A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘social networking

[META] What blogs do you read?

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What blogs do you read?

Let me know in the comments. I like coming across new things.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 29, 2015 at 3:54 am

Posted in Meta, Writing

Tagged with , , ,

[BRIEF NOTE] On being out in an uneven Ashley Madison future

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Either very late last night or very early this morning, I was reminded of some consequences of the Ashley Madison data breach when Andrew from Facebook shared a Twitter update from one Adam Kushner. Tushnet shared the panicked Reddit post of an anonymous Saudi on Reddit who used Ashley Madison to hook up with other guys outside of his native country, and who now found himself scrambling to flee before he was arrested and executed. Things seem to be getting less bad at him, at least judging by his updates, but he is still left scrambling.

I am from a country where homosexuality carries the death penalty. I studied in America the last several years and used Ashley Madison during that time. (For those of you who haven’t been following the story, Ashley Madison has been hacked and its users’ names and addresses are on the verge of being exposed.) I was single, but used it because I am gay; gay sex is punishable by death in my home country so I wanted to keep my hookups extremely discreet. I only used AM to hook up with single guys.

Most of you are Westerners in countries that are relatively liberal on LGBT issues. For those of you who are older–try to think back to a time 10 or 20 years again when homosexuality was intensely stigmatized. Multiply that horrible feeling of stigma by a million, and add the threat of beheading/stoning. That’s why I used AM to have discreet encounters.

I BEG you all to spread this message. Perhaps the hackers will take notice of it, and then, I can tell them to (at the very least) exercise discretion in their information dump (i.e. leave the single gay arab guy out of it). As of now, I plan on leaving the Kingdom and never returning once I have the $ for a plane ticket. Though I have no place to go, no real friends, and no job.

UPDATE: I have gotten enough money to get car to Riyadh and a plane ticket to the US. I got a PM from a redditor who is in the Kingdom and a paralegal at a a major US law firm with an office in Riyadh (I will be traveling there this weekend). The firm’s has a big pro bono practice that specializes in refugees! And it is very pro LGBT; tor he redditis going to arrange for me to meet with an associate to explain my association. It appears I’m in good hands. I will let you all know more soon! It looks like I’ll be out of here in a few days with a concrete plan of action.

UPDATE: A bunch of people are accusing me of lying because ‘AM is only for married people.’ AM is actually about “discreet hookups,” and hence its main appeal is to married people, since premarital sex isn’t stigmatized in the West. But it also appeals to gays from regressive cultures, and their website has an option specifically for gays, as you can figure out if you do 5 minutes of research.

The idiots who claim I’m lying are projecting from personal experience, and forgetting that, for many gay people around the world, being outed is a life-threatening experience. The risks for us are greater than the risks for married Westerners cheating on their spouses. That’s why AM’s promise of discretion appeals to us. (Seriously, you think that there are no gay Muslims on there out of 37 million users?) In any case, that people would accuse me of being a liar on the basis of no evidence–at a time when I stand a serious chance of being tortured, murdered, or exiled–makes me pessimistic about humanity.

See also here.

Right now, I am tapping put this blog post while drinking a beer on a nice rooftop patio on Church Street. I am out, I am comfortably out, and I am now at a point where I cannot imagine not being out. It goes without saying that I cannot imagine a situation eatI be destroyed by others, literally and physically. I never feared that in my worst-case imagining before I came out. I simply cannot imagine that, and am so sorry other face this even now.

Do ding out that the hypocrisy of one-time American Christian poster boy Josh Duggar was a massive hypocrite was nice, I suppose. Then again, we knew that already, and we knew that when he was dealing with actual victims. (His young sisters were not consenting adults by any stretch.) Was an unneeded confirmation of this man’s hypocrisy actually needed, especially at such a cost to this man and others?

This also illuminates the ethical weaknesses of our current global society, the interactions of its inhabitants increasingly enabled by global networks even as the cultures of these particants remain divergent. In Canada, it would barely be worthy of mention if I was to hook up with guys using Ashley Madison. Canada, though, is not the world. William Gibson’s famous statement about the future being here already but unevenly distributed has taken on a new meaning for me tonight.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 22, 2015 at 1:52 am

[LINK] “Saudi Businesswomen Tap Instagram to Bypass Men, Attract Clients”

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At Bloomberg, Deema Almashabi and Vivian Nereim report how Saudi businesswomen make use of Instagram to build their own commercial networks, bypassing their society’s misogyny.

If she had chosen the traditional route to opening her accessories business in Jeddah, Rozana al-Daini would have had to enlist a male sponsor to represent her before government agencies and sign official documents on her behalf.

