Golf ball hitting steel at 150mph, recorded at 70 000fps

physics is so fucked up

(via goethes-fist)

The Myth of the Teenage Temptress: Or Why A Young Girl Can Not Consent to Sex With An Adult Man ›

When ya don’t know if ya should or shouldn’t reply and it fades…

The balloons and the playground ›


Walking back from a meeting last night I found two soaked, big bags of inflated black and yellow balloons on the pavement. Being a Womble (non-anarchist variety) I picked them up, because I thought they might be useful. I thought it would be nice to give them to kids - kids like balloons? I don’t…

On the so-called ‘Ceasefire’ between Israel and Hamas

Omar Hamilton from LRB states: On 26 August a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was agreed, bringing a fragile end to a war that killed 2150 Palestinians (mostly civilians) and 73 Israelis (mostly soldiers). Since then Hamas has not fired a single rocket, attacked an Israeli target, or done anything to break the terms of the ceasefire. Israel has done the following:

1. Annexed another 1500 acres of West Bank land
2. Seized $56 million of PA tax revenue
3. Not lifted the illegal blockade (as required by the ceasefire)
4. Broken the ceasefire by firing at fishermen on four separate occasions
6. Killed a 22-year-old, Issa al Qatari, a week before his wedding
7. Killed 16-year-old Mohammed Sinokrot with a rubber bullet to the head
8. Tortured a prisoner to the point of hospitalisation
9. Refused 13 members of the European Parliament entry into Gaza
10. Detained at least 127 people across the West Bank, including a seven-year-old boy in Hebron and two children, aged seven and eight, taken from the courtyard of their house in Silwad – and tear-gassed their mother
11. Continued to hold 33 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in prison
12. Continued to hold 500 prisoners in administrative detention without charge or trial
13. Destroyed Bedouin homes in Khan al Ahmar, near Jerusalem, leaving 14 people homeless, and unveiled a plan to forcibly move thousands of Bedouin away from Jerusalem into two purpose-built townships
14. Destroyed a dairy factory in Hebron whose profits supported an orphanage
15. Destroyed a family home in Silwan, making five children homeless
16. Destroyed a house in Jerusalem where aid supplies en route to Gaza were being stored
17. Destroyed a well near Hebron
18. Set fire to an olive grove near Hebron
19. Raided a health centre and a nursery school in Nablus, causing extensive damage
20. Destroyed a swathe of farmland in Rafah by driving tanks over it
21. Ordered the dismantling of a small monument in Jerusalem to Mohamed Abu Khdeir, murdered in July by an Israeli lynch mob
22. Continued building a vast tunnel network under Jerusalem
23. Stormed the al Aqsa mosque compound with a group of far right settlers
24. Assisted hundreds of settlers in storming Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus
25. Prevented students from entering al Quds University, firing stun grenades and rubber bullets at those who tried to go in
26. Earned unknown millions on reconstruction materials for Gaza, where 100,000 people need their destroyed homes rebuilt. The total bill is estimated at $7.8 billion

Sections in the bookstore

- Books You Haven’t Read
- Books You Needn’t Read
- Books Made for Purposes Other Than Reading
- Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong to the Category of Books Read Before Being Written
- Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered
- Books You Mean to Read But There Are Others You Must Read First
- Books Too Expensive Now and You’ll Wait ‘Til They’re Remaindered
- Books ditto When They Come Out in Paperback
- Books You Can Borrow from Somebody
- Books That Everybody’s Read So It’s As If You Had Read Them, Too
- Books You’ve Been Planning to Read for Ages
- Books You’ve Been Hunting for Years Without Success
- Books Dealing with Something You’re Working on at the Moment
- Books You Want to Own So They’ll Be Handy Just in Case
- Books You Could Put Aside Maybe to Read This Summer
- Books You Need to Go with Other Books on Your Shelves
- Books That Fill You with Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified
- Books Read Long Ago Which It’s Now Time to Re-read
- Books You’ve Always Pretended to Have Read and Now It’s Time to Sit Down and Really Read Them”

― Italo Calvino, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler

Why David Graeber is wrong about ‘bullshit jobs’

