The Steller’s Sea Eagle
Just chillin’ at the park with my eagle. NBD
"Air puppets"? I guess if you have to deal with them on a daily basis, it does take a long time to say "Can you turn the wacky inflatable arm flailing tube man?"
Over at Re:form, Sam Dean tells the fascinating history of air puppets, from their invention and 1990s golden era to the laws that banned them in urban locales to their rebirth as scarecrows.
A film by Morgan Spence.
First-person shooter Paranautical Activity has been pulled from Steam after its creator tweeted a death threat about Valve founder Gabe Newell. Mike Maulbeck’s tweet – since deleted – followed an all-caps rant in response to the game being incorrectly labelled as being in Early Access. Because I guess this is the world we live in now.
From Alana Jones-Mann, a baker, culinary artist and DIY enthusiast in Brooklyn, cupcakes that look like miniature cacti. They're so cute, they're even planted in crushed graham cracker soil.
Spanning two decades and achieving worldwide popularity, the Stargate franchise gave Star Trek a pretty good run for its money – and is now even up for a movie reboot. The final spin-off, named Stargate Universe, tried to lure fans by adopting the grittier realism of shows like Battlestar Galactica. Unfortunately that shift didn’t gel with audiences, and the show was cancelled after just 2 seasons.
I’m a huge SG-U fan and was sad to see it go. So when German builder nameless_member produced this beautiful model of the star ship Destiny, it was nice to be reminded I wasn’t the only one…
I really love the compactness of this build – it’s probably the smallest scale that you could build Destiny at and still do it justice. It has just the right level of greebling, and the ship’s distinctive curvature is perfectly captured, as you can see from this rear angle. Even the shuttle craft have been included!
A man in Middlesborough, England, was jailed for possessing "prohibited images of children" -- even though the images in question were cartoon drawings.Read the rest
[TW: Talk of sexual assault, physical assault, violence and antiziganism.]
I’ve sat here, combating the ignorance individually. I’m done with that. I’m done trying to reach you on a one on one level. You continuously ignore anything from me, you ignore the people I talk to on here who are Roma. You say we’re “Being too sensitive,” that “Gypsy is just a word,” that it stands for “Being free spirited, moving from place to place,” and the best, “I’m APPRECIATING your culture.”
First, gypsy is a slur. No matter what you think, it has been a slur for centuries. It’s where the term “gypped" comes from. It was believed that the Roma would rip gadje (non-Roma) off for money. Roma who escaped the fate of death at the hands of the SS and their dogs, the ones who weren’t killed right away, were branded with a "Z", which stood for Zigeuner, the German word for "Gypsy". They were shipped to death camps, where barely any suvived.
It is a slur still used today. Roma are called “Gyppos” while being beaten, forced out of their settlements, forced to move. They are called this when they are assaulted and even raped. They are victims of forced sterilization, forcible eviction of settlements, harassment by both law enforcement and citizens, fingerprinting simply because they are Roma, they are often ecxluded from schools.
I want you to look at this:
This is from 2009. This is a Roma woman being assaulted WHILE CARRYING HER CHILD in Dublin! This is what the word “Gypsy” stands for.
This is Natalka Kudrikova. She is a little girl who was severely burned when antiziganists threw molotov cocktails into her family’s home:
This is also what the word “Gypsy” stands for. This happened in 2010. Systemic violence against a culture, an ethnicity, that just wants to be treated equally, to not have their way of life treated horribly. You can be sure, as these acts were going on, the word “GYPSY!” was being screamed in a way meant to incite fear and terror in those hearing it.
You dress up in flowy clothing, half-naked or naked except for a shawl. Do you have any idea how insulting that is? It contributes to the fetishization and sexualization of the Roma. Women are assaulted physically and sexually, because of this type of thing. They are raped, simply because they are believed to be “Easy” because of these “Positive stereotypes” you’re so quick to buy into.
It’s damaging to the culture when you treat it as a costume. Do you know the meaning behind the long skirts, or the “head scarves” that you’re so fond of donning? Do you know why the Roma wear these? It’s not for fucking fashion.
When you wear these things without a a care, you take away the meaning of these items. You take away the deep cultural roots the have. The skirt is worn because the lower half of the body is traditionally seen as “unclean” due to marime, or the code that’s followed. That “scarf” is known as a diklo, worn by women when they are married.
When you dress like this, you are spitting in the face of that culture, these people that are treated like they’re less than garbage TODAY. Not centuries ago, this is STILL HAPPENING.
