Water

Bon Ton

$1.50

11 / 8 / diagonal

Cefdinir 300 MG

Bison & Arrow

The Bison & Arrow that I’ve been working on so publicly has been finished and is up for sale here:
Cotton Bureau.
The premise is pretty simple. I’ve submitted the art, they’ve approved it. Now if I sell 12 shirts, they get printed.

I haven’t outlined all the reasoning behind my fascination or current obsession with the subject. Many, if not all, of the reasons go back to what prompted me to restart this blog back in 2011. The Four Bridges Half Marathon in Chattanooga. I began writing during the training for that race. And in the end I shouldn’t have run it thanks to an injury. But I did anyways and it was a miserable experience. After struggling to run through the pain of the injury, and then walking about five miles of the course, my moment of epiphany happened.

I was feeling a bit defeated as I arrived at the Walnut Street Bridge. I knew I would be able to walk to the finish line, but I wasn’t pleased. As I hit the wood planking, I took a few deep breaths and started a slow trot, seeing if I could manage to run the last half mile. It was clear after 50 or 60 feet that it was a bad idea, and so I continued my walk of shame. And that’s when it struck me. Out of the blue I almost began to sob. A well of emotion had uncorked itself in my chest and I found myself choking back tears at a vague notion.

A memory came rushing back to me. One that I’d not forgotten, but one that I’d not thought of in a long time. When I was in junior high I’d considered trying out for the wrestling team. I went to the first meeting to find out what the try-out process would be. There wasn’t really a try-out process, as just about anyone who wanted to wrestle would be allowed, and the team that competed would be drawn from performance in practice, etc. The training was outlined a bit, and it was revealed that the next day would be the beginning of that training. Everyone was going to be running three miles. I thought it over that evening and decided it maybe wasn’t really for me. I can’t recall the exact reasons, but I backed out in my mind. The next day I went to the 1st day of practice to tell the coach I was essentially quitting, which apparently wasn’t necessary. He seemed baffled by my presence. Later I was picked up by my step-mother and taken home.

I related everything to my father and his demeanor wasn’t great. He walked over to a shelf and retrieved a tourist trap picture of Native Americans hunting buffalo that I had given him as a gift. He returned and started a small speech about them, asking if I thought they would quit. If they quit, they’d die. And on it went. It ended with his expression of how disappointed he was that I’d quit.

I went to my room feeling like shit. It was a miserable feeling. I didn’t rally my efforts and go back to the coach and try to continue with the team. But the lesson stuck with me.

Walking across the bridge, the number of things that I’ve begun and not finished, particularly athletic or sporting endeavors came to me. Three months ago I committed to running a half marathon. It is something I’ve wanted to do for years, but just recently been encouraged by my friend Alison to really buckle down and train for. She encouraged me to do it, and her faith in my abilities really drove me to think I could manage it. She also told me not to run if I wasn’t healthy yet. But more than anything this thought of my father’s disappointment in my quitting came to me, and I could look down to the park and finish line knowing that I was finally going to finish something that I’d started. It was stupid to race injured. I couldn’t define before the race why I suddenly felt so driven to run. Maybe it wasn’t some subconscious effort to finally please my father with an athletic accomplishment and I was just being my normal stubborn self. But I struggled to keep the tears away all the way across the bridge.

Thus, the buffalo became a personal symbol, and that moment on the bridge became one of the most meaningful in my relationship with my father who had died a little less than a year before I ran that race. It closed a very long chapter and freed me from a personal struggle with him and his memory. That’s why a broken arrow was incorporated. Most commonly it’s a symbol of peace, and can also be considered a symbol of new beginnings.

These are my reasons for the creation of this icon. Beyond that, my hope is that it’s interesting enough that people would want to wear it.

Mr Nobody and Perfect Sense

With running on hold while I figure out this sinus issue I’ve spent a lot of time with Netflix. Being tired of documentaries, the bread and butter of Netflix it would seem, I took a gamble on a couple of sci-fi films. The outcome was rather favorable.


Perfect Sense Movie PosterNot only is perfect in the title, but Netflix believed I would give Perfect Sense a perfect score. Skimming through titles, it stood out with a four and three-quarters expected rating. Ewan McGregor and Rachel Green, a plot involving epidemiology. Sure, why not.

The story follows a chef who meets an epidemiologist at the onset of a new outbreak. The “disease” causes people to lose each of their senses. Green delivers this information with an austere and scientific coldness through voiceover. McGregor’s chef provides a happy-go-lucky counter to Green, proffering repeatedly in the face of obstacles that life will go on.

