Monday, November 30, 2015

Woman runs for public election for the first time in Saudi Arabia

Haifa al-Hababi is the first woman to ever register as a political candidate in Saudi Arabia. This, is also the first year that women will be allowed to vote in the country this December.

Haifa al-Hababi is the first woman to register as a political candidate in Saudi Arabia.
Haifa al-Hababi / LinkedIn

al-Hababi is a 37-year-old architect, professor, newspaper columnist andsuffragette. She has been working the campaign trail with her face uncovered and she frequently shirks the typical black abaya for bright colors, reports NBC News Nov. 28.

"Things are changing here," al-Hababi said when asked about public criticisms of her campaign. "Women's roles have changed whereby they don't just necessarily sit at home but work and are much more involved in public life."

al-Habibi explains that she has been working with other suffragettes to point out that most countries of the world have already granted women the right to vote. "We are the generation who will bring change," she says.

It’s a big next step in a long journey. Currently, approximately 20 percent of a half million voters are women. There are 30 million people living in Saudi Arabia.

In Saudi Arabia, appearing in public unveiled is a big step onto itself in a country that often does not allow women to drive or leave the house without a male guardian due to fatwas, or religious edicts issued by conservative lawmakers.

In 2011, a royal decree from former King Abdullah declared that women could vote in local elections. It was a decision that many ultra-conservative clerics detested. While the decision is a big win for women in Saudi Arabia, there is a long way to go. al-Habibi is running for office in a municipal election, for example. "We're talking about local councils and what it means to make a difference with garbage, water and sewage, so we're trying to convince people that exercising their civic responsibility will make a difference."

*originally published on the now defunct

Woman condemned to public stoning in Saudi Arabia; her lover gets 100 lashes

A Sharia court sentenced a 45-year-old married Sri Lankan woman to death by stoning after she admitted to committing adultery. Her lover, who was single, was sentenced to receive 100 lashes, a considerably lesser punishment for the crime.

Go Ahead, Say it: You are Beautiful. You are Super Duper Fly.

I thought my best friend was crazy the first time I saw her smile coyly at herself in her full length mirror and giggle as she said to her reflection, “You are fly.”

We were going out dancing that night. She was dressed for the occasion, clothes and accessories making her even more beautiful. She glowed, and she told herself so.

I waited in disbelief, dressed in the same utilitarian clothes I used for just about everything, be it work, sitting at home or going out at night.

I barely looked at myself in the mirror back then. I didn’t carry a compact, let alone do more than glance at myself when I was going through the morning rituals of face-washing and teeth-brushing. I averted my eyes from myself, just as if there were an actual other human staring back whose attention I did not want to attract.

I never told my friend this, but later, when I was alone, I practiced. I turned to the bathroom mirror and tried to look at myself. At first the best I could do was a shirt collar or some feature of my body that was not directly associated with my face.

I tried to admire myself, to tell myself that I was beautiful, but I couldn’t. I felt uncomfortable and afraid. I also thought the practice was kind of silly.

But here’s the thing: What my friend did totally set her up for the night.

Her compliments to herself boosted her in such a way that it really didn’t matter what anyone else thought. I remember seeing her dance with complete and utter joy, and she was open to interact with other dancers on the dance floor.

She was beautifully confident. She was bright and connected in a way that I’ve always admired. It was something I wanted to live up to.

I have been thinking for years about how making genuine connections with others begins with having a genuine connection with one’s self. You hear about that thing called self-love all the time. The sentiment goes that in order to love and be able to give to others, you first have to do those things for yourself.

But I couldn’t even look at my own reflection—at least, not until fairly recently, and this, decades later. Before, I would feel embarrassed at myself on two counts: One, I was not sure why something so simple seemed so difficult, and two, I suppose I didn’t feel comfortable with myself.

At times, I felt that I was being frivolously vain. At other times, I was literally afraid of what I’d see in my reflection. There was always some imperfection staring back at me like an acne scar, a crease in the skin, puffy eyes or some other feature I wasn’t sure about like a rogue eyebrow or a facial expression I didn’t recognize.

All I could see were the imperfections, so I shifted my eyes away from my reflection again.
It was difficult to give compliments to myself, but here’s how I began to go about it:

I took a deep breath and faced myself square, looking into my eyes. I simply started by stating, “Thank you for being here.” I didn’t always feel genuine about it. It was something I had to fake until it became real. When it did, there were times I left the reflection with a smile on my face.

