Death toll from the American anti-vaccine movement

The Anti-Vaccine Body Count site reminds us that since celebrities like Jenny McCarthy took the cause of scaring parents into avoiding life-saving vaccines, thousands of preventable illnesses and deaths have struck. Since 2007 alone, more than 110,000 preventable illnesses and 1,170 deaths have occurred. In that same timeframe, the number of autism diagnoses linked through scientific evidence and review to vaccination is zero. (via Making Light) Read the rest

Amanda Visell art show at Comic-Con

Artist Amanda Visell has an art show taking place on Friday in San Diego at MRKT (walking distance from Comic-Con). She says, "The show will be original paintings, around 20 wood idols, a pop-up shop and a new tee/print ('If They Don't Give You Respect, Take It')" Read the rest

Eric William Carroll's art based on Grand Unified Theories

Eric William Carrol's art show, G.U.T. Feeling, is on exhibit at Highlight Gallery in San Francisco.

A kind of unattainable ideal, various G.U.T.s have been developed by establishment and fringe physicists alike, each striving to explain the fundamental forces of the universe in a single elegant solution. Fringe science is either valid science departing from the mainstream or a bunch of hogwash, depending on whom you ask. Struck by the absurdity, grandstanding and purely visual poetry of theories created by these outsiders, Carroll responded with photography, his medium of choice.

Eric William Carroll’s “G.U.T. Feeling” at Highlight Gallery, San Francisco Read the rest

Don't worry, we only spy on terrorists (worry, because everyone we don't like is a "terrorist")

Bruce Schneier has a great essay about the fact that NSA spying apologists say that dragnet surveillance is limited to cases of terrorism: but "terrorism" is now synonymous with "whatever it is people we want to spy on are doing."

Back in 2002, the Patriot Act greatly broadened the definition of terrorism to include all sorts of "normal" violent acts as well as non-violent protests. The term "terrorist" is surprisingly broad; since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, it has been applied to people you wouldn't normally consider terrorists.

The most egregious example of this are the three anti-nuclear pacifists, including an 82-year-old nun, who cut through a chain-link fence at the Oak Ridge nuclear-weapons-production facility in 2012. While they were originally arrested on a misdemeanor trespassing charge, the government kept increasing their charges as the facility's security lapses became more embarrassing. Now the protestors have been convicted of violent crimes of terrorism -- and remain in jail.

Meanwhile, a Tennessee government official claimed that complaining about water quality could be considered an act of terrorism. To the government's credit, he was subsequently demoted for those remarks.

Mission Creep: When Everything Is Terrorism

(Thanks, Bruce!) Read the rest

Why librarians are needed more than ever in the 21st century

In a 2010 interview with The Book Page, Neil Gaiman neatly set out the case for libraries and librarians in the 21st century; the remarks are even more relevant today, as libraries fight for a fair deal from publisher for ebooks, and with austerity-maddened local governments for their very survival.

Over the last decade, which is less than a blink of an eye in the history of the human race, it’s all changed. And we’ve gone from a world in which there is too little information, in which information is scarce, to a world in which there is too much information, and most of it is untrue or irrelevant. You know, the world of the Internet is the world of information that is not actually so. It’s a world of information that just isn’t actually true, or if it is true, it’s not what you needed, or it doesn’t actually apply like that, or whatever. And you suddenly move into a world in which librarians fulfill this completely different function.

We’ve gone from looking at a desert, in which a librarian had to walk into the desert for you and come back with a lump of gold, to a forest, to this huge jungle in which what you want is one apple. And at that point, the librarian can walk into the jungle and come back with the apple. So I think from that point of view, the time of librarians, and the time of libraries—they definitely haven’t gone anywhere.

