A walk across New Hampshire showed that citizens don’t just hate the current system—they’re willing to act. The trick is creating a true grassroots movement.
Read more. [Image: Associated Press]
It’s a gruesome story.
After vanishing for eight days, just as an emboldened protest movement extracted key concessions from a reeling Ukrainian government, Dmytro Bulatov is now lying prone on a hospital bed. The 35-year-old activist—one of the leaders of Automaidan, a group of pro-European Union motorists working alongside the 'Euromaidan' street protesters—says unidentified men with Russian accents abducted him, cut off part of his ear, cut up his face, hung him up by his wrists, and left him to die outside Kiev in the bitter cold. Instead, Bulatov pounded on a villager’s door and was rushed to the hospital.
"They crucified me, they nailed down my hands," he said on Ukraine’s Channel 5.
The government has reacted ominously. Officials have opened a criminal investigation into the incident, but they have also sent police and prosecutors to the hospital, placed Bulatov on a wanted list, and speculated that his kidnapping was “staged with the aim of committing a provocation.”
Read more. [Image: Reuters/Glen Garanich]
An eight-hour truce has been declared by protesters in Kiev after a day of violence in which at least three people died and an opposition leader said he was willing to face “a bullet in the forehead” if Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, did not launch snap elections. Read more
Photograph: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters
The drug, widely used in the Middle East but unknown elsewhere, is keeping fighters on their feet during gruelling battles and generating money for more weapons. Read more
Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
A 27-year-old Los Angeles pharmacist has sued the Los Angeles Police Department over injuries she sustained when she was thrown from a moving squad car. The New York Daily News reported that Kim Nguyen says she fell from the car as she struggled to escape sexual assault by a police officer.
“He was grabbing my left inner thigh, trying to — I’m assuming — opening my legs,” she said in her deposition about the incident.
Horrifying surveillance video shows a half-naked Nguyen tumbling from the police car into the street. She was badly injured and only regained consciousness when she emerged from a six-day medically induced coma.
Her injuries included a badly broken jaw, a brain concussion and soft tissue injuries all over her body.
The nightmare began when she and two male friends were waiting for a cab at 2:00 a.m. outside a restaurant in Los Angeles. The trio, Nguyen said, had been drinking.
A squad car pulled up to the curb and officers handcuffed her and bundled her into the back seat, saying she was being arrested for public intoxication. The car pulled away from the curb without either of Nguyen’s companions.
According to Nguyen’s deposition, one officer remained in the back seat of the squad car. He fondled her chest and yanked her head around by the ears before pulling up her skirt and trying to force her legs open.
It was then, she said, that the door behind her abruptly swung open and she was thrown from the vehicle.
Her attorney Arnoldo Cassillas said to KCAL that his client spent two weeks in the hospital with her jaw wired shut. All of her teeth were shattered in the fall and had to be pulled. She is suing for criminal negligence.
When Roscoe Bartlett was in Congress, he latched onto a particularly apocalyptic issue, one almost no one else ever seemed to talk about: America’s dangerously vulnerable power grid. In speech after late-night speech on the House floor, Bartlett hectored the nearly empty chamber: If the United States doesn’t do something to protect the grid, and soon, a terrorist or an act of nature will put an end to life as we know it.Bartlett never gained much traction with his scary talk of electromagnetic pulses and solar storms. More immediate concerns always seemed to preoccupy his colleagues, or perhaps Bartlett’s obsessions just sounded more like quackery than real science, even coming from a former Navy engineer who had worked on the space race. Whatever the reason, Congress’s failure to act is no longer Bartlett’s problem. The octogenarian Republican from western Maryland—more than once labeled “the oddest congressman”—found himself gerrymandered out of office a year ago and promptly decided to take action on the warnings others wouldn’t heed, retreating to a remote property in the mountains of West Virginia where he lives with no phone service, no connection to outside power and no municipal plumbing. Having failed to safeguard the power grid for the rest of the country, Bartlett has taken himself completely off the grid. He has finally done what he pleaded in vain for others to do: “to become,” as he put it in a 2009 documentary, “independent of the system.”Limiting the role of government consumed much of his life for the 20 years he spent in Congress, leaving little time simply to sit by his lake and watch the sun go down and the bats come out. But nowadays, his concerns center around when the next frost will come and keeping mice out of the food pantries. He’s more interested in pointing out the different species of trees on his property or showing off his new composting toilet than discussing Obamacare (“just awful”) or the government shutdown (“lots of people realized we could get along just fine without the government”).This article is blatantly biased, practically belittling of Bartlett at certain points, but take from it what you will. I thought his story and his choice to live by example were very interesting.
Many highly creative people [display] personal behavior [that] sometimes strikes others as odd. Albert Einstein picked up cigarette butts off the street to get tobacco for his pipe; Howard Hughes spent entire days on a chair in the middle of the supposedly germ-free zone of his Beverly Hills Hotel suite; the composer Robert Schumann believed that his musical compositions were dictated to him by Beethoven and other deceased luminaries from their tombs; and Charles Dickens is said to have fended off imaginary urchins with his umbrella as he walked the streets of London.
In fact, creativity and eccentricity often go hand in hand, and researchers now believe that both traits may be a result of how the brain filters incoming information. Even in the business world, there is a growing appreciation of the link between creative thinking and unconventional behavior, with increased acceptance of the latter. …
In the past few decades psychologists and other scientists have explored the connection using empirically validated measures of both creativity and eccentricity. [The latter is measured] using scales that assess schizotypal personality … which is among a cluster of personality disorders labeled ‘odd or eccentric’ in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
A brain-imaging study, done in 2010 by investigators at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, suggests the propensity for both creative insights and schizotypal experiences may result from a specific configuration of neurotransmitter receptors in the brain. Using positron-emission tomography, Örjan de Manzano, Fredrik Ullén and their colleagues examined the density of dopamine D2 receptors in the subcortical region of the thalamus in 14 subjects who were tested for divergent-thinking skills. The results indicate that thalamic D2 receptor densities are diminished in subjects with high divergent-thinking abilities, similar to patterns found in schizophrenic subjects in previous studies. The researchers believe that reduced dopamine binding in the thalamus, found in both creative and schizophrenic subjects, may decrease cognitive filtering and allow more information into conscious awareness.
—Fascinating Scientific American article on why creative people tend to be eccentric. For real-life case studies, look no further than the odd habits and eccentric behaviors of famous writers. (via explore-blog)
(Source: , via explore-blog)