Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘cities/geography’ Category


BREAKING: Burning Man Now For 10 Days

Gates open at 10am Sunday, and close Tuesday. Thanks to Rockstar Librarian for this:

bm line2014 Gate opens at 10AM Sunday and exodus Gate closes at 12PM Tuesday. This is a BLM one year experiment. Heard it straight from Topless Deb on the greeters announce email list. 

Here’s the full email message I received moments ago: 
*When Does the Black Rock City Gate Open? The Answer May Shock You!*

In 2014, through coordination with the BLM, we will be opening the Black Rock City Gate to participants earlier and closing it later in order to maximize use of daylight hours, minimize traffic impacts on local roads, smooth out traffic flow, and create a safer travel situation for everybody. This is a one-year experiment, and if it goes well, it could mean we continue it in the future.

This year we have approval from BLM to open the Black Rock City Gate for Burning Man participants at 10am on Sunday, August 24. NO early arrivals are allowed before that time without an Early Arrival Pass!

The event itself officially starts at 6pm Sunday, August 24, and it’s expected that participants use the earlier arrival time as opportunity to set up their camp infrastructure during the day. The event officially ends at 6pm on Monday, September 1, 2014, after which people are expected to start breaking down their camps, conduct Leave No Trace efforts, and prepare to depart the city.

This year we have authorization from BLM to allow Exodus to extend through Tuesday, September 2 at noon, allowing for a safe and smooth egress period. So if the line of cars in Exodus is too long, and your schedule allows, you may want to wait in your camp. Use the extra time to rest for the drive, secure your vehicle loads, MOOP your campsite, or your block. Plan accordingly so that you’re out of the city by Tuesday at noon.

Remember, this is one-year experiment by the BLM and Burning Man to help ease the traffic backups on entry and Exodus. If everyone works together and is off the playa by noon Tuesday, we will look at continuing the extended opening and departure in future years. Help us smooth out the traffic flow!


The 63 differences between British and American English

Posted 3 days ago by Jessica Brown

America and Britain have a lot more in common than their special relationship. Remember when our leaders held hands that one time?

One thing that’s vastly different though, is how we implement the English language.

It was perhaps best summed up by the comedy god Eddie Izzard:


Here’s the infographic, put together by Grammar Check.


Picture: Grammar Check


Some are obvious, like autumn and fall, but others are a lesser known – such as cooker and stove, lorry and truck and queue and line.



Picture: Grammar Check


Memorise (or memorize) these before any holidays to one country or the other in order to avoid any confusion – because there’s a lot of potential for that to happen.

Then you can sit and enjoy your biscuits/cookies in the privacy of your rented flat/apartment after you’ve hit the pavements/sidewalks and visited the shops/stores.



Picture: Grammar Check


More: The difference between the US and UK – in 20 photos


Laughing at Auschwitz – in 1944

SS auxiliaries poses at a resort for Auschwitz personnel

The photos were taken between May and December 1944, and they show the officers and guards of the Auschwitz relaxing and enjoying themselves — as countless people were being murdered and cremated at the nearby death camp.

In some of the photos, SS officers can be seen singing. In others they are hunting and in another a man can be seen decorating a Christmas tree in what could only be described as a holiday in hell.

The album also contains eight photos of Josef Mengele — some of the very few existing snapshots taken of the concentration camp’s notorious doctor during the time he spent there.


Helferinnen, in wool skirts and cotton blouses, listen to the accordion and eat blueberries, which Karl Hoecker had served to them.

