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21 Apr 05:05

Print-only interactive visualization by The Economist

21 Apr 21:43

Can you figure out what's wrong with this picture of a half-naked 16 year-old girl with breast implants the size of her head?

by Rob Beschizza

Jannelle Asselin could, but when she wrote an article about the Teen Titans cover—in terms so measured and respectful that one is struck by her restraint--she was of course inundated nonetheless with relentless boyrage and misogyny from comic book guys; professionals included.

The Daily Beast's Tauriq Moosa summarizes the imbroglio.

After criticizing the new ‘Teen Titans’ cover, Janelle Asselin was name-called and threatened with rape. The worst part? No one is surprised. You’ve seen this scenario before, and you’ll see it again (until more of us do something). Woman writes about something traditionally regarded as a male-orientated industry or area of interest; if she’s conveying love, she’s doing it “for attention” (so what?) or “fake” (whatever that means); if she criticizes, she’s insulting, whining, moaning, on her period; if she says anything at all, her argument or point is made invisible because her damn biology is getting in the way.

There's something peculiar about this cover that really gets to the heart of it all. The discrepancy between what it thinks it is (a strong character for young girls to aspire to) and what it really is (objectified skin for old men to wank to) is just so obvious that it simply couldn't exist without the whole business's lifetime subscription to denial.






21 Apr 18:17

Also, dead people don’t roll in their graves…but point taken

by PZ Myers

After that silly poll claiming Britain was a “Christian country”, after many public figures disagreed, I rather like Tim Minchin’s response, given to the British Humanists:

Even if Britain was a Christian country (it isn't); even if "Christian values" were meaningfully distinct from the moral values of humans worldwide (they're not); even if promoting religious doctrine improve moral behaviour in modern society (it doesn't); even if all these were the case, the fact that this rhetoric is being spouted by Mr Cameron would surely make the socialist, leper-lover iconoclast, Jesus Christ, roll in his grave (had he not so famously vacated it).

Even if Britain was a Christian country (it isn’t); even if “Christian values” were meaningfully distinct from the moral values of humans worldwide (they’re not); even if promoting religious doctrine improve moral behaviour in modern society (it doesn’t); even if all these were the case, the fact that this rhetoric is being spouted by Mr Cameron would surely make the socialist, leper-lover iconoclast, Jesus Christ, roll in his grave (had he not so famously vacated it).

It gives way too much credit to a first century religious fanatic (if he existed at all), but I get the point.

21 Apr 13:45

The Sykes-Picot Agreement has modern consequences

by Minnesotastan

At the end of WWI, western powers subdivided the Middle East as per the Sykes-Picot Agreement (map above), leading to a century of conflicts (map via Rob's Webstek).

If the borders had been drawn (or could be redrawn) as follows -


- giving consideration to ethnic distributions, some of those conflicts might have been eased.  More at the New York Times, via Rob's (five-year-old) Webstek.
18 Apr 05:52

CJWHO ™ (Invisible by Laura Williams Camera:NIKON D5100...)

by say
18 Apr 10:26

pleatedjeans: via

15 Apr 19:18

"Is it political if I tell you that if we burn coal, you’re going to warm the atmosphere? Or is that..."

“Is it political if I tell you that if we burn coal, you’re going to warm the atmosphere? Or is that a statement of fact that you’ve made political? It’s a scientific statement. The fact that there are elements of society that have made it political, that’s a whole other thing.”

- Neil deGrasse Tyson (via socio-logic)
16 Apr 16:31

baked eggs with spinach and mushrooms

by deb

baked eggs with spinach and mushrooms

My brunch arsenal, the dishes I’ve made enough times that they no longer cause any furrowed brows — a core entertaining principle here at House Smitten Kitchen (sigil: cast-iron skillet) — is as follows: bacon (always roasted in the oven, I mean, unless you were hoping to mist yourself with eau de pork belly*); some sort of fruit salad (either mixed berries and vanilla bean-scented yogurt or mixed citrus segments, sometimes with mint and feta); buttermilk biscuits; a pitcher of Bloody Marys, a bottle of champagne and a couple carafes of freshly-squeezed grapefruit or orange juice, blood orange whenever available; something sweet (our current favorite) and eggs. As I dictated years ago, everything that can be made in advance should be, thus pancakes, individually fried slices of French toast, omelets and even eggs baked in ramekins, adorable as they may be, are verboten. I’ve been there, I’ve done that, and it’s always the worst.

