AMSTERDAM - Een Utrechtse student is maandag naar de rechter gestapt omdat hij een paspoort wil, maar niet wil dat zijn vingerafdrukken worden opgenomen in een databank.
Sinds 21 september vorig jaar worden van iedereen die een paspoort aanvraagt enkele vingerafdrukken opgeslagen in een databank. De student, Aaron Boudewijn, weigerde zijn vingerafdruk af te geven en kreeg daarom geen paspoort. Hij heeft beroep aangetekend bij de Utrechtse rechtbank.
De databank van vingerafdrukken is omstreden. Europese regels schrijven voor dat er in het paspoort vingerafdrukken en een gezichtsscan worden opgenomen. Maar het aanleggen van een databank is een louter Nederlandse beslissing. Tegenstanders denken dat die databank kan worden gekraakt, en ze vrezen fouten als justitie hem gaat gebruiken.
The latter half of the 20th century saw the built environment merged with media space, and architecture taking on new roles related to branding, image and consumerism. Augmented reality may recontextualise the functions of consumerism and architecture, and change in the way in which we operate within it.
Americans can’t understand why the Dutch are crazy about speed skating and Sven Kramer. Check this article on Time.com:
As sports fans go, no group is more bewildering than the speed-skating nuts from Holland.
With their face paint and unruly orange wigs, these people seem not to realize there’s no real reason to get all excited about watching people skate in circles. Of course, you could say the same about NASCAR, but at least the cars jostle against each other for prime position, and there’s a finish line in sight. Plus, when a car whizzes by you at 200 m.p.h., there’s an adrenaline rush. As for humans gliding by you at 35 m.p.h. on skates, they don’t even register a breeze.
When you ask Dutch fans to explain why they get so psyched for this sport, they often leave you feeling even less enthused about it. “I like counting the laps,” says Jeanine Renden, who along with her husband was wearing an orange wig with two lions perched at the top (like on the Dutch coat of arms). “It’s exciting.” Not nearly as exciting as her hairdo. If counting isn’t your thing, you can always stare at the scoreboard. “It’s every exciting to compare the times,” says Dutch fan Eric Vanserstraadan, who was sporting two Dutch flags, one painted on each cheek.
Holland has now won 25 speed-skating golds in its Olympic history, tied for second with Norway behind the United States, which has 28, as the country with the most titles in the sport. Kramer is also the favorite in the 10,000 meters. Think watching 12 laps is torture? Have fun seeing 24.
The Dutch will, of course. After Kramer’s victory, Kleintje Pils played “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions” and several Dutch anthems as well. “Sven-e won a gold medal! Sven-e won a gold medal” the crowd sang. For the thousands of Dutch speed-skating fans who made the trip to Vancouver to liven up a pretty staid event, forget about Kleintje Pils. After Kramer’s win, tonight’s a night for Grote Pils. Big Beer. The Heinekens will be flowing in Vancouver.
Watch this video too, it makes me so proud to be a Dutchman ;)
An increasing number of Americans claims to have no affiliation with a religious tradition, so-called “nones” (around 15% of the population). Paul Lichterman asks the question (on the Immanent Frame): What does this mean for American public life?
He especially highlights the following function of religion in American public life, already recognized by De Tocqueville:
Yet Tocqueville said something else, something more subtle, about American religion, which also may be changing: He said it did not matter if Americans all really believed the religion they propounded, and he surmised that quite a few, in fact, did not. What mattered to Americans was that they hear each other sounding religious. Not religious belief so much as the reputation of religion would give individualistic Americans some recognized, shared moral standard.
And he ponders on how this will change, because of the “nones”:
Religion scholars have said for quite awhile that just as Americans have become increasingly singularized agents since Tocqueville’s day, religion in the American mainstream has become more personalized, especially in the last several decades. Students of contemporary spirituality know there is more than a germ of insight in mid-century sociologists’ hunch that the future’s religion would have to survive without collective, institutional moorings. Personalized religion may be able to dispatch with even the broadest categories of affiliation—Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist. Maybe the rise of none-hood reflects a larger move toward de-centered social relations, personal nodes, and shifting networks—the Facebook society. Are the nones giving up anything when they give up conventional religious affiliations?
