Shared posts

21 Aug 08:06

If you can't tell editorial from advertorial, there's a browser plug-in for that

by Mariella Moon

Spread the word. via Arnvidr

Google product engineer Ian Webster believes sponsored articles should be more easily identifiable (as they should be!), so he built the AdDetector plug-in in his spare time to make that happen. More and more publications turn to sponsored content or native ads these days (even Tumblr does it), but some of them just add disclaimers at the very bottom of the page or small, easy-to-miss bylines. Webster says the problem is that bad native ads depend on you, readers, not knowing that they're, well, sponsored. So, he designed the plug-in to plaster large red banners on paid article pages whenever it detects unfortunately small sponsored disclaimers, in order to boost transparency on the web. He also hopes that by making paid articles more obvious, sponsors would make an effort to put out better content. You can install AdDetector (and make sure this post wasn't sponsored) for Chrome and Firefox from Webster's website.

Filed under: Internet


Via: The Wall Street Journal

Source: AdDetector

18 Aug 14:35

Monday Matchup #10: Sheaffer 300 Metallic Grey and Pilot Iroshizuku Kiri-same

by Rachel Goulet

This one is almost Bacon-esque.

It’s dull and grey here this morning, so today’s Monday Matchup fits the bill! We’ve coupled the classical Sheaffer 300 in Metallic Grey fountain pen with Pilot Iroshizuku Kiri-same fountain pen ink. These two were made for each other. This is a sturdy and reliable duo that is bound to dazzle and impress your peers.

Joe O., using the Kiri-same ink and some correction fluid, created the drawing below. He was inspired by a study done by his favorite portrait artist, Ann Gale.

You’ll also notice we’ve included some writing samples. We’ve decided to incorporate these with our Monday Matchups so you can get an idea of how the pen truly writes and operates with the ink. Alex used the Sheaffer 300 with Medium nib to create this written portion.

What do you think of this week’s matchup? What do you currently have matched? Let us know! Happy Monday, folks.
19 Aug 10:02

gailsimone: badguyshavetheworstaim: a comic done by...



a comic done by christianne benedict, posted on the womanthology art forum. brilliant!

YES. Jesus, thank you.

I cannot tell you how many times I have had to point out what the audience at conventions actually LOOKS like to people in the industry. They can do signings in a booth full of every kind of person all day long, every color, every size, every orientation and more, and STILL go online and talk about how only white straight males read comics.


19 Aug 22:47

Art of the day: pass the fish!


I don't really understand what is happening here.

Art of the day: pass the fish!

20 Aug 23:12

Body Count - Cop Killer


Dan writes about "Cop Killer". Mayhem ensues.

Cop Killer - Body Count

by Body Count
album Body Count

150 Favorite Songs: #65, “Cop Killer,” Body Count (1992)

The thing about “Cop Killer” that’s so remarkable is that even 22 years later, it still sounds positively dangerous. It wasn’t the first song to suggest that maybe the singer would support violence against law enforcement, of course—that dates back from “Fuck Tha Police” to “I Shot The Sheriff” to “Policeman.” But “Cop Killer” is the one that still sounds like something that you shouldn’t be able to get away with singing about.

I mean, “Fuck Tha Police” is arguably the more important song, but it is nowhere near as unapologetic and unequivocal as “Cop Killer.” The conceit of “Fuck Tha Police” is that the cops are on trial for the way they’ve treated young black men like Cube, Dre, Ren, and Eazy-motherfucking-E (Yella’s voice and name are absent on the recording). “Judge Dre” presides while the others give their impassioned testimony: Cube talks about the violence he’s endured, the indignity of being searched and touched inappropriately, the way that black officers react toward him when they’re with white cops, etc, etc—it’s a detailed argument for why the police are fucked. By the time he promises that “when I’m finished / there’s gonna be a bloodbath / of cops dying in LA,” you can understand that he’s justifiably angry. 

"Cop Killer" makes "Fuck Tha Police" seem downright polite by comparison. Ice-T doesn’t fuck around at all here. It’s less a "this is why I hate cops" and more a "how-to" power fantasy. It’s all "I got my black gloves on / I got my ski mask on" and "I got this long-ass knife / and your neck looks just right." Even in the preamble to the song, he lays out his position—that police who brutalize the people they’re supposed to protect are committing such a violation that he’d be happy to "take a pig out here in this parking lot and shoot him in his motherfucking face." He’s not even picky which cop it is. 

That’s the other thing about “Cop Killer”—there’s no equivocating here. One of the most interesting things about the song is the fact that Ice-T, like, acknowledges the shared humanity of the police officer. It’s in the fucking chorus! “I know your family’s grieving—fuck ‘em!” That is some harsh shit. If “Fuck Tha Police” is about how the rage against the police that the NWA guys felt is justifiable because of how they’d been treated, “Cop Killer” takes for granted that police are the enemy. And that, as the enemy, they need to die. 

I mean, shit. That got this record pulled 22 years ago, and it’s still hard to believe he got it on the shelves in the first place. It’s so transgressive even after two decades that it feels like you’re doing something wrong if you sing along (try it with the windows down!). 