so much baby spinach
wilted spinach

In the egg category, my favorite for ease and laze is this spinach and cheese strata, however, if I have even 15 additional minutes at my disposal (which, let’s be honest, I do, especially when I spend less time here) remains these baked eggs with spinach and mushrooms. We talked about it, oh, seven years ago, but it’s been so buried in the archives, literally three recipes deep with a single hideous photo, that I’m long overdue to unearth it. At the time, I was charmed by how incredible something so wholesome could taste. These days, I’d add to its list of charms: vegetarian, gluten/grain-free, as good for a weeknight dinner as it is a weekend brunch dish, and oh, did I mention that it looks like an Easter egg basket? That’s a recent development.

add the mushrooms

... Read the rest of baked eggs with spinach and mushrooms on smittenkitchen.com


© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to baked eggs with spinach and mushrooms | 152 comments to date | see more: Breakfast, Easter, Eggs, Gluten-Free, Mushrooms, Spinach, Vegetarian

16 Apr 01:00

Wearable computing breakthrough

by Cory Doctorow

An image from the future past.

(via via @stevenf)








16 Apr 10:12

eggs2

by Author

eggs2

Here’s an old Easter one, from 5 years ago.

Flattr this for Jesus Book shop here

10 Apr 14:31

Where is Ukraine?

by Minnesotastan

It's truly embarassing how abysmal the average American's knowledge of geography is.  The map above accompanied an article in the Washington Post:
On March 28-31, 2014, we asked a national sample of 2,066 Americans (fielded via Survey Sampling International Inc. (SSI)), what action they wanted the U.S. to take in Ukraine, but with a twist: In addition to measuring standard demographic characteristics and general foreign policy attitudes, we also asked our survey respondents to locate Ukraine on a map as part of a larger, ongoing project to study foreign policy knowledge. We wanted to see where Americans think Ukraine is and to learn if this knowledge (or lack thereof) is related to their foreign policy views. We found that only one out of six Americans can find Ukraine on a map, and that this lack of knowledge is related to preferences: The farther their guesses were from Ukraine’s actual location, the more they wanted the U.S.  to intervene with military force.
More at the link.  I'll grant that some of the respondents may have been trolling the interviewers by pointing to Kansas or Canada, but I'm not surprised by the general pattern. I believe it was George Carlin who asked us to think of how stupid the average American is and then to remember that half of them are more stupid than that.
16 Apr 00:00

Orbital Mechanics

To be fair, my job at NASA was working on robots and didn't actually involve any orbital mechanics. The small positive slope over that period is because it turns out that if you hang around at NASA, you get in a lot of conversations about space.
14 Apr 02:00

indefenseofplants: Time-lapse of river changing course over 28...



indefenseofplants:

Time-lapse of river changing course over 28 years.

Rivers are not static entities!

12 Apr 21:31

I need this for my cosmetics bag

by PZ Myers

It’s going to be tough to use, though: that Jesus looks terribly unimpressed.

At least he’s not weeping tears of blood.

11 Apr 15:51

porcelain-horse-horselain:  Not a god damn thing.



porcelain-horse-horselain:

 Not a god damn thing.

11 Apr 21:31

Gritty New Cityscapes by Jeremy Mann

by Christopher Jobson

Gritty New Cityscapes by Jeremy Mann San Francisco painting New York cityscapes
Rooftops in the Snow

Gritty New Cityscapes by Jeremy Mann San Francisco painting New York cityscapes
Times Square Lights

Gritty New Cityscapes by Jeremy Mann San Francisco painting New York cityscapes
7th Ave. Night

Gritty New Cityscapes by Jeremy Mann San Francisco painting New York cityscapes
Hell’s Kitchen

Gritty New Cityscapes by Jeremy Mann San Francisco painting New York cityscapes
Manhattan Nights

Gritty New Cityscapes by Jeremy Mann San Francisco painting New York cityscapes
The City Tempest

