Shared posts

31 Oct 20:00

A warm notice from the Star Hotel in China

by Mark Frauenfelder

[via] warm

31 Oct 18:34

Virgin Galactic test flight crashes

by Rob Beschizza
Problems experienced during a test flight of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo may have resulted in the death of one of its two crewmembers, according to early and unconfirmed reports surfacing on Twitter. Read the rest
31 Oct 16:39

Court rules that Touch ID is not protected by the 5th Amendment

by Mark Frauenfelder

"A Virginia Beach Circuit Court this week ruled that an individual in a criminal proceeding cannot be forced to divulge the passcode to his cellphone as it would violate the self-incrimination clause of the Fifth Amendment. At the same time, the Court held that an individual can be compelled to give up his fingerprint to unlock Touch ID, or any fingerprint protected device for that matter." - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

31 Oct 16:31

Chelsea Handler: Instagram's nipple policy is sexist

by Mark Frauenfelder

I agree with Handler's statement. If men's nipples are OK with Instragram, then women's should be, too.

31 Oct 16:05

Why scratching an itch only makes it worse

by Mark Frauenfelder

You scratch an itch to cause pain, which soothes the itch. Then your body releases serotonin to reduce the pain, and the itch flares up. Read the rest

31 Oct 15:56

10 classic ads from the sugar and cereal industries

by Mark Frauenfelder

10 reminders from the sugar industry to eat lots of healthful candy this Halloween!

31 Oct 01:12

Minecraft Creeper apron

by Mark Frauenfelder

The Wild Bunny made this excellent Minecraft Creeper apron.

31 Oct 12:11

Hungary cancels proposed Internet tax in the face of mass opposition

by Cory Doctorow

After 100,000 Hungarians took to the street in opposition to a per-megabyte tax on their Internet usage, the autocratic Prime Minister Viktor Orban (whose election was characterized by outside observers as "free but not fair") was forced into a rare climbdown. Read the rest

31 Oct 19:18

Jian Ghomeshi and the Women He Knew

by John Scalzi

Some thoughts on Jian Ghomeshi, about whom I feel entitled to opine because I was once a guest on his show — talking about the little fundraising thing I did last year which included RAINN, an interview which now in retrospect is sadly ironic.

(For those of you not up on this, Mr. Ghomeshi was a radio show host in Canada, who was let go by the CBC because of then-mysterious reasons. Mr. Ghomeshi took to Facebook to allege that he was fired because he participated in consensual BDSM play which was now being used against him by vengeful exes, and sued CBC for wrongful termination “breach of confidence and bad faith.” Since then a number of women have come forward to allege totally non-consensual abuse and/or harrassment at the hands of Mr. Ghomeshi.)

So, a numbered list.

1. There’s nothing wrong with consensual BDSM play; if that’s your thing and you can get other people to go along with it in a safe and consenting manner, then you kids have fun with that.

2. Suddenly smacking the hell out of someone and/or choking them without prior discussion or agreement is pretty much the opposite of consensual BDSM play, now, isn’t it. (Note: this is a rhetorical question. The answer is: Yes, it is the opposite.)

3. As a matter of law (to the extent that I know anything about Canadian/Ontario provincial law, which I don’t so I might be entirely wrong), Mr. Ghomeshi is innocent until proven guilty. Currently there is no criminal investigation against Mr. Ghomeshi. (Update, 8pm: Toronto police have opened an investigation.)

4. The procedurally laudable governmental presumption of innocence does not mean, however, that as a matter of opinion, one cannot believe the allegations against Mr. Ghomeshi. As a matter of personal opinion, I believe the women who are coming forward and saying that Mr. Ghomeshi attacked, abused and harassed them. I could be wrong, but I don’t really think that I am.

5. I think it’s possible that Mr. Ghomeshi deluded himself into thinking these attacks equated to consensual sexual play, which is both not an excuse at all, and a good argument for availing one’s self of educators in that particular field who can teach one how to do one’s play safely and to know what “consensual” actually means. However, I think it’s rather more likely that Mr. Ghomeshi, who is a full-fledged adult and someone with some evident facility for words, was in fact quite aware that what he was doing was not in the least consensual and relied on his position at the top of the Canadian cultural heap to protect him from the consequences of his actions, as indeed it appears to have done for a very long time.