For some Americans even today, religious affiliation and the language that goes with it locates people, helps us place them on some social or moral map. That is not to say we always trust people when we know where they are coming from. Sometimes the public fact of religious affiliation—the reputation of religion—does work the way Tocqueville surmised, as a badge of trust. In one alliance of churches I observed up close in a Midwestern city, middle-class churchgoers used religious language to talk about the public health nurse they wanted to fund for a low-income neighborhood where relatively few people could afford doctors. It was not that they wanted to proselytize their neighbors; rather, they wanted to signal with quietly religious language that they had decent motives, a sense of collective responsibility…….
We don’t know what Americans tapped by the ARIS “really believe” in their hearts. We don’t know how much they know about any of the religions or denominations they theoretically could have chosen to affiliate with. We know what they said when asked what religious category, if any, they identified with. In the American context, the act of telling a stranger that one has no religious preference is itself fascinating. It calls for more study and interpretation before we can say what it means for society, democracy, or the future of religion.
It was a small skirmish in the grand scheme of the Afghan war. The focus of the fighting was to the southwest in Marjah, where U.S. Marines launched an offensive a day earlier.
But the intense gunfight showed the difficulty of fighting an enemy who knows the terrain, watches, waits and strikes when it chooses — frequently appearing to capitalize on Western rules designed to prevent civilian casualties.
The patrol began in the early afternoon, heading off a canal road and into farmland to the west. Fifty men: an American platoon, up to 30 Afghan soldiers and 10 Canadian troops who advise the Afghans. They moved slowly, in two columns. Two Afghan soldiers with metal detectors, searching for mines, led the way.
Then the American soldier got hit. The bullet hit the shoulder piece of his protective vest, and bounced down into his chest.
Spc. Benjamin McQuiston of Tucson, Ariz., was just ahead of the man, who cannot be identified until his family is notified in keeping with U.S. military regulations.
“When the shots went off, I heard him yelling. I thought he was scared. I was yelling too,” McQuiston said later. “Then I heard him coughing. It sounded weird. I looked back and he was coughing up blood.”
With shooting all around, soldiers cut away the injured man’s shirt, and put a chest seal on the wound to prevent air entering.
“I’m going to be good,” the man said. He was able to walk and had the energy to shout an obscenity at the Taliban.
Removing part of the brain can induce inner peace, according to researchers from Italy. Their study provides the strongest evidence to date that spiritual thinking arises in, or is limited by, specific brain areas.
To investigate the neural basis of spirituality, Cosimo Urgesi, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Udine, and his colleagues turned to people with brain tumours to assess the feeling before and after surgery. Three to seven days after the removal of tumours from the posterior part of the brain, in the parietal cortex, patients reported feeling a greater sense of self-transcendence. This was not the case for patients with tumours removed from the frontal regions of the brain.
“Self-transcendence used to be considered just by philosophers and crank new age people,” says co-author Salvatore Aglioti, a cognitive neuroscientist at the Sapienza University of Rome. “This is the first really close-up study on spirituality. We’re dealing with a complex phenomenon that’s close to the essence of being human.”
The authors pinpointed two parts of the brain that, when damaged, led to increases in spirituality: the left inferior parietal lobe and the right angular gyrus. These areas at the back of the brain are involved in how we perceive our bodies in spatial relation to the external world. The authors of the study in the journal Neuron1, say that their findings support the connection between mystic experiences and feeling detached from the body.
Previous studies have shown that a broad network of frontal and parietal brain regions underlies religious beliefs 2,3,4,5. But spirituality does not seem to involve exactly the same regions of the brain as religion.
That seems to me to be the big news out of Jonathan Karl’s interview with the former vice-president today. There is not a court in the United States or in the world that does not consider waterboarding torture. The Red Cross certainly does, and it’s the governing body in international law. It is certainly torture according to the UN Convention on Torture and the Geneva Conventions. The British government, America’s closest Western ally, certainly believes it is torture. No legal authority of any type in the US or the world has ever doubted that waterboarding is torture. To have subjected an individual to waterboarding once is torture under US and international law. To subject someone to it 183 times is so categorically torture is it almost absurd to even write this sentence.
So the former vice-president has just confessed to a war crime. I repeat: the former vice-president has just confessed to a war crime.
The question is therefore not if, but when, he is convicted as a war criminal – in his lifetime or posthumously.