Shared posts

18 May 12:00

Earn it, Procastinator Patch

18 May 13:21


18 May 15:32

Legographie By Samsofy

by Strange Beaver

French photographer Sofiane Samlal, aka Samsofy, launched a new series devoted to the best toy ever, LEGO! With the use of a macro lens and some mini figures, Samsofy has created a fun series that shows Lego minifigs aren’t just pieces of plastic sitting in a bucket, they have a life of their own

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

Legographie series by Samsofy

To see more of Samsofy’s work or to see more images from this series make sure you check out his website

18 May 16:55

The Cabin in the Woods

16 May 06:54


by Jennie Breeden
17 May 17:27

me irl

17 May 17:50

Congrats, you have an all male panel at Global Summit of Women!...

Congrats, you have an all male panel at Global Summit of Women! Classic!

15 May 06:07

What's the meaning of bdsm?

Bible Discussion & Study Meeting
15 May 15:05

Tennessee Republican who pressured mistress to have abortion votes to restrict them for other women

by Joan Shipps
Cary Renquist


On Wednesday, 242 members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted to outlaw abortions taking place after 20 weeks gestation. Among them, Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), who has defended his ex-wife having two abortions, and who pressured one of his mistresses to have an abortion after she told him ...
15 May 14:02

This Is What Happens When You Use Rat Poison: Flymageddon

by Erika Engelhaupt

I killed the rats in my basement ceiling. At the time, they were my biggest problem.

Then I found myself in my car one night with the headlights aimed at my back door, hoping to lure a swarm of carrion flies out of the house. Carrion flies, if you’re not familiar, are the kind that lay their eggs on dead things. So then that was my biggest problem.

It all started with a gnawing sound in my basement, in the ceiling above the family room. The steady crunch-crunch of rat teeth on rafters didn’t bother me much at first; I just turned up the volume on the TV. But then the entire basement began to smell of rat urine, which turns out to smell a lot like people urine. Eventually, it didn’t matter how much Febreze I sprayed; we had hit, as I called it, RATCON 5.

My next step was to push little green blocks of rat poison into the ceiling space behind the recessed lights. This turned out to be a mistake. Not only is rat poison bad for the environment and wildlife, but this tactic also left the sated rats free to scurry into some far corner of the ceiling space to die. An exterminator poked around up there, and shrugged. “Can’t find ’em.” Soon, my basement took on a new odor: eau de dead rat.

The next week, I slept with  the windows wide open and the flimsy lock on my bedroom door set against possible intruders.

But the gnawing stopped. And I celebrated my hard-won victory. I had toughed out the stink, and the worst was past. I thought.

Two weeks later,  I came home from a trip and opened the door to Flymageddon.

The house was filled with giant flies.  I realized instantly that the dead rats had become a breeding ground for blowflies. Blowflies are described by Wikipedia as medium to large flies, but I would describe them more as flying bookends.

Dozens buzzed around the kitchen, thunking into me as I made my way in. I needed a weapon, and I needed one fast. Years ago, Uncle Rocky and Aunt Martha, who live in Abilene, gave me a gag gift in the form of a giant three-foot, turquoise Texas-Size Fly Swatter. Turns out, it was the best gift ever.

So there I was. I gripped the Texas Fly Swatter like a baseball bat and slowly opened the basement door.  I could hear the hum. My pulse was pounding.


Bluebottle fly. Ripanvc

I flipped on the light and saw thousands of big dark flies, each the size of a dime, peppering the walls and window shades. Flies filled the air, and bumped against the ceiling with little buzzing thuds. Suddenly a squadron broke ranks and rushed straight up the basement stairs at me.

Or at least it seemed like they were flying toward me. I was watching a black wave of flies boil out of a light fixture in the ceiling, so I was a little distracted. But I’m pretty sure I made a noise like a creaky hinge, and slammed the door shut.

Now what? No way was I opening that door again without chemical weapons.

