A pair of damaged mechs sit in the blowing sands. The machines are inoperable in their current condition, and the extent of the problems will lead to one of them exploding. There’s no avoiding it. No help is coming. They cannot escape. This leaves the two femme pilots with nothing to do but talk to one another until the inevitable occurs, delving into the feelings about the events that lead them there, as well as their thoughts on the imminent end of their mortality.
. . .
Can Androids Pray is a touching look at the difficult questions we will all have to face as the end of our lives draws near. It’s a game of coming to terms with the limited shelf life our brittle frames have, and what the meaning of all of this bickering and going to work and fighting to keep the lights on can mean for us. It’s about the connections we have with ourselves and the world around us, and is a lovely contemplative work on the things we often forget in the constant demands of everyday existing.
Havard’s Dataverse project has, among other things, a downloadable dataset of “all known publicy available tweets for Donald J. Trump’s (@realdonaldtrump) Twitter account” as a JSON file.
This data was compiled from multiple sources including several online Github accounts that contained the status ids for previous tweets made by Donald Trump. All ids were compiled into a single list and then those ids were requested from Twitter’s “statuses lookup” endpoint. Tweets deleted by Donald Trump will not be in this dataset but can be obtained from the author of this publication for a subset of the time range present in this dataset. This dataset will also include the tweet information for any retweeted tweets under the “retweeted_status” key for each JSON object. The user object has been left in each tweet (both the main tweet and retweeted / quoted tweets if they exist).
On July 4, 2019, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report (400kb PDF) that point to “unusually high” levels of extrajudicial killing by Venezuelan security forces as well as use of torture by security forces.
In most cases, women and men were subjected to one or more forms of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including electric shocks, suffocation with plastic bags, water boarding, beatings, sexual violence, water and food deprivation, stress positions and exposure to extreme temperatures. Security forces and intelligence services, particularly SEBIN and DGCIM, routinely resort to such practices to extract information and confessions, intimidate, and punish the detainees. The authorities have failed to conduct prompt, effective, thorough, independent, impartial and transparent investigations into credible allegations of torture and ill-treatment, including SGBV, to bring the alleged perpetrators to justice and to provide reparation to the victims. In particular, judicial authorities have often reversed the burden of proof refusing to open investigations if the victims did not identify perpetrators. According to the Attorney-General’s Office, 72 complaints of alleged torture and other ill-treatment concerning 174 persons detained in the context of demonstrations between 2017 and 2019 have been filed. No information was provided on the status of investigation
. . .
OHCHR interviewed the relatives of 20 young men killed by FAES from June 2018 to April 2019. All described a similar modus operandi. FAES would arrive in black pickup trucks without licence plates and block access points in the area. They were dressed in black, without any personal identification, with balaclavas covering their faces. They would also carry long weapons. Families of the victims described FAES breaking into their houses, taking their belongings, and exercising gender-based violence against women and girls, including forced nudity. They would separate young men from other family members before shooting them. According to their relatives, almost all of the victims had one or more shots in the chest.
In every case, witnesses reported how FAES manipulated the crime scene and evidence. They would plant arms and drugs and fire their weapons against the walls or in the air to suggest a confrontation and to show the victim had “resisted authority”. In many cases, FAES brought the victims to hospital even though they were already dead, apparently with the intention of manipulating the bodies and modifying the crime scene. In some cases, the authorities declared that the victims were criminals before the conclusion of a formal investigation.
The authorities classify the killings resulting from security operations as “resistance to authority”. The number of these deaths is unusually high. In 2018, the Government registered 5,287 such killings,39 while the NGO “Observatorio Venezolano de la Violencia” (OVV) reported at least 7,523 killings under this category. Between 1 January and 19 May 2019, the Government reported 1,569 killings for “resistance to authority”. The OVV reported at least 2,124 of such killings between January and May 2019. Information analysed by OHCHR suggests many of these killings may constitute extrajudicial executions.
In a press release accompany the report, the UNHCHR said the Venezuelan government was engaged in a systematic effort to undermine human rights.
The report, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, states that over the last decade – and especially since 2016 – the Government and its institutions have implemented a strategy “aimed at neutralizing, repressing and criminalizing political opponents and people critical of the Government.” A series of laws, policies and practices has restricted the democratic space, dismantled institutional checks and balances, and allowed patterns of grave violations. The report also highlights the impact of the deepening economic crisis that has left people without the means to fulfil their fundamental rights to food and health, among others.
. . .
The report details how State institutions have been steadily militarized over the past decade. During the reporting period, civil and military forces have allegedly been responsible for arbitrary detentions; ill-treatment and torture of people critical of the Government and their relatives; sexual and gender-based violence in detention and during visits; and excessive use of force during demonstrations.
