The Community Weblog. In byte-sized chunks.

Living Books About Life

"... a series of curated, open access books about life — with life understood both philosophically and biologically — which provide a bridge between the humanities and the sciences." Although they offer "frozen PDFs," these books—on topics like biosemiotics, animal experience, and air—are curated collections of links to open access science articles, reviews, interviews, podcasts, sometimes with embedded sounds and videos. They have ISBN numbers and editors vetted by the Open Humanities Press, which is generally a gold mine of interesting books and journals. They feel perfectly at home on the open internet, evoking hope and nostalgia for a flourishing academic world wide web, without paywalls and login screens.

The list of Living Books so far, with editors, and for the first few only (sorry!), an arbitrary quote from the editors' introduction, to give some indication:

The Beauty of Iran

23-year-old Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji takes some amazing photographs and 360° shots of Iran's historical sites.

And here's his Facebook page, as well as a Daily Mail article.

Navicular! Strobilaceous! Pandurate! Botryoidal!

Whether your object's shaped like a ship, a pine cone, a violin, or a bunch of grapes, this handy cheat sheet from Barbara Ann Kipfer's Flip Dictionary will tell you the suitable Latinate adjective.

Some of the terms see most of their use in the realm of plant morphology. This visual guide illustrates how they apply to the shapes of leaves; you can practice applying that vocabulary to American tree leaves here.

The New Face of Hunger

"This is not your grandmother's hunger," says Janet Poppendieck, a sociologist at the City University of New York. "Today more working people and their families are hungry because wages have declined."

Imogene Coca : Sid Caesar :: Ginger Rogers : Fred Astaire

Imogene Coca was the hilarious counterpart to Sid Caesar on Your Show of Shows, the ground-breaking 1950s sketch comedy show. (Here they are in the classic Auto Smashup.) She won an Emmy and a Peabody for her work on the show, had a long career in television, and later made an impact as Aunt Edna in National Lampoon's Vacation, as Ms. Dipesto's mother in Moonlighting, and on the stage.

With Sid Caesar: Health Food Restaurant | Mata Hari | The Clock | The Sleep Sketch | Classical Musicians | The Cobbler's Daughter | Streetcar named... | Birthday | From Here to Obscurity, Part 1 and Part 2 | Coney Island pantomime | pantomime on the Tonight Show in 1977

See Also: Pictures from her career as a pitch woman | as Mary the Good Fairy on Bewitched | performing Repent from On the Twentieth Century in 1982 (she was nominated for a Tony in 1978 for this role)

Her coworkers at Your Show of Shows remember her | Her 2001 Obituary | biography

Her Noise - The Making Of (2007)

Her Noise - The Making Of (2007) - running time ~60 minutes. The video documents the development of Her Noise between 2001 and 2005 and features interviews with artists including Diamanda Galas, Lydia Lunch, Kim Gordon, Jutta Koether, Peaches, Marina Rosenfeld, Kembra Pfhaler, Chicks On Speed, Else Marie Pade, Kaffe Matthews, Emma Hedditch, Christina Kubisch and the show's curators, Lina Dzuverovic and Anne Hilde Neset. The documentary also features excerpts from live performances held during Her Noise by Kim Gordon, Jutta Koether and Jenny Hoyston (Erase Errata), Christina Carter, Heather Leigh Murray, Ana Da Silva (The Raincoats), Spider And The Webs, Partyline, Marina Rosenfeld's 'Emotional Orchestra' at Tate Modern, and footage compiled for the 'Men in Experimental Music' video made during the development of the Her Noise project by the curators and Kim Gordon, featuring Thurston Moore and Jim O'Rourke.

Her Noise was an exhibition which took place at South London Gallery in 2005 with satellite events at Tate Modern and Goethe-Institut, London. Her Noise gathered international artists who use sound to investigate social relations, inspire action or uncover hidden soundscapes. The exhibition included newly commissioned works by Kim Gordon & Jutta Koether, Hayley Newman, Kaffe Matthews, Christina Kubisch, Emma Hedditch and Marina Rosenfeld. A parallel ambition of the project was to investigate music and sound histories in relation to gender, and the curators set out to create a lasting resource in this area.

Bonus links: Her Noise Liner Notes (.pdf)

Archive of projects by Electra Productions

For a foot stompin' Tuesday

Lizzie Miles (1895-1963) was a blues singer from New Orleans. (Her music was recently featured during the closing credits of Blue Jasmine.) Less well-known are her two half-siblings, blues singer Edna Hicks (1895-1925), and jazz trumpeter and vocalist Herb Morand (1905-1952).

