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26 May 17:36

Quote of the Day: “You’re a Bigot, Lady”

by Dana Bolger

All hail Zoe Lofgren, congresswoman from California’s 19th district, and queen of my heart.

On Tuesday, during a congressional hearing, Lofgren took down one of the witnesses for her blatant transphobia.

 

The witness, University of San Diego law professor Gail Heriot, lambasted the recent Departments of Justice and Education guidance on transgender students’ rights, declaring that “[i]f someone had said in 1972 that one day Title IX would be interpreted to force schools to allow anatomically intact boys who psychologically ‘identify’ as girls to use the girls’ locker room, he would have been greeted with hoots of laughter.” Heriot went on to dismiss trans students’ gender identities as “a fantasy,” asserting that, “I [am not] a great-horned owl just because, as I have been told, I happen to share some personality traits with those feathered creatures.”

Lofgren wasn’t having any of it. She condemned Heriot’s transphobia, noted the disproportionately high rates of violence and discrimination that trans students suffer, and declared her objection that Heriot’s hateful comments — many of which, by the way, are legally suspect in addition to unethical and bigoted — were ever entered into the record to begin with.

Then, over the objections of Republican Chairman King — who demanded “civil” language from Lofgren but (of course) not from Heriot — Lofgren declared:

I think you’re a bigot lady. I think you’re an ignorant bigot.

Mic drop.

As eleven states sue the Obama Administration for its recent efforts to protect trans students — arguing that they should be able to use federal funds to discriminate against kids — I’m grateful that there are still a few good politicians out there. Thank you, Representative Lofgren, for calling hate, violence, and discrimination what it is.

You can watch the hearing in full here. Transcript of Lofgren and Heriot’s exchange after the jump.

Zoe Lofgren: I don’t usually call out witnesses but here’s what the written testimony says, and this is Mrs. Heriot:

We are teaching young people a terrible lesson. “I believe that I am a Russian princess.” That doesn’t make me a Russian princess, even if my friends and acquaintances are willing to indulge my fantasy. Nor am I a great-horned owl just because, as I have been told, I happen to share some personality traits with those feathered creatures.

I’ve gotta say I found this rather offensive. It says, to me, that the witness really doesn’t know anything and probably has never met a transgender child, who is going through, in almost every case, a very difficult experience finding themselves. And I believe that the Department’s guidance will help schools all over the United States in preventing the kind of violence and harassment that these transgender kids find too often. That’s all I’m gonna say on that. I think it’s very regrettable that that comment was put into the record and I think it’s highly offensive.

Gail Heriot: Well could I comment on that please?

ZL: No, it’s just my opinion…

GH: I think you’ll find that many people find it very offensive that the Department of Education…

ZL: I think you’re a bigot, lady.

GH: …thinks that they can tell schools…

ZL: …I think you are an ignorant bigot…

Chairman Steve King: Gentle lady from California will suspend, you’re out of order.

ZL: She’s out of order.

SK: We don’t call names in this committee and you will not be recognized to do that.

ZL: Mr. Chairman, it is my time. And I would just like to say that we allow witnesses to say offensive things, but I cannot allow that kind of bigotry to go into the record unchallenged. I don’t want to get into a debate about it…

GH: Does that mean you think I am a Russian Princess?

25 May 18:14

The World's Best French Toast: Cafe Aaliya Copycat French Toast Recipe

It's a big boast to say that something is the world's best. I mean anyone's world could really be the four corners of their house or the suburb that they live in but when I visited Tokyo recently, there was one thing that I was constantly being told: the French toast at Cafe Aaliya in Shinjuku was the best French toast **in the world**. And I have the copycat recipe for you!
24 May 18:20

Here’s Why It Took the US Almost 80 Years to Ban Lead Pipes

by Lisa Wade, PhD

Taking a cue from sociologists, The Nightly Show has started a segment called the “Super Depressing Deep Dive.” In the five minute segment I’ve embedded below, they explain that we’ve known that lead was highly toxic since 1904, but the US didn’t ban lead paint until 1978 and lead pipes even later. Why not?

Looking at the evidence piling up, the League of Nations encouraged all nations to stop the use of lead paint in 1922, but the United States didn’t sign on. They deferred to the industry — the Lead Industries Association and the National Paint, Varnish, and Lacquer Association — who successfully lobbied the federal government. Not only did the US decline to ban the substance, in 1938 the government actually mandated that lead paint be used in housing projects for poor people, putting the lead industries profits above the health of poor children.

The industry also fought warning labels, criticized the science, sued at least one source — a television show — for telling the truth about lead, and blamed the victim, claiming that the real problem was “uneducable Negro and Puerto Rican” parents who failed to adequately protect their children. They even dispensed pro-lead propaganda directly to kids, like in this page from a free children’s book distributed by a paint company in which a pair of rubber boots say to the child (bottom right):

You knew when we were moulded
The man who made us said
We’re strong and tough and lively
Because in us there’s lead.

8

Because of the disproportionate impact on the poor and racial minorities, the Black Panthers made fighting lead paint a part of their mission and their work ultimately contributed to the banning of lead paint in 1978 and pipes in the 1980s. By that time, though, the damage was done. Lead pipes are still in the ground and lead paint continues to be a serious threat in poor neighborhoods, doing irreparable damage to the lives of poor children and the communities they are a part of.

Lisa Wade is a professor at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. Find her on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

22 May 18:37

4 FANTASTIC Vegan Places That Even Non Vegans Will Enjoy!

With more and more people turning vegan chances are if you aren't one yourself then you'll have a friend or a relative that is vegan. But rather than it be a struggle to find a place that satisfies both of you take a peek at this list of four great vegan restaurants that will satisfy even the most voracious meat lover!
19 May 23:00

まるです。

by mugumogu



まる:「さてと、ここで寝ますか。」
Maru:[I intend to sleep here.]