But, of course, Ice-T demands that you sing along. That’s the other genius of “Cop Killer”—it’s participatory. After the “fuck the police!” breakdown near the end, he starts calling you out: “Have some motherfucking courage,” he commands, punctuating it with a “fuck the police” before imploring the listener to sing along. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” “Cop killer!” the listener is supposed to shout. “Good choice.”

There’s something fascinating about taking a sentiment like that—a sentiment that got his record yanked off of shelves, that still has police angry with him (cops are still pissed that Ice-T is on Law & Order: SVU), and demanding it become universal. 

Because that’s the other thing about “Cop Killer”: it was on the Body Count record, which was Ice-T’s heavy metal crossover album. That was a record that he knew would be played by an awful lot of white kids. Demanding that a largely-white audience sing along about the very specific ways that they’d go out and kill some cops (with the headlights turned off and a twelve-gauge sawed-off) is scary as hell. Of course they banned this shit.

At the same time, there are only a few times that rock and roll actually felt dangerous. There was a time when people rioted to “Rock Around The Clock” (at least, that’s the myth), when Elvis’ hips threatened to impregnate all of the teenage girls in America, when kids suddenly had hairstyles and clothing that their parents could never understand. 

That power left most music a couple decades ago, though. These days, the Public Enemy logo has a Beats By Apple logo on the other side; “dangerous” artists are more likely to prove their bonafides by not showing up for their gigs than for saying something provocative. Maybe “Cop Killer” was the last truly dangerous rock song—and that alone makes it powerful enough to keep talking about.

6 plays

18 Aug 15:58

Pen and Cape Society: Super Choice Adventure Chapter 2

by Christopher Wright

The next chapter of the Pen and Cape Society's Super Choice Adventure is up. This chapter is written by R.J. Ross, author of the Cape High books. I discuss her stories a little on this site in Introducting the Pen and Cape Society.

This installment gives you the chance to vote me in as the next author up to bat. Read through the latest installment and choose which power you want Willow to use next. If you choose "fire manipulation" then I'll need to figure out exactly how the the heck I'm going to work fire manipulation into the storyline. If you're not interested in fire manipulation, that's OK. I'll get my turn eventually.

16 Aug 21:44

Fair and Balanced Philosophy Brad Gyori / Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy | Flow


Mind the Giant Picture of Roger Ailes.

O'Reilly mash up Bill O’Reilly “mash up” illustration provided by author.

In 1996, media titan Rupert Murdoch asked a former U.S. Republican Party political strategist Roger Ailes to found Fox News. From the outset, Fox was accused of being little more than a mouth piece for the Republican party, placing a right wing slant on much of its reportage. While this tactic was at odds with existing journalistic practices, it proved a ratings windfall, and Fox soon became the most watched news network in the U.S. Through the years, Fox’s coverage has become even more skewed, regularly trafficking in headlines such as “Obama Praises Indian Chief Who Killed U.S. General” and “Obama loves Gangsta rap.”

Roger Ailes is president of Fox News Channel.

Defending news coverage filled with right wing propaganda has presented a significant public relations challenge for Ailes. To counter critics, he and the Fox team aggressively brand their approach “real journalism,” dubbing the popular O’Reilly Factor a “no spin zone,” and adopting the motto “fair and balanced.” Ailes did not invent this mode of rhetorical white washing. It actually dates back to an equally savvy political strategist: Plato.

Greek philosopher Plato was also a political strategist.

Like Ailes, the founder of the western philosophic tradition once had political aspirations. The son of an aristocratic family, he was an elitist, who believed only a small fraction of the populous possesses the natural endowments to govern others. He was also a moralist, struggling to save society from contamination by dangerous thought. And he was an egoist, who believed that human beings are guided primarily by rational self-interested. Plato sought political office on several occasions with no success. But after his teacher Socrates was put to death for clashing with the authorities of his day, he abandoned political life in favor of scholarship.1 He did, however, go on to write The Republic,2 a work that describes a future utopia ruled by philosopher kings, wise men like him, but with real political clout. In his last and longest dialogue, Laws,3 Plato grows more pragmatic and more reactionary, imagining a future society where those who reject his philosophy are taken to the courts and, if found guilty, given no less than five years solitary confinement in a reformatory where they will be subjected to intensive indoctrination. If this fails to cure them, they should be put to death. Clearly, with such laws in place, it would be illogical to disagree with Platonic “reason.”

Another link between Platonism and Fox News is the use of religious doctrine to support truth-claims. Because Fox frequently panders to Christian right, pundits and correspondents often invoke biblical authority in contrast to that worldly stuff scientists call “empirical evidence.” What’s more, Fox producers often generate stories focusing on Christian themes, such as the perceived “attack on Christmas.”

YouTube Preview Image

In a similar sense, many of Plato’s truth-claims were undergirded by dogma. According to classical scholar E.R. Dodds,4 his philosophy is a cross fertilization of Greek rationalism and various magico-religious ideas gleaned from shamanistic cults. Plato believed in reincarnation and felt that philosophers were uniquely gifted individuals capable of retaining knowledge of ultimate truths glimpsed during their passage through the afterlife.

