Shared posts

27 Feb 22:20

Professional Cats Pg 9 – Personal Trainer Cat

by Sarah Sobole


I definitely wanna go to that gym.

As usual, I’ve gotta remind you to check out my shop and Patreon page! February’s Patreon comic is a Doctor Cat mini, and you still have a couple days to sign up for it!

28 Feb 04:29

Eddie Redmayne as transgender pioneer Lili Elbe in 'The Danish Girl'(x-post /r/movies)


hell yeah Lili Elbe

26 Feb 13:09

Don’t look now but we’ve just been invaded by “Transsexuals From Space”!!

by Kelli Busey
Transexuals From Space  post 2

Is this very problematic image funny? Might be.

Are we ready for a campy spoof about us directed by one of us? It’s proven to be a challenge for producer and director Brina who contacted Planet Transgender saying she’s been ‘flummoxed’ by transmedia who have proven unwilling to publish about her movie. But in all fairness that reluctance isn’t without reason.

Transexuals From Space  post


Transsexuals from space too “unnatural” for insurers?

One insurance underwriter refused coverage for filming saying that there would have to be medical personnel at every showing because of the films “unnatural horror’. They told Brina in a letter Transsexuals From Space would “certainly cause people to be violently ill, faint and be traumatized’.
They then mention a few ghastly bloody horror films which they previously underwrote make a point of calling those movies ‘tastefully chilling’.

Yeah, stay classy “” Sounds like the making of a cult movie to me.

Well, the screenshot featuring men in bras troubled me but its been a couple of years since the SNL Estro Max skit.

So are we as a community in a place where we can find humor in our struggle?

What the hell, there’s no knowing without asking so here go’s…

Plot summary “Transsexuals troublemakers from planet Transmotivia are traveling through space; being pushy and pugnacious to everyone they meet. When they reach Earth, they get more than they bargained for.”

Brina said, “The film was written to attract a cult appeal as well as to teach about Trans people.
Our scientist develops a formula (estrogen) that we sprinkle on underwear that turns you Trans.
At the theater, men wear bras OUTSIDE their shirts and women wear Boxers OUTSIDE their slacks. All comedic and we feature Trans, gays, GGs, kids and straights in our film.”

25 Feb 13:56

Study shows long-term hormone treatment (HRT) for transgender people is safe

by Kelli Busey

Hormones post

Years ago when many of use began HRT we didn’t know what the long term effects might have been. Many of us were faced with an ignorant and biased medical profession, who also didn’t know.

Many of those doctors knew how difficult it was to find anyone who would prescribe HRT. These predatory doctors would charge outrageous office fees leaving many of us with no option but to self-medicate.

Not to mention the ‘gatekeeper’ therapist who would lead on clients for months, even years, with a vague notion that someday they might fit neatly into their concept of man or woman to deserve the ‘HRT letter’ to present to a prescribing doctor, if one could be found.
All the while those therapists would rake in the dough from hopeful cash-strapped transgender victims.

I hope that you haven’t experienced any combination of these unscrupulous providers during your trip down our road less taken, but if you have…..

All that is changing now. We are educating the medical profession and ending our victimization by greedy immoral therapists.

A groundbreaking study titled “Hormone therapy in transgender adults is safe with provider supervision; A review of hormone therapy sequelae for transgender individuals” will help.

From the study:

Credit: A study by the Weinand JD, Safer JD, Hormone therapy in transgender adults is safe with
provider supervision; A review of hormone therapy sequelae for transgender individuals. The Accepted manuscript will appear in the Journal of Clinical & Translational Endocrinology (2015).

•We review the relative safety of hormone treatment for transgender individuals.
•Estrogen treatment for transgender women may increase risk of thrombosis.
•Androgen treatment for transgender men may increase risk of polycythemia.
•Hormone therapy has not been shown to increase transgender individuals’ cancer risk.

Current literature suggests HT is safe when followed carefully for certain risks. The greatest health concern for HT in transgender women is venous thromboembolism. HT among transgender men appears to cause polycythemia. Both groups experienced elevated fasting glucose. There is no increase in cancer prevalence or mortality due to transgender HT.

Although current data support the safety of transgender HT with physician supervision, larger, long-term studies are needed in transgender medicine.


25 Feb 16:58


by Priscila Diniz

i need that bunny-eared veil in my life

25 Feb 04:01

A Bloody Video Game Ode on a Grecian Urn

by Allison Meier

via Sophianotloren

this is like 80% of my interests in one game, i really hope it's available on linux.

A temple in collapse in 'Apotheon,' a video game influenced by Greek vases (all screenshots by the author for Hyperallergic)

A temple in collapse in ‘Apotheon,’ a video game influenced by Greek vases (all screenshots by the author for Hyperallergic)

Ancient Greek pottery was as much about its stories as its forms. Cavorting satyrs, wrathful deities, battling athletes, and mortal warriors are frozen in this mythology of clay. Apotheon brings that classical world to life as a full-length animated video game.

Scene from 'Apotheon' (GIF by the author via YouTube)

Scene from ‘Apotheon’ (GIF by the author via YouTube)

Released through Steam by Alientrap this month for PC and PS4, Apotheon is a gorgeous interpretation of the black-figure Greek pottery style of the 6th to 4th centuries BCE. As the intrepid Nikandros, you’re on a one-man quest against Zeus, who has left humanity to rot. Teaming up with Hera, who is unhappy as usual with Zeus’s philandering, you battle your way through the Olympians, from Apollo with his dance party to Poseidon in a wrathful sea. Mostly it’s a standard progression in each level from small tasks to killing a “boss” with whatever xiphos or doru you have handy. In the most beautiful sequence, and the best to grasp the twists of fate entwined in Greek mythology, you first chase Artemis disguised as a deer through a forest, then later have to flee her bow when transformed into prey yourself.

