The following points of light provided comfort in the midst of a red-eyed, gravelly-voiced Sunday:
This article, about the U.S.'s baffling, incredible criminal justice policies:
The United States—with five percent of the world’s population—houses 25 percent of the world’s inmates. Our incarceration rate (714 per 100,000 residents) is almost 40 percent greater than those of our nearest competitors (the Bahamas, Belarus, and Russia). Other industrial democracies, even those with significant crime problems of their own, are much less punitive: our incarceration rate is 6.2 times that of Canada, 7.8 times that of France, and 12.3 times that of Japan. We have a corrections sector that employs more Americans than the combined work forces of General Motors, Ford, and Wal-Mart, the three largest corporate employers in the country, and we are spending some $200 billion annually on law enforcement and corrections at all levels of government, a fourfold increase (in constant dollars) over the past quarter century.
And this one, about why AIDS is so widespread in Africa, but the 'coming epidemic' everyone has been predicting in Eastern Europe and China hasn't happened:
The cause of the AIDS crisis in Africa is what has now become known in AIDS jargon as "concurrent" relationships. Africans have about the same number of sexual partners as anyone else; they are just more likely to have more than one long-term partner at a time. Long-term relationships are much more likely to spread AIDS than one-night stands because of the low probability of a single sex act spreading the virus. Crucially, both men and women have multiple partners, in contrast to other poor societies where men may often stray but women's monogamy is jealously guarded. Western men and women are more likely to practice serial monogamy or engage in one-night stands. To oversimplify a little, Africa's AIDS tragedy is that it combines greater Western-style sexual equality for women with social norms that permit simultaneous long-term sexual relationships for both partners.
Urban Dictionary, a website to look up all that slang you see on MySpace:
Jill Off: The female version of jack off — unassisted autoerotic stimulation.
Remasculate: The opposite of emasculate. To grow one's balls back after they have been shrunken by an especially effeminate activity.
Hein: abbreviated form of "heinous" (pronounced: Hayn)
Jank: broken; unnecessarily redundant, superfluous, or meaningless; stupid or ridiculously moronic; bootleg or of questionable quality. “Fuck! This CD player I bought off Ebay is jank”
Work-hot: A person that may or may not be hot, but is the most attractive person in the set of people you work with so you lust after him/her.
Post-Potter depression: The empty feeling that comes from finishing the seventh book in the Harry Potter series and realizing there will be no more
Army of Dude, a heartbreaking Iraq blog by a Texan who has patrolling Baghdad for almost 15 months now.
"This occupation, this money pit, this smorgasbord of superfluous aggression is getting more hopeless and dismal by the second. It’s maddening to think that more than a year’s worth of blood, sweat and tears will lead to little more than a pat on the back and a hideously redundant speech from someone who did none of the bleeding, sweating or crying."
"In the future, I want my children to grow up with the belief that what I did here was wrong, in a society that doesn’t deem that idea unpatriotic."
"Despite being in a meaningless situation, my life has never had this much meaning. I watch the backs of my friends and they do the same for me."
"The building we picked used to be a whiskey distillery, and we’ve been busy putting up concrete barriers and wire around it. A house was too close to where the wall was supposed to be, so engineers blew it to smithereens and sent the family packing. The father owned the plot for forty years and comes by every so often to collect the useful bricks left scattered a hundred yards in every direction. Before he entered once, I patted his seventy year old frame down like a common criminal. Talk about community interaction."