experience for not only followers but for myself as well!

The reason I am a feminist: I think all people should have a chance to be happy and feel respected in society, and our unequal society ruins that. This unlike Riot Grrrl will not be a man hating blog. In fact I will be interviewing males as well on their take on feminism. I agree with Emma Watson in that men should be welcomed into feminism. How can we change if we all are not apart of the learning process?

-Miss B <3 Love & Equality


“The 1st change that takes place is in Ur mind - have2 change Ur mind b4U change the way U live” Gil Scott-Heron
Six Amazing New Technologies

In just five years, technology has revolutionized the way people live. Smartphones, tablets, and other portable gadgets made working, studying, and communicating more efficient than ever. The rapid rise of technological advancements creates new discoveries, innovations, and inventions every day. Believe it or not, this is just the beginning. Most people alive today have witnessed the coming of and the quick developments made in the field of technology. The next generation will then witness more. Technology will get even better and will even be more eco-friendly that everything believed to only exist in science-fiction will come to life. Here are some of the revolutionary products in technology that are not just created by imagination, but are, in fact, upcoming or currently available products.

1. Self-Driving Car

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Google is currently developing a car that has the means to travel without a driver. The project is currently being led by Sebastian Thrun, a Google engineer, Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory director, and Google Street View co-inventor. Driverless cars have great potential. Aside from getting around even though you can’t drive, driverless cars can lessen accidents caused by human fault such as drunk-driving.

2. Form 1

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Form 1 is a personal 3D printer that allows you to produce your own prototypes and will be available soon for $2799. 3D printing is already getting a lot of attention nowadays but with Form 1, you won’t need approval from manufacturers. You can print your own custom design. It also simplifies the entire printing process and utilizes Stereolithography (SL) technology for a higher 3D printing resolution. This can promote creativity and provide limitless possibilities.

3. Google Glass

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Project Glass by Google aims to develop an augmented reality head-mounted display (HMD). Project Glass takes form in Google Glass. Google Glass grants you access to the Internet, allows you to make calls, take photos and videos, and practically anything you can do with a smartphone without using your hands. Instead, you use voice command. It was designed with a minimalist appearance and functions with the operating system software of Google’s Android. It is actually available now to some chosen people for $1500 but the price is still expected to go down as an affordable consumer version becomes available.

4. Eye Tribe

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Eye Tribe successfully developed a technology that allows control over your gadgets through eye tracking. This means that you can get around with only your eye movements. As of now, Eye Tribe has developed a technology to allow you to control your tablet, play flight simulator, and slice fruits in Fruit Ninja. This is, of course, still the beginning. The company is still seeking a way to incorporate the technology into the consumer market.

5. Leap Motion

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Leap Motion allows smooth control over your computers with only hand and finger movements. It is meant to be more sensitive than a touchscreen while being as reliable as a mouse and keyboard. It allows you to control your computer in three dimensions, thereby revolutionizing the way you play games, design, and navigate through your computer. Multi-touch desktops have already been ventured on but the problem is that the hands can get easily tired with prolonged use. Leap Motion aims to eliminate this by being better than a typical motion sensor.

6. Project Fiona

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Razer created the first generation of hard core gaming tablet in Project Fiona. It functions as a tablet, a PC, and a console, and can run all PC games and applications. It features the Intel Core i7 processor, allowing smoother gameplay in the palm of your hands. It has 3-axis gyroscope, magnetometer, accelerometer, and full-screen interface that support multi-touch for optimal user experience.

Non-Bolshevik Socialist critics of the Russian failure contend that the Revolution could not have succeeded in Russia because industrial conditions had not reached the necessary climax in that country. They point to Marx, who taught that a social revolu tion is possible only in countries with a highly developed industrial system and its attendant social antagonisms. They therefore claim that the Russian Revolution could not be a social revolution, and that historically it had to evolve along constitutional, democratic lines, comple mented by a growing industry, in order to ripen the country economically for the basic change.

This orthodox Marxian view leaves an important factor out of consideration-a factor perhaps more vital to the possibility and success of a social revolution than-even the industrial element. That is the psychology of the masses at a given period. Why is there, for instance, no social revolution in the United States, France, or even in Germany? Surely these countries have reached the industrial development set by Marx as the culminating stage. The truth is that industrial development and sharp social contrasts are of themselves by no means sufficient to give birth to a new society or to call forth a social revolution. The necessary social consciousness, the required mass psychology is missing in such countries as the United States and the others mentioned. That explains why no social revolution has taken place there.

