An Annoyed, Shivering, Nude Woman with Large Lapis Lazuli Glasses

Carved by someone in Ancient Egypt between 3700–3500 BCE.

Bone figure of a woman c. 3700–3500

[…] most of them represent nude females with their feminine attributes emphasised by carving and careful drilling. With their slim figures, narrow waists and full hips they present an ideal of the female body that will change little over the course of Ancient Egyptian civilization. Their enduring concept of beauty also included a full head of hair (the bald ones may have had wigs) as well as large and alluring eyes.

Google Arts and Culture

On Spite

In his book Dying of Whiteness, Metzl told of the case of a forty-one-year-old white taxi driver who was suffering from an inflamed liver that threatened the man’s life. Because the Tennessee legislature had neither taken up the Affordable Care Act nor expanded Medicaid coverage, the man was not able to get the expensive, lifesaving treatment that would have been available to him had he lived just across the border in Kentucky. As he approached death, he stood by the conviction that he did not want the government involved. “No way I want my tax dollars paying for Mexicans or welfare queens,” the man told Metzl. “Ain’t no way I would ever support Obamacare or sign up for it. I would rather die.” And sadly, so he would.

Isabel Wilkerson, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Now,

You might wish to let that simmer for a few minutes. With his health as shaky as a Jenga tower, with his very life ebbing away, Trevor’s greater concern – his greater fear – was of undeserving “Mexicans or welfare queens” benefiting from his taxes, however much that might be on the wages of a used-to-be cab driver eking out his last days in a low-income housing facility.

If that’s sad and ridiculous – and it is both – it is also predictable. From the beginning, white fear has been a great, unspoken driver of this nation’s sins against difference. So Trevor is just a link in an unbroken line that binds Lincoln fretting about retribution from newly freed slaves, to Roosevelt worrying about treachery from Americans of Japanese heritage, to Trump seeing terrorism in brown-skinned toddlers on the southern border.

Decade after decade, election after election, so much of the white conservative appeal is an implicit promise to defend whiteness from blacks and browns. Metzl argues that white people themselves have borne and are bearing a terrific cost for this “defense,” that they are, in effect, killing themselves.

Leonard Pitts, “Dying of Whiteness

Paraphrasing a comment I read on Instagram: “You will let your Orange Highness shit on your head if it means that the liberal standing next to you has to smell it.”

A Hundred Humans

Allysson Lucca is a Brazilian designer who took this original list (cached) of what the world would look like with a 1,000 people and shrank it to a hundred.

The idea of reducing the world’s population to a community of only 100 people is very useful and important. It makes us easily understand the differences in the world. There are many types of reports that use the Earth’s population reduced to 100 people, especially in the Internet. Ideas like this should be more often shared, especially nowadays when the world seems to be in need of dialogue and understanding among different cultures, in a way that it has never been before.

Transcribed from the graphic:

  • 50 men, 50 women
  • 61 Asians, 14 Africans, 14 People from the Americas, 11 Europeans
  • 33 Christians, 22 Muslims, 14 Hindus, 7 buddhists, 12 People who practice other religions, and 12 people not aligned with a religion
  • Only 7 would have a college degree
  • 51 would live in urban areas
  • 14 people live with some disability
  • 15 would be undernourished
  • 37 of the community’s population still lack access to adequate sanitation
  • The village military expenditure is $1.7 trillion and only $18 billion in humanitarian assistance
  • 20 people own 75% of the village income
  • 30 would be active internet users
  • 48 would love on less than $2 per day and 80 on less than $10 a day

Afghanistan

  • 47,245 Civilians Killed
  • 2,442 US Troops Killed
  • 20,666 US Troops Wounded
  • 66,000 - 69,000 Afghan Troops Killed
  • $2.26 Trillion Taxpayer Dollars

Via NPR. And then:

Just days before, Pardis had confided to his friend that he was receiving death threats from the Taliban, who had discovered he had worked as a translator for the United States Army for 16 months during the 20-year-long conflict.

“They were telling him you are a spy for the Americans, you are the eyes of the Americans and you are infidel, and we will kill you and your family,” his friend and co-worker Abdulhaq Ayoubi told CNN.

