A celebration of the riches of the web.
Web Monitor clicks through the web to find the most interesting bits to document here. Make sure you share your best links with us by sending them via the comment box.
• The keffiyeh, the checkered scarf made famous by Yasser Arafat, is now mostly made in China, not the Palestinian Territories, Mother Jones reports. Sonja Sharp charts the rise of this symbol of the intifada as a fashion accessory across the world, reaching tipping point in popularity as a form of "rebel chic" after the second intifada in 2000. For Monocle, Benoit Faiveley visited the last ever keffiyeh factory in Palestinian Territories and found that the complexity of exporting through the checkpoints made chinese keffiyehs cheaper in the international market. Sharp blames the "hipsters" for not being more discerning shoppers and finding out where their product came from. Whilst Sharp is annoyed fashionistas are not supporting Palestinians when buying Chinese, you may remember there was another keffiyeh kerfuffle last year around TV celebrity chef Rachael Ray in a Dunkin' Donuts advert donning what looked like a keffiyeh. Dunkin' Donuts pulled the advert after pressure from conservative bloggers like Michelle Makin.
• Forty years after the Stonewall riots, Mark Harris in New York Magazine looks at an apparent generation gap between gay men. He says that, although the gay community generally has had remarkable solidarity, for example in the fight of gay marriage, now public in-fighting between generations is increasing. Stereotypes of victimhood for older gay men are replied to with stereotypes of shallowness and ungratefulness for the struggle gone before the younger gay men. However, Harris remarks that although public in-fighting in minority groups is a taboo, a generation gap in any sub group can be a good thing as it's a sign of arrival.
• Conspiracy theorist is no longer a euphemism for someone with paranoia wondering which lizard-person to blame, according to Frank Furedi in Spiked. Furedi argues that the idea that someone somewhere is to blame for every misfortune has become respectable. Furedi blames Hollywood for making the blame-game mainstream:
"Conspiratorial thinking is encouraged by a powerful cultural narrative that depicts people, not as the authors of their destiny, but as the objects of manipulative secretive forces."And if Furedi would like to know who to blame in Hollywood, there are too many theories online to mention here.
• Big brother isn't watching you, Cupid is. OK Cupid is a dating website and to best match people up with partners, it asks a very detailed range of questions from whether you would be bothered if your partner cross-dressed to your attitude towards burning flags. In its blog, OK Cupid is now using that data to tell the story of its users. One of many answers analysed is on personal hygiene - we've learnt that the further north in the US their users live, the less you shower. They're confident that the data is valid as the best questions have been answered over a million times. Chris from OK Cupid is now accepting requests for analysis and there are thousands of questions on their database to choose from. Let us know how you get on.
• In Jews in Space Edmon J. Rodman asks if there are features of Judaism that make it adaptable to space and other planets. Rabbis have studied how Jewish people would live on other planets. This is not an unfamiliar subject - in Hebrew, "Mazel tov," literally means that an event is occurring under a "lucky star." Edmon argues that Jewish people would adapt well to a life in space:
"For an Earth religion to thrive extraterrestrially, it would need to be highly portable. Judaism, since the time of the destruction of the Second Temple, has had to teach itself to adapt to new environments, becoming more time centered than place specific."
• Many a timekeeping self-help book, article or theory on a blog has, ironically, lured Web Monitor to procrastinate. But none has been as amusing as Cosmic Timekeeper Theory, as proposed in The American Scene blog. The Theory goes that when you've missed a deadline, Cosmic Timekeeper appears and gives you a chance to go back and try again, but not from the beginning - instead he transports you back to 5am, when you were tired and distractable and gave up, but this time you don't have to give up, instead you can think up strange time-keeping strategies.
Finally, yesterday's Web Monitor asked whether anyone could find a copy of Chris Anderson's new book, Free, which proposes a future dominated by free online content, available on the internet... gratis. Dan, from Cambridge, found a better deal than Web Monitor when combing through a certain large online book retailer. Cost £3.98. Philip, from "Can't Remember" helpfully points out that "FREE will be available in all digital forms--ebook, web book, and audiobook--for free when the hardcover is published on July 9th. "The ebook and web book will be free for a limited time, the unabridged audiobook will be available free forever."