Gritty New Cityscapes by Jeremy Mann San Francisco painting New York cityscapes
The Last Light of San Francisco

Gritty New Cityscapes by Jeremy Mann San Francisco painting New York cityscapes
The Market Street Steamvent

It’s almost impossible for me to select a favorite piece when looking at paintings by San Francisco painter Jeremy Mann (previously). Each of his works seems so wholly genuine, a mix of mystery and grit that brings a sublime light to iconic cities like New York and San Francisco. Above are a selection of paintings from the last two years or so, and you should also check out his recent Figures series. (via one of my favorite new art Tumblrs, Anita Leocadia)

10 Apr 12:39

Plastic: worse than we thought

by PZ Myers

That plastic grocery bag you got at the store is something more than just an eyesore and a source of nasty chemicals, it’s also a magnet for accumulating more pollutants.

The ingredients that make up more than 50% of plastics are already deemed chemical hazards by the UN Globally Harmonized System. But as floating bits of trash, plastics pick up additional pollutants like pesticides, flame retardants and combusted oil. “We don’t know yet how long it takes plastic to fully break down, but it’s somewhere on the order of tens to thousands of years,” says Rochman. This means that plastic debris accumulates a multitude of toxic chemicals over potentially many, many years. This type of marine plastic is ending up as lunch for birds, fish and other animals.

The article goes on to detail specific effects of PAHs, PCBs, and PBDEs on medaka. It’s ugly. Now I just have to figure out a way to reduce plastic consumption at home — it’s painful how much of our food and other essentials are packaged up in plastic.

08 Apr 17:41

The Ethereal Long Exposure Photography of Darren Moore

by Christopher Jobson

The Ethereal Long Exposure Photography of Darren Moore long exposure landscapes England black and white

The Ethereal Long Exposure Photography of Darren Moore long exposure landscapes England black and white

The Ethereal Long Exposure Photography of Darren Moore long exposure landscapes England black and white

The Ethereal Long Exposure Photography of Darren Moore long exposure landscapes England black and white

The Ethereal Long Exposure Photography of Darren Moore long exposure landscapes England black and white

The Ethereal Long Exposure Photography of Darren Moore long exposure landscapes England black and white

The Ethereal Long Exposure Photography of Darren Moore long exposure landscapes England black and white

The Ethereal Long Exposure Photography of Darren Moore long exposure landscapes England black and white

The Ethereal Long Exposure Photography of Darren Moore long exposure landscapes England black and white

Self-taught photographer Darren Moore creates ethereal black and white landscapes using a method called daytime long exposure, where a special filters are attached to a camera lens to reduce the amount of light. These neutral density filters allow for the shutter to open for extended periods of time in broad daylight, from 30 seconds to upward of 15 minutes for a single exposure. Moore shoots mostly in locations around England, where he frequently visits causeways, breakwaters, shipwrecks, and other features along the shore.

You can see more of Moore’s photography over on Flickr and in his online gallery. He’ll also have work later this April in a group show at the Patchings Art Centre.

07 Apr 21:30

omgtsn: we are birbwe must dance



omgtsn:

we are birb

we must dance

08 Apr 00:00

Faucet Power

by xkcd

Faucet Power

I just moved into a new apartment. It includes hot water but I have to pay the electric bill. So being a person on a budget ... what's the best way to use my free faucet to generate electricity?

David Axel Kurtz

You could build a tiny hydroelectric dam in your tub.

It would generate power, though not very much of it. The formula for power is pressure times flow rate.[1]Or, alternately, flow rate times density times height. Since bathtubs are pretty shallow, the pressure at the bottom isn't very high, so this works out to around two watts of power, or about 25 cents per month.

You can get more power if you increase the pressure of the water passing through the generator. To do this, you could increase the depth of the water. If you have two floors in your apartment, you could have the water column stretch from the second to the first floor, generating at least ten times the pressure and ten times the power.[2]This is similar to the rainwater scheme discussed in article 23. In effect, the local authorities would be paying to pump the water up to your apartment, and you're getting some of that energy back when you let it flow back down.

Could you use the faucet to pump the water up arbitrarily high, and get more and more power out of it as it falls back down?