Both characters have deep psychological trauma explored through an effective allegorical “disease,” peeling back layers of defense as their relationship grows. That the film attempts a grounded scientific approach while using Aristotle’s traditional five senses rather than the many more that humans actually possess is more than made up for by the emotional impact that is accompanied with the loss of each sense by humanity.

This was the first film I’ve seen by the director, David Mackenzie. I was impressed with the composition of a number of his shots and clever, but not ostentatious, cuts. In one scene McGregor and Green lie next to each other their faces aligned to appear as one face (used in the film poster above). A scene showing the staff cooking in the kitchen is interspersed with still shots, often catching a moment of joy on a chefs face. Depictions of the public losing a sense seem distant and clinical as Green narrates them, but set a dreadful tone when the film returns to the intimacy of the protagonists, knowing they will soon suffer the same fate.

As bleak as the film becomes at times, it never feels oppressively so, often having moments of pure delight and levity. Humorous moments glimmer in the darkness and though the resolution is terrifying, certainly for me as the thought of blindness absolutely terrifies me, the feeling the film ends with is ultimately one of appreciation. For the things around us, the senses we have to experience them, and the people we able to share them with.


Mr. Nobody Movie PosterFaced with a decision on a train platform, a child’s reality fractures. That child name is Nemo, Latin for Nobody. And the film, Mr. Nobody, follows along in a swirl as an elderly Nemo recounts his life to a reporter in the distant future.

The overlapping narratives, set in different times and places, occupied by multiple love interests, told by Nemo confuse the reporter. “How can you be in more than one place at a time?” he wonders.

The film suggests that reality is made of many dimensions, along the lines of string theory, and the viewer is left to wonder if this is the explanation for the multiple narratives at play. Being fascinated with string theory, I was immediately drawn in by the notion, enjoying the general arc of Nemo’s multiple lives, revealing the answer to the “what if” questions Nemo asks at pivotal moments of his life.

The filmmaker, Jaco Van Dormael, does an adept job at creating visual clues to help the viewer keep up with which reality the story is following at any given time. But, just as the viewer begins to feel comfortable with the structure, new elements emerge that threaten to unravel everything. Many of these moments come in arresting visuals. Where Perfect Sense is understated and uses traditional framing and editing techniques to create the unease of an outbreak or the sense of intimacy between two people, Mr. Nobody goes all out visually to encompass a vast and creative imagination. There are scenes reminiscent of Michel Gondry dream sequences and recurring visual themes, creating a repetition that ties the multiple story lines together, making them feel all part of a single life’s story.

In light of the vastness of the story and visual extravagance, the story is held together with small emotional vignettes. Intimate scenes, many of which struck chords rather close to me. It is impressive how deeply the romance between Nemo and three different love interest can feel considering each story only gets a third of the screen time it normally would. There is the sense of an emotional shorthand used by the filmmaker, it doesn’t blunt the force of many of the scenes.

I’m not sure if I’m satisfied with the conclusion of the film. It’s not as emotionally fulfilling as Perfect Sense, but the journey was incredibly engaging, if nothing else for the way it delves into such simple questions and imagines the capacity of human imagination.

Sunday Recap // Sept 14

It’s been a slow post week on the site, largely because my phone is getting worse than the image above. It makes photography, and Instagram, particularly tricky. So, not much of that, but there has been plenty of reading this week.

I’m a bit of a data junkie, so a few notes about this weeks recap:

27 Articles with 2 additional video links.

Just over 39,000 words.

Roughly three hours of reading time, and about an hour of video if you go through it all.

These 27 articles aren’t everything I’ve read this week. And this also leaves out most political stuff all of the Apple coverage I read this week. I doubt many people would find all of the rumors and critiques about the iPhone and AppleWatch as interesting as I do. All of that in mind, I feel like I don’t read as much as I used to, largely because I’m not reading as many books… but to consider all of these readings, all the articles I left out, and other social media, I’m probably reading more than ever before, just in a different way.

There are also a few threads that seem to weave through this weeks articles, but rather than spell them out, I’ll let you discover them as you read through.

Culture

The Death of Adulthood in American Culture

This article has garnered a lot of attention. It’s an interesting take on the end of patriarchy in a way. Also worth considering the juvenile nature of a lot of cultural commentary from those who oppose the end of white male patriarchy through the lens of this article.

In suggesting that patriarchy is dead, I am not claiming that sexism is finished, that men are obsolete or that the triumph of feminism is at hand. I may be a middle-aged white man, but I’m not an idiot.. But there may be other less unequivocally happy consequences. It seems that, in doing away with patriarchal authority, we have also, perhaps unwittingly, killed off all the grown-ups.

The ‘Death of Adulthood’ is Just Capitalism at Work

And a rebuttal / companion piece to the previous article. It’s impossible to look out culture divorced from economics.

