1. birdschoolforbirds:


    If you haven’t taken the ‘Which Citizen of Night Vale are You?’ test then you’re missing out. 


  2. bookporn:

    Two beautiful cartoons to say goodbye to Gabriel García Márquez.

    by Fisgón and Helguera.

    (via thingspeopleasklibrarians)

  3. afterellen:

    West Point’s first gay wedding. 

    (Source: partymarshmallow)

  4. aljazeeraamerica:

    Nonconsensual sex: How colleges rebranded rape

    Around 15 years ago, Brett Sokolow was touring universities and advising them on how to deal with sexual assault on their campuses. On these visits, he noticed something strange. The schools had policies about rape, and recognized that rape happened. But when it came down to it, schools just didn’t want to believe their own students actually rape.

    “I trained hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hearing boards, and listening to them get squeamish about it,” Sokolow said. “The hearing board would say, ‘We’re not willing to label this guy a rapist.’” 

    Sokolow, the CEO of the consulting and law firm the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management, decided colleges needed another word. But on the issue of sexual violence, almost every word is loaded.

    Continue reading


  7. laboratoryequipment:

    Specific Gene Controls Strawberry Sweetness

    If you’ve ever bitten into a strawberry and wondered why it doesn’t taste as sweet or as good as others in the punnet, you could blame the fruit’s genetics.

    Two studies, published in BMC Genomics, found that the distinct flavor of strawberry has been linked to a specific gene, present in some varieties of the fruit – but not in others. The gene, FaFAD1, controls a key flavor volatile compound in strawberries called gamma-decalactone, which is described as fruity, sweet or peachy and contributes to fruit aroma.

    Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/04/specific-gene-controls-strawberry-sweetness

  9. theatlantic:

    Africa’s Tech Edge

    How the continent’s many obstacles, from widespread poverty to failed states, allowed African entrepreneurs to beat the West at reinventing money for the mobile age

    Read more. [Image: Mike McQuade]

    (via pol102)



  12. corporationsarepeople:


    Tennessee Passes Mind-Boggling Ban On Rapid Bus Transit | Wired 

    Tennessee lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favor a bill that bans the construction of bus rapid transit (BRT) anywhere in the state.

    The impetus for the vote was a proposal to build a $174 million BRT system in Nashville called The Amp, which would’ve ran on a 7.1 mile route and served rapidly growing neighborhoods across the city. There’s a more detailed summary of the project over at The Tennessean.

    Although BRT has been shown to revitalize economies and reduce congestion, opponents of The Amp voiced concerns about the safety of unloading bus passengers along roadways and whether private land would be used to build dedicated bus lanes.

    After the vote, Amp opponents revealed that the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, founded with the support of brothers Charles and David Koch, had lobbied in favor of the bus ban.

    The legislation is startlingly specific: Senate Bill 2243 forbids “constructing, maintaining or operating any bus rapid transit system.”

    The Senate version of the BRT ban also forbids buses from “loading or discharging passengers at any point within the boundary lines of a state highway or state highway right-of-way not adjacent to the right-hand, lateral curb line.” Though the House struck that provision and sent revised legislation back to the Senate, it would still require special approval from the Tennessee Department of Transportation and local government bodies.

    It’s a hard line, and an unusual one.

    Normally, the easiest way to kill a public transit project is to pull its funding. Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii and Utah all forbid state funding for public transit systems, for instance, but even that isn’t foolproof: Utah’s taken on some major commuter rail expansions lately, and Phoenix uses county tax revenues to pay for its transit system.

    Voters in Arlington, TX famously voted against public transit funding for decades, and an acrimonious debate in Cincinnati almost derailed a streetcar project, but both those cities now have service.

    A formal ban on BRT is about the only way that Tennessee could ensure that The Amp didn’t get built as intended. Already, the project seems to be watered down. Nashville’s mayor—a proponent of the project—has ordered a study that would redesign the system to avoid using dedicated lanes (PDF).

    Now, drivers in Nashville can look forward to increased traffic and longer commutes. But at least those pesky buses won’t be in the way.

    (Photo Credit: Amp Yes)

    I believe the phrase “cutting off your nose to spite your face” may apply well here.

    (via occupyv)


  13. thepoliticalfreakshow:

    This weekend, three people were killed in violent incidents outside Kansas City. From the earliest reports, the killings bore all the hallmarks of a terrorist attack.

    There is still no consensus over the definition, but terrorism usually denotes a nonstate actor attacking civilian targets to spread fear for some putative political goal. And here we had a 73-year-old lone wolf opening fire on a Jewish community center and retirement home on Passover eve yelling “Heil Hitler.”

