Knowing how to use your voice is important for any aspiring musician or hobbyist. One of the first steps to developing your voice as an instrument is learning your vocal range, and this video helps you do it in just under 2 minutes.
Definitely takes my mind in other directions for WWJD. "Start a cult." "Get arrested." So fun out of context, as the bible generally is.
Looks like water running down a windshield.
at risk of outing myself.
This is a pretty damning indictment of the nature and tenor of online discussions. Fortunately for me, i'm pretty left wing and, according to Pew, I unfriend the shit out of people that I find are wasting my time. http://www.journalism.org/2014/10/21/political-polarization-media-habits/
image by Anna Piovani
I don’t remember exactly when I got into my first argument online. I don’t remember who I was fighting with or what it was about. I was probably angry. I don’t ever remember being afraid.
I’ve written before about how the process of saying things online was liberatory. That the expression of self in this space was the very cliche of spreading new wings. That’s not a radical statement. It’s not revolutionary. A lot of us were the weird kids – everyone is the weird kid, in one way or another, but some of us feel it so much more keenly. Some of us are cut by it. Some of us are cut literally. Do you remember how it was then? The word floating around was that awkward, uncooperative bodies wouldn’t matter here. We could all be beings of pure intellect and engage on the edge of some kind of new and more enlightened frontier.
And implicit in that was that when someone tried to hurt you, it wouldn’t work.
Being a child is a nearly constant process of being lied to. By adults. By each other. By ourselves.
I don’t remember exactly when someone said something that truly hurt me online. I don’t remember who it was or what they were saying. I know I got angry; I might have cried. I don’t remember ever being afraid.
For a tremendous number of us – it seems – speech is not just surface levels of political. It’s deeper than what we usually imagine by politics. It’s in the viscera. Speech is the assertion of self, of agency when all other forms of agency seem elusive and impossible to grasp. We all, all of us, regardless of whether or not we have any conscious understanding of privilege and power, have some understanding of what it means to be able to speak and to be prevented from doing so. No history class had to teach us. We fight for it, we’ll ride and die for it, and when we perceive that anyone intends to take it away from us we’ll rear up like startled cobras and strike.
Not in all places or at all times or all people in the same ways, but bear with me.
What I’ve come to see and what I’ve come to understand I was and am a part of is a raging torrent of voices, of people screaming over each other, people boring through mountains of interference to deliver a message that might be meaningful and important to someone or might be utter incoherent drivel. It can be very difficult to tell the difference and probably no one person or persons should be permitted to adjudicate. I think of an ant hill, ants crawling all over each other, intent on whatever they’re doing but also keenly aware of each other at all times.
It’s loud, is what I’m saying. I’m not sure exactly how that figures in here but it’s very loud.
Sometimes there’s one voice apart from the others, one voice marked by a very precise element of difference in tone and content, and the ants turn and as one they swarm.
I don’t remember exactly when someone I knew was threatened online. I don’t remember who it was or what it was about, or who threatened them or what they did in response if anything. I’m sure I was angry. I was probably afraid for them. But I don’t remember being afraid for myself.
I hold very firmly to the belief that a significant number of the people who write do so because, on some level, they really want attention. I want attention. I absolutely do. Obviously I want that attention to be positive, so I try to do what I do as well as I can under the assumption that, if I do well enough, positive attention will result. So far that’s generally holding true. There are always critics, but you know. That’s fine. There should be.
But I also write because I don’t know what I would do or what I would be if I didn’t. I can’t imagine not writing. I can’t imagine a world in which stories weren’t battering their way out of me, tearing literal holes in my skin. Fucking with my head in ways you wouldn’t believe. Or maybe you would. The point is, silence isn’t an option. Silence is terrifying. Silence is unimaginable. I have a story; I write it. I have an opinion; I write it. Once we were confined in terms of who saw these things and how many of them there were, but now sharing is a fundamental component of how we move through the world, of how we understand the disparate elements of who we are and how we live. We share. That’s how we make things a real part of all of our real stories. I imagine not doing that anymore and it feels like being locked in a very small closet.
