Shared posts

03 Jul 21:11

Against “Authenticity,” Pea Guacamole Edition

by Scott Lemieux


Burneko saved me a lot of time by writing this:

The New York Times published a recipe for guacamole with green peas in it. Not to insist that all guacamole must contain peas forever; not to say that people who have made guacamole without peas are dirty heathen swine; not to assert that pea-free guacamoles are inadequate. To suggest a fun variation on a tasty foodstuff. Hey, we think if you try adding some peas to your guacamole, you’ll like it. This has occasioned just such a performance, from too many corners of Twitter to call out here. Swooning and fainting and rending garments. Because somebody said that guacamole with peas in it tastes good.

This is dumb. Guacamole is mashed avocado dip. If it tastes good, it is made correctly.


When guacamole spread to other parts of the world, the familiar ingredients came to be thought of as the right ones because adding them to guacamole made it taste like guacamole made in Mexico. If your favorite guacamole recipe contains those familiar ingredients, that is fine. Make the guacamole that tastes best to you, because its only purpose is to taste good to the people who will be eating it. If it contains peas, that is fine. It is mashed avocado dip; the right way to make it is so it tastes good.

My guacamole is fairly basic—four avocados, a small fistful of finely chopped cilantro leaves, maybe a big tablespoon or so of minced white onion, some minced fresh jalapeño (or good cayenne powder if I’m feeling lazy), a big squeeze of lime juice, sea salt—because I am fanatical about avocados and only want enough accompaniment to flatter (and not compete with) them. But, I have had good-tasting guacamoles that contained: garlic, shallot, mint, basil, yogurt, sour cream, mango, corn, tomato, pineapple, lemon zest, olive oil, queso blanco, chipotle pepper, and more. A Guyanan coworker of mine once brought to an office potluck a bowl of guacamole that contained enough Scotch bonnet peppers to sizzle a fucking tunnel through the bowels of the earth so that we could deliver a serving of it to people on the far side, and it was delicious, even if a single bite of it prevented me from being able to taste anything else for the entire rest of the day. All of these guacamoles were fine, because they tasted good, which is guacamole’s only job, because it is food and not a fucking Republic of Texas flag.


Here’s what to keep out of your guacamole: the opinions and judgments and performative populism of food-scared internet weenies.

There are many variations of guacamole; Clark’s recipe is well within the family of recipes that can be fairly called “guacamole.” The criteria by which it should be judged are 1)whether it tastes good, and 2)that’s it.

02 Jul 20:30


02 Jul 09:00

Glimpsing the legacy code

by sharhalakis

by mzsamantha

03 Jul 19:00

The Lonely Voice #30: Brief Early Morning Thoughts on Ahab

by Peter Orner

Last night, deep into Moby Dick, page 667 of my edition, I was surprised when Ishmael announces, out of nowhere really, that not very long before the Pequod sailed from Nantucket, Ahab was found lying in the street, unconscious. Apparently, the incident occurred late at night. Where was he coming from? Where was he going? Ishmael doesn’t seem to know. All he tells us that while he was walking on the cobblestones Ahab’s ivory leg gave out from under him and buckled. He falls and his shattered leg stabs him in the groin. It must have hurt like hell. You wonder why the man became so maniacal? This is the single glimpse in the entire novel of Ahab on land.

Ishmael also tells us that Ahab was found and assisted by “someone unknown.” Now here’s a character who has since long transcended the book he was written into, who’s known by people who have never opened the novel (in Belgium there’s a Moby Dick whorehouse) sprawled there in the street, helpless. And a stranger helps him, hoists him up—touches him. This strikes me. Someone unknown must have touched Ahab’s body. Imagine Ahab’s humiliation. Ishmael then reveals that this incident so scarred Ahab it is why he’d remained locked in his cabin during the key first few days of the voyage, seen by nobody, nursing his hate. At that time, hundreds of pages earlier in the book, Ishmael had remarked that he was more than a little freaked out by Ahab’s absence from the deck. A sailor likes to have a good luck at his captain before entrusting the man with his life for three watery years. But by that time the Pequod was already underway, so what choice did he have? When we do finally meet Ahab we are told the man looks like he’s just been cut away from a burning stake.

Now here comes Ishmael’s suggestion—pretty damn late in the game if you ask me—that Ahab’s demented state of mind stems as much from this falling in the street as the white whale’s munching his leg off in the first place.


This all got me thinking this morning. I was walking the dog on the cliff by the ocean when I stopped to watch the waves play with some logs as if they were chopsticks.

Ahoy there! This is the Pequod, bound round the world! Tell them to address all future letters to the Pacific Ocean! and this time three years, if I am not at home, tell them to –

Tell them to what? Ahab never finishes this sentence so we’re left, forever, to wonder where to send Ahab letters if he’s not home in three years. Tell them to what, Ahab?


I find that lately I do more reading than writing, and more thinking than either. I read at night until I fall asleep with the light on, book in hand, and in the morning I wander around the house before everybody wakes up thinkingAhab about what I read the night before. But isn’t thinking a form of writing without the pressure of needing to communicate with other people? I’m testing out the possibility of writing a book in my head without pen, paper, or computer. I’m okay with this. I’m beginning to think there’s a hell of lot more words, paragraphs, books in the world than we need. I don’t know about you, but lately especially I’m feeling crushed by the weight of all the words that don’t say very much. Anyway, I was walking the dog by the bluff overlooking the ocean and it occurred to me, and I’ll keep this short, that maybe the man was just afraid. Maybe this is all it ever amounted to, just ordinary fear. Ahab was afraid to stay home—afraid to walk his own streets. Afraid—for some reason—to go home to his young wife and young boy.

There’s a moment, just before all that hell breaks loose, when Starbuck implores Ahab to turn the boat eastward, that it’s not too late to change direction, call this voyage quits, and live to see their wives and kids again, home, home, to Nantucket…

…Away! let us away! – this instant let me alter the course! How cheerily, how hilariously, O my Captain, would we bowl on our way to see old Nantucket again! I think, Sir, they have some such mild blue days, even as this, in Nantucket.

