Where/What/Who is Scandinavia?
Where/What/Who is Scandinavia?
Ok, Pluto fans. They evicted Pluto from our solar system's planetary pantheon, but a NASA mission launched in 2006 is nearing the dwarf planet with its cameras. We'll soon have photos of Pluto that are much more high resolution than we currently have, which means scientists will need names for all the new geographic features. The Our Pluto site has been set up to help suggest and vote on names for these features. Naming themes include historic explorers, travelers to the underworld, and scientists and engineers. Go vote! (via slate)Tags: astronomy language NASA Pluto science space
Dr. Mae Jemison, MD, the first black woman in space and first actual astronaut to appear on a Star Trek show, one of the very few people on this planet of whom two pictures can be posted depicting them doing their job on a spaceship with entirely different contexts.
Holy shit this is a serious contender for the best post I’ve ever seen on tumblr.
These birds are INSANE
Last week I was sitting outside watching the last light of day slip over the edge of the world when I heard a maniacal cackle from the trees above me. First a croaky, throaty chuckle, then a deep rattle as annoying and impossible to ignore as a kid running a stick along a corrugated-iron fence.
I’d not heard Blue-winged Kookaburras call at close quarters for some time–they don’t live near where I do in the Darwin suburbs–but I’d seen a few around where I was staying on the outskirts of Katherine and was well-pleased to hear the calls of a family home to roost for the evening above my cabin.
But what I’d forgotten was just how raucous they can get and for the next ten minutes or so the calls of not only the family above me but those occupying nearby territories drowned out all other sounds.
I don’t know if this species is the loudest bird in the world but I reckon even the FA-18s from the nearby Tindal RAAF base would be hard-pressed to cut through the Blue-winged Kookaburra’s cacophonous clatter at close quarters. These guys just don’t give a shit, and have a great time doing it. I particularly like the cheeky chuckles and the sense of simultaneous black humour and sinister intent that so infects these calls that i have recorded for your listening pleasure (?) below.
You can read more about these wonderfully cheeky birds in Sarah Legge’s Kookaburra: King of the Bush. And here is their evening chorus.
Photo: Cool-critters at Tumblr.
Modern Disney Girls! Who’s gonna be next?
EDIT: Updated the post to put all new Gilrs in one place!
Bonus Modern Disney Girl - my version of Leia.UPDATE! Lakota Tiger Lily and Polish Wendy.
Update - NEW ONES!Alice in Wonderland guided by Shanti (Jungle Book ), Kida and Tinkerbell
Sometimes, we say what we don’t really mean. ‘You look really tired’, for example, when we mean to be caring rather than disparaging of appearance. ‘I thought you were older than that!’ when we mean to applaud maturity rather than further disparage appearance.
And so it is with the gay thing. The accidental difference between what people are saying or writing, and their intended meaning, is becoming perplexingly polarized. It’s becoming an issue because respected news sources with style guides to guard the objectivity of their reporting are straying away from neutral. And this, in turn, is influencing what we consider to be untainted, unprejudiced language about what I’m technically going to call ‘the gay thing’.
The lexicon around neutral language when reporting or writing about lesbian and gay people can lead to misunderstanding. There are several words that sit outside the flagrantly offensive, but in a grey area. It’s not malice, but misunderstanding that causes people to use these murky terms. They don’t intend to insult, but they do intend to be unbiased. Clarity is lost with the terminology we think is clear and plain English. It’s not.
Here are some examples.
What people say: sexual preference
What they really mean: sexual orientation
I actually think that at least three quarters of people and organizations that use this term, are intending to mean something else. If you believe, as all the science available to us indicates, that being gay is attributed to nature and not nurture; that it’s genetic and not a choice, then this term is a common misuse.
My preference is for mocha rather than latte; mashed potato rather than boiled; Madonna rather than Kylie. My sexual orientation is not a casual preference or a choice, like choosing whether I want pizza or pasta. I don’t merely prefer men to women. It’s something innate.
Some gay people find it offensive when it’s suggested that their sexual orientation is a choice; it trivializes the discrimination they’ve had to overcome by suggesting that they’ve just been obstinate and could always have chosen another path. It can also load with ammunition the traditional enemies to equality who’ll argue any measures to accommodate someone’s picky preference are not high priority.
Sexual orientation is clearer and less likely to lead to misunderstanding – without being overly fussy, it strongly insinuates that you’re born with an imaginary inner compass that points in a certain direction on the Kinsey Scale.