と、見せかけて――

まる:「まるダーイブ!」
Maru:[Jsut kidding!]


はな:「きゃー!」
Hana:[Ouch!]

珍しくまるの不意打ち作戦成功。
Maru's strategy unusually succeeded.


18 May 16:28

PAZAR Food Collective, Canterbury

by Helen (Grab Your Fork)
If he had it his way, Attila Yilmaz would be back in the police force tomorrow. After twelve years as a police officer, Yilmaz was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, retiring as a leading senior constable in 2011. Five years later, he still struggles to sleep. Those restless nights are now used to jot down ideas and recipes for his flourishing new career, as chef and owner of Pazar
12 May 18:10

Carding Sites Turn to the ‘Dark Cloud’

by BrianKrebs
Fergus Noodle

I just wanna say Dark Cloud criminal hosting environment

Crooks who peddle stolen credit cards on the Internet face a constant challenge: Keeping their shops online and reachable in the face of meddling from law enforcement officials, security firms, researchers and vigilantes. In this post, we’ll examine a large collection of hacked computers around the world that currently serves as a criminal cloud hosting environment for a variety of cybercrime operations, from sending spam to hosting malicious software and stolen credit card shops.

I first became aware of this botnet, which I’ve been referring to as the “Dark Cloud” for want of a better term, after hearing from Noah Dunker, director of security labs at  Kansas City-based vendor RiskAnalytics. Dunker reached out after watching a Youtube video I posted that featured some existing and historic credit card fraud sites. He asked what I knew about one of the carding sites in the video: A fraud shop called “Uncle Sam,” whose home page pictures a pointing Uncle Sam saying “I want YOU to swipe.”

The "Uncle Sam" carding shop is one of a half-dozen that reside on a Dark Cloud criminal hosting environment.

The “Uncle Sam” carding shop is one of a half-dozen that reside on a Dark Cloud criminal hosting environment.

I confessed that I knew little of this shop other than its existence, and asked why he was so interested in this particular crime store. Dunker showed me how the Uncle Sam card shop and at least four others were hosted by the same Dark Cloud, and how the system changed the Internet address of each Web site roughly every three minutes. The entire robot network, or”botnet,” consisted of thousands of hacked home computers spread across virtually every time zone in the world, he said. 

Dunker urged me not to take his word for it, but to check for myself the domain name server (DNS) settings of the Uncle Sam shop every few minutes. DNS acts as a kind of Internet white pages, by translating Web site names to numeric addresses that are easier for computers to navigate. The way this so-called “fast-flux” botnet works is that it automatically updates the DNS records of each site hosted in the Dark Cloud every few minutes, randomly shuffling the Internet address of every site on the network from one compromised machine to another in a bid to frustrate those who might try to take the sites offline.

Sure enough, a simple script was all it took to find a few dozen Internet addresses assigned to the Uncle Sam shop over just 20 minutes of running the script. When I let the DNS lookup script run overnight, it came back with more than 1,000 unique addresses to which the site had been moved during the 12 or so hours I let it run. According to Dunker, the vast majority of those Internet addresses (> 80 percent) tie back to home Internet connections in Ukraine, with the rest in Russia and Romania.

'Mr. Bin,' another carding shop hosting on the dark cloud service. A 'bin' is the "bank identification number" or the first six digits on a card, and it's mainly how fraudsters search for stolen cards.

‘Mr. Bin,’ another carding shop hosting on the dark cloud service. A ‘bin’ is the “bank identification number” or the first six digits on a card, and it’s mainly how fraudsters search for stolen cards.

“Right now there’s probably over 2,000 infected endpoints that are mostly broadband subscribers in Eastern Europe,” enslaved as part of this botnet, Dunker said. “It’s a highly functional network, and it feels kind of like a black market version of Amazon Web Services. Some of the systems appear to be used for sending spam and some are for big dynamic scaled content delivery.”

Dunker said that historic DNS records indicate that this botnet has been in operation for at least the past year, but that there are signs it was up and running as early as Summer 2014.

Wayne Crowder, director of threat intelligence for RiskAnalytics, said the botnet appears to be a network structure set up to push different crimeware, including ransomware, click fraud tools, banking Trojans and spam.

Crowder said the Windows-based malware that powers the botnet assigns infected hosts different roles, depending on the victim machine’s strengths or weaknesses: More powerful systems might be used as DNS servers, while infected systems behind home routers may be infected with a “reverse proxy,” which lets the attackers control the system remotely.

“Once it’s infected, it phones home and gets a role assigned to it,” Crowder said. “That may be to continue sending spam, host a reverse proxy, or run a DNS server. It kind of depends on what capabilities it has.”

"Popeye," another carding site hosted on the criminal cloud network.

“Popeye,” another carding site hosted on the criminal cloud network.

Indeed, this network does feel rather spammy. In my book Spam Nation, I detailed how the largest spam affiliate program on the planet at the time used a similar fast-flux network of compromised systems to host its network of pill sites that were being promoted in the junk email. Many of the domains used in those spam campaigns were two- and three-word domains that appeared to be randomly created for use in malware and spam distribution.

“We’re seeing two English words separated by a dash,” Dunker said the hundreds of hostnames found on the dark cloud network that do not appear to be used for carding shops. “It’s a very spammy naming convention.”

It’s unclear whether this botnet is being used by more than one individual or group. The variety of crimeware campaigns that RiskAnalytics has tracked operated through the network suggests that it may be rented out to multiple different cybercrooks. Still, other clues suggests the whole thing may have been orchestrated by the same gang.

For example, nearly all of the carding sites hosted on the dark cloud network — including Uncle Sam, Scrooge McDuck, Mr. Bin, Try2Swipe, Popeye, and Royaldumps — share the same or very similar site designs. All of them say that customers can look up available cards for sale at the site, but that purchasing the cards requires first contacting the proprietor of the shops directly via instant message.

