Click here for a “world clock” (by http://www.poodwaddle.com/) that constantly updates the total number of, well, lots of stuff: births, abortions, deaths of different types, prisoners, marriages, divorces, extinct species, gallons of oil pumped, and computers, cars, and bicycles built. You can choose to display it by how much has happened in the last year, month, day, or even from a moment, like right… now.

Thanks, Mom!

One of my favorite questions to ask in (especially) Introduction to Sociology classes is: In an ideal world, for what reason does the U.S. government exist? That is, what is a state for? For protection from other states? To protect private property? To maximize happiness? To pool and then redistribute resources for the collective good? It’s something most of them have never thought about. After a discussion, I show them this:

This is where our federal tax dollars go. Students are horrified by the military spending, but completely stumped by the interest on the debt. Most of them have no idea that our debt has any consequences at all.

The pie chart is from http://www.nationalpriorities.org/. You can go every year and update your chart here.

As a result of my dissertation research, I receive a lot of military emails and mail. Today I got an email called “shock and awe” with this text:

Raw photos and movies of explosions, fierce battles, inspirational footage and more, uploaded by members and military personnel.

I don’t think this website needs a lot of commentary. Note the “miltary.com: enterainment” logo in the upper left and the various kinds of entertainment offered– tattoos, video games, books etc.

And take a look at the most popular videos: “Iraqi Cadets Can’t Do Jumping Jacks” with the tag line “Oh boy we’re going to be in Iraq for a while…” and “the BN Disciplinator” (with a lot going on race and gender wise). The “Disciplinator” is hard to watch but really, you have to at least get through the first couple minutes.

Newsweek had an article today wondering if girl’s Halloween costumes might be too risque. I wasn’t surprised (I remember being shocked when I saw young girls dressed up as Spice Girls in 1998) so I decided to look around the Internet to find other questionable costumes. Not surprisingly, Halloween costumes are markers of not only gender and heterosexuality, but of race and class as well.

Let’s take children’s “occupational” costumes, for example. Here are some for girls: The French maid, nurse, and cheerleader costumes were the most prevalent.

And what about occupations for boys?

And look at how race is marked with some of the children’s costume models (2 cats, and a dancer):

And note how the intersections of race, militarization, sexuality and gender are also displayed in this costume. The first is a children’s costume, and the second is for teenagers. Both costumes are called “Major Flirt.”

And now let’s move on to teenage costumes. Here are some particularly popular ones for teen girls– sexy devils and sexy angels.

And some teen girl “occupation” costumes (prisoner, referee, navy):

And of course there are teen bunnies– “Hunny Bunny Teen” and “Classic Playboy Bunny”:

And what do teen boys get to dress up as? Scary clowns, murdering maniacs, and pimps.

The costumes for couples are also pretty telling– marked by heteronormative stereotypes. The first is a “Pimp and Kristy” costume, the second is a cop costume, and finally a costume of a brick layer and a woman dressed as a home, where the woman is literally displayed as the object, as the object of a man’s action.

Anyway, happy Halloween!