From the world pool: April 15, 2016

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Socio-political commentary

Silencing Tactics and You  (via @eilatan)

Things My Male Tech Colleagues Have Actually Said to Me, Annotated.  “You don’t mind if we call you a ‘chick,’ do you?” I say nothing, because you’re onto me. You’ve guessed it. I am actually a socialist collective of 112 baby chickens dressed in a trenchcoat. Curse your perspicacity. 

All That Isn’t Said: Kaye M. talks Islamophobia in YA.  (via @eilatan)

digitization: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. A thoughtful look at some potential impacts of digitizing material that was never intended for a wide audience.

Brutal honesty vs loving honesty

How my disabled son has changed my mind about political correctness. (via @PennyRed)

Groundbreaking nonprofit for women in tech, the Ada Initiative, to shut down.

Art + Design

Designing Glasses That Fit Individuals With Down Syndrome. Of the approximately 6,000 children born in the U.S. with Down Syndrome each year, more than half will need glasses at some point. Some of the physical traits associated with Down Syndrome, including close-set eyes, a low nose bridge and small ears, mean that glasses tend to slip down individuals’ noses, wing out too wide in the temples and not stay centered on their ears. The glasses that are available are uncomfortable, uncool, and, since the optical center tends to be off, not very helpful, vision-wise. “The standard solution for the slippage was a cable around the back of the head,” says Dellapina, “but parents who put them on their kids have never tried them themselves.” Since she was already familiar with optics and frame design, Dellapina started sketching out alternatives.

The Resurrection of a Zither Banjo.

The Harvard Library That Protects The World’s Rarest Colors. The history of pigments goes back to prehistoric times, but much of what we know about how they relate to the art world comes from Edward Forbes, a historian and director of the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University from 1909 to 1944. Considered the father of art conservation in the United States, Forbes traveled around the world amassing pigments in order to authenticate classical Italian paintings. Over the years, the Forbes Pigment Collection—as his collection came to be known—grew to more than 2,500 different specimens, each with its own layered backstory on its origin, production, and use. (via @eilatan)

Glas Glas won master film maker Bert Haanstra a well-deserved Academy Award® for Best Short Documentary in 1959. The film contrasts the production of hand made crystal from the Royal Leerdam Glass Factory with automated bottle making machines in the Netherlands. An industrial film with a bebop heart, its lyrical use of light and sound still looks and sounds fabulous, nearly 60 years after it was made. 

Just cool

Hungarian Chef Turns Ordinary Cookies Into Stunning Embroidery-Inspired Art. And it’s all done freehand: watch the video. (I have to say, apart from the initial omg reaction, my first thought was: Just how much does one of these cookies cost?)

Just for fun

It’s downhill from here. #if anyone ever asks me about female fantasy and some of the ways it differs from perceived female fantasy #i am just going to cite this post

Cat burglar.

Pet emu playing fetch. Such joy!

Well, hello there.


, ,

long-tailed salamander in gravel

So today I was getting some of last year’s leaf litter off the gravel paths in the veggie garden. I lifted up the first lump, and my eyes said, “Anomoly!” because of course gravel paths don’t usually have yellow stripes. So I put the leaf litter back and ran off and got my camera.

long-tailed salamander on hand

Here’s one with my hand, for scale.


And this is the best one I got of the little guy. It’s a Long-toed Salamander, Ambystoma macrodactylum. I’ve never seen one of these before; apparently they’re quite secretive, hanging out near ponds in breeding season (April and May). So maybe we’ll be lucky and have more of them!

I love our yard.



, , ,

Well, not all of them are odd, but certainly there were some on a recent walk.

split tree trunk

This was the first one. Why had someone chiseled 3 holes into this tree trunk? It was done by humans, not animals; I know pileated woodpeckers peck rectangular holes, but they aren’t quite as rectangular and smooth-sided as this. And it looked like it was a few years old, and dug in rather than being a simple blaze.

