New Capitalist Pyramid  

Posted by Ryan Sproull in ,

A pretty good updated version of the famous old capitalist pyramid (below). The difference between the two shows the difference between the realities of capitalism (and socialism as a reaction to it) in the days of Marx and today. (Click here for a larger version of the new one.)

I believe the most important difference is the globalisation of the economy and the corollary outsourcing of poverty. While in the 19th century, one could, say, take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London...

...and see the people suffering at the bottom of the capitalist heap, these days you can only really see them on TV, and even then you have to go out of your way to find out about it, and even then there's such a long causal string between your actions and their suffering that you don't feel responsible or potent to do anything about it. Part of that is the media, of course, which is why us Westerners are so happy to be wedged in between the soldiers and the police.

Missing from this new pyramid, I think, are the politicians, who should be standing just behind the police, as I don't think they're quite represented by the guy at the top (at least in New Zealand; the US is a different matter).

Here's the old discrete-nations pyramid:

The Art of the Pick-up  

Posted by Ryan Sproull in ,

Jon Stewart and Bush  

Posted by Ryan Sproull in , ,

Republican New Zealand  

Posted by Ryan Sproull in , ,

Kum Fac'e

If the World Could Vote is one of those sites that tell us what everyone supposedly already knows. In this case, it's that the whole world would rather have Obama as president of the US than have McCain. It's not a new trend. After the 2004 election, there was a spate of sites featuring Americans apologising to the rest of the world for the results. There was even a bag company that included an apology in their exports to France.

In general, the developed world is to the left of US politics. Up and to the left, if you add an axis representing, say, literacy or education. And you'd expect New Zealand to follow that same trend. But here's the curious thing. New Zealand is one of the few countries that favour McCain over Obama.

In his, we join Thailand (96% McCain), Venezuela (100% McCain) and Kenya at 100% McCain, which presumably says more about Venezuelans and Kenyans who have the money to afford a computer that anything else.

And that's it. Human-rights paradises Israel and Indonesia are split down the middle. Israel's split probably shows, more than anything, the level of education of Israelis, as they've apparently seen through the Republican spin that Obama wants to single-handedly destroy their country. Haaretz, a particularly good Israeli newspaper, commented on this even before Obama had finalised the nomination, in an interesting editorial. Probably more on that later, as the Obama smears are downright fascinating (as is Obama's response to them.)

So, why are online Kiwis more in favour of McCain than Obama? It's not a huge majority - 55% - but it stands out in contrast against the votes of other Western countries (Australia around 90% Obama, UK 92% Obama, etc.) Any simple answer is likely to be simplistic, but there has to be something to explain the anomaly. I doubt it's a matter of racism, since our neighbourly International Home of Racism is sitting at 90% Obama.

I'm not going to speculate on it further - I'm more likely to chat about it on Thursday's Wire show on bFM, around 1.30pm. But someone with their finger more firmly on the pulse might have some suggestions.

Dirty Me  

Posted by Ryan Sproull in

Behold. A series of photos of some people
being way more talented than me. Bastards.

You thought it was gold, but it was bronze.  

Posted by Ryan Sproull in ,

A clip from one of my new favourite shows, Snuff Box, with Matt Berry (Sanch from Garth Marenghi's Darkplace).

Gush Shalom  

Posted by Ryan Sproull in

Having been on the receiving end of accusations of racism for my criticism of Israel's appalling treatment of its indigenous people, and being acquainted with many people who make no distinction between Jewish people and the actions of the Israeli state, I'm always very glad to be able to point out that not all Jewish people support Israel's actions. Further, there are non-Jewish Israelis (just as there are Christian and Jewish Palestinians). And, finally, not all Israelis support their government's actions.

Of course, the majority of Israelis do support their government's treatment of the Palestinians, to varying degrees within a spectrum that most in the international community finds abhorrent. I'm not qualified to say why, but I suspect it's a combination of compulsory military service and parental conditioning. It's true that most Israelis support their government's actions, just as it's true that most Israeli chicks are intensely gorgeous.

Anyway, last weekend one Israeli peace group, Gush Shalom, marched against the occupation. They took photos. You can see them by clicking on the word: shalom.

Folks Ain't Been Reading Their Bibles  

Posted by Ryan Sproull in ,

Hat-tip to Decrepit Old Fool.

Also Stupid Evil Bastard.

Warming My Icy Heart  

Posted by Ryan Sproull in ,


Posted by Ryan Sproull in

More mesmerising than Neave TV, WikipediaVision shows where anonymous edits to Wikipedia are being made, almost in real time, and what is being edited. And there goes the rest of my day.

Hat-tip to Kiwiblog for this.

"The correction for that, I suppose, is an attack."  

Posted by Ryan Sproull in ,

I'm afraid of Americans.

Towards the end of his time in government, Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld had a chat about Iraq with military analysts about basically how bad things were going. A recent mass Freedom of Information Act application managed to get thousands of documents and audio files from the Pentagon, and so we can listen to the whole damn thing if we want to.

It's an hour-long .wav file, here.

Fortunately, Newsvine's jfxgillis has gone through and pulled out some of the more interesting clips, along with his own analysis. You can read his commentary and hear the clips at Liquid Lunch with Donald Rumsfeld. Here's an excerpt:
...the questioner prods him back on topic by asking, "Politically, what are the challenges because you're not going to have a lot of sympathetic ears up there [on Capitol Hill]?"

Rumsfeld's answer is nothing short of stunning. No, not the part where he claims Bush is a "Victim of his success." That's just stupid. And no, after hearing his previous insult to the American public, his condemnation of us because "we don't have the maturity" to recognize the threat of terrorism--the further we get from 9/11, the less and less... he trails off. But that's not shocking, nor is his doomsday scenario, all things considered.

So let's summarize. According to Rumsfeld and his media sycophants, America has real problems: We're weak-willed, we're immature, we're forgetting what happened, and oh my God, we've elected Democrats to Congress. So, what's the "Correction" for those problems? Listen to him:

Another 9/11 attack.
More commentary at Prison Planet, if you like.

Television Without Context  

Posted by Ryan Sproull in ,

Paul Neave, a British flash designer, has made my day with Neave TV. He recommends a "deep-seated urge to be totally bewildered", which fortunately I possess, and I was not disappointed. Random clips from shows and movies from around the world, switching channels with every click.

I was subjected first to some Russian talkshow with a dancer in an electronic suit that played electronic music with every move of his body; then a clip from a Godzilla film; then Dave talking to HAL in 2001; then the ever-wonderful Rejected animation. I had to stop there, because I could see this seriously eating into my work productivity.

Nice work, Paul Neave.

Click here for the madness.

A quick note - there's no obvious way to stop it besides navigating away from the page or closing the tab, but Neave's included a "back to the intro page" option on the TV's right-click menu.