The perils of shopping for cheese while black

There is a weird story coming out of Virginia where two young black men went to a CVS store to buy some cheese and suddenly found that all the store employees had disappeared, as if they had been abducted by aliens or been raptured. They looked everywhere for them and finally the police arrived to join in the search to find that the employees had locked themselves in a back room out of fear.
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Nelson Mandela and the US media

After I watched and linked to the clip of Nelson Mandela giving Kenneth Adelman and Ted Koppel their comeuppance at an event in City College, New York during Mandela’s first visit to the US after being released from prison, I became interested in seeing more of that event and found these two clips of it. The clips are illustrative of how the US media serves the US establishment. It was more of an ambush than a town hall but Mandela turned the tables on Koppel.
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Review: Looking for Fidel (2004) and Castro and black America

Cuba is going through nine days of mourning for the death of its long time leader Fidel Castro, whose ashes will be taken around the country before being laid to rest in the same cemetery as Jose Marti, the freedom fighter who is revered through Latin America. Castro is viewed with great admiration throughout Latin America, Africa, and Asia and you can be sure that his funeral will be attended by a huge number of national leaders. Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau issued a warm statement of condolences, recalling that his father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, was a friend of Fidel’s.
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The new red scare and fake news

In the December 2016 issue of Harper’s Magazine (subscription required) , Andrew Cockburn writes about the constant threat inflation that is practiced by the US government, whipping up one scare after another in order to support the vast expenditure on new weapons system, many of which do not work and cost vastly more than originally budgeted. We had the Soviet Union and president Kennedy’s infamous ‘missile gap’ and then when that threat waned, we had the war on drugs and then the war on terror and now we are in a retro period in which Vladimir Putin and Russia are back as the new scary monster that will destroy us if we do not spend more on fighting them.
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Fidel Castro dead at 90

The revolutionary leader of Cuba has died at the ripe old age of 90, after surviving numerous attempts by successive US governments to murder him. He said on his 80th birthday that, “I’m really happy to reach 80. I never expected it, not least having a neighbour, the greatest power in the world, trying to kill me every day.” He had proven so resilient that he seemed almost immortal and so his death, even though he had been having health issues for some time, comes as a shock.
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Identifying criminals using facial features alone

The idea that criminality is not contingent on external factors like need and opportunity but that some people are intrinsically prone to be criminals based on their biology has been around for a long time and led to efforts to create all manner of metrics to determine those markers. Sam Biddle writes about a troubling new study that claims that artificial intelligence (AI) software can tell whether you will be a criminal based on your facial features alone.
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Carlsen strikes back, evens the score

World chess champion Magnus Carlsen won game 10 of his match against challenger Sergey Karjakin, evening the score at 5-5 following a marathon game that lasted 75 moves and over six hours. It looks like the toll of the tournament is wearing down the players since they each made mistakes.

Karjakin had the option of creating a draw via perpetual check at the 20th move and since he was in the lead in the 12-match series observers expected him to go for it. But he said after the game that he did not see it.

Today is a rest day.