Monthly Archives: November 2016

Flashback: Trump once tweeted ‘I never fall for scams’

As we reported earlier, Donald Trump retweeted a Benito Mussolini parody account for which Gawker has taken credit. This caused some to recall a tweet Trump published in 2012, saying he never falls for scams.

She Creates Artwork With Something That You Probably Have Sitting In Your Shed

Every day, we’re confronted with the fact that the Earth needs our help. With climate summits and grassroots campaigns springing up everywhere, it’s hard to ignore the fact that we need to change the ways in which we approach consumption and production.

One artist with salvaged beauty in mind is a creator by the name of Denice Bizot. For the past 15 years, she’s been rummaging through junkyards for found objects that she later turns into stunning works of art. Her collection of sculpted shovel heads has garnered plenty of attention, and for good reason.

There’s something intriguing about the fact that she pays painstaking attention to things that typically get lost to time and neglect.

Her tendency to focus on found items has environmental and social implications. While her inclination to upcycle has clear ties to environmental issues, her work also speaks to the nature of gentrification.

In cities undergoing the process of gentrification, refuse reigns supreme. When contractors and businesspeople move in, everything else that’s there gets pushed out.

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In an effort to breathe new life into the bare bones of these cities, Bizot collects discarded shovel heads in each locale and uses them as blank canvases.

“For me,” she writes, “the idea of reclaiming, deconstructing, and transforming so-called ‘junk’ into works of sculpture is fascinating.”

According to the artist, “reworking the surface in terms of color and texture is required to bring out an attractive exterior that was once covered in mold or pitted by weather.”

(via My Modern Met)

As we look to the future, it’s important that we all play a part in reimagining the world around us. Artists like Denice Bizot embody that shift in perspective in a way that further emphasizes the fact that creativity and ingenuity are essential to the success of that process.

To see more of Bizot’s work, check out her website. For regular updates, follow her on Facebook.

Here Are 11 Awesome Wins For Human Rights Over The Past Year

The world seems like a pretty horrible place right now, but don’t lose heart. Amnesty International’s annual survey of human rights contains some sunny spots from last year and the start of this year.

Amnesty International has released its annual report on the state of human rights around the world, and most of it makes for pretty somber reading.

Andrea Comas / Reuters

Amnesty International activists in Madrid protest against Spain’s new security law in Madrid on Nov. 25, 2014. The banner reads “- human rights.”

First, the bad news…

Of the 160 countries that Amnesty assessed, it found that 119 had restricted freedom of expression without a solid reason, 93 had conducted unfair legal trials, 78 had laws that in effect banned consensual gay sex, and 28 banned abortion under any circumstances.

But the report also includes some straight-up human rights wins. Below are 11 of our favorites from last year and this year so far.

1. This month, Egyptian authorities freed Peter Greste, one of three Al Jazeera journalists imprisoned for over a year on charges of spreading false news. His colleagues, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, have been released on bail but face a retrial.

2. Last month, 53 Cuban political prisoners were also released, just after the U.S. and the socialist island announced they would be renewing diplomatic ties.

Stringer / Reuters

Two released dissidents hold the Cuban national flag during a march in Havana on Jan. 11.

3. In women’s rights victories, Morocco’s parliament voted last January to repeal a law that allowed men who raped girls under 18 to escape punishment by marrying their victims. A similar loophole was also removed from a draft law in Mozambique.

Stringer / Reuters

Moroccan women protest in Rabat in June 2014 after Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane advised them to stay at home and look after their families.

4. Also, Chile decided in June it would allow abortion in some cases, such as those where the pregnancy puts the woman’s life in danger.

Chile, which has some of the world’s most restrictive anti-abortion laws, has announced it will legalise abortion in 3 circumstances: (1/3)

— MissEllieMae (@Ellie Mae O’Hagan)

5. When it came to knowing more about what governments get up to, a U.S. Senate committee’s report on CIA torture in December exposed a brutal Bush-era program that involved both the U.S. and some European countries.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

CIA Director John Brennan speaks during a news conference on Dec. 11.

6. Also, the U.K. was forced in June to reveal a secret policy justifying the mass surveillance of every Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google user in the country. Wonder if that includes this guy…

Jon Super / AP

Britain’s Prince Harry takes a photograph with a mobile phone in July 2014.

