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Pure Imagination

Something about Gene Wilder’s voice just gets me. Revel with me in the old charm of this classic ballad:



Published with Monogram
11.07.13 2
Check Out this Unbelievable Monument Visible from Space

In 1989, a flight from Congo to Chad was destroyed by an on-board bomber. In response, the victim’s families constructed this mindblowing monument that you can see from Google Maps.

Built in 2007 with black rocks shipped from 70 kilometers away and 170 broken mirrors (representing each victim), the memorial is over 200 feet in diameter and was constructed almost entirely by hand.













(VN)
Published with Monogram
11.06.13 1
Male/Female/X: Germany Adds Indeterminate Gender Option

About one in 2000 babies born don’t fit into classical definitions of male and female. Biology provides several ways for this to happen, but since the advent of modern medicine, humanity has had a tendency of forcing a line which is far blurrier than we’re willing to admit.

Germany recently codified this recognition into law by adding the option of a third gender option (X) on birth certificates. The law is aimed at easing the pressure to pick one or the other gender for intersex children.

For people born with both male and female genetic material and/or genitals, serious identity issues can arise because of the pressure on parents to pick one gender or another for their child at birth. The practice of surgically altering intersex children for the sake of “easing their development” is an invasive practice which gives little regard to the rights and feelings of intersex people.

While you may be tempted to applaud Germany’s gesture, intersex activists declare it’s not enough:

“‘It’s a first, important step in the right direction,’ Lucie Veith, an intersex person from the northern German city of Hamburg, told AFP.

But Veith said leaving the gender undefined on birth certificates was never the main lobbying point for the Association of Intersexed People in Germany, or others in the intersex community.

"That we forbid cosmetic genital surgeries for newborns, that is our first demand," said Veith, who leads the organisation.


The conceit that gender is a stable binary should be abandoned as soon as possible, and that’s my bottom line.



(BBC)

Published with Monogram
11.06.13 0
Google’s Quest for Immortality

We’ve previously written about Facebook’s attempt to understand romantic relationships through data analysis. Meanwhile, at Google…


Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page announced in September that the Web giant was investing in the creation of the California Life Company (Calico), an entity which aims to increase the average human lifespan by 20 to 100 years over the next century.


This is by no means an uncharacteristic project for Google. Their R&D teams are constantly making news with their futuristic projects, from Glass to using balloons to provide universal Wi-Fi to self-driving cars. What gets less mention, however, are their incredible array of public initiatives: Google.org.


Predictive tools such as Flu and Dengue Trends as well as investments in renewable energy and special access to proprietary software for nonprofits are just the beginning. Google is also building an index of historical constitutions, helping to distribute public alerts, and, now, attempting to conquer death.


Very little is known as yet about Calico, except that it is a distinct company from Google, and will be headed by Art Levinson, Chairman and former CEO of Genentech and Chairman of Apple. Speculation on Calico’s prospective approach ranges from using Big Data to facilitate the indexing and analysis of data on age-related illnesses to developing a way to digitally reboot an individual human brain after cell death.


Estimations of Google’s market cap range as high as $250 billion, while their 2012 revenues exceeded $50 billion. Their R&D budget for 2012 was a whopping $6.8 billion. As Page put it modestly, “please remember that new investments like this are very small by comparison to our core business. “


Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait for the details on Google’s bid at curing ageing: “Our press release has a few more details though it’s still very early days so there’s not much more to share yet.  Of course when Art has something more substantial to communicate (and that will likely take time), he’ll provide an update.” In the meantime, you can salivate over Google’s mysterious floating Glass showrooms before catching up on Facebook and LinkedIn’s bids at the cutting edge of data technology:





-Via CNN
Published with Monogram
11.02.13 2
11.02.13 0
What Happens When You Crack Your Neck?

As someone who thought it was cool to crack my knuckles, toes, back, wrists, ankles, and literally anything else I could when I was a child (you’ve all heard what cracking joints sound like underwater, right?), as well as being a wee lad driven by burning scientific curiosity, it frequently frustrated me that the phenomenon of knuckle cracking was so confusing.

