Tag Archives | History

Gynecological Gymnastics from Outer Space (1895)


Learn about gynecological exercises with charming aliens.

via The Public Domain Review:

A set of rather uncanny diagrams from Die Heilgymnastik in der Gynaekologie: und die mechanische Behandlung von Erkrankungen des Uterus und seiner Adnexe nach Thure Brandt (1895), translated from German as “The physiotherapy in gynecology and the mechanical treatment of diseases of the uterus and its appendages by Thure Brandt”. As the title implies the gynecological exercises are based on those invented by the Swedish obstetrician and gynecologist, Thure Brandt (1819-1895). Brandt began treating women in 1861, combining massage, stretching, and general exercise as a form of treating gynecological conditions. After his methods were examined in Jena by German gynecologists in 1886, they became widely used in Europe. The images in this particular text are eye-catching today less for the gynecological technique they depict but more the bizarre similarity between the rakishly thin figures employed in demonstrating the exercises (no doubt an attempt to de-sexualise the images) and the figure of the so-called “Grey Alien” – thin body, huge head, large eyes – which wouldn’t hit popular consciousness for another 65 years.

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The Case for Indigenous Peoples’ Day

CCDay– Eric Scott Pickard is an artist, activist, poet and writer. He is a Co-Founder of media collective Free Radical Media and a co-host of the Free Radical Media podcast, available via YouTube and Itunes

On 12 October of 1492, Cristobal Colon, known as Christopher Columbus, having made landfall on the island of Hispaniola, first encountered the native peoples of the Americas. Columbus was certainly not the first European to visit the Americas, and and perhaps not even the first visitor from the Old World, to visit North and South America since the closing of the land bridge in ancient times. He was, however, the man who opened the door in modern times to vast new lands, full of new plants, animals, and people, and the effect of 12 October, 1492 on the Americas cannot be understated.

The narrative in Western, and especially American history books is mostly one of vague allusions and rhetoric: a story of exploration, strangers in a strange land, a journey fraught with danger, leading to the discovery of a whole “New World”.… Read the rest

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Conspiracy Theory and the Failure of Certainty


In the culture wars that are being waged to define our communal values, the rhetorical arms race has generated a healthy stockpile of words and phrases that are often deployed in linguistic combat. Amongst this arsenal, few terms weave together so many cultural threads as “Conspiracy Theory.”

From such seemingly disparate threads as the philosophy of language, epistemology, political philosophy, history, journalism, psychology, and sociology, a Gordian tangle emerges that tie all of these subjects together.

This writing will endeavor to briefly:

  • contextualize the epistemological difficulties of attaining certainty
  • examine the tenuous nature of news and history with a focus on its manipulation
  • enumerate a truncated list of historical conspiracies with the purpose of underscoring their unexceptional nature
  • examine the historical and contemporary usage of the term “conspiracy theory”
  • leave the reader with a general approach to sidestepping the pitfalls of rhetorical obfuscation and semantic misunderstanding

I: “Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position.

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No one should ever work. Workers of the world… *relax*!


Bob Black, “The Abolition of Work” via Primitivism:


No one should ever work.

Work is the source of nearly all the misery in the world. Almost any evil you’d care to name comes from working or from living in a world designed for work. In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working.

That doesn’t mean we have to stop doing things. It does mean creating a new way of life based on play; in other words, a *ludic* conviviality, commensality, and maybe even art. There is more to play than child’s play, as worthy as that is. I call for a collective adventure in generalized joy and freely interdependent exuberance. Play isn’t passive. Doubtless we all need a lot more time for sheer sloth and slack than we ever enjoy now, regardless of income or occupation, but once recovered from employment-induced exhaustion nearly all of us want to act.

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Time to Abolish Columbus Day

From the very beginning, Columbus was not on a mission of discovery but of conquest and exploitation. It is time to abolish the holiday commemorating his accomplishments. (Photo: University of Wisconsin-Madison)

From the very beginning, Columbus was not on a mission of discovery but of conquest and exploitation. It is time to abolish the holiday commemorating his accomplishments. (Photo: University of Wisconsin-Madison)

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Bill Bigelow’s articles here.

Once again this year many schools will pause to commemorate Christopher Columbus. Given everything we know about who Columbus was and what he launched in the Americas, this needs to stop.

Columbus initiated the trans-Atlantic slave trade, in early February 1494, first sending several dozen enslaved Taínos to Spain. Columbus described those he enslaved as “well made and of very good intelligence,” and recommended to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella that taxing slave shipments could help pay for supplies needed in the Indies. A year later, Columbus intensified his efforts to enslave Indigenous people in the Caribbean. He ordered 1,600 Taínos rounded up—people whom Columbus had earlier described as “so full of love and without greed”—and had 550 of the “best males and females,” according to one witness, Michele de Cuneo, chained and sent as slaves to Spain.… Read the rest

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How Hacktivists Will Break Corporate Control of Information Within a Decade


Jake Anderson via Activist Post:

Sci-fi author and information rights activist Cory Doctorow appeared out of the dusty heat of the 2015 Burning Man in a gray jumpsuit and a pair of Adbusters Black Spot sneakers. In his hand he held a small black moleskin, which he glanced at intermittently while delivering an electrifying, albeit head-spinning talk on the future of the Internet of Things.

Doctorow, who recently re-joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), contextualized theInternet of Things as an information rights struggle that requires an end to patent laws that forbid jailbreaking digital locks. Concordantly, he and the EFF have an ambitious plan: To dismantle the draconian Digital Rights Management (DRM) laws currently protected by the DMCA Section 1201. Doctorow and the EFF seek to counter this oppressive legislation with the Apollo 1201 initiative, by which they will strategically pick cases that can clearly demonstrate Congress violated the Constitution when it passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in 1998.

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How Sacred Science Addresses What Modern Physics Ignores

Tom Bunzel via Collective Evolution:

In a recent attempt to understand how conventional physics “explains” reality, I began to read Lawrence Krauss’ A Universe from Nothing

Krauss is one of those famous scientists like Richard Dawkins who doesn’t find anything strange about the fact that existence IS.

Instead he takes EVERYTHING for granted and attacks, like Dawkins and Bill Maher, the low hanging fruit of organized religion and its dogmatic, unproven Gods created in our image.

When I tried reading his book I got a bit frustrated and then checked the index for the word “consciousness,” and when I did not find it, I put the book aside.

The question really is – “what” exactly is “nothing.”

First and foremost it is a concept.  Nothing does not exist.  What exists is, well, everything.

Nothing is the word or placeholder we use for null – similar to zero in math – but in both cases (words and math) they are human abstractions or interpretations of Nature. 

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Air France Executives Attacked as Carrier Cuts 2,900 Jobs

Airbus | A380-861 | Air France | F-HPJJ | Hong Kong | HKG | VHHH
Mathieu Rosemain via Bloomberg:

Air France executives were forced to flee with their clothes in tatters after workers stormed a meeting at Charles de Gaulle airport in protest at 2,900 planned job cuts.

Human resources chief Xavier Broseta and Pierre Plissonnier, head of long-haul flights, scaled an eight-foot fence to escape, aided by security guards. Broseta emerged shirtless and Plissonnier had his suit ripped to shreds.

Violence erupted Monday as Air France told its works council that 300 pilots, 900 flight attendants and 1,700 ground staff might have to go after failed productivity talks with flight crew. The protest, in which agitators chanted “naked, naked,” is just the latest to turn physical in France, where managers at Michelin & Cie. and Sony Corp. have been held hostage over firings, irate farmers have blocked city streets with tractors and manure and more than 100 Uber Technologies Inc. taxis have been smashed up by rival drivers.

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