I continued by looking at myself in the mirror, smiling, and stating, “I’m proud of you, Tameca.”

Sometimes it was for something as simple as washing the clothes or putting away the dishes.

Sometimes, it was for something as tedious as a full day’s work or errands. Sometimes it was for simply getting out of bed. “I’m proud of you for doing that,” I’d say.

“Thank you.”

Some days, all I could do was smile. Other times, all I could do was blow raspberries and make funny faces. Other days still, I glanced and shrugged and heaved a big breath before going about my day. I kept practicing anyway. I tried to catch myself when I kept the bathroom cabinet door open as a way to avoid my reflection or ducked down below the reflection’s surface. After a while, I began to realize that when I remembered to thank myself, I was able to face myself.

Lately, there are more and more instances where I can see my own glow; I see someone reflected back who I am genuinely happy to know.

On those days, I leave the house happy. My head is high. I make new connections and I truly believe that I am fly.

***originally published at elephant journal.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Walnuts can help keep type 2 diabetes at bay

Adding walnuts to one’s daily diet can significantly decrease the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, a new study says. Just a handful of walnuts each day is all it takes to markedly improve bodily health, say researchers.

We all knew walnuts were good for us, but a new study proves that they can also decrease adult risk of type 2 diabetes.
Getty Images

New research published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Caredocumented an obesity study where 31 men and 81 women between the ages of 25 and 75 were asked to participate. Each participant was at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes Starpulse reports, Nov. 27.

Some participants of the study were asked to follow a plan that put limits on their caloric intake while others were not. Participants from both groups were randomly chosen to receive dietary counseling. In both groups, participants were also either assigned a daily 2 ounce walnut allowance or were asked to follow their respective plans over the course of six months.

Researchers were worried that participants might gain weight over the course of the study, as walnuts, despite being nutritious (they contain essential fatty oils, folic acid and vitamin E), are high in calories. “So the question was, if we tell people to eat nuts every day, will they over time start to gain weight? And will weight gain over time start to offset the metabolic benefits that come from the high-quality nutrition of nuts?" said Dr. David Katz, lead author of the study.

The answer was no. Participants did not gain weight, and when they were eating walnuts, bodily health improved. However, participants who ate the walnuts and who did not receive dietary counseling did see an increase in body fat.

*originally published at the now defunct

Monday, November 23, 2015

Yoga class cancelled at Canadian university over cultural sensitivity concerns

There will be no more down dog at the University of Ottawa
There will be no more down dog at the University of Ottawa

The University of Ottawa has decided to end it’s free yoga classes despite having a successful program for the last seven years. Student concerns pointed out that the teachings, as taught in the classes on the college campus, could be seen as a form of “cultural appropriation.”

Jennifer Scharf, the yoga teacher of these classes, was upset about the decision. “This particular class was intro to beginners’ yoga because I’m very sensitive to this issue [of cultural appropriation],” Scharf told The Washington Post. “I would never want anyone to think I was making some sort of spiritual claim other than the pure joy of being human that belongs to everyone free of religion.”

The practice of yoga includes a wide span of practices, including breathing exercises, dietary restrictions, and other abstentions, most of which would not be taught in a beginning yoga class which focuses on physical postures.

Scharf received news of the cancellation via email. The student led Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to the University of Ottawa Student Federation said that the yoga class brought up cultural issues. According to the email, some students and volunteers had expressed discomfort with the way the classes were being taught.

Scharf worked out what could have been a good compromise in the spirit of making the classes more inclusive and getting rid of the cultural sensitivity issues. She and a student representative decided that all of the “yoga-ness” would be taken out of the class, and there would instead be a stretching class. This would be good for students who had become dependent on the classes week to week.

However, that did not happen. “The higher-ups at the student federation got involved, finally we got an e-mail routed through the student federation basically saying they couldn’t get a French name and nobody wants to do it, so we’re going to cancel it for now,” Scharf told CBC.

Roméo Ahimakin, the president of the student federation told Radio Canada that cultural sensitivity issues weren’t so much a problem as was the fact that the federation had reviewed all existing programs as a way to streamline. The review involved the federation deciding on whether classes and programs were interesting enough, accessible, inclusive “and responsive to the needs of students.” There were no direct complaints, according to Ahimakin, about Scharf’s yoga class.