Boat on an Attic black-figure cup (520 BC) (via Cabinet des Médailles)

Boat on an Attic black-figure cup (520 BCE) (via Cabinet des Médailles)

On a Greek ship

On a Greek ship in ‘Apotheon’

I played Apotheon on my MacBook Air (not the intended platform) and the gameplay was a bit cumbersome, combining a mix of defense and weaponry that takes some getting used to. If you play without a console, you have to juggle between a mouse for targeting and keyboard shortcuts for movement and fighting. However, I was in it for the visuals, curious after discovering the Greek vase animations of Steve K. Simons last year to see how they would be incorporated into a game. Most of the play of Apotheon is basically kill-kill-kill, and the endless slaughter can be gleefully gruesome, with heads flying and animated blood sometimes spilling down the stairs. This is ancient Greece, after all, so propriety is not to be expected. More variation in gameplay would have been an exciting way to break up the action, though. Perhaps some chariot competitions, bacchanalian drinking challenges, foot races, or other spectacles depicted on the historic vases might have made for a welcome break from the bloodshed.

Nevertheless, the game is strikingly vivid from start to finish. There’s an impressive depth to the hues of ochre, green, and gold through which Nikandros plunges as you encounter poor Daphne transformed into a laurel tree in Apollo’s garden, or fall beneath the giant club of the cyclops Brontes. It’s not an educational game on classical art by any means, but it is notable for successfully embracing an ancient aesthetic and reinterpreting it centuries later in an entirely modern medium.

Black-figure Greek vase (via Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon)

Black-figure Greek vase (via Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon)

Illuminating the dark in 'Apotheon'

Illuminating the dark in ‘Apotheon’

A temple in 'Apotheon'

A temple in ‘Apotheon’

Encountering a cyclops

Encountering a cyclops in ‘Apotheon’

Teaming up with Hera against Zeus, with a preview of Artemis

Teaming up with Hera against Zeus, with a preview of Artemis in ‘Apotheon’

Daphne transformed into a laurel tree

Daphne transformed into a laurel tree in ‘Apotheon’

Apotheon is available on Steam for PC and PS4.

25 Feb 02:18

CLICK HERE to support Help Ecosexual Film 'Holy MILF' make the screen!


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24 Feb 10:38

dadalaimama:poetic:Your grandma keeps it real.Amen



Your grandma keeps it real.


24 Feb 11:45

sixpenceee:The Art of Omar Rayyan (Website)


The Art of Omar Rayyan (Website)

22 Feb 16:13

unless your site is about one thing, it’s about everything


"But one way or another, you could take 90% of what each of these sites publish and stick it on any other, and nobody would ever know the difference."
amen forever and ever

I have, for same reason, spent a couple hours on Fusion tonight. (.net, teehee.) And, you know, as much as I might want to make light of Felix Salmon’s cool guy Monty Burns routine, the site itself is… fine. It’s fine! I mean, it’s whatever. Fine is fine.

But it just isn’t about anything in the way that the site’s founders and editorial people clearly want it to be. I like Alexis Madrigal a lot. But you can write a manifesto, and you can have some sort of goofy TV channel sidepiece going on, and you’re still another site publishing people writing about news and politics and culture and sometimes sports. And in that, you’re joining every other website that publishes about news and politics and culture and sometimes sports.

The mix changes; Grantland is some more sports and a little less news and whatever intern is currently writing the “Bill Simmons” column. Slate is a little less sports and a little more politics and Troy Patterson endlessly writing the word “gentleman” into his Mead notebook in cursive while admiring his new glasses in the mirror. New York is a little of everything with some soothing noises to remind New Yorkers that they are very very important. The revamped New York Times Magazine is a lot of the same edited by people who think you can get more sexy Millenials to your website by adjusting the kerning on your font. The Atlantic is a lot of the same plus Ta-Nehisi Coates plus Coates’s creepshow commenters asking him to forgive their sins. Business Insider is a lot of the same only written for the illiterate. The New New Republic is the same stuff written by every non-white male Gabriel Snyder could find to exorcise the vengeful presence of Marty Peretz’s farting ghost, and thank god for that, plus Jeet Heer with an essay made up of 800 numbered tweets. Buzzfeed is a lot of the same only if life was a Law & Order episode about the Internet from 1998. Salon is the same stuff but every single piece is headlined “Ten Things You Won’t Believe Rethuglicans Said on Fox News” regardless of content. Vox is a lot of the same stuff plus a new-fangled invention called the “card stack,” an innovative approach which allows webpages to “link” to other pages. The Awl is a lot of the same stuff brought to you by the emotion sadness. Gawker is a lot of the same stuff, cleverly hidden across 1,200 sub-blogs along with several thousand words of instructions for how to read the site that are somehow still an inadequate guide. Vice is a lot of the same stuff written by that guy you knew in high school who told you he did cocaine but seemed to only ever have that fake marijuana called Wizard Smoke you could buy at a gas station. Five Thirty Eight, I’m told, exists, although whenever I try to open it my browser seems to show me a strange lacuna into which the idea of a website was, once, meant to congeal. But one way or another,  you could take 90% of what each of these sites publish and stick it on any other, and nobody would ever know the difference.

