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Gender: Female
Hometown: London
Home country: UK/Sweden
Current location: Stockholm, Sweden
Member since: Sun Jul 1, 2018, 06:25 PM
Number of posts: 23,978

Journal Archives

The Secret Island Getaway Most Canadians Have Never Heard Of

Windswept hills, secret beaches, Acadian culture, and the freshest seafood like, ever.


Alright America, huddle up. I'm about to let you in on a secret. On the east coast of Canada, smack in the middle of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, there’s an archipelago of eight islands with 186 miles of pristine red and squeaky white sand beaches, rich Acadian culture (yes, the same Acadians that migrated to Louisiana and became known as Cajuns), and truly amazing gourmet eats. I’m talking some of the best seafood, anywhere. They’re called Îles-de-la-Madeleine, or the Magdalen Islands, and they’re wildly popular among Québecois—yet few people in the rest of Canada have even heard about them. If you've read up on climate news lately—moon wobble, code red, ahh!—this stunning archipelago might not be around for too many more generations. And every year, more and more people are finding out about this pearl of the east coast (yep, thanks to stories like this one). So you’ll definitely want to plan a trip sooner rather than later.

What to know before you go

With a landmass just 20 square miles bigger than Manhattan in a gulf of water roughly the size of Minnesota, Îles-de-la-Madeleine isn’t exactly a place you’ll bump into unless, well, you’re Jacques Cartier sailing to North America in 1534. So if you want to go, you’ll need to plan ahead. Seriously, some people plan their trips two years in advance. To get there, you can fly into Îles-de-la-Madeleine Airport on the island of Île-du-Havre-Aux-Maisons, or sail about five hours on the sparkly new Madeleine II ferry from Souris, Prince Edward Island. The extra cost to bring a car aboard the ship is worth it, as there’s so much to explore, despite the archipelago being just an hour drive tip-to-tip. June to August is your best chance at great weather and when you can see the awesome sandcastle festival. But peak season is also when the islands’ adorable pastel-colored cottages, cabins, and campsites book up, so May and September might be a better bet. And yes, this is Quebec, so expect to hear mostly French with smatterings of English when necessary.

Explore secret beaches and historic lighthouses

If coming by ferry, you’ll land at Cap-aux-Meules, which has all your necessities but admittedly lacks on the charming side. For something cuter, drive south to La Grave, where Acadian refugees first landed after escaping deportation in 1755’s Grand Dérangement, when the British and French colonists butted heads over Canadian land. Today, La Grave is a cute fishing village with solid restaurants like Café de la Grave, pretty shops like Atelier Côtier where you can buy art made of sand, and the beachfront venue Au Vieux Treuil that plays music into the night. Other hubs worth checking out are L’Étang du Nord, with its boardwalk, carnival-like energy, and delicious ice cream from Cremerie du Port; Entry Island, which requires a short boat trip, has only 60 inhabitants, and grants desktop screensaver-like views from atop its biggest hill; and Île-du-Havre-aux-Maisons where you can see glass-blown jellyfish at La Méduse and the historic Cape Alright Lighthouse—built in 1928, it’s much cooler than its name suggests. As for beaches, you won’t have to look too hard. For every one of the 13,000 year-round Madelinot locals, there’s probably a different “secret” beach, but some faves are at Pointe-aux-Loups, L’Anse aux Whalers in Fatima, at the tip of La Grave’s long and skinny sand dune, and Dune-du-Sud on Havre-aux-Maisons.

Procure the ultimate picnic

Seeking out and eating gourmet food is basically a sport on Îles-de-la-Madeleine. The Circuit des Saveurs food trail features 26 producers that offer traditional, extremely tasty local cuisine that you can usually taste on-site. At Fumoir d’Antan, you can see (and smell) herring smoked the traditional way—over slow-burning fires for three months—and then grab some for your picnic along with smoked mackerel, scallops, and salmon. At Miel en Mer, open a door to witness thousands of bees working on their honey, which turns white when it crystalizes. And at Cultures du Large, you’ll absolutely want to hop on a boat out to sea and eat the freshest oysters you’ve ever tried before taking a box for yourself. As for booze, brewery À l’Abri de la Tempête serves intriguing flavors in its multi-level bar and Le Barbocheux does artisanal yet inexpensive berry wine tastings. For a more guided food experience, restaurants across the islands cleverly combine these gourmet products. At Gourmande de Nature, Chef Johanne Vigneau utilizes the abundance of amazing seafood around the archipelago—think crunchy lobster tail and a deconstructed cheesecake served inside a scallop shell. And at Bistro Accents, where 80% of all ingredients are local, Chef Hugo LeFrançois sears halibut to perfection and knows how to cook a mean seal filet mignon. When I asked LeFrançois why Madelinot are so passionate about eating local, he told me it’s a form of mutual respect. “If everyone would be independent, everyone would die,” he said.