This fundamental confusion and ambivalence reflects a deep-seated blind spot, I would argue, one that’s endemic to the culture-vulture trade. Scott carefully anatomizes the trees but misses the forest, or to speak more precisely ignores the condition of the soil. There really is something beneath his “death of adulthood” premise, whether or not you like the prejudicial phrase. But to coin a phrase: It’s the economy, stupid. Scott’s essay appears to treat “culture” as a sealed and self-referential system, one that shapes and reflects human consciousness but has only an incidental relationship with economic, political and social factors that lie outside its purview. We have moved so far from the old Marxist view of culture as an ideological “superstructure” erected upon the economic base of society that we now pretend it’s an entirely autonomous force, or a mystical-cum-psychological shadow play that gives “human shape to our collective anxieties and aspirations,” in Scott’s phrase. There are clues in his article suggesting that he doesn’t entirely buy that, and we need to remember that he works at the Times, where critics are not encouraged to venture into contentious ideological terrain or to suggest that they may have political opinions.

The surveillance society is a step forward. But one that harkens back to our deep forager past.

If patriarchy is slowly crumbling, it will hopefully mark the beginning of greater equality. In that vein, this is a really interesting take on our current state of privacy and surveillance. Nothing is ever black and white, purely good or purely bad.

Celebrity nude photos pilfered from iPhone accounts. Ferguson. Body cameras. Deemed the surveillance society or the transparent society, the rise of camera surveillance seems unstoppable. The parallel I’d like to draw is to the rise of equality… both an authoritarian and a republican form of equality were (and are) possible. Likewise, though on a much reduced scale, the surveillance society feels inevitable. It is driven forward on all sides. And like equality, the surveillance society contains both authoritarian and republican tendencies.

Future Footprints

I tend to fall in the camp that sees the arc of human history bending towards progress. Many aspects of our lives are far better than ever before in human history. At the same time, it’s worth pausing and asking at what cost, and for whom are those benefits afforded.

There is, however, a four-ton mastodon in the living room that Ackerman tiptoes around. The 21st-century rise of the Anthropocene as a unitary-species story coincides with a trend toward rising inequality, between the haves and the never-will-haves. In America, we call this the second Gilded Age, but in nations as diverse as China, Ireland, India, Spain and Nigeria, the idea of the human is also fracturing economically. In 2013, the world’s 85 wealthiest individuals had a net worth equal to that of our planet’s 3.5 billion poorest people. Since 1751, a mere 90 corporations, primarily oil and coal ­companies, have generated two-thirds of humanity’s CO2 emissions. That’s a serious concentration of earth-altering power.

Most Americans Didn’t Recover During the “Recovery”

We’re a far cry from equity in this country, and advocating for closing the gap in wealth is not a call for class warfare. These are staggering numbers that show just how great the burden is on lower and middle class Americans.

Wealth inequality, for instance, is even worse than income inequality. The top 10 percent of families own 75 percent of all wealth. At Demos, Matt Bruenig points out that white Americans own 90 percent of national wealth. In fact, the top 10 percent of white families own 65 percent of all wealth in America.

Sam Shepard: ‘America is on its way out as a culture’

I’m not familiar with Sam Shepard’s plays, knowing him mostly from his film roles. He seems like a rather interesting character. It would seem he wants us to recognize that burden so many Americans are living under. The strain. And what that might mean for our culture.

The situation, he believes, is irredeemable. “We’re on our way out,” he says of America. “Anybody that doesn’t realise that is looking like it’s Christmas or something. We’re on our way out, as a culture. America doesn’t make anything anymore! The Chinese make it! Detroit’s a great example. All of those cities that used to be something. If you go to a truck stop in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, you’ll probably see the face of America. How desperate we are. Really desperate. Just raw.”

For Playboy, Feminism Is Now Just Part Of Being A Gentleman

I stumbled across one of the Playboy posts mentioned in this piece. I was a bit surprised. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

The intersection of feminism and smutty magazines seems like a slippery one. Sexual empowerment is a product of sexy magazines, sure, but so is rampant female objectification. Feminists are wary of an institutional player that has long traded in photos where women are meant to fit male definitions of what’s sexy. Isn’t a company dealing in photos of women (or “girls” in Playboy lingo) the worst possible feminist ally?
Or are they one of the best? Rape culture is defined as the systemic problems that place responsibility on women to prevent rape instead of on men to stop raping. With its platform, Playboy is uniquely positioned to shift some of that responsibility toward men — telling men they’re the ones who need to ask for consent actively, for example — as it did in the two pieces that are now getting noticed.