I’m sure some people will think I’m talking poop and saying these sites aren’t good. That is not the case. I’m saying that they are all as good or as bad as whatever piece I am reading at the moment. Writers are good or bad, and much more, writing is good or bad. But I no longer know what a website means as an identity, unless that identity is a specific subject. I know what Guns and Ammo is. I know what Road and Track is. (I know what Redtube is.) I don’t know what Fusion is. I’m not saying there’s no good work. There’s lots! I’m spoiled, we’re all spoiled, people do good work. All of these places regularly publish stuff that I admire, that I enjoy, that I think is good. (OK not Business Insider.) But that’s the only designation that matters: good. The rest is a matter of logistics and who gets that week’s John Oliver video traffic.

For a website, or a publication, or a magazine, or a natively advertising content vertical, there is no such thing as a sensibility. Such a thing does not exist. I get the desire to have one. For in as much as Salmon and Madrigal might seem like utter opposites from Alex Balk, with his morose virtuosity on the subject of a dead dream, in this sense they are the same: the want their sites, their publications, their shops to matter. And it just doesn’t seem like it matters. If you want to publish talent your identity has to be as insubstantial as the next good pitch. Getting paid? That matters. Rent matters. But not much else.

Which is my long-winded and less-perceptive way of looking at all the stuff John Herrman has been writing about and asking, if Facebook and Snapchat want to peddle your words themselves, what’s the difference? Unless, of course, the point is that Facebook and Snapchat get to keep that rent money for themselves.

Update: Again… I’m just teasing. Just a  little bit. These places run good writing. I’m not disputing that. I’m just saying that they are always launched with fanfare about what makes them different, but I’m not sure that you can ever maintain that kind of vision as an actually-existing publisher unless your site has a very specific, subject matter-based focus. When you’ve got to find enough writing to run, and you’ve received some great pitch that might not reflect your mission statement, what are you gonna choose? The abstraction of sensibility or the reality of good writing?

21 Feb 00:53

What Do Young Children Learn From Pets?

Is a better understanding of biology something children can learn from dogs and cats?

Young children's interactions with pets are mostly social

Young children are very interested in animals. One study even found children aged 11 – 40 months would prefer to look at an animal behind a glass screen (even if the animal is fast asleep) rather than play with a toy (LoBue et al 2013). Now researchers are asking whether this interest in animals means that children with a cat or dog know more about biology than those without.
The study, by Megan Geerdts (University of North Carolina at Greensboro) et al, was in two parts. First of all, the scientists needed to know how preschool children actually interact with cats and dogs. Although this is observed by parents every day, it seems it hasn’t been recorded in enough detail for science. So the researchers observed 24 preschool children in a free-play session with their pet, and asked their parents to complete a questionnaire about their child’s daily experiences with the animal. Then, in the second part, they tested 3 – 5 year old children with and without a pet on their knowledge of biological concepts.
First of all, the children’s interactions with pets were mostly social. They were not really involved in taking care of the animals, which is not surprising given their age. A study of older children (age 7 – 13 years old) by Muldoon et al found they also mostly had social interactions with their pets, and left the care-taking to their parents. 

Children typically interacted in reciprocal ways that would elicit a response from the animal, such as holding out a hand to be sniffed, trying to engage in play or giving the pet a command. The questionnaires completed by parents confirmed that interactions were social, and children were not involved in care-taking behaviour. They interacted with cats and dogs in the same way, but girls interacted more than boys.

A happy young girl cuddles her black cat
So, if a young child’s experiences of spending time with a pet are of being sociable with it, would you expect them to learn much about biology from this? It’s not like they are dealing with the biological end of things – feeding, grooming, cleaning, making sure the animal has peed and pooped. And yet they did show a better understanding of biological concepts.

The way this was tested is pretty neat. If you were to ask something like “People have a heart. Does your cat have a heart?” you couldn’t rule out the possibility that some children might have learned about hearts at their pre-school or playgroup and have existing prior knowledge. So the researchers used a made-up word that none of the children would have come across before.

96 children aged 2 - 6 took part in the second study. One group were told, “People have andro inside them. Andro is round and green and looks like this!” The child and experimenter drew a picture of andro together. Then, the child was asked whether various animals, plants and inanimate objects also had andro inside. Another group did the same thing, but instead of being told that people have andro, they were told that dogs have andro.

Then the children were asked questions about their own cat or dog (if they had one) and the experimenter’s cat or dog (if they didn’t). The questions were about whether or not the cat or dog had various psychological and physical properties, including emotions, sleep, food, and parents.

A control group of adults did the same study, but they skipped drawing a picture of andro. Adults were equally likely to relate properties from humans to dogs as vice versa (i.e. if a dog has andro, so does a human). 

Half of the children had a cat or dog, and just like in the first study, their parents said their interactions were mostly social. Amongst 3 year old and 5 year olds without pets, they were more likely to relate properties from humans to dogs, rather than vice versa. If 5 year olds had pets, they were more likely to relate properties from dogs to humans than their peers without pets.

Five year olds and adults were more likely to say properties applied to other living things rather than to plants and inanimate objects. Three year olds tended to apply things equally to plants and inanimate objects. Having a pet made no difference to these results.

But in both age groups, if a child had a pet, they were more likely to say animals had biological properties compared to children that don’t have a pet. This effect was not found for psychological properties.