Was it good or bad for you? Why the noise? Why could you only do it once every few hours?

I’m starting to wish I hadn’t found out.

Here’s how it works:

You’ve got a joint. Actually, you have 360 joints. And each joint contains a small capsule of liquid, which is effectively sealed by default.

When you stretch a joint out, you increase the amount of space in the capsule without increasing the amount of liquid in it. This lowers the pressure on the liquid.

Cool science fact: the boiling point of substances changes based on the pressure being applied to them. This is why cooking times are different based on altitude, and also why water in a pressure cooker can reach 121° Celsius.

Gross science fact: When you crack your knuckle, the liquid in your knuckle is boiling because of the decrease in pressure. Yes, you read it right: the liquid in your joints becomes a gas and escapes elsewhere into your body. No, it’s not by definition harmful, but maybe I’ll do a sun salutation instead of boiling my muscular fluids next time I’m feeling tense.

Source: C. Claiborne Ray for NYTimes

Published with Monogram
11.02.13 1
LAX SHOOTINGS: The Morning After Masterpost




As the dust settles in the City of Angels


Violence has permeated society for millennia, but the 20th century brought with it a new type: violence as infinite spectacle. Just as our media — television, movies, video games — concerns itself with and displays violence, acts of violence change in meaning as the technologies which bring them to our eyes and ears evolve.


Keeping track of the flooding redundant reports that emerge on the Internet when high-profile shootings occur is exhausting to say the least, and that’s why I bring you the LAX Masterpost: an exhaustive account of what happened and, to the best of anyone’s knowledge, why.



First accounts were hazy: major media outlets referred to an “incident” at Los Angeles International beginning at 9:20 Pacific Time, and it was clear that a TSA agent had been injured. When it became apparent that a gunman had penetrated security in Terminal 3, it was initially reported that the shooter was a TSA employee.



Casualty counts at first ranged from 1 to 3. Clarity arrived in the form of a press conference led by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti at 11:30 AM PST, when we first got a thorough account of what had happened so far:



Paul Ciancia entered LAX with an AR-15 concealed in a bag, revealing it and opening fire at the Terminal 3 security checkpoint at 9:22 AM. Los Angeles Fire Department and other emergency personnel were on the scene by 9:28, and Airport Police responded immediately, tracking and engaging Ciancia in the food court. Ciancia was shot multiple times by law enforcement and taken into custody.


A Map of the Incident

In total, emergency personnel treated 7 patients, including the shooter. One TSA employee, Gerardo I. Hernandez, was killed, and two others wounded. Police and city officials were self-congratulatory following Ciancia’s capture, with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck remarking that the situation was “handled very well today.” The Head of Airport Security, Patrick Gannon, noted that “this exact situation” had been practiced as a mandatory training by security personnel within the last month, and that city and federal agencies had cooperated effectively to control the scenario.



Because the airport is federal property, investigation will be handled by the FBI, whose representative at the press conference offered no information whatsoever besides that all necessary resources would be deployed. The shooter was known to be acting alone and was not believed to have ties to a terrorist organization.



Within two hours of the press conference, the shooter was identified as Paul Ciancia. Intrepid individuals scouring the internet soon discovered that he was from Pennsville, NJ, and was the son of Paul Ciancia Sr., owner of an auto body shop. It’s interesting that NBC clarified in their identification tweet that Ciancia is a US citizen; airports are an icon of globalism, and the US public maintains an association of public violence with foreignness:



Public violence has misleading associations with foreigness

ABC also reported that, ““In response to the LAX shooting, airports in New York are increasing their ‘high-visibility heavy-weapon patrol,’ so there is an increased display of ‘heavy weapons.’ Officials say the effort is aimed at deterring copycats.”


Who is Paul Ciancia?

As mentioned above, it was rapidly established that Ciancia was not acting in affiliation with any recognized terrorist group. Reports that he wore camouflage fatigues evoked a militaristic image, but there is little reason to imagine Paul Ciancia as anything other than a civilian.