And holy shit, hilarious, it nearly works:

They have, they have. I have seen them – some summer days in the morning. About this time – yes, it is his noon nap now – the boy vivaciously wakes; sits up in bed; and his mother tells him of me, of cannibal old me; how I am abroad upon the deep, but will yet come back to dance him again.

Of course if they’d chalked up the hunt for the white whale then and there we wouldn’t have the book. But did you notice something? Ahab, of all people on earth, knows the precise time of day his kid wakes up from his nap. Daddy Ahab! It lasts less than a quarter page. Ahab never will get back to dance that boy again—and he knows it. Maybe Ahab concocted the whole insane and murderous ordeal to simply avoiding having to go home. Because there, and only there, existed a nameless terror he couldn’t sail onward into the deep and pretend to hunt.


Rumpus original art by Eric Orner.

Related Posts:

03 Jul 14:28

Saluting Robin Williams as the American Flag

by Elisa Wouk Almino

robin-williams-1280In the 1982 television special “I Love Liberty,” Robin Williams channeled the voice of the American flag. Created by writer Norman Lear and sponsored by the organization he founded, People for the American Way, the performance was aired to commemorate the 250th anniversary of George Washington’s birthday.

“I was born June 14, 1777 — that makes me a Gemini,” says Williams, dressed in blue pants and an American flag t-shirt (“I’m in my birthday suit!”). The Flag Act was passed just 17 months after US independence.

“I’m 204 years old. People ask, ‘Flag, how you stay so young? Is it jogging?’ No! ‘Is it tennis?’ No! It’s … waving.”

With his masterful skill for switching between voices, Williams embodies a proud, cheeky, and brave American flag. “I had a tough puberty. War, famine, invasion. And in 1861 I had a little skin problem that broke out into 34 stars. But now, well, with a little patience, look at what we’ve got now” — he pulls off a sleeve, revealing another layer of stars — “all 50! Everybody’s on here.”

At the time, right-wing conservatives attacked the two-hour television program for being promotional of Lear’s politics; he created People for the American Way in reaction to conservative televangelists. ”The flag belongs to all of us,” Lear told the New York Times. ”It moistens as many eyes on the left or the center as it does on the right. ‘I Love Liberty’ is an attempt to show that the country loves the flag, that it doesn’t belong to just a few.”

Williams’s skit embodies Lear’s optimistic, and ultimately naive, view of the country. While rainbow flags go up in more places, the confederate flag continues to “wave” in others, and the American flag isn’t exactly bringing tears to liberals’ eyes.

“I haven’t been getting out much lately. I guess it’s not chic to put up the flag anymore,” Williams playfully laments. “Don’t look at is as saluting me, look at it as saluting yourselves. I’m just a flag, a symbol. You’re the people, if I may say so from here,” he says, putting his hand to his heart. “Long may you wave.”

Correction: A previous version of this article quoted Robin Williams saying there are “60 states” on his sleeve. This has been fixed to 50. 

03 Jul 16:24

Art Movements

by Benjamin Sutton
The Acropolis in Athens (photo by Christine Zenino/Flickr)

The Acropolis in Athens (photo by Christine Zenino/Flickr)

Art Movements is a weekly collection of news, developments, and stirrings in the art world.

Due to the scarcity of bills and coins in Greece amid the country’s ongoing economic crisis, the Acropolis has abandoned its cash-only policy and begun accepting credit cards.

Archaeologists working in the catacombs of Anubis, around Saqqara in Egypt, have discovered some 8 million mummified animals, most of them dogs.

Murals by Thomas Cole have been discovered under layers of wall paint at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, New York. The Historic Site is seeking some $610,000 in grants to fund the uncovering and restoration of the murals.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service blocked six Byzantine ivory sculptures from being imported. The works had been loaned by the British Museum for an exhibition due to travel to the Museum of Russian Icons and the Chrysler Museum of Art.

Leandro Erlich, "Pulled by the roots" (2015) for The City Is the Star festival (Photo by Fidelis Fuchs © ZKM | Karlsruhe)

Leandro Erlich, “Pulled by the roots” (2015) for
The City Is the Star festival (Photo by Fidelis Fuchs © ZKM | Karlsruhe) (click to enlarge)

As part of Karlsruhe’s The City Is the Star festival, artist Leandro Erlich created a dramatic public installation of a construction crane seemingly uprooting a small house.

Newport Street Gallery, a gallery Damien Hirst is building in London to display works from his personal collection as well as temporary exhibitions, will open to the public on October 8 with an exhibition of John Hoyland paintings.

Sculptures by six contemporary artists will be installed at Embassy Gardens, a residential and commercial development near the new US Embassy in London, including new works by Sarah Lucas, Simon Fujiwara, and Mohammed Qasim Ashfaq.

Three new public art commissions — by Mark Bradford, Pae White, and the Ball-Nogues studio — were unveiled in LAX’s Tom Bradley International Terminal.

A new report by the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport claims creative industries in the UK are growing at twice the rate of the rest of the economy.

An 11th-century Indian statue of Saint Manikkavichavakar valued at $1 million that was allegedly smuggled into the US was handed over to federal agents in New York by a collector who had bought it from disgraced dealer Subhash Kapoor.


Adriaen de Vries, "Bacchant" (1626) (courtesy the Rijksmuseum)

Adriaen de Vries, “Bacchant” (1626) (courtesy the Rijksmuseum) (click to enlarge)

The Rijksmuseum announced the acquisition of Adriaen de Vries’s dramatic bronze sculpture “Bacchant” (1626).

Marilyn Monroe’s grave marker from Los Angeles’s Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, which had a pre-sale estimate of $2,000–4,000, sold for $212,500 during the “Hollywood Legends” sale at Julien’s Auction.

The North Miami City Council approved $1.85 million in funding for the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami.

The non-profit ArtsWave awarded more than $10 million in grants to Cincinnati-based organizations, including $1,635,000 for the Cincinnati Art Museum and $405,000 for the Contemporary Arts Center.