This study shows that children who have social experience with pets are less likely to be anthropocentric in their reasoning. The scientists say, “our findings help to support the hypothesis that treating animals as social creatures may help children to analogically understand animals as more similar to humans in other ways, including biologically.”

What do you think children learn from their pets?


LoBue, V., Bloom Pickard, M., Sherman, K., Axford, C., & DeLoache, J. (2013). Young children's interest in live animals British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 31 (1), 57-69 DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-835X.2012.02078.x
Muldoon, J., Williams, J., & Lawrence, A. (2014). 'Mum cleaned it and I just played with it': Children's perceptions of their roles and responsibilities in the care of family pets Childhood DOI: 10.1177/0907568214524457
Geerdts, M., Van de Walle, G., & LoBue, V. (2015). Daily animal exposure and children’s biological concepts Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 130, 132-146 DOI: 10.1016/j.jecp.2014.10.001
Photos: elista (top) / Patricia Marks / both

20 Feb 19:13

The BitterSweet Life on Twitter


brb feeding crows

Interviewed a little girl this morning that feeds crows and they bring her gifts in return. Here's her collection.

20 Feb 17:35

Happy Birthday Kurt


it seems so long ago, nancy

Happy Birthday Kurt

18 Feb 13:27

“The idea of two sexes is simplistic. Biologists now think there is a wider spectrum than that.”

by PZ Myers

via Luke.stirling

That quote is from a good article in Nature on how sex is non-binary — my only quibble would be with that “now”. You’d have to define “now” as a window of time that encompasses the entirety of my training and work in developmental biology, and I’m getting to be kind of an old guy. Differences in sex development (DSDs) are common knowledge, and rather routine — and coincidentally, I’m giving an exam on sex chromosome anomalies today.

The article works through a lot of basic concepts: chimeric sex, genetic vs. cellular vs. organismal sex, and the development of sexual characters. I was so happy that they did not trigger one of my pet peeves, the claim that we all start out as female — we don’t, we start out sexually indifferent.

That the two sexes are physically different is obvious, but at the start of life, it is not. Five weeks into development, a human embryo has the potential to form both male and female anatomy. Next to the developing kidneys, two bulges known as the gonadal ridges emerge alongside two pairs of ducts, one of which can form the uterus and Fallopian tubes, and the other the male internal genital plumbing: the epididymes, vas deferentia and seminal vesicles. At six weeks, the gonad switches on the developmental pathway to become an ovary or a testis. If a testis develops, it secretes testosterone, which supports the development of the male ducts. It also makes other hormones that force the presumptive uterus and Fallopian tubes to shrink away. If the gonad becomes an ovary, it makes oestrogen, and the lack of testosterone causes the male plumbing to wither. The sex hormones also dictate the development of the external genitalia, and they come into play once more at puberty, triggering the development of secondary sexual characteristics such as breasts or facial hair.

That’s exactly right.

The major point of the article is something a lot of people deny: that sex is complicated, there’s more than two states of human existence, and most importantly, that biology verifies the existence of a continuum of sexual differentiation. Drag this article out next time someone tries to argue that biology supports their simplistic version of a discrete sexual dichotomy.

Yet if biologists continue to show that sex is a spectrum, then society and state will have to grapple with the consequences, and work out where and how to draw the line. Many transgender and intersex activists dream of a world where a person’s sex or gender is irrelevant. Although some governments are moving in this direction, Greenberg is pessimistic about the prospects of realizing this dream — in the United States, at least. “I think to get rid of gender markers altogether or to allow a third, indeterminate marker, is going to be difficult.”

So if the law requires that a person is male or female, should that sex be assigned by anatomy, hormones, cells or chromosomes, and what should be done if they clash? “My feeling is that since there is not one biological parameter that takes over every other parameter, at the end of the day, gender identity seems to be the most reasonable parameter,” says Vilain. In other words, if you want to know whether someone is male or female, it may be best just to ask.

I’ll also add that it’s not just biology that supports the idea that sex is a spectrum. It’s also the case of psychology and sociology — any science that has to address sex differences.

18 Feb 17:14

New map shows America's quietest places

New map shows America's quietest places

NPS Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA—Craving some silence? Head (quietly) toward the blue regions on the map above. Based on 1.5 million hours of acoustical monitoring from places as remote as Dinosaur National Monument in Utah and as urban as New York City, scientists have created a map of noise levels across the country on an average summer day. After feeding acoustic data into a computer algorithm, the researchers modeled sound levels across the country including variables such as air and street traffic. Deep blue regions, such as Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, have background noise levels lower than 20 decibels—a silence likely as deep as before European colonization, researchers say. That's orders of magnitude quieter than most cities, where noise levels average 50 to 60 decibels, scientists reported here today at the annual meeting of AAAS (which publishes Science). The National Park Service is using the map to identify places where humanmade noise is affecting wildlife—animals such bats and owls, whose ears are up to 20 decibels more sensitive than human ears, for example, are affected by humanmade noise because it drowns out the faint rustles of insects and rodents they need to hunt, they say.

Check out our full coverage of the AAAS annual meeting.

What message would you send into space? Tell us on Twitter and Vine with #msgtospace!

18 Feb 14:44

CSA Is Rooted in Black History

We Cannot Grow Without Our Roots

The introduction of the Community Supported Agriculture concept - which has resulted in over 12,000 wildly popular CSA farms across the country today - is most often credited to European or Japanese models that were first adopted by farms in the U.S. in 1986. But, as with many dynamics of history, there is an overlooked story that tells us the credit belongs to someone else.