Fear was never part of that for me. Not really. Or if it was, it was fear of rejection. Which is a real fear, legitimate and painful, but come on.
I don’t remember exactly when I first learned about stalking online. I know it hadn’t happened to me, and so far as I know it still hasn’t. I do know that it was during the initial to-catch-a-predator panic of AOL chatrooms and who-is-talking-to-your-kid-on-ICQ. I heard all about not meeting people you met online in “real life”, I heard about not going along with suggestions to perform sexual acts, I heard about all of it. It was all about kids. Just kids.
No one warned me about what would come after that all died down. I don’t think anyone warned any of us. I don’t think anyone knew.
I genuinely wonder, if we had known then, how much of the world would have cared.
When I was asked to start writing here, I was terrified, and that terror never really went away. It’s the kind of terror that’s always with me, generated by a background hum of abusive internal voices. You’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough. You’ll never be able to come up with interesting things to say on that regular a basis. They don’t really like you. They’ll kick you out when they realize the mistake they made. Next Monday I’ll be writing about how this last year on Cyborgology has been for me and where I want to go in the future, what I’m excited about doing and the things about which I want to write, but the truth is that I’m scared, still, for all of those reasons.
But today is about something else.
This last year has been very instructive where fear is concerned.
I’ve watched people stalked, people threatened, people killed. Women, trans people, queer people, people of color. For speaking. For saying things. About the most innocuous stuff, on the face of it. For just being themselves. People I know, people I care for, people I don’t know at all. People I’ll never have the chance to know, because someone ripped them away from the world. I’ve seen brave, amazing people shouted down and intimidated into silence, driven into hiding, for doing something I’ve come to take for granted. I’ve seen men – some of them close to me – write it all off, insist that this is all a fluke, that it’s a few bad apples, that it’s not actually about racism or transphobia or misogyny, and I’ve wanted to grab them and shake them and scream do you even see what’s happening, do you even care about any of this, do you care about the fact that people you supposedly love are in danger. I’ve watched men speaking out against this, and that’s great and I’m glad for it, but I want to grab them and shake them and scream do you understand why you can do this, why you can laugh at them, what it means that you don’t have to be afraid.
Do you understand that we’re afraid all. the. time.
I wasn’t afraid. I’ve learned to be. A lot of us have learned to be. We’ve had very good teachers.
Over the last few months I’ve had to make some hard choices. For the first time I can remember, I’ve had to consider what I say and how I say it, not out of fear of being disliked or rejected but out of fear for my safety and the safety of my family. And the decision I’ve come to is to be silent. This is will be the last post I make on Cyborgology about this stuff. This will be the last post I make anywhere about this stuff. At least for a while.
I know I’m angry. Of that much, I’m very sure.
I’m not going to forget.
Sarah is on Twitter – @dynamicsymmetry
via cooper griggs.
LiartownUSA has always celebrated ONLINE SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS. Now, spurred by popular demand and a deep desire to properly honor the internet’s bravest, most productive heroes, I am very pleased to announce the very first LiarTown item to consensually enter the physical world.
First appearing in a December 2013 post and honored by rave reviews from Jezebel.com (“The absolute best cat calendar!”) this now-100% real publication is officially available for sale.
This full-color, 12” x 12” grid-style wall calendar is presented and shipped in plenty of time for the holidays. Each month features a charming kitten professionally photographed in a heroic pose appropriate to a small cat defiantly speaking out on the hottest social justice issues of the day. A sassy, uncompromising declaration erases any doubts about each precious cat’s passionate convictions, sense of humor, and tough-as-nails attitude!
Each of these twelve adorable kittens was subject to a week-long, grueling interview process to ensure there was absolutely nothing problematic in its beliefs. Unlike bland, privileged garbage kittens chosen for nothing more than shallow good looks, Social Justice Kittens radiate fierce strength in the face of untold adversity, and all are gifted with a dazzling array of genders and orientations to go with their tiny, oh-so-kissable faces! The patriarchy WILL NEVER accept these kittens!