So, before you tag that picture as “Gypsy” or say you want to “Lead a gypsy lifestyle,” look back on this post. Think about what that word means, and what you’re saying. Think about how fucking disrespectful it is. Think about the racism involved with that word. And realize that you are contributing to the ignorance that allows violence like these 2 out of countless incidents that occur. You are turning the Roma into a trope. This positive stereotype allows people to ignore the violence and hatred that Roma are still facing, because everyone thinks that being a “gypsy” is all about freedom, when really, they face oppression daily!
You’re not cool when you do this, you’re contributing to racism and violence.
So I was idly perusing Janet “JudgyBitch” Bloomfield’s Twitter yesterday, and I came across an alarming tweet. It seemed as though Bloomfield had somehow penetrated the 47 levels of security protecting the Feminist HIgh Council to discover incontrovertible evidence of Operation Wicked Succubus. You know, the feminist plan to eliminate all men (except for me).
— JudgyBitch (@BloomfieldJanet) October 18, 2014
Her followers were aghast:
And naturally one of them brought up #GamerGate.
There were a few others, but you get the idea.
It never occurred to any of them to, you know, try to find out just who the bald man advocating killing all men was. Or who exactly he was talking to.
So I decided to do some serious investigative journalism to see what I could uncover. I typed out “‘eliminate men as a gender’ security” into a little known internet “search engine” called Google, and boldly clicked on the first result.
This led me to a Tweet with a URL in it. Bravely, I clicked on that URL and found myself looking at a video of a presentation at something called Monitorama PDX 2014 — clearly the code name for one of the Feminist Conspiracy’s conventions.
I looked it up in Google and discovered a web page for the event, which had been held in May. It was described as an “An Open Source Monitoring Conference & Hackathon.”
Ah, clearly a clever Feminist code name.
Obviously, some high level feminist theorizing.
Then I decided to watch the video. And I was shocked!
Because it wasn’t a speech about killing all men after all. It wasn’t even a feminist speech. No, it seemed instead to be a highly technical talk about internet security issues, illustrated with a lot of silly slides. Like this:
I must confess that I didn’t get the overwhelming majority of his jokes. But he audience seemed to find these slides, and much of what he said, hilarious. So if you ever need to hire a comedian who can joke about Synchronous Mashup Isolation Using Generator Chains, Mickens is your guy.
So where does the whole “kill all men” thing come from?
Well, I skipped ahead a bit in the video until I found a section in which Mickens talked about the dumb things people do that can undermine even the most sophisticated security setup.
His example: gullible, horny men who are tricked into “friending” hackers on Facebook posing as hot babes — even when there are pretty obvious indications that the hot babes aren’t really hot babes at all.
Things like: saying they graduated from Central University, even though there is no school by that name in the US, or spelling the name of their profession wrong.
These are all good clues, he said, that the hot babe you just friended on facebook was really this guy:
Given that men are regularly duped with simple tricks that play on their horniness and gullibility, Mickens joked, maybe the real goal for people trying to design secure systems should be the elimination of all men.
So that’s where the slide comes from.
And by the way, that whole bit of his killed — not as in “killed all men” but as in “got giant laughs from the mostly male audience.” Expecially the part about killing all men.
If you want to see the whole bit, starting with Mary and ending with “eliminate men as a gender,” it starts at around 20:40 in the video.
Men’s Rights Activists: more gullible than guys who friend Mary from Central University on Facebook.
NOTE TO EXTREMELY LITERAL-MINDED MRAS: That bit about the feminist plot to kill all men (except me) at the start of this post was a joke. Feminists don’t really intend to kill all men (except me).
Or do they?
They’re so nice. But they still have the same problems with sexual abuse.
Over the past month, a number of disturbing revelations have come to light within the Canadian literary community. I use the term “come to light” deliberately, because many of us were already fully aware of how dangerous it can be to be a woman in this particular culture.
At great risk to herself, Toronto poet Emma Healey penned a thoughtful, candid and scathing condemnation of the sexual and psychological abuse that exists in our own backyard. On the website TheHairpin.com, she detailed a relationship she had at 19 with an unnamed prominent Canadian writer and English professor. He was 34. The alleged ensuing dynamic was inappropriate at best, and entailed sexual assault at worst.