Helferinnen, in wool skirts and cotton blouses, listen to the accordion and eat blueberries, which Karl Hoecker had served to them. source
Jun 4, 2016

Laughter lines the faces of camp staff as they prepare for a sing-song
The images are significant because there are few photos available today of the “social life” of the SS officers who were responsible for the mass murder at Auschwitz.
These are the first leisure time photos of the concentration camp’s SS officers to be discovered, though similar images do exist for other camps, including Sachsenhausen, Dachau and Buchenwald.
The album belonged to Karl Höcker, the adjutant to the final camp commandant at Auschwitz, Richard Baer.
Höcker took the pictures as personal keepsakes. Prior to its liberation by the Allies, Höcker fled Auschwitz. After the war, he worked for years, unrecognized, in a bank.
But in 1963 he was forced to answer to charges for his role at Auschwitz at a trial in Frankfurt. In his closing words in the trial, Höcker claimed: “I had no possibility in any way to influence the events and I neither wanted them to happen nor took part in them. I didn’t harm anyone and no one died at Auschwitz because of me.”
In the end, though, he was convicted on charges of aiding and abetting the murders of 1,000 Jews and was sentenced to seven years in prison. He was released after serving five years. In 2000, he died at the age of 88.

The photos were made public by the United States National Holocaust Museum in Washington. The museum obtained the photos from a retired US Army intelligence officer, who came across the album in an apartment in Frankfurt and has now given them to the museum.

“These unique photographs vividly illustrate the contented world they enjoyed while overseeing a world of unimaginable suffering,” museum director Sara Bloomfield said in a statement.

“They offer an important perspective on the psychology of those perpetrating genocide.” The director of the museum’s photographic reference collection, Judith Cohen, said there are no photos depicting anything abhorrent, “and that’s precisely what makes them so horrible.”

Continued on page 2

Fled from Reqqa of Daesh?

After fleeing from Daesh-controlled Raqqa, several groups of Syrians speak about the ways in which Daesh distorts the minds of children living under its control and restricts civilians’ access to the outside world. (Daesh is bribing to get in fresh refugee kids)

In late October, the Global Coalition managed to speak to 6 men and 6 women who had just escaped to Turkey. This was an opportunity to gain important information about the way the civilian population is treated in the city, but also to hear the inhabitants’ hopes.

Having lived through the atrocities of living under Daesh, these civilians yearn for a better future for Raqqa. Above all else, these men and women expressed their desire for justice, freedom of information and a normal education for their children.

The thirst for good governance

Raqqa was taken by Daesh in January 2014. Despite almost three years of the terrorists’ brutal version of Sharia law, the civilians who managed to flee the area are already reflecting on what is necessary to bring their city back to its feet.

This begins with the liberation of the city. “Whoever comes to liberate Raqqa needs to respect all of its population, Sunnis and Kurds,” said Hashem, a young Raqqawi who recently fled the area.

The people of Raqqa are particularly eager to discuss what should come after liberation itself. “The people should rule the city, rulers should be elected by the people,” said Ali, another man from the area. (Don’t  you think that the current inhabitants of Raqqa will elect Daesh representatives if fair election is held?)

The inhabitants also have clear ideas of what they need. “We already have water and agriculture,” said Umm Hasan, a mother from Raqqa. “What we need now are schools and hospitals with qualified physicians.” she added.

What is also clear is that the people of Raqqa will need a lot of outside help to bring things back to normal. “We will need help to restore the city’s services,” said Hashem. “The Red Crescent could help with restoring medical services and international organisations can assist with rebuilding schools.” Umm Hasan added that the city would need a lot of competent people to return: qualified cadres, business people, medical staff and teachers.

The importance of free, reliable media

Three years of Daesh rule have severely curtailed access to reliable information from outside the city. Daesh’s Bayan Radio is more or less the only source of information and merely broadcasts the organisation’s propaganda.

As Ali commented, internet is very closely controlled: “When you go to an internet cafe, you are constantly monitored. The hibsa [The Daesh morality police] checks what you are doing and reports you if you browse anything you are not supposed to read under their law.”

Daesh also applies double standards. Umm Hasan’s husband was caught in possession of a TV and was condemned to pay 50,000 SYP (around $100) and to receive 32 lashes. “They say it’s illegal, but we know the members of Daesh have TVs in their homes,” Umm Hasan commented. (It is all about generating more money, under any excuse)

But the people of Raqqa say the media will be crucial to change public opinion after the liberation of their city. “People need free access to Social Media and the press,” said Hashem. “We need the media to help with reconciliation and the people who used to report the news on the ground during the war are the best placed to do that,” he added.