Neil Gaiman talks about his love of libraries

(via Neil Gaiman) Read the rest

Problems of 1960s Adolescents

Stephanie writes, "I found this absurd 60s adolescent psychology record in a thrift store years ago and finally digitized it - the world needs to hear it. It's plagued by bad acting but peppered with amazing quotes about paisley-wearing longhairs, dating older boys, and mothers who force you to go to church." (here's the whole thing) Read the rest

EFF files huge lawsuit against NSA on behalf of broad coalition

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed suit against the NSA for its surveillance program on behalf of a wide, diverse set of actors, from the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles to the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Calguns Foundation, Greenpeace, Human Rights Watch, People for the American Way, and TechFreedom. Read the rest

Check out Afrika Bambaataa's record collection!

Afrika Bambaataa donated his vinyl to Cornell University Library's Hip Hop Collection. (Professor Bambaataa is a Visiting Scholar there.) But before the wax goes on its way, you can watch it being sorted, organized, and, yes, spun, at Gavin Brown's enterprise gallery in NYC's West Village. There are "Lunch Breaks" shows this week with Crazy Legs, Joe Conzo, Grandwizzard Theodore, and Break Beat Lou, and the collection will remain on view until August 10. Unfortunately, no digging allowed!

"Spend Your Lunch Break with Afrika Bambaataa's Legendary Record Collection" (Paper)

More details on the exhibition at Gavin Brown's enterprise. Read the rest

Seventeen sneaky secret hides

Sean Ragan says: "I’ve rounded up a pseudorandom smattering of some of my favorite secret-hiding-place posts from MAKE's online archives."

Seventeen Sneaky Secret Hides Read the rest

Fundraiser: Campaign to name street for George Carlin vs Catholic church Carlin attended as a boy

The campaign to rename West 121st St in NYC for George Carlin has nearly succeeded, but is being blocked by a single vote -- and faces opposition from his boyhood Catholic church and school. A fundraiser at the Gotham Comedy Club tomorrow night will feature an all-star standup cast to raise money to support the cause. (via Reddit) Read the rest

Embroidered creepy crawlers

I like Catherine Rosselle's embroidered bugs. See more at CRAFT. Read the rest

What is a capacitor? [video]

[Video Link] Collin Cunningham makes excellent educational videos about electronics. Here's his latest one, about capacitors. (Via Make) Read the rest

"Half of jury" wanted to convict Zimmerman, were talked out of it by others

From The Telegraph: "The juror, who appeared on CNN in silhouette to maintain her anonymity, disclosed how the three were talked out of convicting Mr Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, during more than 16 hours of deliberations. Her comments will stoke further controversy after she described how jurors found the laws "very confusing" and struggled to follow the judge's instructions." Read the rest

Talia Joy Castellano, cancer patient famous for YouTube beauty tutorials, dies at 13

Talia Joy Castellano, a cancer patient who became internet-famous for beauty tutorial videos on YouTube that captured radiant enthusiasm for sharing and sober awareness of her disease, died Tuesday. She was 13 years old.

A statement from the Florida teen's's representative says she died "peacefully with her family by her side." Read the rest

Archaeologists unearth possible vampire graveyard in Poland

Polish tradition dictates that, in order to prevent a corpse from rising as a vampire, you must bury it with the head lopped off the body and positioned between the legs. Archaeologists recently found a burial site with four such bodies in southern Poland. Read the rest

In search of: The 52 Hz Whale

This fall, a team of scientists (backed up by a crew of documentary filmmakers) will head out to the Pacific in search of "The Loneliest Whale in the World", aka "The 52 Hz Whale", in honor of the unique frequency of its vocalizations. Read the rest

Neuromarketers can't actually control your brain

Neuromarketing is one of those ideas that might best be classified as "important and creepy, if true," writes Matt Wall at Slate. Fortunately for us, there's not really much evidence that marketing professionals can use fMRI data (or any other neuroscience tools) to manipulate us into buying stuff. Nor can they get unique glimpses of our subconscious desires. In the end, there's not much neuro happening in this mini-industry, but there is a lot of marketing. Read the rest

More posts