Why Ugliness Is Vital in the Age of Social Media A wide ranging interview between ALOK and writer and disability justice organizer Mia Mingus touching on desirability in queer spaces, how abilism shapes our relationship to ourselves, and how disability and interdependence offer us spaces for tenderness and intimacy. "I think we literally get taught that you are only worthy if you’re beautiful; that there are no other pathways to worth besides desirability. This is where magnificence comes in to me. That feels like — I needed a word other than "beautiful." Magnificence comes out of our struggle. Give yourself permission and cultivate it and embrace it, rather than always literally wearing the mask." Moving Toward the Ugly: A Politic Beyond Desirability [more inside]
"While in the waters of Lembeh, Indonesia, diver Pall Sigurdsson and friends encountered a tiny veined/coconut octopus who had made a home inside a disposable plastic cup. [...] Rather than leave the octopus to a cruel fate, Sigurdsson and friends spent a great deal of their diving time searching for a new shell. They tried several shells, but the octopus didn’t respond until the perfect one was found." (via Laughing Squid)
Shenzhen Tech Girl Naomi Wu, Part 3: Defunding, Deplatforming, and Detention. After her run-ins with Vice, as she had documented previously, and the fallout from that, Naomi Wu finds herself once again being used by Western entertainment-journalism (this time Hasan Minhaj's show) in a China-critical piece that she had no say over. Sometime later, she was detained. Was it related? Who can say?
Keith Haring's 'Hidden' Mural Heads To Auction, Sparks Emotion Haring painted a stairwell mural for a NYC kids' organization. The mural has now been removed, and is heading for auction, to fund capital projects at the church at which it was located. [more inside]
An English-language snapshot of what's going on in Latin America: Latin America's Bitter Stalemate (Jacobin interview with Mabel Thwaites Rey); Latin America's Decade-Long Hangover (America's Quarterly); Why Latin America Was Primed to Explode (Foreign Affairs); Latin America’s Protests Are Likely to Fail (Foreign Policy); Latin American left rising? First stop Mexico for Argentina's Fernandez (Reuters) [more inside]
Have you ever seen the mid nineties live action adaptation of Wallance and Gromit?
Let's Read TSR reviews a popular line of Extruded Fantasy Product novels from the early 1990s. These include such hits as R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt Do'Urden and Cleric Quintet novels ("Say what you like about the forces of evil, but at least they’ve put a lot of effort into creating a diverse workplace"). There are also sneaky successes like the Wodehousian The Wyvern's Spur and the thoughtful Elfshadow. And, of course, there are plenty of photorealistic late '80s-style cover paintings.
In 1967, Philco-Ford Corporation produced 1999 A.D., a film about what life would be like in the future. Here's another educational film from 1967, about how computers might be used in the home.
Friends Again......that terrific wee Glasgow band of the mid-late eighties -wiki here- are to have their sole and debut album "Trapped and Unwrapped" given the thirty Year anniversary treatment from those wonderful people at Cherry Red Records [more inside]
Martin Simpson is a British folk/blues songwriter, a virtuoso guitarist & a great raconteur. Here he is relating two of the surprising and touching tales behind songs on his new album Rooted. The capsule descriptions of each song are Simpson's own, taken from this article. "Ken Small salvaged a Sherman Duplex Drive tank from Start Bay in Devon, which led to the story of the tragic Operation Tiger of 1944 off the Devon coast being recognised and told," he explains. "More Than Enough was written by Robb Johnson and it was in the repertoire of my late father-in-law, Roy Bailey for many years."
An Afghanistan veteran's struggle with ecology and memory, by Bryan Box (CW: suicide, descriptions of violence in war)
Concert by Young Marble Giants is a 44 minute live performance shot in black and white on video in Vancouver in November 1980, just weeks before the hugely influential post-punk band split up. [previously on MeFi]
Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto
Me dio dos luceros que cuando los abro
Perfecto distingo lo negro del blanco
Y en el alto cielo su fondo estrellado
Y en las multitudes el hombre que yo amo
Me dio dos luceros que cuando los abro
Perfecto distingo lo negro del blanco
Y en el alto cielo su fondo estrellado
Y en las multitudes el hombre que yo amo
Maestro by Illogic Studios and Bloom Pictures "is a lush, short film about beautifully animated woodland creatures putting aside creature differences, to perform together a gorgeous, revolutionary operatic aria under a full moon. [...] The aria, “Guerra Guerra”, comes from the Vincenzo Bellini opera Norma and tells of the coming of revolution." (via Laughing Squid)
"I didn't go fast to run anybody over, but I wasn't gonna stay and let them do something to my truck." [slyt, trigger warning: descriptions of gun violence] White supremacist shoots gun and triggers another round of violent street protests* in Chilean coastal city. [Warning: Graphic descriptions of gun violence. Links to sensitive materials are marked with *] [more inside]
In a gutwrenching video, Mary Cain describes the destruction of her body and mind at the hands of Nike coaches - and her belief that the sport can be made better.