After thousands of years of CIS-HET BULLSHIT, here at last is a calendar that DARES YOU to speak truth to power. A calendar which boldly announces to the world that you aren’t going to sit back and let others speak for you. A calendar that holds you up high so others can see you’re able to stand proudly on your own!
It comes down to this: Do you want to financially support the ideals embodied by this unique, functional gift, or refuse to purchase a copy and become a hateful fake ally who actively embraces injustice and the murder of innocents? The choice is yours.
One more time, to be clear: This is a genuine 2015 calendar, printed on big machines and then mailed out by mid-November.
Last but not least, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who supported this project during its formation!
part of the ethics of war thread.
In 1919 Russian author Ilya Ehrenburg wrote a message to posterity:
The sons of our sons will marvel,
Paging the textbook:
“1914 … 1917 … 1919 …
How did they live? The poor devils!”
Children of a new age will read of battles,
Will learn the names of orators and generals,
The numbers of the killed,
And the dates.
They will not know how sweetly roses smelled above the trenches,
How martins chirped blithely between the cannon salvos,
How beautiful in those years was
Never, never did the sun laugh so brightly
As above a sacked town,
When people, crawling out of their cellars,
Wondered: is there still a sun?
Violent speeches thundered,
Strong armies perished,
But the soldiers learned what the scent of snowdrops is like
An hour before the attack.
People were led at dawn to be shot …
But they alone learned what an April morning can be.
The cupolas gleamed in the slanting rays,
And the wind pleaded: Wait! A minute! Another minute!
Kissing, they could not tear themselves from the mournful mouth,
And they could not unclasp the hands so tightly joined.
Love meant: I shall die! I shall die!
Love meant: Burn, fire, in the wind!
Love meant: O where are you, where?
They love as people can love only here, upon this rebellious and
In those years there were no orchards golden with fruit,
But only fleeting bloom, only a doomed May.
In those years there was no calling: “So long!”
But only a brief, reverberant “Farewell!”
Read about us and marvel!
You did not live in our time — be sorry!
We were guests of the earth for one evening only.
We loved, we destroyed, we lived in the hour of our death.
But overhead stood the eternal stars,
And under them we begot you.
In your eyes our longing still burns,
In your words our revolt reverberates yet
Far into the night, and into the ages, the ages, we have scattered
The sparks of our extinguished life.
My inner monologue pronunciation made me lol: "Waahndohs"
"I've got legs that won't quit!" "It's contagious!" *Cue leggy doc booty shake.
I came back and watched this too many times not to share. Via Osiasjota.
First phase online in December? I'm cautiously optimistic. I haven't been saving enough money to pay for all the beer i'm going to drink here.
Scanning the news, it's easy to think the world is falling apart. But, on Monday, we got a major piece of good news: hunger is on a major decline in the world. Since 1990, there's been a sustained and massive collapse in the number of people who have difficulty accessing food.
The data comes from the 2014 Global Hunger Index, a measure of global hunger from the International Food Policy Research Institute. The index tracks "the percentage of the population that is undernourished, the percentage of children younger than five years of age who are underweight, and the percentage of people who die before the age of five." Malnutrition is particularly bad for children, and poor access to food makes kids way more vulnerable to diseases, the leading cause of child death in the developing world.
The Index goes from zero, which indicates a country with no undernutrition, to 100, a country where everyone goes hungry. Here's the overall score for "developing nations" since 1990, which basically means all countries except for industrialized "developed" nations such as the US, the UK, Japan, and the like:
That's a 39 percent decline over 24 years. That decline in hunger is a massive win for humanity.
Why are things getting better? Credit two things: economic growth and government programs. Global poverty has declined sharply since 1990, especially in India and China, making it easier for people to afford food. Meanwhile, government programs and international aid have made major improvements in getting people access to healthy diets.