“I want a straight white male gaming convention”: Inside the culture war raging in the video gaming world

Open critiques are one of the most valuable things I went through in my degree program. I learned that an open conversation and criticism of my work was not a personal attack on me or my worth, value, or abilities. It was a setting to learn what worked and what didn’t in my execution of a solution to an art or design challenge. Learning those things helped me refine my skills and become a better designer. It is unfortunate that most people can not understand that criticism is not personal attack. And when something you value or love is criticized it does not justify attacking and threatening the critic.

Sarkeesian looks at “Women As Background Decoration,” citing, for example, a “Grand Theft Auto IV” section where you can slap a bound woman, a level in “God of War III” where you drag along a half-naked woman, and a portion of the recently released game “Watch Dogs,” in which you visit a sex slave ring.

To much of the world, these sorts of critiques are common – these days we’re taught to be introspective about diversity, inclusion, privilege and power in our workplaces, our homes, our politics. But in video gaming, such discussion is rare. Perhaps that explains why, when faced with Sarkeesian’s critique, a loud and angry subset of gamers chose not to put out well-reasoned responses showing where they agreed or disagreed with her, but react in the same manner you might expect a crowd of Tea Partyers, eager to defend themselves against what they view as an attack on their way of life.

What Women in ’70s Slasher Films Tell Us About Women in Games Today

The success of the games referenced turn the arguments of the angry white men above on their heads. Great games can have strong multidimensional female leads. Greater progress can be made, but the arc is bending.

For Clover, the presence of these complicated, strong-headed women was a significant step forward for women in the horror genre. While she admitted that viewing the slasher’s Final Girl as a feminist icon was “wishful thinking,” she also argued that the trope marked progress. Referring to the audience’s ability to empathize with the character on screen, Clover argued that the Final Girl allows “the gaze,” which was consistently male, to become, “at least for a while, female.” The popularity of the Final Girl led Clover to suggest that perhaps these slasher flicks represented a transitional period for gender representation in horror films: Yes, there were still exploitative aspects to the portrayal of the female heroes, but Clover considered the Final Girl’s prominence—and the fact that majority-male audiences were sympathizing with these female characters—to be a stepping stone toward truly equal representation.

Stephen A. Smith completely loses it over calls for Goodell’s resignation

Steven A. Smith is an asshat. He obviously didn’t learn anything from his one week suspension for victim-blaming. Now he wants to rail about the president of the National Organization for Women calling for Roger Goodell to resign, calling her, “off her rocker.” Seeing as many men, including Keith Olberman (see below) have called for the same or more, where is Mr. Smith’s outrage at his fellow men who must also be “off their rocker?” Simply put, Mr. Smith has no respect for women and would prefer to devalue their opinion and worth. Rather than address the rational opinion of women with whom he disagrees, he would rather just call them crazy. Where is his disdain for fellow men who share the opinion of empowered women? Simply put, it would appear that Mr. Smith is a garden variety misogynist:

I’m sorry, I think this woman is off her rocker,” Smith said. “I think she’s lost her mind. That’s right, I said it. This is the most ridiculous nonsense I’ve ever heard in my life. Roger Goodell deserves to lose his job? Why are you acting like he’s Ray Rice? Roger Goodell didn’t hit Janay Palmer Rice. He hasn’t hit any women. And by the way, the last time I checked, Skip, why are we talking about the NFL as if it’s some cesspool for domestic violence? There’s a few cases. It’s being dealt with. It needs to be dealt with harshly — etcetera, etcetera. There are 1,800 players in the NFL! By and large, most acting like model citizens, never getting in any trouble — what the hell is this?”

For context, here is Keith Olberman’s rant, which Mr. Smith did not lose his shit over:

And I can’t even bring myself to post anything about the Fox & Friends hosts. At least Mr. Smith was suspended for a month when he blamed the victim. Needless to say, to my knowledge thus far, the Fox hosts have suffered nothing for truly disturbing jokes about the situation.

The NFL Is Full of Ray Rices

And here’s a few more examples of how in Mr. Smith’s words above, “It’s being dealt with.” Yep, sure it is Mr. Smith. You go ahead and keep burying your head in the sand and trying to convince yourself it’s not the problem that it clearly is.

They are illegal. They have no place in the NFL and are unacceptable in any way, under any circumstances,” a great many abusers of women still in fact have a place in the league… Even if you think they all should all be kicked out yesterday, it’s hard to imagine a plausible scenario in which Goodell—with a tenuous grip on the commissioner’s plush leather chair—might enact a Stalin-esque, retroactive purge.

Why American History Should Begin with Slavery

History. It’s hard to avoid it’s politicization. If the US wants to be the shining beacon on the hill that Reagan referenced, we have to come to grips with our true history and what our culture and society were built on top of.

