Flight Papers

feminism and creativity, art, madness, and play

Archive for June, 2008

Rape is a war crime.

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

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Yellow ribbon. Caption: 'our troops rape'

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously declared that rape is a weapon of war. My first thought upon hearing this was “yay!” My second thought was that perhaps “yay” is not the right response to anything pertaining to rape; in any event, thinking about the news even now stirs a dull pang of hope.

Reiterating deep concern that, despite its repeated condemnation of violence against women and children in situations of armed conflict, including sexual violence in situations of armed conflict, and despite its calls addressed to all parties to armed conflict for the cessation of such acts with immediate effect, such acts continue to occur, and in some situations have become systematic and widespread, reaching appalling levels of brutality,United Nations Security Council Resolution 1820

This shouldn’t be shocking or mind-blowing. Perhaps my response is a result of setting the bar so low that even the shoddiest expression of respect for women’s autonomy can’t help but trip over it. But it is shocking. Mind-blowing. All in the most fantastic way. The articles read ever-so-slightly like dispatches from an alternate universe, one where the UNSC is a powerful force for improving human rights, where rape is non-controversially regarded as systemic, institutionalized, and oppressive, where the U.S. Secretary of State, a black woman, says things like, “We cannot forget as we examine this issue other women activists who struggle for freedom under violent environments,” and “As an international community we have a special responsibility to punish perpetrators of sexual violence who are representatives of international organisations.”

International organisations. Like, for example, the U.N.

Or the U.S. military.


Vagrant Stories.

Friday, June 13th, 2008

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You worked to realize an exceptional dream.

…Name the dream.

Your work violated the order.

…Name your crime.

The violation threatened powerful people or things.

…Name what and who you threatened.

You were punished for your crimes.

…Name the punishment.

Your dream was not destroyed, but changed.

…Say what you lost.

You work to realize an exceptional nightmare.

…Name the nightmare.

Through these trials, you have found:

A Heart, to tell the clean from the damned,

Your Heart is rooted in nightmare. Say what it is.

Claws, to ensnare the unworthy,

Your Claws take something that cannot be returned, or offer something that cannot be repaid. Name the thing.

Tongues to speak their true shapes,

Your Tongues grew in your punishment. Name the lie that they cannot say.

A Maw, to consume them.

Your Maw is lined with sharp teeth. Name the power you hold over those lesser than you.

Your name is not for you to decide. The others will name you.

Next up: the city.

What’s in a name?

Friday, June 6th, 2008

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I did not choose to turn this blog into a collection of not-well-selected links to—unsurprisingly—airlines.

You may (or may not) have noticed some DNS hiccups here. Specifically, I let the registration almost lapse. The issues are resolved, I think, and I’m set up for automatic re-registration, so it shouldn’t happen again. Hopefully.

That brief brush with pain made me think about how totally fucked ICANN’s whole DNS registration policy is right now. There’s a loophole in their policies which lets anyone register a domain name and return it within three days or less for a full refund. The idea seems to have been that most people wouldn’t want to continually return and re-register a domain they actually wanted to keep, and that no registrar would be willing to put up with the paperwork anyway.

Except, of course, there are thousands of registrars, and some of them are assholes.

So what happens is, when a domain registration lapses, some registrar will lap it up as soon as possible, and plaster it with ads. (They’ll do this for all the other top level domains of an already-registered domain, too.) And then, just before the tasting period is up, they’ll drop the registration, and if there have been any hits—or sometimes if there haven’t—they’ll re-register the domain.

They can keep doing this forever.

What this means is: if your registration lapses into the public pool for even a day, you’re screwed. One of these registrars will grab it and squat on it with ads forever. You can buy it back from them, of course, for hundreds of times the going rate. Or, you can get a new domain name, and try to get the word out that your old one has become a cesspool of penis enlargement scams.

(ICANN could fix this, of course, just by dropping the tasting period, and possibly by making lapsed domain names more expensive for anyone who isn’t the original registrar to grab. If it costs even the nominal registration fee of $5 to “taste” a domain, speculation isn’t worth it anymore. ICANN, of course, is not exactly known for their responsiveness to community concerns, let alone those that don’t impact large corporations terribly much. Who knows if this will ever get addressed.)

He is an expert, after all.

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

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Is Lost’s Island Electromagnetic Enough to Move Itself Through Space? Time-Travel Expert Says It’s Not Impossible.

Well, thank goodness. I was wondering about the plausibility of moving an island through an artificially-created wormhole, but if an expert—especially an expert in that vaunted and well-founded field of time travel—thinks it’s possible, then I am TOTALLY ON BOARD.

I’ve been slumping into illness, hence posts being a bit sporadic of late. The blitzkrieg seems to be working, however, so I should be on my posting feet again soon.