Shredding the DMZ: North Korea's First Skatepark as Cultural Barometer

The Ryugyong Health Complex, People’s Open-air Ice Rink and the Pyongyang Skate Park facilities are encouraging signs that a new, younger leadership m

It looks like under Kim Jong-un—son of Kim Jong-il—North Koreans may finally be able to let their hair down a bit. As part of an effort to increase interest in "physical culture," the communist leader has opened a new sports and spa facility, complete with a skatepark, in the capital Pyongyang. The Ryugyong Health Complex, People’s Open-air Ice Rink and the Pyongyang Skate Park facilities are encouraging signs from the nation's new, younger leadership.


The Ryugyong Health Complex has a total floor space of 60,000 square feet with facilities for bathing, hairdressing, beauty, and massage treatment, and physical fitness. It has the capacity to serve 7,200 people a day. The People’s Open Air Ice Rink has a total floor space of over 21,000 square fee. Both the ice rink and skate park will be open year round.

Earlier this year, filmmaker Patrik Wallner of VisualTraveling tried his hand at taking some skateboarding footage and was denied, which led to him crashing the festivities surrounding Kim Il-sung's birthday in April, captured in this video below. In an Atlantic interview with Wallner, who has traveled to the country twice, he said, "Skateboarding is very harmless in the eyes of the North Koreans, but it’s not tolerated. They kept referring to it as 'nonsense,' meaning skateboarding wasn't accepted, and would be denied in most places, especially at any war memorials or statues of the Kims -- places that have marble stairs, ledges, ramps, obstacles that are essential for skateboarding."

Could the new structure in Pyongyang point towards a more open attitude to gnarly shredding? Is North Korea getting a much needed fun infusion?


via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

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via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

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"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

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Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.


In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

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Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

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