So armed with a can of Raid, I cracked open the basement door, stuck my arm in and sprayed a long satisfying ssssssssssssss. Yessssssssssss, I thought as I sprayed.

Normally, I’m the live-and-let-live, shoo-em-out the door kind of person. So I opened the kitchen door and stirred up a cluster of flies to usher them out. In return, they promptly flew straight for my head. All bets were off.

I needed a plan—and a partner. I was home alone, but that didn’t stop me from dragging my husband Jay into the scene from 500 miles away. I called him on speakerphone blubbering about flies.

The great thing about being married is that you can take turns being brave, and when one of you is freaking out and ready to burn your house down, the other one can spring into action. And even from 500 miles away, Jay sprung. “Go downstairs and open all the windows to let them out,” he instructed. I politely declined. As in, “What?! NO NO NO NO! Not until some of them are dead. Or most of them.”

Jay thought.

“OK,” he said, “Turn off all the lights in the house, and go turn on the car’s headlights. In fact, put the brights on. Then, open the basement door.” Flies, of course, are drawn to light. It’s not entirely clear why some insects fly toward light, but it’s probably why you’ll find flies clustered on windows. (At least at my house you will.)

Erika Engelhaupt

One of the fallen in my battle with the flies. Erika Engelhaupt

It sounded like a plan that might work. So I carefully unlocked the basement door; a couple dozen flies hovered between the glass and the window shade. I pushed the door open and ran for the safety of the car.

“Don’t fall and hurt yourself running from flies!” Jay yelled, still on speakerphone. “They can’t hurt you.” At this point, he’s picturing me laid up with a broken leg, a victim of my own horror of animals that don’t even have mouths that can bite.

“I know that, logically,” I said. But when it comes to a swarm, it’s not about logic. Since I write a blog called Gory Details, you might think it should be hard to turn my stomach, but it’s not. There’s a psychology test for how easily disgusted a person is, and I turn out to be entirely average.

So this is how I found myself in my car at 10:30 p.m., watching flies meander out the door and trying to decide how long I could run the brights before the battery died.

On cue, my mother called. Hoping to help, she looked up flies in the encyclopedia and reported that the pupal stage lasts two weeks. (My mother does not use the Internet much.) Her book didn’t say how long the adults live. “Hm, well, anyway, they’ll die eventually,” she said, “if you wait long enough.”

And I waited. The flies have kept coming. Every morning now, I vacuum up the night’s casualties, and every evening I come home to more. The other day, I arrived at work and dropped my purse on my desk, and a fly flew out. To cope, the Texas Fly Swatter and I have created a no-fly zone in my bedroom.

In the meantime, I have learned a few things about my opponents. I have three kinds; one is big with a shiny blue backside and another small and the prettiest green up close. The big blue ones might be the bluebottle fly Calliphora vomitoriaappropriately named—or  Calliphora vicina, the urban bluebottle fly. The little green guys are probably a species of Lucilia, the nice entomologists at told me after I posted photos.

As those petered out, the biggest flies emerged—flesh flies of the genus Sarcophaga. Like sarcophagus. They’re enormous, and they buzz when they fly, and they are still in my house.

My little Lucilia.  Erika Engelhaupt

My little Lucilia.
Erika Engelhaupt

All three have their charms. Lucilia maggots have an amazing ability to eat dead flesh and ignore the living, so they’re used in maggot therapy to eat away dead, infected tissue. This works fantastically, but of course assumes that you can talk someone with, say, an oozing foot ulcer into letting a mass of maggots eat away at their foot—I suppose you say to the person that they’re only going to eat your dead foot.

I thought talking to a forensic entomologist might help me appreciate my new housemates. Sibyl Bucheli studies insects at Sam Houston State University (home to a great criminal justice program) in Huntsville, Texas (home to the busiest execution chamber in the United States). I knew I’d like her when her email arrived with a photo of her wearing a Wonder Woman tiara. (You should also check out her entomology lab’s Harlem Shake video.)