Progress on undernutrition hasn't been even. Some countries, like Swaziland and Iraq, have gotten worse over time. But almost all have made huge strides — India, as The Hindu's Rukmini Shrinivasan explains, posted one of the largest absolute declines in hunger in the world. Here's a GIF that shows country-by-country changes in Global Hunger Index for since 1990:
(International Food Policy Research Institute)
See how there's less and less red and orange but more and more green? That means food insecurity is declining. Just another reason to believe that, for all our troubles, we're living through the greatest era in human history.
Freakin' cool! via Cooper Griggs.
If you like geology, you’re used to relying on an active imagination. Most geologic processes occur too slowly to see them play out for yourself. Many of the exceptions are dangerous enough that you might not want a front row seat or are rare enough that the odds of being there to witness them are disheartening. Sometimes, though, the Earth throws us a bone—or in this case, a gigantic slab of granite.
One interesting way that rocks weather and crumble apart is called “exfoliation.” Like the skin-scrubbing technique, this involves the outermost layers of exposed igneous or metamorphic bedrock sloughing off in a sheet. Over time, this tends to smooth and round the outcrop—Yosemite’s Half Dome providing a spectacular example.
We’re not entirely sure just what drives the peeling of an outcrop’s skin like this, but the classic explanation is that it’s the result of bringing rocks that formed at great pressure up to the surface. Once there, the outer layers can expand slightly, creating a physical mismatch with the layers below them.
Nausicaa, Laputa, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away totally nail the sentiments in these gifs/quote. I guess I'll have to look up Kiki's Delivery Service now.
How does it not break the balloon and cause a gigantic spill?
Mmm. Makes me wanna make some norwegian money.
How did this happen?
Remember kids, don't hand-letter and drive carriage.
Truly wonderful. via Coop.
This is a great video of polyphonic overtone singing by Anna-Maria Hefele, where she precisely demonstrates the almost inhuman ability to create a harmony of two notes at a time using a single breath. Overtone singing is the same technique used by Tuvan (or Mongolian) throat singers of which there are several other great videos to watch on YouTube. Also check out this demo by Alex Glenfield, or this clip lifted from I’m not sure where. (via Stellar)
Modern medicine has advanced dramatically in the past century: Average life expectancy has increased from the mid-40s to the mid-70s today. But as medicine has advanced and people are living longer, children are more likely to live far away from aging parents. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are popular destinations, but often focus on safety and routines at the expense of quality of life and human interaction. Harvard physician and author Atul Gawande argues that making mortality a medical experience is failing society. And he says end-of-life treatments often end up shortening lives instead of extending them. A Harvard doctor on a smarter approach to aging and dying.
#hempforvictory. I've got a new autoshare. (this will probably last one share.)
The fabric of our lives. #hempforvictory #blanketfort
steve irwin autoshare.
via bernot. followup to the psychedelic podcast share.
Everyone likes to get high. Whether from your morning cup of coffee, taking 2C-I to trip balls, or a surge of endocannabinoids after doing exercise, we love the feeling. This is rooted in a common chemistry that all creatures share.
Scientists and cat toy makers have long known that animals too enjoy the fruits of our shared biology. They go for the chemical shortcut to fun times as much as we do. Here are just a few.
These perennial internet favorites seek out a certain chemical in catnip (Nepeta cataria), called nepetalactone. The mechanism of action is unknown at this time, but what is well known is how cats react when they sense it nearby. They want it.
Once cats notice catnip, they rush over to the stuff. They begin pawing at it, chewing, licking, and generally rolling around like a happy cat. Cats have scent glands on sides of their heads and their paws. So by rubbing it and rolling around, they are claiming that pile of catnip for themselves while also showing affection.
Afterwards, you’ll see classic symptoms of being high as fuck including laying around, drooling, sleeping, jumping around excitedly, growling, purring, biting, and meowing at unseen objects. This isn’t limited to the housecat — big cats like tigers, ocelots, panthers, also love the stuff.