The Delaware Art Museum retired its construction debts and replenished its endowment by selling Andrew Wyeth’s “Arthur Cleveland” and Winslow Homer’s “Milking Time.” It had previously sold an Alexander Calder mobile and a William Holman Hunt painting in attempts to pay off its $19.8 million debt.

An Israeli court ruled that a prized collection of Franz Kafka’s manuscripts belongs to the National Library of Israel.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art acquired eight works by six artists — Math Bass, Brian Bress, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Brendan Fowler, Gala Porras-Kim, and Channing Hansen — through its Art Here and Now initiative, which aims to support emerging and mid-career artists based in Los Angeles.


Toronto's Tower Automotive Building, the future home of the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (photo by Sally Hewson/Flickr)

Toronto’s Tower Automotive Building, the future home of the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (photo by Sally Hewson/Flickr)

The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto will move into the Tower Automotive Building when renovations on the 96-year-old factory are completed in late 2016 or early 2017.

The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive set the opening date of its new building for January 31, 2016.

Retired lawyer Richard Newman has been hired to be the first executive director of Ralph Nader’s Tort Museum, which is on track open in September in Winsted, Connecticut.

Eleven Rivington, a gallery that opened on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 2007, will change its name to 11R and open an expanded exhibition space on Chrystie Street in the fall.

Ellen Hanspach-Bernal has been named as the Detroit Institute of Arts’s new conservator of paintings.

Stephen Glueckert will retire from his position as the senior exhibitions curator at the Missoula Art Museum,. The institution has also hired Brandon Reintjes, a curator at the Montana Museum of Art and Culture.

Josef Helfenstein, the director of the Menil Collection for the past 12 years, will leave Houston to become the director of the Kunstmuseum Basel.

Julie Rodrigues Widholm has been appointed as new director of the DePaul Art Museum.

Architect Nader Tehrani will be the new dean of the Cooper Union’s Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture — a position that has been vacant since Anthony Vidler’s resignation in 2013.

Colleen Grennan, co-director of the gallery Cleopatra’s in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, was hired by Kayne Griffin Corcoran in Los Angeles to be an associate director and artist liaison.

The Museum of Modern Art in New York hired Yasmil Raymond to be an associate curator in the department of painting and sculpture.

The Whitney Museum’s board of trustees elected Neil G. Bluhm and Laurie M. Tisch as co-chairs, and made Richard M. DeMartini its new president.


Inside the recently renovated Whitworth Art Gallery (photo by John Lord/Flickr)

Inside the recently renovated Whitworth Art Gallery (photo by John Lord/Flickr)

Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery, which reopened in February after a two-year expansion and renovation, was named the Museum of the Year 2015 by the Art Fund.


Val Doonican (1927–2015), singer and accomplished watercolorist.

Harold Feinstein (1931–2015), photographer.

Donald Wexler (1926–2015), architect.

03 Jul 16:35

Conversation Between Me and My Brain Today

by John Scalzi

Me: Hey! Brain! Do we have anything useful to say today?

Brain: Let me check. Hmmm… yeah, nope, we got nothing.

Me: Awesome! Time for pie!

And there you have it.

03 Jul 16:39

Not Getting the Memo

by Scott Lemieux

I pretty much agree with Stern on this:

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling that every state in America must grant marriage licenses to gay couples, at least two clerks tasked with issuing such licenses have resigned—one in Mississippi, one in Arkansas. Both will undoubtedly be chastised by the LGBTQ community for their blatant display of homophobia. But I think these clerks should be praised for their integrity. In other states, clerks are begging for a special right to discriminate against gays. At least these two had the courage to admit that their prejudice prevented them from honoring their oath of office.

I obviously strongly disagree with the underlying reason for the resignations. But I can certainly respect their actions more than the Mr. Plow conservatism that tends to be advanced in these cases — i.e. “I don’t want to do my job but I want to be paid anyway.” And when it comes to public officials, as in this case, treating citizens impartially is a core part of your job.

03 Jul 17:53

For Independence Day: If You Fly the Confederate Flag, You Don't Deserve a Holiday

by Rude One
Senator Henry Wilson knew the score. At an event referred to as a "colored people's celebration," the July 4, 1865 Independence Day rally was the first after the end of the Civil War. It was held on the grounds of the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C., and one of the purposes of the gathering was to call for "the immediate, complete, and universal enfranchisement" of all African Americans, as Frederick Douglass put it. Wilson, a Massachusetts Republican, had been an outspoken abolitionist and supporter of the rights of blacks, long-free and just-free. Later a vice-president to Ulysses Grant, he was the featured speaker that day.

Wilson had no patience for for anyone who still supported the "cause" of the Confederacy, mocking the mayor of Washington, D.C. for refusing to attend (and eventually getting mightily pissed at Andrew Johnson). He addressed how the nation should handle the unsteady future, so soon after the end of the nightmarish war and the assassination of Lincoln:

"Pardoned rebels, and rebels yet unpardoned, flippantly tell us that they hold in their hands, yet red with loyal blood, the rights of loyal colored men, of the heroes scarred and maimed beneath the dear old flag. I tell these repentant and unrepentant but conquered and subdued rebels that, while they hold the suffrage of the loyal black men in their hands, we, the loyal men of America, hold in our hands their lost privilege to hold office in the civil service, army, or navy. The Congress of the United States has placed upon the statute-book a law forever prohibiting anyone who has borne arms against the country, or given aid, comfort, and countenance to the Rebellion, from holding any office of honor, profit, or emolument in the civil, military, or naval service of the United States."

That was an in-yer-face proclamation there. Of course, in 1872, the Amnesty Act got rid of those restrictions on almost all former Confederate soldiers, thus ensuring that freed slaves would get dicked over post-Reconstruction.  Still, in 1865, Wilson's stand was clear. The people of the southern United States were disloyal, conquered rebels, and they should be treated as such.