Help the children have a normal childhood

As in all conflicts, children are the most vulnerable. “Our children have seen bombings. They’ve had to listen to the adults talking about punishment, about beheadings and have been forced to watch public executions,” said Maha, another mother from Raqqa.

“They imitate the adults by carrying toy-weapons and by shouting things like “I will slaughter you!” when they play together,” she added.

According to the people of Raqqa, education is what will help their children forget the brainwashing they had endure in Daesh’s schools – and also the horrors of war.

“Our children need to be taught useful subjects again, like maths, physics and foreign languages like English and French,” said Maha. “But they also need parks and to enjoy their childhoods by playing together and spending time in nature,” she added. All agree that children will need time to feel normal again and to feel safe and secure.

The desire to move on and rebuild their city is indeed the central theme for the people who have fled Raqqa or any other region affected by Daesh’s brutal rule. These accounts show that even after three years of horror, the civilian population still retains the capacity to imagine a better future for their children and themselves –  and to think creatively about the necessary steps to achieve it.

Rebuilding Syria and the parts of Iraq which suffered under Daesh’s control will require listening to these voices.

Main image credit: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

Game of Thrones or game of the Roses among Princes?

Beginning around 1377, medieval England was shaken by a power struggle between two noble families, which spanned generations and involved a massive cast of characters, complex motives and shifting loyalties.

Sound familiar? Alex Gendler illustrates how the historical conflict known as the Wars of the Roses served as the basis for much of the drama in Game of Thrones.

Reine Azzi shared this link TED

The penultimate episode of Game of Thrones’ third season ended in a brutal scene of bloodletting that shocked countless unsuspecting viewers.

In what’s dubbed the Red Wedding, both Robb Stark and his mother Catelyn, two leading protagonists from a noble house already wrecked by tragedy, are viciously murdered along with their entourage while feasting in the hall of Westerosi power broker Walder Frey.

The betrayal, as Jim Poniewozik wrote, is “heartbreaking” and “horrifying.” It signals the end of the Stark war effort and, with the suddenness of its execution, leaves an emotional desolation at the heart of the Game of Thrones narrative.

It’s easy to understand the anger of so many viewers, some of whom who took to Twitter to rail against the TV show, HBO and George R.R. Martin for killing their favorite characters.

The massacre of the Starks is not only a surprise, but also an outrage.

As Martin emphasizes in his book, the Starks were guests in the Frey home — upon arrival, they ceremonially ate the Freys’ bread and salt, long considered a guarantee of protection from the host.

The treachery violates ancient customs in Martin’s fictive universe that we keenly, intuitively understand. Laws of hospitality are deeply embedded in all human societies.

In the Iliad, the primordial war epic of the West, the Greeks lay siege to Troy after the Trojan prince Paris betrays the welcome extended to him at the court of the King of Sparta by slipping away with the King’s beautiful wife Helen.

The rights of guests feature prominently in ancient Biblical scriptures, as well as in the Arthashastra, an ancient Indian treatise from roughly 250 B.C. intended as a proto-Machiavellian handbook for South Asian monarchs.

Martin himself claims to have drawn inspiration for the Red Wedding from an infamous episode in medieval Scotland.

In November 1440, the principal men of the Black Douglas clan went to dine with the young King of Scotland at the Great Hall of Edinburgh Castle. They had guarantees of safe passage. Not unlike the realms of Westeros, Scotland then was riven by feuding noble families — and the Douglases happened to be at odds with the royal court and those in league with the King.

The dinner seemed a moment for rapprochement until the following, narrated by Martin to Entertainment Weekly, happened:

Then at the end of the feast, [the King’s men] started pounding on a single drum. They brought out a covered plate and put it in front of the Earl [of Douglas] and revealed it was the head of a black boar — the symbol of death.

Most accounts describe the decapitated animal as a black bull, not a boar, but in any event, the slaughter of the Douglases that followed — dubbed the Black Dinner — is scorched into Scotland’s historical memory. Four centuries later, it stirred Sir Walter Scott to pen these lines of doggerel:

Edinburgh castle, toune, and towre,
God grant thou sink for sin;
And that e’en for the Black Dinner,
Earl Douglas gat therein.

