elsewhere on the internet 04/02/13
From Abu Dhabi to the East Coast, a temporary resident negotiates the urban spaces that built him.—”I predict more violence. I divulge what kind of cars Emiratis like to drive, their love for the Chevrolet Caprice. I tell them how hot Abu Dhabi gets in the summer. I speak of Operation Desert Storm, led by Stormin Norman. I speak of expensive Russian hookers and Dubai’s club scene. I mention CIA-ISI collusion. I conjugate longer sentences to feel smarter, even changing my TV-influenced accent from time to time, sounding more Brit than most Brits. I don’t tell them the muezzin’s call for prayer takes me back home in a heartbeat, and that cool-looking hijabs sometimes turn me on.”
South Asian stories from Californian streets—“The irony is that we know every desi parent has an opinion on politics but we never hear about their own struggles.”
Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital—”In this devastating critique, mounted on behalf of the radical Enlightenment tradition, Vivek Chibber offers the most comprehensive response yet to postcolonial theory … He demonstrates that it is possible to affirm a universalizing theory without succumbing to Eurocentrism or reductionism.
The Japanese talking fork—”The EsTheremine contains a micro-controller, a speaker, an amplifier, and a battery within its handle, and generates any one of a variety of sounds depending on the type of food being eaten. In a completely weird show of sentience, this fork produces sounds almost similar to the material being eaten, such as a chicken’s cluck when the user is pecking at a chicken nugget.”
How cutlery—forks in the west, chopsticks in china 900 years prior—made us develop overbites. Also, utensil-cyborgism.
A delightful look at empire, confectionary and other Turkish delights—”Işin suggests 1923 as a watershed in the decline of sweets and desserts, for this was when the sultanate was abolished and Turkey began to turn away from the old Ottoman ways of doing things. Ataturk’s suppression of the dervish orders in 1925 must also have adversely affected the fortunes of several puddings, as food of all sorts played a great role in the rituals and poetry of the Bektashis and the Mevlevis.”
The rhino horn crisis and the darknet—”Rhino horn was once sold as a snake oil cancer cure, with customers basically fed false hope and swindled. But horn use has recently become popular among Vietnam’s nouveau riche and political elite as a party drug mixed with wine, or ground up and mixed into a tincture as a hangover cure.”
What Does It Mean to Be Comfortable?—culture, gender, and building temperature—“In spring, it’s socially expected that women will wear thinner blouses, skirts, open-toed shoes,” Mazur-Stommen says. “But the building temperature is set for men, who are assumed to be wearing long-sleeved shirts and closed-toed shoes year-round. If everyone just dressed appropriately for the weather, we wouldn’t have to heat or cool the building as much.”
Gold pills ($425)—”Analogous to our culture’s obsession with luxury and consumption, these 24K gold leaf capsules turn your innermost parts into chambers of wealth. Consume and digest.”
Drone City—”Ever since Napoleon entered Egypt, ‘Westerners” have found the ‘Eastern’ city impenetrable. My goal was to armor Shura city in Orientalism and to turn the empire’s strongest weapons: technology, reorder, and arrogance, against themselves. It is time for the Bantustans to protect themselves against outside interference, to say ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you.’”
Robots dancing to Gangham Style:
Could Good Type Design Promote Literacy In The Middle East?—interesting look at typography, readability, and the Arabic script.
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