There is something poignantly dumb about the fact that there will be a Confederate Heritage Rally in Tampa, Florida 150 years after the event on the 4th of July 1865. That the focus of the event will be the flag of the conquered rebels is pathetic. "Come join us in preserving and defending our proud Southern heritage. BRING YOUR FLAGS!" the rally-goers are commanded. Someone else informs the group that websites and stores are sold out of Confederate flags, so he doesn't know where he'll get one. Someone else says that they should order cakes with the flag on it for "Lee-Jackson Day, Confederate Memorial Day, Jefferson Davis Birthday, State Day (i.e. Florida Day, etc.), Confederate Flag Day," and that "commemorating an important Confederate battlefield victory would all be our major cultural holidays days."

Everyone who heard Wilson's speech way back when would be appalled to the point of despair to know that, a century and a half later, on Independence Day, the rebels don't believe they lost to the nation whose day they are supposed to be celebrating.
03 Jul 16:00

What the hell is going on with Backpage?

by Miss Andrie
This week, after an informal request from a law enforcement officer, Visa and MasterCard announced that they would no longer let their cards be used to process payments to, the most widely used site for adult advertising in the United States. American Express had already pulled out earlier in the year. This leaves Bitcoin […]
01 Jul 04:00

Strengths and Weaknesses

Do you need me to do a quicksort on the whiteboard or produce a generation of offspring or something? It might take me a bit, but I can do it.
01 Jul 00:00

26 Breathtaking Pictures of Abandoned and Forgotten Places

by Rebecca OConnell

Photographer Matt Emmett doesn't pay attention to signs that say "do not enter." While traveling around Europe, the urban explorer looks for the eerie beauty found in the derelict and forgotten. Emmett has photographed everything from abandoned hotels to power stations; before entering a new location, he always reads up about the history first. He offers a detailed description of each picture he takes on his Flickr

"I enjoy being in such magnificent places alone or in a small group," Emmett told mental_floss. "The atmosphere that hangs over a derelict power station or steel plant, for me, puts them on a level with the Angkor Wat's or Machu Pichu's of this world." 

You can see more of his work on his website, Twitter, or Facebook page

A rooftop view of an abandoned asylum in Northern Italy. A lot of the medical equipment and machines can still be found inside. 

A ruined chapel at a private residence in Italy.

The inside of a cooling tower in Belgium. 

A crane in an old factory. 

A radome in Belgium.

Inside the radome.

The overgrown window of a UK manor house. 

A decaying library in a manor house in England. 

Faded fresco paintings cling to the walls of the entrance hall at a large abandoned Villa complex.

This strange structure was created by an artist to house himself and his sheep. It's located on private land in the Cotswolds, England. 

Rusting radar dishes along the Norfolk and Lincolnshire coast in England. 

The banister of an abandoned Italian villa. It was converted into a psychiatric hospital in the 1800s. 

Light shining through the Oculus Tower in Italy. The factory was used to process sugarbeets in sugars and oils. 

Wooden cabinets that were used to hold patient information at a psychiatric hospital in Northern Italy.

An old television sits by the window in Bull Manor in England. 

A ruined colonnade encased in foliage. This photo is one of the photographer's favorites. 

A home abandoned after a fire during World War II. 

A statue of Neptune stands guard over a secret underwater dome in the UK. 

A Victorian reservoir located under the streets of London, England. "The echo in here had fantastic delay to it, my whoop coming back to me around four seconds after it left my mouth," Emmett said. 

A surgery room at an abandoned psychiatric hospital. "The hospital was famous in the 1930s for being one of the pioneering sites for the research and early practice of frontal lobe lobotomy," Emmett writes.

A long hallway of a military hospital used to take care of U.S. soldiers during the Gulf War. "Places like this remind me that [nature] always prevails and nothing we create can ever stand up to her and the passage of time," Emmett said. 

Another view of the Oculus Tower in Italy. 

A tunnel in underground London. 

Photographer and son in the Box Quarry in the UK. 

A jet engine test area at Pyestock NGTE, a Royal Aircraft Establishment facility in Fleek, UK, that has since been demolished.

Inside an empty castle in Italy. 

02 Jul 14:46

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Conspiracy Theory


Hovertext: Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

New comic!
Today's News:

Only two weeks left to place your proposal to speak at a BAHFest. We're doing shows in Boston, Seattle, and San Francisco this year!

Oh, and about that Seattle show... 


01 Jul 15:03

I’ve come a long way.image | twitter | facebook

I’ve come a long way.

image | twitter | facebook

01 Jul 14:00

Can’t fault the logic of this bar. (photo by dasuberspud)

Can’t fault the logic of this bar. (photo by dasuberspud)

02 Jul 16:00

This Kickass Fallout A3-21 Plasma Gun is Perfect to Help You Survive the Wasteland!

by Geeks are Sexy


When Ryan Palser is not working at Boss Key Productions as a senior animator, he’s usually busy building robots and replicas in his studio. Since fallout 4 will be released later this year, I thought you guys would appreciate seeing Ryan’s amazing plasma gun replica.

Here is the final product of months of work. I am beyond happy with the way it all came together in the end. I have to give major props to my painter wife Dena for really helping me take this gun to the next level with the amazing weathering job.






[Source: Ryan Palser on Flickr | Ryan Palser on Twitter]

The post This Kickass Fallout A3-21 Plasma Gun is Perfect to Help You Survive the Wasteland! appeared first on Geeks are Sexy Technology News.

01 Jul 20:04

LEGO Adds Even More Female STEM Minifigs, & You Can Vote for Lovelace, Curie, & Others!

by Jill Pantozzi

LEGOstemVote3We feel that showing kids you can aspire to any career, regardless of gender, is important. That’s why we’re always excited when we see LEGO sets depicting female minifigs in a variety of careers, especially STEM. Take a look at some items currently available in the LEGO store while perusing some of the new Ideas projects worthy of your votes!

Scientific American has alerted us to a few new LEGO sets you might be interested in.