All six of these shops — and only these six — are advertised prominently on the cybercrime forum prvtzone[dot]su. It is unclear whether this forum is run or frequented by the people who run this botnet, but the forum does heavily steer members interested in carding toward these six carding services. It’s unclear why, but Prvtzone has a Google Analytics tracking ID (UA-65055767) embedded in the HTML source of its page that may hold clues about the proprietors of this crime forum.

The "dumps" section of the cybercrime forum Prvtzone advertises all six of the carding domains found on the fast-flux network.

The “dumps” section of the cybercrime forum Prvtzone advertises all six of the carding domains found on the fast-flux network.

Dunker says he’s convinced it’s one group that occasionally rents out the infrastructure to other criminals.

“At this point, I’m positive that there’s one overarching organized crime operation driving this whole thing,” Dunker said. “But they do appear to be leasing parts of it out to others.”

Dunker and Crowder say they hope to release an initial report on their findings about the botnet sometime next week, but that for now the rabbit hole appears to go quite deep with this crime machine. For instance, there  are several sites hosted on the network that appear to be clones of real businesses selling expensive farm equipment in Europe, and multiple sites report that these are fake companies looking to scam the unwary.

“There are a lot of questions that this research poses that we’d like to be able to answer,” Crowder said.

For now, I’d invite anyone interested to feel free to contribute to the research. This text file contains a historic record of domains I found that are or were at one time tied to the 40 or so Internet addresses I found in my initial, brief DNS scans of this network. Here’s a larger list of some 1,024 addresses that came up when I ran the scan for about 12 hours.

If you liked this story, check out this piece about another carding forum called Joker’s Stash, which also uses a unique communications system to keep itself online and reachable to all comers.

16 May 15:29

The Trucker, His Downfall, and the US Economy

by Lisa Wade, PhD

According to this graphic by NPR, “truck driver” is the most common occupation in most US states:

4

But truck driving isn’t what it used to be. In 1980, truckers made the equivalent of $110,000 annually; today, the average trucker makes $40,000. What happened to this omnipresent American occupation?

At the Atlantic, sociologist Steve Viscelli describes his research on truckers. He took an entry level long-haul trucking job, interviewed workers, and studied its history. He found that the industry had essentially eviscerated worker pay, largely by turning truckers into independent contractors, misleading them about the benefits of this arrangement, and locking them into punitive contracts.

Viscelli argues that few truckers are fully informed as to what it means to be an independent contractor, at least at first. Trucking companies sell them on the idea that they’ll be their own boss and set their own hours, but they don’t emphasize that they will pay significantly more taxes, their own expenses, and the lease on a truck. Viscelli interviews one man who took home the equivalent of 50 cents an hour one week; another week he’d ended up owing the company $100. As independent contractors, he writes, truckers “end up working harder and earning far less than they would otherwise.”

If truckers want to get out of these contracts, the companies can hold their lease over their heads. Truckers sign a years-long contract to lease their truck along with a promise not to work for anyone else. If the contract is violated, the worker is on the hook for the entire lease. This could be tens of thousands of dollars, so the trucker can’t afford to quit. He’s no longer working, in other words, to make money; he’s just working, sometimes for years, to avoid debt.

The decimation of this once strongly middle class job is just one story among many. Add them all up — all of those occupations that no longer provide a middle class income, and the rise of lower paying jobs — and you get the shrinking of the middle class. Since 1970, fewer and fewer Americans qualify as middle income, defined as a household income that is between two-thirds of and double the median, or middle, household income.

You can see it shrink in this graphic by Deseret News using data from the Pew Research Center:

4

Part of the reason is that we have transitioned to an industrial economy to one that offers jobs primarily in service (low paying) and knowledge/information (high paying), but the other part is the restructuring of work to increasingly benefit owners, operators, and investors over workers. As the middle class has been shrinking, the productivity of American workers has been climbing, but the workers haven’t been the beneficiaries of their own work. Instead, employers have just been taking a larger and larger share of the value added that workers produce.

Figure from the Wall Street Journal with data from the Economic Policy Institute:

5

Between 1948 and 1973, productivity and wages increased at close to the same rate (97% and 91% respectively), but between 1973 and 2014, productivity has continued to climb (increasing by 72%), while wages have not (increasing by only 9%).

This is why so many Americans are struggling to stay afloat today. We’ve designed an economy that makes it ever more difficult to land in the middle class. Trucking isn’t the job it used to be, that is, because we aren’t the country we used to be.

Lisa Wade is a professor at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. Find her on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

15 May 23:00

ブルです。

by mugumogu



ブル:「わい、フレンチブルドッグのブル。新入り。趣味は食べることと昼寝。」
Bull:[Hello, my name is Bull. Nice to meet you!]


ブル:「なあ、兄ちゃん気が合いそーやな。挨拶の鼻チューしてーな。」
Bull:[Hey, kiss me!]



ブル:「おおきに。さっすが兄ちゃん、話がわかるわぁ。」
Bull:[Thank you. I love you!]


ブル:「こっちの姉ちゃんは気が強そうやなぁ。
ま、ええわ。挨拶の鼻チューよろしく。」
Bull:[Hey young girl, you should kiss me, too!]

はな:「なんとなく――」
Hana:[No!]


はな:「ガブッ!」
Hana:[I bite you!]

ブル:「痛いやないけ!!」
Bull:[Ouch!!]


19 May 03:16

Become part of a tree after you die

by Saving Our Trees
I love memorial trees.  To me they represent life, beauty & a celebration of the life of the person who has passed.  I know that memorial trees are very healing for people who have lost someone they love. I am excited to see that finally we can choose to have our cremated remains become part of […]
17 May 18:14

The Amazing 2 Minute Mug Pizza! It's Real!