Martin also mentions the 17th century Glencoe massacre, where dozens from the highland clan MacDonald were butchered by soldiers they had given shelter from a wintry storm. Scotland is also home, at least in lore, to Macbeth, the grasping noble who murdered his King while the latter slept in Macbeth’s castle.

The deed is a stark betrayal of both Macbeth’s obligations as a host and as a thane to the Scottish crown. In the Shakespearean play, it’s an unnatural, hideous act. Says one character of the moment of the regicide: “The obscure bird/ Clamored the livelong night./ Some say the Earth/ Was feverous and did shake.”

Of course, you ought to expect more troubles when owls start interminably hooting and a darkness falls on the land.

Ruthless, treacherous violence is rarely forgotten, both by the perpetrators and those loyal to the victims. Macbeth gets his comeuppance. And in Westeros, much more blood will be shed.

Every Single Article Ever Written About Being Gay in Beirut In One Convenient Article

ohmyhappiness Posted on November 5, 2013

It’s a dark night in Beirut, the San Francisco of the Middle East. This darkness is powerful.

It represents Beirut’s past, its present, and its bleak future. But tonight, it also represents the state of gay people in this Near Eastern city by the sea.

Hassan, whose name I have changed to protect his privacy, even though there are thousands of Ahmeds in Lebanon, is sipping on a gin and tonic, and in doing so, powerfully defies his religion. For him, having grown up in a Muslim household, religion has turned its back on him, because Hassan is gay.

A gay Muslim. In Beirut. Shocking.

Hassan tells me how hard it is to come out in Beirut.

This story is very specific to the Arab world, because everywhere else on this planet, it’s so easy to come out (Not accurate).

We are sitting in Bardo, a gay bar in Hamra. Madonna and Fairuz sing a song together, embodying the endless contrasts that the New York City of the Middle East represents.

Hassan is a graphic designer by day and a belly dancer by night, as are all Arab gay men. When he first told his parents he was gay, they were upset. His mother even cried. In this conservative country, it is the last thing a parent wants to hear.

Beirut’s tumultuous history has meant that gay people have been ostracized for years.

I will now make a comment about how war often affects gay people more, but I won’t offer any actual evidence for it. I want you to feel how much suffering these people have gone through, and I’ll use the war to make you feel bad for them. So, yeah. War is very tough on homosexuals.

Hamed Sinno, the openly gay frontman of the Lebanese band Mashrou3 Leila, is gay. His gay voice represents the entire Arab world. Through his gay songs, he captures the angst of the youth, singing about things no one gay has ever sung about in a gay way.

One of the band’s most famous songs is called “Shim el Yasmeen”, a gay song about gay love. Hamed Sinno is gay. Beirut is the Provincetown of the Middle East.

In the clumsy offices of Helem (tolerance), Samir looks up from behind his desk, surrounded by rainbow flags.

The flags, powerful symbols of gayness in the West, have now been adapted by this NGO, the first gay one of its kind in the Middle East. It’s a sign that Helem is a safe space. You almost feel like it is a safe space in the United States.

What does Helem do exactly? I did not care to find out. The mere fact that they exist was enough of a statement because, after all, it’s so hard to be gay in Beirut, the Mykonos of the Arab world.

Samir tells me about Article 534, a clause in the Penal Code (Samir doesn’t even laugh when saying “Penal”) of Lebanon that dates back to the days when Lebanon was under Ottoman control. One can imagine that every year, thousands of gays are arrested under that law. I can’t confirm or deny that number, so let’s just go with it. Samir explains that it is very hard to be gay in Beirut.

After our meeting, he takes me to a sauna on the outskirts of Beirut. On our way, we drive by buildings still riddled with bullets, a daily reminder of the war and how hard it is on homosexuals.

Samir tells me about how a few months ago, the police raided a cinema where gay men used to go to have sex.

This is horrifying in two ways.

