Hideo Kojima's new game, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, is the video game analogue of Jonathan Franzen's books: technically dazzling, but built upon a bed of sophmoric ideas.
This is the way the world ends: not with a bang but a bronchial spasm. That is, at least, according to William Delisle Hay’s 1880 novella The Doom of the Great City. It imagines the entire population of London choked to death under a soot-filled fog. The story is told by the event’s lone survivor sixty years later as he recalls “the greatest calamity that perhaps this earth has ever witnessed” at what was, for Hay’s first readers, the distant future date of 1942. -- Brett Beasley in the Public Domain review on one of the first modern urban apocalypse stories.
Jonathan Franzen 'considered adopting Iraqi orphan to figure out young people'. [The Guardian]
In a setup that would not look out of place in fiction, Jonathan Franzen, the bestselling American novelist, has said he once considered adopting an Iraqi war orphan to help him understand young people better, but was persuaded against it by his editor. Franzen said he was in his late 40s at the time with a thriving career and a good relationship but he felt angry with the younger generation. “Oh, it was insane, the idea that Kathy [his partner] and I were going to adopt an Iraqi war orphan. The whole idea lasted maybe six weeks.”[more inside]
In the United States, only 22 states require that sex education should be taught in their schools. Of those, only 13 insist upon medical accuracy. There is no federal standard. As a result, classroom lessons that teach purity culture – the idea that virginity is a state of moral accomplishment – are pervasive. John Oliver's Last Week Tonight covers Sex Education in America. (NSFW) The end of the segment features a modern sex education video created by LWT, narrated by several celebrities (including Laverne Cox, Nick Offerman, Jonathan Banks, Kristen Schaal and Aisha Tyler) that touches on topics outdated lessons may be ignoring. [more inside]
The Illusion of "Natural": In an excerpt from her new book On Immunity, Eula Biss deconstructs desires to flee from "toxins" and embrace what is "natural". Where the word filth once suggested, with its moralist air, the evils of the flesh, the word toxic now condemns the chemical evils of our industrial world. This is not to say that concerns over environmental pollution are not justified—like filth theory, toxicity theory is anchored in legitimate dangers—but that the way we think about toxicity bears some resemblance to the way we once thought about filth. [more inside]
The world's most extensive study of the drug trade has just been published in the medical journal BMJ Open, providing the first "global snapshot" of four decades of the war on drugs. To sum up their most important findings, the average purity of heroin and cocaine have increased, respectively, 60 percent and 11 percent between 1990 and 2007. Cannabis purity is up a whopping 161 percent over that same time. Not only are drugs way purer than ever, they're also way, way cheaper. Coke is on an 80 percent discount from 1990, heroin 81 percent, cannabis 86 percent. After a trillion dollars spent on the drug war, now is the greatest time in history to get high.
Purity tests! From the olden days of Usenet: A purity test attempts to gauge how "pure" you are within some realm of experience by having you answer a list of questions regarding which acts, etc. associated with the subject you have engaged in. Generally, for each "yes" answer you lose a purity point. The result is scaled to tell you what percentage of purity you still retain. [more inside]
“The prevailing attitude seems to be that issues of politics and morality—the sort of issues that most people can perceive clearly in connection with, say, corporate glass ceilings or the patronage of lunch counters—are suddenly off limits where music is concerned.” [more inside]
Run Firefox with greasemonkey and Facebook Purity to free yourself from the Tyranny of Facebook Quizzes. It's the nuclear option, and it works... like the bomb. BOOM. No more quizzy.
Having sex at 12 is a bad idea. But if you're pubescent, it might be, in part, your bad idea. Slate rethinks the age of consent.
"The Father Daughter Purity Ball is a memorable ceremony for daughters to pledge commitments to purity and their fathers to pledge commitments to protect their girls." Do Purity Balls, an offshoot of the virginity pledge movement work? The research says they do postpone first intercourse but have no impact on STD rates (1, 2 - PDFs). Perhaps a discussion of, uh, protection should be added to the "Covenant of Purity and Protection" signed by the dancing dads.