Fergus Noodle

Naaaahhh

We've all been there. We come home famished, or perhaps you've been busy working and then look up and an insatiable hunger fills you. You need something now, you need it tasty and you don't want to wait. Enter: the 2 minute pizza in a mug!
09 May 18:32

No Bake Nutella Chocolate Mousse Pretzel Pie!

Have you seen those Nutella freakshakes adorned with chocolate dipped pretzels on the side? How about trying a pie version? With a base of pretzel crumbs, a light Nutella cheesecake mousse followed by chocolate coconut ganache and chocolate dipped pretzels? And surprisingly this is one of the easiest pies you will ever make as it is a no bake pie!
07 Apr 15:21

In Which We Remain As Sympathetic As We Have Always Been

by Durga

No Tragedy

by TAYLOR HINE

A Little Life
by Hanya Yanagihara
Doubleday, 720 pp.

I read the first few pages of Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life on Sunday afternoon. I remember the day being overcast, but that may be just an after-effect of reading the novel. The cover beckoned me over to the “staff picks” table – was the man about to cry from pain or from having an orgasm? Will this book really be as wonderful as everyone says it is?

This is what A Little Life is about: four friends, but mostly just one of those friends – the one, we’re supposed to think, whose experiences matter most in the group. Jude St. Francis is an orphan of unknown ethnic origin who was found either in or next to a trash can in an alleyway as a baby and raised by a coterie of monks who all happen to be terrible people. The other three have their own problems: drug addiction, struggling for art, working jobs that don’t pay enough, finding a halfway decent roommate. The novel opens with two of the friends, Willem and the aforementioned Jude, being chastised by an apartment agent for not being able to afford the place she’s showing them. A Little Life, then, is a novel like many others: it’s about going home. In Jude’s case, it’s about finding a home: the first sentence reads, “The eleventh apartment had only one closet, but it did have a sliding glass door that opened onto a small balcony, from which he could see a man sitting across the way, outdoors in only a T-shirt and shorts even though it was October, smoking.”

A Little Life is probably supposed to appeal to me – after all, it’s about a group of twenty-somethings precariously navigating the post-college adult world. It’s a very New York novel, which suits, naturally, most of its reviewers and friends of mine who live there. There are no references, however, to 9/11 or any current events or political movements that might set the novel in a given time period. One reviewer argued that this is to make the novel timeless, but I’m more inclined to think that the characters in the novel just don’t have much time to think about it.

The first third of the novel is spent explaining the stories of how each of the four friends – JB, Malcolm, Willem, and Jude – ended up in New York City. There are arguments about race and homosexuality and other categories and labels. As it turns out, Jude can’t be categorized. His friends call him “The Postman” because he’s uncomfortable with divulging his life story, which is what really sets him apart from his three friends: “We never see him with anyone, we don’t know what race he is, we don’t know anything about him…[He’s] post-sexual, post-racial, post-identity, post-past.” They find him fascinating. The more anyone finds out about him throughout the novel, though, he becomes someone to feel sorry for rather than an intriguing, mysterious person: someone they try desperately to help in whatever ways they can.

The rest of the novel is deeply troubling. Jude’s story is nothing more and nothing less of abuse. He defines his life by it; his suffering is the beginning and end of his character. A new maxim is presented: things only get worse; they don’t get better. It’s like the film version of The Shining: “All [Jack Torrance] does is get crazier,” King said in a recent interview. “In the movie, there’s no tragedy because there’s no real change.” Peppered with flashbacks to Jude’s sexual and physical abuse in childhood and adolescence are depictions of the various ways he tries to cope: he maims himself, avoids the questions and concerns of his friends, and balks at the idea of anyone being able to love a man in a wheelchair.

Jude gives up on his life by the end of the novel. After one suicide attempt earlier on, Willem moves in with Jude – after a short while, they begin a romantic relationship. It’s a troublesome relationship for Jude, despite finally being with someone who treats him well. The one aspect of it he can’t handle is sexual intimacy. Instead of telling Willem as much and to avoid hurting his feelings (in other words, to avoid confrontation of any sort, even though Willem would be just as understanding and as sympathetic as he’s always been), he maims himself more than ever.

Before picking up A Little Life, I thought the saddest story ever told was that of Job’s inexplicable suffering. Job’s story, however, has a message that can be taken away from it: Sometimes we suffer, and we don’t know why. Nobody earns whatever suffering befalls them – justice isn’t that simple. The punishment doesn’t always fit the crime; there doesn’t even have to be a crime. Despite this meager ultimatum, or because of it – whichever you prefer – what matters, I think, is how we carry ourselves during those times of suffering. We can choose to give up, or we can try not to. A Little Life is a depiction of what the limits of that suffering can look like, a treatise on just how much one person can take. At one point, Jude “prays to a god he doesn’t believe in,” indicating that the blame in fact could lie outside of himself, even though he never says so outright. In fact, he spends most of the novel believing he brought all of his suffering upon himself, with increased paranoia and regression over time as a result.

A Little Life left me with little more than frustration when I finished it. It’s an utterly hopeless novel, unlike any other I’ve ever read. They were right in saying that you shouldn’t pick up A Little Life if you’re feeling sad, that it would only make you feel sadder. Now to that, I agree.

Taylor Hine is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Asheville.

"I Want You" - Anthony Hamilton (mp3)







18 Apr 00:00

An Anzac Caramel Slice - Two Aussie Classics In One for Anzac Day!