Bucheli told me about the first recorded case of forensic entomology in the 1300s. It involved carrion flies—maybe one of the species zipping around my head as I talked to her. The Chinese lawyer Sung Tzu was investigating a stabbing in a rice field and had all the workers lay out their sickles. Blowflies immediately landed on just one, even though it had been wiped clean, and Sung Tzu knew that the sickle bore traces of blood.

One of Bucheli’s students tested this method, she tells me—and found that blowflies can indeed find a bloodied and wiped-clean surface within minutes, or even seconds.

As for my flies, Bucheli says I’m probably on the second generation by now, at least. The flies have been multiplying, babies growing up and having babies of their own. I suppose it would be sweet, if the family home being handed down wasn’t a dead rat.

What’s more, she gives me bad news about the yellow-orange spots all over my windows. “That’s fly poop,” she says. “Sorry. They’re pooping on your curtains.”

Still, she made me feel a little better about them. For one thing, she’s totally brave about flies, and it made me want to be just like her. Bucheli has been at actual crime scenes, with dead bodies covered in flies. Even then, they don’t bother her. “I feel calm if I’m in a place with a million flies,” she said. “But if I’m in a city with a million people around me, that freaks me out… I understand the flies.”

They’re just being flies—eating, mating, pooping, laying eggs. They aren’t out to get me, or anyone else. “The whole six-legs, four-wings thing is beauty to me,” Bucheli said.

I’m trying to get there. In fact, I only used the Texas Fly Swatter once this morning.

But last night, after I cleared the sofa of dead flies and settled in for an episode of Bones, I heard it. The crunch-crunch of rat teeth on rafters.

This time, it’s war.

[to be continued]


(Note: I have updated the link to a test for how easily disgusted a person is. It now takes you to the appendix of Valerie Curtis‘ excellent book “Don’t Look, Don’t Touch: The Science Behind Revulsion.”)

15 May 17:30

The Academic Behind the Media's 'Transgender Tipping Point'

by Nicole Pasulka
by Nicole Pasulka

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 4.16.40 PM

While Bruce Jenner often looked like the pushover of the Kardashian clan, in reality, he told Diane Sawyer last month, “I had the story.” Over four hundred and twenty-five episodes of reality TV, “the one thing that could really make a difference in people’s lives was right here, in my soul,” Jenner said. “And I could not tell that story.” Until he did. In a moment that Time magazine has dubbed the “transgender tipping point,” the Jenner interview is only the most recent and high-profile example of the media’s growing fascination with the stories of transgender people.

Behind the scenes for the Jenner interview, the show Transparent, and the Time magazine article is Susan Stryker, a professor of gender and women’s studies at the University of Arizona, and the author of several books on transgender history, who has been giving interviews about trans issues for twenty years. These days, she asks journalists why they’re approaching trans stories “as some weird thing you've never heard of,” when according to one survey, nearly ninety-one percent of people in the United States are familiar with the term "transgender" and three-quarters of them can define it correctly.

The other day, I talked with Stryker about consulting on the Jenner interview, how media attention to trans stories has changed in recent years, and what all this visibility means for the future of trans rights.

There has been a remarkable surge in media interest when it comes to trans people and their stories. Why do you think this is happening?

First, there has been a persistent drumbeat of activism on this topic since the early nineteen nineties, like a trickle of water running across a plain that eventually carves a canyon. Second, the landscape really changed in the United States after the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on gay and lesbian military service and the Supreme Court decisions on marriage equality. Transgender issues were suddenly positioned as the "next big thing" in a civil rights progress narrative.

Third, thanks to our contemporary biomedical and communications environments, it's simply not as difficult for most people to accept that our bodies and selves are radically transformable over time. Fourth, higher rates of migration, as well as higher levels of global media exposure, have made it easier for more people to see how sex, gender, sexuality, embodiment, and identity vary from place to place. Finally, kids today, ya know? Many of the so-called millennial and post-millennial generations accept that transgender phenomena are simply present in their world. No big.