6. If what is alleged against Mr. Ghomeshi is true, and to reiterate I rather strongly suspect that it is, then his being fired from the CBC is, bluntly, the least worst thing that could happen to him at this point. If the allegations are true, he deserves a stint in prison, full stop, end of sentence.

7. It was canny of Mr. Ghomeshi to try to frame his assaults in the context of BDSM, but also disingenuous and false. BDSM is not my thing, but I know a lot of people for whom it is. None of them would see what Mr. Ghomeshi did as something relating to their particular kink. Attacking someone without their consent isn’t about sexual gratification, it’s about the assertion of power — the ability to say “I can do this to you and there’s nothing you can do about it.” And sure, maybe Mr. Ghomeshi got a rise out of that, too. But at the end of the day choking a woman who is not consenting to the experience and saying it’s BDSM is akin to stabbing someone in a bar and claiming it was a martial arts test match. Again, BDSM isn’t my thing, but it’s a thing I know enough about to know that what Mr. Ghomeshi was doing wasn’t that.

8. The irony of the above point is that if it really was about BDSM (which it was not), then there was no reason for any of that to happen. What little I know about BDSM is that those who enjoy it are happy to share and to teach and to provide a safe space for that enthusiasm. Mr. Ghomeshi, I am certain, would not have lacked for willing, consenting partners — if this was really about consensual sexual exploration and enjoyment. But, again, I don’t really think it was ever about that.

9. I don’t know Mr. Ghomeshi other than through a very brief professional encounter. I don’t envy the people who do know him who are now learning about the allegations and who suspect that they are true. What do you do with a friend like that? Do you drop him? Do you maintain he is your friend but acknowledge what he’s done is wrong? Do you fight for your friend, right or wrong? One of Mr. Ghomeshi’s friends addressed this in a post of his own, which is worth reading. I don’t have any answers for this one. I know what I think I would want to do; I don’t know if it’s what I would do because I’ve never had to be in this situation. What I can say is that I hope I never am in this situation.

10. To reiterate, because it’s important: I believe the women who have come forward to allege assault and harassment. It’s been noted by other people better able to testify on the subject that one of the most radical things you can do when a woman speaks up about abuse and harassment is to believe her. Which initially seems like an incredible statement to someone like, who is almost always believed by default when he chooses to speak up about something. I have that luxury. Not everyone does. It’s a fact I strongly suspect Mr. Ghomeshi knew, and used.

30 Oct 13:22

Vladimir Putin takes the gloves off

by Cory Doctorow

In a virulently anti-Western and uncharacteristically blunt speech, Russian spy-turned-president Vladimir Putin set out his agenda for Russia and its relationship to "western elites." The speech wasn't widely reported in the west, but Dmitry Orlov has helpfully translated, transcribed and summarized it. Read the rest

31 Oct 00:00


Whenever I miss a shot with a sci-fi weapon, I say 'Apollo retroreflector' really fast, just in case.
29 Oct 22:00

City of Shadows

by Rebecca, The Clothes Horse

Photographer Alexey Titarenko specializes in spooky, black and white photography in cities around the world. (Check out his Black and White magic St. Petersburg series for some stunners!) His most appropriate series for the season though is City of Shdaows. A haunting collection of long exposures that turn passing pedestrians into hordes of ghosts. While they remind me of the demons in Supernatural, it is also seems almost like a visual representation of what it is like to suffer from social anxiety in cities...In Titarenko's own words, "the mass of people flowing around the subway station formed a sort of human tide, giving me a sensation of unrealness, of phantasmagoria, These people were like shadows, one would meet in the Underworld. I decided to express that feeling in my work, to convey my personal expressions. I had to find a visual metaphor that would enable the viewer to share my feelings as acutely as possible. That is what prompted me to try a long exposure process."
29 Oct 23:25

jabberwockypie: bikiniarmorbattledamage: capriceandwhimsy: lyc...





this picture is making me really angry

can someone more eloquent than I am please comment with a list of badass female warriors/soldiers in history because i know there have been quite a lot

Tomoe Gozen. 12th Century Japan. Concubine of Minamoto no Yoshinaka, and one of his most famous warriors, called a Demon in Battle and renowned as a swordswoman and archer. Was ordered to flee the final destruction of the Minamoto Clan at the end of the Genpei War by her Lord. While leaving the battlefield, encountered a group of enemy soldiers: rode straight into their formation, pulled their leader out of his saddle, pinned him against her horse, and took his head. She then vanishes from history, never to be heard from again.