Aussies love two things: a good caramel slice and an Anzac biscuit. So I thought to combine the two to make a caramel slice that was even easier and possibly more delicious than the original. The flavour of the two items actually go perfectly together. Indeed both the Anzac biscuit and the caramel slice are sweetened with golden syrup. It's a perfectly sweet treat to feed a crowd on Anzac Day coming up!
21 Apr 18:08

Mansplaining Event at PayPal

by Bridget Crawford

Mansplaining Event at PayPal

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

IMG_5390

via Francine Lipman (@Narfnampil)

Feminist Law Professors

27 Apr 15:22

Kensington Street Social, Chippendale

by Helen (Grab Your Fork)
When Kensington Street Social opened in Sydney in January 2016, it marked the arrival of Chef Jason Atherton's 19th restaurant. It joins an international network of restaurants that includes Pollen Street Social in London, The Clocktower in New York, Aberdeen Street Social in Hong Kong, Social Commune in Shanghai and Marina Social in Dubai. Atherton doesn't stop. Since then, he's opened a 20th
02 May 18:22

Crazy Tokyo: 5 of The Best Theme Restaurants In Tokyo!

Fergus Noodle

Uobei Sushi not as cool as the place we went

Some of my favourite ever memories are of living in Tokyo. If a city were to be a map of my mind it would probably reflect Tokyo with burrows, people and stories lodged in every crevice. It is a city that really needs no introduction but I feel the need to qualify this story somewhat. You see Japan and Tokyo do quirky themes really well, perhaps the best in the world. There's none of this half baked themeing going on in Tokyo and with a population of 13.35 million you need to keep things fun and exciting. And without further ado, here is a list of 5 of Tokyo's best theme restaurants (with videos)!
30 Apr 00:34

まるです。

by mugumogu



まる:「あっかんべー。」
Maru:[Beh !]



まる:「なんちゃってー。冗談冗談。」
Maru:[Just kidding!]


まる:「きゃー!」
Maru:[Ouch!]



28 Apr 12:00

Michigan Teacher Fired for Saying the Word “Vagina” in Art Class

by Maya Dusenbery

Apparently mentioning the word “vagina” — even in the not-sexual context of an art class — is a violation of one Michigan middle school’s antiquated sex education policy. ThinkProgress reports:

A Michigan art teacher said she was fired Friday for addressing a controversial symbol art historians have studied for centuries: the vagina.

Allison Wint, a substitute art teacher at Harper Creek Middle School in Battle Creek, Michigan, said she was hoping to spark a thoughtful classroom discussion on controversy in art. But her description of a Georgia O’Keeffe painting apparently went too far. The next day, the school’s principal told her she had violated its policy.

Wint told the Detroit Free Press that she had asked her students: “Imagine walking into a gallery when [O’Keefe] was first showing her pieces, and thinking, ‘Am I actually seeing vaginas here?’” Surrounded by middle school students, Wint said she expected giggles — but told the Free Press she thought the discussion remained educational and productive. She had no idea it was against school policy to “get advanced approval when discussing any form of reproductive health.”

I’m really not sure how discussing vaginas in the context of Georgia O’Keefe’s work has anything to do with “reproductive health.” (In fact, O’Keefe herself actually adamantly resisted the interpretation of her work as vulva symbolism, including by feminists, so no doubt she’d be particularly pissed about this whole vagina “controversy.”) As the half of the population that has one well knows, the vast majority of the time, vaginas are not doing anything particularly “reproductive” — they’re just hanging out. Hopefully, they’re in good health, though given the criminally negligent state of sex education in this country, if they are, it’s probably no thanks to the school system.

In Michigan, it’s not just students who supposedly can’t handle hearing about vaginas. A few years ago, the state made headlines when a state lawmaker was banned from speaking on the House floor after she said the word in her speech in opposition to an anti-choice bill. A male colleague explained, “It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.” Because obviously the people who mostly have vaginas are especially too delicate to hear them named — that makes sense.

What does it do to girls and young women to have a part of their bodies — one as inseparable from their being as their hands or ears — equated with sex so automatically, reflexively, that it’s apparently impossible for the word to simply be a non-sexualized noun describing a part of human anatomy? And what does it do to them to have it treated as shameful, “controversial,” something that even the adults in their world are not allowed to say?

I read this article right after reading this one about how the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is warning of growing demand from teen girls for cosmetic labiaplasty surgeries. Kids are risking nerve damage that could affect their sexual responsiveness to trim their labia minora into some idealized version of how a vulva is “supposed” to be. You can blame mainstream porn, of course, and, more generally, the photoshopped media world we live in, feeding us a warped, narrow vision of what bodies look like. But I’d argue those more immediate causes rely on a more foundational bedrock of shame: A sense, reinforced since childhood, that your vagina exists for one purpose and that it has always been, in some essential, implicit way, wrong.

Header image: Georgia O’Keeffe’s Black Iris Series 1926 

28 Apr 15:37

Dental Assn Mails Malware to Members

by BrianKrebs

The American Dental Association (ADA) says it may have inadvertently mailed malware-laced USB thumb drives to thousands of dental offices nationwide.

The problem first came to light in a post on the DSL Reports Security Forum. DSLR member “Mike” from Pittsburgh got curious about the integrity of a USB drive that the ADA mailed to members to share updated “dental procedure codes” — codes that dental offices use to track procedures for billing and insurance purposes.

“Oh wow the usually inept ADA just sent me new codes,” Mike wrote. “I bet some marketing genius had this wonderful idea instead of making it downloadable. I can’t wait to plug an unknown USB into my computer that has PHI/HIPAA on it…” [link added].

The ADA says some flash drives mailed to members contained malware.

The ADA says some flash drives mailed to members contained malware. Image: Mike

Sure enough, Mike looked at the code inside one of the files on the flash drive and found it tries to open a Web page that has long been tied to malware distribution. The domain is used by crooks to infect visitors with malware that lets the attackers gain full control of the infected Windows computer.

Reached by KrebsOnSecurity, the ADA said it sent the following email to members who have shared their email address with the organization:

“We have received a handful of reports that malware has been detected on some flash drives included with the 2016 CDT manual,” the ADA said. “The ‘flash drive’ is the credit card sized USB storage device that contains an electronic copy of the CDT 2016 manual. It is located in a pocket on the inside back cover of the manual. Your anti-virus software should detect the malware if it is present. However, if you haven’t used your CDT 2016 flash drive, please throw it away.