As early as the 1960s and 1970s, deep in the heart of Alabama, the concept of community supported agriculture was developing as the brainchild of a pioneer of sustainable agriculture who was raised on his family's farm and was passionately advocating for what he called "smaller and smarter" farming.

Booker T Whatley

Booker T. Whatley, born in 1915 in Anniston, Alabama, always knew his passion was in agriculture. Growing up on the farm as the oldest of twelve, he was raised during a time when black farmers were nearly one million strong. Whatley watched first hand as the number of black farms began to decline and family farms struggled to compete with the industrialization of agriculture. He decided to study agriculture at Alabama A&M University and, after serving in the Korean War where he was assigned to manage a 55-acre hydroponic farm providing food to the troops, he returned to get his doctorate in horticulture and began his career as an agricultural professor at Tuskegee University.  Dr. Whatley's legacy was his advocacy for regenerative farming, a sustainable and organic farming method that focuses on regenerating soil and maximizing biodiversity, and is a method that can be traced back to another Tuskegee legend, Dr. George Washington Carver. But Dr. Whatley also strongly believed in regenerating farmer livelihoods through direct marketing, and he began advocating for Pick Your Own farms and what he called Clientele Membership Clubs.

“...The clientele membership club is the lifeblood of the [farm]. It enables the farmer to plan production, anticipate demand, and, of course, have a guaranteed market. The farmer has to seek out people—city folks, mostly—to be members of the club. The annual membership fee, $25 per household, gives each of those families the privilege of coming to the farm and harvesting produce at approximately 60 percent of the supermarket of these 25-acre farms should be able to support 1,000 member families, or around 5,000 people…[The farm] should be located within 40 miles of some metropolitan center; that's pretty much a prerequisite for setting up one of these farms…”

This description of Dr. Whatley’s innovative marketing concept actually came from a 1982 interview he did with this very magazine, MOTHER EARTH NEWS. That was four years before what many believe to be the start of the CSA concept. And Dr. Whatley had long been spreading this idea along with his other philosophies. He’d become a well-known agricultural expert, publishing his monthly Small Farm Technical Newsletter that reached over 20,000 subscribers across the U.S. and in 25 foreign countries. Many of his ideas appeared right here in MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Organic Gardening magazine and The New Farm magazine. He also traveled throughout the .S. and internationally to give training seminars and his overarching message was that you could make $100,000 on 25 acres using regenerative farming techniques and following his direct-marketing plans.

He put his plans into a simple guideline that he called “The Whatley Diversified Plan for Small Farms.” His philosophies were also summarized in a to-the-point bullet list known as "The Guru's 10 Commandments." Reading through a few of them, it is clear that Dr. Whatley was a man ahead of his time and quite funny too:

"Thy Small Farm Shalt:

I. Provide year-round, daily cash flow.
II. Be a pick-your-own operation.
II. Have a guaranteed market with a Clientele Membership Club.
IV. (And my personal favorite) Shun middlemen and middlewomen like the plague, for they are a curse upon thee! ...."

Dr. Whatley’s belief in the successful small farm was very innovative for his time, yet it’s now the focus of the good food movement today. His brilliant farming philosophies live on in today’s popular trends of sustainable agriculture and CSA farms, but few realize they have roots in black history. His book, Booker T. Whatley’s Handbook on How to Make $100,000 Farming 25 Acres, isn’t found on the shelves alongside Elliot Coleman, Joel Salatin or J.M. Fortier. And his ground-breaking idea for the Clientele Membership Club, that has given new life to modern agriculture as today’s CSA, is almost never credited.

Dr Bandele


Photo (Top) Dr. Owusu Bandele, Louisiana’s first Black farmer to become certified organic.
Photos (Middle and Bottom) Sará Reynolds-Green and Bill Green on Marshview Community Organic Farm, St. Helena Island’s only CSA farm.

In my work of amplifying stories of farmers of color, I have come across some amazing organizations working to unearth and preserve these kinds of stories. Organizations like the Black Land Project who help to clarify and give voice to agrarian history in communities of color, who also wrote about Dr. Whatley’s invention of CSAs in a 2013 Grist article. Agricultural professors such as Dr. Owusu Bandele, who studied under Dr. Whatley at Tuskegee and is featured in my book alongside the organization he co-founded: the Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network, continue to spread smart, sustainable farming philosophies like those of Dr. Whatley and other black agricultural leaders. And this work is regenerating the black farming community, farmers like Sará Reynolds-Green and her husband Bill Green of Marshview Community Organic Farm, a SAAFON member farm and the only CSA farm on St. Helena Island in South Carolina.

Recognizing these agricultural stories in the black community isn’t just about honoring black history. It’s about recognizing the diverse roots and voices of today’s food movement, and realizing that the teachers we seek in this movement are right within our own communities. 

Photo of Booker Whatley taken by MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff.

To read all of Natasha's posts, click here.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.

17 Feb 21:16

All You Need To Know About Race In America Happened To Me In 90 Seconds Today | VSB

It was 10:00am.

The Wife Person surprised me with tickets to the Cavs/Heat game yesterday, so we made the two hour drive to Cleveland, stayed overnight, and drove back early this morning. I took her directly to work, and drove back home.

