Your Beard Is Full Of Fecal Matter

Aside from the fact that it smacks of hipsterism, the trend for bushy beards has a dark side: the beards’ owners are unwittingly carrying around all kinds of crap on their faces. Real crap, as in fecal matter. The Atlantic undertakes a “cost-benefit analysis of manliness and microbiology”:

Journalism is, at its core, a public service. This is why several days ago the reporters at Action 7 News in Albuquerque, New Mexico, decided to investigate just what, exactly, teems within the beards of the polity. They swabbed the whiskers of a handful of local men and took the results to Quest Diagnostics.

Steve Smyth

Photo: iulia Pironea (CC)

 

The results were the kind that medical labs don’t leave on your answering machine:

Several of the beards that were tested contained a lot of normal bacteria, but some were comparable to toilets.

“Those are the types of things you’d find in (fecal matter),” Golobic said, referring to the tests.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Racism Is Real

The latest from Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films:

Racism is real.

Since the election of President Barrack Obama many white Americans have been operating under the false assumption that racism is “over” and does not impose a significant barrier to People of Color.

Similarly, the seminal victories of the 1960s to combat the most obvious aspects of institutionalized bigotry created a perception that widespread racism had been largely eradicated.

The misplaced perception that racism is over was on full display last year when the deaths of African Americans like Eric Gardner and the Michael Brown exposed how tone deaf our society can be to the everyday plights of People of Color.

This video is the first installment in a series of short films Brave New films is producing to promote an invigorated fight for racial justice in this country. In it, we present a “split-screen” comparison of two individuals, a Black man and a White man, as they attempt to achieve progress by modern means.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Madison bans discrimination against atheists, non-religious

Vince (CC BY 2.0)

Vince (CC BY 2.0)

Dana Ferguson via AP:

While conservatives in Indiana and Arkansas were explaining last month why their new religious objections laws weren’t invitations to discriminate against gays, the leaders of Wisconsin’s capital city were busy protecting the rights of another group: atheists.

In what is believed to be the first statute of its kind in the United States, Madison banned discrimination against the non-religious on April 1, giving them the same protections afforded to people based on their race, sexual orientation and religion, among other reasons.

It’s hardly surprising that such a statute would originate in Madison, an island of liberalism in a conservative-leaning state and the home of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. But the ordinance’s author, Anita Weier, said it didn’t arise from an actual complaint about alleged discrimination based on a lack of religious faith.

“It just seems to me that religion has spread into government more than I feel comfortable with,” said Weier, who left the council after the statute passed.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Holly Herndon [Past : Forward]

This post was originally published on four by three magazine by Giuseppe Zevolli.


Are artists, consumers and critics guilty of a stubborn addiction to the past? Or have we become too obsessed with the new?
Music critic Giuseppe Zevolli ties American artist Holly Herndon’s forthcoming album Platform – to be released on May 18th – to the wider phenomenon of nostalgia for the past and the future of music, while confronting her experimental compositions in the here and now.


herndon album coverSan Francisco based electronic musician Holly Herndon does not have much time for nostalgia. In her view it is better spent on reviving the ‘world-making’ potential of music and do away with pre-existing tropes. On her track Unequal, off of her upcoming album Platform [RVNG Intl. & 4AD], a male voice recites:

To change the shape of our future/To be unafraid to break away

A climactic rush of shuddering electronica accompanied by meditative, pitch-errant vocals, the song tackles social inequality, while those two verses – echoing the manifesto-like messages appearing in her video for Interference – could equally be seen to encapsulate her aesthetics as a whole.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

‘Our purity is above 99%': the Chinese labs churning out legal highs for the west

5548568082_1d2577641e_b

Raquel Baranow (CC BY 2.0)

As Western governments play a futile game of whack-a-mole with legal drugs, chemists in China are consistently synthesizing new, legal compounds to sell.

Nicola Davison via The Guardian:

The mass production of legal highs began only in 2008, when UN drugs officials destroyed 33 tonnes of safrole oil, a precursor of MDMA, in Cambodia.