7. Moving on to LGBT wins, India’s Supreme Court in April granted legal recognition for transgender people, who can now state that they belong to a neutral third gender that is neither male nor female.

Anindito Mukherjee / Reuters

Celebrations in Delhi in April after India’s Supreme Court recognized a third gender.

8. Also, Serbia’s capital held its first gay pride march since marchers were attacked in 2010. Win!

☀ Sunny day for human rights in Serbia! ☀#Pride #Prajd #BelgradePride2014 @BelgradePride

— Stanwik (@Stanwik)

9. And finally, a proposed law in Uganda that banned the “promotion of homosexuality” was struck down in August. Homosexuality itself remains illegal in Uganda.

Rebecca Vassie / AP

A Ugandan man during an annual LGBT Pride celebrations in the town of Entebbe in Aug. 2014.

10. In yet another kind of win, Royal Dutch Shell agreed last month to pay a rural Nigerian community $84 million, as compensation for two oil spills in 2008 and 2009. The payment settled a lawsuit brought against Shell in U.K.

RT @LeighDay_Law: #Shell agrees £55m compensation deal for Niger Delta communityhttp://t.co/UUUXGFC2YD #Nigeria

— LeighDay_Law (@Leigh Day)

11. And in Cambodia, a UN-backed tribunal in August convicted two top leaders in the vicious 1975–79 Khmer Rouge dictatorship of crimes against humanity and sentenced them to life in prison. They were the first senior Khmer Rouge figures held accountable.

Pring Samrang / Reuters

A tourist visits the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, which chronicles the Khmer Rouge’s murders, in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, on Jan 21.

Smooth Pat Sajak scores a ‘WIN!’ from Megyn Kelly; Bonus ‘Red Eye’ zing

http://twitter.com/#!/megynkelly/status/413140648129097728

Pat Sajak isn’t just another pretty face. The man has some serious moves.

http://twitter.com/#!/megynkelly/status/413161565354225664

Uh oh. Was Megyn Kelly counting on Sajak’s honesty? Time to tuck away those smooth moves, Sajak.

http://twitter.com/#!/patsajak/status/413162469973327872

Heh.

Maybe Sajak had another Fox anchor in mind?

http://twitter.com/#!/patsajak/status/413171372643586048

Make this happen:

http://twitter.com/#!/MarkHall73/status/413171920452866048

Related:

Greg Gutfeld, Pat Sajak continue ‘digital crack’ smack talk; Now with more TMI! [Photoshop]

Greg Gutfeld spoils Pat Sajak’s unique ‘Breaking Bad’ viewing experience; ‘Wheel’ host retaliates with snark-slam

‘Rimshot!’ Pat Sajak’s ‘Fifth Estate’ bathroom break giggles (Bonus: Gutfeld-Sajak smack talk)

‘Funniest thing I read on Twitter!’ Who won the Greg Gutfeld, Pat Sajak Emmy night snap-athon?

Gutfeld and Sajak present ‘Twitter Feud Round 2: The Smack-Talkening’

‘Why I love Twitter’: Don’t miss the magically hilarious snark-spat between Greg Gutfeld and Pat Sajak

Darkchild’s Many Productions, Ranked In Terms Of Genius

Everything is subjective, of course. But your opinion is wrong.

You know who Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins is.

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

He’s the guy behind some of the greatest songs you’ve ever danced to. He’s a super-producer, a talented musician and songwriter, and a blessing to the world, most recently winning a Grammy for his work on Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”.

Here is an important — and unarguable — ranking of his best work.

19. Telephone РLady Gaga Ft. Beyonc̩

Bombast and pyrotechnics, this. But the chorus is fire, and the entire Bey feature is a jam all on its own.

It’ll do.

18. Feedback – Janet Jackson

Yes, this goes hard. But there’s something missing from this for me. It just sounds a little cold, even with the divine Ms Jackson doing her thing over the skittery beat.

I’d dance to it in a club, though.

17. I Can Love You – Mary J. Blige Ft. Lil’ Kim

This earlyish Darkchild (1997!) is just the easiest track to nod along to, so effortless.