I think you’ll recognize this situation described by Healey:
Every time we treat issues of abuse as black-and-white – every time we ask a woman why she didn’t just leave the apartment or the relationship, why she didn’t just call the police, how she didn’t see it coming; every time we tell her not to feed the trolls or that she has no real proof or ask why she’d allow herself to be bullied by someone so insignificant in the first place – every time we do these things, no matter what our intentions, we are complicit in the systems that allow predatory individuals to thrive in small communities. Abusers whose power and influence seem relatively minor are often the most dangerous kind, since the people around them who can afford to ignore their behavior will do so until something drastic forces them to act, while those who have something to lose at their hands will continue to stay silent. A man who’s “no big deal” can still ruin your reputation. A man who’s “no threat” can still leave marks. A man who “doesn’t matter” can still set fire to your life and then walk away whistling.
If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past week, it’s the same thing I learn over and over again every single time I see women speaking out publicly against men who have harmed them. It is exhilarating and terrifying and heartrending to watch people tell their stories, to see the changes that can come from that telling. But victims of harassment, assault, rape and abuse deserve, absolutely and in every case, the dignity of being able to do whatever they want with their stories. Right now it feels as though we rely on them to pursue change by putting themselves and their experiences at the mercy of Twitter, Facebook, Gawker, Salon – of legions of strangers who all know they know better.
We consistently fail young women—all women—by tacitly relying on them to learn from each other, or from their experiences, which of the people in their communities they can and cannot trust. We ask them to police their own peers, but quietly, through back channels, without disturbing the important people while they’re talking. We wait for the victims of abuse to be the ones to take power away from their abusers, instead of working actively to ensure that these motherfuckers never get that far in the first place.
I remember when I first learned that women in my communities were having these quiet conversations with each other about who was a lech, who liked to get young women drunk, who cruised our conferences looking for people to prey upon, and I was horrified — I had no idea. One of the advantages of privilege is that I can be completely oblivious and ignore the problem. And then I was horrified even more as I learned that some people don’t react by getting angry with the men who abuse our groups, but rather with the women who dare to speak out loud what was previously only whispered.
It’s got to change. Everywhere. Including Canada.
That's how this remarkable design is described by lockpicker John Coulter, whose efforts have been stymied by its peculiar design: instead of being a straight, flat piece of metal, the key is a flexible chain similar to a watch strap, housed in a hard slip-casing that allows it to be inserted into the snaking design of the lock itseld.Read the rest
When you bought your Wii U, it came with one set of terms-of-service; now they've changed, and if you don't accept the changes, your Wii seizes up and won't work. That's not exactly what we think of when we hear the word "agreement." Read the rest
A large group of writers, including Stephen Fry, Jeffrey Archer, Katharine Norbury, Will Self, and others (include me!) have signed onto an open letter condemning a UK court decision that banned publication of a memoir because it revealed that the writer's child has autism and ADHD. Read the rest
All right, this is ridiculous. Obama has appointed an Ebola Czar. By the most pessimistic speculations, we might have “as many as two dozen” infected people by November — right now, it’s a tiny handful. But we need an “Ebola Czar”. We had almost 2000 cases of malaria in 2011, do we have a “Malaria Czar”? We have at least 3000 deaths per year from flu — where is our “Flu Czar”?
We don’t even have a Surgeon General right now — the appointment has been held up by our Republicans in congress — but we have this very modern major figurehead installed in office. And the guy they’ve appointed is unqualified to be assessing the Ebola risks.
Klain is highly regarded at the White House as a good manager with excellent relationships both in the administration and on Capitol Hill. His supervision of the allocation of funds in the stimulus act — at the time and incredible and complicated government undertaking — is respected in Washington. He does not have any extensive background in health care but the job is regarded as a managerial challenge.
Oh. So Obama has created a prancing puppet to dance beneath the announcement, “we’re doing something about Ebola!” This is pure politics that has nothing to do with improving the health and safety of the country. You might be wise instead to look at the CDC’s list of primary US concerns for 2014.
Increase rates of HPV vaccination.
Promote the wise use of antibiotics.
Reduce the risk of prescription opioid deaths while
making sure patients have safe, effective pain treatment.
End polio everywhere.
Detect, fight and prevent infectious diseases to improve global health and protect health security
Make a “czar” for those, guy.
Return of Kings contributor “Billy Chubbs,” whose previous contributions to the wisdom of the ages include posts titled Men Should Not Help Sluts, Bangable Women Can Still Be Gross, and Unmarried Older Women Need To Go Away, has outdone himself in the awfulness department with a post this week attacking 17-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai as “A Coward And A Hypocrite.”
Apparently inspired by Chubbs’ bold move, the Sarkeesian-hating, Anton LaVey-looking far-right nitwit Davis Aurini has junped on the bandwagon with his own blog post dissing Malala.
We’ll get to him in a minute. But first, Chubbs.
