Shared posts

24 Apr 14:37

Google Maps "vandalism" mocks Google Maps' editing policy

by Rob Beschizza

You'd think the kilometer-wide phase "Google review policy is crap", cut into the greenery of Takht Pari Forest near Rawalpindi, Pakistan, alongside a gigantic sad face, would be visible from space.

Read the rest
23 Apr 20:23

Watch these DIY-ers send a donut to the edge of space

by Xeni Jardin

Stratolys of Sweden posts this video, and explains: “On the 9 April 2015 we sent a Donut to the edge of space (32km up) with a weather balloon, from Askim Norway. We spent many months planning this, and we are happy with the outcome of this project. We had permission do this, do not try to do this without a permit.”


24 Apr 03:00

So You’ve Been Publicly Wrong: Anatomy of a Good Apology

by Julia Burke

After making utterly distasteful comments during an interview regarding Black Widow, actors Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner offered two very different apologies today. From Entertainment Weekly:

“Yesterday we were asked about the rumors that Black Widow wanted to be in a relationship with both Hawkeye and Captain America,” Evans said in a statement provided to EW. “We answered in a very juvenile and offensive way that rightfully angered some fans. I regret it and sincerely apologize.”

“I am sorry that this tasteless joke about a fictional character offended anyone,” Renner also said in a statement provided to EW. “It was not meant to be serious in any way. Just poking fun during an exhausting and tedious press tour.”

The words aren’t all that different, but the meanings represent a near-perfect “Do and Don’t” for the public mea culpa. In an age when our private gaffes, failed jokes, and ill-considered actions are on display for the world to see via social media, many think pieces have been written about call-outs, problematic faves, and even accountability as “public shaming.” But much less has been said about a practice much older and yet apparently much harder to perfect: the art of the apology. I don’t expect anyone to be perfect, but a respectable apology is a must if I’m going to continue to support someone who’s disappointed me.

As far as white dudes go, my gold-standard apology comes from Jason Alexander, surprisingly enough, after he called cricket a “gay” sport. Alexander wrote a sizeable and heartfelt essay after being criticized for his homophobic behavior. But there’s no need for long-windedness, I’d argue: Weird Al Yankovic met with criticism last year after using an ableist term in a song, and accomplished key apology criteria in a single tweet.

Over years of observing celebrity mistakes and being on both the acting and receiving end of poorly thought-out marginalizing humor, I’ve come to identify a good apology by three main components. When I think about the public apologies that have been best received, the private apologies that have meant the most to me, and the apologies I’ve made that have been most acceptable to the offended party, they all boil down to the steps that follow.


Step 1: Provide Context.

This first step is the trickiest, and where I think most bad apologies get stuck: intent is offered up as an excuse, an argument, or a way to undermine the offended party’s experience, when it’s actually no more than context. It’s okay to explain what you thought you were doing when you made the offending remark, and it’s okay to list mitigating factors: you were tired, ill, distracted, upset. It’s not okay to consider this the apology itself.

Jason Alexander’s context is presented in a self-deprecating manner. He needed a joke; he thought it was funny at the time; he has so many friends in the industry who are gay that he forgot that homophobia is alive and well. Notice that as he moves into the next part of his apology, below, he explains how he reexamined this assumption and learned from others.

But what we really got down to is quite serious. It is not that we can’t laugh at and with each other. It is not a question of oversensitivity. The problem is that today, as I write this, young men and women whose behaviors, choices or attitudes are not deemed “man enough” or “normal” are being subjected to all kinds of abuse from verbal to physical to societal. They are being demeaned and threatened because they don’t fit the group’s idea of what a “real man” or a “real woman” are supposed to look like, act like and feel like.

For these people, my building a joke upon the premise I did added to the pejorative stereotype that they are forced to deal with everyday. It is at the very heart of this whole ugly world of bullying that has been getting rightful and overdue attention in the media. And with my well-intentioned comedy bit, I played right into those hurtful assumptions and diminishments.


On the other hand, think of the poor “apologies” you’ve heard before: “I have black friends, so there’s no way I’m a racist”; “I didn’t mean it that way”; etc. They stop there, treating the context as the response.


Step 2. Show Understanding.

