From the world pool: October 25th, 2014


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Lots of stuff this week.

Socio-political analysis

An interesting Mother Jones article: “Big Sugar’s Sweet Little Lies: how the sugar industry kept scientists from asking: Does sugar kill?

Chris Kluwe: “Why #gamergaters piss me the f*** off.” Full of creative invective such as “slackjawed pickletit,” this is the most artistic rant I’ve read in years. But imagine what would happen if a woman wrote it.

More than my pain.” Game designer Mattie Bryce on the interactions between online hate campaigns and the responses to them as reality TV: an insightful analysis.

But what about the men? On masculinity and mass shootings.” An analysis by Meghan Murphy of “toxic masculinity” and the public invisibility of gendered violence.

Food for thought

The Revelations of Marilynne Robinson. (via @ChrisBoese)

“I hate to say it, but I think a default posture of human beings is fear.” …Fear has, in this moment, a respectability I’ve never seen in my life.” The article is mostly about the author and her work, but those statements really struck me.

Pair this with Ursula K. Le Guin on Private Anger.


The Evolution Door (via @ChrisBoese)

Quill – Books before print. “If you love old books, you’ve come to the right place.”

The first female typographer.  

How Did the Meadow Vole Cross the Road?  Design thinking leads to animal shelving: adding catwalks for small animals within culverts.

Just for fun

Beast: restaurant review. “If Beast were a chap, he would be a part-time rugby player smelling of Ralgex who’s trying to tell you he’s deep and thoughtful, even though he’ll later be implicated in an incident involving a traffic cone and a pint glass of his own urine.” If restaurant reviews are often this snarky and funny I’ll have to read them more often. (Via Twitter)   

Typewriter-parts cat, and the artist Jeremy Mayer’s website.

Now here’s something cool that I have included a whole clutch of links for. Do you recall the Sultan’s Elephant, a big dramatic multi-day giant puppet performance in London by a French puppeteering company? This is similar, but also by a French company: La Machine. (What is it about the French and wonderful giant puppets?) This performance is in Beijing and involves a spider and a dragon-horse.

Bet you don’t know what this is.


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small bit of light on paper

See that little crescent that’s lighter than the rest? That’s  a solar eclipse, that is. I used a pinhole in one piece of paper to focus light on a second sheet; it effectively creates a pinhole camera that projects the somewhat fuzzy shape of the occluded sun, inverted.

It’s a quick and dirty handheld solution which I used because I suddenly remembered  that the eclipse was happening, checked online to find out when, and discovered that maximum occlusion was supposed to be 2:58 pm. It was then 3:04, so I needed to move fast. But hey, it worked!

As for the light, well, it was a bit more subdued and golden than is usual at that time of day, but to be honest, if I hadn’t known there was an eclipse happening I probably wouldn’t have noticed anything.

A lovely golden evening... or afternoon eclipse

A lovely golden evening… or afternoon eclipse



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sketch of nude model

I like drawing in ink—it forces you to be more focused, because you can’t cheat if you make mistakes

This is my 1000th blog post, something I think is worthy of celebration. I’ve been doing this since June 27th, 2010, which is amazing to me. I haven’t posted every day, but it works out to, um, well, that’s 4 years and 4 months, roughly, so that would be about 1580 days, so that means 1580 divided by 1000, which is, um—

Oh hell, there’s a reason I do design and art and photography and writing and don’t do math and statistics.

I haven’t got a huge number of followers, but it’s a number that is surprising to me, and so I also wanted to take this opportunity to say how very much I appreciate you all. (The real followers, that is, not the fake followers who use Follows or Likes to get a blogger or their readers to visit the sales pitches at their own blog. Those scammers can take a long walk off a short pier, and I can assure you that if I could delete their Follows and Likes I would.)

At any rate, I thought I should do something a bit different to celebrate my 1000th post, so this. It’s a 20-minute sketch I did this week at a life drawing drop-in session. Drawing with a model is something I haven’t done in years, and I’m really looking forward to doing a lot more of it.

While still blogging, of course!

Happy Birthday, Ursula K. Le Guin!


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Ursula Le Guin turns 85 today. She has been my favourite author for a very long time, not just because she tells great stories and writes excellent, thought-provoking essays but because she is so skilled at doing so, in an understated way: she makes complexity seem deceptively easy. I still remember reading the lastish book in a series and delightedly hopping up and down saying to my partner, “She took everything she set up in the first book and turned it inside out!”

And she’s funny.

“I am a man. Now you may think I’ve made some kind of silly mistake about gender, or maybe that I’m trying to fool you, because my first name ends in a, and I own three bras, and I’ve been pregnant five times, and other things like that that you might have noticed, little details. …I admit it, I am actually a very poor imitation or substitute man, and you could see it when I tried to wear those army surplus clothes with ammunition pockets that were trendy and I looked like a hen in a pillowcase. ”

I found this quote on Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings site: Ursula K. Le Guin on Being a Man. It’s a lovely read, but why stop there? You should buy the book.  

And if you want to read more and haven’t already found it, her blog is on her website. (And at Book View Cafe as well.)

From the world pool: October 18, 2014


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From the world pool this week, it’s all in the socio-political category:

Anita Sarkeesian hit the news again, this time because she cancelled a speaking gig at Utah State University. Did she cancel because someone threatened a “Montreal-style massacre” of her and people who attended? Nope. She cancelled because the University police refused to do a screening check for weapons; apparently (1) doing so is prohibited by Utah’s concealed carry laws and (2) they considered it unnecessary, given how often she receives death threats. (!!!) And as we all know, there’s no reason to think that someone who threatens people online or through email is likely to carry the threat out, is there?

Related: Brianna Wu is mad as hell. “They threatened the wrong woman this time. I am the Godzilla of bitches. I have a backbone of pure adamantium, and I’m sick of seeing them abuse my friends.”

And speaking of online harassment… Twitter can fix its harassment problem, but why mess with success?

The Weaponization of Emotion: Sara Wanenchak. A couple of months old now, but a good analysis.

I love this Zadie Smith quote. It explains so much.

No just-for-fun cuteness or coolness this week, I’m afraid. But I did find this inspiring:

Trans model Geena Rocero is gender proud. (Watch the TED talk video.)

Fuck you, Amy.


Let me let you in on a secret, Amy. You are not my friend. In fact, I don’t want to know you. Ever. Yet you keep stalking me—calls every day or two. Friendly calls. You just want to be nice to me, right? To give me things? And you’re such a lovely person, really, you must be, you have such a friendly voice.

Fuck you.

I don’t want the free cruise to the Bahamas I’ll get if I just “press 1 now.” Just like I didn’t want what you offered me when you said you were working for Telus. Or WestJet. Can’t keep a steady job, I see.

At least the guys telling me my Windows computer (the one I don’t own) is being hacked (and I please need to give them control of it so they can fix the problem) provide me with the opportunity to ask them how their mothers feel about them being a scum-sucking scamming crook, and lay incidental curses on their manhood. But no, you don’t have the courtesy to actually be anything but a recording.

But I can assure you, I will never press 1. Or 9, to be removed from your contact list, for that matter.

Fuck you, Amy.

(There, I feel better now.)


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