“Home” for us is an old high school building that had been closed for a couple decades until it was purchased and redeveloped into lofts a few years ago. It’s located in one of Pittsburgh’s most awkward areas; a stretch of relatively underdeveloped area called “Uptown” that sits between downtown, Oakland (where the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University are located), the Hill District (Pittsburgh’s most storied traditionally Black neighborhood), and the South Side. The Consol Energy Center (home to the Pittsburgh Penguins) and Duquesne University are a mile or so down the street. The building itself sits on a block surrounded by boarded up properties. It’s also surrounded by gates; a key fob and a sensor are needed to get into the parking lot and the glass doors in the lobby.

At first glance, the layers of building security seem practical. The area does seem sketchy. But the space surrounding the building is so underdeveloped that the only consistent traffic besides the people living in the building are cars driving past it.

Anyway, it was 10:00am. I drove up to the gate, pressed the button on the key fob that opens it, and drove into the parking lot. As I entered the lot, I noticed a person on foot following me in. They had obviously been waiting by the gate for someone to let them in. I parked and got out of the car…and now this person — a 20-something White woman — was walking in my direction. She was wearing black sweats, a parka, and some black sneakers. She smiled.

Her: “Hey, I left my phone in my boyfriend’s apartment. Would you mind letting me in?”

Me: “Sure. No problem.

She waited as I grabbed the bags out of my trunk. We walked into the building together, making small talk about the cold. After we made it inside, she said “Thanks again” and presumably went to her boyfriend’s place. I walked down the hall to my place.

The entire situation took less than 90 seconds. But there were so many levels of racial, cultural, and even sexual context packed into that minute and a half that, instead of continuing to write in paragraphs, I’m just going to list them.

1. If she were me and I were her, I could not have done what she did. Actually, let me rephrase that. I could have done it. I could have stood by a gate surrounding a building in a somewhat sketchy neighborhood, waited for a car to drive up, followed that car — a car driven by a young White woman — into the parking lot, and then approached the woman as she got out of her car. But it would not have been smart for me to do it.

2. As I just stated, unless it was a dire emergency, I would not have done what she did. Which makes me think about all the things we (Black people, Black men specifically) choose not to do because we’re aware of how it might be perceived.

3. It also made me think of perhaps the most underrated and pervasive part of White privilege: freedom. Being a cute, 20-something White girl allows her a freedom from being considered a physical threat. Which gives you the freedom to do certain things that, if other people did them, might be considered threatening.

4. We (Black people) are also not immune to certain racially-tinged feelings about other Black people. As I write this, I’m asking myself if I would have reacted differently if, instead of some 20-something White woman I’d never seen before following and approaching me, it was a 20-something Black man dressed the same way (black sweats, a parka, and black sneakers) and needing to get into his girlfriend’s place. I want to say no. But, I’m not sure.

5. As we entered the building together, I made sure to keep a safe distance from her. No accidental contact that could be misconstrued as inappropriate, no joking/flirting, and no opening for her to joke/flirt with me. Now, there are some very obvious reasons for this behavior. I have a wife, I don’t know this woman, and the only thing I know about this woman is that she has a boyfriend.

But also…she’s a White woman and I’m a Black man. Since it’s late morning, there’s no one else in the lobby, and probably not that many people in the entire building. The safe distance is due to me knowing that if anything were to happen — accidental contact misconstrued as inappropriate, an innocent joke or comment or even look that made her feel threatened, etc — and it was her word against mine, I’d lose. Which is fucking crazy. She’s the one who approached and followed me. She’s the one who could be making up some story about some pretend boyfriend. And I’m the one who actually lives there. But I’d still be considered more of a threat to her safety than she is to mine.

Welcome to America.

17 Feb 17:45

The Conqueror Worm

[Image: Photo by & courtesy of Trackrunners, used with permission].

A group of friends, their faces rigorously hidden from public view, find a huge borehole leading down into some tunnels beneath the city.

Not content to just lie there, straining to see more than 260 feet into the deep and merely wondering what might be down there, they do what any enterprising team of explorers would do.

They don mountaineering gear and descend into the pit.

[Images: Photos by & courtesy of Trackrunners, used with permission].

It's like scaling Mt. Everest in reverse—"descending black ropes," in their words—swinging ever deeper toward the entrance to the tunnels, their headlamps and cameras at the ready.

Plus, some weird new myths have been circulating around town: that there's a monolithic machine down there, something massive and temporarily abandoned beneath the city. It is "the toughest of all the machines. A dormant juggernaut that lies underground."

They want to find it, to see if the rumors are true—and, who knows, to discover if the machine might still be operational. Imagine what you could do with a discarded tunneling machine seemingly forgotten in the deepest basement of the metropolis. Imagine if you could bring it back to life.

[Image: Photo by & courtesy of Trackrunners, used with permission].

Thus begins the next phase of their subterranean quest to find the so-called "Worm Maiden," this conquering machine-animal lying dormant in its lair somewhere under the streets.

"Hitting our helmets and our backpacks on almost everything we found on the way," we read, they inched forward on foot.

[Image: Photo by & courtesy of Trackrunners, used with permission].

They soon drop their ropes and progress through a series of excavated tunnels and industrial caves, as if puzzling some new route into a pharaoh's tomb—an Egyptology of urban infrastructure with its own secret chambers and traps.

And, incredibly, they actually do it: they actually find the machine, realizing that the rumors were both true and strangely inaccurate.