Queen Boudicca. Britain, first Century AD. Queen of the Iceni tribe of Celts. After her daughters were raped and she was flogged and humiliated by Roman soldiers, led the Iceni and other tribes of Britain in revolt, leading to the deaths of tens of thousands of Roman soldiers and a near-rout from the British peninsula. Was finally defeated by the Roman general Suetonius, and committed suicide to avoid capture. Is probably the only woman to have her statue in a city she burned to the ground (London).

Princess Zhao Pingyang. 7th Century China. Daughter of Emperor Gaozu. Raised an army on his behalf and led them into battle. Was given full military honors upon her death: one of the only women so honored in Medieval China.


Queen Suryothai, 16th Century Siam (Thailand). Fought in single combat against a Burmese Viceroy, sacrificing herself to save the life of her husband and King.


Aethelflaed of Mercia. 10th Century Britain. Well known for her skills as a tactician and for building many of the castles in Mercia that still stand to this day.


Khawlah bint al-Azwar. 7th Century Arabia, a contemporary of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Once rallied a group of female prisoners into defeating their Byzantine captors using their tent poles. The namesake of the UAE’s first women’s military college.


Finally, let me tell you about what the women were doing while the men were out in some cold, wet field, having their bodies hacked at with swords and axes. They weren’t sitting around a hearth gossiping with their friends. While the men were out fighting, the women were working the fields every day, bringing in the harvests, slaughtering animals, butchering, preserving meat, working their goddamn asses. off. They kept the houses secure. They repaired roofs and spun wool into thread and wove thread into cloth: difficult work today, backbreaking in medieval times. Often times, they did these things while pregnant or raising small children.

They faced disease, starvation, and the constant threat of having some band of raiders come in and rape, pillage, plunder, and slaughter them while their menfolk were off fighting in war. Medieval women, even those who did not fight, were hard, determined, and skilled experts in the arts of survival, farming, weaving, spinning, and motherhood who engaged in backbreaking labor that often killed them at a young age, and they deserve better than to have some adolescent-minded asshole sitting in his warm, comfortable first-world home rant about “feminine privilege.”

So fuck you, original poster. I hope you step on a LEGO.

Did my best to fix it


You’d think someone who lives so detached from reality would give fantasy artists and writers more credit… 

- wincenworks

This pleases me.

29 Oct 23:39

I work in a church, and this is hilarious.

30 Oct 04:09

"After my initial ugh-am-I-running-a-fever excitement at “Captain Marvel,” it hit me that there would..."

“After my initial ugh-am-I-running-a-fever excitement at “Captain Marvel,” it hit me that there would be no Black Widow solo movie between now and 2018. The earliest one can pop up now is in the back half of 2019. It then hit me that there are going to be people — let’s call them Trollface Haters — that will try to pit the Carol Corps against Widow’s Warriors (I dunno, that’s the name I just pulled out) as if there was only one slot for a female lead and Carol snatched it away from Natasha. First of all, even if there really was a blank on a whiteboard in Marvel Studios meeting room with “(FEMALE LEAD)” under it, that doesn’t mean that attitude is right. Just as there’s room for multiple movies with white men right there in the title (“Ant-Man,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Doctor Strange,” “Thor: Ragnarok”), there should be room for multiple women and people of color in every phase of every cinematic universe. It should never be a question of Cap or Widow. The two represent vastly different types of leads who would carry drastically different movies; with her outer space origins and swagger, “Captain Marvel” will probably have more in common with the first “Iron Man” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” than it would ever have with “Black Widow.”

The way that I’ve seen anonymous askers on Tumblr and Twitter gremlins try to make fans choose between Captain Marvel and Black Widow reminds me of important advice Kelly Sue DeConnick gave a panel room a New York Comic Con.

“One of the things — and this is going to make me sound like I have a tinfoil hat, but it’s a fact — one of the things they will try to do is they will try to turn you against each other,” said DeConnick of the naysayers and misogynists of the world that constantly try to act as fandom gatekeepers. “That’s how they win. It’s this bullshit where they’re like, ‘Well, would Carol or Wonder Woman win?’ You guys, they’re both good guys. They wouldn’t fight, dumb ass — they would bury you.””