    With time, it’s become even clearer that the alleged perpetrator is a terrorist. As founder of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party, Frazier Glenn Miller has a long history of militant anti-Semitism. The Southern Poverty Law Center described him as a “raging anti-Semite” known for posting online rants, like “No Jews, Just Right.” The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights has also noted, “His worship for Hitler and Hitlerism is real.” According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, Miller is “one of the pioneers in the modern hate world, he’s been entrenched in the hate movement his entire adult life.”

    And yet, the word terrorism wasn’t mentioned “in a single bit of news coverage,” as one observer noted. Why?

    For starters, the local police were at first reluctant to acknowledge the apparent political motive — namely, anti-Semitism. To their credit, they have subsequently described the shootings as a possible “hate crime.” These are acts of violence committed on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation or disability. And like terrorism, they are meant to terrorize a third party beyond the immediate victims themselves — in this case, the broader American Jewry.

    But what does it take for a hateful act to become a full-fledged terrorist attack? You might think the distinction hinges on lethality. A year ago this week, though, the Boston Marathon bombings killed the same number of bystanders, and Americans had little trouble fingering the incident as terrorism. And over the years, the Klan has killed many more Americans than has Al Qaeda, and the group has certainly fanned its share of fear.

    To continue reading this article, click here.

    (via occupyv)


  14. perzadook:

    Earlier today Edward Snowden phoned in to an annual TV broadcast with Vladimir Putin, and asked if Russia has it’s own mass surveillance system. Putin, of course, said they do not. Former US Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, called it “embarrassing theatre”. 

    A few hours ago the Guardian published a piece by Snowden in which he defends his actions. It’s definitely worth a read. The guy is obviously self-absorbed, but you can’t help and wonder where he’s going with this.

  15. kenobi-wan-obi:

    Bad-Ass Female Scientists: Lynn Margulis

I don’t consider my ideas controversial. I consider them right."

    Biologist Lynn Margulis died on November 22nd. She stood out from her colleagues in that she would have extended evolutionary studies nearly four billion years back in time. Her major work was in cell evolution, in which the great event was the appearance of the eukaryotic, or nucleated, cell — the cell upon which all larger life-forms are based. Nearly forty-five years ago, she argued for its symbiotic origin: that it arose by associations of different kinds of bacteria. Her ideas were generally either ignored or ridiculed when she first proposed them; symbiosis in cell evolution is now considered one of the great scientific breakthroughs.

    Margulis was also a champion of the Gaia hypothesis, an idea developed in the 1970s by the free lance British atmospheric chemist James E. Lovelock. The Gaia hypothesis states that the atmosphere and surface sediments of the planet Earth form a self- regulating physiological system — Earth’s surface is alive. The strong version of the hypothesis, which has been widely criticized by the biological establishment, holds that the earth itself is a self-regulating organism; Margulis subscribed to a weaker version, seeing the planet as an integrated self- regulating ecosystem. She was criticized for succumbing to what George Williams called the “God-is good” syndrome, as evidenced by her adoption of metaphors of symbiosis in nature. She was, in turn, an outspoken critic of mainstream evolutionary biologists for what she saw as a failure to adequately consider the importance of chemistry and microbiology in evolution.

    I first met her in the late 80’s and in 1994 interviewed her for my book The Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific Revolution (1995). Below, in remembrance, please see her chapter, “Gaia is a Tough Bitch”. One of the compelling features of The Third Culture was that I invited each of the participants to comment about the others. In this regard, the end of the following chapter has comments on Margulis and her work by Daniel C. Dennett, the late George C. Williams, W. Daniel Hillis, Lee Smolin, Marvin Minsky, Richard Dawkins, and the late Francisco Varela. Interesting stuff.

    As I wrote in the introduction to the first part of the book (Part I: The Evolutionary Idea): “The principal debates are concerned with the mechanism of speciation; whether natural selection operates at the level of the gene, the organism, or the species, or all three; and also with the relative importance of other factors, such as natural catastrophes.” These very public debates were concerned with ideas represented by George C. Williams and Richard Dawkins on one side and Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge on the other side. Not for Lynn Margulis. All the above scientists were wrong because evolutionary studies needed to begin four billion years back in time. And she was not shy about expressing her opinions. Her in-your-face, take-no-prisoners stance was pugnacious and tenacious. She was impossible. She was wonderful. — John Brockman

    "Gaia is a tough bitch." L. Margulis

    (via kenobi-wan-obi)