That is, the machine is even larger and more extraordinary than they'd been led to believe. It is a sprawling and tentacular presence that blocks the tunnel with the dark bulk of its old valves and pipework, like some ancient engine that wanted to hide itself in a cocoon of its own making.

[Image: Photo by & courtesy of Trackrunners, used with permission].

"Walking through the sleeping beauty, through her corridors amongst rust and spiderwebs, she looked much bigger than we could have imagined. She didn’t seem to have an end. Eventually we reached a point where we couldn’t go any further, it was full of pipes and unknown mechanisms but the end was intuited."

The machine was so complex, in other words, that they couldn't find the other end of it, having to negotiate their way through all its internal doors and control panels, even stopping at one point to try to turn the thing on (and failing).

[Image: Photo by & courtesy of Trackrunners, used with permission].

It would be the ultimate joyride—Grand Theft TBM—riding a stolen machine literally through the foundations of the city, carving your own maze through the bedrock.

But a way forward was eventually found, and the Kubrickian monolith of the now-stationary drill head was revealed up ahead like some Mayan sculpture in the darkness. Abandoned for now and just lying there: a machine-ruin rusting away in the underground world it had made for itself. The conqueror worm.

[Image: Photo by & courtesy of Trackrunners, used with permission].

"It was much better than I had imagined," we read. The text is like an archaeological report made possible by climbing gear and GoPros. "A twelve meter diameter of pure love just in front of us, was bestial. I couldn’t stop staring at HER. I could see the strain on her, the hard work she had done. The dirt in every part of the face. Pure beauty. All the space around her was filled by a foot of dirty water. A mixture of sand, dirt, water and oil. This mantle of fluids that covered everything was perfect, the vapors fogged my camera lens but the effect was delightfully dramatic. Go and use a filter to look like this. I can see the new Instagram filter now... TBM vapors effect!"

But that's literally only half the journey. They've mountaineered into the planet, like reverse-Alpinists of the inferno, and they go so far as to discover an artificial lake beneath the city, a brackish reservoir that "shone under the light of our torches," and now they have to get back out, which is not nearly as easy as it had seemed.

There are dozens of other photographs over at Trackrunners, and a much longer version of how everything happened that day; go check it out (and don't miss their other stories, such as the disused station beneath Barcelona).

(Thanks to Charles Bronson for the tip!)

04 Apr 12:00

As Is: 5. Never Travel (With A Bad Feeling)


favorite song from best album

track art

NEVER TRAVEL (With A Bad Feeling)

I've never been home for so long.
Since I came back it's been harder to leave
And it's making me sad.

But I'll send my mother nice things,
'Cos I know that she'll be concerned
And she likes mail.

And you should never travel with a bad feeling, she said.
And you should never travel with a bad feeling inside.
And you should never travel if it doesn't feel right.
And you should never travel with a bad feeling, she said.

Life is only connections.
It took me ages and Gwen
To realise that.

So I won't be scared and I'll hitch-hike
Because ...

15 Feb 02:34

"…You want to play what?" “A toaster.” “….” “Who thinks he’s an elf."

by szasstam
“"…You want to play what?"
“A toaster.”
“Who thinks he’s an elf.””


GM to first time player (via outofcontextdnd)


Sometimes these posts just speak to me, and I have to draw them.

(via noobtheloser)

^^^ This guys been threatening to do OOCDND art for ages.

14 Feb 08:01

Happy Valentines Day

by Dave Rappoccio

i'd watch it.


Happy Valentines Day, dear readers. For those of you poor souls who have been dragged to the stupid softcore porn movie with the boring color palette my candy hearts go out to you. If you do, just pretend the main guy is Gronk and you are watching a weird sequel to A Gronking to Remember.

In case you missed it, here are my 2015 NFL Valentines! 

10 Feb 22:22

the dogfather

by kris


this stays between us *airhorn*


11 Feb 07:38

Test Of Manhood

by jon


There’s that scene from Dune and the other scene from the Flash Gordon movie with the excellent Queen soundtrack and countless other vignettes from science fiction where the hero sticks something into something else, yeah? Sticking things into other things is what makes a boy into a man. Man-style.

Anyway, you get it.


10 Feb 14:28

The Jobs Report

by Dorothy


09 Feb 08:30


08 Feb 19:46


by bukkitofmanynumbers

07 Feb 08:00

Pho Queue


hyuk hyuk

(n.) fuh-kyoo The line, or queue, formed outside of a Vietnamese restaurant in anticipation of its noodle soup, also known as pho

Man #1: Dude, I am not going to stand in this pho queue !
Man #2: Fuck you !
Man #1: No. Dude, I said pho queue...

05 Feb 17:00

Making Höme Improvisåtion, A Game About Building Furniture Without Instructions

by Michael Rougeau
Making Höme Improvisåtion, A Game About Building Furniture Without Instructions

ANIMAL’s feature Game Plan asks game developers to share a bit about their process and some working images from the creation of a recent game. This week, we spoke with Colton Spross and AJ Kolenc of Atlanta studio The Stork Burnt Down about Höme Improvisåtion, a very short game that’s way better than it sounds.

There are some things in life you want to do as infrequently as possible: going to the dentist, looking for a new job, putting your dog to sleep, to name a few. Building Ikea furniture is one of them, but it turns out it makes a pretty great video game.


