Pic: Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs
The Philippines government released this photograph, with the claim that China is constructing artificial islands to strengthen its claim to the Spratly Islands.
Ships have been spotted ferrying construction materials around - and in October a Filipino fishing contractor described seeing “this huge Chinese ship sucking sand and rocks from one end of the ocean and blasting it to the other using a tube.”
The whole South China Sea area is a bit of a territorial clusterfuck, and these tiny, sparsely-inhabited islands are smack-bang in the middle of it.
Pic: Business Week
Whoever controls the South China Sea holds massively strategically powerful shipping lanes.But that’s not all! It’s full of oil and gas - as much as 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. But that’s not all! There’s also quite a lot of fish - over 8% of the world’s reserves.
China has recently been acting like the bad neighbour in a sitcom, borrowing things and never returning them. This year it’s already come to blows with Vietnam, after casually plopping down some oil rigs in Vietnamese waters to slurp up extra resources.
Pic: Central Intelligence Agency
See the area bounded by the nine green dashes? That’s the imaginatively-named Nine Dash Line. And what does it mean? That China owns all your things.
The Philippines has opted to seek a solution through United Nations arbitration over what it calls “the West Philippine Sea”, rather than, say, take on the entire Chinese armed forces.
As Spratly Islands mayor Eugenio B. Bito-Onon says, “you can’t bring a knife to a gunfight. That would be crazy!”.
Each strike report causes a little click as it takes place, making watching all the flashes happen feel oddly satisfying, like the internet is crackling with all the electricity being unleashed from the sky. Each weather station which reports has a line drawn to the strike point.
Check out the site here. As we write, it seems like Portugal and the Austrian/ Swiss/ Italian borders are taking the brunt of it.
According to Fox News (yes, we know, but hear us out), creative criminals just attempted to smuggle a shipment of the kind bud across the border from Mexico into the US - by passing it off as a truckload of watermelons.
Eh… Sorta. Kinda.
Yup. Full of weed.
As you might expect on a Fox News story, the below-the-line comments are an insight into a strange other world.
It’s all rather anti-Mexican. And why? “Their weed isn’t any good” and “they are undercutting high-quality US drug producers”. We guess whatever the subject, the tone is going to be the same.
Story via Fox News
We’ve brought you a lot of cat gifs. Because yeah, they’re great. Who doesn’t like a good cat gif FFS?
But, in a bid to branch out, and because the smallest things are the cutest things, we give you…
If you want more microscopic pictures of tiny little baby things (which you obviously do) then here are some of our favourites from @MicroscopePics:
In a case for the face-palm files, fizzy booze manufacturer and Wimbledon sponsor Stella Artois has let a load of its “here’s to perfection” print ads go out with the placeholder text.
Unless this is some sort of devious double bluff, and we are playing right into their hands by laughing at them. Damn. We need to figure this out over drink. Of some delicious premium lage… OMG.
If you’re a fan of laughing at graphic designers (and who isn’t?), you’ll probably enjoy our article: 7 reasons designers should ALWAYS remember the placeholder text. If you prefer something a little more… reactionary, try: Mail Ipsum: the Daily Mail placeholder generator.