A few items in their space port tag include these minifigs:

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 2.36.45 PM


Space Scientist


Utility Shuttle Astronaut – Female


Service Car Female Driver

And there’s the McLaren Mercedes Pit Stop:


McLaren Mercedes Pit Crew Member, Female


Deep Sea Submariner Female

Maia Weinstock says LEGO’s Deep Sea Helicopter set is an homage to oceanographer Sylvia Earle. You can check out more in the Deep Sea Explorers section here.

While these are all AMAZING, Weinstock also notes that with the exception of a branded Doc McStuffins‘ Duplo set, “there are no women of color among the new STEM professionals.”

Ok, now onto the voting portion. You know folks can submit ideas to become real LEGO sets? Well there are some fantastic examples right now. For instance, the “Scientists in History” set created by Mibitat.


They write:

“Currently proposed are 8 scientist vignettes, of which 3 or 4 (voted for by you) could be included in the set:

  • Charles Darwin is observing a monkey in a tree as he ponders his theory of evolution, struggling for acceptance from the people.
  • Alan Turing, pioneering computer scientist,is in his lab working on a code-breaking computer.
  • Mary Anning is down in Dorset trying to extract some fossils.
  • Marie Curie is in her lab with her equipment as she experiments with radioactivity
  • Thomas Edison is in his workshop with his incandescent lamp and gramophone
  • Nikola Tesla is in his lab as he observes his Tesla coil behind the safety of a Faraday cage.
  • Rosalind Franklin is using x-ray crystallography to observe the structure of DNA.
  • Lise Meitner is experimenting with atoms in her lab as she comes up with her theory of nuclear fission.”

LEGOstemVote2 LEGOstemVote4

Then we’ve got Lovelace & Babbage:


They write:

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) is widely credited as the first computer scientist and Charles Babbage (1791-1871) is best remembered for originating the concept of a programmable computer. Together they collaborated on Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Whilst never fully built in their lifetime, Lovelace’s notes on the engine include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. Because of this, she is often regarded as the first computer programmer.

And, “Help Ada Junior with her maths homework in the miniature classroom, but just make sure the creepy bat doesn’t steal her beloved teddy bear.”

I die.

LEGOlovelaceAnd finally, a real geologist has created a set showcasing her work! Circe Verba, research geologicst at the National Energy Technology Laboratory writes:

“I’m a female research geologist with a love of legos- this is a sample of my career. The scene here shows research geologists discovering minerals in a limestone rock formation and the characterization of the minerals in the laboratory.

  • The entire project has 213 pieces total. 
  • Field geology: A female and male geologist with a dog (there’s always the obligatory geology dog) exploring a crystal cave system complete with stratigraphic layers. Accessory pieces include:  compass/brunton, rock hammer, shovel, and a geology dog.
  • Petrographic laboratory: Petrographic laboratory: Mineral analysis performed with a light
    microscope and a scanning electron microscope (SEM) complete with
    an electron backscatter detector to distinguish phases and an energy dispersive
    X-ray spectrometer (EDS) to determine elemental composition using
    microanalysis software.”


Will you be voting for any of these?

(via Women in the World)

—Please make note of The Mary Sue’s general comment policy.—

Do you follow The Mary Sue on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, & Google +?

01 Jul 09:00

Trying to understand the customer’s email

by sharhalakis

by @uaiHebert

02 Jul 04:54

nevver: Jupiter (with moons) and Venus

02 Jul 02:13

it8bit: Mad Max: Fury Road - Pixel VehiclesCreated by Misha...


Mad Max: Fury Road - Pixel Vehicles

Created by Misha Petrick &  Evgeniy Yudin

01 Jul 18:21


03 Jul 06:25

Late Night Open Thread

by John Cole

Some keks for the night owls:



04 Feb 19:00

Banksy Found This Anti-Vaccination Comic From The 1940's

01 Jul 19:22

The Complete History of the Fallout Universe

The Road to Fallout 4

The Fallout series has a rich history filled with events and figures that all play a big role in the narratives in each of its games. In order to prepare for Fallout 4's impending release in November, we decided to put together a history of the Fallout universe to help briefly immerse you into its expansive post-apocalyptic world. But be weary, plot spoilers for the series will be discussed. Proceed at your own discretion.

A World Not Unlike Ours

The history in Fallout’s world is not very different from ours. Rather, it’s nearly identical to our timeline up until 1945 where different historical events, such as the U.S. splitting into 13 commonwealths, start to create a history where technology, politics, and culture follow a completely different course. Regardless, what inevitably follows leads into a series of conflicts known as the Resource Wars, and eventually the Great War, the cataclysmic event that created the world of Fallout as we know it.

The Resource Wars

The Resource Wars were a series of conflicts that served as a prelude to the Great War. It first began in 2052 as the result of Middle Eastern nations raising the price of oil. The demand created by this increase greatly affected Europe, the U.S., China, and even Canada, causing an energy crisis that resulted in military conflicts driven by the hunger for natural resources. The war came to its climax in January 2077 when the U.S. drove China out from Alaska, which had invaded the state out of desperation to secure its oil supply. At this point, with little natural resources left for nations to survive, nuclear war was all but inevitable.

The Great War

The Great War began and ended on October 23, 2077 when every nuclear-capable country in the world launched nuclear weapons at each other. In the Fallout universe, no one knows exactly who fired the first missile. Regardless, the resulting destruction reshaped the Earth’s climate and killed off the majority of its population. Those who were left were accounted for as the last remnants of a world that once was.

The Survivors

Those who survived the initial attack took shelter in a variety of locations. The fortunate ones gathered into vaults, which are underground shelters that were the result of an early U.S. initiative to create shelters that could withstand nuclear war or an epidemic. Others who weren’t so lucky found themselves having to endure the harsh radioactive desert summer left in the wake of the Great War. In the 200 years that followed the Great War, those left alive would go on to make up the different groups and factions that inhabit Fallout's world. Notable ones include: Vault dwellers, the Brotherhood of Steel, and the Enclave.