If your eyebrows are going up, so were some of those students who were also part of the student federation. The decision from the president didn’t take into account the good that the yoga class brought many students on the college campus. "People are just looking for a reason to be offended by anything they can find," Scharf told the Ottawa Sun. She goes on to explain that the yoga classes she taught didn’t educate students about “the finer points of ancient yogi scripture,” but they instead helped students become more aware of their physical bodies, fostering a sense of better health for anyone who practiced the postures.

*originally published on the now defunct

Keeping a gratitude journal can increase heart health, new research says

A new study conducted by Paul Mills – a professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine – reports that gratitude can literally change the health of one’s heart.

Keeping a daily gratitude journal can increase physical heart health, lowering stress and blood inflammation levels, new study finds.
Getty Images/Creatas RF

Mills has studied heart health in relation to behavior for decades. It’s already acknowledged that thinking positively on it’s own can relieve health detracting depression, stress, and anxiety. Mills wondered if the specific feeling of gratitude could positively affect heart health, reports NPR News Nov. 23.

Mills recruited 186 study participants, men and women who were around the age of 66. Each of the participants in the study already had some heart health issues such as chronic high blood pressure, former heart attacks and even heart infections.

Mills was not able to specify why, but the results of the study showed that the more thankful participants were, the healthier they were. "They had less depressed mood, slept better and had more energy," says Mills. Mills also found that participants who felt the feeling of gratefulness exhibited lower blood inflammation levels (an indicator of good heart health).

Participants filled out standardized questionnaires, rating their levels of gratefulness for the people, places and things in their lives. As a follow up to his initial findings, Mills took a look at test results for 40 heart disease patients, taking note of things like biological factors. He then halved the group, asking 20 of the patients to keep a journal for most of the days during the week. In the journal, each patient was asked to write two or three things they were grateful for that day.

Two months later, Mills tested the same patients again. He found that in those who kept a journal, their blood inflammation levels decreased and their heart rhythms also improved. The twenty who had written down what they were grateful for on a regular basis saw increased heart health.

Mills notes that while he’s not specifically sure why gratitude increases heart health, he suspects that being grateful decreases stress. Stress is a known factor in decreased heart health. According to the American Heart Association, stress can contribute to high blood pressure, ulcers, IBS and even asthma. "Taking the time to focus on what you are thankful for," Mills says, "letting that sense of gratitude wash over you — this helps us manage and cope." This helps us to also maintain a healthy heart.

*originally published on the now defunct

Researchers explain why that healthy diet could actually make you fat

The healthy breakfast your doctor recommended might make you fat.
The healthy breakfast your doctor recommended might make you fat.

A new extensive study conducted by Israeli researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science may be able to explain why some people have successful results on certain diets while others simply do not. According to the researchers, participants of the study experienced different results when they all ate the same meal. This suggests that there is no universal healthy dietary answer for everyone.

The researchers – who were led by Eran Segal and Eran Elinav – found that healthy diets vary from person to person,reports KSTP Nov. 22. The researchers looked at the glycemic index (GI), the one key component that diets such as Atkins, Zone and South Beach all have in common.

800 healthy and pre-diabetic volunteers between the ages of 18 and 70 took part in the study. Each of the participants were asked to consume a standardized breakfast each morning and keep track of their personal data such as body measurements, blood sugar levels, and stool samples. The participants also input lifestyle and food intake information each day into a mobile app, reports the Washington Post.

The researchers learned that factors such as age and body mass index predictably affected blood glucose levels; each person showed different responses to the same foods consumed as other participants. One participant, for example, experienced blood sugar spikes after eating sushi, while another participant experienced spikes after eating tomatoes. "There are profound differences between individuals — in some cases, individuals have opposite responses to one another," Segal explained.

The study also looked at why some individuals feel hungry after eating what is supposed to be a healthy and nourishing meal. The researchers found that if individuals are eating foods that give their bodies a blood sugar spike, then the body increases the amounts of insulin produced. This leads to an increased absorption of the additional glucose created from the sugar spike and causes the individual to become hypoglycemic and in turn still feel hungry.

Researchers note that we’re "really conceptually wrong" in how we go about treating obesity and diabetes. There is no end all be all solution to cure the escalating numbers of those who are experiencing dietary health problems. We think "we know how to treat these conditions, and it's just that people are not listening and are eating out of control," Segal explained, "but maybe people are actually compliant and in many cases we were giving them the wrong advice."