The fact that something that sucks in real life can be fun in a game isn’t surprising. I do lots of things in virtual space that I wouldn’t want to actually do, like killing people and jumping out of planes and fucking dudes. But unlike sex, skydiving and murder, cobbling together poorly made Swedish furniture is not exciting. And yet here I am, jamming virtual legs into a digital tabletop and loving it. The developers at The Stork Burnt Down have somehow taken a task that’s both arduous and boring and made it into something enjoyable and hilarious. Höme Improvisåtion is, against all odds, fun.

“There have been a few articles that have been saying things like, ‘Ikea should hire these guys!'” the game’s lead programmer, AJ Kolenc, told ANIMAL. “I am in support of that, in case Ikea ever decides to contact us. But so far nothing.”


Höme Improvisåtion was created mainly by three people over just 48 hours during the 2015 Global Game Jam in January. Its developers describe it officially as “The world’s most fun & accurate cooperative furniture assembly experience!” (exclamation theirs, of course).

The game features only three pieces of furniture, which just like in real life fall out of the box in chunks. But in Höme Improvisåtion Ikea’s signature illustrated instruction manuals are missing, and you have to build from memory based on the images that were visible on the front of the boxes before you opened them. The first, a simple table, is very easy to create—just slot the legs into the holes. The second, a standing lamp, is harder, especially if you didn’t look too hard at the picture. This is when most players will realize how wrong things can go. The third, a more complex table, is essentially impossible to get right, the developers confessed.

“I can’t imagine anyone could figure it out,” Kolenc said.


But that’s OK. In fact, it’s amazing. Once all the furniture is assembled, right or wrong — and more likely wrong — you can arrange it around the room while more boxes drop in. That’s when you can start combining different pieces into glorious works of modern art, or horrible Franken-lamp abominations, or something in between. After a while I was dying of laughter, even playing by myself.

It gets chaotic when multiple people join in simultaneously. When I described Höme Improvisåtion to a friend recently, he responded, “Oh, so you help each other build the furniture?” But it’s hard enough to get these right by yourself; you run into all the same problems you would in real life, from believing sincerely that there are parts missing to knowing for certain that some of them don’t actually match up. “No, you definitely don’t help one another,” I replied.


This strange type of obstructive cooperation—where you’re technically working together but really more screwing with one another—is rare in games, and it’s not the only way in which Höme Improvisåtion is unique.

“I built a bed recently from Ikea, and it had pneumatic components, and we accidentally put them on backward, so it was basically a catapult,” said Colton Spross, another of the game’s creators. “We felt pretty good about the concept [of the game]. It was something that we were pretty enthusiastic about making. We hadn’t tried anything like that before, and the scope was achievable…It was a room with furniture in it, and we felt like we could do a really good job of making a polished and fun version of that.”


It’s kind of obvious, but bears confirming: Höme Improvisåtion is not actually associated with Ikea. It’s been framed in media coverage as a game in which you build Ikea furniture, but the developers tried to avoid actually using the word “Ikea” wherever possible so as to avoid potential legal troubles. The pieces are based on real stuff from the Swedish company’s catalogs, but slightly different and with made-up names.

The developers do plan to keep moving forward with the concept, though, because the feedback from anyone who’s played it has been so positive. They’re not sure exactly what form it will ultimately take, but for now they’re adding more content to the free web version, and asking for help naming a new chair on Twitter.


The theme of the game development event during which Höme Improvisåtion was created was “What do we do now?” Spross said that’s what he winds up saying to himself every time he tries to build Ikea furniture in real life, and it was that realization that sparked the idea. They ran with it from there.

“We found in past game jams that it’s best to just do the craziest idea you come up with, because when else are you going to do it?” Spross said. “I’m not opposed to mainstream games. I enjoy them. But they’ve already done it—you know what I mean? Like, how many different combat systems have been designed? If I’m making a game about Ikea furniture, my main competition is myself, you know? Just make something that’s different enough that there’s somewhere to be explored, instead of just trying to make another Zelda.”

Höme Improvisåtion is available for free.

The post Making Höme Improvisåtion, A Game About Building Furniture Without Instructions appeared first on ANIMAL.

02 Feb 16:50

24 Hours Comic – The Gaeneviad

by boulet

via Adam Victor Brandizzi

04 Feb 09:41

Every now and then I get confessions saying how they hate the...

Every now and then I get confessions saying how they hate the stereotype of trans women knowing or dressing feminine since they were young, or did stereotypical girl things when they were a child.

So I’m putting this up.

On the left is me in high school. I was your average high school guy. That is how I normally dressed. My personality is exactly what you’d expect it to be. Guyish(?) and stuff. And growing up, I thought dolls and other girl things were lame (I was all about action figures and junk. Power Rangers was my favorite thing ever back then, and, for people who follow my personal blog, it’s still a thing I obsess over.)

On the right is me as I am now. (the photo is a bit old; god, I miss that apartment.) Now, clothes and fashion and other female stereotypical stuff are some of my favorite things, even though I hate dressing up and would so rather spend the day in a graphic tee, jeans, and sneakers. My personality has changed (for the better; I was a huge fucking asshole in high school.)

When I came out, everyone was surprised, because I did not appear to be even remotely feminine.

Now, I realize this also sort of embraces the stereotype that most trans women are feminine. Realize that this stereotype is also something I hate. Like any gender, there will be some that present masculine, some that present feminine, and some that present androgynous. I just happen to be part of the group of females that enjoys presenting feminine (when I don’t feel dysphoric, anyway.)

So, basically, what I’m saying is don’t feel invalidated as a trans woman if your life pre-transition wasn’t stereotypical! It’s totally normal. (: