" Chinese emperors of the Tang Dynasty liked their ice cream a special way: Fermented buffalo or goat milk was heated, then thickened with flour and seasoned with camphor, which made it flake like snow. For good measure fragments of reptile brain were added, along with an eyeball or two." - "It Ought To Be Called Vice Cream" - Austerity Kitchen on the social and technological history of Ice Cream.
Boing Boing looks back on the truth behind the D&D Steam Tunnel tragedy Jason Louv writes for BoingBoing and outlines the truth behind the tabloid sensationalism of the D&D Steam Tunnel tragedy and what really happened to James Dallas. Note - it's far more complicated and tragic than was reported at the time. [more inside]
A lot of folks are familiar with the "trouble right here in River City" refrain of the song, but when you look at this double echo of cultural fretting — 50 years plus 50 years on — it serves as an impressive reminder that nothing, nothing, is new about the raising of alarms about the decline and fall of culture.Kids, Pants, Booze, Music: Trouble In River City And Always.
About fifty years ago, the governor of Indiana received a letter complaining about obscenity in the lyrics of a rock'n'roll song, and passed that letter on to the FBI. For the following two years, FBI agents examined potential lyrics of the song (which were incomprehensible on the recording, partly due to the singer's braces) to find grounds for an obscenity prosecution. They ultimately failed, but produced a 140-page report, listing numerous possible obscene readings of what the lyrics could be, and in doing so, turned Louie Louie by The Kingsmen from a footnote into a bona fide rock'n'roll rebel anthem. [more inside]
A high-profile task force created by 49 state attorneys general to find a solution to the problem of sexual solicitation of children online has concluded that there really is not a significant problem.
Sometimes, especially in winter, Kenneth Westhues can hear a flock of crows tormenting a great horned owl outside his study in Waterloo, Ontario. It is a fitting soundtrack for his work. Mr. Westhues has made a career out of the study of mobbing. Since the late 1990s, he has written or edited five volumes on the topic. However, the mobbers that most captivate him are not sparrows, fieldfares, or jackdaws. They are modern-day college professors. [more inside]
The pictures that horrified America - how comic books tipped 50s America into a moral panic. [more inside]
The Video Nasty Project seeks to watch and review all 74 "video nasties" effectively banned in the UK in the 1980s in a moral panic over the subversive new video cassette technology. 39 videos were successfully prosecuted, initally under the Obscene Publications Act 1959, then the Video Recordings Act 1984.
onoes! teenz on teh pr0n webs! It's been a year since I posted about Stickam, and in that time, one would be naïve to think that a community of unmoderated videos broadcast live from the private and semi-anonymous bedrooms of the world would not result in epic lulz (nsfw). To no one's surprise, disgruntled Stickam ex-VP Alex Becker says Stickam shares office space, staff, and equipment with live pornographic video providers -- this via NYT tech writer Brad Stone. Cue the "think of the CHILDRUNZ!" moral panic. But popular websites being related to or backed up by prurient interest are nothing new: Wikipeda predecessor Bomis was once accused of having "softore porn" in its "Babes" section, and of course everyone knows porn drives technology. What do you think the internet is for? But if you use Stickam and this bothers you, the burgeoning field of live embeddable Flash-based webcam video streaming is rife with alternatives: uStream.tv, Justin.tv, BlogTV, Mogulus, and Operator11, just to name some -- but there'll be naked girls on those too. I guarantee it.
According to LA's Fox 11, Anonymous is epic evil and considered harmful.
Montana Meth Project commercials. "The Meth Project is the largest advertiser in Montana, reaching 70-90 percent of teens three times a week. This is saturation-level advertising...The Montana Meth Project is a Montana-based anti-drug organization founded by billionaire Thomas Siebel." But are these ads effective in preventing teens from using meth, or are they just a symptom of the wider moral panic surrounding meth use? Pretty excellent commercials, though. More Metafilter meth missives here.
Sniper training starts a little earlier these days. Forget violence in video games - the best way to teach your kids how to kill is still with a good old-fashioned Nerf war. Still, is creating a new generation of sharpshooters really the best idea?
"Where's my pitbull?" In which our 'hero', Carl Monday, CLEVELAND'S INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, attends the sentencing of Mike Cooper, an "unemployed porn site user", caught pleasuring himself at a local library. (Metafilter passim; via Deadspin's full coverage of Carl Monday.)
Rainbow parties were the big parent panic of 2005. Commentators have questioned the reality behind these representations, but a recent article in New York magazine describes the sex lives of a group of teenagers that seems consistent with the moral panic.
Today in the Netherlands, public broadcaster BNN aired the first episode of sex- and drug-themed television show "Spuiten en Slikken"; the punning title translates to either "Shoot Up & Pop (Pills)" or "Squirt & Swallow". [more inside]