Lyndon B. Johnson carried one. MacGyver never leaves home without his. A Swiss Army knife can scale a fish, remove a splinter, help start a fire, or sew a ripped seam shut. Now available in impressively specific varieties such as the Equestrian and the Presentation Master, including some models that feature USB flash drives, the 500 millionth tool rolled off the line in 2017. In this age of never-ending technology upgrades and improvements, the “Original Swiss Army knife” is still a best-seller. [more inside]
Don Cherry sparked online backlash on Saturday night for his comments about immigrants not wanting to wear poppies ahead of Remembrance Day. [CBC] “Don Cherry is in the limelight yet again, this time for complaining that he rarely sees people he believes to be new immigrants wearing poppies ahead of Remembrance Day. The 85-year-old Hockey Night in Canada personality said on Saturday on his weekly Coach's Corner segment that he's less frequently seeing people wearing poppies anymore to honour fallen Canadian soldiers, and he singled out those he believes are immigrants in Toronto, prompting a swift online backlash. [...] Cherry made his comment prior to running his annual Remembrance Day video montage, where he is seen walking through a military cemetery in France visiting the graves of Canadian soldiers who went to battle in the First World War.” [Full Coach's Corner recording of offensive comment.] [more inside]
Life in a different light "A few weeks ago, I modified my microscope to be able to use polarized light to illuminate my samples. This gives some incredibly beautiful and alien-like footage, so I of course made a video with this technique."
Poaching older white voters from Biden won’t “check” the left. Michael Bloomberg’s renewed interest in running for president seems motivated in large part by intellectual and emotional hostility to the prospect of an Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders nomination. But — to the extent that the billionaire philanthropist manages to garner any support at all — the actual effect of him entering the race is likely to be the reverse: undermining frontrunner Joe Biden to some extent without materially damaging Warren or Sanders or having any realistic chance of winning himself. [more inside]
This ground-breaking album seems to not be available for sale or streaming anywhere. So I’d purchased a used LP and digitized it for all to enjoy! Switched-On Bach by Wendy Carlos on Internet Archive (via Sarah Wallin Huff on MltShp). The first classical music LP ever to be certified for a Platinum Record Award, by selling to hundreds of thousands of mostly younger listeners who didn't normally buy classical recordings. Carlos saw the Moog voice as valid on its own terms, which may be one reason why this album still stands out today, when compared with some of the more flamboyant work that followed from others (AllMusic review). More on the album from Wendy herself.
The D.C. Region Doesn’t Have Full-Time Food Critics of Color. Why That Matters. By Laura Hayes (Washington City Paper).
ctri shift face makes deepfakes of movie scenes. Here's Al Pacino in the "You Talkin' To Me?" scene from Taxi Driver, and versions of the "Coin Toss" scene from No Country For Old Men, with: Willem Dafoe, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Via KQED's The California Report Magazine, listen to (and read about) five blind people living in or visiting California: Geerat Vermeij, an evolutionary biologist who studies the evolution of mollusk shells, Noel Runyan, an engineer who builds his own accessible technology (including a vibrating gun sight), guitarist Ioana Gandrabur, architect Chris Downey, and sensory consultant Hoby Wedler, who helps design the sound of everyday products from food packaging to doors. The stories come from Chris Hoff and Sam Harnett, who have partnered with San Francisco's LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired (previously) to produce The World According to Sound podcast where people can explore the sounds of beer brewing, mosquitoes doing their thing, arachnids getting amorous, cheese making, Spanish lottery numbers being sung out, giraffes after dark, Voice Over run through its paces, and a sonification of Wikipedia's data among over 90 others to date in short, 90-second episodes.