In this regard Russia had the advantage of other more industrialized and “civilized” lands. it is true that Russia was not as advanced industrially as her Western neighbours. But the Russian mass psychology, inspired and intensified by the February Revolution, was ripening at so fast a pace that within a few months the people were ready for such ultra-revolutionary slogans as “All power to the Soviets” and “The land to the peasants, the factories to the workers.”

The significance of these slogans should not be under-estimated. Expressing in a large degree the instinctive and semi-conscious will of the people, they yet signified the complete social, economic, and industrial reorganization of Russia. What country in Europe or America is prepared to interpret such revolutionary mottoes into life? Yet in Russia, in the months of June and July, 1917, these slogans became popular and were enthusiastically and actively taken up, in. the form of direct action, by the bulk of the industrial and agrarian population of more than 150 millions. That was sufficient proof of the “ripeness” of the Russian people for the social revolution.

As to economic “preparedness” in the Marxian sense, it must not be forgotten that Russia is preëminently an agrarian country. Marx’s dictum presupposes the industrialization of the peasant and farmer population in every highly developed society, as a step toward social fitness for revolution. But events in Russia, in 1917, demonstrated that revolution does not await this process of industrialization and-what is more important-cannot be made to wait. The Russian peasants began to expropriate the landlords and the workers took possession of the factories without taking cognizance of Marxian dicta. This popular action, by virtue of its own logic, ushered in the social revolution in Russia, upsetting all Marxian calculations. The psychology of the Slav proved stronger than socialdemocratic theories.

That psychology involved the passionate yearning for liberty nurtured by a century of revolutionary agitation among all classes of society. The Russian people had fortunately remained politically unsophisticated and untouched by the corruption and confusion created among the proletariat of other countries by “democratic” liberty and self-government. The Russian remained, in this sense, natural and simple, unfamiliar with the subtleties of politics, of parliamentary trickery, and legal makeshifts. On the other hand, his primitive sense of justice and right was strong and vital, without the disintegrating finesse of pseudo-civilization. He knew what he wanted and he did not wait for “historic inevitability” to bring it to him: he employed direct action. The Revolution to him was a fact of life, not a mere theory for discussion.

Thus the social revolution took place in Russia in spite of the industrial backwardness of the country. But to make the Revolution was not enough. It was necessary for it to advance and broaden, to develop into economic and social reconstruction. That phase of the Revolution necessitated fullest play of personal initiative and collective effort. The development and success of the Revolution depended on the broadest exercise of the creative genius of the people, on the coöperation of the intellectual and manual proletariat. Common interest is the leit motif of all revolutionary endeavour, especially on its constructive side. This spirit of mutual purpose and solidarity swept Russia with a mighty wave in the first days of the OctoberNovember Revolution. Inherent in that enthusiasm were forces that could have moved mountains if intelligently guided by exclusive consideration for the well-being of the whole people. The medium for such effective guidance was on hand: the labour organizations and the coöperatives with which Russia was covered as with a network of bridges combining the city with the country; the Soviets which sprang into being responsive to the needs of the Russian people; and, finally, the intelligentsia whose traditions for a century expressed heroic devotion to the cause of Russia’s emancipation.

But such a development was by no means within the programme of the Bolsheviki. For several months following October they suffered the popular forces to manifest themselves, the people carrying the Revolution into ever-widening channels. But as soon as the Communist Party felt itself sufficiently strong in the government saddle, it began to limit the scope of popular activity. All the succeeding acts of the Bolsheviki, all their following policies, changes of policies, their compromises and retreats, their methods of suppression and persecution, their terrorism and extermination of all other political views-all were but the means to an end: the retaining of the State power in the hands of the Communist Party. Indeed, the Bolsheviki themselves (in Russia) made no secret of it. The Communist Party, they contended, is the advance guard of the proletariat, and the dictatorship must rest in its hands. Alas, the Bolsheviki reckoned without their host-without the peasantry, whom neither the razvyoriska, the Tcheka, nor the wholesale shooting could persuade to support the Bolshevik réime. The peasantry became the rock upon which the bestlaid plans and schemes of Lenin were wrecked. But Lenin, a nimble acrobat, was skilled in performing within the narrowest margin. The new economic policy was introduced just in time to ward off the disaster which was slowly but surely overtaking the whole Communist edifice.


