Previous month:
January 2012
Next month:
March 2012

February 2012

Friday Ephemera

Flying baby. // Underwater dogs. // Photographs of winter. // It’s always been getting worse. // When ideas have sex. (h/t, TDK) // The scale of the universe (2). // World’s smallest chameleon. // “Your teeth belong to the collective.” (h/t, TDK) // The museum of retro-technology. // Roses made of duct tape. // LED snowboarding. // You’ve got a huge expanse of snow and great big pair of boots. // A cacophony of Bond. // Liquid light. // Kid Magneto. // Magnetic tornado on the Sun. // Air traffic control towers. // The night sky. // Sweden’s ice hotel gets a new ‘diamond’ room. // And your very own Downton Abbey paper dolls.

Architects of Tomorrow

Let’s play a game. Let’s see if you can guess the author of the following diatribe. The language is a little salty and the reasoning unclear, but let the avalanche of rhetoric roll right over you anyway. It’s what the author wants and generally gets away with. 

Precarity is opportunity. Fuck social mobility. Fuck security. Fuck money. Fuck rising above your class rather than with it. Fuck marriage, mortgage, monogamy, and every other small, ugly ambition we were bullied into pursuing. We should have abandoned them long before we were obliged to do so, and now we have no choice… We have five years until catastrophic climate change becomes a foregone conclusion…

Contrarianism, nihilism, apocalyptic fantasies? All clues.

Doomed youth isn’t so sympathetic when it’s screaming defiance in your face.

Operatic victimhood, comical bluster? Oh, come on.

We tried terribly hard to save each other, in the way that young people do, sharing out whatever meagre bits of work and welfare we could get our hands on, nursing one another ineffectually through the shock of walking out of school and college into a world that didn’t want us… The lost boys and girls of the credit crunch with no jobs, no prospects, no safe places to live, none of the things we played the game for all our young lives… 

All our young lives.

No? Okay, one more.

It has to be war… The cracks in capitalism are getting wider, and if we are smart enough and brave enough we can force those cracks open until the whole thing shakes. We are the new left: precarious, rootless, ruthless, entitled, digitally enabled, and we are beginning to set the agenda…. The narrative of class transcendence held up to the superstructure of free-market ideology. Now that narrative is collapsing, threatening to bring the whole thing crashing down. So let it come down. There is more than enough room for us to build new lives in the rubble.

Ah, thought that would do it. Yes, it’s the stoical and subtle philosophy of Laurie Penny.


Elsewhere, Laurie returns to the subject of pubic glitter and its political ramifications: 

If even the most private, intimate parts of us are being neutered and colonised by capitalism - stripped and shaved and made to sparkle like a chicken fillet covered in glitter - how are we possibly supposed to lead healthy emotional lives? If the surveillance of patriarchy and profit has now reached inside our knickers, we could be forgiven for not having the space or energy to fight back.

I’m guessing Laurie’s on the upswing of her manic-depressive cycle.

For more of Ms Penny’s trademark understatement and Olympian logic, see thisthis, this and this.

Elsewhere (56)

Bill Whittle on why it sucks to be conservative

It sucks to be the people who have to break the news that nothing is free. That sucks. For example, that’s why healthcare is not a right. My right to free speech does not impose a cost on someone else; my right to healthcare would. Because healthcare is a commodity and someone would have to provide it. If healthcare were free I’d be a liberal, about healthcare anyway, but healthcare is not free, it costs money. And that sucks… It’s much easier and nicer being the liberal promising you free things that actually cost money. It sucks to be the person telling you that nothing is free, but that’s the truth. 

Heather Mac Donald on crime, policing and denial:

According to conventional wisdom, crime can be significantly lowered only by eliminating its “root causes”: poverty, inequality and racism. Policing, in this view, can only respond to crime after the fact by making an arrest; preventing crime from occurring in the first place lies in the domain of economic and welfare policy. What makes New York such a powerful natural experiment is that it is, in all respects but one, nearly the same city as it was in 1990, when its homicide rate was five times higher. The previously assumed drivers of crime – poverty, income inequality, drug use – have not diminished; and family breakdown – conservatives’ preferred root cause – has worsened. […]

But New York policing has undergone a radical transformation since the early 1990s. In 1994, William Bratton became commissioner of the Police Department and unleashed a tornado of change, declaring that the police would actually lower crime, not just respond to it, and sweeping aside the department’s risk-averse culture... His staff rolled out strategy after strategy for getting guns off the street, dismantling local drug gangs, and combating the pervasive disorder of the city’s thoroughfares and subways… New York has shown that criminals can be deterred.

And given what we’ve seen previously, this could be interesting - Occupy Unmasked:

“I kind of like it that they’re sort of militantly vague.” 

As usual, feel free to add your own in the comments.

Friday Ephemera

Mouse and bear. // How to make your own beef jerky underpants. // The entire Harry Potter saga, enacted and condensed. // A-ha versus five North Korean accordionists. // Knee joints and nanodiamonds. // Look, up in the sky. Is it a bird, is it a plane…? // Bureaucrats of the world. // Abandoned zoos. (h/t, Julia) // Baby flamingo. // “Banana?” (h/t, Elephants Gerald) // I fear for the plumbing. // “We have a Hulk.” And there’s a lizard on the loose. // How moths stay aloft. // Apparently salad makes women happy. (h/t, Kate) // From the people who made thisthis. // Raiding the Lost Ark. // Remember, the academic life is a noble one.

Apologies for the minimal posting. Busy working on secret things. Normal service will, I promise, soon be resumed.