Ciancia’s motives for the shooting are murky at best. The iconic phrase contained in a note discovered in his bag, that he wanted to “kill TSA and pigs,” has been supplemented with allegations of “anti-government literature” also in the bag. Most interestingly, some reports suggest that the note (and/or the “literature” in question) made references to the New World Order — a phrase deployed by conspiracy theorists when referring to the aspirations of contemporary oligarchical groups (such as the ultra-rich, major media icons, etc.) to restructure society and politics. The implications of such paranoiac political views are difficult to ascertain.


It was then discovered that Ciancia had sent a text message to his brother on Thursday expressing an interest in taking his own life. Accounts surfaced that Ciancia’s father had contacted the Pennsville Police Department for help in locating and ensuring the safety of his suicidal son. Pennsville PD then contacted the LAPD, who arrived at Ciancia’s apartment Friday morning to perform a “well-being check.”

Ciancia’s roommates told the police that everything was fine, and Pennsville police had never before had dealings with Ciancia. USA Today reported that a law enforcement official described the attack as “clearly a suicide mission…He did not expect to walk away from this.”


The following pictures have surfaced of the shooter: 







Social Media in the LAX Incident


Social media was the primary driver in disseminating information surrounding the events at LAX yesterday. From bystanders to concerned citizens, almost all of the spectators to this event employed Twitter or other networks to establish and corroborate the facts. NBC carried the story of a man who was at LAX at the time of the shooting, but found out what had happened, not from nearby officials, but from Facebook:

“Wasiluski, who was in adjacent Terminal 1, said no one was told what was transpiring as they were moved outside. He said he found out there was a shooting after checking his Facebook feed and seeing posts from friends.”

The cancellation of flights was first reported via Instagram video: http://instagram.com/p/gLn0X9r8DB/

Celebrities present covered the incident online

Multiple celebrities who were at the airport during the shooting attracted many views through twitter and instagram, including Grant Imhara of Mythbusters and screen actor James Franco



Imahara posted this photo on his Twitter

Cell phone footage brings us closest to the moment:




And when an LAX official stated that @LAX_Official was the most up-to-date source of information available for travelers, it was clear that social media was the medium of this moment.

This phenomenon — social media’s dominance over traditional news outlets — was similarly evident during the Boston Marathon bombings this spring. Vine provided one of the most widely accessed sources of coverage, and those who followed the chase of the Tsarnaev brothers that night will recall the videos uploaded to Twitter by regular people who could see and hear a gunfight on their street. As The Society Pages put it:


“Through Vine, the explosion happens just not on seemingly infinite replay, but on infinite replay. Enabled by a long chain of people, institutions, technologies, and devices—a chain that begins with a news channel, a cameraperson, and a video camera; a chain that culminates with Vine, a Vine user, and a smartphone—the explosion footage now seems to replay ‘all by itself.’”

Even as video games, such as Call of Duty, depict hyper-real violence all too close to home (COD Modern Warfare 2 depicts a terrorist attack on a Russian airport, while Black Ops features team multiplayer battles with two suburban houses as setting), social media brings the all-too-close reality of chaotic violence to the everyday person.

Reasons for anti-State sentiment


The Associated Press reported that the TSA officer killed was the first member of that department to lose their life on duty. The TSA, a young federal department, was created by the Bush administration as part of the Department of Homeland Security. As part of the response to the 9/11 attacks, DoHS was intended to centralize information between all federal offices pertinent to national security.


The United States’ continued campaign against international terrorist groups is one of many reasons for the increasing purchase of profound anti-American sentiments at home and abroad. Even as domestic terrorists such as the Boston Marathon and Times Square bombers have intensified paranoia through lethal high-visibility stunts in the last five years, increasing instability in the Middle East has drastically increased the strength and viability of Al-Qaeda and other affiliate extremist groups. This regional volatility is an immediate result of the Arab Spring revolutions, the increasing hold of terrorist-labeled groups such as Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Iraq and Afghanistan following US troop withdrawals, Syria’s civil war, and Egypt’s coup d’etat.


