Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for December 5th, 2022

US police sure kill a lot of US citizens — but apparently that’s okay because we’re used to it

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Chart show comparisons for 2018: US  police fatally shot about 1000 people; Germany, 11 people; Australia 8; Sweden 6; UK 3; New Zealand 1.



That’s the message from many of the protesters who have filled American cities for nearly two weeks, demanding justice for the death of George Floyd and seeking to end a litany of police killings of black Americans.

The protests have rippled across the United States and throughout the world, with activists streaming through the streets of many capital cities in solidarity with the movement.

Floyd was just one of the many Americans killed by police officers each year. But in other developed countries, such incidents are rare.

Statistical comparisons show that police in the US typically shoot, arrest and imprison more people than similarly developed nations.

Each nation listed below either accompanies the US in the G7 group of the world’s most advanced economies, or is ranked similarly on global wealth, freedom and democracy indexes. But when it comes to policing and criminal justice, the US is a noticeable outlier, and black Americans are disproportionately affected. . . 

Continue reading.

Update: Someone pointed out a better way to present the data: 

US 31 per 10 million
Sweden 6
Australia 3
New Zealand 2
Germany 1
UK <1

Written by Leisureguy

5 December 2022 at 11:09 pm

Mercator projection vs. true relative size of countries

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Contrasting size of countries, Mercator projection vs. true size (as on a globe). The closer a country is to the North or South pole, the more its size is exaggerated.
True size (to scale) shown in dark image; Mercator-projection size in light image.

Written by Leisureguy

5 December 2022 at 4:41 pm

Posted in Daily life, Math

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Israel covers up its murders

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Amy Goodman at Democracy Now! has an excellent report (including audio and video versions). The transcript begins:

More than six months since the Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed while reporting in the occupied West Bank, “there is still no accountability in what happened,” says journalist Sharif Abdel Kouddous. He is the correspondent on a new Al Jazeera documentary for the program “Fault Lines” that investigates Abu Akleh’s May killing. It draws on videos and eyewitness accounts of Abu Akleh’s killing to establish that Abu Akleh was fatally shot in the head by Israeli forces, a finding supported by numerous other press investigations. The Biden administration also recently opened an FBI probe into her killing, but Israel is refusing to cooperate and has continued to deny responsibility. Abu Akleh, who was one of the most recognizable faces in the Arab world, had worked for Al Jazeera for 25 years and held U.S. citizenship. We play excerpts from the Al Jazeera documentary, “The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh,” and hear from Shireen’s niece Lina Abu Akleh. “We want there to be accountability. We want there to be justice,” she says.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

We begin today’s show looking at the killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli forces. On May 11th, an Israeli soldier shot her in the head as she was reporting just outside the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. Shireen and other reporters were wearing blue helmets and blue flak jackets clearly emblazoned with the word “press.” Shireen was one of the prominent TV journalists — one of the most prominent TV journalists in the Arab world. She had worked for Al Jazeera for a quarter of a century. She was also a U.S. citizen.

In the six months since her death, no one has been held responsible. After months of pressure, the Biden administration recently opened an FBI investigation into her killing, but Israel is refusing to cooperate in the probe. Israeli officials initially blamed Palestinians for her death, then called evidence “inconclusive,” before once again changing their story in September to say she had been accidentally hit by Israeli troops’ gunfire after they came under fire from Palestinian gunmen. But eyewitness accounts and videos of the area where Shireen Abu Akleh was killed do not show a gun battle. And investigations by Al Jazeera, The New York TimesCNN and other news outlets also challenge the official Israeli version of Shireen’s killing.

The Al Jazeera documentary program Fault Lines has just premiered a remarkable documentary on what happened. It’s called The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh. Later in the program, we’ll be joined by Sharif Abdel Kouddous, the correspondent on the documentary, and Shireen’s niece, Lina Abu Akleh. But first, let’s turn to an excerpt from the documentary featuring Sharif speaking to five eyewitnesses, including the journalists who were with her, Mujahed al-Saadi, Shatha Hanaysha and Ali al-Samoudi. This clip begins with the Al Jazeera cameraman who worked with her for some 30 years, Majdi Bannoura. A warning: This excerpt includes graphic footage.