Lizzie Miles:
Eh La Bas
My Man O'War
I Hate A Man Like You
Some Of These Days

Edna Hicks:
Sad 'n' Lonely Blues
I'm Goin' Away (Just To Wear You Off My Mind) - with brief bio introduction; record starts around 1:10
You've Got Everything A Sweet Mamma Needs But Me
I Don't Love Nobody So I Don't Have No Blues

Herb Morand:
Root Hog Or Die - with the Harlem Hamfats (on vocal and trumpet)
Oh! Red - with the Harlem Hamfats
I Ain't Gonna Give You None Of My Jelly Roll - with the George Lewis Jazz Band (on vocal and trumpet)
If You're A Viper - with the George Lewis Jazz Band

Sponge cake for everyone!

I Accidentally Started a Wikipedia Hoax: A stoned college prank involving the history of the children's book series Amelia Bedelia takes on a life of its own.

Ebola reaches Nigeria's largest city

A man has died in Lagos of Ebola virus. What's worrying is how he got there - by plane, with 100 other people.

"Since it claimed its first victims in Guinea last March, the Ebola virus epidemic has killed 660 people in three countries and infected nearly 1,100—more lethal than any other outbreak in the virus's nearly 40-year history.

But last week's developments could transform this outbreak from an unusually nasty regional epidemic to something much bigger. On Jul. 24, Nigerian authorities confirmed that a Liberian man, Patrick Sawyer, had collapsed in Lagos after flying there from the Liberian capital, Monrovia, and tested positive for Ebola; Sawyer died on the night of July 24-25."
Perhaps the most worrying quote from the article?
"The 35 Nigerian co-passengers took flight once word got out that the health ministry was supposed to have quarantined them"
Previously: Is Ebola so scary? Mapping the spread of Ebola.

The Tough Realities Behind Vinyl's Comeback

If we're talking about vinyl in 2014, we have to talk about Jack White. In April, rock'n'roll's self-appointed analog evangelist celebrated Record Store Day by teaming up with United Record Pressing in Nashville to put out the "World's Fastest Released Record." At 10 a.m., White and his band recorded a live version of his new album Lazaretto's title track at his own Third Man studios, then drove the masters to United, where it went immediately onto a 7" press, before ending up in fans' hands at the Third Man store. From start to finish, the process took 3 hours, 55 minutes, and 21 seconds.

Staying dry in the one of the wettest cities in North America.

Writer Jules Bentley writes about being (and staying) sober in New Orleans.

"One of us has to go back. Would you go back?"

As North Vietnamese forces marched towards Saigon in 1975, Citibank employee John Riordan (Warning: Autoplaying video) was ordered by Citibank to burn everything important and evacuate. In Hong Kong, he and his manager discussed the situation of their Vietnamese coworkers, who were in grave danger because they had worked for an American company.

Despite being threatened that he would be fired if he tried to do anything, Riordan flew back to Vietnam, where he was told that evacuation was only available for Americans and their dependents. Over the course of ten trips back to Saigon, he claimed his coworkers and their family members as his own wives and children, eventually safely evacuating all 105 of them.

Mother Fair Trade

Drinking a mug of fair trade coffee? Give thanks to the memory of Edna Ruth Byler, mother of the fair trade movement in the U.S.

In 1946, Byler traveled to Puerto Rico as part of a mission run by the Mennonite Central Committee. There she visited a sewing class for women living in poverty. She bought their needlework, brought it home to Pennsylvania, and began what would become a decades-long campaign:

Byler believed that she could provide sustainable economic opportunities for artisans in developing countries by creating a viable marketplace for their products in North America. She began a grassroots campaign among her family and friends in the United States by selling handcrafted products out of the trunk of her car. Byler made a concerted effort to educate her community about the lives of artisans around the world.

For the next 30 years, Byler worked tirelessly to connect individual entrepreneurs in developing countries with market opportunities in North America.

Byler's project grew into Ten Thousand Villages, whose stores promote both artisans' crafts and the ideal of fair trade. So raise your coffee mug in salute to the woman whose vision has evolved to encompass the world. Have one of Byler's Potato Dough Cinnamon Rolls to go with your java!

"Norm is a setting on a dryer, and reality is a mass hunch."

