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January 2015

Friday Ephemera

Apocalyptic weather forecast brought to you by AccuWeather. // Candy carpet. // Catherine the Great’s erotic cabinet. // Sex device patents of note. // Some first-time experiences of virtual reality porn. // Pocket operator. // Unboiling eggs now possible. // Leather and paper. // Leather-bound, shock-absorbing designer crutches. // Alaskan native snow goggles, circa 1900. // Everyone remembers that sad Saturday. // Snow plough of note. // 1.4 explosions per minute. // Playing cards of yore. (h/t, drb) // Monks and sand. // Shooting New York from above. // 18 everyday objects photographed up close. // Big rings. // Board game of note. // “What if everything were cheap?” // When women draw vaginas. “Oh God, wow.” // And finally, scientifically, how to draw mushrooms on an oscilloscope.

Elsewhere (148)

Franklin Einspruch on art, censorship and impossibly delicate feelings

On December 8, in response to a conversation with the artist in which he expressed contrition but not enough for her liking, [third-year doctoral student, Kayla] Wheeler cried out, “The artist triggered me again. I’m hyperventilating. I literally can’t breathe right now… I’m being verbally attacked by this man. I’m shaking and crying. Please make it stop.” 

Kevin Williamson on private life versus pseudo-moral grandstanding

The profoundly stupid “black brunch” protests, during which racial-grievance entrepreneurs disrupted meals at places that seemed to them offensively Caucasian (“white spaces”) are a different species of undertaking… The message these protests send is that there is no private space — and, therefore, no private life — so far as this particular rabble is concerned... That the people at brunch have no real direct connection to the events motivating the protesters is beside the point. They were targeted on racial grounds: These were detestable “white spaces,” and the people there were to be punished for being white — even if they were not, in fact, white, their presence in “white spaces” makes them guilty by association. That the protesters were themselves largely white goes without saying: Protests of this sort are a prestige performance for stupid white college kids, mainly. 

Peter Wood on leftist academics who find violence titillating

Eric Linsker, an adjunct professor of English composition at [the City University of New York], was arrested on December 13, after he had carried a large garbage can onto a walkway on the Brooklyn Bridge, apparently in an effort to drop it on the heads of police officers below. Linsker was ordered by the police to put it down but fled the scene, dropping his backpack, with two hammers inside, and, among others things, his CUNY ID. Cindy Gorn and Zachary Campbell were among the academics arrested for assaulting police on the Brooklyn Bridge in an effort to help Linsker escape. Gorn is a graduate student at Columbia University… Her “areas of work” are “geography from the perspective of Marxist philosophy, social movements, autonomous labour movements, health, and the environment.” 

Somewhat related, Jim Treacher notes the lively goings-on at a concert for non-violence. 

And further to this, Robert Tracinski on dishonest narratives and apologies not forthcoming

But it’s clearly time to apologise — for every activist and journalist (but I repeat myself) who bought into the simplistic, self-serving “hands up, don’t shoot” narrative and broadcast it far and wide based on false testimony; who reflexively dismissed [police officer, Darren] Wilson’s side of the story as preposterous and unbelievable; who doggedly upheld a wider narrative that slanders police officers across the country as murderous racists. Don’t apologise because I shamed you into it, or because I’m trying to sell you on my advice for how to avoid debacles like this in the future. Do it because if you want to hold others accountable for their action, you need to first make sure you are accountable for your own.

Feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments. It’s what these posts are for. 

Friday Ephemera

Nunchucks, baby. // Frozen bubbles. // Flowers in ice. // Where fairy tales could happen. // 1940s Detroit. // Dashcam footage of note. // The epiphanies of Jessica Fletcher. // Popeye loops. // “Given the choice between 20 lashes spread over 5 days or 3 years in prison, which would you choose?” // Cinema etiquette circa 1912. // Ionising radiation and where to find it. // Haulage. // Owls. // Big beasts of the sea. // “The estimated cost for dropping four beavers from a plane was around $30 in 1948, that’s about $294 in today’s dollars.” // Adopted dogs. // Designer chocs. // Exciting new product from Weyland-Yutani. // The truth is out there. // This is not a UFO. // Unapplauded skillz. // Tools. // And finally, via Simen, Succulent is an interactive game involving hairy men and lollipops.

Art, Wigs and the Wearing of Pants

Or, Another Packed House. Or, The Hours, They Flew By.

Strap yourselves in and crack open the booze because, yes, once again, I bring you jewels from the world of performance art. Specifically, the deeply melodious, mind-shattering creations of Ms Eames Armstrong, whose collaboration with Matthew Ryan Rossetti and a being named Kunj was happily captured on film for all of future time. Said performance, titled Through Bush, Through Briar, was recorded at the Atlantis Gallery, Richmond, VA., in November 2014. Regarding Ms Armstrong’s piece and her aesthetic practice in general, we’re told

I am not an entertainer.


I perform actions that reflect and complicate everyday life… I challenge preconceptions of performance, destabilising visibility and invisibility. 

Naturally, Ms Armstrong is also,

Transgressing conventions.

You see, she’s

shifting our perception of the world.

This feat is achieved by means of,

Oral fruit play… binding breasts in tape… kissing with black lipstick… spitting in your mouth… having visions of the underworld.

And if further intellectual heft is needed,

Through Bush, Through Briar is loosely inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

As will no doubt become clear in the following video of highlights from the hour-long performance:

Continue reading "Art, Wigs and the Wearing of Pants" »

Ladies First

Keili Bartlett reports from the cutting edge of Canadian academia

Women should be heard first in the classroom, a forum on misogyny at Dalhousie University heard on Thursday. “Men should not be allowed to monopolise these forums,” management professor Judy Haiven said.

Readers are invited to see if they can spot any male persons on the non-monopolistic panel in question.