First, how dare the police infringe on the basic human rights of a human being.

Second, how filthy Arab sexuality is, where men have sex with other men in movie theaters.

Once we get to the sauna, Samir tells me about how condoms are not used inside.

This excites me and scares me at the same time. What a delightful mix of emotions this country brings. Inside, men have sex with men in a scene out of a gay A Thousand and One Nights.

A gorgeous Lawrence of Arabia comes up to me, wearing only a towel. I have been in exactly the same situation in New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, but this one is different because of the untamed sexuality of Arab men.

Later that night, I’m walking downtown, where it is not uncommon to see military men walking around with their guns. There is no reason for me to share this fact, other than to remind you that Beirut is a terrifying place to live in. (Mind you it is 2013)

Outside Beirut, it’s a different story for gay people, but I will not write about it, because that would require actual investigative journalism, and who has time for that? I don’t. I have a plane to catch, and I still need to tell you about all the Hezbollah flags I saw on the way to the airport.

On the way to the airport, I saw lots of Hezbollah flags. Pictures of martyrs look down on you, and your wildest Arab fantasies can come to life, until your realize the horrifying fact that they would cut off your penis, or so I imagine (maybe the Druze do: they did it to a Syrian who married a Druze girls).

I get on the plane with a full understanding of what it is like to be gay in Beirut, after having spent 48 hours in this, the London of the Middle East.

There are no lesbians in Beirut. (At least officially. No one would dare publish any such investigation?)

Note: In January 2017, a judge threw out all cases related on charges to being gay

So-Called “Religious Wars” were planned decades ago?

Russia intervention in Syria is a Massive Game Changer

This index has risen at a mind-numbing rate over the years. To give you an idea of how far this index has increased since we started it almost 11 years ago, consider this:

From Feb 2005 to Jan 2006 the Index moved from 300-501.

The current reading is 5750.

When Israel attacked Lebanon, we stated that the situation was hot, and that was back in 2006. This index has been dead on regarding predicting violence, religious intolerance and the general surge of violent behaviour the world has experienced over the years.

If we could have invested money in this index all our subscribers would be millionaires by now; the same applies to the adult index below.

What is it telling us now?

We are in the maximum overdrive zone.

Nations have very little tolerance for those that try to stamp on their heads, especially governments they no longer respect.

This is a reminder for the U.S, which Russia and China no longer respect it or fear it.

In fact, we are one of the few voices that went on record to state that Russia would overtly go out of its way to challenge and attack the U.S, especially after the Ukraine incident.  We also went on to say that China would follow in Russia’s footsteps and then these two would team up to openly challenge the US.

No matter what anyone states, the U.S does not have the firepower to take on both Russia and China.

Russia, Syrian and the holy religious war

Russia gave the U.S one hour notice before it started bombing in Syria (Not believable), China has countered that they will attack the U.S if they violate what they claim are their waters in the South China Sea.  These guys are not backing down anymore. They have had it with US hegemony and failed policies that have made the world a far uglier place than it was and should be. (The Dollar and sanctions on States that displease US policies)

Russians in general, when dealing with outsiders are slow to anger. Their silence can sometimes be mistaken for being passive or nonchalant, but when you cross a certain point, the game changes.

When the U.S and Europe came into Russia’s backyard and started telling them what to do, that point was reached. The bear once activated does not back down, and it will hunt till its killed or it kills its foe.

Russia is going to challenge the U.S and every twist and turn of the road.

Next, they will challenge NATO in a more open manner and show the world that NATO is nothing but a teddy bear. NATO’s strength lies in the illusion it creates that it will help any nation that is challenged.

We would like to see just how many nations will come to help Turkey or Lithuania, or Poland or any other member of NATO if Russia challenges them. (You cannot seriously challenge a superpower when too far away by land)

More importantly, Putin is going to make the House of Saud (Saudi Kingdom) pay very dearly for their betrayal. They made a strategic error when they double crossed Russia by agreeing to take the oil markets down (even hurting themselves for decades); now they will pay the price for decades to come

We will not be surprised if they start to equip the Houthis and the Yemeni army with serious weapons to give the House of Saud a dose of their own medicine.