MAJDI BANNOURA: [translated] We put the helmet on Shireen. I got my camera, and I wore the helmet, and I followed her.

MUJAHED AL-SAADI: [translated] We were all wearing our protective gear, a vest and a helmet.

ALI AL-SAMOUDI: We stood so that they could see us well and recognize us as journalists.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: This is Ali and Shireen walking by Salim.

ALI AL-SAMOUDI: When we made sure that there were no confrontations, we started walking slowly, with slow steps.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: And about 25 seconds later, here they are walking with Shatha and Mujahid up the street, all in their press jackets, just past the spot where Salim had a view of the military.

ALI AL-SAMOUDI: Suddenly, a round of bullets was fired. I shouted, “Shireen, they’re shooting at us. We have to get out of here.” Just as I was saying, “We have to get out of here,” my shoulder exploded. I shouted, “Shireen, I was shot,” or I said, “Shireen, they shot me.”

MUJAHED AL-SAADI: [translated] After the first bullet, I was able to jump behind a short wall to take shelter in. Shireen and Shatha reached me to jump and get out of the place, but they couldn’t.

MAJDI BANNOURA: [translated] They started firing at us. I immediately pressed record. I saw Ali was wounded. He walked away. Shireen was behind the tree. I could still see her hiding behind the tree.

SHIREEN ABU AKLEH: [translated] Ali has been wounded!

ALI AL-SAMOUDI: The last words that Shireen said was, “Ali has been wounded,” “Ali has been wounded.” I mean, these ears, every day, all the time, Shireen’s voice is repeating in my ears.

MAJDI BANNOURA: [translated] I stepped forward again, and they started saying, “Shireen, Shireen.” But they shot at us again.


SHATHA HANAYSHA: [translated] I have a blank spot in my mind. I don’t remember how I got behind the tree. I got behind the tree and turned around to see if Shireen could come to where I was. At that point, I saw Shireen falling to the ground. I didn’t understand that she had been gravely wounded.

UNIDENTIFIED: Shireen! Shireen! [translated] Ambulance!

MAJDI BANNOURA: [translated] I stepped forward and saw Shireen on the ground. I’m holding the camera. I bend down. I want to walk, to walk toward Shireen.

UNIDENTIFIED: [translated] Stay! Stay! Stay where you are! Don’t move! Mujahed, don’t move!

UNIDENTIFIED: [translated] Who was shot?

UNIDENTIFIED: Shireen! Shireen!

UNIDENTIFIED: [translated] Ambulance!

UNIDENTIFIED: [translated] Ambulance!

SHATHA HANAYSHA: [translated] The whole time I wanted to shake her, to touch her, to move her, but I was also filled with fear because the tree was what was protecting us, and if I moved her, maybe she would be wounded again. I remember when I saw the blood on the ground, when the blood started coming out. That’s when I realized she had taken a bullet to the head. And I started shouting, “It’s her head! Her head!”

SALIM AWAD: Every time she moved, there was shooting. I tried to approach, and I couldn’t.

UNIDENTIFIED: [translated] Pull her!

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: A young man named Sharif jumped over the wall to try and help. But he was also fired at.

AMY GOODMAN: An excerpt of the documentary The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh. The Al Jazeera documentary program Fault Lines just aired this. Shireen Abu Akleh worked for Al Jazeera for a quarter of a century.

We’re joined now by Sharif Abdel Kouddous, the correspondent on the documentary.

Sharif, this is a powerful piece, because you have put together for the first time all of these eyewitness accounts. In a moment, we’re going to get the response of the United States. Shireen Abu Akleh is a Palestinian American journalist. But I’m wondering if you can talk about the significance. This is the group of journalists, colleagues, producers, filmmakers that she was with outside the Jenin refugee camp. And talk about what it means to hear their description now.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Right, Amy. I think what’s very important to understand about this case, first of all, this is the kind of violence that Palestinians are subject to on a daily basis. Just over the past week, we’ve seen something like nine Palestinians killed in various Israeli raids in the West Bank.

What is very particular about this case is, first of all, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

5 December 2022 at 4:26 pm

Elon Musk’s Not-so-Hidden Agenda

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Jason Stanley writes at Project Syndicate:

All that is needed to destroy the possibility of a democratic information space for particular political issues is to provide a platform for, and give legitimacy to, would-be propagandists. If one destroys the information space, it will no longer be possible to marshal citizens against the powerful.