Another win for workers: Uber drivers are employees (not yet in America though)

As the platforms lose case after case over the designation of ‘contractors’ as workers, they are lobbying at European level to win back control.


‘Gig’ drivers in the Netherlands celebrated another win last week, as the Amsterdam District Court ruled that Uber drivers are employees, not freelances (zz’per). In the most recent of a spate of employment reclassification rulings across Europe, the court also held that the sectoral collective labour agreement (CAO Taxivervoer) would apply to Uber drivers, including pay requirements and some benefits. Additionally, Uber may have to comply with the CAO and pay back wages to drivers in some cases. The case was filed last year by FNV (Federatie Nederlands Vakbeweging), a federation and one of the most active trade unions in the Netherlands representing platform workers. It follows an earlier win in the lower courts in its case against Deliveroo, where the court similarly ruled that the delivery riders were employees. In line with the trend for the major gig companies in Europe, however, Uber and Deliveroo are appealing the judgments.

Relationship of authority

The district court used three attributes to assess whether there was an employment contract between Uber and its drivers: the performance of work, wages and authority. Key was the use of algorithmic management, a consideration echoing the judgment by the UK Supreme Court in February and Spain’s new ‘riders’ law’. The court affirmed that, in our technology-driven age, the use of algorithms to mediate between drivers and Uber constituted a ‘modern relationship of authority’ as an employer. Uber’s algorithm determines how rides are allocated, including the price, with drivers having no influence. The company ranks its drivers, with achievement of ‘gold’, ‘platinum’ or ‘diamond’ status depending on a combination of a driver’s points (obtained through rides), an average passenger rating of at least 4.85 (five being the maximum) and a cancellation rate of below 4 per cent. Such a status provides the driver benefits in terms of ride allocation. In the Netherlands fewer than 300 drivers, out of approximately 4,000, have however been ascribed one.

Such an assessment and ratings system, according to the court, has a disciplining effect which can affect not only how rides are distributed but also access to the application. As such, Uber fundamentally determines the (un)availability of work for a driver and when s/he is deactivated or reactivated. The court held therefore that the algorithm contained ‘a financial incentive and a disciplining and instructive effect’. Uber unilaterally determined many aspects of a driver’s working conditions, from how rides were allocated and their prices to customer complaints, ratings, assessment and access to the app. Its ability to ‘turn the knobs of the app’ to change these settings frequently and arbitrarily, according to its own priorities with zero room for negotiation by drivers, contradicted the entrepreneurial narrative about drivers often articulated by Uber. It was, thus, indeed an employer.

Lack of compliance

While this is certainly a win for FNV and Uber drivers, it remains unlikely the company will comply. Uber confirmed that it would appeal the decision and had ‘no plans to employ drivers in the Netherlands’. Dragging out the process and engaging in damage limitation is hardly a novel tactic by Uber or other gig companies. In the UK, drivers are back in the Employment Tribunal after the Supreme Court ruling, due to Uber’s lack of compliance on the minimum wage. While Spain’s ‘riders’ law’ came into force in August, gig companies have been blatantly shifting tactics to avoid complying with it. Deliveroo will exit its operations in Spain; Glovo will hire only 20 per cent of its workforce, leaving the rest in a potential bidding war for jobs; Uber Eats will follow the exploitative outsourcing and subcontracting model. Without rigorous and strong public enforcement, these companies will continue to disregard court judgments across Europe, leaving precarious workers time and again lacking resources to fend for themselves. Moreover, in the face of the important wins across various member states, gig companies are shifting focus to the European level.


American Gentry

The jet-setting cosmopolitans of popular imagination exist, but they are far outnumbered by a less exalted and less discussed elite group, one that sits at the pinnacle of America’s local hierarchies.