This ideological component has its antecedents of the Pythagorean movement. Plato’s forbearer Pythagoras was a brilliant logician. He invented the mathematical formula known as “the Pythagorean Theorem.” And coined the term “philosopher.” But he was also the leader of a religious sect and often addressed his devotes from behind a gauzy veil.

Pythagoreans Pythagoreans celebrate sunrise.

Pythagoras claimed to channel the spirit of the late shaman Hermotimus.5 Such invocations were common in ancient Greece. Ritual mediums often conjured spirits of the dead in order to invest their pronouncements with divine authority. Thanks to the advent of the written word Plato was able to invert this process. His teacher, Socrates, does not speak through him. Instead, Plato speaks through Socrates. Likewise, Fox commentators frequently invoke deceased presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and especially Ronald Reagan and speculate as to how they might respond to various current events. No news channel channels the dead as frequently or as overtly as Fox, and for true believers, such mystical invocations appear to lend credence to partisan hype masquerading as journalism.

Paul Ryan Paul Ryan invokes Reagan on Fox.

This act of “textual ventriloquism” has several advantages. Claiming to speak for living authorities is problematic. The living can object when their views are misinterpreted or deliberately distorted, while the convenient silence of the dearly departed offers no such hazard. Also, the dead are no longer capable of contradicting or amending their own views. Posthumous utterances representing an evolving idiosyncratic worldview commenting on issues relevant to a particular place and time are thereby invested with the gravity of immutable truths. In this way, Fox conjures celestial imprimatur via the esteemed ghosts that tirelessly haunt its airwaves. What’s more, a pundit speaking in the name of a dead authority figure is donning a type of mask that partially disguise his own motives and worldview. This ideological camouflage allows him to feign objectivity without actually attempting it.

dialectic Depiction of dialectical method for argument.

The methodological cornerstone of Platonic rationalism is the dialogue, the process of two or more people expressing different points of view in an effort to ascertain truth visa reasoned argument. By allowing the audience to consider more than a single perspective, the dialogue creates opportunities for productive debate in which ideas are asserted, challenged and improved in a dialectic fashion. This process can enhance understanding, but it can also delude. In Plato’s work, it does both. This is because, for him, the dialogue is more than just an objective discussion between equals; it is a rigged game, a rhetorical framing device that persuades by claiming to transcend rhetoric. Socrates appears to meet his opponents on equal footing, while Plato remains off stage and out of view. Meanwhile, Socrates always has the upper hand. Plato covertly controls everything from behind the scenes, and Socrates appears to win every argument. His (Plato’s) wisdom triumphs over all.

socrates Greek philosopher Socrates often portrayed in Plato’s dialogues.

Plato was highly critical of the Sophists, a group of competing scholars who taught the art of rhetoric. He felt that their persuasive monologues were deceptive and inferior to his dialogues, which, he claimed, allowed readers to consider both sides of every argument. Yet, in many respects, Platonic dialogues are simply monologues in disguise. They persuade by appearing unbiased, but the author’s true intentions are always simmering just beneath the surface. This is what makes the dialogues so compelling and so deceptive. The Sophists never claim to be objective, but Plato does and this imbues his works with a sense of heightened credibility.

Fox News has made the dialogue a staple of their “fair and balanced” programming. As with a magician’s sleight of hand, it directs attention away from right wing pandering network executives wish to conceal. Rather than attempting to actually make their reportage less biased, they have constructed highly constrained editorial spaces in which a few handpicked liberals are permitted to express opposing views in an often-ineffectual manner.6 This is what passes for objective journalism on Fox and the illusion is somewhat convincing as long as viewers don’t question the motives of the supposedly neutral moderator, or examine how the show’s producers have chosen to frame the topic of discussion.

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Like Plato, Roger Ailes has anointed himself a sage capable of discerning ultimate truth more effectively than others. Yet at first blush, he appears a somewhat ironic figure, one whose authority is dependent on a means of expression he seems determined to disparage. Ailes, after all, is high power media mogul who constantly disparages the media itself. He wants to convince viewers that this is an act of alchemy, not hypocrisy. The first step involves insisting that the media at large is inherently liberal and thus corrupt. Only then, can the Fox News team perform the feat of magically transforming this base material into something of true value. They do so by fighting fire with fire, using media to transform itself.

In a similar sense, Plato considered the written word corrupt. In Phaedrus, he compares writing to orality. He is critical of the former and praises the latter. For the first time in western thought, two types of media are evaluated in relation to one another and media theory is born. Plato even conflates literacy with a poison (pharmakon) that will cause human memory to atrophy. This implies a counter conflation, namely, that Plato’s dialogue is the cure. Plato, the philosopher, may disparage the written word, but Plato, the alchemist, needs it, as his dialogue is the philosopher’s stone that can insure its transmutation. He is not a hypocrite for using literacy to serve his own ends. He is a redeemer, a purifying filter, distilling away toxic impurities.

In the essay “Plato’s Pharmacy,” Jacques Derrida7 challenges the hidden biases of this supposedly impartial dialogue. He states that Plato’s critique of the written word is a self-serving gesture, perpetuating long-standing patriarchal norms. In Phaedrus, Plato (through Socrates) suggests that truth (logos) committed to words is like a child orphaned by his father. By redeeming the word, Plato strives to return it—and all of us—to the care of a benevolent and all-knowing patriarch. This too, is in keeping with the Fox News bias toward “family values” and patriarchal norms.

