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Friday Freak-Out: The Rolling Stones perform "2,000 Light Years From Home," from Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967).
The more people involved in flying the airplane, or moving the surgeon's scalpel during a brain operation, the worse off we are. But this is not true in journalism. It benefits from participation, as with Investigate your MP's expenses, also called crowd sourcing, or this invitation from the Los Angeles Times: share public documents. A far simpler example is sources. If sources won't participate, there often is no story. Witnesses contribute when they pull out their cameras and record what is happening in front of them. The news system is stronger for it...What I Think I Know About Journalism (via Memex 1.1)
To feel informed, we also need background knowledge, a framework into which the relevant facts can be put. Or, as I put it in 2008, "There are some stories--and the mortgage crisis is a great example--where until I grasp the whole I am unable to make sense of any part. Not only am I not a customer for news reports prior to that moment, but the very frequency of the updates alienates me from the providers of those updates because the news stream is adding daily to my feeling of being ill-informed, overwhelmed, out of the loop."
I cut the bamboo gears with a CNC router. A few of the steel parts -- namely the counter weight and head arms, as well as the FREEDOM text -- I waterjet cut from 3D SolidWorks files. (I like SolidWorks because it lets me run the gears and get the tolerances perfect.) The steel frame is made out of 3" I-beam that I cut and welded together in my studio. I had to buy a bigger saw and a nice welder for it.The Press (Shawn HibmaCronan)
This build was great. Problem solving and finessing things into place for months = happiness. One of the toughest things was keeping all of the components aligned, greased, and square with all of the welding I was doing. Welding and heat makes steel move and do weird things. There are so many tight tolerances and chunky pieces of steel that had to be spot on. It made for lots of fun moments with a big mallet.
I'm often puzzled by how satisfying older technology is. What a treat it is to muscle around an ancient teletype, feeding it new-old paper-tape or rolls of industrial paper with the weight of a bygone era. What pleasure I take from the length of piano roll I've hung like a banner from a high place in every office I've had since 2000.Memento Mori
How much satisfaction I derive from the racing works of the 1965 mechanical watch I received as a Father's Day present this year, audible in rare moments of ambient silence or when my hand strays near my ear, going tick-tick-tick-tick like the pattering heart of a pet mouse held loosely in my hand.
The standard explanation for the attractiveness of this old stuff is simply that They Made It Better In The Old Days. But this isn't necessarily or even usually true. Some of my favorite old technologies are as poorly made as today's throwaway products from China's Pearl River Delta sweatshops.
Take that piano roll, for example: a flimsy entertainment, hardly made to be appreciated as an artifact in itself. And those rattling machine-gun teletypes and caterpillar-feed printers -- they have all the elegance of a plastic cap gun that falls apart after the first roll of caps has run through it.
Wayne Martin Belger created the blood camera, which incorporates HIV-infected blood that acts as a red filter for portraits of HIV+ people. Now he's taking the project, which is called "Untouchable," to Africa:
I'm taking the untouchable to Sierra Leona, Liberia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Calcutta and 5 locations in Cambodia to do portraits of people living with HIV. I'm working with a major international HIV Health organization to make it all happen and they are really excited about the possibility of this project creating a new view of the global HIV community. So far, I've photographed about 60 people all over the US. With the Africa/Asia photos it will give a world contrast on how your geo location makes all the difference in your well-being and how major pharmaceutical profits need are at the heart of life and death.Bloodworks: Africa (Thanks, Wayne!)
I have a publisher that wants to do a book on the project and two major venues that are excited about exhibiting the finale work next year.
In a post that would be horribly NSFW were it not all just a block of text, linguist Arnold Zwicky blogs about how the vagaries of English allow you to interpret the same line from a gay porn in multiple ways.
The story begins with a young man crying out, (1) "Oh yeah, shoot my ass!," at the climactic moment of a segment in the gay porn compilation video A Bronco Named Brad (on the video, see here). The speaker is asking his partner to (2) "shoot [your cum] on my ass, ejaculate on my buttocks" [ONTO reading].
In other contexts, (1) could convey (3) "shoot [your cum] in(to) my ass, ejaculate in(to) my anus" [INTO reading]. Note the two different senses of ass here— 'buttocks' or 'anus', with the anus being the centerpiece of the buttocks, so to speak—related metonymically.
But now for the main linguistic point, shoot 'ejaculate' used, exceptionally, as a transitive verb ...
From there, the post rises to a level of technical language analysis that almost, *almost* distracts from the fact that we're talking about the use of language in a porn that seems to be targeted at Brad-fetishists.
Submitterated by Sam
It's Friday, and you know what that means. Yes, blogger Scicurious (who brought us the whale threesome) has another post about animal sex research.
This time, it's about chicken sperm. Specifically, whether roosters alter the quality of their sperm depending on how many other roosters they think have been, uh, laying with their hen—and what social status the hen, herself, has.
Believe it or not, studies in various species have shown that males in more dominant roles often produce a LOWER quality and quantity of sperm than those in subordinate roles. This is presumably because the dominant males don't have to compete as much as the subordinates, they get first pick of the females. But this hasn't been tested before, because the animals being studied understandably get annoyed when you try to get between them and their chosen female to get a sample of the semen.
In this case they decided to try again, using chickens. But not your normal chickens, these were Swedish fowl that live in social groups of up to 16 animals. The males form a dominance hierarchy for access to the females. The most dominant males are obviously going to get first crack at the hens, but the hens will often have multiple matings, and sperm competition is intense. Not only do the females go multiple times, the males can ejaculate up to 40 times within a few hours, which often results in quantity over quality, as the sperm quality decreases over time.
They took males of high and low status, and put them through randomized mating trials over several females, ALSO of high and low status. They took the ejaculate and measured the number of sperm, as well as the velocity, or how good their little swimmers were doing.
And the result? Well, you'll have to go read it. There are graphs that are integral to the story, and I don't want to spoil it. Suffice to say, chicken sperm is a lot more interesting than I would have previously guessed.