Her idea that women should always speak first in classroom discussions and at public events was brought up several times during the forum. Haiven said she already tries to apply this idea in her own classroom… “In the management department, women get to speak first.”

How chivalrous. Though of course the professor means male students aren't allowed to speak first. Because gender condescension is the path to utopia. 

Haiven’s idea was met by a round of applause,

Of course it was.

but not everyone agreed with her suggestion.

Oh, calamity. Do I hear a rumble of dissent?  

“I think that women of colour should speak first in class,” [gender and sexual resource centre outreach co-ordinator, Jude] Ashburn said.

Whew. That was close.

Sadly, however, Total Ideological Correction™ remains just out of reach. Perhaps more panel discussions are needed. Panels in which stern and pious ladies confuse gender with temperament and depict women as timid, delicate creatures who struggle to raise their hands and can’t quite master speech. In a cosseting environment where women are a majority

Update, via the comments: 

Continue reading "Ladies First" »

Friday Ephemera

At last, “We send glitter to the people you hate.” // Ice huts. (h/t, Coudal) // Under ice. // Cuba before communism. // Christopher Hitchens on the awful cosmic joke that is Muhammadanism. // A montage of Hitchcock motifs. // Knots and how to tie them. // 47, 973. // Playing with fire. // How to slyly steal pizza. // Perhaps a bit long in the tooth for this sort of thing. // Eiffel Tower coffee maker. // “Rules for men in feminist movements.” (h/t, McCain) // Ladies, I bring you fashion. // The thrill of bri-nylon. // Balloons. // Luggage. // Bugs of Singapore. // Sub-optimal driving conditions. (h/t, Randall) // A billion degrees of separation. // Building without nails. // How to build a snow shark. // And finally, loftily, the science of monkeys and mirrors. Or, “Hey, that’s my arse!

And Then Twitter Hurt My Feelings

Another contender for our series of classic Guardian sentences, in this case a subheading

Until social media manners catch up with the real world, some of us will have to delete the [Twitter] app just to feel safe.

Just to feel safe. From Twitter. Which, we’re told, is “only happening on your phone” and “where no one is actually touching you and you are not in a corporeal sense under threat,” but where being laughed at or called names is “an incredibly visceral experience” for grown men and women.

By way of damning illustration, we’re steered to the sorrows of the actress and writer Lena Dunham, 28, who has “gone dark” on Twitter and is currently “trying to create a safer space” for herself, “emotionally.” Oddly, no mention is made of Ms Dunham’s own attention-seeking pronouncements and outright fabrications, including a false claim of rape involving an identifiable man, and which attracted much of the attention she now finds so unflattering. Guardian readers are thereby left to suppose that the consequent mockery and vitriol, and threats of legal action, were some inexplicable ex nihilo phenomenon.

The author of said piece is Ms Brigid Delaney, a novelist and Guardian features editor whose estimation of her own brilliance and entitlement to taxpayer subsidy entertained us not too long ago. 

Elsewhere (147)

Christopher Snowdon on nicotine and the prohibitionist’s dilemma: 

In scenario number two, you are a journeyman public health advocate picking up a nice, steady wage from the government every month. You hold lots of meetings and you go to lots of conferences. You and your colleagues developed a plan of incremental prohibition in the early 1980s and you have it all mapped out… And then something comes along that you didn’t expect. A new product that gives smokers a way to enjoy nicotine without the health risks of smoking cigarettes. You didn’t come up with the idea. The government didn’t come up with the idea. It came from the private sector, and private businesses are making money out of it. Worse still, after a few years of monitoring the market, the tobacco industry buys up a few companies and now they’re making money out of it. Sure, lots of people are giving up smoking as a result, but not in a way that was part of The Plan. Where does this leave you?

Brendan O’Neill on a popular conceit: 

The idea that there is a… culture of hot-headed, violent-minded hatred for Muslims that could be awoken and unleashed by the next terror attack is an invention… The thing that keeps the Islamophobia panic alive is not actual violence against Muslims but the right-on politicos’ ill-founded yet deeply held view of ordinary Europeans, especially those of a working-class variety, as racist and stupid. This is the terrible irony of the Islamophobia panic: The fearers of anti-Muslim violence claim to be challenging prejudice but actually they reveal their own prejudices, their distrust of and disdain for those who come from the other side of the tracks, read different newspapers, hold different beliefs, live different lives.

Thomas Sowell on milking pretentious guilt: 

Our schools and colleges are laying a guilt trip on those young people whose parents are productive, and who are raising them to become productive. What is amazing is how easily this has been done, largely just by replacing the word “achievement” with the word “privilege.”

And again, on the equality racket

And Daniel Hannan chats with some unhappy, scowling socialists:  

Don’t make the mistake of judging socialism as a textbook theory but judging capitalism by its necessarily imperfect outcomes. Judge like with like. In the real world, you find me a functioning socialist country that has delivered more than a free-market alternative.

As always, feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments. It’s what these posts are for.

Friday Ephemera

Real-time hand mutator. // Hotel made of salt. // Moon lamp. // Puppies with guns. (h/t, Ace) // Impress your friends by defusing a bomb. // Wi-Fi-enabled robotic bartender. // Icebergs. (h/t, Mick) // For all those butt selfies you take. // No biting. // Thomas Sowell on Basic Economics. // New York subway conductors. // Like Blade Runner, but real. // Surely everyone cleans their grubby baking trays with a laser? // Slovenian ski resort of note. // Carving. // Alternative survival gear. // Online Spirograph. // In other news. // The happening ladies of Edwardian England. // 24 hours of flights over the UK. // There ain’t no turbulence like TNG turbulence. // The great fuel cap mystery of 2014. // And finally, via Dr W, “The Beatles, as they were presented to us, never existed.”