No. First, you couldn't pump the water arbitrarily high. Household faucets have a pressure of around 4 atmospheres.[3]60 PSI. That's about 4000 millibars, if you measure your plumbing with an old barometer. You can lift water about 10 meters per atmosphere of pressure, which means that a household faucet can only pump water up by about 40 meters.

Second, as you can probably guess by looking at the above picture, pumping the water up 40 meters with water pressure and then back down doesn't accomplish anything—you can just hook the faucet up to your device, and let the water pressure drive the generator directly. In either case, for a bathtub faucet, this works out to almost 200 watts, or $25 per month.

You'd have to make sure your plumbing could handle the water. If your pipes get plugged up and stop draining, the faucet could fill your house in a matter of days. And either way, eventually someone from the city would probably show up to ask why you're using 40 tons of water every day.

And really, with California suffering through its worst drought in history, this system might earn you some dirty looks. Sure, if you live far away from California, it's not like your water would have gone to ease their drought, but wasting a gigantic amount of water (and investing a bunch of money) to save a few dollars on your electricity bill might come across as a little rude.

A bathtub's flow rate is five or six orders of magnitude less than that of a river, but it's still a lot of water. Could we put it to a less selfish use?

There's a common piece of advice that says you should drink 8 glasses of water a day. No one really knows where this advice came from; people claim you should drink anywhere from 2 to 12 glasses of water daily,[4]For some reason, the saying only ever uses even numbers; a web search turns up lots of tips about six or eight glasses per day, but few advising you to drink seven. and none of them have any real evidence behind them. The only real solid advice I've heard is that if you're thirsty, you should drink some water.

If we stick to the "8 glasses of water" standard, then a bathtub faucet provides enough drinking water to sustain about 10,000 people indefinitely. In other words, the city of Manhattan could survive on the water from just 150 bathtubs.

But if your goal is to save money on your electric bill, there's a much more lucrative option.

Single servings of bottled water sells for a dollar or two per half-liter. A lot of bottled water comes from municipal sources—that is, it's tap water. Bottled water isn't necessarily about the water; often, people are paying for convenience or because there's an issue with their water supply. Whatever the reason, however, there's no reason to let Coca Cola keep all the profits.

If you bottled the water from your bathtub faucet and managed to sell each bottle for \$1.50, you'd make \$72 per minute—\$38 million every year.

Then you won't have to worry about your power bill.

08 Apr 20:22

TSA Fines "Naked American Hero" $500

by Kevin

As you may recall, after John Brennan showed TSA agents in Portland he didn't have a bomb by taking off his clothes, they got all upset about it and charges were filed. See "TSA: Wants to See You Naked, Complains When You Get That Way," Lowering the Bar (Apr. 18, 2012). Brennan was acquitted of indecent-exposure charges because Oregon considers "symbolic nudity" to be protected free speech. But does the TSA care about constitutional rights?

Was that a rhetorical question?

Yes it was.

Was "was that a rhetorical question?" also a rhetorical question? Yes, I think it was, but we have to go on now.

The TSA imposed a $1,000 civil fine, claiming Brennan violated the rule that one may not "interfere with, assault, or intimidate screening personnel." But it was undisputed that Brennan was quiet and polite from start to finish, so he didn't assault or intimidate anyone, nor did he interfere with anyone physically. The TSA's argument is that his actions required agents to surround him and shut down the checkpoint, and therefore he "interfered with" screening personnel.

This sort of argument is what we lawyers refer to as "bullshit."

It's the same argument made by police officers who arrest people they see filming them in a public place. You have a First Amendment right to record officers' actions in public. You do not, of course, have a First Amendment right to get in their way when you do it, but even when that hasn't happened, law enforcement has repeatedly argued that the arrests are legit because the detainee was "disturbing the peace" or they had to divert resources to deal with the "disturbance" and so on. Basically, that if they decide to hassle you (even if unjustified), then you are somehow the one who has interfered with them. This is the TSA's position in Brennan's case, and on April 2 (probably delayed a day so people wouldn't think he was joking), an administrative-law judge agreed, though he reduced the fine to $500.

