Women in Iran taking off the hijab

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Click to visit “My Stealthy Freedom”

Women across Iran are posting photos of themselves without the hijab to a dedicated Facebook page called “My Stealthy Freedom”…The Facebook page was set up just over a week ago, and already has 130,000 “likes”. Almost all are from people in Iran, both men and women.

So far the page has around 150 photos. They show women on the beach, on the street, in the countryside, alone, with friends or their partners – but crucially – all without the headscarf. Most include a few words, for example: “I loathe the hijab. I too like the feel of the sun and the wind on my hair. Is this a big sin?”

Ever since the Islamic Revolution 35 years ago, it has been illegal for a woman to leave the house without wearing a headscarf. The punishment ranges from a fine to imprisonment. “My hair was like a hostage to the government,” says Masih Alinejad, an Iranian political journalist who lives in the UK and who set up the Facebook page. “The government still has a lot of hostages,” she adds.

Alinejad got the idea after she posted some photos of herself without the hijab to her own Facebook page. The images were liked thousands of times. So many women began to send her their own pictures that she decided to set up a dedicated page. Though she’s well-known for being critical of the government in Iran, she insists the page is not political. “These are not women activists, but just ordinary women talking from their hearts…”

The hijab is a controversial issue in Iran. A recent billboard campaign reminding women to cover themselves up, was mocked on social media for comparing women to chocolates in a wrapper. But many support the wearing of the hijab, arguing it’s an important part of Islamic law – there was a demonstration in Tehran last week, with protesters calling for a more strict implementation of the rules.

Letting religion order your clothing, your nutrition – or lack thereof – is absurd. I can’t say much more than that because this is the kind of question I sorted out well before I left my teens. That was a very long time ago.

So, folks who get hung up into deep discussions about the flavors that differentiate religion really aren’t getting a whole boatload of commentary from me. Difficult enough restraining my native crankiness. 🙂

Thanks #BBCtrending

Dating show contestant reveals he killed former partners

A man who appeared on a Turkish television dating show shocked the audience by revealing he had murdered his former wife and a former lover.

Sefer Calinak, 62, told Flash TV’s Luck of the Draw he had served prison sentences for both murders and had been released under an amnesty programme…

Calinak was asked to leave the show by the host, in an episode that made headlines in Turkish newspapers.

He explained that he had murdered his first wife – also his cousin – out of jealousy.

He said he then killed his subsequent lover accidentally, “when I swung an axe”.

In an interview after the show, the man vowed not to kill his next partner.

A reminder that while a lot of American TV sucks, there’s always someone in the world ready to produce something even worse! 🙂

Plant discovered in the Philippines that eats nickel for a living

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Scientists from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños have discovered a new plant species with an unusual lifestyle — it eats nickel for a living — accumulating up to 18,000 ppm of the metal in its leaves without itself being poisoned, says Professor Edwino Fernando, lead author of the report. Such an amount is a hundred to a thousand times higher than in most other plants. The study was published in the open access journal PhytoKeys.

The new species is called Rinorea niccolifera, reflecting its ability to absorb nickel in very high amounts. Nickel hyperaccumulation is such a rare phenomenon with only about 0.5-1% of plant species native to nickel-rich soils having been recorded to exhibit the ability. Throughout the world, only about 450 species are known with this unusual trait, which is still a small proportion of the estimated 300,000 species of vascular plants.

The new species, according to Dr Marilyn Quimado, one of the lead scientists of the research team, was discovered on the western part of Luzon Island in the Philippines, an area known for soils rich in heavy metals.

“Hyperacccumulator plants have great potentials for the development of green technologies, for example, ‘phytoremediation’ and ‘phytomining’,” explains Dr Augustine Doronila of the School of Chemistry, University of Melbourne, who is also co-author of the report.

Phytoremediation refers to the use of hyperacccumulator plants to remove heavy metals in contaminated soils. Phytomining, on the other hand, is the use of hyperacccumulator plants to grow and harvest in order to recover commercially valuable metals in plant shoots from metal-rich sites.

Cripes. You could spend your whole scientific life on just one plant like this. Imagine the possibilities!

Thanks, Mike

$100,000 goes unclaimed — judge awards it to janitor who turned it in

An Australian magistrate ruled that a janitor in Sydney can keep most of the $100,000 in Australian currency he found while cleaning the bathroom of a television station in Sydney. The ruling came three years after Chamindu Amarsinghe found the money in a sanitary bin.

“There was too much to count,” Amarsinghe told an Australian news team. “I thought someone was playing a prank on me. But when I touched the notes, all yellow and green, I realized it was real money.”

I just thought, ‘That’s not my money, so I can’t take it away. I don’t know what the hell this money is doing here.'” He added, “Someone could have put it there and planned to come back for it. I didn’t want them to come back for it and find it gone and them come after me.

Despite criminal investigations and charges into the money’s origins, little is known of where it came from and no owner has come forward to claim the cash. Unable to determine where the money came from, Magistrate Michael Smith felt it was best left in the hands of the man who found it, saying “There’s no reason why such honesty should go unrewarded.”

Amarsinghe has moved to New Zealand where he is studying for a career in information technology…”I just want to spend my life in a normal way, find a job in IT and carry out that dream,” he said. “I’m really, really lucky. I’m not going to waste it.”

Although unsure what he’ll do with the money, Amarsinghe plans to donate a portion of it to the disabled and a portion to a Buddhist temple outside of Melbourne.

Bravo. Truly a pleasure to read of an honest man – and sensible.

Reminds me of a Palestinian I worked with in a factory back East. He hit the lottery in Palestine and used the money to bring his family to the United States where he studied and qualified for a solid industrial trade. Had enough money left over to send his daughters to college.