As part of their State of Sex issue, Dazed and Confused magazine presents an oral history of the trans magazine Original Plumbing [previously]. Amos Mac, co-founder and editor, asks five people in NYC who identify on the trans spectrum what being "trans in America" at this moment in time means to them. Dating columnist Arisce Wanzer discusses the challenges of dating as a transwoman of color (nsfw). Legendary NYC drag den mother Flawless Sabrina talks the ethics of identity politics and her mentorship of gay and transgender youth.

Trans 101.

After the App Goldrush

The app market is becoming a mature, developed industry, with vastly increased commoditization compared to its early days. Competition is ubiquitous, relentless, and often shameless, even in categories that were previously under-the-radar niches. Standing out requires more effort than ever, yet profits are harder to come by than ever. Full-time iOS indie developers — people who make the majority of their income from sales of their apps, rather than consulting or other related work — are increasingly rare.
App Rot: Marco Arment (creator of Instapaper and early Tumblr CTO) wonders if the heyday for app makers is over even when Apple and Google have paid out a combined $15B to developers in the last 12 months.

A good guy with a gun

In 1963, Robert Dowlut was convicted of shooting two people: a shopkeeper during a robbery, and then his girlfriend's mother later the same night. Six years later, he was released from prison by a ruling from the Indiana State Supreme Court, due to a flawed police investigation. Today, Dowlut is the general counsel of the National Rifle Association. As the NRA's top lawyer, he has been a key architect of the gun lobby's campaign to define the legal interpretation of the Second Amendment.
The NRA's Murder Mystery: a great longread from Mother Jones.

Prepare for a significant decline in gang activity.

This person made a giant spirograph and it's actually pretty awesome.

Here's the reddit link where the creator, HaHaBird, talks some more about it.

Yeah, that's right.

The location of the photograph used on the Boards of Canada - Music Has The Right To Children album cover has been found. See it on Google Maps.

"If you care about WisCon, rebuild it."

Last year at WisCon 37, I told a Safety staffer that I had been treated by another attendee in a way that made me uncomfortable and that I believed to be sexual harassment. One big reason I did was that I understood from another source that he had reportedly harassed at least one other person at a convention. I learned that she didn't report him formally, for a lot of reasons that aren't mine to say. I was in a position where I felt confident I could take the hit from standing up and telling the truth. So I did.

I didn't expect, fourteen months later, to have to stand up and tell the truth about WisCon's leadership as well.
Elise Matthesen talks about what happened after she reported being harassed at Wiscon 37, in a post also posted at C. Lundoff, Mary Robinette Kowal, Stephanie Zvan, Sigrid Ellis and John Scalzi's respective blogs.

As discussed here previously, Elise Matthesen was harassed by somebody who was later identified as Tor editor Jim Frenkel. Shortly after this, he was no longer. It turned out that Matthesen's experience with Frenkel wasn't unique; he'd long had a reputation in some circles in fandom.

Wiscon at first seemed to take the harassment complaint as seriously as Tor had done, but then it turned out that not only had Frenkel been allowed to attend, he had also been allowed to volunteer at this year's Wiscon.

That was in late May. Wiscon was slow to react to this but eventually formed several subcommittees, one to look into the general problem of harassment and safety and two to look into specific allegations, with the one looking into what happened to Elise Matthesen finally reporting its verdict on the 18th of July, formally banning Frenkel but only for four years:
WisCon will (provisionally) not allow Jim Frenkel to return for a period of four years (until after WisCon 42 in 2018). This is "provisional" because if Jim Frenkel chooses to present substantive, grounded evidence of behavioral and attitude improvement between the end of WisCon 39 in 2015 and the end of the four-year provisional period, WisCon will entertain that evidence. We will also take into account any reports of continued problematic behavior.

Allowing Jim Frenkel to return is not guaranteed at any time, including following WisCon 42; the convention's decision will always be dependent on compelling evidence of behavioral change, and our commitment to the safety of our members. If he is permitted to return at any time, there will be an additional one-year ban on appearing on programming or volunteering in public spaces. Any consideration of allowing him to return will be publicized in WisCon publications and social media at least three months before a final decision is made.
Responses to this announcement were largely critical, with e.g. Kameron Hurley calling for Wiscon to be abolished completely while others said they'd be unlikely to attend Wiscon in future. Elise Matthesen herself had already said she wouldn't, despite the loss in revenue this would cost her.