Without any help, the Houthis and the Yemeni Army are already a painful thorn. Things will only get worse. In fact, Putin might send bombers to Saudi Arabia if they provoke Russia enough.

The Houthis and the Yemeni Army continue to push into Saudi Kingdom (regions that Yemen ceded to the Kingdom 3 decades ago, under pressure). Full Story

Putin also decided to sell the advanced version of the S-300 to Iran, only after Saudi Arabia attacked Yemen.

Iran will be happy to take on the House of Saud, and Russia is providing them with the necessary means to do so.

One thing many forget is that despite all the stuff that is being said about  Assad, he is the only Muslim leader that has gone out of his way to protect a group of Orthodox Christians in this country, who would have been slaughtered without his intervention.

The Russian Orthodox Church asked Putin if he would step in to save the Christians of the world that are being murdered by the so-called moderate rebels the U.S seems to arm all over the Middle-East. To which Putin answered, it will be so.

For example,  the rebel group al-Nusra Front, one of the players in the region Russia is now pounding, previously overran the Christian village of Maaloula, 40 miles north of Damascus, executing three Christians and kidnapping a dozen nuns before being driven out by the Syrian army.

During the battle for that village, one Christian addressed the BBC camera operator with these chilling words: “Tell the Europeans and the Americans that we sent you St Paul 2,000 years ago to take you from the darkness, and you sent us terrorists to kill us. Full Story  

 Russia’s entering into Syria is a holy war; it is the latest crusade of our time. The Russian Orthodox Church declared this, when its senior cleric, Vsevolod Chaplin, said:

Whatever they are trying to justify terrorism with, it cannot be justified. Thus, any fight against terrorism is moral; we can even call it a holy fight. It is a holy fight to defend the brethren, to protect the holy sites and the churches in Syria.

The active position of our country has always been connected with the protection of the weak and oppressed, like the Middle East Christians who are now experiencing a real genocide. Russia’s role has always been in protecting peace and justice for all Mideast peoples.

Putin is the St. Constantine of our time, for, like that priestly king of old, he has unsheathed the holy sword of the Church to strike down the enemies of God for the cause of humanity. Russia is following the Christian precept of loving God, honouring the state, and defending the brethren. The Russians are abiding by the teachings of St. Peter,

The Middle East needs tough, ruthless leaders for it is composed of tribes that hate each other, and if left to their own devices they will devour each other.

The Middle-East was far safer and stable with Saddam, Khadaffi, Hafez Assad etc.

Now that they are gone those countries are in tatters.

This is a religious war, and the war has just escalated.

Note, that as observers, we do not take sides, we just report what the trend is dictating. Our opinion matters not and over the years we have found it easier to distance ourselves from the situation. Emotions only exacerbate the situation.

The house of Saud is in Putin’s line of fire, so expect things to truly heat up in the months to come. (The problem is: Who will succeed the Kingdom except the Wahhabi extremists?)

There is no such thing as moderate rebels, these rebels, slaughter, rape and kill Christians and Shia Muslims. There is  Sunni; there is Shia, and then there is the Wahabbi Doctrine or Sect that most Saudi’s seem to adhere to; a view that is more radical and more violent.

The Houtis, by the way, are also a branch of Shia as is Assad’s tribe.

Additional notes

Many might ask why we cover political and health issues when our primary focus in the stock markets and the financial arena.  The short and straightforward answer is that all these fields are connected; we don’t have free market forces anymore.

Everything is manipulated; from the food, you eat to data you are provided.

If you are aware of this, you can plan accordingly. Identifying the problem is over 80% of the solution, and this is why most people don’t know what to do because they don’t understand the problem. (The context of the game)

Now you know why we are the only financial website that covers such a wide array of topics that on the surface appear to be unrelated but are in fact, deeply interwoven.

Mass psychology is a very powerful tool, and if employed correctly can help you spot the abnormal levels of manipulation, the masses are subjected to. We firmly suggest that you read or view Plato’s allegory of the cave.




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