April 2006

I was reminded today of a truly horrible report issued in 2001 by Human Rights Watch. It deals with the subject of rape in US prisons. It is deeply shocking.

From Hard Time:

There are probably more men than women raped in the United States every year—most of them in prison. Best estimates put the annual number of prison rapes at about 140,000, which is 50,000 more than the 90,000 or so rapes of women reported to police. Gang rape of the most brutal kind is common, and weaker prisoners often seek protection from a “daddy” who fights off other predators in exchange for total submission and sex on demand. There is an ugly racial dimension to prison rape: Blacks and Mexicans deliberately seek out white victims, and black-on-white rape is probably more common than any other kind. Prison rape is an appalling secret in a country that prides itself on human rights.

…“When a new inmate enters an open barracks prison it triggers a sort of competition among the convicts as to who will seduce and subjugate that new arrival. . . . Every new arrival is a potential victim. Unless the new arrival is strong, ugly, and efficient at violence, they are subject to get seduced, coerced, or raped … . Psychosocially, emotionally, and physically the most dangerous and traumatic place I can conceive of is the open-barracks prison when first viewed by a new inmate.”

The only sure defense against rape is the willingness to fight, and even this may be no protection against gang assault. In many prisons a small, unaggressive white is sure to be raped, probably by blacks or Hispanics. As one prison guard explains, a young white has “almost zero” chance of escaping rape “unless he’s willing to stick someone with a knife and fortunate enough to have one.” Some of the tougher inmates may even fight each other for the chance to rape an effeminate young white.

Rape is so common it has its own terminology. To rape a heterosexual man and turn him into a sexual plaything is to “turn him out,” and the victim is known as a “turnout” or “punk.” If a turnout seeks the protection of another inmate to avoid an endless series of rapes by other prisoners, he is “riding with” his protector. He becomes essentially the property of his protector and is known as his “bitch” or “ho” or “boy.”

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From the excellent City Journal comes a story of two attacks.

In one 5 black attackers attack a white man, shouting “get whitey” and the attack is deemed a mere robbery.

Meanwhile a white man, brought up in a black neighbourhood, is charged for a hate crime because he allegedly said “What up nigga*” before he attacked and robbed three black men in a revenge attack for an earlier mugging.

It seems that hate crime laws are applied with a double standard in the US too (as they are in the UK, see previous post).

* The story explains how “nigga” is different from “nigger”.


Calculate the Golden Mean with Phiculator

by Limbic on April 20, 2006

Phiculator, the Golden Ratio calculator

Phi, the Fibonacci sequence, the golden ratio, the golden section, the golden mean, the divine proportion. It‚Äôs known as many things, but the ratio they all refer to is the same, 1 : 1.61803399…

Found in art, architecture, design, and most intriguingly, in nature, this ratio has been used throughout history and today for its aesthetic beauty.

Phiculator (pronounced “fyeÔøΩcuÔøΩlaÔøΩtor”) is a simple tool which, given any number, will calculate the corresponding number according to the golden ratio. Useful to anyone wishing to create anything with divine proportions!

Windows, OSX and Flash.


Cost of living lawfully in the UK

by Limbic on April 19, 2006

Click image for larger version

From Money Week’s Money Morning newsletter:

It may be going too far to say that crime pays in Britain today. But it’s a fact that living within the law has never been so expensive, as this chart shows.

“Since New Labour took office in 1997, the cost of living lawfully has risen more than twice as fast as the RPI rate of inflation excluding mortgage repayments,” writes Neil Clark in the Fleet Street Letter. “Council tax bills, road tax, motor insurance and TV licences now cost 67% more than they did a decade ago. The RPIX is up just 24%.

It is other people’s petty criminality that is driving the cost of living lawfully so much higher. “Local authorities are estimated to spend £27m per year on cleaning up graffiti,” says Clark. “Arsonists destroy 20 schools every week – much of the cost footed through the education budget. Accidents involving non-insured drivers meantime cost £400m per year, adding £30 to the average annual premium for those drivers who do pay up.”

“For too long the honest and law-abiding in this country have been penalised for the selfish and anti-social behaviour of others. We’re expected to cough up more and get less in return.”

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Greater Albania

by Limbic on April 18, 2006


“The principle illness of the Balkans: Each nation demands that its borders revert to where they were at the exact time when its own empire had reached its zenith of ancient medieval expansion.” Robert D. Kaplan in “Balkan Ghosts”, page 57.


Surfing the floods

by Limbic on April 18, 2006


Only in Belgrade!


Beautiful photos at Slower.net

by Limbic on April 18, 2006

More at Slower.net


Johari window

by Limbic on April 17, 2006

From Double Tongued comes:

Johari window
n.‘To help gauge each risk’s likelihood and potential impact, some companies find it useful to create what’s known as a ‘Johari window.’ You first assess each threat’s probability—from low to high—and assign it to one of four boxes along one axis. You then assess its potential impact—from light to severe—and place it in the appropriate box along the other axis. The resulting diagram lets you instantly identify high-likelihood, high-impact threats.’—‘The Art Of And Science Of Bouncing Back’’by Art Van Bodegraven, Kenneth B. Ackerman’DC Velocity‘(North Attleboro, Mass.)’Apr., 2006. Categories: Double-Tongued Word Wrester.

(Via Double-Tongued Word Wrester Dictionary.)

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Hostile Media Effect

by Limbic on April 16, 2006

Brilliant post from Mixing Memory about Hostile Media Effects

Here are two things that, when taken together, cry out for explanation. Over the last five decades, study after study of media bias has found little or no evidence of systematic bias in either direction, and a meta-analysis of bias studies over 6 decades, using several different measures of bias, found no bias in newspaper reporting, and only a miniscule, inconsequential right-wing bias in magazines, and left-wing bias on television. Yet, while in 1988, only 12% of the public believed the media to be systematically biased, that percentage has grown steadily over the last two decades, with 62% of Americans believing the media to be biased in 2005. And in almost every case, the perceived bias is towards the opposition. How is it that, over the same period in which studies have consistently shown a lack of media bias, more and more people have come to believe that it exists, and that it favors their opponents’ viewpoints?


Pyramids found in Bosnia?

by Limbic on April 16, 2006

Scientists begin dig at Bosnian ‘pyramid’

Archaeologists began digging Friday for what they hope is an ancient pyramid hidden beneath a mysterious Bosnian hill that has long been the subject of legend.

The Bosnian archaeologist leading the work says the 2,120-foot (650-meter) mound rising above the small town of Visoko resembles pyramid sites in Latin America that he has studied. It would be the first pyramid ever discovered in Europe.