Vault dwellers

Vault dwellers are people who spent their lives in the safety of the underground shelters that were made just before the Great War. The group is generally made up a minority group who actually heeded the call of the air sirens that signaled the oncoming wave of nuclear weapons attacking the United States. Vault dwellers are typically characterized by their blue-and-yellow jumpsuits. While not a faction, they are an important group that make up a part of the population in Fallout’s post-apocalyptic world.

The Brotherhood of Steel

The Brotherhood of Steel is a group that is dedicated to the preservation of pre-war knowledge and technology. They pursue their goals with religious fervor and believe themselves to be the sole heirs to pre-war technology. On the East Coast, they take on a different form and protect the Wasteland against the Super Mutants, an opposing faction who threaten the safety of its inhabitants.

The Enclave

The Enclave is a secretive, political, scientific, and militaristic organization that is comprised of descendants from the pre-War U.S. federal government. The Enclave’s main goal is to wipe out all mutated and irradiated beings in the Wasteland, thus restoring the country back to its former self. Because of this, the Enclave is often the Fallout series' main antagonists.

Super Mutants

Super Mutants are former humans who are the products of infection by the Forced Evolutionary Virus; an experimental mutagenic virus that gifts them with superhuman strength and biological immortality. While most are hostile to humans and vary in cognitive ability, there do exist some super mutants who are peaceful with humans.


The events of the first Fallout game take place in Southern California and begin in 2161, 84 years after the Great War. It follows an inhabitant from Vault 13, who is tasked by the Vault's overseer to find a replacement water chip, a computer chip that pumps its machinery and is responsible for the vault’s water recycling. But upon finding a new chip, the Vault Dweller encounters a growing threat by an army of super mutants secretly led by a grotesque man known as the Master. To secure the safety of Vault 13, the Vault Dweller defeats the Master, but is ultimately exiled from the shelter for its greater good in order to preserve the isolation of its people.

Fallout 2

After the events of first Fallout, the Vault Dweller went on to start his/her own tribe of survivors. Fallout 2 takes place many years later in the year 2241 and follows the adventures of a direct descendant of the Vault Dweller. Referred to as "the Chosen One," the descendant is tasked with finding a Garden of Eden Creation Kit (G.E.C.K), a device located in Vault 13 that is capable of revitalizing land.

Fallout 2 (cont.) - The Enclave Attack

After finding the G.E.C.K in a now-abandoned Vault 13, the Chosen One returns home to find his/her tribe kidnapped by the Enclave, who seek to gather test subjects to expose to FEV. By doing this, the Enclave hope to create an airborne version of FEV that only infects mutated humans so that the Wasteland can be purified of all "impurity." The Chosen One eventually thwarts this plan and saves his/her tribe as well as the missing inhabitants of Vault 13, who were also kidnapped. The two groups then band together and create a prosperous new community using the G.E.C.K.

Fallout 3

Fallout 3 takes place in the year 2277 in a region covering Washington D.C, Northern Virginia, and Maryland. It focuses on an inhabitant of Vault 101 who is forced to flee the vault when its overseer issues their arrest in response to the sudden disappearance of his/her father, James. After a successful escape, the Vault dweller, who is referred to as the Lone Wanderer, searches and eventually finds James in Vault 112. It is then discovered that James fled Vault 101 to seek out information on a G.E.C.K he could use to activate Project Purity, a plan he originally conceived many years ago to purify all the water in the Tidal Basin and the entire Potomac River.

Fallout 3 (cont.) - Continuing James' work

James and the Lone Wanderer lead a team of scientists to the Jefferson Memorial to restart Project Purity. But the plan fails when the Enclave invade the memorial, which results in James dying. Forced to flee, the Lone Wanderer escapes to the home base of the Brotherhood of Steel and makes it a point to continue James’ work by acquiring a G.E.C.K. But upon doing so, he/she is captured by the Enclave. It is then revealed that the Enclave invaded the memorial because they want to use Project Purity to infect the pure water it creates with a strain of FEV that only kills mutated life. The Lone Wanderer is then given a sample of the new FEV and can either choose to self-destruct the Enclave’s base or leave peacefully.

Fallout 3 (cont.) - Activating Project Purity

With the G.E.C.K and the knowledge that the Lone Wanderer possesses, he/she has the means to activate Project Purity. But the control room where the activation code must be entered is flooded with lethal amounts of radiation. The Lone Wanderer must then choose to either enter to code his/herself or send Sara Lyons of the Brotherhood of Steel. Regardless, whoever inputs the code succeeds in activating Project Purity but inevitably dies from a radiation spike.

Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas takes place during the year 2281 and is set in the Mojave Wasteland, an area comprised of parts of Nevada, California, Utah, and Arizona. It focuses on a courier for the Mojave Express, known simply as “the Courier.” While delivering a package containing a simple poker chip, the Courier is ambushed by a mobster named Benny, who steals the chip and leaves him/her for dead. But the Courier survives the attack thanks to the aid of a man named Doc Mitchell, and then embarks on a journey to track Benny down and recover the stolen package.

Fallout: New Vegas (Cont.) - Catching Benny and Finding the Chip

The Courier finds Benny and discovers that the poker chip is a data storage device with a program that can increase the offensive capabilities of the Securitron robots that roam around the city of New Vegas, a reconstructed Wasteland version of Las Vegas. Benny was planning to use this program as a means of taking over the city.

Fallout: New Vegas (Cont.) - Taking Sides

Despite finding Benny, the Courier’s journey gets him/her caught up in a larger conflict involving three different factions in the region: Caesar’s Legion, a totalitarian slaver society; the New California Republic, an expansionist militia; and Mr. House, a pre-Great War human living in a capsule who is the de-facto leader of New Vegas. Each are fighting over control of the Hoover Dam, which is still operational and supplying the Southwest region with power and un-irradiated water. Depending on which faction the Courier chooses to side with, the Courier will either help conqueror the dam, defend it, connect its systems to a network so it can be controlled, or destroy the dam for good to bring an end to the war over it.