It’s my understanding that you’re being asked by a lot of media organizations and journalists to talk about trans stories. Who’s calling and what do they want to know?

Last summer, I spent hours with Katy Steinmetz talking with her for what became the Time magazine cover story on the "transgender tipping point." I’ve been in communication with the producers of the forthcoming Eddie Redmayne film, The Danish Girl, about the nineteen thirties transsexual Lili Elbe, to consult on questions of transgender representation and to strategize with them about how to head off sensationalistic media coverage in advance of the release. I've done two different "Room for Debate" opinion pieces for the New York Times on transgender-related topics, been in conversation with their editorial staff about the current series of editorials they are running on transgender issues, and worked closely with the producers of "Retro Reports" on a story about transgender history. I talked with Cosmopolitan magazine about how transgender issues might be pitched to their readership, perhaps focusing on relationships in which a partner transitions, and with The Advocate about the complexities of race, class, and transgender identity. As that tsunami of attention to trans issues was cresting, I spoke with NPR and the News Hour with Jim Lehrer here in the United States, and with the CBC in Canada. After the Bruce Jenner story broke, I talked with the Hollywood Reporter about whether the forthcoming reality show would be exploitative.

I've been asked to offer remedial level "Trans 101" information ("What's the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation?"), help editors think about story lines, provide professional expertise on transgender history and politics, and give insider advice on how to finesse delicate questions of language, reception, and messaging.

When did you first start talking with media?

I first started talking to local LGBT media in San Francisco in the early nineties, and to national mainstream media by 1995, when the transgender movement rapidly expanded along with rise of the Internet and became more visible. My steady trickle of media engagement took an uptick around 2005, with the release of my historical documentary film Screaming Queens, about trans women banding together to resist police harassment at the Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood in 1966. My filmmaking partner Victor Silverman and I spent a year on the festival circuit, had a national PBS broadcast in 2006 and did a lot of media to publicize the story, but had trouble breaking into the mainstream—transgender stories were still being treated as something that would appeal mostly to a small niche market.

I had other media exposure over the last few years related to my current work in higher education, especially about the transgender studies initiative I’ve been spearheading at the University of Arizona. But all of this pales in comparison to the recent onslaught of attention to transgender issues.

Could you talk about working with ABC News on the Bruce Jenner interview?

It was non-stop for a few weeks. All I knew at first was that Diane Sawyer was planning on doing a “big story” on transgender issues. After being sworn to secrecy, I learned that it was going to focus on Jenner. I worked closely with one of the associate producers on everything from what to read to prep Sawyer for the interview, sources for archival media, how questions should be framed, who to call on for talking-head commentary, and who might make good test-audience members. Of course, in the end they made their own decisions, regardless of what I suggested.

What did you think of the interview?

I thought the interview itself was OK. Jenner had the grace and wisdom to not act like her/his experience of being trans was definitive of other people’s experience. S/he was “relatable,” as they say, which is important in our media-saturated society. More significant for me than anything Jenner actually said was the opportunity the interview provided for reframing how trans issues should be approached in mass media.

How is the coverage of trans issues and stories changing?

What has seemed significantly different to me about the recent wave of attention is that the media professionals involved have the perception that this is a delicate topic with a potential for backlash, and that what sets us apart from other people needs to be handled with respect. They are very eager to “do the right thing,” even if they don’t know exactly what that is. And rather than asking non-transgender psychiatrists and surgeons and police officers or members of the clergy or representatives of some radical feminist fringe faction to please tell the world, “What do transgender people want?” they have turned to trans people themselves. We are increasingly seen as the go-to authority on our own lives.

So, if trans stories have been told for decades, Jenner’s story isn’t exactly new?

