[links] Link salad head back west

The unbearable loss of words

Dear 16 year old me — A video about malignant melanoma. (Via David Ivory.)

Mercedes apologizes for using Che Guevara image — Using a mass murderer to sell cars. Classy.

Great Science FraudsScience is not known for drama, except when a researcher commits fraud.

New Storage Device Is Very Small, at 12 Atoms

NASA able to observe a long time ago, in newly found galaxies far, far awayResearchers used NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to find five tiny but bright galaxies clustered together 13.1 billion light-years from Earth.

Saturn’s Iapetus: Painted Moon

Exosaturn — Discovering a ring system around a planet orbiting a distant star. Wow.

How Do Iraqis View the Effects of the Iraq War? — Ahem.

Uncompassionate ConservatismThe point isn’t necessarily that Romney has lived in privilege all his life; so did FDR. It’s his apparent inability or unwillingness to imagine what it’s like for those less privileged, his complete failure to try, even in his imagination, walking in someone else’s shoes that stands out. This echoes a point I’ve made a number of times in the past is that the contemporary incarnation of conservatism involves a failure of both empathy and imagination. (Via David Goldman.)

?otd: How many of you have never flown in an airplane?


1/13/2012
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (not enough time)
Body movement: Airport walking to come.
Hours slept: 6.5 (fitful)
Weight: n/a
Currently reading: Lion’s Blood by Steven Barnes

3 thoughts on “[links] Link salad head back west

  1. Cora says:

    About the Mercedes ad, it’s a classic case of the cultural divide between the US and Europe. I drive a Mercedes, so I got an brochure with the Che Guevara ad from them a while back (which means it’s not a new ad, but was already run in Germany). I glanced at the brochure and tossed it out and never even gave the ad a second thought. I certainly didn’t think it was grossly inappropriate.

    In Europe, Cuba is viewed as a cool holiday destination and Che Guevara as the revolutionary icon whose image adorned dozens of bedroom walls back in 1968. However, the US is still hung up over the Cuban revolution more than 50 years later, still has a trade embargo against Cuba in place, has a very vocal community of Cuban expats, plus the US population has been exposed to a steady bombardment of messages equaling communism with evil and Cuba with communism without ever properly explaining what communism is (hence all of those Obama is a communist claims from the US right). So in Europe that ad broadcast an image of exoticism and revolutionary romanticism. In the US it evokes associations of evil communist enemy.

    I actually agree that the ad is stupid, if only because it seems to have escaped Daimler’s ad people that Che Guevara was a communist and therefore not likely to be well inclined towards a capitalist corporation like Daimler Benz. And the ad certainly shouldn’t have run in the US, simply because the Che Guevara image evokes the wrong associations there. It’s also a case of really bad market research.

    However, Dieter Zetsche being forced to apologize for the ad leaves a bad taste in my mouth. American cultural taboos and values are just that, an American phenomenon. They are not universal. That ad already ran in Germany and probably elsewhere and was not considered offensive. So why should American cultural values and taboos trump everybody else’s? Especially since Americans hardly ever apologize for accidentally hitting somebody else’s cultural buttons or violating somebody else’s cultural taboos.

    Sorry if I come down a bit hard on this, but this is the second time this week where a German person or company was forced to apologize for violating some American cultural taboo, even though the offending object is not considered offensive in Germany.

    1. Cora says:

      Finally, I wonder what the people who thought the Mercedes ad was offensive would have made of this TV commercial which aired in Germany about a year or two ago. The commercial is for Dacia, a Romanian car manufacturer now owned by Renault. And Romanians probably know more about the realities of communism than the average outraged American.

    2. Jay says:

      I don’t see it as US-European divide. I’ve never understood the popularity of Che as a counterculture figure. He led death squads in Cuba and elsewhere, was a bloody-handed murderer. That’s what I object to, not his politics per se.

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