But here’s the other thing—the tree originally caught my eye because it was so obviously 2 trees nestled together; the trunks stood out because they were differently coloured.

top of treetrunk that's not split

Except they weren’t. Higher up, they were clearly joined, and in fact the split doesn’t go through to the other side of the tree.

old burned out stump

This burned out stump wasn’t an oddity, particularly, but the hole was like an eye to the rest of the forest.

tree stump hanging in air

Another oddity. When trees fall over I’m not used to seeing the end with the roots suspended fifteen feet up. (It had fallen into the space between two other trees and jammed fairly high off the ground, and the weight of the crown had pulled the root ball into the air.)

mushrooms on treetrunk

And this isn’t an oddity at all, just some nice fungus.

details of underside of mushrooms

And a detail, because I can.

From the world pool: March 18, 2016


, ,

Socio-political commentary

The Turn-Around Guys: White Hetero-Patriarchy, Wealth, Paternalism, and the Willful Destruction of Public Education (via @tressiemcphd)

How my disabled son has changed my mind about political correctness“There is an inevitable backlash … to ‘political correctness gone mad’. And it’s true: prissily expressed PC attitudes do often look silly. The problem is that, broadly speaking, they’re also right. I know this with immense certainty. Without the prevailing wind of political correctness my life would be very different. The life of my son would be unrecognisable.”

(And… wow, the comments. Talk about illustrating the writer’s point.)

In the news

President Obama I’d love the log trucks.”

Just for fun

I’m not at all sure “fun” is really the right category for this video, but none of the others were either. Someone on Twitter made a comment about Sigur Rós, an Icelandic group I’d never heard of, pointing to one of their videos, and I just kind of fell down a rabbit hole for an hour or so. Ekki múkk is one of an experimental series of films made for their valtari album. It’s quite indescribable. I will warn that it has images of death and decay, if you’re squeamish about such things, but in context I found it quite beautiful.   You can find all the videos for the album here.

This is the greeting we all want to get when we come home. Warning: be prepared to adjust your volume.

Today I walked a new trail.


, ,

dog on very overgrown trail

This, however, is not it. This is an old trail that I walked first. It’s, erm, a little overgrown at the moment.


Does Our Dog care about that, though? Nah!

dog foot in moss

Gratuitous photo of Our Dog’s foot in moss, just because both are so pretty.

trail through moss

And okay, here’s a picture of part of the new (to me) trail. It’s a pretty one.

From the world pool: March 11, 2016


, , , ,

fungus on old wood

Socio-political commentary

The Academic Publishing Scandal in Two Minutes. “Academics must generally hand away all rights to copyright of their best creations, creations that often take millions of dollars of public money to make. Even the editing process is done by academics acting as unpaid volunteers in a practice known as peer review. Once finished, the work is given permanently and for free to publishers who reap a higher profit margin than practically any other industry. Elsevier, the largest academic publisher, reports annual profits of over a billion dollars.” (via @mchris4duke)

Art + Design

Oh. Oh. Modern ruling pens. I’m actually so old that I was taught to use ruling pens to draw straight lines. But they were never like this, and they weren’t designed for calligraphy. Oh wow.   (via @TiroTypeworks)


How to keep a clean home: or, clearly, I really, really suck.

Just cool

The inadvertent art of tiny bodies. Gorgeous.

Beautiful photos of the Portuguese man of war jellyfish by Matt Smith.

Now this is a fire department that takes community relations seriously.

Just for fun

Apparently someone at The Guardian has had enough.

Monsoons and other diversions



flooded yard

We’ve had quite a lot of rain in the last 24 hours; I’ve never seen our pond as high. Which is to say, I’ve never seen quite as much of our yard under water. Soon the ducks will be able to swim from the pond to the slough.

flooded garden

Most of the garden pathways are under water too.

flooded yard with ducks

And at the other end of the yard, where we have a “bridge” to sit on in nice days, and to ensure that when the water in the pond is high we don’t have to squelch through the dampest part—well, the end is actually floating.

tree hanging on wires

And then there’s this hanging about outside our driveway. We’ve called it in, so I imagine someone will be along later today; they’re kind of busy at the moment.