Taking the long historical view, both sports and the military—signifiers of a robust masculinity—have long been points of fascination and contrast in mass media stories about trans women. The “macho man becomes sex kitten” idea is irresistible catnip to media consumers. Back in the fifties, Christine Jorgensen, who was the first transsexual to receive huge mass media attention (bigger than Jenner today), was consistently framed as the “ex-GI who became a blonde beauty!” even though her military service consisted of being drafted after the end of combat in WWII, and serving ten months processing paperwork at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Twenty years later, transsexual tennis pro Renée Richards got similar treatment. Jenner is now being framed the same way: How could an Olympic athlete, this paragon of masculinity, consider himself to be a woman?

What impact do you think Bruce Jenner coming out will have?

It’s hard to say. It's easy for me to be cynical given my historical knowledge stretching back more than a century, personal awareness of trans issues since my childhood in the sixties, and direct activist involvement since the nineties, I can feel that I’ve seen this all before and that media visibility alone is pretty inconsequential. All I can say is that I sense a difference in how journalists and mainstream media-makers feel they must represent the issues if they are to be accountable to the zeitgeist.

It’s my sense that many assume this coverage will lead to greater acceptance and rights. What is the relationship between visibility and policy changes or gains in legal rights?

Well, just ask yourself: even though major civil rights legislation​ addressing injustices experienced by racial minorities was passed more than fifty years ago, even though every schoolchild in the United States has likely heard the phrase “I have a dream” and has an image of King standing in front of the multitudes at the Lincoln Memorial, have we ended racism in this country? No. Media coverage at best amplifies the message that social change agents push for. It doesn’t make change in itself. As such, media visibility is only ever a part of a struggle, a means to the ends of struggles, and not the goal itself.

Most of the time I feel like it’s great that these stories are getting out there and people are more open and aware, but I wonder if there are some reasons to be wary of all this interest. Are you? Is there something we’re missing here?

We can’t be complacent and pretend that freedom has been won for entire categories of people just because there’s more positive mass media representation. While it’s great that some trans people can have job security, get passports, access health care, and not get hassled by the cops for walking down the streets, others can’t. Trans communities—never monolithic or homogeneous to begin with—are increasingly bifurcated into those kinds of trans people deemed worthy of respectability, acceptance, or tolerance, and those deemed unacceptable: people who don’t pass as non-transgender, poor people, people of color, people who do things that have been criminalized in order to have food to eat and a place to sleep. If only some trans people benefit more from “progress” on these issues, then that isn’t really progress at all.

There seems to be an assumption that after recent gains in gay marriage, trans issues are a natural next focus and all this coverage is somehow part of an evolution in awareness or acceptance. Do you think this accurate, or is something else going on?

I think there is a relationship between the success of the marriage equality campaign and the recent upsurge in attention to transgender issues. Much of this annoys me—as if, now that we’ve taken care of a more important issue, we can move on to less significant matters. Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of progress narratives. And I’m very suspicious of how transgender being the “next big thing” can serve interests other than those of transgender people.

How so?

Over the last decade or so, gay and lesbian human rights issues have been used to legitimate US foreign policy agendas—no foreign aid for some African country unless they stop criminalizing homosexuality, for example. As transgender becomes the “cutting edge” of human rights discourse, it’s not difficult to imagine scenarios that might have sounded improbable a few years ago. Like, should the EU ban immigration of Middle-Eastern and north Africa Muslims to Europe if their cultures can be labeled transphobic in contrast to the neoliberal western democracies?

What stories still aren’t being told?

I think the media is still largely focused on transition stories, the way there used to be a predominant focus on coming-out stories for coverage of lesbian and gay people. Even a show like Transparent, which has a fair amount of nuance, revolves around how the adult children of a trans person deal with the slow rollout of their parent’s new gender expression. But it’s not like the only thing transgender people do is change sex. We have whole lives. We face challenges related to being transgender that are not related to transitioning, and we do things with our lives that have nothing to do with being transgender. Where are those stories?