The federal response to these threats has been markedly underwhelming under both the Bush and Obama administrations. Despite nominally ending the two wars Bush started, Obama has perpetuated American military presences in the Middle East and North Africa with the CIA’s drone program and repeated Special Forces raids. Domestically, the Patriot Act under Bush combined with Obama’s unprecedented enforcement of the 1917 Espionage Act has led to a culture of anxiety and repression, with rises in hate groups and discriminatory incarcerations compounding challenges to freedom of press and speech.


Paul Ciancia targeted TSA officers specifically during the assault:
“Leon Saryan was walking through the security line at Los Angeles International Airport today, belt and shoes in hand, when a gunman approached him and pointed a long-barreled gun at him. I was cowering in a corner, he looked at me and he said, ‘TSA?’ I shook my head no, and he kept on going,” Saryan told ABC News. “I just prayed to God. That’s all I did. I just prayed,” Saryan said.

Ciancia’s assault against the Police is part of Obama’s America, a challenge to the buildup of executive power and security obsession. His violence and sense of entitlement to public space are symptomatic of greater social forces, and to a country that has become desensitized to violence but obsessed with terror; unable to reverse the tide of chaotic violence in our country but just as incapable of tearing our eyes away, the LAX shooting is a reminder that violence begets violence.


Photos:

At The Washington Post


At Huffpost


At ABC News

Published with Monogram
11.02.13 0
Zoom oneadaynewyork:

Lohla and Craig

oneadaynewyork:

Lohla and Craig

10.20.13 6

themongooseandthesnake:

“yeah im a lesbian trapped inside a man’s body” the cishet male laughs as he highfives one of his dudebros. suddenly he gives off a look of pure terror and a piercing shriek as his skin is ripped apart, much to the horror of his crew. his skin falls to the floor and a woman is left standing where he once was. “FINALLY” she roars, kicking one of the dudebros in the dick before running into the sunset in search of some hella fine ladies.

05.11.13 31293
Zoom
05.11.13 10450
Zoom huffingtonpost:

Gay Man Arrested At Missouri Hospital For Refusing To Leave Sick Partner, Not Recognized As Family
By:  Cavan Sieczkowski 

A gay man was arrested this week at a Missouri hospital after refusing to the leave bedside of his sick partner.
Roger Gorley went to Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday to visit Allen, his partner of five years. But when he got there, a member of Allen’s family asked him to leave, according to Kansas City Fox station WDAF. When Gorley refused, hospital security allegedly handcuffed him and forcefully removed him from the premises. Now he cannot visit Allen at all because of a restraining order filed against him.
“I was not recognized as being the husband, I wasn’t recognized as being the partner,” Gorley told WDAF, adding that the nurse on duty refused to verify their joint Power of Attorney status. “She didn’t even bother to go look it up to check into it. He’s been at the psychiatric unit part several times.”
Read the full story here. 

huffingtonpost:

Gay Man Arrested At Missouri Hospital For Refusing To Leave Sick Partner, Not Recognized As Family

By:  Cavan Sieczkowski

A gay man was arrested this week at a Missouri hospital after refusing to the leave bedside of his sick partner.

Roger Gorley went to Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday to visit Allen, his partner of five years. But when he got there, a member of Allen’s family asked him to leave, according to Kansas City Fox station WDAF. When Gorley refused, hospital security allegedly handcuffed him and forcefully removed him from the premises. Now he cannot visit Allen at all because of a restraining order filed against him.

“I was not recognized as being the husband, I wasn’t recognized as being the partner,” Gorley told WDAF, adding that the nurse on duty refused to verify their joint Power of Attorney status. “She didn’t even bother to go look it up to check into it. He’s been at the psychiatric unit part several times.”

Read the full story here. 

05.03.13 797
small enough to win, big enough to matter: Protip: Facilitating debate in American government classrooms should...

fivecentwisdom:

Protip: Facilitating debate in American government classrooms should not come at the expense of any potential lgbtq students you may have.

I have expressed the idea that, as a gay teenager, discussing gay marriage as a political issue led to comments that I now recognize as harmful. This did not…

05.03.13 50
Zoom byeraleigh:

Santino’s Instagram account needs to cool it.

byeraleigh:

Santino’s Instagram account needs to cool it.

05.03.13 308