It’s hardly surprising that a writer for a site that portrays women as emotionally immature, intellectually inferior, and “inherently terrible people” would have a problem with a young woman known around the world for her courageous advocacy on behalf of education for girls.
But Chubbs attempts to portray himself as a true defender of “oppressed girls in crappy countries” and an enemy to “anti-female extremists.” Yes, that’s right: a man who has described young women as “society’s mobile sperm banks” and single women over 30 as “unappealing and repulsive … hoebags” is trying to pretend that he’s better advocate for girls’ and women’s rights than Malala Yousafzai.
His evidence that Malala is a “coward and a hypocrite?” The fact that she has not returned to Pakistan since being literally shot in the face by a Taliban assassin.
The reason the Taliban shot Malala in the head was to send a message that they would attack girls who wanted to get a western-style education. …
Getting shot in the head is pretty extreme, and I could respect Malala if she took it and continued to live in Pakistan. But she ran. She gave up. The extremists won unequivocally …
Malala has done more harm than good to oppressed girls in crappy countries. She says books and education are what we need to change the world, then proved that completely untrue after she ran away when a man with a gun fired a bullet into her.
Yes, what a coward for “running away” after a guy shot her in the face, say Billy Chubbs, a dude who claim to fame in the world is writing clickbait blog posts attacking women, under what I assume is a pseudonym, on a website run by a professional pickup guru who feels resentful that he has to wipe his own ass in order to appeal to women.
Malala has been an activist for education and against the Taliban since the age of 11, when she started writing a blog for the BBC on life in the Swat district of Pakistan, then under the control of the Taliban. A tireless advocate for girls while still a girl herself, she started receiving death threats, some slipped under her door, after her identity was publicly revealed. In 2012 she was shot in the face in an assassination attempt.
And Chubbs — who lives in Canada, and who is unwilling to even post a real picture of himself on the internet — thinks she’s a coward for not returning to Pakistan — where she was shot in the face, and where bookstores won’t even stock her book because of threats from the Taliban.
And he also seems to think that she’s “lucky” for being able to move to England.
Malala was lucky that she was co-opted for an agenda and was given a great place to live in the western world, because while she is touring the globe, advocating girls rights to education, those same girls are the ones forced to continue to live in places where they can be hurt and killed for trying to attend school.
And what were the “lucky” circumstances that led to her relocation to England? Oh yeah, she was shot in the face in a country without the medical infrastructure necessary to treat the injuries she received from being shot in the face.
Chubbs also throws in some old-fashioned imperialist arrogance and racism into the mix:
While Malala was laughing, playing and enjoying the safety of receiving an education in a predominantly white country found upon Christian morals, school girls in Africa were being kidnapped. …
So yes, never fear you ladies of the 2nd and 3rd world. You, too, can brave all those bad men and receive an education: so long as there are prosperous countries founded upon and still more or less exercising European Christian morals that still exist for you to run to (and which you can afford to run off to in the first place), and that you’re willing to be a hollow mascot for the powers that be in those countries.
At one point, Chubbs actually belittles her for … reading books:
Instead of reading text books and trying to fill her head with words, Malala would have been better served to take that textbook and hold it in front of her head to try and stop the bullet.
That doesn’t even make a tiny bit of sense.
Davis Aurini, meanwhile, has weighed in with an equally ridiculous, if not quite as outrageously offensive, attack on Malala for her … alleged unoriginality.
In Aurini’s view, Malala is a mere “youngling,” and a copycat of “Civilized” Western ideas. who doesn’t deserve the Nobel Prize or the money that comes with it.
[F]or the most part, love ‘em or hate ‘em, the past recipients have at least made their mark on history. With few exceptions, they’ve all walked a dangerous path and stayed committed to their cause, and they’ve brought forth intellectual and political blossomings that were unprecedented. They’ve all been inventors.
You cannot say the same for Malala Yousafzai.
Thus far in her life, she’s been little more than a poster child for the prevailing superstitions of our times. Arguing that women should be allowed to read books is not revolutionary when you live in Britain, and while it may be brave for a girl in Pakistan to make such statements, they’re still not creative in nature; she’s merely channelling the culture of the Civilized West, repeating words that were written by others.
This from a guy whose main claim to, er, creativity consists of this “film.”
So brave, dudes. So brave.
Imagining the future is a huge challenge — few people saw smartphones and DNA-based medicine coming. But if you want proof that "futuristic" science fiction is always about the present, just look at the obsolete devices people think will still be around. Here are 12 future visions that include tech we've already abandoned.