What about stories of older trans people who have lived many decades after transition? How can we understand trans people other than through the framework of medicalization? We don’t diagnose people as having homosexuality anymore, for example—why can’t we just say that some people have a need to express their genders differently than most other people do, and leave it at that? Why does that have to be socially sanctioned or recognized by calling it a disease or a syndrome or a psychological condition? I could go on and on, but maybe it’s best to let journalists and their audiences discover for themselves in the years ahead the seemingly infinite variety of stories that can have a “transgender angle.”

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

15 May 17:58

How you’re going to die

Cary Renquist

Where do I need to move in order to die at the hands of a jealous lover at the age of 95?

15 May 19:09

smile-and-press-on: quietxdragon: cassbones: dear-sophia-count...







Anastasia’s Blue Dress Appreciation Post

Was there some sort of special animation for this movie because it has never looked quite like other animation.

It was almost entirely rotoscoped, if that’s what you mean? That means it was drawn on top of live action film, which is how they got the realistic subtleties. 

Whoa, that’s so cool. Wow.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is rotoscoping done fantastically right.

Because all you really need to do is find some cheap animation produced by lesser-to-completely-unknown studios to see how horribly disturbing rotoscoping is when the artist cannot animate very well; if the frame rate is too slow? It looks jerky, choppy, and repulsively unnatural. It leaps right into the uncanny valley and sets up house there.

Lemme take a minute and talk to y’all about Anastasia’s fantastic creator, Don Bluth. This dude used to work for Disney, right? He was pretty much a big deal after Walt passed away, but Disney wasn’t doing too hot so Bluth and a few other people decided to take off and create their own company to start doing movies. He created the movies we grew up with-Anastasia, All Dogs Go to Heaven, Land Before Time, The Secret of Nimh, An American Tail, Thumbelina, and so many more. His artistry is like none other, it’s very distinct and absolutely beautiful. He knows his stuff, man. Colors and movements and everything that viewers are subconsciously looking for in good animation. He’s retired but he owns a cute little cabaret theater in Phoenix Arizona that does shows with casts of all ages—my little brother was just in Bluth’s production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and it’s amazing seeing Bluth’s animation skills put on stage in live action because he still knows what to do with costumes and lighting and staging. This man is SO talented and he doesn’t do any of it for fame or glory he does it because it’s what he loves and he wants to make others happy with these great fun stories. He is the kindest man I’ve ever met and his passion is so contagious. 

06 May 04:44

Scientists identify new species of penis worm

Cary Renquist

Ok, I can sleep now...
"The penis worms are a group of marine invertebrates named for their penislike shape."

Fossilized dental records suggest creatures were more diverse in past than realized
06 May 04:48


Cary Renquist

Nothin' like a cold wet nose to really wake ya up...

14 May 17:30


22 Mar 15:29

word-stuck: “It is not so much for its beauty that the forest...

by burningfp
Cary Renquist

I miss "forest bathing"...


It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” — Robert Louis Stevenson

shinrin-yoku 森林浴 (submitted by lightofthestar)

21 Apr 23:02

I found a pun that works in both English and Spanish

by burningfp


Where do cats go when they die? Purrgatory.

¿De dónde van los gatos cuando mueren? Purgatorio.

13 May 05:36

Taste the Poison

In case you ever need it, the number for poison control in the United States is easy to remember:


Or as I remember it


So, you know, if you ever are around a kid that swallows something bad or an adult who does the same, call them. They are really nice and helpful.

And then call me.

14 May 04:59

Flask a Stupid Question

by Adam

2015-05-14-Flask a Stupid Question

14 May 14:00

The Unasked Question About Sen. Warren’s Opposition To The TPP

by mikethemadbiologist

President Obama’s recent mansplaining to Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren about the TPP reeks of desperation: if there is one lawyer in the Senate with the brains to understand the Trans-Pacific Partnership (‘TPP) trade agreement, it would be Warren, even under the incredibly limited review allowed to senators.

What state is Warren from? Massachusetts.

And what is a key industry–one that continues to grow and bring jobs from around the world to the Commonwealth (God save it!)? Biotech.