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Five Colorado artists on Inktober's knack to bring artists together

In October 2009, illustrator Jake Parker created an annual challenge for artists called Inktober. The project was a challenge to himself, his artist friends, and peers to begin a consistent inking practice.
In October 2009, illustrator Jake Parker created an annual challenge for artists called Inktober. The project was a challenge to himself, his artist friends, and peers to begin a consistent inking practice.

In October 2009, illustrator Jake Parker created an annual challenge for artists called Inktober. The event was primarily a challenge to himself to improve his own inking skills and to develop positive and ongoing drawing habits. The project also served as a way to hold himself accountable to fulfill the task, as he reached out to others and encouraged them to do the same.

According to the Washington Post, Inktober didn’t catch on right away. It was a simple idea that grew over time. The event has since become international where all kinds of artists from illustrators to graphic designers challenge themselves to create 31 new ink drawings in 31 days. Today, proof of those artists’ efforts can be found all over social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.

Inktober is a pretty big deal in Colorado’s illustrator and graphic artist scene. That is why we asked five Colorado-based artists to take the time to answer some questions about their involvement in Inktober 2015. Oi Bob Parks, James McFarland, Thea Hunt, Zak Kinsella and Lonnie Allen stepped up to explain what brings them to Inktober. From career advancement and networking to practicing certain skills, these artists explain what the event means to them and their communities.

"Fight Club" spoof by Oi Bob Parks for Inktober
"Fight Club" spoof by Oi Bob Parks for InktoberCourtesy of Oi Bob Parks

"Fight Club" spoof by Oi Bob Parks for Inktober

A few years ago, self-described “pencil zombie” Oi Bob Parks began noticing artists on Instagram using the #Inktober hashtag. Later the hashtag began appearing on his Facebook and Tumblr. It wasn’t until this year that Parks began participating in the event.

He explains that taking part in Inktober is a way for artists to show solidarity with each other.

In his social media feeds and in local gatherings, he has seen his artist friends adopt themes for their Inktober contributions. Some adopt horror or anime themes, while others choose to work in everything from realism to robots. “It gave me the idea to try posting things that I've never drawn before.” It's definitely a challenge for me as I don't often get the chance to draw every day,” he explains.

“I started blocking out chunks of time that would otherwise go to busy work or...zoning out, and I made sure I drew my Inktober for the day. It helped me realize that no matter how busy I thought I was with life, I still had time to draw.”

Parks is currently working on many projects in the Denver area, including a third volume of a series called “Dinopocolypse”, which is a collaborative effort coming from Colorado artist collective Red Team Go.
Inktober image by J. James McFarland
Inktober image by J. James McFarlandCourtesy of J. James McFarland

Inktober image by J. James McFarland

Boulder-based commercial illustrator, fine artist and graphic designer J. James McFarland explains that Inktober provides artists with a way to share their work and receive feedback. “Artists in the digital Era tend to be eager to share their work, but they are uncertain what is and what isn’t worth sharing. The practice of creating frenetic, fast-paced, generally unplanned art is immensely advantageous to this end.”

Inktober along with other events such as 30 Characters and 24-Hour Comics Day force artists to work quickly. Artists work at an “uncontrolled rate, and ultimately force the work to display patterns of strengths and weaknesses, relates McFarland. “It’s important because a community of artists absolutely must be able to strengthen each other through encouraging criticism. Holding your work to the regular exposure of peer feedback is a revolutionary tool for self growth.”

McFarland is very active in his communities. He has just finished a project with Aurora Rise, a Denver-based charity community that supports families of the victims of the 2012 Aurora Theater shooting. He also has ongoing comics projects, including “Maize”, “Mustang Tuesday Weekly”, and a 24-Hour Comic that will be published by Time Warp Comics in Boulder, Colorado.
Map of Veronlen by Thea Hunt
Map of Veronlen by Thea Hunt Courtesy of Thea Hunt

Map of Veronlen by Thea Hunt

Denver-based sequential artist and illustrator Thea Hunt explains that Inktober for her is a way to connect with other artists both on and offline. She began participating in the event about three years ago. Hunt explains that the group event helps artists connect with other artists, even when they are spending most of their time working on their individual projects. “I think that since drawing is kind of a solitary thing most of the time, it’s fun to still be able to see what others come up with,” Hunt explains.