This is the part where you admit that your lived experience isn’t the only one that matters. The context part of your apology should be the setup to a moment of clarity and learning in which you acknowledge that your intent does not negate the result. Understanding is what turns an apology from an awkward moment to a cathartic, positive experience––the best possible result from an offense. When someone takes the time to educate you about why something you said or did was hurtful, and you take the time to listen and learn, show respect for them, and for your own personal growth, by telling that story. Make sure you’re clear on what was offensive and why, and then repeat it back so everyone knows you get it. And that you won’t do the thing again. Then, try not to do the thing again.


Step 3. Assume Accountability.

Apology statements should be “I” statements. You said/did the thing; if you don’t take responsibility for it, you shouldn’t be apologizing at all. This is why statements like “I’m sorry you were offended” sound like “I’m sorry I got caught”: it doesn’t sound like you actually care so much as you’re annoyed that you have to say anything at all. A plain and simple “I’m sorry,” period, is the perfect way to show that you hold yourself accountable for your actions even if you didn’t intend for the reactions that followed. That’s what makes Evans’s apology so different from Renner’s: note the difference between the straightforward “I regret it and sincerely apologize” and the passive-aggressive, blame-shifting “I am sorry that this tasteless joke about a fictional character offended anyone.”

Weird Al’s tweet combined all three of these criteria with grace:

Weird Al says, "If you thought I didn't know that "spastic" is considered a slut by some people... you're right, I didn't. Deeply sorry."


So, Jeremy Renner, I’m sorry you were inconvenienced, but you’re just going to have to do better if you want to keep this former fan interested.


Featured image: tumblr

23 Apr 13:16

Privilege: you're probably not the one percent

by Cory Doctorow

If you live near a Whole Foods, if you don't have a relative in jail, if you don't know anyone on meth, you're not in the one percent. Read the rest

23 Apr 13:50

Reporter confirms low-rated restaurant is bad

by Rob Beschizza
x 2015-04-23 at 9.50.16 AM Suspicious of an Italian restaurant's weirdly negative reviews, Tim Carman headed out to see if it was some kind of Yelp bullying thing. Nope, it is just awful. Aftermath: an interview with the manager.
23 Apr 14:58

Modern-day Russian roulette

by Minnesotastan

Even though this is pure randomness, with no player agency whatsoever, I can still see situation where I would willingly play this.

23 Apr 21:31

Hugos and Class

by John Scalzi

(Warning: Hugo neepery ahead. Ignore if you’re bored with the subject.)

As I’m musing on class today, I’d like to take a moment to address something I see being attempted by the Puppies, which is to cast the current Hugo contretemps as something akin to a class war, with the scrappy diverse underdogs (the Puppy slates) arrayed against “powerful, wealthy white men” such as myself, Patrick Nielsen Hayden and George RR Martin, the latter being a late addition to the non-existent SJW cabal; apparently we are now a cackling, finger-steepling triumvirate of conspiracy (See the link here at File770, which, again, has been invaluable as a repository of Hugo commentary this year).

So, let’s unpack this a bit.

One, I’m not entirely sure how much credit the Puppy slates should get for “diversity” when their most notable accomplishments are reducing the overall demographic diversity of the Hugo slate from the past few years, locking up five (previously six!) slots on the final ballot for the same straight, white, male author, and getting much of their “diversity” from conscripts to the slates, at least some of whom did not appear to have foreknowledge of their appearance there, and some of whom have since declined their nominations. Basically, if you’re going to argue diversity, you should probably not make the assertion so easily refutable by actual fact (it also helps not to have one of the primary movers behind the slates be an actual, contemptible racist and sexist).

Two, with regard to me, George and Patrick being “powerful, wealthy white men”: okay, sure, why not (I suspect Patrick, earning an editor’s salary in New York, might snort derisively that the idea that he is actually wealthy), but it’s interesting for any of the three of us to be criticized for these things by a partisan of slates whose dominance on the final Hugo ballot was accomplished substantially through the machinations of a fellow who is himself a scion of wealth and power, with enough dosh on hand to have his own publishing house (for which he is using the current Hugo contretemps as very cheap advertising), and, to a rather lesser extent, by a fellow who has many of the same advantages I or George do: Bestselling status, award nominations and, at least from public statements I can recall, a rather comfortable income from his work, largely from a company that shares at least one parent in common with one that publishes me, is a major house in the field, and is distributed by a major publishing conglomerate. Indeed, as it is an article of faith among the Puppies that I don’t actually sell all that many books, I suppose the argument could be made that he is more wealthy and powerful than I am! So well done him, and I wish him all the best in his career. But between these fellows and their circumstances, it’s difficult to cast this as a battle of underdogs versus wealth and privilege. There’s quite enough wealth and privilege to go around.