Now, let’s stir some of this into the pot (boldface mine):

The public health repercussions of this deal could be massive. The negotiating countries represent at least 700 million people, and U.S. negotiators refer to the TPP as a “blueprint” for future trade deals. The TPP attempts to rewrite existing global trade rules and would dismantle legal flexibilities and protections afforded for public health.

We have concerns with several U.S. government demands in the TPP. For example, the TPP would lower the standard for patentability of medicines. It would force TPP governments to grant pharmaceutical companies additional patents for changes to existing medicines, even when the changes provide no therapeutic benefit to patients. These provisions would facilitate “evergreening” and other forms of abuse of the patent system by lengthening monopolies and delaying access to generic competition.

Another concerning provision in the TPP involves so-called “data exclusivity” for biologics, a new class of medicines that includes vaccines and drugs used for cancer and multiple sclerosis treatment. Data exclusivity blocks competing firms from using previously generated clinical trial data to gain approval for generic versions of these drugs and vaccines. If pharmaceutical companies have their way, the TPP will block generic producers of biologics from entering the market for at least 12 years, during which patients would be forced to endure astronomical prices.

The rationale given for such an exclusivity period is that it will promote innovation by allowing originator companies enough time to charge high prices and recoup their research and development investment. This simply isn’t supported by the evidence. On the contrary, the Federal Trade Commission finds that no years of data exclusivity were necessary to promote innovation in biologic drugs.

Twelve years of data exclusivity is not only unprecedented in any trade agreement, it is not the law in any of the TPP negotiating countries outside of the U.S., and it would keep lifesaving medicines out of reach of millions of people. The Obama Administration has actually called for data exclusivity to be reduced to seven years at home, so it is puzzling that the U.S. Trade Representative would be aggressively pushing for these terms in the TPP.

This is a goddamn windfall for a key industry in the state of Massachusetts, especially the biologics component–there are a lot of biologics startups hoping to cash in.

And Obama’s taunt that Warren is a politician is entirely correct: she’s a very smart and savvy politician. She knows what makes her state run. She knows what provides jobs and brings in revenue.

So here’s the question:

Just how goddamn awful does the TPP have to be for Senator Warren to oppose it?

What exactly is in the TPP that she would oppose it over the clear economic interests of her state? If we ever get to see the damn thing, I think many people are going to be shocked at how many horrible things are put into that agreement. Moreover, I think those economists who view this as a ‘free-trade’ agreement–without having seen the document themselves–are going to end up looking very foolish and naive.

13 May 18:14

"Get a rat and put it in a cage and give it two water bottles. One is just water, and one is water..."

Cary Renquist

IDK, I think that I would be the opposite... Surrounded by lots-o-people? give me the laced water.

“Get a rat and put it in a cage and give it two water bottles. One is just water, and one is water laced with either heroin or cocaine. If you do that, the rat will almost always prefer the drugged water and almost always kill itself very quickly, right, within a couple of weeks. So there you go. It’s our theory of addiction. Bruce comes along in the ’70s and said, “Well, hang on a minute. We’re putting the rat in an empty cage. It’s got nothing to do. Let’s try this a little bit differently.” So Bruce built Rat Park, and Rat Park is like heaven for rats. Everything your rat about town could want, it’s got in Rat Park. It’s got lovely food. It’s got sex. It’s got loads of other rats to be friends with. It’s got loads of colored balls. Everything your rat could want. And they’ve got both the water bottles. They’ve got the drugged water and the normal water. But here’s the fascinating thing. In Rat Park, they don’t like the drugged water. They hardly use any of it. None of them ever overdose. None of them ever use in a way that looks like compulsion or addiction. There’s a really interesting human example I’ll tell you about in a minute, but what Bruce says is that shows that both the right-wing and left-wing theories of addiction are wrong. So the right-wing theory is it’s a moral failing, you’re a hedonist, you party too hard. The left-wing theory is it takes you over, your brain is hijacked. Bruce says it’s not your morality, it’s not your brain; it’s your cage. Addiction is largely an adaptation to your environment. We’ve created a society where significant numbers of our fellow citizens cannot bear to be present in their lives without being drugged, right? We’ve created a hyperconsumerist, hyperindividualist, isolated world that is, for a lot of people, much more like that first cage than it is like the bonded, connected cages that we need. The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection. And our whole society, the engine of our society, is geared towards making us connect with things. If you are not a good consumer capitalist citizen, if you’re spending your time bonding with the people around you and not buying stuff—in fact, we are trained from a very young age to focus our hopes and our dreams and our ambitions on things we can buy and consume. And drug addiction is really a subset of that.”

