David Cronenberg: ‘My imagination is not a place of horror’

David Cronenberg, Genie Awards 2012 by Alan Langford via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

David Cronenberg, Genie Awards 2012 by Alan Langford via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

Cronenberg compares himself to Gergor Samsa? I like him even more.

via The Guardian (Follow the link to read the entire interview):

When the great Canadian film-maker David Cronenberg turned 70 last year he felt, in a word, old. An admirer of Franz Kafka, he said he found himself comparing himself to Gregor Samsa, the protagonist of The Metamorphosis, who wakes up one morning to find – very Cronenbergian – that he’s become a giant beetle.

“You are a new creature,” Cronenberg explains. “Ask anybody who is not advanced in years what they think of 70-year-olds – if they think of them at all – and it’s Alzheimer’s, senile old people and Zimmer frames. Just, ‘Wow, what a burden on the healthcare system.’ Three score and ten, that’s supposed to be it, that’s the biblical age. So there are precedents for considering 70 to be a major moment in your life.”

Once he had come to terms with the shock, though, Cronenberg returned to his work with renewed vigour.

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California’s Plastic Bag Ban: An Analysis

Trash Tree by Alex via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

Trash Tree by Alex via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

This is why I try to just use the tote bags I’ve collected from trade shows and festivals (I also use them for laundry days).

Via Mother Jones:

Last week, California became the first state to pass a bill banning the ubiquitous disposable plastic bag. If signed into law, the measure will prohibit grocery and retail stores from providing single-use plastic bags and require them to charge at least ten cents for paper bags, compostable bags, and reusable plastic bags. The bill, introduced by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-LA), will also provide funding for California-based plastic bag companies to develop sturdier, reusable options.

Worldwide, consumers use an estimated one trillion plastic bags each year—nearly two million a minute—with the use time of a typical bag just 12 minutes. Californians alone throw away 14 billion a year, creating 123,000 tons of waste and untold amounts of litter.

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The Potato That Killed!

Beer and chips by Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Beer and chips by Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A tale of science gone wrong.

via io9:

They thought they had created the perfect potato – but they were wrong. In a dramatic tale of science gone wrong, a killer potato rises from a secret breeding program, intent on killing those who wronged it. Learn about… the Lenape potato!

All right, perhaps the potato wasn’t invested with a sense of revenge. After all, it was only going about its business, and defending itself against those who would destroy it. Mainly insects. All potatoes, and other plants in the same family, like tomatoes, contain different kinds of glycoalkaloids. These give them a distinctive flavor that humans sometimes enjoy, but that insects hate.

One of these glycoalkaloids is solanine. Solanine generally collects in the stems, leaves, and eyes of the potato. A little does no harm, but too much cause cramps, dizziness, nausea, and diarrhea.

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Caffeine Powder and Overdoses


I’ve used caffeine powder before. I would put a little bit in my coffee to make it stronger.

via Cincinnati.com:

With a new school year underway, poison control officials in Kentucky and across the nation are sounding the alarm about powdered caffeine, used by some teens to boost workouts, weight loss or energy but implicated in the death of a high school wrestler in Ohio.

Many poison control officials want the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to restrict the use of the increasingly popular powder, and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., is calling for an outright ban.

FDA officials say they are collecting information and will consider regulatory action, and urge consumers to avoid the product in the meantime.

“I drink coffee. … We’re not trying to get rid of caffeine. It is just this form and this dose,” said Henry Spiller, director of the Central Ohio Poison Center.

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The Golden Age of Sexual Taboos: How Indie Movies Brought Deranged Sex Acts to the Big Screen

Still from Lars von Trier's Antichrist

Still from Lars von Trier’s Antichrist

Interesting read brought to you by Gary M. Kramer at Salon via AlterNet:

I recently wrote an article on ethical dilemmas in torture porn and received some rather extreme reactions. Given that two new films—James Franco’s “Child of God” and Kim Ki-duk’s “Moebius”–depict some rather extreme sexual activities, it seemed appropriate to consider how sexual taboos are depicted in indie films.  “Child of God” features a tender scene of necrophilia, as Lester Ballard (Scott Haze) makes love to the corpse of a young woman he finds in a car. And over the past few years, indie films have produced some of the most haunting, bizarre scenes of deranged sexual behavior in the history of cinema.

“Love Is a Mad Dog From Hell” (aka “Crazy Love”) (1987), by Belgian writer/director Dominique Deruddere, is an outstanding adaptation of a trio of Charles Bukowski stories. Unfolding as a triptych, the last and most provocative act has the main character, Harry Voss (Josse De Pauw), making love to a corpse he and his buddy have stolen.