American wealth and power usually have a certain look: glass-walled penthouse apartments in glittering urban skyscrapers, sprawling country mansions, ivy-covered prep schools, vacation homes in the Hamptons. These are the outward symbols of an entrenched oligarchy, the political-economic ruling class portrayed by the media that entertains us and the conspiracy theories that animate the darker corners of the American imagination. The reality of American wealth and power is more banal. The conspicuously consuming celebrities and jet-setting cosmopolitans of popular imagination exist, but they are far outnumbered by a less exalted and less discussed elite group, one that sits at the pinnacle of the local hierarchies that govern daily life for tens of millions of people. Donald Trump grasped this group’s existence and its importance, acting, as he often does, on unthinking but effective instinct. When he crowed about his “beautiful boaters,” lauding the flotillas of supporters trailing MAGA flags from their watercraft in his honour, or addressed his devoted followers among a rioting January 6 crowd that included people who had flown to the event on private jets, he knew what he was doing. Trump was courting the support of the American gentry, the salt-of-the-earth millionaires who see themselves as local leaders in business and politics, the unappreciated backbone of a once-great nation.

This class of people exists all over the United States, usually in midsize metropolitan areas such as Yakima, Washington, the agricultural city where I grew up, 140 miles southeast of Seattle, the Pacific Northwest’s largest metro. According to the prominent sign on the freeway outside town, Yakima is the “Palm Springs of Washington.” The sign is one of the few things outsiders tend to remember about Yakima, along with the excellent cheeseburgers from Miner’s and one of the nation’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks. I loved Parks and Recreation because it accurately portrayed life in a place like Yakima: a city that isn’t small and serves as the hub for a dispersed chunk of rural territory, but that isn’t tightly connected to a major metropolitan area. But Parks and Rec is an exception. Places like Yakima and Parks and Rec’s fictional Pawnee don’t figure prominently in the country’s popular imagination or its political narratives: San Luis Obispo, California; Odessa, Texas; Bloomington, Illinois; Medford, Oregon; Hilo, Hawaii; Dothan, Alabama; Green Bay, Wisconsin. Yakima isn’t a tiny hamlet; it has a population of about 90,000 and sits at the heart of an extended metropolitan area that’s home to nearly a quarter of a million people. Millions of Americans live in small metropolitan areas much like it: exurban, surrounded by rural territory and wilderness, but not exactly isolated in the middle of nowhere. Seattle is only a two-hour drive away through the towering Cascade mountains, but it’s an entirely different world culturally, politically, and economically.

Yakima is a place I love dearly and have returned to often since I left, but I’ve never lived there again on a permanent basis. The same is true for many of my close high-school classmates: If they left for college, most have never returned for longer than a few months at a time. Practically all of them now live in major metro areas scattered across the country, not our hometown. The kinds of jobs they are now qualified for—in corporate or management consulting, non-profits, media, and finance—don’t really exist in Yakima. Yakima’s economy revolved then, and revolves to an ever greater extent now, around commercial agriculture. As a result, the whole region is dominated by its wealthy, largely agricultural property-owning class. They mostly owned, and still own, fruit companies: apples, cherries, peaches, and now hops and wine grapes. The other large-scale industries in the region, particularly commercial construction, are essentially economically downstream from agriculture: These companies pave the roads on which fruits and vegetables are transported to transhipment points, build the warehouses where the produce is stored, and so on. Commercial agriculture is a lucrative industry, at least for those who own the orchards, the cold-storage units, the processing facilities, and the large businesses that cater to them.

The owners have a trusted and reasonably well-paid cadre of managers and specialists in law, finance, and the like—members of the educated professional-managerial class that my close classmates and I have joined—but the large majority of their employees are lower-wage laborers. The owners are mostly white; the laborers are mostly Latino, a significant portion of them undocumented immigrants who often work under brutally difficult circumstances. Ownership of the real, core assets is where the region’s wealth comes from, and it doesn’t extend down the social hierarchy. Yet this bounty is enough to produce hilltop mansions, a few high-end restaurants, and a staggering array of expensive vacation homes in Hawaii, Palm Springs, and the San Juan Islands. These elites’ wealth derives not from their salary—this is what separates them from even extremely prosperous members of the professional-managerial class, such as doctors and lawyers—but from their ownership of assets. Those assets vary depending on where in the country we’re talking about; they could be a bunch of McDonald’s franchises in Jackson, Mississippi; a beef-processing plant in Lubbock, Texas; a construction company in Billings, Montana; commercial properties in Portland, Maine; or a car dealership in western North Carolina. Even the less prosperous parts of the United States generate enough surplus to produce a class of wealthy people. Depending on the political culture and institutions of a locality or region, this elite class might wield more or less political power. In some places, it has an effective stranglehold over what gets done; in others, it’s important but not all-powerful.


The Atlantic Daily: Our Critic's Fall TV Guide

Get ready for fall TV. Here are seven premieres to put on your calendar.