Emma Goldman

My Disillusionment in Russia

Iran deploys a new special force in Syria
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Washington - Almost five years into Syr-ia’s civil war and facing rising combat fatalities, Iran is deploying more and more military units - and all from its most trusted military force, the Islamic Revolu-tionary Guards Corps (IRGC) - into the charnel-house combat zone to secure the survival of its key Arab ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad. The latest units deployed in Syria, to judge by a survey of Ira-nian nationals killed in combat in Syria, are from the IRGC’s Saberin Brigade, the corps’ special forces group of several battalions. Their commitment, along with the elite al-Quds Force, to keep As-sad in power underlines the mili-tary power Tehran’s Shia leader-ship is having to deploy to save the quasi-Shia Assad regime. Little is known about the Saberin Brigade, which as far as the out-side world is concerned has been overshadowed as Tehran’s external spearhead by the Quds Force, Iran’s secretive expeditionary force that has played a vital role in rescuing Assad’s regime from collapse. So what is the Saberin Brigade - the name means “Those with For-bearance” in Farsi - and its signifi-cance in the Syrian bloodbath? According to Brigadier-General Morteza Mirian, a former com-mander of the brigade, the Saberin was established in 2000 modelled on Britain’s famed and secretive Special Air Service. Major-General Mohammad-Ali Jafari, the IRGC’s current chief, served as the Saberin Brigade’s first commander. The current commander is Brigadier- General Mohsen Karimi, appointed on May 15, 2012. At the time of its establishment, the Saberin Brigade’s primary mis-sion was to counter the threat from the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), an offshoot of the Kurdis-tan Workers’ Party (PKK) of Turkey, which has been fighting Ankara for Kurdish autonomy since the mid- 1980s. PJAK, based in the Qandil moun-tains of eastern Iraq, has been en-gaged in a guerrilla war with Iran for a decade. Several hundred fighters on both sides, including General Abbas Asemi, the IRGC’s commander in Qom province, and Brigadier-General Abbas-Ali Jansa-ri, commander of the Isfahan Artil-lery Corps, have been killed. As the conflict diminished in mid-2012, the IRGC deployed the Saberin in Sistan and Baluchistan province where the brigade has battled Jaish ul-Adl, a Sunni insur-gent group that has challenged the Tehran regime across the south-eastern province that borders Pa-kistan. On the surface, the IRGC and the Saberin battalions have restored a measure of calm in the impover-ished province but since the IRGC’s counter-insurgency strategy solely relies on use of force and lacks a social dimension for improving the living conditions of the local population, Sistan and Baluchistan province is in a state of emergency. This nurtures further grievances among the local Sunni population against Tehran. To judge by these actions, the Saberin Brigade seems to be oper-ating on Iran’s increasingly restive borders which are largely populat-ed by non-Shias. The distinction between the bri-gade and the Quds Force thus may be blurring because of the Syrian war. There have been no reliable re-ports on Saberin operations in Syria since Tehran consistently denies there are any IRGC person-nel there. But a study of reports on funeral services in Iran for Iranian nationals killed in Syria, sheds light on the brigade’s activities. On February 14, 2015, Abbas Abdollahi, a Saberin Brigade offic-er from East Azerbaijan province, was reportedly killed in Kafr Nasij village in the Deraa governorate of southern Syria. He was Saber-in’s first combat fatality in Syria. Since then, the brigade has lost at the very least ten other personnel there. Colonel Farhad Hassounizadeh, another senior Saberin officer, was killed in southern Syria. The more recent deaths seem to have occurred in the suburbs of the northern city of Aleppo, a key bat-tleground since 2013 with Syrian regime forces holding half of the war-battered city and rebels the other. It is widely understood that what transpires in Aleppo may de-cide the outcome of the conflict. The death of several Saberin Bri-gade members on the same day and same geographic location as IRGC members from the same Ira-nian province further indicates that the Saberin forces have been incorporated into the IRGC struc-ture in Syria. With the limited information available about this special forces brigade, it’s difficult to assess the significance of their contribution to the overall IRGC war effort in Syria. But the mere fact that Saber-in is deployed there is a sign that the IRGC is moving from being the Tehran regime’s praetorian guard to becoming one big Quds Force, operating beyond Iran’s borders. This is happening at a time when Tehran is stepping up its expansionist strategy, particularly against Saudi Arabia, to establish itself as the region’s paramount power. In the current state of tension between the kingdom, which sees itself as the guardian of the world’s Sunni Muslims, and Iran, the su-perpower of the minority Shia sect, this is a worrisome development. Source:
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