We live in a country that often prefers to begin its narrative with New England and the Puritans fleeing religious persecution and following it up with the pseudo-romance of the “First Thanksgiving” rather than beginning with the rise of African slavery in the Chesapeake. It is no surprise or coincidence that four out of the first five US presidents were all slaveholders from Virginia. Yes, the story of America is one of intense work ethic, but mainly the work ethic of laboring slaves. Nothing in this country comes even remotely close to comparing to all of the profits gained by slave labor. The real issue is that history is not objective, it’s political. Where a story starts and ends is political. Language that defines winners and losers is political (i.e the Civil War or the War of Northern Aggression). In history, adjectives are political.

How Christian Fundamentalist Homeschooling Damages Children

I don’t understand the fear of the deeply religious. Well, maybe I do. I went through it myself. And that fear stemmed from doubt. Doubt about a system built on control and fear. If I don’t believe in this system I will burn in hell for eternity. But I never had a truly metaphysical experience and it never felt real. So. Doubt feeds the fear. In the end it’s sad to think that fear is leading to children barely being able to read as they enter their teenage years, or the education of girls being neglected so they can simply produce more children and manage a household.

Garrison believes that homeschooling has become so popular with fundamentalist Christians because, “there is an atmosphere of real terror among some evangelicals. They are horrified by the fact that Obama is president, and they see the New Atheist movement as a vocal, in-your-face threat. Plus, they are obsessed with the End Times, and believe that the Apocalypse could happen any day now…They see a demon on every corner.

Charles Negy, Professor, Says Students Showed ‘Religious Arrogance And Bigotry’ In A Letter Later Posted On Reddit

No one wants their doubts reinforced by evidence that what you believe is built on non-existent foundations.

The male student who stood up in class and directed the rest of the class to “not participate” by not responding to my challenge, represented the worst of education… this “let’s just put our fingers in our ears so we will not hear what we disagree with” is appallingly childish and exemplifies “anti-intellectualism.” The purpose of a university is to engage in dialogue, debate, and exchange ideas in order to try and come to some meaningful conclusion about an issue at hand. Not to shut ourselves off from ideas we find threatening.

The Integration of Church and State

And full circle to the politics of history. There is an agenda in most readings of history. Fear and doubt have convinced many to rewrite history in their own image. If the foundation isn’t there, simply imagine it to be so and try to convince everyone else.

Once upon a time, a bunch of guys got on a boat and left England and its crazy religious leadership and decided to start a new country, free of all that nonsense. When our founding fathers started drafting and amending our constitution, they included something to make sure that our government would make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, and also allow people to practice whatever religion they wanted. It was the First Amendment and it was a separation of church of state, allowing people to do what they wanted for themselves and their religion and allowed the government to exist separate of that. Time went on, the country changed, and the founding fathers’ words were completely forgotten and abandoned. What was left of their words were completely mutilated and reassembled to mean something completely different, and solely, the religious communities of America lived happily ever after under the misconception that the United States of America was founded as a religious nation. The end. This is the story of religion in this country. It is true that once we were led by brilliant men who understood that religion and politics should be separate. Anyone that tells you that our founding fathers intended this country to be a Christian nation, frankly, has no idea what they are talking about. In fact, many of our founding fathers couldn’t get far enough away from Christianity. Thomas Jefferson said that Christianity was “the most perverted system that ever shone on man.” If Thomas Jefferson could only see us now.

Science

The Truth We Won’t Admit: Drinking Is Healthy

I run a lot, and like many runners, that leads to a decent bit of drinking. This makes me feel better about that. And also, America and your puritanism. Good grief.

Driven by the cultural residue of Temperance, most Americans still view drinking as unhealthy; many call alcohol toxic. Yet, despite drinking far less than many European nations, Americans have significantly worse health outcomes than heavier-drinking countries. (For example, despite being heavily out-drunk by the English, we have almost exactly twice their levels of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.)

With Genetic Testing, I Gave My Parents the Gift of Divorce

My father once asked me in passing, “How would you feel if you had a half-brother or half-sister out there?” I’m not sure what to think of that question, and he didn’t really follow up on it, just leaving it to linger in the air for a bit and then slip away to the ethers. I still wonder sometimes. Maybe that’s why this article hit me a bit more than I would have expected.

I found out I don’t have any genetic predisposition to any kind of cancer, which was a great relief to me. But I also discovered through the 23andMe close relative finder program that I have a half brother, Thomas… At first, I was thinking this is the coolest genetics story, my own personal genetics story. I wasn’t particularly upset about it initially, until the rest of the family found out. Their reaction was different. Years of repressed memories and emotions uncorked and resulted in tumultuous times that have torn my nuclear family apart. My parents divorced. No one is talking to my dad. We’re not anywhere close to being healed yet and I don’t know how long it will take to put the pieces back together.