(There is at least one salient difference between me, Patrick and George, and the fellows I’ve mentioned, who share so many of the advantages that we three do. What that difference is I will leave as an exercise for the reader.)

Three, the Puppies drama isn’t about class, or privilege. It’s about envy and opportunism, and it’s also, somewhat pathetically, apparently about the heads of the Puppy slates being upset that once upon a time, they felt people in fandom were mean to them. As if they were the only people in the world that folks in science fiction fandom had ever been mean to. True fact: There is almost no one in science fiction and fantasy that someone else in fandom hasn’t been mean to at one time or the other. Science fiction fandom contains many people, including quite a few with questionable social skills. Not all of them are going to like you. Not all of them are going to like what you do. That’s not a conspiracy; that’s just a basic fact.

Here’s a thing: Look back in time to when I was nominated for Best Fan Writer. There was a whole lot of mean going on there; there are still fans who are righteously upset with me about it. Look at what people have said about each of the books of mine that have been nominated for Best Novel (look at what was said after I won it!). Look what people in fandom say about me on the Internet all the damn time. Hell, I remember rather vividly being at the Montreal Worldcon during my autograph session and this dude coming up, handing me Zoe’s Tale, and saying “It’s not really a good book and I don’t think it should be on the ballot and I don’t know why it is, but I guess since you’re here you might as well sign it for me.” Which I thought was really kind of amazing, in its own obnoxious way.

You know what I did? I signed his book. Because a) apparently he bought it and b) I’m not emotionally twelve years old. I can handle people being thoughtless and stupid and even occasionally intentionally mean in my direction, without deciding the the correct response is to burn down the Hugos, screaming I’ll show you! I’ll show you all! Which is, as it happens, seems to be another salient difference between me, Patrick and George, and these fellows. Unless you’re under the impression Patrick and George haven’t got their fair share of people disliking them, or saying mean things about them. They have; they’ve just decided to deal with it like the grown up humans they are.

So, no. This Hugo contretemps isn’t about class. But it might be, a little bit, about who has class, and how that affects what they do with their wealth and power.

22 Apr 23:01

lilbcup: bifurpawz: SHOTS FIRED  noooooo





21 Apr 17:00

Talk like a politician

by admin

21 Apr 15:40

Designer Sylvain Viau Imagines the Hover Cars We Were Promised

by Christopher Jobson


For his ongoing series Flying Cars, French designer Sylvain Viau digitally edits photographs of cars into sleek, wheel-less hover cars that appear to float just above the ground. Viau not only uses his own photography to create these sci-fi cars, but is fortunate to claim many of the actual cars among his own collection. He originally worked only with 80s Citroën vehicles because of their classic space-age design, but has continued to branch out over the last few months to include cars from Peugeot, Toyota, and Renault. You can see many more here. (via Designboom)

Update: Photographer Renaud Marion created a similar series of works in 2013.









21 Apr 15:17

alwaysbewoke: trebled-negrita-princess: POW!

21 Apr 16:35

funkymcgalaxy: The awkward moment when you make a bullshit...


The awkward moment when you make a bullshit sexist meme about “fake geek girls”, but aren’t quite geek enough yourself to know that Spock did hold the rank of Captain from Star Trek II to VI, making the “fake geek girl” in this scenario 8,000 per cent more legit geek than you. 

21 Apr 19:20

catsbeaversandducks: “For me??? OH THANK YOU!”Photos by...


“For me??? OH THANK YOU!”

Photos by ©Martin “Marty” Mouse

20 Apr 00:43

heyitspj: popeyeschicken: get him “YOU’RE NEXT”



get him


20 Apr 22:48


20 Apr 23:40

How Security Companies Peddle Snake Oil

by Soulskill
penciling_in writes: There are no silver bullets in Internet security, warns Paul Vixie in a co-authored piece along with Cyber Security Specialist Frode Hommedal: "Just as 'data' is being sold as 'intelligence', a lot of security technologies are being sold as 'security solutions' rather than what they really are: very narrow-focused appliances that, as a best case, can be part of your broader security effort." We have to stop playing "cops and robbers" and pretending that all of us are potential targets of nation-states, or pretending that any of our security vendors are like NORAD, warn the authors. Vixie adds, "We in the Internet security business look for current attacks and learn from those how to detect and prevent those attacks and maybe how to predict, detect, and prevent what's coming next. But rest assured that there is no end game — we put one bad guy in prison for every hundred or so new bad guys who come into the field each month. There is no device or method, however powerful, which will offer a salient defense for more than a short time. The bad guys endlessly adapt; so must we. Importantly, the bad guys understand how our systems work; so must we."