To give you access to an electronic version of the 2016 CDT manual, we are offering you the ability to download the PDF version of the 2016 CDT manual that was included on the flash drive.

To download the PDF version of the CDT manual:

1. Click on the link »ebusiness.ada.org/login/ ··· ion.aspx
2. Log in with your ADA.org user ID and password
3. After you log in you will automatically be directed to a page showing CDT 2016 Digital Edition.
4. Click on the “Download” button to save the file to your computer for use.

If you have difficulty accessing or downloading the file, please call 1.800.947.4746 and a Member Service Advisor will be happy to assist you.

Many of the flash drives do not contain the Malware. If you have already used your flash drive and it worked as expected (it displayed a menu linking to chapters of the 2016 CDT manual), you may continue using it.

We apologize if this issue has caused you any inconvenience and thank you for being a valued ADA customer.”

This incident could give new meaning to the term “root canal.” It’s not clear how the ADA could make a statement that anti-virus should detect the malware, since presently only some of the many antivirus tools out there will flag the malware link as malicious.

In response to questions from this author, the ADA said the USB media was manufactured in China by a subcontractor of an ADA vendor, and that some 37,000 of the devices have been distributed. The not-for-profit ADA is the nation’s largest dental association, with more than 159,000 members.

“Upon investigation, the ADA concluded that only a small percentage of the manufactured USB devices were infected,” the organization wrote in an emailed statement. “Of note it is speculated that one of several duplicating machines in use at the manufacturer had become infected during a production run for another customer. That infected machine infected our clean image during one of our three production runs. Our random quality assurance testing did not catch any infected devices. Since this incident, the ADA has begun to review whether to continue to use physical media to distribute products.”

27 Apr 23:00

まるです。

by mugumogu



少し前までは、冷蔵庫の上ははなの特等席になっていたのに、
最近また頻繁に行くようになったまる。
Maru likes tops of the refrigerator recently.


まる:「とうっ!」
Maru:[Jump!]



まる:「飛びまーす。」
Maru:[And I will fly.]



まる:「とうっ!」


27 Apr 03:27

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Hanzismatterblogspotcom/~3/RFWTimJnBCU/from-spiller-to-tiangotlostgmail.html

by tian
from: spiller
to: tiangotlost@gmail.com
date: Mon, Apr 18, 2016 at 10:07 AM
subject: Tattoo Translation

Hello, my friend got a tattoo in Chinese, it is supposed to be his name. But i think it has too many characters.

Thanks

Spiller


25 Apr 23:00

まるです。

by mugumogu

まる:「生首どーん!」

まるさん、入っている箱と顔のバランスがおかしい気がするんですけど。
Hey Maru, is your face too big?
Or is the box too small?
No, probably it is both.


箱、交換してはどうでしょう?
Hey Maru&Hana, you should exchange your boxes.

まる&はな:「どうぞおかまいなく。」
Maru&Hana:[No!]


20 Apr 17:24

Canberra Shakes Things Up With 14 Fun Things To Do in The Capital!

Fergus Noodle

let's do the riddle room

A friend recently said that when they think about Canberra they think about roundabouts and politicians (and perhaps how much the two have in common ;) ). But in the last few years Canberra seems to be determined to show everyone else how much there is to do here. Hospitality businesses have sprung up like daisies in spring. So much so that there's a big list of things to see and do when you're in the national capital. So if you are planning a gorgeous Autumn road trip or a weekend in Canberra, let me offer you 13 fun things to do in Canberra!
16 Apr 17:18

Okayama Peach Fed Pork, Barazushi and The Tale of Momotarō The Peach Boy

Fergus Noodle

miss u japanese waffles :(

The shinkansen speeds through the tunnels towards Okayama. *Oka* means hills and *yama* means mountains and it's a 40 minute ride from Hiroshima in the Easterly direction. We reach Okayama and drop our bags at the hotel (the Granvia Okayama, again located at the train station). It's chilly again today and I breathe out and cloud dragons appear. Digging my glove lined hands deeper in my pockets I feel like a Michelin man with a thermal, dress, puffer and wool coat on.
13 Apr 16:00

Paneer Toast | Paneer Toasted Sandwich

by Ganga108
Fergus Noodle

Jaffles

Indian sandwiches are serious business, taking as much time and attention as some other dishes.
11 Apr 10:05

In Which We Wanted To Hold On To The Feeling

by Durga

Be My Husband

by DICK CHENEY

Outlander
creator Ronald D. Moore

This weekend's premiere of Outlander was the most fun I have had in years. Claire (Caitriona Balfe) returned from her time in Scotland during the mid-18th century and she was cranky as hell. The noise of airplanes and cars was absolutely disgusting to her, and she was astonished by the fashions of the 1948 season. After showing up in the middle of the street, she screamed at a passerby in order to find out who won World War II. Perhaps not surprisingly, she was left unsatisfied by the answer.

It got better from here. The husband she left behind in 1743 had a big penis (shockingly large IIRC) and impregnated her. So she tells her 1948 husband this, and at first he is all happy. Then you see his visage crumple as he realizes a number of key things: (1) he is sterile and (2) he is not the father of this child. His next move was most amusing: he balled up his fist like he was going to smash Claire's face in and looms over her. He backed off, but what a moment! I love this show.

It got better from here. Frank, her 1948 husband who is this douchy professor apparently prone to striking pregnant women heads into this old workshop that his buddy, a Scottish priest, has handy, and he's so angry that he smashes the entire place up. God Outlander is incredible; he was like this deranged guy feebly smashing boxes, and it went on for what felt like five whole minutes of just agony because his wife hadn't recovered from her ordeal in the few days he gave her to recuperate and acknowledge he was the most important individual in the world to her.