MSF on Ebola: “This is the Biggest Outbreak We’ve Ever Known”

This outbreak is truly terrifying. This part of West Africa is bordering on full societal collapse as this outbreak continues. These doctors are extremely brave in what they are attempting to do and the conditions they are working under. Even more-so are the WHO responders who are tracking infections and interacting with infected patients with nothing more than a pair of surgical gloves as protection.

Ebola has spread to the neighboring countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. By September 8, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated the virus had infected 4,290 people and killed 2,296 of them — figures that the organization earlier said might actually be “two to four times higher than that currently reported” in areas of high transmission. WHO warned that the epidemic could infect more than 20,000 people before it is contained.

To watch the Médecins Sans Frontières doctors, and the difficulties they and other responders face, the recent Frontline segment is a harrowing piece of journalism:

Frontline reports from inside the deadliest Ebola outbreak on record.

Male Birth Control, Without Condoms, Will Be Here by 2017

All the jokes, such as “if men got pregnant, contraceptives would be available in vending machines on every corner” aside, this could change everything.

The medical industry’s investment in the multibillion-dollar female birth control industry might block men’s access to male birth control just as effectively as Vasalgel would block their sperm. But a contraceptive polymer like Vasalgel would be a major medical innovation for more than just the man about town looking to copulate without consequence. In fact, male birth control could be the next major medical advance in women’s health, as strange as that idea seems.

Extraordinary Brain: Woman’s Missing Cerebellum Went Unnoticed for 24 Years

Amazing what the brain is capable of. It is a truly amazing organ.

“It shows that the young brain tends to be much more flexible or adaptable to abnormalities,” said Dr. Raj Narayan, a professor of neurosurgery at North Shore University Hospital in New York who wasn’t involved with the woman’s case. “When a person is either born with an abnormality or at a very young age loses a particular part of the brain, the rest of the brain tries to reconnect and to compensate for that loss or absence,” Narayan said.

Deepak Chopra: “I am pissed off by Richard Dawkins’ arrogance and his pretense of being a really good scientist. He is not”

Sigh. Dawkins can be an obnoxious ass, but can you imagine the toll that disease would take if science followed Mr. Chopra’s model. Yes, consciousness is still a mystery that can’t be explained scientifically, but suffering is very real. And science has done far more to alleviate that suffering than any mystical mumbo-jumbo. And you can argue it’s just semantics, borrowing language from science, but that language was chosen very specifically. Co-opting it for mysticism is disingenuous and makes it hard to claim you aren’t actively trying to mislead people. Regardless of how much he claims he isn’t in it to make money, but just to make peoples’ lives better.

What infuriates Chopra is that Dawkins and his fellow materialists control the dialogue. But I pose to him that using complex language that appropriates science doesn’t really help his cause. It makes him sound like a kook. Why not just be more open about the fact that he sees the universe through a different map, and that he is playing with scientific terminology because it is so limited?

Design

What The Font? Analyzing The New Apple Watch Typeface

Type geek-out warning. I really dig this direction, and the references to DIN, which is a fantastic typeface. In fact, I’ve begun to notice a lot of uses of DIN and DIN-influenced typefaces lately. Though it was created for function over aesthetic, I really feel like some of the more recent redesigns have imbued it with a lot friendliness.

Forget the watch, that typeface might very well be the biggest surprise Apple has unveiled in years… What makes yesterday’s unveiling of the custom Apple Watch typeface so significant is that it’s the first system font Apple has designed for scratch in over twenty years.

Street Typography

These guys are clearly not on Birmingham’s road crew.

Watch these city workers hand lettering some signage on the street. So perfect. Mesmerizing.

Pop Culture

Bloody Hell: Steven Soderbergh Dissects His Modern, 1900s Medical Drama, “The Knick”

I’ve watched the first four episodes and have been rather engrossed. Soderbergh is an exceptional filmmaker, and his skills are on display quite often in this series. Highlighting it is the fact he also acts as the director of photography, shooting much of hand held work himself.

On technical merits, I’m a little disappointed with some of the decisions that are anachronistic about the show, but appreciate the thematic elements that those anachronisms are used to express. The look and feel though highlight just how impressive digital filmmaking has become. There would be no way to shoot this show on film and capture the darkness, and in some cases lightness, of using existing light.

There’s a gorgeous, gritty old New York poised to explode into a new era, Clive Owen, in a role as juicy as a Delmonico steak, an Oscar winning film director, ample blood, grime, and brutality, and hide-your-eyes-graphic cutting and sewing of human bodies in the name of medical progress… While the show explores the bloody frontiers of medicine in the pre-antibiotic age, the fast-paced narrative is cut through with issues of progress, race, class, and power.