The Feminist. From n+1 Issue 35, fiction by Tony Tulathimutte. "Now that he’s self-conscious, he realizes he can’t compete along conventional standards of height, weight, grip strength, whatever. How can he hope to attract anyone with his narrow shoulders?" via Carmen Maria Machado, who tweets: I want to teach this story in a horror class.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – great game, shame about the politics [The Guardian] “It doesn’t take long for the guilt to set in. You’re holding a handgun in London’s Piccadilly Circus as terrorists run wild with assault rifles and flames bloom from a recently ignited suicide vest. As terrified civilians run past, screaming and wounded, you’re thinking: “Where is the next mission checkpoint?” Call of Duty is perhaps the most divisive mainstream gaming brand of all time; a gung-ho, partisan blockbuster combat romp selling us a vision of rough and ready spec-ops superstars travelling the globe with their guns and their competence, helping freedom fighters while killing rogue paramilitary groups, without pausing too long to consider the differences between them. [...] The story is a pulpy, mashup of real-world proxy wars and brutal localised conflicts that panders to US sensibilities. Urzikstan could be Syria, it could be Afghanistan, it could be the Ukraine or Chechnya. It doesn’t matter.” [YouTube][Launch Trailer][Story Trailer] [more inside]
Archeology of Taste is a project about childhood memories Specifically, food memories. Jan Whitaker is an author and blogger who works with social history. The Archeology of Taste project is a series of interviews with people about their food memories. Like Arthur, age 69
It seems like everybody starts by talking about what Mom made and eating at home, that sort of thing. Which in my case is a little different. My mother taught home economics in high school, but she was not a good cook.[more inside]
On May 31, Meghan Burmester became a meme. She was featured, along with four other women, on the Harford County Sheriff’s Office “Ladies’ Night” Facebook post for alleged theft under $1,500.... Burmester, a 28-year-old restaurant server in South Carolina, was in fact at the height of her heroin addiction at the time of the photo. She’d stolen something to resell so she could feed her habit, she told BuzzFeed News. She is now five months clean, she said, but this post with her photo and her residential address remains on the sheriff’s Facebook page as a digital repository of shame.
Mutual Aid Lube, a “vegan plant-based lube made by queers for queers,” partners with RIP Medical Debt, an organization committed to buying up and forgiving medical debt all across the country. So far, they have been able to help forgive $55,000 of medical debt in Appalachia.
"Ever look at Cassius Marcellus Coolidge's seminal chef d'oeuvre Dogs Playing Poker and think, 'this is okay, but wouldn't it be nice if I could see the painting with any of 6.6 quadrillion possible card combinations?' No? Too bad, buddy: because here it is."
A "memory of fear" of a predator's odour can be passed on to baby mice via their father's sperm. However, giving the fathers "'extinction learning,' which is very akin to cognitive behavioural therapy in humans," the transmission of that fear can be prevented. Paper (paywalled).
Antonio López de Santa Anna (Wikipedia) was a Mexican politician and general who fought to defend royalist New Spain and then fought for Mexican independence. He greatly influenced early Mexican politics and government, and he was an adept soldier and cunning politician who dominated Mexican history in the first half of the nineteenth century to such an extent that historians often refer to it as the "Age of Santa Anna" (History Mix, with a focus on Texas). He captured the Alamo, gave away Texas, and was exiled from Mexico. He ended up in a modest residence on Staten Island, where he helped invent modern chewing gum (Atlas Obscura). [more inside]
In 1980, Royal Shakespeare Company created The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby, an 8 1/2 hour long adaptation from David Edgar of the 900-page novel by Charles Dickens, directed by John Caird and Trevor Nunn. A very theatrical production with a lot of momentum and an outstanding cast, originally presented across two nights or one very long day, it was filmed for television in four parts. [YT playlist, 4 videos, very long watch]
For your Saturday cartoon enjoyment, here’s Honeyland (1935), one of the MGM Happy Harmonies available on YouTube. More about the Technicolor 10-minute short at WP, and production details at Cartoon Research.