- Brett White, It’s Not a Question of “Captain Marvel” Vs. “Black Widow” (via fuckyeahblackwidow)
30 Oct 05:01

syfycity: A great image with a philosophical tone.


A great image with a philosophical tone.

30 Oct 10:34

"If we actually started calling bullying what it is and address it as racism, sexism, homophobia,..."

“If we actually started calling bullying what it is and address it as racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, fat phobia and classism it would actually give children a better way to deal with the very same power dynamics they will face as adults, while also giving adults more responsibility to challenge the intolerance that is rooted within our society overall.”


- Amanda Levitt at Fat Body Politics (October 5th, 2012)

Hey! That’s me!

(via fatbodypolitics)

30 Oct 13:28

Australian Gov't Tries To Force Telcos To Store User Metadata For 2 Years

by timothy
AlbanX writes The Australian Government has introduced a bill that would require telecommunications carriers and service providers to retain the non-content data of Australian citizens for two years so it can be accessed — without a warrant- by local law enforcement agencies. Despite tabling the draft legislation into parliament, the bill doesn't actually specify the types of data the Government wants retained. The proposal has received a huge amount of criticism from the telco industry, other members of parliament and privacy groups. (The Sydney Morning Herald has some audio of discussion about the law.)

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28 Oct 05:58

samisbamboozled: spookyscaryfrog: I have headcanons about what...



I have headcanons about what vampires should be.

Pay them in blood to tell us what is at the bottom of the ocean.

29 Oct 19:40



30 Oct 18:23

How Superman Defeated The Ku Klux Klan

by Devin Faraci
How Superman Defeated The Ku Klux Klan

And why he should defeat #GamerGate

29 Oct 04:11

shadraquarium: zodar: konkeydongcountry: brook: montypla: Gamer gate has been trying to use...






Gamer gate has been trying to use Bayonetta as a rallying point, and criticism of it as proof of a “feminist agenda” in reviews

They’ve been trying to get Hideki Kamiya, creator of Bayonetta, to support them

Well, he tweeted this today.





the salt is so fucking real




29 Oct 18:47

It’s about corruption in quarantine sites

by djempirical
30 Oct 04:00

October 30, 2014

30 Oct 15:20

Minnesota considering ban on neonicotinoids

by Minnesotastan
This summer the StarTribune carried a long feature article on the possible role of neonicotinoids in the delcine of bees.
A new class of insecticides first introduced in 1994 that is relatively harmless to people and animals — neonicotinoids. Now added routinely as a coating on seeds, neonicotinoids provide additional insurance against soil pests. And, like the genetic traits, they become an intrinsic part of the plant as it grows.

“It started in 2002,” said Chuck Benbrook, a professor who studies sustainable agricultural systems at Washington University. “By 2006 neonicotinoids had cornered the market.”..

When it comes time to buy seed, farmers have a dwindling number of alternatives. Three corporations control more than half of the world’s commercial seed market, and the top 10 control three-fourths...

But the amount of land devoted to those seeds has exploded. Today in Minnesota, about 24,000 square miles — a third of the state — are devoted to growing either corn or soybeans...

Dozens of studies have now found that low doses of neonicotinoids may not kill bees outright, but can cripple their highly sophisticated navigational and communication skills, and hamper a queen’s reproduction. Scientists have also warned that crops take up only a small portion of the insecticide, leaving the rest behind in the soil. If the toxins spread from fields into streams and wetlands, they may ripple through the food system...

But from where Ehrhardt sits, between the big seed companies and the end of their pipeline at the farm, it appears that the fate of pollinators in rural Minnesota will come down to demand, markets and economics. He sells all kinds of seeds to all kinds of farmers. He’s keenly aware of the market for organics and the rising demand among farmers for non-GMO seeds — the fastest growing segment of his seed business. Both of those types of crops command a considerably higher price at the local elevator than the genetically engineered crops.

Farmers, he said, would be happy to grow bee-friendly corn. “But there have to be consumers willing to pay for that.” 
This week they report that the state is considering a ban on neonicotinoids:
Minnesota regulators, for the first time, are considering banning or restricting a controversial class of insecticides that has been linked to honeybee deaths.

The possibility, disclosed this week by the state Department of Agriculture in a revised outline for a study of the chemicals, followed an outpouring of public concern over the dramatic decline in honeybee populations in recent years...