“For me, I’m a pretty shy person. I do a lot of my socializing through online groups. Inktober is a fun way for me to interact with other artists and see some interesting ideas on paper,” Hunt continues.

Hunt’s main mission with her work is to create good stories. She is currently working on a small comic project named “Amelia.” The story is about a girl who is separated from her family and then finds out she is protected by a forest god.
Self-Portrait by Zak Kinsella
Self-Portrait by Zak Kinsella Courtesy of Zak Kinsella

Self-Portrait by Zak Kinsella

Cartoonist and illustrator Zak Kinsella explains that Inktober is important because it fosters consistency, growth and improvement for artists. “Those things can be a hurdle for any kind of artist,” he says. “But, adding one drawing a day isn’t too overwhelming. It’s just enough of a challenge to not get in the way of your other work.”

Kinsella likes the way the month builds a sense of community, not just in Denver, but worldwide. “We can all put up a drawing everyday, explore thehashtag and find new people's work we love. It's a weird introvert's way of making friends,” he said.

“We made an Inktoberists Facebook page for our Colorado group. It’s cool to see what people are working on without going to a convention or meetup. Between work, freelance and my own comics #Inktober provides a way for artists to shine and be social, even when they are swamped.”

Kinsella has two books he’s writing and drawing right now called "The Book of Daniel" and "Outré Veil." He explains, “My philosophy is that comics should be fun – and not just whimsical, marshmallowy, no content kind of fun, but the kind that can explore any topic to it's depths while retaining a sense of humor about it.”
Inktober Gender Bender Green Goblin by Lonnie M'F' Allen
Inktober Gender Bender Green Goblin by Lonnie M'F' Allen Courtesy of Lonnie M'F' Allen

Inktober Gender Bender Green Goblin by Lonnie M'F' Allen

Graphic designer, writer and illustrator Lonnie Allen loves the way Inktober brings communities that wouldn’t necessarily know about each other together via social media hashtags. “Participating artists can easily look up #Inktober and see what other people are doing all over world. There’s the instant gratification of us simultaneously participating in something larger than us and also as individuals,” Allen said.

Allen is currently working on many projects, including a book that will be printed through Tinto Press, a Denver-based boutique publisher of graphic novels, sequential art and mini comics. The book will be available at the upcoming DINK Comic and Art Expo.

*originally published on the now defunct

Monday, November 16, 2015

Students at Kentucky's Berea College can go to school tuition free

Everyone deserves to have access to higher education. That is why Berea College has implemented a system that grants every student entering its doors a Tuition Promise Scholarship which along with other scholarships and student need covers tuition in full.

Berea College founder John G. Fee
Wikimedia Commons

The college is the only top college in the United States following this model. Through a $1 billion endowment and ongoing donations from the college’s alumni, Berea is able to award every student tuition and often additional funds to help students with meals, housing and other fees. “Simply put, students at Berea College pay what they can afford,” reads the explanation on Berea’s website.

As part of the program, all students are required to work at least 10 hours a week on Berea’s beautiful campus in one of more than 140 departments.

Student jobs include everything from cooking to farm work, and textile making to computer programming. The work is in line with the college’s mission which is to provide a high caliber liberal arts education for students from low-income households and to promote the acquirement of new skills.

The college is one of six work study colleges in the nation. Alice Lloyd College, Ecclesia College, Sterling College, Blackburn College, Warren Wilson College and of course Berea College offer students opportunities to learn new skills that will be helpful to them in the workforce upon graduation.

Many students will still have to take out a minimal amount of loans, but their debt overall will be less than $10,000.This is considerably lower than the national average, which can be between $20,000 to $30,000.

“I see more job opportunities, opportunities to get out of our social class,” explains one student to Al Jazeera. “If it wasn’t for Berea, I wouldn’t be able to afford college,” explains another.

Admission into the college is open to anyone, but it is competitive. Students have to be sharp, have good grades and have financial need to be accepted. Once students are admitted, they are supported, not only monetarily, but via community, as well. The Berea Facebook page illustrates a college campus that fosters community with many ongoing student recognitions and activities such as sports and rallies.

Berea College was founded in 1855 by Reverend John G. Fee, a scholar and advocate for equal education for all. His school was the first to accept men and women of all races and still has a strong focus on diversity today.