Around a third of domestic cats can’t experience the good vibes. Stupid recessive genes.
Our other best friend at home also enjoys getting high. Dogs enjoy licking the toxic secretions of the cane toad (Rhinella marina). Dogs will repeatedly seek out the cane toad, bother them so they produce a milky-white secretion containing bufotenin or 5-HO-DMT, and lick it up. That’s right, THAT DMT.
After consumption, dogs may lie down and experience pupil dilation. They also become agitated and seem very euphoric, while tracking unseen objects or even chasing and attempting to catch whatever they see. It’s a serious problem in Australia, where the cane toad was introduced to control beetle populations and has become a successful invasive species.
The problem comes when the dog gets too hooked. If they eat the toad or lick up too much, they may have a seizure and could fall into a coma. If you’re a total square and find your dog chasin’ the toad, wear gloves, remove the toad, then use paper towels to try and wipe away as much toxin as possible. But if you got a junkie dog, it’s time to install a mesh fence that goes at least half a foot or 15cm into the ground. Bufotenin is illegal in many places, but I doubt the police will arrest your hippie dog.
Speaking of Australia, did you know Australia is the world’s largest legal producers of opium poppies for medicinal use? Well, the local wallaby population had certainly noticed. Farmers report that the wallaby eats the poppy pods, and then becomes so excited and happy, they jump around in circles until they fall over in exhaustion, producing crop circles.
GREEN VERVET MONKEYS
Originally getting their fix from fermented sugar cane, the green vervet monkeys of St. Kitts have found a better way to get drunk — stealing the unattended drinks of human tourists. They will sneak in and snatch the brightly colored cocktails. But the most interesting part of it is that they drink like we do.
Some will drink a little bit; some will drink steadily; others will drink themselves to the point where they pass out. A few monkeys will refuse to drink altogether, only liking soft drinks. Like frat boys, their eusocial habits seem to give more respect to those who can drink the most. Sadly they have yet to discover beer bong technology, showing our superior intelligence.
Analysis of our dopamine pathways involved with our “reward mechanism” has found that what is true in people, is true in the green vervets. They may end up being extremely useful in our studies of alcoholism. It’s not exactly possible to root around the skull of a human alcoholic without finding yourself on the news as the “Beast of Brighton Beach.”
The green vervet monkey isn’t the only intelligent mammal that enjoys getting crunk — the elephant too loves alcohol. While the stories of them eating fermented fruit or using their own stomachs as fermenting pots have proven to be a myth, that doesn’t mean they don’t want a drink. Like the monkeys, they steal ours. But the monkeys only deliver a small painful bite, while these multi-ton creatures can kill.
The destruction of the elephants’ native habitat means they are more and more likely to run into people and notice that our food is pretty tasty. The problem comes when the local farmers are brewing rice beer. The elephants smash huts to steal food, wash it down with beer, and then go on drunken rampages. After stealing homebrewed rice beer a group of elephants destroyed a village. In another case, three people died after a raiding party of drunk elephants trampled them to death.
This is a frustrating area because it deals with an unusual creature that’s not normally thought of at all — the lichen. Lichen are composite organisms, consisting of photosynthetic algae and/or cyanobacteria and fungus living in a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship. The fungus relies on the algae or bacteria to produce food, while the algae or bacteria relies on the fungus to provide it with a safe home in inhospitable environments. They’re immensely successful, found nearly everywhere on Earth.
Bighorn Sheep are said to leave the safety of their normal bedding or feeding areas to find a certain variety of lichen. Since lichen can live anywhere, they always seem to end up on perilous cliff sides where the bighorns scramble up to scrape them off. They so much enjoy scraping the lichen, they can erode their teeth to nothing and starve. They may even fall to their deaths in their pursuit. Indigenous peoples later discovered the lichen were “narcotic”.
It’s not unusual to hear of fungi producing hallucinogenic chemicals. With so many other animals perfectly happy to eat hallucinogens, the only crime is that this is such a poorly researched area. There’s only scant references in literature to indigenous peoples using lichen for this purpose. No one seems to have done the needful and tried to capture whatever mystery molecule is so compelling.