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Wearable computing and privacy invasions you might want to think about now

Google Glass © Rijans007/Wikimedia Commons, 2013. Via Flickr.

Google Glass © Rijans007/Wikimedia Commons, 2013. Via Flickr.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
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By Tom Foulsham, University of Essex

Are you being recorded? Thanks to the ubiquity of CCTV and camera phones, the answer is more than ever before likely to be “Yes”. Add to this the growth of wearable technology such as Google Glass and people are increasingly exposed to devices that can monitor and record them, whether they realise it or not.

The privacy implications are obvious, but also interesting to psychologists such as myself, are how such invasions of privacy – real or perceived – change the way people behave in everyday life.

My colleagues and I have been examining the ways people change their behaviour when they are being recorded. In a typical psychology experiment, participants are aware that they are being watched, and a range of equipment monitors their responses, from computers and cameras to eye-trackers and electrodes.… Read the rest

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Rand Paul: From Purist to Politician

One thing you can say about former Congressman Ron “Dr. No” Paul: he never compromised his libertarian views. It definitely held him back, career-wise; now his son Rand seems to have learned this lesson and is showing all the signs of a politician whose opinions change with the wind. Major profile in the Washington Post:

Sen. Rand Paul wanted to eliminate aid to Israel. Now he doesn’t. He wanted to scrap the Medicare system. Now he’s not sure.

Rand Paul (5584558924)

He didn’t like the idea of a border fence — it was expensive, and it reminded him of the Berlin Wall. Now he wants two fences, one behind the other.

And what about same-sex marriage? Paul’s position — such marriages are morally wrong, but Republicans should stop obsessing about them — seems so muddled that an Iowa pastor recently confronted him in frustration.

“With all due respect, that sounds very retreatist of you,” minister Michael Demastus said he told Paul (R-Ky.) after the senator explained his position during a stop in Des Moines.

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There’s Lithium In The Water Supply

Stylised Lithium Atom.svg

Stylised Lithium Atom. CC BY-SA 3.0

Forget about the awful things that fluoride in the water supply supposedly does to us; the New York Times is reporting that there’s lithium in our water supply:

THE idea of putting a mind-altering drug in the drinking water is the stuff of sci-fi, terrorist plots and totalitarian governments. Considering the outcry that occurred when putting fluoride in the water was first proposed, one can only imagine the furor that would ensue if such a thing were ever suggested.

The debate, however, is moot. It’s a done deal. Mother Nature has already put a psychotropic drug in the drinking water, and that drug is lithium. Although this fact has been largely ignored for over half a century, it appears to have important medical implications.

Lithium is a naturally occurring element, not a molecule like most medications, and it is present in the United States, depending on the geographic area, at concentrations that can range widely, from undetectable to around .170 milligrams per liter.

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Pope Declares Start of World War III

Pope Francis in March 2013World War III isn’t like its two 20th century predecessors, but it’s ON, says the Pope, via Reuters:

Pope Francis said on Saturday the spate of conflicts around the globe today were effectively a “piecemeal” Third World War, condemning the arms trade and “plotters of terrorism” sowing death and destruction.

“Humanity needs to weep and this is the time to weep,” Francis said in the homily of a Mass during a visit to Italy’s largest war memorial, a large, Fascist-era monument where more than 100,000 soldiers who died in World War One are buried.

The pope began his brief visit to northern Italy by first praying in a nearby, separate cemetery for some 15,000 soldiers from five nations of the Austro-Hungarian empire which were on the losing side of the Great War that broke out 100 years ago.

“War is madness,” he said in his homily before the massive, sloping granite memorial, made of 22 steps on the side of hill with three crosses at the top.

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Gummies Shaped Like Penises Outrage Parents in New Zealand


via The New Zealand Herald:

Inappropriately shaped lollies on sale exclusively in the South Island have been branded offensive and recalled from shops.

Barrie Aburn, of Dunedin, said his daughters Cadence (8), Rhianna (6) and Payton (5) bought a bag of Dragon Sweets from Moyles SuperValue in Green Island and gave it to him for his birthday.

Mr Aburn’s partner, Jacqui Hawkins, said she randomly took a sweet from the bag and found it was shaped in the form of male genitals.

Another lolly in the bag was a gummy baby with a penis, she said.

”I don’t find anything amusing about it at all. I find it disgusting,” she said.

Dutch Rusk managing director Willem Van de Geest, of Nelson, said the Stoke confectionery company imported 7200 bags of mixed gummy lollies, called Dragon Sweets, from a Chinese manufacturer about six weeks ago.

The lollies were distributed to shops in the lower South Island.

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