The ruling comes down to this one point: 

Respondent's actions in stripping and dropping his clothes on the floor and refusing to comply with [the agents'] directions ... constituted interference with their duties. TSA screening procedures required [them] to conduct a secondary screening due to the ETD alarm indicating nitrates were present. By dropping his clothes on the floor, Respondent presented an actual hindrance to the accomplishment of that task. The distraction caused by Respondent’s actions required [the agents] to shut down the checkpoint and divert other [agents] to this incident [and] compromised their ability to perform their screening duties.

Emphasis added. The whole ruling turns on that one sentence, and it's wrong.

Brennan opted out of scanning and got a pat-down. When the agent tested his gloves, the alarm went off. That means the machine has detected certain substances (like nitrates) found in explosives (and hand lotion, and lawn fertilizer, and bacon, etc., etc.), and you then get a further pat-down ("secondary screening") to see if you are carrying bacon, I mean a bomb. That's when Brennan stripped. This demonstrated quite clearly that he was not carrying a bomb. But the ruling concludes that "by dropping his clothes on the floor," Brennan "hindered" their efforts to check for a bomb. Huh?

He literally could not have made it any easier for them to see whether he was carrying a bomb on his person. Nor did he interfere with them checking the pile of clothes—they didn't even try to do that. In fact, "TSA personnel directed [Brennan] to put his clothes back on at least three times," the ruling states, not because he was free to go but so they could check him again with his clothes on. What? And when he refused, that's when they closed the checkpoint. Why? The security risk posed by a naked and unarmed man?

Because he embarrassed them, that's why. They could have checked his clothes and then said, okay, no bomb, you made your point, put your clothes on and go about your business. They didn't. They called the cops and shut down the checkpoint not because there was a potential threat, but because they wanted to punish him for protesting. He didn't interfere with screening, they did. As in the cop-filming cases, the TSA's position here has to be rejected because if they can turn any protest into "interference" by virtue of their own actions, that effectively gives them a veto over protests.

Isn't that a First Amendment issue too? What about Brennan's constitutional defenses? Ha! Who cares? According to TSA regs, its ALJs "may not: ... (v) Decide issues involving the validity of a TSA regulation, order, or other requirement under the U.S. Constitution ... or other law." Well, that's handy! We'll just issue a regulation preventing us from considering whether our regulations are illegal or unconstitutional. ("Wait, can we do that?" "I don't know—I'm not allowed to consider it!" ) 

What about judicial review? As explained very well by the Papers, Please! blog, this was an internal agency ruling, not an actual court ruling. Brennan can appeal within the agency, and when he loses, then the judicial branch will get hold of this. But under a TSA-friendly law, that case must be heard by the circuit court of appeal, not the federal district court. A court of appeal can't hold hearings or have a trial, so the law effectively limits review to the record developed in the agency's hearing. That may or may not be an issue here, but why should TSA proceedings get this special treatment? They shouldn't.

Will the agency appeal reverse this injustice? That's another rhetorical question. But hopefully the Ninth Circuit will.

06 Apr 15:23

policymic: 15 famous landmarks zoomed out that tell a different...

05 Apr 01:55

Photo



05 Apr 14:49

2013 NSA Surveillance Scandal | 5b3.gif

5b3.gif
06 Apr 04:00

April 06, 2014


Hoping the parents decide to skip a day...

PS: Just because I worry about this, this comic is in no way meant to insult or belittle trans people. In case it wasn't perfectly clear, the problem Popeye is having is with the accidental alteration of his physical appearance to something he dislikes. If it were on purpose, there would be no joke.
03 Apr 12:05

Photo













05 Apr 19:36

There are more ways to arrange a deck of cards than atoms on Earth

by Mark Frauenfelder

[Video Link]There are roughly 80,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 unique ways to order 52 playing cards. “Any time you pick up a well shuffled deck, you are almost certainly holding an arrangement of cards that has never before existed and might not exist again.” (Via Adafruit Industries)






04 Apr 01:46

It’s been a bad month for the creationists

by PZ Myers

I almost pity them. First there’s the discovery of gravitational waves that confirm a set of models for the origin of the universe — I can tell they’re trying to spin that one (it confirms the universe had a beginning, just like the Bible says!), but it’s obvious which perspective, scientific or religious, has the greater explanatory power.