As MDMA stocks in Europe dwindled, suppliers shopped around for an alternative – and found mephedrone, a substance that was chemically similar to MDMA but not controlled in the UK. For the two years before it was banned, users could not get enough of this cheap, cocaine-meets-ecstasy high.

Pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer originally developed synthetic cannabinoids – drugs designed to mimic the effect of cannabis – as research tools to investigate the mechanisms of the brain’s endocannabinoid system for clinical therapy.

Vendors began trawling obscure scientific journals for compounds, consumers described their highs on online drug forums, and the nascent market took shape.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

100-Million-Year-Old Predatory Cockroach Found in Amber

Manipulator modificaputis gen. et sp. n. (Manipulatoridae fam.n.) holotype SMNS Bu-116 (deposited in the Stuttgart Museum of Natural History) from the Cretaceous Myanmar amber. A – left view, B – dorsal view, C – detail on the forewing articulation, D – forewing surface hexagonal structure. Scales 0.5 mm. Photo credit: Geologica Carphatica

Manipulator modificaputis gen. et sp. n. (Manipulatoridae fam.n.) holotype SMNS Bu-116 (deposited in the Stuttgart Museum of Natural History) from the Cretaceous Myanmar amber.
A – left view
B – dorsal view
C – detail on the forewing articulation
D – forewing surface hexagonal structure. Scales 0.5 mm.
Photo credit: Geologica Carphatica

It’s the stuff of nightmares: a predatory cockroach (which hunted at night, of course) was recently found preserved in amber. The cockroach and its kin coexisted with dinosaurs and was found near a mine in Noije Bum, Myanmar.

This predator bears a striking resemblance to a praying-mantis. Scientists, Peter Vršanský from the Geological Institute in Bratislava, Slovakia, and Günter Bechly from the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, Germany, say that its long legs and and long neck indicate that these critters were adept hunters.

“The specimen is one of dozens of preserved insects found in the area, making it the most important site of dinosaur-age amber in the world,” says Vršanský.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Don’t Be a Coward — Order a Custom Video Today

rjp (CC BY-SA 2.0)

rjp (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Let’s pretend you have some sort of sexual fetish. Just for fun, let’s make it a weird one.

It’s something you don’t want anyone in your life to know about. That kind of thing can be awkward. You don’t want your boss to know you get turned on by chicks that are passed out and drooling, and the last time you asked your girlfriend to act like a robot, she got totally pissed. When you go out and booze with your buddies and they are talking about the Red Sox, you feel odd changing the subject and talking about how badly you want to feed a woman until she gets fat and explodes.

So what do you do? You pay a fetish model to do the things the women in your world won’t. More and more fetish models and websites are offering custom videos. All you have to do is send her an assload of money and the fetish model of your choosing will make a video just for you.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Insurance Companies Blatantly Ignore ACA’s Free Birth Control Mandate

Since the ACA's birth control requirement went into effect in August 2012, more than 48 million women no longer face cost barriers to accessing birth control, according to the National Women's Law Center. (Photo: UC Irvine/flickr/cc)

Since the ACA’s birth control requirement went into effect in August 2012, more than 48 million women no longer face cost barriers to accessing birth control, according to the National Women’s Law Center. (Photo: UC Irvine/flickr/cc)

This was originally posted on Common Dreams.

Not only are insurance companies across the country flouting the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) birth control coverage mandate, they are violating a slew of other women’s health requirements related to maternity care and more, the National Women’s Law Center charged in dual reports released this week.

“Insurance companies are breaking the law by denying women coverage to which they are entitled,” NWLC vice president for health and reproductive rights Gretchen Borchelt said in a statement. “The Affordable Care Act has made dramatic improvements in women’s health coverage, but insurers’ failure to comply with its requirements has serious consequences that affect women every day.”

In State of Birth Control Coverage: Health Plan Violations of the Affordable Care Act(pdf), NWLC looked at coverage of FDA-approved birth control methods—which the ACA says must be covered without co-payments or deductibles—and found widespread violations nationwide.… Read the rest

Continue Reading