In addition to disparaging the written word, Plato condemns poetry and the theater for a tendency to trigger mimetic acts. He fears that uneducated readers and audience members lack the critical faculties to entirely distinguish between reality and stagecraft and might be compelled to imitate the transgressions dramatized in works of fiction. In The Republic, written around the same time as Phaedrus—about 370 BC—Plato suggests that community leaders should supervise poets, and compel them to praise virtue in their poems. Poems that focus on vice are compared to poisonous weeds corrupting souls. Here is the first “media effects” argument.8 Plato insists that society is under threat from nefarious influences eroding social norms. His enemies, the sophists, are deceivers, blinding humankind to the fundamental Truths of existence.

In a similar sense, Fox News host, Bill O’Reilly is a self-described “cultural warrior, determined to protect his audience from harmful images and ideas circulating in the “liberal media.” To this end, O’Reilly often tells those who disagree with him to “shut up” in an attempt to silence perspectives that don’t align with the Republican talking points he is obliged to parrot.

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Plato tells us Socrates was the wisest man because he claimed to know nothing. But perhaps, Plato was the shrewdest man because he claimed to lack an agenda. The apparent parallels I have sketched between the methods of Fox News and the traditions of Platonism unsettle familiar notions of objective journalism and unbiased philosophy. They also raise concerns regarding the long-term credibility of a two party democracy. Whenever two parties—individual or collective—converse, their dialogue is not occurring in a value-free vacuum. Some unseen philosopher king, or collective of like-minded stakeholders is limiting and guiding what can be spoken and heard. Yet acknowledging that all public debates are inevitably framed and distorted by private interests is not the same as accepting that all accounts of the so-called “objective truth” are equally biased. The US may always have a two party system, but that ongoing political dialogue need not become as right leaning as Fox News’s narrowing circumscribed rhetorical universe. And even Fox, devoted as it is to carrying out neo-conservative marching orders, will never be an entirely closed system. This is because no dialogue, however carefully constrained, is ever entirely predictable. Discourses are living things comprised of complex individuals who share similar ideological commitments, but are not perfectly in lockstep regarding all issues. Thus even in a tightly controlled discursive space there are opportunities for legitimate debate and even dissent, not necessarily been the straw-man liberal pundits, Fox sets up and knocks down for sport, but between the Fox correspondents owe varying degrees of allegiance to different groups: The Tea Party, the Christian right, the NRA, Republican politicians and big business. Those same reporters are also committed to different ideological agendas: nationalism, capitalism, neo-conservatism, elitism, populism, patriarchy, jingoism, heteronormativity, militarism, and, yes, even journalistic ethics. These competing commitments and perspectives complicate their ability to present a perfectly united front.

As public discourse becomes more multi-centered and complex, we are required to think, not of the public sphere, but of the public spheres—plural. Even a dialogue between two people draws on a number of competing discourses. This means, the producers of Fox News can never perfectly contain and control what occurs on their airwaves. And indeed, many liberal pundits including Cornel West, Jon Stewart and Bill Clinton have successfully challenged the Fox News team on their own turf, undermining the republican party’s ability to always bring its favorite media lapdog perfectly to heel. While it is in the best interest of moneyed elites to make it appear as if the motives and beliefs of various right wing discourses are perfectly aligned, the general public benefits more when their contrasting perspectives are exposed and some semblance of actual debate is generated within the Fox News universe. This is the best hope of keeping Fox News a little more honest, and perhaps even remotely “fair and balanced.”

Image Credits:

1. Bill O’Reilly, Plato, Parthenon
2. Roger Ailes
3. Plato
4. Pythagoreans
5. Paul Ryan
6. The Dialogue
7. Socrates

Please feel free to comment.

15 Aug 07:00


by Dylan

This shirt is very fine.

Hello, my dears! Thank you all for your patience last week. My computer is back up and running (and so am I). I can’t wait to finish this chapter!

News news news…there’s a new t-shirt designed by me (suitable for D&D nerds) up in the PvP/TableTitans store on WeLoveFine. It’s all about the big news in the fantasy healthcare world; the Affordable Cleric Act. (I had fun.)

It was originally a GenCon exclusive but people went so bonkers over it on Twitter that they’re releasing it early in men’s sizes. Perhaps you’d like one!


15 Aug 05:31

The Pen and Cape Society Introduces: Super Choice Adventure!

by Christopher Wright

This sounds like a good time.

Did you like "Choose Your Own Adventure" stories back in the day? Do you like stories where the ending hasn't been figured out yet? Do you like those crazy stories where multiple authors take turns pushing it forward? What about all three smooshed together?

Introducing Super Choice Adventure: the adventure that's sort of like Choose Your Own Adventure but not close enough to violate any copyrights that's being written by multiple authors who haven't figured out the ending yet!

Various members of the Pen and Cape Society (including yours truly) have banded together to tell the story of a heroine with the ability to mimic the powers of fictional characters. It updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and at the end of each update the readers get to choose which power she mimics next -- and which Pen and Cape author tells the story.