*originally published on the now defunct

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Wild birds would rather starve than wing it alone, new study says

Great tits sitting on a branch
Great tits sitting on a branch

Researchers from the University of Oxford observed that wild tits, a species of bird, prioritize their closeness over separation. Researchers created environments for the birds where they were not able to forage for food in the same location. They found that the birds didn’t want to wing it alone, and so much so that they would rather starve than leave their partners.
The birds choose to stay with their partners and respective flocks, despite the immediate need for food, reports University Herald, Nov. 15. According to the researchers, long-term benefits that are gained by maintaining key relationships seem to be favored when pitted against short term benefits: “an individual's behavior can be governed by aiming to accommodate the needs of those they are socially attached to,” said lead researcher Josh Firth in a public statement.

The experiment created for the birds was pretty high-tech. Birds wore radio frequency identification tags that were programmed to open certain feeding stations automatically. Not all birds were able to access the feeding stations. In the case of mated pairs of birds, one would be able to access the feeders while another would not.

Birds are socially monogamous. They tend to remain with their partners and their partner’s flock for many seasons.

The paired birds who were not able to access the feeders waited for their partners. They also learned pretty quickly that they could scrounge for food from the feeders, as the feeder doors were open for two seconds each time. Further, there was a bit of teamwork in action, as the birds who were allowed access would activate the feeder doors to open so their partners could be fed.

This study, which showed the importance of social relationships in the lives of wild birds, was published in the latest issue of Current Biology journal. Researchers observed great tits from 2007 to 2014. Researchers logged 6,743,553 independent feeder visits which were made by 3,198 of the birds.

*originally published on the now defunct

Monday, November 9, 2015

Artist Petr Pavlensky sets fire to Russian Federal Security Service building

“There's no greater evil than law-abiding citizens,” says Petr Pavlensky.
“There's no greater evil than law-abiding citizens,” says Petr Pavlensky.
Petr Pavlensky has made radical protest an art. The Russian conceptual artist has staged many disturbing public exhibitions. His political protests include self-mutilation, vandalism and the shock factor. He has wrapped himself in barbed wire, sewn his mouth shut, cut off his own earlobe and nailed his scrotum to the Red Square to protest censorship and oppression.

His most recent stunt entitled “Threat” seems pretty tame in comparison with some of his other work until you realize it has to do with vandalisation of a federal building. NBC News reports on Oct. 9 that Pavlensky set fire to the doors of the Russian Federal Security Service, a building which used to house the Soviet-era KGB.

Video footage showed the gaunt 31-year-old standing in front of the building’s burning doors. Pavlensky was dressed in black, staring straight into a camera and holding a gas can.

The Washington Post described the act as “arguably his most combative artwork yet.” According to police reports, the artist is being investigated for vandalism that is “motivated by hatred or hostility to a social group.” If he is charged, he could face up to three years in prison.

Pavlensky posted a video of “Threat” on Vimeo, but it is no longer available. In the caption, he explained that he was demonstrating against governmental terrorism. “The burning door of the Lubyanka is the glove thrown by society into the face of the terrorist threat,” he wrote. "The Federal Security Service acts using the method of ceaseless terror and holds power over 146,000,000 people. Fear turns free people into a sticky mass of desperate bodies."

In a 2012 protest against the jailing of Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Ekaterina Samutsevitch, Pavlensky sewed his own mouth shut. When asked what he wanted to say by sewing up his mouth, he said, “I showed the situation of the contemporary artist in Russia, living in an environment where there’s a ban on publicity, the tightening of censorship and suppression of public statements in contemporary art.”

Pavlensky’s work is all about publicity. The ability to shock is snatching up the attention of many people and it is also racking up potential jail time. The artist is already on trial for a vandalism charge from 2013 where he and a group of helpers set fire to a barricade made of tires that emulated anti-government protests which overthrew the government of Ukraine.

“There's no greater evil than law-abiding citizens,” Pavlensky said earlier this month.
As Pavlensky waits for his trial, he has made a vow of silence in the courtroom. Officials have tried to commit him to a mental asylum but he was found to be sane in medical evaluations.. And as far as jail goes, Pavlensky doesn’t seem worried. "Criminal cases open a door for me to get inside the mechanics of the system — the investigators, the court system, psychiatrists — and allow me to work there."