Share on Google+

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

21 Apr 00:30

johndarnielle: chipsandbeermag: Warning Signs of Satanic...



Warning Signs of Satanic Behavior. Training video for police, 1990

the perfect photoset

21 Apr 19:45

sandandglass: The Simpsons s26e18


The Simpsons s26e18

20 Apr 21:57

Frozach Submitted

21 Apr 09:00

Coming home after work

by sharhalakis

by generalfox

19 Apr 12:29

nevver:The Streets of San Francisco, Hsin-Yao Tseng


The Streets of San Francisco, Hsin-Yao Tseng

19 Apr 13:04

vaccineswork: Cartoonist Darryl Cunningham tells the important...


Cartoonist Darryl Cunningham tells the important story of tetanus and how we can stop it, as part of the Art of Saving a Life project. 

Time to stop this disease in its tracks!

Find out more about Darryl here.

20 Apr 15:08

bisexual-books: wongtonz:Aaron Diaz ( creator of Dresden Codak...



Aaron Diaz ( creator of Dresden Codak and my favourite LoZ au ) says things. 

I feel like this bears repeating and in bold:

You can’t cite the rules of a fictional world to defend something problematic, because a person made it up.  That person is accountable.

I feel this so much when people try to make excuses for authors who write terrible bisexual characters or whose writing is full of bi erasure, bi tropes, or conspicuously missing the b-word.  

- Sarah 

20 Apr 17:23

For those of you currently celebrating 4/20. (photo via...

For those of you currently celebrating 4/20. (photo via retroman360)

20 Apr 19:15

There's a Place That's Nearly Perfect for Growing Food. It's Not California.

by Tom Philpott

This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

California is by far the dominant U.S. produce-growing state—source of (large PDF) 81 percent of U.S.-grown carrots, 95 percent of broccoli, 86 percent of cauliflower, 74 percent of raspberries, 91 percent of strawberries, etc.

But all three of its main veggie growing regions—the Imperial Valley, the Central Valley, and the Salinas Valley—face serious short- and long-term water challenges. As I recently argued in a New York Times debate, it's time to "de-Californify" the nation's supply of fruits and vegetable supply, to make it more diversified, resilient, and ready for a changing climate.

Here are maps of U.S. fruit and vegetable production:


Now check out this map depicting average annual precipitation. The data are old—1961 to 1990—and weather patterns have changed since then as the climate has warmed over the decades. But the overall trends depicted still hold sway: The West tends to be arid, the East tends to get plenty of rain and snow, and the Midwest lands, well, somewhere in the middle. So the map remains a good proxy for understanding where water tends to fall and where it doesn't, though the precipitation levels depicted for California look downright Londonesque compared to the state's current parched condition.

Not only is California gripped in its worst drought in at least 1,200 years, but climate models and the fossil record suggest that its 21st-century precipitation levels could be significantly lower than the 20th-century norm, when California emerged as a fruit-and-vegetable behemoth.

So here's an idea that could take pressure off California. In my Times piece, I looked to the Corn Belt states of the Midwest as a prime candidate for a veggie revival: Just about a quarter million acres (a veritable rounding error in that region's base of farmland) from corn and soy to veggies could have a huge impact on regional supply, a 2010 Iowa State University study found.

Now my gaze is heading south and east, to acres now occupied by cotton—a crop burdened by a brutal past in the South (slavery, sharecropping) and a troubled present (a plague of herbicide-tolerant weeds):

Let's leave aside all of the cotton growing on the arid side of the map. (The drought is already squeezing out production of the fluffy fiber in California; as for the Texas panhandle, cotton production there relies heavily on water from the fast-depleting Ogallala Aquifer—not a great long-term strategy.)

Small-scale fruit and vegetable farms are "already gearing up down there," said one expert.

