Robert Brockway: Vacationing Rebel

Kristen Chick via Christian Science Monitor
Jerseys stop bullets, right?

This is a photo of Chris Jeon, a math major at the University of California, in the midst of joining the Libyan revolution. But why on earth would a promising young college student risk life and limb to enlist with the underdogs in a bloody foreign war? Does he support the cause? Does he have personal ties to the conflict? Did Gadhafi grief him in Battlefield, and he's come over for some IRL payback? Nope. In his own words:

"This is one of the few real revolutions ... I just thought I'd come check it out. Just go and see what happens. At spring break I told my friends a 'sick' vacation would be to come here and fight with the rebels."

And in a sense, that is incredibly badass. Dude joined a motherfucking revolution like a pick-up game. When the other rebels shout "FOR LIBYA!" or "FREEDOM!" Jeon's in the back shouting "AIN'T NOTHING ON TV THIS WEEK."

"It's been a slow year. Anyone fancy casting off the shackles of British tyranny?"

But in another, equally real sense: That's a bunch of bullshit.

One of the things absolutely killing our culture right now is irony. Everything is done half-assed, wearing a wry smirk and an ugly cardigan. That way if it doesn't go over well, you can claim total immunity to criticism because "It was all ironic, bro." And now that excuse applies not only to finger mustaches and shitty theme bars, but warfare?! I'm not sure if I should be horrified that young people are now apparently willing to die for a quick joke or relieved that the line at the Artisan Grilled Cheese Truck is going to be shorter next year.

Jack O'Brien: Ted Nugent Was Right

Soren Bowie: Massive Spider Webs in Sindh, Pakistan, After Floods

At the end of 2010, floods in Pakistan forced hundreds of thousands of spiders up into the trees. Remarkably, several different species of spiders that were usually notoriously territorial started working together, spinning enormous webs and blanketing entire trees. This is the first time these spiders have ever worked together in known history, and assuming this spider co-op proves beneficial to them, there's no reason they would ever go back to the way things were. 2011 may go down in history as the year trees started swallowing children.

Dan O'Brien: Dan of Two Worlds

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