NEW HAVEN – Why did Elon Musk purchase Twitter? His official answer – to defend free speech and democracy – is so unconvincing that the question won’t go away. Musk’s repeated appeals to these ideals to justify important decisions he has made since taking over are so confounding that they raise deep suspicions about his motives.

For example, Musk castigated the decision to remove former President Donald Trump’s account, arguing that “freedom of speech is the bedrock of a strong democracy.” But Trump’s account was removed because he was using it to spread conspiracy theories about the election to a wide audience with increasingly violent language. It’s difficult to imagine a more effective way to undermine democracy than to give the president of the United States a platform to claim that a free and fair election that he lost was “stolen.” How would allowing Trump, still the leader of the Republican Party and the former leader of a democratic country, to use Twitter to attack democracy make democracy stronger?

A democratic system relies on widespread acceptance of the legitimacy of its rules. This legitimacy is expressed, most obviously, in voting. So, it is no accident that those seeking to destroy the legitimacy of democracy spread disinformation that undermines trust in the electoral system.

But there are other ways to undermine democratic legitimacy. Democracy is based on political equality. The most obvious expression of this is the principle of “one person, one vote.” But political equality has a broader significance – it means that each of our voices can be heard. As the philosopher Stephen Darwall has argued, in a democracy, it must be possible to speak truth to power

Preserving democratic legitimacy thus means . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

5 December 2022 at 2:53 pm

A full Grooming Dept shave is amazing

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Shaving set-up: Rooney silvertip badger shaving brush with ivory-colored handle, Mallard Almond Vanilla shaving soap in a closed tub with a double-edge slant razor resting on top (aluminum head, stainless-steel chequered handle), and a small pump bottle of Grooming Dept Rejuvenating serum, white pump-cap and yellow label.

My skin feels amazing. Of course, the shave has the benefit of being a Monday-morning shave (hence a two-day stubble) and I did use a superb slant razor, the iKon Shavecraft #102. But I’m sure that the soft supple feel of my skin owes a lot to the Grooming Dept products I used.

First was the amazing Moisturizing Pre-Shave, which I use before every shave. At first, I did not like the new formulation (well, new several months ago) — it was different. Now I realize how much better it is than the earlier (and very good) version. 

Then one of Grooming Dept’s shaving soaps, Mallard Almond Vanilla. This one is sold out, but it is wonderful:

Scent Notes: Bergamot, Heliotrope, Cumin, Almond, Lavender, Jasmine, Vanilla, Sandalwood, and Amber. 

Ingredients: Water, Stearic Acid, Duck Fat, Kukui Nut Oil, Goat Milk, Castor Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Cupuaçu Butter, Kokum Butter, Glycerin, Jojoba Oil, Myristic Acid, Shea Butter, Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance, Coconut Milk, Tamanu Oil, Lauryl Laurate, Carnauba Wax, Beeswax, Allantoin, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Betaine, Sodium Lactate, Silk Amino Acids, Oat Amino Acids, Sesame Oil, Macadamia Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Gluconate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Tocopherols, Silk Peptides.

My Rooney Style 1 Size 1 Super Silvertip easily raised a wonderful lather from the soap, and with the #102 slant I had a face of perfect smoothness three passes later.

I finished the shave with a tiny squirt of Grooming Dept Rejuvenating Serum. This is not perhaps truly an aftershave per se (it’s catalogued under “skin care,” no “aftershave), but it served well and I can’t fault the resulting feel of my skin. The fragrance is subdued (which is a weasly way of saying I could not detect the fragrance, but my nose is a blunt instrument — a finer nose might well appreciate the fragrance).

The sum total is a shaving finish that provides considerable enjoyment. 

BTW, Grooming Dept products sell out quickly, but if you don’t find what you want on the website, check the stockists that carry Grooming Dept products. They will often have things no longer available on the home site.

The tea this grey wintry day is Murchie’s London Afternoon: “Fragrant rose petals are interwoven with smoky Lapsang Souchong, sweetened with creamy vanilla and a touch of bright bergamot.”

Written by Leisureguy

5 December 2022 at 1:11 pm

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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