The other day clumps of snow fell off the trees in lines, producing some interesting effects. More photos below the cut; click to show individual images. Continue reading “Snow clumps”
Where did our sun go? We HAD it… Continue reading “From the world pool: April 8, 2018”
Our pond has had some visitors recently. This is the third time I’ve seen these wood ducks, so I’m hopeful that they are nesting in the area. They are very shy; it’s hard to get photos as even when you try from inside the house and are sneaky and trying hard not to be noticed they seem to have an incredible ability to spot you. (This photo was snatched as they were doing their patented nopenopenope exit.)
I didn’t post last week, so the world pool is extra deep today. Continue reading “From the world pool: April 14, 2017”
Another day, another death from hatred
The NRA vs. America (via @PatrickWeekes): Today’s NRA stands astride some of the ugliest currents of our politics, combining the “astroturf” activism of the Tea Party, the unlimited and undisclosed “dark money” of groups like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, and the sham legislating conducted on behalf of the industry through groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council. “This is not your father’s NRA,” says Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, a top gun-industry watchdog. Feldman is more succinct, calling his former employer a “cynical, mercenary political cult.” … The NRA insists in its publications that it is “not a trade organization” and that it is “not affiliated with any firearm or ammunition manufacturers or with any businesses that deal in guns and ammunition.” That is a lie. NRA’s corporate patrons include 22 firearms manufacturers, 12 of which are makers of assault weapons with household names like Beretta and Ruger, according to a 2011 analysis by the Violence Policy Center. The report, drawn from the NRA’s own disclosures, also identified gifts from dozens of firms that profit from high-capacity magazines, including Browning and Remington. Donors from the industry and other dark reaches of the corporate world – including Xe, the new name of the mercenary group Blackwater – had funneled up to $52 million to the NRA in recent years.
There’s been a lot of talk about Devin Faraci’s rant about entitled fans. Some good responses:
- This Song Was Written By a Committee: What Devin Faraci Gets Wrong About Audience, Ownership and Power “Social media is democratizing in that it amplifies the possibilities of disruptive speech. But it does not give material power to those who previously had none and it does not, by function, dissolve traditional power structures. Social media amplifies, it does not imbue.”
- Geek culture isn’t ‘broken,’ but it does have a harassment problem. “Except none of these examples are remotely comparable, representing different issues from different corners of fandom. Criticism is not the same as entitlement. Death threats are not the same as social media activism. And death threats aren’t purely the realm of disgruntled fans sending hate mail to creators; harassment is a broader issue of sexism and bigotry online.”
- From Hydra to Ghostbusters: The False Equivalences of Fan Culture “Fans tweeting about giving Steve Rogers a boyfriend or Elsa a girlfriend are expressing a consumer desire, one that reflects changing social attitudes and as such that should be celebrated. I can’t even imagine us having this discussion four years ago and now it feels normal. That’s an incredible step forward.”
Use of the term POC. “So, the term “person of colour” is meaningless to me in the non-Western context context, and I personally find it actively harmful when people lump us as “POC cultures” because it purports to create an illusion of solidarity that obscures the massive amount of racism and oppression Asians are enacting against each other till today. Further, I see it as a projection of Western race politics on a non-Western context, which is decentering from local dynamics.”
Emily Brill: copy editing /is/ political
Stories of working retail. It adds up to quite a horror show.
Periodic Uterine Tantrum, by Natalie Luhrs. A wonderful essay. Women have been saying for decades that the medical profession doesn’t take female complaints seriously. It’s disappointing to see how little has changed.
The sexism problem. Harassment drove me out of physics 30 years ago and little has changed. Why is scientific sexism so intractable? “Most depressing of all is how sexism keeps reinventing itself, morphing into new forms just when it seems we might be on the verge of overcoming the old ones. There are signs now that we have reached a plateau in terms of women’s representation in the ‘hard’ sciences, suggesting that underlying structural issues remain unresolved. According to the US National Science Foundation, only 20 per cent of physics PhDs in the States go to women, a figure that hasn’t shifted much in two decades. In computer science, it’s now 21 per cent: fewer than 20 years ago.”
What trans men see that women don’t. “Cultural sexism in the world is very real when you’ve lived on both sides of the coin”
These are the cities that climate change will hit first. And here’s the interactive map. (via @ChrisBoese)
Never Mind the Sharing Economy: Here’s Platform Capitalism “This might sound trivial but given the confused usage of the notion of sharing, it seems appropriate to remind ourselves that helping each other out by sharing our resources is one thing while commodifying these resources by charging a fee for their use is quite another. And this gets us to the more innovative dimension of the “sharing economy.” Today, the “sharing economy” entails much more than just digital updates of second-hand exchange and rentals. What companies like Uber, AirBnB, TaskRabbit or Postmates have in common is that they are platforms coordinating supply and demand of products and services that in their present form were previously unavailable on the market. … While it might be convenient to make use of these services, they have absolutely nothing to do with sharing. They stand for a digitally enabled expansion of the market economy, which, again, is the opposite of sharing. If someone does my shopping or drops me at the airport in exchange for a financial fee, how is this sharing?”