15 Aug 04:48

Valérie Inertie & Cico Fly


Not a huge fan of music, but Valerie is great.

When cyr-wheel and breakdance meet on the same stage, when talents & charisma are equally present, when enthusiasm and creativity overpass tiredness, fire ar...
14 Aug 12:41



To all my weirdo peoples.

13 Aug 10:37

thecypherstones: swankshaman: 9 Black butch lesbians share...



9 Black butch lesbians share their stories in The Butch Mystique (2003)

The last one!!

"It hurts me so much when men look at me in a way of hatred. They only hate me because I’m not making myself available to them."

13 Aug 11:26

stickfigurefairytales: Suicides go up when a famous person...


Suicides go up when a famous person dies after losing their battle with mental illness. If you’re thinking of suicide, call 800-283-8255. (x)

Just wanted to add these links for hotlines in countries other than the US, too (taken from this post):

Argentina Suicide Hotlines

Armenia Suicide Hotlines

Australia Suicide Hotlines

Austria Suicide Hotlines

Barbados Suicide Hotlines

Belgium Suicide Hotlines

Botswana Suicide Hotlines

Brazil Suicide Hotlines

Canada Suicide Hotlines

China Suicide Hotlines

Croatia Suicide Hotlines

Cyprus Suicide Hotlines

Denmark Suicide Hotlines

Egypt Suicide Hotlines

Estonia Suicide Hotlines

Fiji Suicide Hotlines

Finland Suicide Hotlines

France Suicide Hotlines

Germany Suicide Hotlines

Ghana Suicide Hotlines

Gibraltar Suicide Hotlines

Hong Kong Suicide Hotlines

Hungary Suicide Hotlines

India Suicide Hotlines

Ireland Suicide Hotlines

Israel Suicide Hotlines

Italy Suicide Hotlines

Japan Suicide Hotlines

Liberia Suicide Hotlines

Lithuania Suicide Hotlines

Malaysia Suicide Hotlines

Malta Suicide Hotlines

Mauritius Suicide Hotlines

Namibia Suicide Hotlines

Netherlands Suicide Hotlines

New Zealand Suicide Hotlines

Norway Suicide Hotlines

Paupua New Guinea Suicide Hotlines

Philippines Suicide Hotlines

Poland Suicide Hotlines

Portugal Suicide Hotlines

Russian Federation Suicide Hotlines

Somoa Suicide Hotlines

Serbia Suicide Hotlines

Singapore Suicide Hotlines

South Africa Suicide Hotlines

South Korea Suicide Hotlines

Spain Suicide Hotlines

Sri Lanka Suicide Hotlines

St. Vincent Suicide Hotlines

Sudan Suicide Hotlines

Sweden Suicide Hotlines

Switzerland Suicide Hotlines

Taiwan Suicide Hotlines

Thailand Suicide Hotlines

Tobago Suicide Hotlines

Tonga Suicide Hotlines

Trinidad and Tobago Suicide Hotlines

Turkey Suicide Hotlines

Ukraine Suicide Hotlines

United Kingdom Suicide Hotlines

United States Suicide Hotlines

Zimbabwe Suicide Hotlines

13 Aug 11:33

art-and-fury: The World Beyond - Caitlin...

13 Aug 03:50



"Psychic Assholes" has great potential in the band/album name world.

12 Aug 14:41

Paths to Better Futures

by bl00

Thoughts from Bl00 on the problem of needing to somehow provide social training to awkward weirdos in order to separate them from genuine assholes.

We’ve started telling people how they are expected to act. That’s a phenomenal start. We’ve started making it clear that there are paths to justice, in the case that those expectations are not met. Also great. But I don’t feel like it’s enough. Often, issues are forced into a boolean framing, with only a boolean response. Either something is dismissible, or scorched earth. And so many things go unaddressed, and the few things that aren’t are either viewed as “how did we wait so long?!” or “that seems like overkill.” The former continues to vilify the perpetrator, and the later vilifies the person(s) on the receiving end.

If we simply kick out anyone who messes up, we end up with empty communities, and that’s not a new future.

If we don’t hold people accountable for being abusive, we end up with rooms filled only with those who love their pre-existing power, and that’s not a new future.

League of Legends is the best example I know of how to deal with this properly, or at least better than usual. If you are an asshole to someone, you go to Tribunal. They do this because there are rarely “problem players,” but most incidents are “players having a bad day.” And if you got rid of all those players, you wouldn’t have anyone left. If you put a bad mark on “problem players” or some other permanent thing, people simply recreate accounts, and are pissed off while they play in the beginner brackets, and then you have a toxic environment for the newcomers, only the toxic stick around, and then the whole place sucks.

Let’s bring this to issues of gender and sexual advances specific to our geek communities. It cannot be fun for most of the people who are causing these problems. Just think – you try to make a pass, it either isn’t well received or seems to be but then later it turns out wasn’t, and no one is telling you what is actually expected. Except sometimes that you’ve done something wrong. Of course yes to consent! Yes to enthusiastic consent! But women especially are also socialized to give what is seemed to be desired. For safety. For society. Etc. And so consent is the first essential step along a path, but is not the end-all-be-all.