This human skull, found in a Romanian cave in 1941, is estimated to be about 33,000 years old. As you can notice from the picture, there are several cracks and fractures in the skull, which led researchers to wonder how they got there.
Were the fractures the result of some natural process, such as a cave in? Could the miners who found the skull have inadvertently caused the damage through explosives or mishandling? Or do the fractures tell a more sinister tale of murder?
And the answer is probably the latter.
“The distinctive [circular] depressed fracture found on the right side of the skull is unquestionably evidence that the person was struck with a blunt object, which directly implies a human agent,” says Kranioti.
Fragments of bone flecked backwards into the skull, indicating Cioclovina man was facing his attacker head-on. This is further evidence against the theory that he was killed from falling cave roof debris, the authors say.
The team then experimentally recreated the blow using artificial skulls filled with ballistic gelatin. They tested several scenarios, including falls, blows with a rock, and blows with a baseball bat to different locations. The fracture patterns found on Cioclovina man’s skull strongly resembled what happened when the artificial skulls were hit twice with a round, club-like object while against the ground.
“The linear fracture happened first and could have been either a result of a person falling from their own height – while running from someone, for example – or a result of a strike while kneeling or being on the ground,” says Kranioti.
The second fracture is clearly a result of violence, she says.
“Which means that, in modern terms, if I had to define the cause and matter of death as a forensic pathologist I would say that the person died of craniocerebral injuries (as the brain would also have been damaged from the blows) and that it was homicide.”
This entire 60 Minutes interview with Benjamin Ferencz is well worth watching.
Lesley Stahl: We’ve had Rwanda, we’ve had Bosnia. You’re not getting very far.
Benjamin Ferencz: Well, don’t say that. People get discouraged. They should remember, from me, it takes courage not to be discouraged.
Lesley Stahl: Did anybody ever say that you’re naive?
Benjamin Ferencz: Of course. Some people say I’m crazy.
Lesley Stahl: Are you naive here?
Benjamin Ferencz: Well, if it’s naive to want peace instead of war, let ’em make sure they say I’m naive. Because I want peace instead of war. If they tell me they want war instead of peace, I don’t say they’re naive, I say they’re stupid. Stupid to an incredible degree to send young people out to kill other young people they don’t even know, who never did anybody any harm, never harmed them. That is the current system. I am naive? That’s insane.
Look, I think it is great that we are at a point where people can openly talk about their mental health issues. I have suffered with anxiety and panic attacks for much of my adult life, for example, and I am pleased that this is something I can talk about openly now rather than feeling compelled to completely hide it from, say, my employer.
But at the same time, it is probably not a good idea to openly discuss how you once planned to murder someone at a public event and then commit suicide. A simple “I was in a really bad place in 2001, and a call from Jim Ross really made all the difference” was probably all Tommy Dreamer needed to say here.
“I remember I did a show there, and I saw a sign that said, ‘Guns Welcome,’ and I was in Houston,” Dreamer said, according to Uproxx. “I did an indie show, and I said, ‘What is this?’ I’m from New York, what do you mean, ‘Guns Welcome’? And they said, ‘Oh, you are allowed to bring a firearm into the venue.’ I was across the street from the Astrodome. When I tell you it resonated in my head so, so much.
“That I’ll tell you what I wanted to do. It’s sick that I think this. At WrestleMania, I was gonna hop the rail and I was gonna whack Paul E. in the back of the head right at the announce table, then I was gonna whack myself. The ultimate martyr, I was gonna hit my pose crack, boom, pull the trigger. Because I was that insane. Don’t know if I would have went through with it, but that’s what I was thinking about every day. I was like, ‘I will go down in history.’ Pop, boom. First they’d think it was an angle until I shot him. I was so severely depressed and so mental with rage, I needed help.”
A well-timed phone call from Ross helped save Dreamer from the terrifying plan.
“Randomly I get a phone call from a number I didn’t know … I didn’t pick up,” said Dreamer, who now owns the House of Hardcore promotion. “I remember having these thoughts, and it was bad. I had a gun, I was psssh, man. Could you think about the horribleness that I would have done for my legacy? I would have ruined WrestleMania, which I love, WrestleMania. For everybody. These thoughts were so, so crazed in my head. How dare that person, he screwed my parents over and I come from a mobster mentality. In my head I was like, ‘I would become infamous,’ which is famous for the wrong reason. I’m glad I didn’t do it.
“But when that phone call came from Jim Ross. Again, just said leave a message. It said, ‘Hey Tommy, it’s Jim Ross, just want to let you know we are still thinking about you, we are gonna get it done, just got to hang tight. Thank you.’”