Mary J’s keening vocals (at one point she modestly tells the object of her affection: “I can love you/a little better than she can,” which is quietly heartbreaking) are the perfect accompaniment to the simple groove. It sounds both completely of its time, but also timeless.

Shoutout to Lil’ Kim’s verse, too (with its gentle reference to Biggie).

16. Holler – Spice Girls

This late Spice Girls single (minus Geri, and before the Grand Hiatus) really works, but that’s not because of the especially great vocals (Mel C excepted). In fact, Mel B’s adlibs almost kill it.

But it’s catchy as hell, and so danceable.

15. Revolution – Kirk Franklin

Political gospel? Why the heck not?

Darkchild can do anything.

14. Cater 2 U – Destiny’s Child

Dodgy lyrics aside (“My life would be purposeless without you,” Bey sings in the opening verse, earning a sharp side-eye), this is a flawlessly produced slow jam with one of the most laidback and romantic grooves Darkchild’s ever made. There’s no beating Passionate Bey on vocals, and she’s out here in force.

13. If You Had My Love – Jennifer Lopez

Here’s how you know Jennifer Lopez was not playing around: This was the debut single on her debut album. So casual.

The lyrics are not the strongest, and it’s not even the best ever J-Lo vocal offering (that’s a list for another day) but it is a mid-tempo silky jam, and catchy as hell, so it’s easy to forgive its flaws.

Perfect to sing with one hand on your heart, in the mirror.

12. Say My Name – Destiny’s Child

If Drake is sampling you almost 15 years later, chances are you did something extremely right. This track is unnaturally right.

It’s the mixed-upness of “Say My Name” (perfectly telegraphing the up-and-down play of the lyrics: are you cheating or nah?) that make it a straight up banger. And the production is so tight and sure of what its doing, it steals your attention away from the fact that the band recently changed lineup, and this is the video in which you meet Farrah and Michelle for the first time. Plus! The break – “yea, yea, yea yea” – is poetry is song. A stone cold classic.

PS: shoutout to the most iconic Darkchild tag of them all: “Darkchild nine-nine”.

11. Déjà Vu – Beyoncé

“Bass…Hi-hat…Jay” It’s the classiest of openings, isn’t it?

On an album as jam-packed with bangers as B’Day, Déjà Vu is for me, one of the finest Bey singles ever produced. Darkchild went BIG on this, throwing everything at Beyoncé, who brought in some magic of her own. The high energy is infectious, and gives the feeling of having been a blast to record.

Big vocals, big production, big tune.

10. Can’t Leave ‘Em Alone – Ciara Ft. 50 Cent

This is not one of Ciara’s best-known, but it should be.

Darkchild gives her a classic handclap beat, plus the twinkliest of R&B accents. They are the perfect accompaniments for Ciara’s whispery soft vocals. “I can’t leave ‘em alone/I tried that good boy game/But the dope boy’s turning me on,” she sings like a lovefool. And then 50 Cent shores it up with bars like: “My intentions are good/I can’t help it, I’m hood/I wouldn’t change if I could/you shouldn’t tell me I should.” So at least they’re well-matched.

So fresh, it sounds like summer.

9. I’m Good – Blaque

This 2004 banger was too good to soundtrack a film as terribly bland as Honey (which, full disclosure: I saw at the cinema). Side note: There is a depressing number of now-defunct black girl groups from the mid-2000s.

This is low key girl empowerment (“I don’t like what you’re kickin’ son/ now leave,” they dismiss some unworthy creature), wrapped up in Darkchild’s beat wonderland. And the hype tag on this one is an idiosyncratic “Darkchizzle!” Which is fun.

8. You Rock My World – Michael Jackson

I was full of trepidation when they announced a new MJ record. What I loved of his music was either my age or older than me, and I worried. But then I heard this, and realised my own foolishness. How could Darkchild fail with MJ?

This is so smooth! The once sweet voice sounds as fresh as it ever did, and Darkchild’s production is sympathetic to MJ’s legacy, with lovely harmonies in the chorus.

Shoutout to MJ’s last great single.

7. Don’t Wanna Be A Player – Joe

I know it can’t be true, but this feels like this is the only thing I listened to in 1997.