Even if you do believe nurture plays a part in sexual orientation, the term sexual preference could still be a misnomer. Some parts of our character are so deeply ingrained from the nurture of our early childhoods, that we have little conscious choice over how they manifest as adults. When deconstructed, the term ‘preference’ relating to sexuality seems, quite frankly, peculiar.
It’s particularly peculiar when it comes from progressive news outlets, such as the Guardian.
What people say: homosexual / homosexuals
What they really mean: gay / gay people
The Guardian, however, listens and learns as language moves on from where it once stigmatized. I write a monthly column for the Guardian’s ‘Mind your language’ section and I successfully challenged them to drop homosexual used as a noun from their official style guide. It has now been replaced with gay people.
Why did I do this? Calling gay people homosexuals is the cold, medical, dehumanizing language used when homosexuality was, until 1992, classified as a mental disorder. It’s like calling people ‘homo sapiens.’ It’s stuffy, it jars and, I argued, it can no longer be deemed to come from a neutral, objective place due to the word’s unsavoury history on medical statutes, such as those used to chemically castrate Alan Turing for being gay.
When working at gay equality charity Stonewall, I also perceived the term homosexualsto be used by enemies of equality in a very clever way; they weren’t using outright insulting language that could easily be called out, but instead this careful, distanced, clinical language that makes gay people seem like an alien breed, worthy of scientific experiment. The term’s insidiousness is its insult.
What people say: gay rights
What they really mean: equality
Fighting for gay rights all sounds very Harvey Milk and uplifting. But the term may not be as empowering as it seems. Introducing gay rights sounds like a long list of special, extra demands gay people insist on having while beating drums and shouting. When, in fact, what I believe the majority of people are really intending when they say gay rights is equality. Why is this important? Equality is measured, palatable, entirely reasonable and sensible, and more likely to be accepted by all classes, people on both the left and right of the political divide. It sounds less entitled. It’s also far harder to argue against.
Gay rights, in effect, insinuates gay people want to be treated specially and differently when in fact the opposite is true. We want to be treated the same. That’s why measures such as an equal age of consent use the vernacular of equality, as opposed to rights.
What people say: gay marriage
What they really mean: marriage
Before marriage finally became a legal reality for same-sex couples in Britain last year, much was written in the media about ‘gay marriage’ as if it were a separate institution, requiring that qualifying prefix. ‘The campaign for equal marriage’ would’ve been a more accurate descriptor of what lay behind the campaign, in a similar rationale to the significant semantics around ‘rights vs equality’. As a Facebook friend of mine posted at the time: “I’m just going to get on my gay bus with my gay girlfriend and then we’re going to the gay airport on a gay holiday” – the prefix feels superfluous on all these words, just as it does with marriage.
What people say: tolerance
What they really mean: acceptance
Another linguistic bugbear of mine. I tolerate mushrooms; I don’t really like them. I can tolerate the pain of getting a tattoo done, though I’d prefer to do without it. I tolerate people walking slowly and aimlessly in front of me – just – but I hardly welcome it. Yet, in many of the places I’ve heard ‘tolerance’ used as a synonym for open-mindedness, I’ve often felt that acceptance is the clearer term – gently implying warmth, but, in a very British way, keeping it understated and straightforward.
I accept, though, that not everyone will tolerate this.
Image Credit: “Mr. and Mr. Marriage Equality.” Photo by Purple Sherbert Photography. CC by 2.0 via Flickr.
Breakfast sorcery: the only superpower I want to have.
True color picture of our moon, unfiltered by our nitrogen rich blue atmosphere.
For anyone curious, below are some of the recommended twitter bots that came in in response to yesterday’s request for favorites:
Pentametron: A sonnet bot
Reverseocr: A sort of drawing bot.
The Desire Bot: Anything starting with “I just want”
Autocharts: Absurd charts, twice daily.
CrushBot: A DMing bot that connects crushes from The New Inquiry.
Anything done by Darius Kazemi.
In 2012, a proactive Australian anti-vaxxer named Stephanie Messenger self-published a children’s book called “Melanie’s Marvelous Measles.” With the book, Messenger endeavored to “educate children on the benefits of having measles and how you can heal from them naturally and successfully.”