As with most years in our age of “peak TV,” this fall comes with a cascade of shows to check out. To help you choose what to watch, I’ve compiled seven new and returning titles worth adding to your list:


What Makes Sotol a Highly Underrated Mexican Spirit

Known as tequila’s sexier cousin, sotol is having a moment.


If you’ve never heard of sotol before, a quick Google Image search will make you think it’s just like agave. Also known as desert spoon, the drought-resistant plant looks the part, with mint-green spikes that protrude from a dense inner core, growing up to eight feet tall and six feet wide, depending on the variety. But, fun fact, sotol is actually in the asparagus family and has a rich history that traces back thousands of years—with Indigenous groups across the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Durango, and Coahuila, as well as portions of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, using the plant’s spiny leaves for weaving, and slow-cooking its core for sustenance in harsh desert conditions. Sotol’s juices were fermented to make a ritual beer-like beverage, and, when Spanish conquistadors brought over the copper distill roughly 350 years ago, sotol was introduced in spirit form. “That’s when we started to use it here in the Northern part of Mexico in the Chihuahuan desert,” says Juan Pablo Carvajal, co-founder of the Chihuahua-based Los Magos. “Back then, we did it to share with the community. That tradition was the one that kept on going, and the one that we’re anchoring ourselves to, to bring sotol to the market today.”

With the popularity of agave spirits like tequila and mezcal, you might be wondering why you haven’t seen sotol offered at your local bars. That’s in part due to the lasting impact of Prohibition, which shut down burgeoning sotol distilleries in Texas, as well as operations in Mexico that trafficked the spirit across the border. “During the age of Prohibition, there was a growth in the production of sotol, as well as a growth of the production of whiskey that created a rivalry,” Carvajal explains. “Al Capone came down to Chihuahua, tasted sotol, and brought it to Chicago. So we were making this traditional spirit and sending it over the border as moonshine. That became a bit of a problem for the Mexican government so they decided to ban the production of sotol in Chihuahua so that it couldn’t be commercialized, sold, or drank anywhere.” This, coupled with a negative campaign that branded sotol as a “low class” spirit, hindered the industry’s growth well into the 1980s and ’90s. Carvajal credits local families who helped keep the tradition alive during this de-facto Prohibition period.

A sotol Paloma.

Now that sotol can be openly produced, many are taking advantage of the spirit’s relative obscurity outside of Mexico, which allows for more experimentation in harvesting and production methods. Producers witnessed mezcal’s recent leap in global popularity, which has subsequently threatened smaller, farmer-run productions in Mexico, as well as long-nosed bat populations that are responsible for pollinating the agaves. This has inspired a strong sustainability movement within the sotol industry to help protect the plant for future use. The Mexican government has also created a hurdle that acts as a sustainability measure by requiring that sotol producers only harvest up to 40% of mature plants in any given area. Traditionally, sotol has been wild harvested, but in hopes of ensuring the longevity of the spirit, Los Magos has also begun planting sotol that they plan to harvest once it reaches maturation. “While a plant might take 25 years to mature in the wild, in a controlled environment, it might take six or seven years,” Carvajal explains. “For us, it's very clear that in the future, we are going to have to have that balance between a wild harvested sotol, and a planted sotol. And being aware of that right now allows us to learn lessons from other industries.”

IZO Spirits—a brand that specializes in traditional Mexican spirits like mezcal, sotol, raicilla, and baconara—produces its sotol in Durango, where it’s recognized as a state spirit. IZO makes sotol using a process similar to mezcal: After finding wild, ready-to-harvest plants—usually between 10 and 12 years old—they clean them and bring them back to their distillery, where the core is cooked inside a volcanic fire pit. It slow-cooks for four to five days, before it’s ground in a mill and naturally fermented for two to three more days. Then, the distillation process begins. IZO utilizes a double-distillation process that gives their sotol a smooth and clean finish, while landing at 47% ABV. The taste is specific to the region, with grassy and earthy notes that showcase the sweetness of the plant. To ensure the future of sotol and the Durango deserts where it grows naturally, IZO has created a sotol trading program with local ranchers. “It’s a win-win scenario,” says IZO co-founder Gaston Martinez. “We buy sotol from them and then go back and replant some that we’ll buy back from the farmers when the plant is mature in about 10 years. That’s one way we’re trying to maintain and sustain this business for years to come, but we also utilize solar panels, our own water treatment plant, and well.”


Stomach-turning': MAGA Riot's Confederate Flag Rebuked by Fran Lebowitz MSNBC Summit Series

Dominik Eulberg - Mannigfaltig Remixes Part 2 🧡💛💚💙💜🤎🖤

!K7 Records – K7380R2D
5 x File, WAV, EP
26 Jun 2020
Deep Techno


1 Sechslinien-Bodeneule (Anna Remix)
2 Vierfleck (Recondite Remix)
3 Siebenschläfer (Robag Wruhme Remix)
4 Eintagsfliege (Donato Dozzy Remix)
5 Goldene Acht (Hunter/Game Remix)

FedEx can't be okay with this.


Moderna booster (given at 5 months post 2nd jab) report. We finally had a reaction after no effects

from either asymptomatic origin-strain Covid back in late April early May 2020, and then 2 South African (Beta) variant-tweaked mRNA-1273.351 Moderna initial jabs (the 2nd one around 5 months back) as part of a trial here in Stockholm.

Thursday we got (as part of an additional, very small experimental trial) jabbed for the 3rd time and this was with the new Moderna mRNA-1273.617 Delta variant tweaked vax (100 µg dosage).

We had almost no reactions to the Beta variant jabs other than sore arms for like 12 hours or so.

Not this time, lolol.

By around 20 00 to 2200 (we got them at 14 00) we were both asking what type of lorry had run us over. Fever (over 100F) chills, headache from hell, and night sweats all night long, plus sore arms (the same intensity as the first two). Friday we were still not 100% recovered but had far less symptoms and no fever. Sore arms were gone by nightfall Friday. By this morning (Saturday) most all symptoms have disappeared for both me and wifey.

That first night was rough, sickest either of us had been in years tbh, but it came and went fairly quickly. I had the added 'pleasure' of some serious PMS as well (non vax related of course).

The doctors warned us to expect a heavy duty reaction based off a similar trial already running in the US.

I will post again when we get the results of a blood draw on October 7th. Moderna is no longer going to run with the beta variant specific only trials, at least not here in Sweden.

They also are testing a new multivalent vax, mRNA-1273.213, a candidate combining the Beta-specific and Delta-specific candidates. Our results (because we got both as single variant vaxes, so a similar profile) will be compared to that one.

That mRNA-1273.213 vax is one of the most likely variant-tweaked vaccines that could be made available to the general public (or so our doctors say, and of course they are speaking about Sweden, they would not make statements about the US). They also said that Pfizer (actually it is their partner, in Germany, BioNTech, that is running point on this) is already in trials with Delta variant (and all other variants as well, the same as Moderna os doing) tweaked vaccines too. Both Moderna and BioNTech can switch variant types on vaccines in less than 4 weeks. It is amazing technology.

'Necessary for security': veteran Taliban enforcer says amputations will resume

Source: The Guardian UK

Nooruddin Turabi, in charge of Afghan prisons, says executions and removal of hands will restart, but possibly not in public

Afghanistan's Taliban leader Mullah Nooruddin Turabi. 'No one will tell us what our laws should be.'

The Taliban will resume executions and the amputation of hands for criminals they convict, in a return to their harsh version of Islamic justice. According to a senior official – a veteran leader of the hardline Islamist group who was in charge of justice during its previous period in power – executions would not necessarily take place in public as they did before. The Taliban’s first period ruling Afghanistan during the 1990s, before they were toppled by a US-led invasion in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks, was marked by the grisly excesses of its perfunctory justice system, which included public executions in the football stadium in Kabul.

In an interview with Associated Press, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi – who was justice minister and head of the so-called ministry of propagation of virtue and prevention of vice during the Taliban’s previous rule – dismissed outrage over the Taliban’s executions in the past, which sometimes took place in front of crowds at a stadium, and warned the world against interfering with Afghanistan’s new rulers. Under the new Taliban government, Turabi is in charge of prisons. He is among a number of Taliban leaders, including members of the all-male interim cabinet, who are on a United Nations sanctions list.

“Everyone criticised us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments,” Turabi said in Kabul. “No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Qur’an.” “Cutting off of hands is very necessary for security,” Turabi added, saying it had a deterrent effect. He said the cabinet was studying whether to carry out punishments in public and would “develop a policy”.

Turabi’s comments follow warnings from Afghans who fled the country following the US withdrawal that the Taliban’s system of justice was more likely to follow the model of the way its “shadow courts” meted out punishments in areas it controlled, rather than the system that operated under the western-backed former government. The shadow court system, headed by Mawlavi Abdul Hakim Sharie, who is the Taliban’s new justice minister, was used to undermine the authority of the previous regime, resolving disputes in a country where many felt they had little access to legal remedy.


Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/24/afghanistan-taliban-enforcer-says-amputations-will-resume
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