"Every class regime has had its administrative, judicial, religious and military bureaucracies. These bureaucracies taken as a whole constitute an instrument of the class in power, but their members do not constitute a class because a class is the totality of those who have identical relations with the means of production and consumption. The class of slave owners had already begun to break apart—it could not feed its own slaves (see the Manifesto)—when the imperial bureaucracy was still in power and fighting against the anti-slavery revolution and mercilessly repressing it. Much later, the aristocrats were brought to misery and the guillotine even though the military and clerical structures of the state were still fighting for the Ancien Régime. The bureaucracy in Russia cannot be defined without arbitrarily distinguishing between the big bosses and the rest of the bureaucrats: in state capitalism everyone is a bureaucrat. This alleged Russian bureaucracy, just like its counterpart, the American “managerial class”, is nothing but a lifeless tool without any history of its own, at the service of world capital against the working class. The conclusions towards which class antagonism is tending correspond to the Marxist perspective of the economic, social and political facts, and not to any other previous perspective, much less to a new elaboration that is the product of today’s dismal atmosphere.”


Words to avoid because of their excessive theoretical freight: ‘signifier,’ ‘symbolic,’ ‘text,’ ‘textual,’ and then ‘being,’ and the finally all words, and this would still not suffice, for since words cannot be constituted as a totality, the infinity that traverses them could never be captured by a subtracting operation; it is irreversible by reduction.

Blanchot, Writing of Disaster

Problems with world veganism

"Vegan lifestyles—as ostensibly nutritionally adequate—are part and parcel of social class distinction outside the proletariat. Maybe you have spent too long in certain metro areas or subcultures to see it for what it is. You can definitely be vegetarian cheaply in the “rice and beans” sort of way although you”l probably eat the same thing all the time too. A can of black beans, from what I’ve seen, typically has about 21 grams of protein for three servings (the whole can, whereas for 3 oz of lean meat it’s typically 20-30 grams). A sedentary 150 lb man has a protein RDA of about 60 grams of protein a day. That’s less than bodybuilding magazines act like it is, but when it takes one can of black beans to get to 20 grams of protein and you need three times that it’s a bit more complicated because who wants to consume three whole cans of beans or lentils a day? (You can only cook it so many ways until you hate it, you need time to cook and I think that probably would get a little expensive… and there’s a lot of sodium.) The meat replacements can be more protein dense but they’re also expensive (like five dollars for a whole box of tofu where it’s only 20-35 grams of protein for the whole thing, veggie burgers are from what I’ve seen probably the only sometimes cheap meat replacement that typically give you 8-20 grams a serving). If I’m fairly active and weight lift typically about 4 days a week so my RDA probably puts me at around 115 grams of protein needed a day and hence I don’t think I could afford currently to both not eat the same thing constantly but still continue growing.”


One large complication of “worldwide veganism” would be the fact that it is not biologically possible to get B12 in any necessary amount with a vegan diet and hence you have to take a B12 supplement. Actual B12 is too complex to put into supplements economically (it takes at least a hundred steps) so B12 supplements contain a vitamer (something that acts just like a vitamin) called cyanocobalamin. It’s made by having bacteria in a well controlled fermentation produce hydroxocobalamin and other variations of cobalamin.They must be combined with potassium cyanide to produce cyanocobalamin (since that’s the most stable version). The main way so far to produce cyanide would be the Andrussow process or BMA process, where you have to heat methane and ammonia inside a platinum covered pipe from 1200 to 1400 celsius to get one carbon atom triple bonded to a nitrogen atom which is cyanide.

In short, producing B12 is some pretty complex shit that requires a lot of heavy machinery, trained chemist and a whole bunch of other things a very good portion of the world doesn’t have in much amounts. Eighty percent of the world’s B12 is currently produced in France (so it has to be transported long distances to a lot of consumers, and so large portions of the world becoming vegan would require some serious reorientation of production if it were to ever be efficient and better yet ecologically friendly), and even though 55% of it is currently used in animal feed even if we were to quit eating animals I have no doubt it would still take a rather large increase in production to ensure that the whole world wouldn’t be B12 deficient (about 50% of the US —a high percent for most countries— takes a multi-vitamin that probably has B12 in it, that’s about 150 million people, but imagine 7 billion or more). It don’t think I would ever say it’s wholly impossible to do, but it’s really something that needs to be thought through when people talk about veganism on a very large scale. Yet I’ve honestly never seen any vegans anywhere talk about this possible logistic and production complication which is just annoying.