From Marvin Gaye to Motörhead: Watch the History of Pop Music in 100 Bass Riffs

This is just fun. Enjoy.

Even as the music skips from style to style, there’s something unavoidably soothing about the soft growl of Najjar’s bass and the steady drive of Bauman’s drums. If nothing else, the video is a testament to the skill of the two musicians—both members of Chicago-area band Royale—as well as their coordination and endurance.


And that’s a wrap. Hope you enjoyed the journey.

Printing Timelapse II

Sunday Recap // September 7

Another week has passed and it’s time to recap the things I read that were interesting.

Science

Welcome to the Age of Denial

The people I know who are scientists approach their work without politics in mind. They seek to understand the world around us. They seek to make human life better. That they are dragged into politics, at times simply to justify their existence is an outrage.

The triumph of Western science led most of my professors to believe that progress was inevitable. While the bargain between science and political culture was at times challenged…the battles were fought using scientific evidence. Manufacturing doubt remained firmly off-limits.

Why Animal Research-based Criticisms of the Ice Bucket Challenge are Misguided

I continue to be surprised at the manner of criticism the ice bucket challenge has brought out. Yet again, it becomes clear that there is a deep misunderstanding about scientific research and how it is carried out. Be it the above article in which those on the far-right who deny science wholesale, or those on the left who are simply misguided and ignorant of the procedures; we, as a society, are failing. Failing to teach students what science is and how research works.

Initially it may seem harmless. One might see a post about it in their Facebook feed and think, “Oh, so-and-so really has a soft spot for animals,” and then continue on without giving much thought to the implications of what they just read. The issue can become murky, since the vast majority of people support the idea that animal abuse is wrong. However, animal research is not abuse, and it is dangerous to voice opposition without considering the implications of what that really means.

Our Use Of Little Words Can, Uh, Reveal Hidden Interests

And what likely scares many people about science… it destabilizes a person’s internal view that they are a beautiful, unique snowflake with free will. That science can describe, or predict our behavior better than we can is a potentially frightening idea. I, however, think this is a pretty damn fascinating idea.

“The more similar [they were] across all of these function words, the higher the probability that [they] would go on a date in a speed dating context,” Pennebaker says. “And this is even cooler: We can even look at … a young dating couple… [and] the more similar [they] are … using this language style matching metric, the more likely [they] will still be dating three months from now.”

Culture

The New History Wars

Beware those that scream the loudest about “historical revisionism,” for they are likely the ones acting with the biggest agenda. And seriously, can we get passed this near religious devotion to the USA that denies our fallibility as a nation. We’ve screwed up, we’ve done horrible things. We have done wrong. Admitting that and learning from it is far more noble and steers us towards that greatness far better than denying it and continuing to make the same mistakes.

Navigating the tension between patriotic inspiration and historical thinking, between respectful veneration and critical engagement, is an especially difficult task, made even more complicated by a marked shift in the very composition of “we the people.”

Tropes vs Anita Sarkeesian: on passing off anti-feminist nonsense as critique

Woman points out sexist and misogynist tropes in video games. Woman is disparaged and abused online, trolls exhibiting the exact behavior that desensitization to structural sexism and misogyny engenders. There is the issue of online behavior, and how anonymity can exacerbate that expression. Then there is the basic issue of misunderstanding cultural criticism. Because issue A is pointed out in a cultural artifact does not mean cultural artifact is now devoid of any or all value. Or that all cultural artifacts of the same kind are without value. That is not what a critic is saying. Also, it’s not a personal attack on you Mr. Internet Troll. But, if it makes you uncomfortable, maybe you should reassess your outlook. Especially if you think it’s ok to threaten said cultural critic with physical violence, rape, or even murder. Even if you don’t mean it, it’s not ok. It fuels a rape culture. It fuels a culture and society that devalues women. It fuels a culture that demeans all of us. And no, saying what’s the bi deal, it’s just video games is a cop-out that just allows society to continue perpetuate this bullshit. Just like 90% of the iceberg hiding below the surface. It’s not insignificant to point out the 10%, because there is so much more lurking below the surface.

Anita Sarkeesian makes videos looking at how poorly women are represented in games, and gamers hate her for it, insulting her work and accusing her of dishonesty. It’s almost like they’re trying to prove her premise.