The Story of Fallout 4 As We Know It So Far

From what has been revealed, Fallout 4 will mainly be set in Boston, Massachusetts and parts of New England. The game will focus on a character who takes shelter in Vault 111 with their family just as the Great War is beginning only to mysteriously awaken 200 years later unaged as the vault's sole survivor. From what we know, the game takes places during the same time as Fallout 3, and based on information from the Replicated Man side-quest in that game, a community called the Commonwealth is located in that area as well.

What's Coming?

There are certainly a lot of new story angles that Fallout 4 could take. After all, Fallout has always been a series that has used the lore of its previous games to flesh out its narrative. But what we've seen only brings up more questions. Based on what we know about the Replicated Man side-quest in Fallout 3, there exists a mysterious organization in the Commonwealth called the Institute, which possesses advanced technology, such as the ability to produce androids. So will we be seeing people apart of this organization or maybe even androids in Fallout 4? Also, despite the pre-Great War gameplay footage being of its protagonist running to the Vault, will the game feature more segments from that time period? The list of questions goes on and on. Regardless, we can't wait to see what happens when the game finally releases this coming November.

03 Jul 09:50

Politician against violent games pleads guilty in gun-running case

by Daniel Cooper
Oh, the irony. Disgraced former senator Leland Yee has pleaded guilty to charges of taking bribes in exchange for votes, racketeering and promising to smuggle guns into the US from the Philippines. Of course, like so many beautiful twists of fate, Ye...
03 Jul 13:49

R U N W I T H T H E G O L D E N W O L F | Lil snippet from our latest spot for Wawa!...

by antbaena
03 Jul 01:48

"What I would propose then, is that we begin the process of dismantling and replacing those..."

“What I would propose then, is that we begin the process of dismantling and replacing those Confederate memorials with memorials to the reality of slavery. That we replace statues celebrating confederate soldiers and generals with statues celebrating union soldiers and generals, and that, at long last, we construct a national memorial that confronts the reality of slavery, so that we can confront our national shame squarely, and be called to account for it. Indeed, I’d suggest a national slavery museum, much like the National Holocaust Museum, where Americans can confront the history of slavery, unvarnished by revisionist, pro-confederate propaganda, and recognize the genuine evil that the South fought on behalf of, and that remains unacknowledged to this day. It would be my hope that, within my lifetime, someone wearing a Confederate flag would be looked on with the same kind of disgust that we would currently reserve for someone wearing a swastika.”


Slavery, Civil War Memorials, and Confederate Flags (via azspot)

co-signed. that this doesn’t already exist demonstrates the depth to which we are incapable of acknowledging slavery as a savage wrong that we must own and address. a slavery museum is a no-brainer and should exist.

on a separate note, if you have not been to the birmingham museum of civil rights, you’d best get on that. it’s a fantastic museum and worth any amount of sidetrip you may need to do if you’re ever remotely in the area.

02 Jul 19:58


03 Jul 14:00

Of Gardens and Graves by Suvir Kaul

by Manash Bhattacharjee

When you read the poetry of Najwan Darwish, the young Palestinian poet, who is no relation of Mahmud Darwish, you realise the disconnections are even starker. Mahmud spelt out the stakes, asserting Palestinian identity firmly in the soil, the olive gardens, the scent of jasmines, the welcoming and proud Arab heart, the bewildered victim of an occupation, seeking reconciliation against barbwires, against tanks and gunshots, against history. Najwan’s poetry, like his grief, is more irreconcilable, because the thin hopes which Mahmud left behind have been bulldozed and gunned down further. The difference between Mahmud and Najwan, you realise, is ultimately a difference in the escalation of violence. Too much violence has ripped the soul of Palestinian poetry. The difference is summed up by Najwan, most brilliantly in these lines which tell of a larger climate of horror we are living in:

In the 1930s

it occurred to the Nazis

to put their victims in gas chambers

Today’s executioners are more professional

They put the gas chambers

in their victims

In the light of this change that has taken place in the Palestinian situation and its reflection in the poetry, I read the poetry in Suvir Kaul’s Of Gardens and Graves, endearingly published by ‘Three Essays Collective’. In this review, I shall concentrate, only on the exceptional poems in the book, which are translations of poems mostly from the Kashmiri by Suvir. I shall leave alone the essays by the author, which trace the literary, political and historical phases of Kashmir’s predicaments. It is also beyond the scope of this review to engage with Javed Dar’s chilling photo essay, showing people of a landscape at once outraged and disconsolate, facing the territorialising beastliness of military occupation. To address all the genres would need different approaches that would split the thematic coherence of the review. 

The poems chosen in this collection, a lot of them ghazals, reverberate with the passing away of another era that I associate with Agha Shahid Ali and his poetry. That era did not end long ago, for Shahid died in 2001, but since then a spate of violence, like in the case of Palestine, has unleashed inconsolable wounds into the Kashmiri landscape, psyche and life. For India, Kashmir has been reduced to a territory to defend, if necessary against its people. The shape drawn by the coloniser’s pencil is dearer to the postcolonial nation than the breath, song and hands of the people who inhabit a place they call paradise.

The intentions of the Kashmiri voice are laid down in these lines of a ghazal by Ghulam Nabi Tak ‘Naazir’:

That which could not be told, tell now

Keep, keep writing the value of speech

The urgency is twofold: That which was perhaps not being said so far in hope that the nightmare shall pass, needs to be said now when the nightmare has worsened. That which was perhaps not said in the past because everything was too present, too near at hand, too palpable a bruise to immediately reflect upon, needs to finally be spoken aloud, put on paper. The time has come for Kashmiris to write the history of their present. It is the only way tongues can utter their freedom against the jaws of occupation.

So the poet, Arshad Mushtaq writes, when time went out of joint in Kashmir’s summer of 2010, on the painful images that prompted him to pick up stones:

When they left Lal Ded naked

On the banks of the Rambiar,

When they killed Yusuf before Zooni’s eyes

That’s when I threw stones!