He gets with God and then returns to his wife for more tawking. It's obvious that she no longer cares for him. He tells her that he can give her time, but that they have to pretend the child is his. She agrees, and he burns all her old clothes. He asks her to move to Boston and she says yes to that too.

At that moment I knew this whole thing was bullshit or some kind of setup because a woman would never agree to move to Boston unless she had no other option. It got better from here. The setting shifts to France in the 1740s. Claire and her fertile ginger husband Jamie observe a man with smallpox coming in on a ship. Claire loudly shouts that she is a healer even though the man is already dead. They end up burning the entire vessel and its cargo, even though that seemed maybe somewhat excessive for one case of smallpox.

Claire is from the future, but unfortunately she knows very little about how to aid Jamie. She wants to prevent his people from being wiped out by the British, but she maybe glanced at a history textbook once ten years ago and forgot the rest. This is all well and good, but she could have aimed higher and stopped the Holocaust or the First World War. If you start actually thinking about this show it will make your head hurt.

There's actually a lot wrong with Outlander – the performances are not the best, and the soft lens they shoot everything with makes it look like Skinemax. But who cares, the B-movie feel to the proceedings just adds a certain flair missed from other dramas. The reason Outlander is so fucking great is because it does not shy away from going hard, verging on completely silly and overwrought. Most people would say a scene where a grown man flails about like a five year old just isn't realistic, but that is the brilliance of this entire endeavor. Outlander remains unafraid.

The world is likely flush with time travelers at this very moment. Most of them are trying to prevent Trump from becoming president; a select few were sent back to blackmail the press into giving Batman v. Superman bad reviews. This was a brilliant movie with a lot of subtext, and if you did not see it, at least google the scene where Superman slips it in Lois Lane (Amy Adams) while she's in the tub. I haven't been that turned on since I watched two lawyers who work for Paul Giamatti have really intense sex on Billions.

Someone once asked me whether or not all the things I write in my reviews are things I really believe, or if I am just exaggerating for pageviews. Hah hah. I am always serious unless I am talking about how Shonda Rimes' characters all talk and fuck the same. Then I am slightly tongue-in-cheek, but then again that is annoying. Especially the latter.

Outlander is my jam, but come April 24th I will be returning with my Game of Thrones reviews. I say reviews, but they will really be essais which weave in all the major events of our time: police brutality, my feelings on Ted Cruz's wonderful wife Heidi, the troubling rise of Russia, the anti-human rights legislation passed in the state of North Carolina, how I can't wait for Uncharted 4, and other such major news stories. I have gone on media blackout, since I want to experience it all fresh, knowing nothing, just like Terence Winter when he watches season two of Vinyl.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. 

 

11 Apr 14:00

Feministing Reads: Christina Crosby’s A Body, Undone

by Sam Huber

I should begin as the author does, with the accident: “On October 1, 2003, I caught a branch in the spokes of the front wheel of my bicycle, and hurtled toward the pavement.” Christina Crosby was paralyzed upon impact. Fifty years into an exceptionally active life, she was thrown into a radically uncertain future of limited mobility and dependency on others. Crosby’s new memoir, A Body, Undone: Living On After Great Pain (NYU Press), begins at the onset of that after not simply because of the irreparable rift it opened between old life and new, but because of the trial it poses to both writer and reader: “to put into words a body that seemed beyond the reach of language.”

Crosby was already an accomplished scholar at the time of her accident and remains Professor of English and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University, her institutional home for decades. Her training as a close reader is evident in the precision and care with which she guides us through the book’s varied materials—many of her short chapters juxtapose childhood memories, present-tense sensations, and snippets of poetry to illuminating effect. In a particularly instructive pairing, Crosby brings her knowledge of Victorian realist fiction to bear on the genre of disability memoir to which her book ambivalently belongs. Revisiting George Eliot helps Crosby identify a formula: conventional disability narratives begin with a moment of diagnosis or impairment—Crosby’s one point of compliance—proceed chronologically through hardship, and culminate in “a satisfying conclusion of lessons learned and life recalibrated” toward a healthy future. The desires motivating such an arc and the reassurances it afford are powerful and real, but Crosby insists against their promise, “Even the most accomplished cripple you can imagine is undone, and living some part of her life in another dimension, under a different dispensation than that of realist representation.”

Though she recognizes the risk of pathologizing disability by dwelling in grief and loss, Crosby also protests the “strategic elision” of these affects in disability narratives. “I find myself repeatedly, daily, relentlessly, and wearyingly horrified by the elsewhere of spinal cord injury,” an elsewhere that she maps with remarkable clarity. To do so her book refuses linear progression, instead presenting the reader with a tight skein of passionately interrogated subjects: family, athleticism, gender performance, reading, and sex all bleed into one another, despite the memoir’s division into brief and focused chapters.

Crosby coverThough the book is organized around a violent moment of rupture, Crosby’s moving reflections on her new experiences of embodiment, gender, and sexuality in the years since being paralyzed prove the depth and consistency of her lifelong intellectual commitments as a lesbian and a feminist. Her hard-won convictions help Crosby weather the unabated “neurological storm” of quadriplegia and her dramatically curtailed mobility, but it is a testament to her flexibility as a writer that she remains eager to reconsider, tweak, and think them anew in light of what her present life makes perceptible.

Given how thoroughly disability has restructured her daily life, Crosby’s prose on the subject can be disarmingly direct. “I needed so much help,” she admits; her lover “Janet needed so much help helping me.” It is clear from the earliest pages of her memoir that these admissions of need are also political interventions, laying bare the obscured networks of interdependence through which all of us are kept alive, no matter how self-sufficient we feel ourselves to be. In describing her rehabilitation and new domestic routines, Crosby folds the specialized activity of EMTs and CNAs into the same category of mutual obligation—help—as domestic labor, intimate care, and small gestures of kindness between friends, strangers, and “all who in some way touched me.”