It also highlights some truly, truly wonderful Amazon reviews:
“This book has been a wonderful distraction while I sit in the hospital to support my friend whose baby has this delightful disease. Since the child now has both pneumonia and encephalitis, I’ll have to check out the additional titles mentioned in Michael J. Gulgoski’s wonderful review. We’re going to be here a while. Unfortunately, I had to give this only one star because I hate the name Melanie.” –This Daydreamer
“Finally! A children’s book with an agenda I can get behind! I always thought I loved kids until I actually had one of my own and boy was I wrong! I researched anything and everything I could possibly do to get rid of the little brat, but I didn’t want to be arrested for murder and childhood cancer is just too darn unpredictable. Fortunately, I stumbled upon ‘Melanie’s Marvelous Measles’, and learned that there is a huge community of people who hate children as much as me! Thanks to Melanie, I was able to ignore my pediatrician’s recommendations to vaccinate my daughter before our trip to Disney World, all while acting like I want what is ‘best’ for my child.” –brittany
Amazon page is here in case you want to add your voice.
The post Are these the best Amazon reviews ever? (Anti-vaccination edition) appeared first on Chris Blattman.
Parody social news site which algorithmically generates listicle content (often with absurd results).
See for yourself here
Happy Birthday David Bowie!
This should be on the Tumblr Radar
…and a happy new year
Original illustration by Neil Evans
"I was obviously quite shocked, so that why I decided to send you guys an email saying hey, I’m that guy in that billboard," Roux said.
Roux hasn’t thought about that photo shoot in nearly a decade. He says the pictures used on the billboard were part of a stock photo shoot he did. Roux signed away the rights and was told the pictures would be used in commercial and corporate ads and brochures.
Thursday morning, friends, family and even Roux’s trainer asked if he was featured in the ad, which claimed to show identical twins and the statement, “Nobody is born gay.”
It’s ironic, says Roux, given that he’s not a twin and openly gay.
"It just seems like there no place in today’s world for an organization that is promoting this as being some kind of deviant or distasteful lifestyle, because I’ve lived my life openly gay and happy for my entire life," he said.
It’s the Happy Gnome Dance.
Punch A Monet
Silly brief browser game lets you virtually punch a certain piece of fine art.
Try it out for yourself here
This elephant is tidier than you (or me)
The Yule burned true
Merrry Xmas from Thatcher’s Britain.
This collaboration was part of Animation Breakdown’s Free For All program at Cinefamily ( cinefamily.org/films/animation-breakdown-2014/ ). The mighty Paul Fraser ( paulfrasermusic.com ) created the amazing music track first, not knowing what imagery was to go with it. Participants turned in GIFs not knowing what would happen. Then I edited the GIFs to the music. So music was done BEFORE the edit, which if you think about it is kind of crazy but it magically came together (I think).
Included are: wolfandunicorn, Christian Villacañas, courtneygarvin, wackom, daveofthedead, david-maingault, Dylan Hayes, edskudder, Felix Colgrave, henryscrapeteria, jackiecous, timecard, jdweiss, jayhasrajani, Jen Lee, jeremysengly, Jeremy Couillard, onemillionmouths, John Lisle, Johnny Woods, jonvier89, Justin Hilden, Lindsay and Alex Small-Butera, Lilli Carré, Matt Furie, Matthias Hoegg, kclogg, Max Wittert, Nath Milburn, neilsanders, Nick Arciaga, probertson, Peter Burr, Sarah Schmidt, time-cop, timbeckhardt, rauchbros, and mrbuffalo.
A wide range of stuff, and something for everyone.
Comic URL: http://www.lefthandedtoons.com/1752/
From the NY Times, an epic listing of recipes for traditional (and not so traditional) Thanksgiving food from each of the 50 US states. Featuring lefse from North Dakota, salty pluff mud pie from South Carolina, turkey tamales from Texas, and cheddar mashed potatoes from Vermont. (via @jimray)Tags: food holidays Thanksgiving USA
Amazing and delicious!
Youtuber betibettin recently created a tutorial on how to make ramen. The final product looks so yummy that you can’t help but feel hunger pains. The only thing is, he’s not a chef and his ramen isn’t edible. Try and you’ll end up with a mouth full of yarn. Betibettin is a power crocheter and his latest creation is a bowl of ramen created entirely from yarn. The only thing that’s not yarn is a thin piece of cellophane place over the noodles for added soup-effect.
the trick to making lifelike ramen: create a ball of yarn and then undo it
all the ingredients – egg, scallions and bamboo shoots – made from yarn