What I’m proposing is this: if someone violates a safe space agreement, or continually makes people in the community feel squicked, or whatever else… we need to have a path laid for them to get better. And if they’re not willing to take that path, we know they’re doing it because they’re an asshole, and not because they’re socially awkward. Awkwardness can be because of a commitment to consent, and is no excuse for many of these issues. Just ask someone I’ve dated. I am not smooth.

So what are those paths? Restorative justice seems to be a useful alternative for urban communities with generations disappearing into the legal system, but which has been co-opted by the privileged to avoid accountability. I’ve asked around about programs for people who are abusive to “get better,” with little luck. Are there paths already out there? Do we need to create them? Please do comment here, let’s have a discussion.

11 Aug 18:30

Monday Matchup #9: Platinum Balance and De Atramentis Ferdinand von Zeppelin

by Rachel Goulet

I continue to be ridiculously impressed by the art talent within the staff over there.

Happy Monday, friends! We hope you had an incredible weekend. We’re here to brighten up those Monday Blues with Monday Matchup!

This week we’ve paired the classy and sophisticated Platinum Balance fountain pen in Blue with De Atramentis Ferdinand von Zeppelin fountain pen ink. This pair is a very traditional match that'd be perfect for the office. The navy color has more flair than the typical black, but is still modest enough to use in professional environments. This makes it perfect go-to choice for a daily-carry pair.

A portrait of Ferdinand Adolf Heinrich August Graf von Zeppelin was done by Joe O. to show off the De Atramentis ink.

11 Aug 05:01

bug fix

by Ian

bug fix

09 Aug 09:51



Via Coolhemacha: "I have always loved this saying"

08 Aug 15:46


by Christopher Hastings

If you’re tired of a certain meme, or you just want people to shut up, there is a t-shirt and mug that might express that for you.


SHUT UP is a post from: The Adventures of Dr. McNinja

Ads by Project Wonderful! Your ad could be here, right now.
07 Aug 20:38

I put all the comics from being home in one place, three long...


In case you missed them.

I put all the comics from being home in one place, three long image files, as usual.  Click to read:




I am sad to leave again, like a lot of us are when we go from where we came from.  I hope that my family times give you a chuckle, and that your family is well.  I hope to heaven that your family doesn’t talk about butts as much as mine does.

05 Aug 21:25

People Making Music with Broken Plumbing

by Christopher Jobson

These are tremendous fun, and great playing, too. via Laszlo Tenki.

Here’s two amazing videos of musicians realizing the air pressure from their faulty plumbing makes for a great music. The violinist from the first video us from the Altra Volta Quartet in Poland, and the video of the guitarist appears to be uncredited. If you like this, also check out Diego Stocco’s Music from a Dry Cleaner. (via The Awesomer)

06 Aug 19:41

Mr. Lizard


One of the finer pieces of sketch comedy.

Chris Morris at his best
29 Jul 14:57

An English Cut suit at $700 / £415

by Tom Mahon

Tom has been playing around the edges of this market for a while.

English Cut
English Cut

Bespoke Savile Row tailoring is our business. We’ve been telling you the truth about this craft for ten years and now we want to offer the Savile Row experience to everyone.

Our bespoke service is a specialised product and we’re fully aware the cost is out of reach for many people. We have been looking for a way to offer a suit that has the best hallmarks of English tailoring. After a long search and nearly two years in the planning, we feel we have something very special for you. An English Cut suit averaging $700 (£415).

Approaching this from the same angle we approach everything, making quality our priority. We are offering suits made to order, using only fine worsted fabrics from England. After searching everywhere for a maker that would tailor to our exact standards, we are confident that we have found the best people to tailor for you. Whilst maintaining our soft comfortable style with high armholes for movement. The very essence of an English suit.

There are a lot of companies offering a suit around this price point. But ask yourself, how many of these are actual tailors with a proven background? Do they have a heritage in the trade and know what is most important in a suit?

We look forward to welcoming new clients in to our craft.




English Cut Online

English Cut Online

04 Aug 15:19

Monday Matchup #8: Pelikan Brilliant Red with Sheaffer Sagaris in Gloss Wine

by Rachel Goulet
This week’s Monday Matchup is somewhat unconventional, but a unique and fun pairing all the same. One of our newest pen additions, the Sheaffer Sagaris in Gloss Wine, is paired with Pelikan Brilliant Red ink. Although the Sagaris we chose is burgundy in color, we wanted to showcase a different red ink that was unique and would hopefully surprise you.

All the below work was done by Joe O. Joe didn’t use the Sagaris to create these images, but he had it in mind as he worked with the ink and decided they’d make a good pair.

Lately Joe has been experimenting with a syringe, making ink droplets on paper. Joe was more methodical about how he watered it down the ink. He created a scale of 9 values to work with, ranging from pure ink at the high end of the scale and a nearly clear mixture of water and ink on the lowest end.

Here's a little time-lapse video of Joe creating his ink droplets:

As for the image of Bill Murray below, Joe was reminded of the psychomagnothermic ooze or "mood slime" that flowed beneath the streets of New York in the movie, 'Ghost Busters II'. So with the syringe, the scaled ink, some correction fluid, and an image of the great Bill Murray, he went to work.

Hope y'all have a happy Monday!
24 Jul 18:29

Craft whiskey in the mountains: Berkshire and Catskill

by Lew Bryson

attn: NE whiskey drinking sharebros.

Author - Lew BrysonI got a chance to visit two craft distillers in the Northeast last week: Berkshire Mountain Distillers and Catskill Distilling. I took a day off and drove up to Boston for the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Boston Beer Company (the brewers of Samuel Adams), and realized I could easily stop in to see some whiskey being made on my way back. It was a gorgeous day, and after I’d cleared the Boston traffic, a great drive west out the Mass Pike, past lakes, marshes, and forests, then into the rolling folds of the Berkshires. I got off the Pike, headed south, and watched as the roads my mapping app directed me onto got smaller and smaller, until finally the arrow pointed down a long gravel driveway through a meadow.

Bucolic setting of Berkshire Mountain

Bucolic setting of Berkshire Mountain

Nice work, mapping app: that’s where I found Berkshire Mountain Distillers and founder Chris Weld. Things were, as he put it, “a tad crazy,” as they prepared to move to a new building in nearby Sheffield, Mass. The grassy area around the barn where the distillery has been for seven years was littered with tanks, “totes” (the heavy plastic, roughly 1,000 liter container cubes this industry seems to run on), and a malfunctioning auger, all waiting to be moved or salvaged. It was also crazy because while they were mashing in for a run of bourbon, they were eagerly anticipating the first run of their new bottled gin-and-tonic product, due to be done at the new plant in mid-August. (I got a chilled sip: deliciously refreshing and dangerously drinkable at 26 proof!)


Berkshire’s still; columns are up to the right.

Berkshire runs on a pot still salvaged from Brown-Forman, an odd, capsule-shaped device with internal copper. The new make ages in a variety of barrel sizes; like many craft distillers, Weld is moving away from tiny 10-gallon barrels to larger ones. Too woody, too fast in the smaller ones, he acknowledged. That’s some of the reason they’re moving: more room for barrels. Another reason is that long gravel driveway and the barn. It’s hard for trucks to get back here, and once they’re here…Weld told me a hair-raising story about a parked truck starting to slide, wheels locked, down the snow-covered driveway toward his cottage. They managed to get it stopped, but started looking for another location.

Berkshire has done some interesting collaborations with brewers. I’d actually tasted one the night before at the Samuel Adams event; a whiskey made by distilling Samuel Adams Boston Lager and aging it in bourbon barrels. It was at barrel proof, and only two years old, but with a bit of water it opened right up and gave the floral, spicy hop nose the Lager is known for, without the bitterness in the mouth. It’s still young, and hot; in a couple years, it might be an interesting whiskey indeed. They did another one with Samuel Adams Cinder Bock, a smoked beer, which was aged in barrels that had held Samuel Adams Utopias. I tasted that at the distillery, and didn’t really get much of the smoke; the rich vinous wood of the barrel was more evident.

They’ve also done a series of small bottlings of their bourbon, finished in barrels used by other brewers to age their beers. I review the Samuel Adams Utopias edition in the upcoming Fall issue; Chris gave me a sample bottle of the Terrapin Brewing project at the distillery; there will be ten bottlings altogether. I found the Utopias bottling to be a richer, rounder version of the standard Berkshire Mountain bourbon bottling, and look forward to trying the Terrapin.

Chris had to run at this point, so I thanked him, and headed back down that gravel driveway and west toward the Hudson River. I crossed at Poughkeepsie, had lunch at a brewpub in New Paltz, and headed into another incredibly scenic drive, up over the Shawangunk escarpment and into the Catskills. After 50 minutes of roller coaster-like thrill driving on more two-lane roads, I found myself stuck in a solid mile of backed-up traffic…a mile from Catskill Distilling! What the heck was going on, a run on the tasting room?

My single-mindedness had betrayed me. I didn’t know that Catskill Distilling was just a couple hundred yards up the road from the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, a performing space on the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival…and Jimmy Buffett was playing there that night. Don’t mess with the Parrotheads! I did finally get to turn off at the Dancing Cat Saloon and Catskill Distilling Company, where I was quickly greeted by the gregarious and friendly Monte Sachs, DVM.

Hardware at Catskill

Hardware at Catskill

That’s right; the owner is a large animal veterinarian. He made his money caring for racehorses in the Hudson Valley and at the track at Monticello, just down the road. I asked him how he got hooked on distilling, and he told me a great story about an Italian girlfriend who took him back to the family vineyard, where he decided to learn winemaking to impress the parents. “But after six months, I learned that winemaking is a lot of work!” he laughed. “What I really liked and wanted to do was make grappa.” The distillation of this Italian spirit fascinated him, and he decided he would make grappa. Someday.

Eventually the opportunity came along when New York passed a farm distillery law in 2008. Sachs jumped on it. He put in a Carl still setup, and got some valuable consulting help from industry legend Lincoln Henderson. (I first heard of Monte and Catskill from Lincoln, who told me that, among other things, he’d told Monte to “keep the place clean and open a gift shop; people want to buy things.” I can report that Monte definitely took that advice; the place was spotless, and there was plenty of merchandise.) Henderson advised him on his aging building, a former horse stable behind the distillery.

This little barrel house is heavily insulated, without windows, and when Monte opened the door for me, I could see it was stuffed with barrels. It was also eye-stingingly heavy with boozy aromas; the angels have to fight for their share of this whiskey! There was a concrete slab beside the building; another aging house is going in soon, and should be up by October.

Monte needs that barrel house, and new tanks, and more barrels (he says he’s got good barrel supply, but has to order in large lots to get it). Not only is the current barrel house chockfull, he’s ramping up production. Through a chance meeting at a spirits expo, he connected with a high-powered consultant with years of experience in major spirits companies who had just retired and was looking for interesting products to work with. Monte sent him his product line and, just as I did in this summer’s Rye Issue, he picked out the Buckwheat whiskey as the most interesting, the most different. There are plans to make the Buckwheat the forefront of the portfolio, and there may be a lot more investment coming in to make it happen.

He’s also doing a collaboration with a brewery, by the way. He connected with Brewery Ommegang, over in Cooperstown, N.Y., and they made a batch of ale for him that’s been distilled and is aging in the barrel house now, with the rampant Ommegang lion stenciled on the barrel head. Exciting times in the Catskills.

And the grappa? He’s still making it. “You see those bottles? They’re all hand-blown, which means they’re all a different size, so I have to measure the spirit going in at precisely 375 ml, and I have to use a tapered cork because all the necks are different, and then I have to wax the corks to keep them in. And it’s not a big seller.” He shrugged, and grinned. “I’m still going to make it! I really love the stuff.”

I don’t like grappa. I’ve tried it, repeatedly, and I don’t like it, or the similar slivovitz or pisco (though I do like marc; go figure). But I told Monte I’d try his, because he’d been so friendly, and because that Buckwheat was so interesting. You know? I liked the grappa (words I’ve never said before, or ever thought I would). It had much more to it than just hot rocket fuel character; it was subtle, intriguing, delicate. It was an interesting insight into how distilling is done here; each product clearly shows its origin grains or grapes, packed with flavor before it comes anywhere near wood.

I left Catskill Distilling, cut back half a mile to elude the Parrotheads, and two-laned it home, managing to make it a hat trick of pretty little mountain chains by driving through the Poconos during a gorgeous sunset. There aren’t any craft distillers in the Poconos yet, but who knows what might happen in a few years?

(Do you like the video? Do you want to see more? Or is it just annoying?)

The post Craft whiskey in the mountains: Berkshire and Catskill appeared first on Whisky Advocate.

04 Aug 05:01


by Ian

This came up with C-bat recently.


03 Aug 16:34



Marvelous turn in this one.

04 Aug 00:00

Thesis Defense


I'm filing this away come that day.

01 Aug 18:46

Amazon v. Hachette: Everyone Is Wrong But Me

by Christopher Wright

This is a good articulation of why nobody wins in this situation.

Update 5:12 PM (CST): Global edit, Hatchette->Hachette. Because apparently I thought the publisher was actually named after an axe.

Updated 5:18 PM (CST), 11 August: Someone popular linked to this and site traffic is crazy. Load times are slow. Apologies. Also, see the addendum at the end.

I hoped I’d be able to stay out of this whole Hachette/Amazon mess. It should be easy: I’m not a recognized authority on publishing, after all, and my soapbox isn’t really pointed in that direction. But as it happens, no one in this argument is saying what I want them to say, so I’m going to have to say it myself, and leaving comments on other people’s blogs just isn’t going to cut it for me.

The Short Version

This is a horrible fight. No matter who wins we’re probably screwed. Hachette isn’t the hero, and Amazon isn’t the hero either.

The Long Version

Looking at this fight all by itself, without any context at all, Amazon probably deserves to win--and honestly, I think it probably will win whether it deserves to or not. There’s no legitimate reason an ebook should cost the same as a paperback. “Well we really want to” is not a legitimate reason. “Because we can get away with it” is only legitimate from a business perspective if you can actually get away with it, and the current fight between Amazon and Hachette suggests that they can’t.

As reader of books I want ebooks to be cheaper than paperbacks because a) they’re obviously cheaper to make and b) when I “buy” an ebook I have fewer rights to do what I want with it than I do when I buy a paperback, so please don’t try to pretend it’s the same thing. If the first sale doctrine doesn’t apply to an ebook purchase, or doesn’t apply as completely, then it better be cheaper. So strictly within the boundaries of the current argument between a publisher that wants to charge stupid prices for their product and a retailer that wants to sell a product at less-stupid prices, regardless of their actual motives, as someone who buys ebooks I gotta hand Amazon the win.

That said: an Amazon win is probably not in anyone’s long-term interests.

Here is the secret to understanding my take on Amazon: they’re not part of the publishing industry, although the things they do certainly affect it. They’re not a service and retail company, though that is the way they make all their money. At its core, Amazon is and always has been part of the computer industry, and if you view them from that perspective their business practices should scare the shit out of you.

More below the cut.