What I'm eyeing are those cotton acres on the water-rich right side of the map—the Mississippi Delta states Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, and Louisiana, along with the Carolinas, Alabama, and Georgia to the east. According to the USDA, mid-Southern and Southeastern states planted more than 4 million acres of cotton in 2014. This is what's left of the old—and let's face it, infamous—Cotton Belt that stocked the globe's textile factories during the 19th-century boom that delivered the Industrial Revolution (a story told in Sven Beckert's fantastic 2014 book Empire of Cotton).

Decades of low prices have already put a squeeze on Southern cotton acres, and the fiber has recently slumped anew in global trading. Why not transition at least some acres into crops with a robust domestic market? I bounced my idea of a Cotton Belt fruit-and-vegetable renaissance off a few experts to see if it was nuts. Ferd Hoefner, policy director of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, called it "noncrazy." He pointed out that, as in most other parts of the United States, small-scale farms that sell directly to consumers are "already gearing up down there," and added that the region "seems ripe for entrepreneurial companies to come in, buy land, grow farmers, introduce a whole new vegetable supply chain on a bigger scale, especially with California's woes."

I'm not talking about a fantasy in which everyone eats from within 20 miles (although such locavore networks, which have thrived nationwide over the last two decades, certainly add diversification and resilience to the overall food system). I'm simply pushing a more regionalized, widely distributed scheme for filling our salad and fruit bowls, one less dependent on California and its overtaxed water resources.

Scott Marlow, executive director of North Carolina-based RAFI USA, a farmer advocacy organization, also said the idea makes sense—with caveats. One is credit. Marlow says that most farmers who still plant cotton are large enough that they rely on loans to start the growing season—and bankers understand and are used to cotton, but may find vegetables too exotic and risky. For such farmers, "if the banker won't lend for it, [they] are not doing it," he said. Reforms in the latest farm bill made it easier for "specialty crop" (i.e., fruit and vegetable) farmers to get good crop insurance, and that, in turn, made it easier to get loans, he said. But those changes take time to sink in.

He added that the South's high levels of precipitation can actually be a liability compared to California's aridity, because "rain spreads diseases through splash erosion, ruins product, screws up harvest, reduces product quality." California farmers, who meet their watering needs through controlled irrigation, don't have those problems.

But rain troubles can be addressed through low-tech means like high tunnels, which are already being adapted by Southern produce farmers to extend the growing season, but also to protect sensitive crops from rain, Marlow said. Black plastic mulch, another widely adapted practice, also helps keep crops healthy in rainy periods, he added. The South's farmers have demonstrated the ability to innovate, he said, but "there have to be markets, there has to be risk management, and there has to be access to credit."

Converting swaths of Dixie country to vegetables won't be a fast or easy process. But if California's water troubles drag on, as it appears they will, broccoli may yet emerge as the heir apparent to doddering King Cotton.

Top image: Jerry Horbert /

19 Apr 01:31

noo hedgefriend i will only let you down ;-;

noo hedgefriend i will only let you down ;-;

19 Apr 05:09

Old Dude seeing me on my phone: Why don't you read the news instead of tweeting and texting.

Courtney shared this story from Super Opinionated.

Old Dude seeing me on my phone: Why don't you read the news instead of tweeting and texting.

Me: I'm actually reading an article from The Economist on my phone about Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan's mock elections. What are your thoughts on the topic?

Old Dude taken aback: I don't know.

Me: Well then why don't you read the news instead of chastising teenagers on their phones?

19 Apr 20:00

catsbeaversandducks: Cats Who Think They’re Houseplants“Oh,...


Cats Who Think They’re Houseplants

“Oh, there’s no need to water me. But thank you.” (photos via diply)

20 Apr 00:25

"When people with privilege hear that they have privilege, what they hear is not, “Our society is..."

“When people with privilege hear that they have privilege, what they hear is not, “Our society is structured so that your life is more valued than others.” They hear, “Everything, no matter what, will be handed to you. You have done nothing to achieve what you have.” That’s not strictly true, and hardly anyone who points out another’s privilege is making that accusation. There are privileged people who work very hard. The privilege they experience is the absence of barriers that exist for other people.”

- No One Cares If You Never Apologize for Your White Male Privilege
(via deliciouskaek)
20 Apr 08:17


Свадебная часовня в Хиросиме. Две отдельные лестницы, спиралью поднимающиеся наверх, символизируют разные пути молодоженов, встречающихся на вершине.