August 3, 2017
It was a Tupperware tub of live baby rats that made Dr Jessica Pierce start to question the idea of pet ownership. She was at her local branch of PetSmart, a pet store chain in the US, buying crickets for her daughter’s gecko. The baby rats, squeaking in their plastic container, were brought in by a man she believed was offering to sell them to the store as pets or as food for the resident snakes. She didn’t ask. But Pierce, a bioethicist, was troubled.[more inside]
Derrick Lin creates vignettes of the daily grind using miniatures and office supplies, then photographs them with his iPhone: "Working in advertising, I constantly have to deal with chaos and curveballs thrown at me from every direction. Seeing the absence of a proper outlet, I decided to challenge myself to turn those little mundane and frustrating moments I have at work into visual stories and inject humor in them," he adds. "The best medium I found for those 'little voices in my head' was the miniature figures. I then started utilizing them as a manifestation of my honest thoughts in a metaphorical or exaggerated way and started my photography series on Instagram."
Choosing beans could help with climate change. A team of scientists has figured out that if Americans ate beans instead of beef, we could be a long way towards reaching our 2020 climate goals under Obama. Embrace the legume!
The Majestic Marble Quarries of Northern Italy [The New York Times] “The story of Italian marble is the story of difficult motion: violent, geological, haunted by failure and ruin and lost fortunes, marred by severed fingers, crushed dreams, crushed men. Rarely has a material so inclined to stay put been wrenched so insistently out of place and carried so far from its source; every centimeter of its movement has had to be earned. “There is no avoiding the tyranny of weight,” the art historian William E. Wallace once put it. He was discussing the challenge, in Renaissance Italy, of installing Michelangelo’s roughly 17,000-pound statue of the biblical David. This was the final stage of an epic saga that, from mountain to piazza, actually began before Michelangelo’s birth and involved primitive and custom-engineered machinery and, above all, great sweating armies of groaning, straining men. But the tyranny of weight was in effect long before that, and long after, and it remains in effect today.” [more inside]
Information security folk hero MalwareTech (a.k.a. Marcus Hutchins) was recently arrested by the FBI after attending DEF CON, the security and hacking conference in Las Vegas. MalwareTech is most famous for stopping the spread of the WannaCry ransomware attack by registering a "killswitch" web domain; however, he was scooped up by the FBI for his alleged role in developing the Kronos banking malware in 2014-15 (see the indictment here). While there are mixed reactions in the community about these events, this is definitely not the first time that tensions have run high around DEF CON. [more inside]
"The plastic lawn flamingo was a smash hit across America when it went on sale in 1957, the year of Elvis Presley’s Jailhouse Rock: an expression, perhaps, of a sublimated suburban yen for escape. 'Flamingos aren’t something you see in everyday life,' says interior stylist Emily Blunden. 'And that’s the whole point...'" Club tropicana! Why kitsch is everywhere this summer by Jess Cartner-Morley, The Guardian.
The archbishop of Ottawa expressed regret that several Catholics were shocked at the sight of a giant robotic spider perched on Notre Dame Cathedral.
The Atlas for the End of the World is a collection of maps visualizing various global dangers and changes, such as rising sea levels, human displacement from conflict, and deforestation, and related issues such as land use for raising meat, ecotourism, and access to water, also other more abstract matters like biological diversity and the human effect on it. You might want to start by reading the introduction and FAQ before checking out the photos of creatures that have tried to adapt to the changing world and the opening essay, Atlas for the End?, and the concluding one, Atlas for the Beginning.
X-ray records of the Soviet Union.
Back in London, he tried it on his record player. “It was obviously an X-ray, but also a record. I played it and I found out it was a 78 RPM: it was 'Rock around the Clock',” Coates tells me. “I obviously decided to find out more about this.”By Gian Maria Volpicelli in the New Statesman
"Two close associates of Pope Francis have accused American Catholic ultraconservatives of making an alliance of “hate” with evangelical Christians to back President Trump, further alienating a group already out of the Vatican’s good graces." (SLNYT) Ah, good old religion and politics.
"Stephen Marche attends the Ohio Preppers and Survivalist Summit and discovers the contradictions in American life are the very conditions that are slowly crumbling it from within."...An easily readable insight into the American situation for my foreign eyes.
"Bassel Khartabil, the Syrian open source developer, blogger, entrepreneur, hackerspace founder, and free culture advocate, has been executed by the Syrian authorities." Khartabil had been imprisoned since March 2012; we now know that he was secretly executed in November 2015. English Wikipedia page for Bassel Khartabil, #FREEBASSEL campaign, The Cost of Freedom anthology.
American Trees Are Moving West, and No One Knows Why
Climate change explains only 20 percent of the movement.
Climate change explains only 20 percent of the movement.
Tired of Neymar's endless transfer saga? Of reading transfer rumours linking players to your team and then watching 3 minute highlight reels with the loudest, most obnoxious music possible? Messi and Ronaldo fans arguing who dodged taxes best? Then, Crap 90s Football is the palate cleanser for all that. [more inside]
In another example of UK/US differences for visitors and emigrants seeking a home in the UK, a Quartz article by Corinne Purtill: “He went through a rite of passage that every U.S. expat must endure: an encounter with the typical British combo washer-dryer,” Furseth writes. “It appears to be a stroke of genius until you realize that the dryer part doesn’t really work - and everyone who lives here knows this.” Elsewhere, “...in America it is only the ‘hippies’ who put their clothes outside to dry...” while another person fights the washer dryer combo. Many Brits simply sigh and rack, despite the health warnings; there are many options. Tangentially, washing machines in the kitchen, old Yahoo! question and MetaFilter previously: differences, a related Buzzfeed and a drying tip.