It was the Mughal emperor Akbar who deposed and exiled Habba Khatoon, or Zooni’s husband, and Kashmir’s ruler, Yusuf, to Bihar where he eventually died. Shahid had written in ‘A Prologue’, how it was since Akbar’s act of imperial injustice, Kashmir seized to be free. He also writes how it was Habba Khatoon’s grief – “alive to this day” – that “roused the people into frenzied opposition to Mughal rule”. That was when, Arshad reminds us Kashmiris picked up the stone. Against the history of the technology of violence, a stone sounds like an innocent, idyllic object of resistance.

The reference to the mystic saint-poet, Lal Ded, is symbolic in the poem, Rambiar being the river in Shopian, where two young women, Neelofer Jan and Aasiya Jan, were found murdered in 2009. Zooni and Lal Ded are not mere names of the dead in Kashmir; they are present in the everyday language of poetry, because Kashmir’s history draws its sustenance from their shining examples of rebellion against loss.

In the ghazal by Ghulam Hassan ‘Ghamgeen’, you read further proof of how remote the Kashmiris have grown, even from themselves. Medicines don’t work, when the heart is suffering. No war epic or love poem can be read in times of war and grief. 

If you have something to say, come yourself

Don’t you send a messenger here, matyov, not even one

Easy to put a shoulder to a hill and shift its location

But very difficult to change a mind, not even one

In these two calmly intractable couplets, Ghulam gives you the impression of a people who are deaf to the intentions of middlemen. If the once-endearing neighbour wants to say something, let him show up, or it would be silly of him to imagine anything else will work. You can change the address of a hill, but not the estranged state of its inhabitants.

Mohiuddin ‘Massarat’, in a post-Shahidian atmosphere of grief, is no longer speaking of a grieving I, the lone, exilic and searching self, or the figurative and symbolic self, looking for its other. Grief is no longer addressed as a letter of endearing complaint to the disappeared neighbour, the “you”. All of that is reminiscent of Shahid in ‘Farewell’. Mohiuddin is ironically indifferent, a cynic poet who registers the insignificance of witnessing. The landscape watches too many dead, breathes too much death, and its excess shadow has entered into people’s silences.

Our own become strangers sometimes

Flesh is pulling off nails, what’s to me?

We know how Kashmiris are separated within themselves today, not merely across communities but through their different responses (ideological and political) to the crisis at hand, so relations are tearing apart, and so is the shared language between them. And to all this, the poet, almost sneers in a mock gesture, it’s nothing to him, he isn’t bothered. 

The hopes of reconciliation in Shahid’s poetic imagery, lying however frozen in time, has already passed into a zone of nostalgia, a nostalgia that has been trampled by further acts of state violence and its machinations to keep even a semblance of reconciliation further apart. In such times, the poet Bashir ‘Dada’, surveys the scene with disturbing clarity. With a wrenched heart, he writes about the failed dream of reconciliation, of homecoming, in these unforgettable lines, which evoke sadness and wonder at the same time:

For I cherish the failures of love – and willingly we will fail:

I – become the evening – will search for you everywhere;

as you – become the morning – disappear, o lost one.

Shahid had left addressing the pessimism of rationality, where the disappeared (Hindu) neighbour is not expected to forgive, precisely because there is everything and nothing to forgive after the sudden severance of ties. Bashir puts another nail to this coffin of expectations by admitting, both sides are now willingly ready to fail each other.

I would like to end by adding my thoughts further on this exceptional poem in Urdu on which Suvir pauses and meditates with diligence and care. It is a poem in Urdu by Shabir ‘Azar’, titled ‘Corpse’. The poet sees a corpse in the lake. The lake is a mirror. The face of the corpse is a stranger’s. The corpse disturbs the poet. It stalls thought and casts a shadow on the (poet’s) future. The poet has often thrown stones at the lake’s mirror, trying to scatter the corpse’s image in the water. But the corpse’s face would still raise its head at the edge of the lake and stare back at him. The poet questions his gesture, trying repeatedly in vain to smash the reflection of the dead. For the mirror and the corpse are locked in each other’s reflections. The poet is as doomed and locked in the gaze of this reflection as much as the lake and the corpse’s face. They are excruciatingly tied to each other. In ‘Farewell’, Shahid imagined the temple and the mosque “locked / in each other’s reflections.” In Shabir’s poem, the image is starker and real, it is bodily, with an eerie suggestiveness: The face of the corpse is a stranger’s but the stranger is too close, perhaps, the self’s double. If the origins of the lake in Kashmir began with Shahid’s mythopoetic imagery of how Brahma’s voice of torn water ran down the slopes of Zabarvan and turned Kashmir into a lake, in Shabir those mythical ties have no bearing, replaced by an irremovable image, of a corpse that refuses to disappear. If Kashmir is a lake where its face can seek the reflection of its solitude, that reflection is now haunted by the presence of its double, the image of death. It is, as if, the face is being tempted or invited to consider making peace with the image of the corpse:

if the corpse

is in the lake

the lake too

is in the corpse

suvir-kaulThe poem ends by suggesting disturbing questions to the reader: Does the corpse belong to the past, the present, or also the future? How long will the corpse keep appearing on the lake’s surface to haunt Kashmir’s face of solitude?

The range of poetry in this book is remarkably chosen, arranged and edited by Suvir Kaul. It offers ample evidence of Kashmir’s poetic scene, somber, lyrical, and often numbing, with an acute sense of history and place. The poets, many of them deeply invested in the ghazal form, are remarkably thoughtful and they offer critical insights into Kashmir’s desperate situation. It won’t be an exaggeration to persuade readers to buy and read this book just by the strength of the poetry alone. Javed Dar’s photographs and Suvir’s essays will surely open up different horizons of engagement regarding what’s gone terribly wrong in Kashmir. Our future is intertwined with the future of this martyred place. 

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02 Jul 20:01

I cannot believe how cute this little bee is, or how full her...

I cannot believe how cute this little bee is, or how full her pollen baskets are! That large yellow glob on her right side is a package of pollen that she’ll bring back to the hive.

Photo by brillianbotany.