From the world pool: March 4, 2016


, , , , , ,

Socio-political commentary

Syria’s Landmarks Restored in Miniature “In Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp a group of Syrian artists is working with basic tools and materials sourced from around the camp. They are using local stone, polystyrene and discarded wood, to build models and sculptures of iconic sites including Palmyra and the Krak des Chevaliers castle in Homs.” (via Tumblr)

John Oliver on Donald Trump. (via @ChrisBoese)

How to tell the difference between real solidarity and ally theatre. “Listen. Solidarity is action. That’s it. What we DO in solidarity is all that counts. How people with privilege listen to what marginalized groups ask of them and do that is all that counts.”

America has locked up so many black people it has warped our sense of reality. (via @KameronHurley)

McSweeney’s: Please don’t get murdered at school today. (via @KameronHurley)

The woman who gave two fingers to looking like a Disney Princess at the Oscars.  “I don’t do frocks and absolutely don’t do heels, I have a bad back. I look ridiculous in a beautiful gown….This is Marks & Spencer with Swarovski at the back. I had a bit of a shoe malfunction and the glitter fell off. I just like feeling comfortable and as far as I’m concerned I’m really dressed up.” And another article in which she says more on why she did it, as well as showing a photo of the back of the jacket:

On Writing

The Online Emily Dickinson Archive Makes Thousands of the Poet’s Manuscripts Freely Available. “Possibly due to the lack of scholarly interest before Johnson’s collection, Dickinson’s trove of manuscript drafts has remained scattered across several archives, sending researchers hoofing it to several institutions to view the poet’s handiwork. As of today, that will no longer be necessary with the inauguration of the online Emily Dickinson Archive, Emily Dickinson Archive, ‘an open-access website for the manuscripts of Emily Dickinson’ that brings together thousands of manuscripts held by Harvard, Amherst, the Boston Public Library, the Library of Congress, and four other collections.” (via @ChrisBoese)

“Real” writers don’t work. A response to the proud statement of Stephen Hull, editor of Huffington Post UK, that they do not pay their writers.

Quote of the week

I was driving north up the coast of California, back to my home in the Bay Area. It was 12 days after Sandra Bland was pulled over and arrested by a police officer in Waller County after failing to signal a lane change. Nine days after she was found dead in her jail cell, a plastic bag wrapped around her neck. It was five days after a police officer pulled over Samuel DuBose for having his front license plate in the glove compartment. Five days after he was shot point blank in the head, safety belt fastened, his hands up. As I drove, I idly brainstormed a new protocol to follow if I were stopped by the police.

If stopped by the police, I thought to myself, I would set my phone to record audio and put it on the passenger seat. I would send a tweet that I was being stopped and had every intention of complying with the police officer. I would turn on Periscope and livestream the stop, crowdsourcing witnesses. I would text my family and tell them that I was not feeling angry or suicidal, that I was looking forward to seeing them soon. There would not be time to do all of these things, but maybe if I prepared in advance I could pull off one or two of them. What all of these plans had in common were that none of them were meant to secure my safety, but rather to ensure that my death looked suspicious enough to question.

I was figuring out how to enter evidence into the inquiry of my own death.

—from Slow Poison, via @mchris4duke


Just cool

Mysterious paper sculptures; and the story continued.

Just for fun

I had no idea. (via @mcahogarth)

Wintergatan Marble Machine: Rube Goldberg musical instrument that runs on 2,000 steel ball-bearings

A day at the spa. I wish OUR golden was this relaxed in the bath. And that we had a bath like this for him, with a raisable pedastal. It would be a lot easier. And less messy for both of us.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 396 other followers