The vocoder intros us to what would become the R&B love song to beat for the next 15 years, when Joe’s smooth and slightly nasal crooning takes over. “I think I’ve found someone I could live my life for, “ he sings, “I’m giving up the booty calls”. Only if you’re sure, mate.

And even though people don’t belong to people – and you know this – you sing along, sighing, when Joe finishes the hook with: “I’m yours, you’re mine for sure”. Aah, memories.

6. Still Not A Player – Big Pun Ft. Joe

I mean, technically, this isn’t a Darkchild jam per se. But it builds on one of his best ever productions, Joe’s “Don’t Wanna Be A Player”.

Joe’s falsetto opens it up, but that Brenda Russell keyboard loop – calibrated perfectly to make you bounce – runs away with the song. It’s such a canny song: Big Pun’s sometimes breathless bars (that don’t bear listening to too closely) married to Joe’s smooth R&B voice. By the time you’re singing along to “Boricua/morena” with Joe, the work’s already done.

What a jam.

5. He Wasn’t Man Enough – Toni Braxton

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? From the moment Toni says his name in a husky whisper (followed by a laugh) right at the top of the song, you know you’re in for a treat. “Who do you think I am?” she asks this lesser rival. I don’t know, Toni. I DON’T KNOW.

Again, the beat is king here, as are Toni Braxton’s slinky vocals. And then comes the bridge, when he strips it back, and lets Toni fly. She soars.

A thousand hen nights rejoice.

4. What About Us – Brandy

“Darkchild…B-Rock…Let’s go.”

And then Brandy launches into an impassioned but also somehow detached verse about how her man’s done her wrong, and should “close the door behind you”, but also, how about all these broken promises? “What about us?” she implores.

This is made for dancing with your girls at a house party, after too much food and drinks, when you’re skirting the line between genuine heartbreak and trying to just shake it off.

3. Top Of The World – Brandy

I was 16 when this came out, and it is so good I developed a crush on Ma$e. MA$E! That’s how good this is.

The drums are ridiculous, and Brandy pours her honeyed gospel voice all over it. It sounds exactly like a song a teenager would sing (Brandy was 19), except this teen was a huge-selling pop star to boot. “My life is real so please don’t get it twisted/Problems the same and got to be dealt with/These are the things I wish you knew”.

By the time Ma$e comes back for his verse at the end, Brandy’s “top of the world” refrain is permanently etched on our brains. “Slow down, Ma$e – you killin ‘em,” she instructs coolly.

Too late. This is perfect.

2. It’s Not Right But It’s Okay – Whitney Houston

Whitney’s voice was not what it used to be by this 1999 album, but you couldn’t tell when she damn near snarled out the first line of this: “Friday night/you and your boys went out to eat…” And then right after she talks about finding his credit card receipt, the beat kicks in, bringing with it the chorus (of women): “It’s not right, but it’s okay/I’m gonna make it anyway”.

It doesn’t matter if your partner is the height of loveliness and attention, after hearing this song, you’re going to pick a fight when they get home.

Everything is just spare enough in order to amplify the simmering rage of the lyrics. This is The Lick. One of his finest.

A+.

1. The Boy Is Mine – Monica and Brandy

That hazy keyboard opening is like the harp effect in the dream sequence on a teen sitcom; it is also the start of perfection that doesn’t let up for four minutes.

It’s unequivocally his greatest, right? His work with Brandy always seemed a cut above the rest, and this is their finest collaboration. There are no missteps; it’s all killer, no filler. A duet that favours no one singer, and everyone on their A game.

What. A. Song.

These 10 Mythical Animals Who Went From Legend To Reality.

Cryptozoology is the study of “hidden” animals whose existence has been rumored… but not exactly proven. Notable examples include Bigfoot, The Loch Ness Monster and The Jersey Devil. But don’t write them off jokes just yet. Just like them, these 10 real-life animals started out as laughable legends that would earn you raised eyebrows (or a padded cell) for stories of spying them out in the wild. This’ll make you think twice before rolling your eyes the next time your crazy uncle starts talking about finding the elusive “El Chupacabra.”

Devil Bird: Also known as “ulama,” Sri Lankan folklore believed its shrieking wails were an omen of death. The existence was written off by scientists until 2001 when they identified the spot-bellied eagle owl and noted several matching characteristics, including its shriek.