- Johann Hari, Does Capitalism Drive Drug Addiction?
(via bobdylansgrandson)
11 May 00:20

descepter: Lost For Words


Lost For Words

11 May 15:22

     No one before Bernini had managed to make marble so carnal....

     No one before Bernini had managed to make marble so carnal. In his nimble hands it would flatter and stream, quiver and sweat. His figures weep and shout, their torses twist and run, and arch themselves in spasms of intense sensation. He could, like an alchemist, change one material into another - marble into trees, leaves, hair, and, of course, flesh.  
     -   Simon Schama’s Power of Art. Bernini

13 May 19:23

antikythera-astronomy: Bad News for NASA (and You)The Senate...


Bad News for NASA (and You)

The Senate House committee on Space (led by Ted Cruz) has just passed a draft budget for NASA that drops funding for the study of Earth sciences by $300 million below current levels and half a billion below the president’s request.

This is almost a third of the funding for Earth sciences and the study of climate change disappearing overnight and being funneled instead to the space launch system and Orion capsule.

Know this: there’s no planet more important to us than Earth. Not only does our knowledge of Earth complement the understanding of planets elsewhere but in days like this we’re effectively geo-engineering the planet into unknown and deep waters. We need to understand our home.

This funding was cut under the stated pretense that NASA’s “core mission” is to explore space, not Earth. The problem is, the funding for agencies dedicated exclusively to exploring Earth (NOAA) have also had their science cut.

Fact time: 

- Climate change is real.

- Climate change will be deadly.

- It’s our fault.

- We can do something about it.

(Image credit: Data: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Some description adapted from the Scripps CO2 Program website, “Keeling Curve Lessons.” and NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory, Robert Simmon)

13 May 05:50

I can’t hear you

13 May 11:12

Death Kiss by bigbopper52 on Flickr.Death Kiss

Death Kiss by bigbopper52 on Flickr.

Death Kiss

13 May 11:41


Cary Renquist

Kitty therapy is best...

13 May 14:46


Stefan Kjartansson's Cinderblock "is a brand new typeface designed to achieve maximum coverage on any given surface." Achievement unlocked.
13 May 14:51

This "Throw and Shoot" Camera is Like a Flying GoPro That Follows You

Cary Renquist

I always wanted this for my car... Send it out to check the traffic ahead.

GoPro's variety of harnesses let you mount their cameras to your head, chest or even your dog. But a new company has developed a flying camera that you needn't wear at all. You simply throw the Lily, as it's called, into the air, where it takes flight and follows you on your adventures.

Just over ten inches square, the aluminum and polycarbonate Lily is a dual-camera-equipped quadrotor drone with 20 minutes of flight time. 

It hones in on a tracker you wear on your wrist, hovering anywhere from five to 50 feet above your head, and runs a tracking path of your choosing (i.e. follow shot, side shot, Michael-Bay encircling shot). 

And it'll keep up with you as long as you're moving 25 miles per hour or less. It seems pretty unbelievable:

The Lily is expected to retail for $999, but the developers are currently selling pre-orders for just $499.

I keep thinking of the applications it could have beyond adventure videography. Given a longer flight time and a workable way to navigate overhead obstacles, a fly-'n-follow camera could be useful for everything from tracking animals on a farm to less confrontational police pursuits. We'll have to see how well the device actually works when it begins shipping in February of next year.