In response to this criticism, one of the members of the subcommittee handling Matthesen's case wrote two blogposts in a personal capacity explaining and apologising for the process with with the committee had handled the case.

From the discussion in those two posts it became clear Wiscon had been doing what Rose Fox had warned about two years earlier, in the context of a similar harassment case at Readercon:
When someone does something we find noxious, they become the focus of attention: how will they be punished? Will they apologize? Can they be brought back into the fold? Meanwhile, the person they targeted with their noxious behavior is forgotten, dismissed, or scorned. Harassers are often charismatic, which is how they get close enough to harass, and they often target the shy and vulnerable, who are that much easier to ignore if they manage to speak up at all. We are all intimately familiar with the narrative of sin-repentance-redemption, and it's startlingly easy to try to follow someone through it while all but forgetting that they wouldn't have even started down that road if they hadn't treated another person badly.
They also pointed out that focusing on the harasser's redemption means at least two other people would no longer be comfortable at Wiscon.

Following up on all this criticism, Wiscon put out an update saying that
1) In light of the intense community response to the Frenkel subcommittee's decision, and the concom's own concern about the "provisional ban," the WisCon concom is itself currently appealing the subcommittee's decision and will vote on the matter this week.

2) Debbie Notkin has resigned as Member Advocate, effective immediately.

3) The Bergmann subcommittee is assessing if they can continue given the valid concerns about Wiscon's existing process.
To which Elise Matthesen's post was a response.

Further reading:

'Put anything you want in me' said Space to Time, 'and you'll see.'

Leo Vroman, a Dutch scientist, artist and poet who lived in the US for many years, died in February of this year. Elsevier Connect did a great article back in 2012. It's rare that we see people who are great poets as well as passionate scientists. Leo Vroman was both; he needed more than just one outlet for an exceedingly curious and creative mind. His was an extraordinary life; he was a survivor of a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, who managed to be reunited with his fiancée Tineke after the war. They married and remained together until his last day.

In the US, Vroman worked as a researcher at various institutes, including the American Museum of Natural History, The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, the US Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Brooklyn, and Columbia University. While at Mount Sinai, he conducted research that enabled him to receive his PhD in physiology from Utrecht University.

His discovery, known as the Vroman Effect, describes the specific succession of blood proteins as they move along surfaces — research that provided new insight into blood. The work has influenced research in biomaterials, blood physiology and enzymology.

To the Dutch audience, Vroman is mainly known as a poet. You can read seven of his poems here.

From Above

How the US Stumbled into the Drone Era [WSJ] As ubiquitous as Predators, Reapers, Global Hawks and their ilk may now seem, the U.S. actually stumbled into the drone era. Washington got into the business of using drones for counterterrorism well before 9/11—not out of any steely strategic design or master plan but out of bureaucratic frustration, bickering and a series of only half-intentional decisions.

Virginia is for Lovers

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the decision overturning Virginia's ban on Same sex marriage:

"We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable. However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws. Civil marriage is one of the cornerstones of our way of life. It allows individuals to celebrate and publicly declare their intentions to form lifelong partnerships, which provide unparalleled intimacy, companionship, emotional support, and security. The choice of whether and whom to marry is an intensely personal decision that alters the course of an individual's life. Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance."

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe: "I am overjoyed by the news that, as a result of today's ruling, Virginia will become a state where two people who love each other can get married, regardless of their sexual orientation... This is a historic ruling for our Commonwealth, and its effect will affirm once again that Virginia is a state that is open and welcoming to all."

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring declined to defend the Commonwealth's ban on same sex marriages.

The ruling [pdf].

This is the second Federal Appeals Court to rule that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional.

Previously: "'We the People' have become a broader, more diverse family than once imagined."

Even The Stars

Even the Stars is a game about wandering through space without a purpose

This game uses text input commands, but you can switch to flying mode with the Space bar.

Land and write log entries on findings, some users are sharing their findings on twitter.

A metaphor for the tensions and hopes of the entire city

Mr. Phelan's Building. Medium's Sarah Agudo and Marcin Wichary investigate the building they work in: "Ancient and modern at the same time; multiple slices of time meeting under one penthouse-sporting roof."

Methodology: Researching the Phelan Building. Via Alexis Madrigal's 5 Intriguing Things newsletter: "Everyone should do this for the buildings they work in. I'm serious."

Marcin Wichary previously on Metafilter: The Yard.


Build your own Universal Multi Dial Solar Time Device.