Then there’s Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos, in which every episode so far has taken a vigorous poke at creationist nonsense. I think they cry every Sunday after church, because they know that later that evening they will be attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture. It’s been great.

And now, look, the Cassini spacecraft has found an ocean beneath the ice of Saturn’s moon, Enceladus.

For years, the motto among astrobiologists — people who look for life in distant worlds, and try to understand what life is, exactly — has been “follow the water.” You have to start the search somewhere, and scientists have started with liquid water because it’s the essential agent for all biochemistry on Earth.

Now they’ve followed the water to a small, icy moon orbiting Saturn. Scientists reported Thursday that Enceladus, a shiny world about 300 miles in diameter, has a subsurface “regional sea” with a rocky bottom.

This cryptic body of water is centered around the south pole and is upwards of five miles deep. It has a volume similar to that of Lake Superior, according to the research, which was published in the journal Science.

Enceladus

There is hope yet for Space Squid! Or maybe space progenotes. Isn’t it wonderful that we keep finding gloriously natural discoveries in the universe?

The tears will flow again in a few weeks, when Neil Shubin’s new series, Your Inner Fish, premieres on PBS. I’m really looking forward to this one.

It is a good time to be passionate about science.

03 Apr 12:19

Those two sentences…they do not fit together

by PZ Myers
Luke.stirling

Stay classy Internet. :/

Some dudebros are doing a fundraiser for a camera attachment that makes it easy to take upskirt photos. Besides just the general disgustingness of the concept, they make one of the most remarkably oblivious marketing statements ever.

If you want to take sneaky pictures of people without them knowing, this is the way to do it. Just don’t be creepy about it.

I think, by definition, taking sneaky photos of others is creepy. And a marketing campaign full of photos of closeup shots of women’s legs and cleavage is an admission that the entire purpose of the device is creepy.


Just a thought that those kinds of ad campaigns might just contribute to this kind of feeling.

Thanks, dudebros. It makes me sad that my presence can make women feel oppressed, thanks to you.

02 Apr 13:11

Photographer Klaus Leidorf’s Aerial Archaeology

by Christopher Jobson

Photographer Klaus Leidorfs Aerial Archaeology Germany aerial
Remember Summertime

Photographer Klaus Leidorfs Aerial Archaeology Germany aerial
Scrap Tires

Photographer Klaus Leidorfs Aerial Archaeology Germany aerial
Sailing Hay Bales

Photographer Klaus Leidorfs Aerial Archaeology Germany aerial
Summer Toboggan Run

Photographer Klaus Leidorfs Aerial Archaeology Germany aerial
Isar Nuclear Power Plant

Photographer Klaus Leidorfs Aerial Archaeology Germany aerial
Stock of Wood

Photographer Klaus Leidorfs Aerial Archaeology Germany aerial
River Vils At Schalkham, Bavaria

Photographer Klaus Leidorfs Aerial Archaeology Germany aerial
Autumn In The Vineyard

Photographer Klaus Leidorfs Aerial Archaeology Germany aerial
Under Snow

Photographer Klaus Leidorfs Aerial Archaeology Germany aerial
Poplar Avenue

Photographer Klaus Leidorfs Aerial Archaeology Germany aerial
Wave Pattern

Photographer Klaus Leidorfs Aerial Archaeology Germany aerial
Surrounded

Photographer Klaus Leidorfs Aerial Archaeology Germany aerial
Clones

Photographer Klaus Leidorfs Aerial Archaeology Germany aerial
Technical Break

Perched at the window of his Cessna 172, photographer Klaus Leidorf crisscrosses the skies above Germany while capturing images of farms, cities, industrial sites, and whatever else he discovers along his flight path, a process he refers to as “aerial archaeology.” Collectively the photos present a fascinating study of landscapes transformed by the hands of people—sometimes beautiful, sometimes frightening. Since the late 1980s Leidorf has shot thousands upon thousands of aerial photographs and currently relies on the image-stabilization technology in his Canon EOS 5D Mark III which is able to capture the detail of single tennis ball as it flies across a court. You can explore over a decade of Leidorf’s photography at much greater reslution over on Flickr. All images courtesy the artist.