Art + Design
Crochet coral reef gallery. This is just so cool.
This graphic is quite appalling. People who are 18-29 are definitely getting screwed.
But there was one other thing I noticed.
- Baby boomers: between 52 and 70 years old in 2016
- Generations X: early 60s to the early 80s (i.e in 2016 roughly between 35 and 51)
- Millenials: early 80s to 2000 (i.e in 2016 roughly between 18 and 35)
- Generation Z: after 2000 (i.e in 2016 will be under 17)
Now, there’s obviously no direct correlation between these generations and the age groups in the graphic. Most baby boomers fall into the oldest group. The second oldest group, those who have done the best, are a couple of years of boomers and 5 or 6 years of Millenials, but are mostly Generation X. The second youngest group, which is half Millenials, doesn’t do quite as well as boomers, but it’s after the older cohort of Millenials that the road really goes over the cliff.
I’ve seen quite a lot of online complaining about how boomers got everything for themselves and in the process ruined it for everyone else. (Which ignores, of course, issues of class and power, but that’s another topic.) And of course on the whole boomers have done very well for themselves, and young people are extremely disadvantaged by comparison, and have a right to be pissed. But based on this graphic, it looks like the “got everything” demographic isn’t just greedy old farts.
Another chart. Attitudes in two different industries. The comments are also interesting.
The nostalgia machine. Hit a year and see what music was playing.
“I might want one of these,” I thought. And then I thought: CATS.
Just for fun
Neighbors said to fear ‘transient academics’. The comments are golden.
Some of you may not know what cosplay is. It’s short for “costumed roleplay” and is a delightful combination of craft and fandom and passion that produces some spectacular creativity. Most of the time cosplayers present themselves as superheroes and/or characters from popular media, but sometimes they do… other things. (Be sure to watch both videos).
And because of the horrors in Orlando this week, it seems appropriate to end on something so unabashedly celebratory: Shut up and dance with me.
Outside, tomorrow, hangovers, regrets, the grind. Outside, tomorrow, the struggle to effect change. But inside, tonight, none of that matters. Inside, tonight, the only imperative is to love. Lap the bar, out for a smoke, back inside, the ammonia and sweat and the floor slightly tacky, another drink, the imperative is to get loose, get down, find religion, lose it, find your hips locked into another’s, break, dance on your own for a while — but you didn’t come here to be a nun — find your lips pressed against another’s, break, find your friends, dance. The only imperative is to be transformed, transfigured in the disco light. To lighten, loosen, see yourself reflected in the beauty of others. You didn’t come here to be a martyr, you came to live, papi. To live, mamacita. To live, hijos. To live, mariposas.
—Justin Torres, In Praise of Latin Night at the Queer Club
A couple of pictures from yesterday’s dogwalk.
Attractive to water drops.
Out of focus. (In some ways I like this one best.)
It’s that time of year again.
From the September 14th edition of the Economist:
George MacKerron and Susana Mourato from University College London and the London School of Economics recently looked at the relationship between happiness and nature. They found that people are happier in all outdoor environments (except in fog or rain) than they are indoors. What makes them happiest is taking exercise or bird-watching by the sea or on a mountain with someone they like. Those seeking to cheer themselves up should avoid bare inland areas, suburbia and children.
There he is!
So I was walking across the gravel walkway in our yard, in which I fight a constant battle with encroaching weeds, and suddenly—hey, wait, I’ve never seen a weed like that before. So I got out the field guides and tried to identify it. No luck so far. Anyone got suggestions?
It’s very small. The flower is about 1/4 inch wide. There are 5 pointed white petals and a tight cluster of yellow stamens. There’s green bits in the centre of the flower around the stamens—you can see them best in the third picture.
The petals were straining back like those in a lily, but it closed up in the evening, and today the backward direction wasn’t as noticeable. There are buds for new blooms, and you can see the fruit from older ones, those green globes (on the right in the first pic).
I don’t know whether to cherish it or run screaming to the burn pile (well, assuming we were allowed to burn anything at the moment). I’ve compromised by putting it in a pot for the time being.
Most of the sword ferns in our yard simply put out their fronds straight, layering in beautiful but predictable ways. Not this one! This frond decided to go for a spiral.