Instead, she sells jewelry, watches and wallets on Instagram, where Saudi businesswomen can avoid the gender restrictions they face in the kingdom. Her two-year-old business, Accessories_ar, has two employees, 67,000 followers and handles up to 25 orders a day. It also provides her with the ultimate empowerment: her own income.

“I can solve any problems or difficulties, financial or otherwise, without the interference of family members,” al-Daini, 20, said by phone.

Al-Daini is one of a growing number of Saudi women turning to Instagram to start businesses, gain market share and skirt limitations in a country where women can’t drive and often need the intervention of a male guardian. They are part of an informal economy, and aren’t counted in the 48 percent growth in the number of employed Saudi women to almost 806,000 between 2010 and 2014.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 20, 2015 at 7:29 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Claus Vistesen of Alpha Sources notes that though the stock market might be peaking, we don’t know when.
  • blogTO warns that Toronto might consider a bid for the 2024 Olympics.
  • James Bow thinks about Ex Machina.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly looks forward to her impending visit to Maine.
  • Centauri Dreams features an essay by Michael A.G. Michaud looking at modern SETI.
  • Crooked Timber finds that even the style of the New York intellectuals of the mid-20th century is lacking.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that a search for superjovians around two nearby brown dwarfs has failed.
  • The Dragon’s Tales considers the flowing nitrogen ice of Pluto.
  • Geocurrents compares Chile’s Aysén region to the Pacific Northwest.
  • Joe. My. God. shares the new Janet Jackson single, “No Sleeep”.
  • Language Log looks at misleading similarities between Chinese and Japanese words as written.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money argues that the low-wage southern economy dates back to slavery.
  • Marginal Revolution is critical of rent control in Stockholm and observes the negative long-term consequences of serfdom in the former Russian Empire.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes how Jamaica is tearing down illegal electrical connections.
  • Savage Minds considers death in the era of Facebook.
  • Towleroad looks at how the Taipei city government is petitioning the Taiwanese high court to institute same-sex marriage.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy argues restrictive zoning hurts the poor.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at how Tatarstan bargains with Moscow, looks at Crimean deprivation and quiet resistance, considers Kazakh immigration to Kazakhstan, and argues Russian nationalist radicals might undermine Russia itself.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • The Big Picture shares photos relating to the restoration of Cuban-American relations.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly talks about why she uses Twitter.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a study noting the sulfur-rich environment of protostar HH 212.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports a Chinese plan to develop a mixed fission/fusion reactor.
  • Language Log notes an example of Chinese writing in pinyin without accompanying script.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen notes the importance of Kevin Kwan’s novels about Chinese socialites.
  • Language Hat reports on an effort to save the Nuu language of South Africa.
  • Languages of the World reports on Urum, the Turkic language of Pontic Greeks.
  • Discover‘s Out There reports on the oddities of Pluto.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla explains why the New Horizons data from Pluto is still being processed.
  • Spacing Toronto reports from a Vancouver porch competition.
  • Towelroad notes a married gay man with a child denied Communion at his mother’s funeral.
  • Window on Eurasia notes racism in Russia, looks at Tajikistan’s interest in the killing of its citizens in Russia, suggests Belarus is on the verge of an explosion, and examines Mongolian influence in Buryatia.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly wonders who we should trust.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the discovery of Kepler-138b, a Mars-sized exoplanet orbiting a red dwarf star.
  • Cody Delistraty considers whether language influences morality.
  • Geocurrents’ Martin Lewis shares different scenarios for the breakup of Nigeria.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the oppression of women workers.
  • Marginal Revolution argues that there is a skills shortage in the American economy and is in favour of the TPP trade agreement.
  • Steve Munro shares plans for TTC improvement.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes how Russia’s neighbours see it as a greater or lesser threat.
  • Torontoist and Transit Toronto react to the extension of cell service into the subways.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how Ukrainian Baptists in the Donbas resist Russian influence and argues that Russian militarization will ultimately hurt Russians.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly comes out in favour of not trying to lead the life of an overachiever.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper noting the extent to which circumstellar habitable zones are influenced by the evolution of their stars.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers the sociology of summer vacations. Who gets to take one?
  • Language Hat notes the complexities of Unicode.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the sweatshops of Argentina.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla shares the latest pictures of Pluto while Jason Davis shares the first photos taken from the interior of the Society’s solar sail.
  • Towleroad notes Caitlyn Jenner’s outpouring of support on Twitter.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the practical collapse of federalism in Russia.
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