A Body, Undone is particularly moving in its account of Crosby’s relationship with her home aide, Donna, with whose life her own becomes intimately entangled even as certain boundaries remain unbridgeable. We learn much through Crosby of Donna’s poverty, her religious faith, and her own ongoing physical pain resulting from the strenuous and underpaid labor of nursing. But Crosby is also careful to stress that the intimacy between them and the kinds of interdependency it cultivates are in no way equal or redemptive: Donna remains, “in many regards, unknown to me and unknowable… our intimacy is very real, but it’s [Janet and I] who have the money.” The deeply felt love that Crosby develops for her caretaker intensifies rather than placates her political commitments; Crosby now teaches about domestic work in her courses, and she’s careful in the book to cite resources that readers can refer to themselves. While she acknowledges that teaching is no substitute for activism, doing so has become “a way to name social reproduction as an object of knowledge consequential to feminist thought, and to link my dependency to a broader vision of caring labor and reproductive work.”

The interdependency that Crosby values is realized in the broad cast of characters she makes room for in her writing. Her book lovingly testifies to the precious network of thinkers, activists, and friends that she has cultivated throughout her career, and some of the figures that float in and out of her narrative may be familiar to Feministing readers. Janet Jakobsen, a brilliant scholar and Barnard professor who has been Crosby’s lover since six years before her accident, features prominently, as does Maggie Nelson, a former student and longtime friend of Crosby’s. (Attentive readers of Nelson’s may in turn know Crosby from her appearances in Nelson’s own writings.) In its intellectual generosity, its frankness, and its dexterous deployment of the resources of scholarship toward the ends of life writing, A Body, Undone recalls other invaluable memoirs of illness and disability by feminist academics like Susan Gubar’s Memoir of a Debulked Woman and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s A Dialogue on Love, though unlike those antecedents Crosby engages explicitly with the now-robust field of disability studies.

Crosby writes just as insightfully about her commitment to embodied pleasure, the thrill of bicycle racing, the nuances of gender performance in lesbian community, and a range of friends and family members whose lives have shaped her own. She shares her passions eagerly, and her prose is often boldly emphatic. Even so, honoring our necessary interdependence is not the same as romanticizing it, or pretending that it leads invariably to joy: In a poignant chapter about Crosby’s inability to take on home improvement projects as she used to, she recounts, “Janet told me, very truly and not in wrath, but with a terrible finality, ‘You can’t have what you want. You just can’t.’”

Paid care work can satisfy many needs, though of course not all of them. There are some desires and experiences that Crosby will never be able to recoup through others, no matter how generous or competent. To pretend otherwise would be to misrepresent both the coordinates of her current life and her intense appreciation for the life she used to lead: “I knew what I had. I know what I’ve lost.”

The great pain persists, but so does the work of living. Rather than fixing, resolving, or protecting against further suffering, Crosby accepts the task her friend Maggie Nelson poses in a poem written in the immediate wake of Crosby’s accident: “Live with your puny, vulnerable self / Live with her.” Crosby can only approach this task through writing, which “offers, not a way out, but a way into the impossible dilemmas of not-knowing.” It’s a beautiful gift to have given us as readers, and a remarkable challenge: “how else will I understand? How will you?”

 

11 Apr 19:45

Chart of the Day: Analysis of 2,000 Films Shows How Much More Men Speak in Movies

by Maya Dusenbery
Fergus Noodle

Everyone real mad about Star Wars women tho

The site Polygraph has undertaken a massive screenplay analysis — the largest ever — of over 2,000 movies, breaking down each word of dialogue by gender and age. The results offer a number of striking ways to visualize how Hollywood’s sexism and ageism shape the worlds we see on the big screen. 

The researchers found that women were the lead — i.e. they had the most dialogue — in just 22 percent of the films. They had the second place speaking role in about a third. But God forbid there be two women with major speaking roles — that only happened in 18 percent of the films. In over 80 percent of the films, two out of the top three characters with the most lines were men.

Of course, even if there’s a woman lead, that’s no guarantee that the overall dialogue will be more gender balanced. For example, Mulan ends up with majority male lines because the lead’s supporting character, Mushu, had 50 percent more lines than she did. Men speak more in pretty much every genre: 22 of 30 Disney films have a male majority of dialogue, as do 58 percent of rom coms. Can’t even let women speak more in so-called “chick flicks” that are supposedly “female-driven” and geared toward us.

Here, for example, is what the spread looks like for films in the drama genre:

chart of drama films by number of words by women and men

Meanwhile, the analysis by gender and age backs up what every older actress ever has always said: as women in Hollywood age, they can’t find parts, while men actually get more speaking roles over age 40.

dialogue by age and gender

If you head over to Polygraph, you can search by different subcategories and also see how your favorite movie stacks up. And they made enough of the raw data publicly available that some enterprising data geek could probably add in race as a variable to make things even more depressing.

09 Apr 22:30

はな3才です。

by mugumogu
Fergus Noodle

Good song



Happy 3rd birthday, Hana!


3歳の記念動画。2015年の映像を使って作りました。
This is the commemorative video of Hana's 3rd birthday. I made this with using videos of 2015.

BGM:フリー音楽素材 H/MIX GALLERY
さんよりお借りしました。ありがとうございます!


20160410_DSC_0270.jpg
はな:「どうもありがとう。お礼に歌を一曲プレゼントするわ。」
Hana:[For thanks, I present a song.]



はな:「あたしは3才♪」
Hana:[I am 3 years old♪]


はな:「素敵な大人のレディ!」
Hana:[Adult nice lady!]


はな:「イエェェェェイ!!!」
Hana:[yeeeeeah!!!]