B12 is very complicated to make (just compare the chemical structure of this to morphine, Round Up/glyphosate or fluoxetine/Prozac, which aren’t incredibly easy to synthesize). Robert Burns Woodward was the first to find a way to make it (and his route for making it is the only one so far), he’s considered to be one of the leading organic chemist of the 21st century but one real landmark of his career was artificially synthesizing B12. He was also the first to artificially synthesize a few other naturally occurring chemicals like cholesterol, cortisone, chlorophyll and strychnine, but B12 was by far the hardest and considered still probably one of the most hardest naturally occurring things to produce artificially. I just can’t imagine looking at this chemical and having to find a chemical to start with.

The “R” is where carbon-nitrogen (cyano group) could be attached, oxygen-hydrogen (hydoxyl) could be attached or methyl could be attached to the cobalt atom in the center to make vitamers like cyanocobalamin, hydroxocobalamin, methylcobalamin and so on

#vegan  #chemisty  

I love the kinetic sculptures next to the Centre Pompidou by Nikki de Saint-Phalle in collaboration with Jean Tinguely. Fun fact: Nikki was the wife of Harry Matthews, a poet and writer of the Oulipo Group (who wrote according to mathematical formulas).

There have been lots of discussions lately of ‘cisgender’ as opposite to ‘transgender’. One concern is that ‘trans’ was adopted to unite a range of gender positions and open space to create new ones, so the concept of an opposite is tricky, and often leads to circular definitions. But it’s not an attempt to create a new binary, but to frame one that already exists, as I know from a lifetime on the ‘wrong’ side, in less unfavourable terms than ‘women-born-women’ and the more recent appendage of ‘living as women’ once the trans-exclusionary radical feminists remembered that trans men exist. (Janice Raymond barely mentioned them in The Transsexual Empire but afterthought them into her scheme by saying they were buying into the patriarchy.) Post-transition, I still feel – and I am still made to feel – discomfort with my body and social expectations of it, but nothing like the discomfort that made me seek hormones and surgery. Truthfully, my experiences have been far more complex than the words, categories and theories available to describe them, and historically, attempts to cram the realities of people’s lives into pre-existing belief systems have rarely ended well. In the New Yorker, Michelle Goldberg presents the laments of Jeffreys et al that it’s become harder to hold a trans-exclusionary radical feminist conference in terms that are reminiscent of a 19th century farming community fearing the arrival of the threshing machine. She notes their objection to the TERF acronym as ‘a slur’. (Far nastier than describing elective surgery as ‘mutilation’, obviously.) Originally, the term was intended to acknowledge that radical feminism accommodated differing positions on trans inclusion. The aim in using ‘TERF’ was to discourage rejection of all of the good political theory and work, and often great art, done in or around radical feminism – another problem, not new to Twitter or exclusive to this conflict, is a tendency for people to dismiss an individual or movement because they disagree with just one of their positions. If I applied this to my personal relationships, I wouldn’t have many left – certainly not with my family, and probably not even myself: looking back over old writing, diaries and letters as I wrote my memoir, I was amused by how often I said to myself: Fucking hell, I thought that?


Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery’s account of being arrested last night in Ferguson

(via theriotmag)

Irma ›

Irma is an intimate musical portrait of Irma Gonzalez, the former world champion of women’s professional wrestling. Filmed in Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl — a notorious district of Mexico City — Irma contradicts everything we have come to expect from stories reported from Mexico. Featuring music written and performed by Ms. Gonzalez, Irma’s story surges with love and deceit, masculine strength, feminine charms, and an extraordinary sense of humor.


Ferguson Police have dogs and shotguns. The unarmed crowd is raising their hands.

For anyone not following the Mike Brown story on Twitter: a 17 year old black boy named Mike Brown, who was supposed to start college tomorrow, was shot to death in Ferguson, Missouri by police while jaywalking. He was unarmed. He was shot 9 times.

Initial media reports claimed that an 18 year old black man had been shot and killed while fleeing police after shoplifting.

People in the neighborhood, including members of Mike Brown’s family, came out of their homes and began to protest, shouting “no justice, no peace,” and keeping their hands in the air.

Media reports claimed that a violent mob quickly formed around the shooting location shouting “kill the police.”

Spread this. Tell the truth about what happened to this boy. Tell the truth about what is happening NOW. The police and the mainstream media is painting him as a criminal, and his community as a violent mob.

SPREAD THIS. Don’t let them lie.


(via untodeath)

Capital in the Twenty-First Century - Review by Hans G Despain - Marx & Philosophy Review of Books ›

This is essentially the best TLDR of Thomas Piketty’s Capital.