A Bardi/Nyiyaparli great grandmother from Port Hedland in Western Australia's Pilbara region obtained her provisional licence for the first time last week, despite many people within her community suggesting she may have left it too late. [more inside]
Death Stranding is out now. In Hideo Kojima's latest technically-accomplished game for PS4 (PC coming summer 2020), you play a porter named Sam Porter Bridges who builds bridges for the Bridges organization in a post-apocalpytic world filled with ghosts and terrorists. Described as "the most advanced walking simulator the world has seen" (Polygon), "a great movie" (Engadget), and "unashamedly political" (The Guardian), it has received qualified praise from critics despite its army of distracting celebrity cameos. [more inside]
"I often wonder about the people whose names I find written in copies of old books I buy, but I rarely do anything more. But I was so impressed by G. E. Trevelyan’s Appius and Virginia when I reread it recently that I began to wonder who would have bought it. My copy — the U. S. edition published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons in New York in 1933 — is signed, 'Elizabeth Seeber, 10 Mitchell Pl.'”
Because there's just not enough to argue about these days, Paste Magazine presents its absolutely accurate and unassailable list of the 25 best board games of the decade.
New Emoji Are So Boring—but They Don't Have to Be: A new data set on the popularity of emoji reveals a problem with Unicode's approval process, along with a way to fix it.
Many of the most popular existing emoji would not have passed Unicode's search criteria if they'd been in place at the time: smiling face with smiling eyes, face with tears of joy, loudly crying face, sparkle heart, eggplant, smiley poo, devil face, see-no-evil monkey, party popper, bicep, crossed finger, and shrug. None of these have anywhere near the benchmark 500 million results when you search for them in Google, even in 2019 when those results have been juiced by many pages about the emoji themselves—instead, they got in by being on Japanese phones before Unicode started taking over the decision-making process.[more inside]
Her case is part of a nationwide problem, advocates say. California is one of dozens of states around the country where a person can be charged with a crime for harming a fetus through behaviors like using drugs while pregnant....These laws are intended to prevent harm to a fetus, but they can backfire, making people less likely to seek prenatal care. A recent study found that laws defining drinking during pregnancy as child abuse were actually associated with worse health outcomes for babies, possibly because they discouraged pregnant people from going to the doctor.
Airplane Mode is an upcoming game from AMC (yes, the channel) in which the player gets to simulate a six hour transatlantic flight in real time. Not as the pilot, mind you. As a passenger in a window seat in economy. [more inside]
Doctor Manhattan has often been defined by or reduced to just his penis and blazing cerulean nudity, like what happened toward the end of this episode. But thinking his nakedness is just a matter of sex is a shallow fallacy. His constant, shameless nudity has prompted deeper conversations among readers about something that seems so superficial. And as we see in this episode, even a gigantic vibrator meant to recall Doctor Manhattan can tell us a lot about another character: Laurie.
The writers at RogerEbert.com have released their list of the best 25 films of the 2010s with essays on each of the top 10:
- Tree of Life
- Inside Llewyn Davis
- Mad Max: Fury Road
- Phantom Thread
- The Wolf of Wall Street
- Under the Skin
- Get Out
- The Master
As a part of their "Decade in Review", Polygon has published their list of the 100 best games from 2010-2019 (link goes to the bottom half). [more inside]
The week in wildlife – in pictures [The Guardian]. Bears, starlings, dormice, a kookaburra, a stranded sperm whale, various other creatures.
It’s that time of year again — fall is here and packs of robot dogs are frolicking in the leaves. [YouTube] “Each one weighs about 20 pounds (or nine kilograms), is powered by 12 electrical motors, and can reach speeds of around six miles per hour (or 2.5 meters per second). As you can see in the video, they’re all being steered manually using what look like RC controllers. [...] “Mini Cheetah is just about the perfect size. Twenty pounds (9 kilograms) is not too small but not so big that it’s dangerous or fragile,” said Sangbae. “We designed the machine to be able to absorb the impacts, jumping and landing and so on.”” [via: The Verge]
Dylan Tallchief made a drum machine in Excel (2019 / 365). You can download it here, if you're willing to enable a stranger's macros.
"I often think of groups like this during evenings I spend on my couch. As I fold laundry half-heartedly, I watch TV and clutch my phone. I refresh my Twitter feed to keep up on the latest political crisis, then toggle over to Facebook to read clickbait news stories, then over to YouTube to see a montage of juicy clips from the latest congressional hearing. I then complain to my family about all the things I don’t like that I have seen. What I’m doing, that isn’t politics." Politics is for Power, Not Consumption: Political hobbyism takes well-meaning citizens away from pursuing power. (Boston Review)