Deep in the Siberian tundra of Russia’s Far East, reindeer would search for fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) mushrooms to eat. After eating them, they would behave almost drunkenly. Running around aimlessly, twitching, and making unusual sounds. However, the fly agaric mushroom contains other toxic alkaloids, making it unpleasant and unsafe to consume straight. But there’s a way around that.
Reindeer seem to be able to eat them safely, and like some other drugs, the active ingredients pass mostly unchanged in the urine. Although, the more toxic elements seem to have been eliminated. Shamans would occasionally drink this urine to enter trance like states, and their followers would drink the shaman’s urine to trip. It’s said it can make you feel like you’re flying, which some people have immediately tied to the myth of Father Christmas or Santa Claus and his flying reindeer. Sadly, that too seems to be a double-myth.
We don’t typically think of ants as anything but industrious drones. They have a complex social life despite being tiny and it seems that another insect has taken advantage of what seems to be a universal drive for intoxication. Lomechusa strumosa beetles live in ant colonies themselves. They have evolved trichomes, yes just like the trichomes on cannabis plants, which secrete some sort of aromatic, volatile oil. The ants lick these up so enthusiastically that it is called “lomechusa-mania.” They even treat the beetle larvae better than their own larvae, sometimes rescuing beetle larvae first. Whole colonies can be devastated by this obsession.
Like the wallaby, we enjoy consuming the opiate laced seed pods of the poppy. Like the green vervet monkeys, we sometimes use alcohol as a way to show our dominance over our peers. We go on drunken rampages as well as elephants do, though we have to make do with drink driving to do the same degree of damage since we ourselves do not weigh several tons. Like the dog, we enjoy chemicals related to DMT and may follow imaginary objects. Meth addicts extract the drug for consumption like the shamans did for the mushrooms of the arctic circle. Like the bighorn sheep, we risk life and limb to get high. And like the ants suffering from lomechusa-mania, we may lead our entire family to ruin for it.
God is lazy. Given the entire toolkit of physics and chemistry, we see the same few chemicals reused over and over again. Nature’s bounty means that when you get enough brain cells together, they will inevitably be affected by a reused molecule somewhere else, hijacking that response. Seeking to get high, is natural, and the fact that we are refusing to acknowledge it is. Once we acknowledge this biological and medical fact, we can start to have a better world and quit this failed War on Drugs.
Selfish share to add to my podcast playlist.
Millions of Americans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, including hundreds of thousands of veterans. Yet standard drug and therapy treatments have mixed success rates. Some cases of PTSD are considered untreatable. But researchers are seeing dramatic results from therapy that uses psychedelic drugs to treat PTSD, depression and addiction. Therapy involving substances like Psilocybin and MDMA, better known as ecstasy, show 80 percent success rates years after treatment. Diane and a panel of guests discuss new research on drugs that have long been considered dangerous and illicit.
Trying to stay abreast of current global issues! #podcastplaylist
The U.S. and its partner nations, which include several Arab nations, dropped bombs on four oil refineries in Syria over the weekend. The facilities were said to have been in the hands of ISIS, the Muslim extremist organization that has taken control of large areas near the Iraq–Syria border. On Saturday, the Pentagon also reported strikes in an area of Syria controlled by Kurds but under heavy ISIS attack. Experts warn the effort to eradicate ISIS will be long, costly and extremely difficult. Diane and her guests discuss the fight against ISIS, what’s possible and at what cost.
Another podcast playlist share.
Martin Wolf's column in the Financial Times has been called "required reading for the international financial elite." The former World Bank economist has a new book about the global financial crisis. Wolf criticizes the policies that caused it as well the responses to it. He calls for abandoning the orthodox thinking that led policymakers to completely miss the signs of the oncoming meltdown. He talks with Diane about why the global financial system remains so fragile and what can be done to strengthen it.