Spirit Airlines Does Not See a Problem with Exploiting Jennifer Lawrence’s Nude Photos for Promotional Purposes

Filed under, WTF? First, these images were “leaked,” yes, but that does not describe the truth of the matter. This was a theft. It was a crime. Calling it a “leak” is a subtle way of devaluing women and their control of their own bodies. Call it what it is. A form of digital sexual assault. And a crime. Which makes the actions of Spirit Airlines that much more obnoxious. Also, Spirit’s use of this “scandal,” better described as criminal theft, to sell airline tickets is another way society as a whole attempts to control women and their bodies. A society that is still dominated by men who don’t want to give up their patriarchal control of everything.

the airline seems to think that making light of the crime for promotional purposes is totally rational and logical and appropriate, because there is this thing called real-time marketing that encourages companies to gear advertising toward current events. Unfortunately for Spirit, some current events are not fair game — for example, a massive leak of stolen private images that reinforce very problematic ideas about who should control women’s bodies. (The answer is “women,” by the way.)

On the Abuse of ‘Bro’

Esquire is problematic. It reinforces objectification, or at least sexualization of women. However, every once in a while it can provide an insight into masculinity, the male world, and the issues we face. From a young age boys are stripped of an emotional toolset, discarding them for a narrowing defined cultural definition of masculinity that strips them of the ability to empathize. It strips them of the ability to face their own emotions. It strips them of their ability to bond with their peers. Society strips men of the ability to share with one another.

Subject to intense semantic distortion and fluctuation, the word bro is slippery, but one feature of its use and abuse remains constant: the underlying contempt for male friendship it implies.
That contempt is everywhere…To mature as a female person is to mature into female friendships. To mature as a male person is to mature out of male friendships.


Billionaire Threatens Charity Donations if Pope Continues Support for the Poor

Clearly, I’m not a fan of the Pope or the Catholic Church. But seriously, that individuals, most of them millionaires, billionaires, or media moguls talk about “class warfare” when there is criticism of the 1%…. um… yeah, this… who’s really committing class warfare? The powerless poor, or the wealthy few?

In the interview he said that wealthy people such as himself are feeling ostracized by the Pope’s messages in support of the poor, and might stop giving to charity if the Pope continues to make statements criticizing capitalism and income inequality.

Art & Design

Artist Stops Oil Pipeline Cold

I complain about IP law all the time. It’s somewhat ridiculous. This, however, is a pretty fantastic way to use it. For all of the many abuses of IP law, it’s interesting to see it used as a legal tool against a large corporation.

Alberta artist, Peter von Tiesenhausen, has effectively stopped oil corporations from putting a pipeline through his 800 acre property by covering it with artwork and copyrighting the top six inches of his land as an artwork.

Lost World: Bernd and Hilla Becher’s Legendary Industrial Photographs

Needless to say, Bernd and Hilla Becher are two of my favorite artists. It’s hard to look at any of the work I’ve created around Sloss Furnaces, be it photography, prints, or paintings, and not see some influence from them. That the structures they documented are disappearing makes me that much happier that Birmingham has saved Sloss Furnaces as a museum. Yes, it’s a big, grotesque, industrial hulk. But I, and I think many others, have found great beauty and meaning there. In any case, their work remains long after some of these structures are swept away.

But the Bechers’ way of working belongs to the past now. This is a requiem for a lost world and shows that, through the passing of time, even that which was once considered purely functional and even ugly, can attain beauty when seen through the eyes of the most attentive photographers.

Logos and Unintentional Readings

It’s funny. The new Hershey’s logo looks like the pile of shit emoji. AirBnB’s new logo looks like a vagina. Ha ha. As a designer it’s easy to get annoyed with reactions like that, to blame the public for being juvenile. But, truthfully, it’s our responsibility as designers to create a mark that communicates exactly what we, or our client, want to say about a company. Khoi Vinh pretty much nails that sentiment. On a related note, this is to me the humorous side of the coin. The not so humorous side is something like the butterfly ballot controversy that might have cost Al Gore the 2000 presidential election. In that case it was easy to disparage the older voters of Florida for not being able to read a ballot. In truth it was a failure of design. The ballot was poorly laid out. It caused confusion. Voters cast errant ballots. The point of design is to clarify communication. If a design is unclear, it’s not the fault of the viewer.

More to the point, it’s up to the owner of a corporate mark—the company itself, and more practically the designers—to generate a logo that produces the reactions that they intend. If a logo comes across as unsavory—especially when that unsavoriness reaches such notorious heights that it’s written up in mainstream news outlets that are typically disinterested in the arcana of branding—it’s not the fault of the viewer, it’s the fault of the company. To say that the viewing public is being irresponsible is unrealistic. And in actuality it’s the opposite of what’s really happening; the company has been negligent in its responsibility to create a logo that conforms to its own intentions. Whether these logo mishaps were simple oversights or obstinate derelictions of duty, the fact remains that these brands themselves are responsible for the reactions that they inspired.