A revised outline published this week states that the range of state action could include “restrictions on or cancellation of products.”..

Horan said the backlash against neonicotinoids was heightened by a recent EPA finding that neonicotinoid seed treatments in soybeans provide little or no overall benefits to soybean production for most farmers.
30 Oct 13:08

Pizzeria asks judge to find rival's flavor to be trademark-infringing

by Cory Doctorow

New York Pizzeria claimed that Gina's Italian Kitchen -- founded by an ousted exec -- violated its trademark by creating a pizza that tasted the same as its own pie. The judge wasn't buying it. Read the rest

30 Oct 04:42

Death threats are bad, but…

by PZ Myers

Andrew Sullivan commits a classic rhetorical error.

So let me make a few limited points. The tactics of harassment, threats of violence, foul misogyny, and stalking have absolutely no legitimate place in any discourse. Having read about what has happened to several women, who have merely dared to exercise their First Amendment rights, I can only say it’s been one of those rare stories that still has the capacity to shock me. I know it isn’t fair to tarnish an entire tendency with this kind of extremism, but the fact that this tactic seemed to be the first thing that some gamergate advocates deployed should send off some red flashing lights as to the culture it is defending.

All well and good, but…there’s a “but” coming. It doesn’t really need to be a “but”. And unfortunately, Sullivan throws out a real stinker of a “but”.

Second, there’s a missing piece of logic, so far as I have managed to discern, in the gamergate campaign. The argument seems to be that some feminists are attempting to police or control a hyper-male culture of violence, speed, competition and boobage. And in so far as that might be the case, my sympathies do indeed lie with the gamers. The creeping misandry in a lot of current debates – see “Affirmative Consent” and “Check Your Privilege” – and the easy prejudices that define white and male and young as suspect identities (because sexism!) rightly offend many men (and women).

There’s an atmosphere in which it has somehow become problematic to have a classic white, straight male identity, and a lot that goes with it. I’m not really a part of that general culture – indifferent to boobage, as I am, and bored by violence. But I don’t see why it cannot have a place in the world. I believe in the flourishing of all sorts of cultures and subcultures and have long been repulsed by the nannies and busybodies who want to police them – whether from the social right or the feminist left.


Now why wouldn’t anyone want to tone down a culture of violence? And while boobs are lovely, why shouldn’t people keep in mind that they are attached to human beings? This is a very peculiar argument, to suggest that it would be a bad thing to discourage violence and sexism…or at least, to keep it confined to fantasy worlds.

And there’s something even more appalling here. Look what Sullivan unthinkingly does: a culture of “violence, speed, competition and boobage” is “hyper-male”. Expecting affirmative consent and that we all recognize our cultural advantages is “misandry”. And somehow all of these things are tangled up in the “classic white, straight male identity”.

I am a “classic white, straight male”. I think I’m offended that Sullivan believes that I’m supposed to embrace the assholishness of the gamergaters, that somehow my sex and sexual orientation and skin color should make me find common cause with a mob of smug jerks who find amusement in disparaging and objectifying women. I’ve got news for Sullivan: that crap doesn’t go with my identity. The idea that sexism is part of the classic white, straight male identity is a perfect example of the toxic masculinity that feminists have been deploring.

29 Oct 14:42

Potato-chip surveillance: once you start, you just can't stop

by Cory Doctorow

The ongoing revelations about UK domestic spying on political activists, continued in some case for decades, and which included an incident in which an undercover police officer fathered a child with the woman he was spying on, illustrate an important point: once you decide someone is suspicious enough to follow around, there's no evidence that you can gather to dispel that suspicion. Read the rest

29 Oct 14:34

Dissecting the arguments of liberal apologists for Obama's surveillance and secret war

by Cory Doctorow

Democratic party partisans like Sean Wilentz, George Packer and Michael Kinsley spent the Bush years condemning the tactics they now defend under Obama -- apart from sheer intellectual dishonesty, how can this be explained? Read the rest

28 Oct 16:32

"Saying “you don’t have anything to be depressed about, your life is great” is like saying “what do..."

“Saying “you don’t have anything to be depressed about, your life is great” is like saying “what do you mean have asthma, there is loads of air in here.””


something my 13 year old nephew said to my mum after she claimed I had no reason to be suffering from depression, I repeat, he is THIRTEEN. (via rdjobsessions)

well done, that nephew

(via animatedamerican)