Ziphius: Medieval legend described this “water owl” as having a wedge shaped beak and massive wide eyes and was claimed to have attacked ships in northern seas. Likely inspired by what we know today as Cuvier’s Beaked Whale.

Bondegezou: The Moni people of Western Indonesia dubbed this marsupial the “man of the forests” due to its resembling a small man covered in black and white fur. In 1994, scientists confirmed it as a new species known as dingiso and it’s still difficult to catch them in action.

Kangaroo: If you didn’t know what a kangaroo was, you wouldn’t believe it when friends returned from Australia telling you they saw creatures with “heads of deer that stood upright like men and hopped like frogs” either.

Platypus: The infamously ridiculous looking monotreme was considered a hoax when first discovered in the late 1700s.

Sea Serpent: Stories of these terrifying sea creatures have been nightmare fuel for years, but they likely stem from sightings of the rare oarfish which typically dwell much deeper in the ocean.

Komodo Dragon: Pearl fisherman claiming to spot these large land lizards were laughed at in the early 1900s until scientists finally made an expedition in 1926 and saw for themselves.

Mountain Gorilla: Before the 1900s, stories about monstrous “ape-men” in East Africa were received with a heavy dose of skepticism. Today, less than 500 of the docile herbivores remain in existence due to poaching and civil unrest.

Okapi: Known as the “African unicorn,” it isn’t quite as mythical as its namesake and resembles a cross between a giraffe, donkey and zebra.

Giant Squid: This “kraken” was bumped up from legend-status when several carcasses were found on beaches of Labrador and Newfoundland in the 1870s.

(via Listverse.) Can you imagine going to the zoo and saying hey to Bigfoot before heading to the Komodo dragon exhibit? If this proves anything, it’s that proof isn’t everything! Share with your friends using the link below!

Hundreds line up for Michael Brown funeral; father appeals for calm

http://twitter.com/#!/VictorCNN/status/503889753008508928
http://twitter.com/#!/TheAPJournalist/status/503889925390204929

Michael Brown’s funeral begins at 10 a.m. Central time this morning. Hundreds have already lined up. Mourners are mingling with media and law enforcement officers. Missouri Highway Patrol chief Ron Johnson is also on scene.

http://twitter.com/#!/whas11Alex/status/503890014192021505
http://twitter.com/#!/JennaHanchard/status/503897394732597248
http://twitter.com/#!/Mike_Colombo/status/503894392353357824

Look, it’s media hound Jesse Jackson:

http://twitter.com/#!/Mike_Colombo/status/503892655588532224

Michael Brown’s father appeals for calm.

http://twitter.com/#!/benitalevin/status/503900124717015040

Let’s hope.

Australian cities ordered to evacuate due to flooding

http://twitter.com/#!/EleniPsaltis/status/177633942910935041

Australian Broadcasting Company Emergency Alert:

Several communities across southern NSW and North East Victoria have been evacuated. Nathalia residents have been told to evacuate immediately due to levee concerns. Residents down from Jerrara Dam have been warned of possible dam failure. Forbes has been cut into three, while Griffith and surrounds are preparing for floodwater. There are many flood watches and warnings current.

Flooding has continued for at least a week now and according to local reports, residents are resisting leaving their homes.

The SES is about to issue an evacuation alert for the town of Nathalia.can't force people to evacuate but they strongly advise it

— Cassandra Bedwell (@CassandraBedwel) March 8, 2012

http://twitter.com/#!/CassandraBedwel/status/177535560213204992

Nathalia residents refuse to evacuate, as the levee holds back the rising tide. #tennews

— Sandra Sully (@Sandra_Sully) March 8, 2012

A photo from Flickr shows an overhead shot of football grounds completely flooded near Victoria, Australia.

Nathalia Flood

And a local photographer in the area sent these two updates out (with photos attached to each update).

@theheraldsun Highway heading north out of Nathalia, Victoria http://t.co/ykYeesU5

— Chris Scott (@chrisscottpix) March 8, 2012

@theheraldsun The levee wall in place at Nathalia, Victoria http://t.co/dB2hG6RU

— Chris Scott (@chrisscottpix) March 8, 2012

Flooding is forcing at least 13,000 people out of their homes, according to local reports. So far, with no end in sight.