As he approached the checkpoint, Pardis put his foot on the accelerator to speed through. He was not seen alive again.

Afghan interpreter for US Army was beheaded by Taliban. Others fear they will be hunted down too”, CNN

What a nightmare, twenty years on. And it’s not like the powers that be didn’t know what they were getting into. Heck, here’s a scene from Rambo (via WN)

Whence “Gubernatorial”?

I’m put off by the word “gubernatorial” whenever I see it. Seems very silly, saccharine, like something a 5-year old mispronounced in 1953 that just stuck because it was so cute 🙄

Nope.

“Because, if you go back to where this word came from, in the original Latin, it’s from the verb, gubernare and gubernator, one who governs,” [Lisa McLendon, professor, University of Kansas School of Journalism] says.

Then, “governor, with the ‘v,’ came into English from French in about the 14th century,” she says. "French had taken the Latin and they swapped the ‘b’ for a ‘v.’ "

English speakers went back to the “b” about 400 years later, but just for gubernatorial. And, there’s the split.

Where Does The Term ‘Gubernatorial’ Come From?, NPR

Levels of Jhana

When I was a kid, I’d close my eyes and allow the strange shapes caused by the night lamp and blood flow in my eyelids to put on a small dance and lull me to sleep. Many a time, as I’d relax and drift away, I would suddenly feel this ‘inflation’ and loss of personal boundary and sense of geometry. In one instance, I’d be the infinitely small nucleus of a sphere whose inner surface would race away very quickly from me. In another, I’d be viewing an animal (mostly elephants because I love them) or an object that would grow and warp very quickly in size and texture. I don’t know how to even express the rest. They should’ve sent a poet, etc. While most were very pleasant, a few would be horripilating enough where I’d have to open my eyes and situate myself to snap out of whatever was happening.

Finding out that you’re not the only weirdo who experiences (and likes) certain things is probably one of the greatest joys of the Internet. Just off this one thread on /r/meditation:

I sometimes get strong changes in my sense of physical size and location. These either pass as my concentration increases or they stick for a while. My head might feel very high up or large. My feet feel as if they’re below the floor or further behind me than they could possibly be. My whole sense of physical space can get warped and skewed so that even thoughts that arise about physical space seem to be confused, e.g. flattening 3D space into 2D or flattening everything into a line. It’s enough to be a distraction sometimes. (source)

Cool, this is the first time I’ve heard someone express a situation similar to mine. During a sit one time I kept inflating to the size of a massively obese man. The effect was so real I had to stop and open my eyes to make sure nothing bizarre was actually happening. (source)

Mhm, I’ve had that too. It felt like I was turing into the marshmellow man from ghostbusters. (source)

What I felt as a child is common and normal in children, and in adults who are red-belts at meditation. It’s a level of jhana (that’s a Pali word, dhyana is its Sanskrit twin), one of the two forms of meditation in Theravada Buddhism (vipassana being the other.)

Jhana has eight levels of practice “first codified by Buddhists over 2,000 years ago.” I’m going to smush this article (“A”) and this Britannica entry (“B”) into a quick description of each.

Level One

A - When internal concentration is strong enough, J1 is entered, accompanied by strong physical pleasure—“better than sexual orgasm” ([9] p.151)—and greatly reduced vigilance with smaller startle responses[…]

B - Initially, the Theravadin meditator seeks to achieve detachment from sensual desires and impure states of mind through reflection and to enter a state of satisfaction and joy.

Level Two

A - In J2 joy “permeates every part of the body,” but with less physical pleasure. | In the second stage […], intellectual activity gives way to a complete inner serenity; the mind is in a state of “one-pointedness” (concentration), joy, and pleasantness.

B - In the second stage of this form of meditation, intellectual activity gives way to a complete inner serenity; the mind is in a state of “one-pointedness” (concentration), joy, and pleasantness.

Level Three

A - In J3, the character of joy changes to “deep contentment and serenity.”

B - In the third stage, every emotion, including joy, has disappeared, and the meditator is left indifferent to everything.

Level Four

A - J4 is described by “equanimity—a profound peace and stillness.”

B - In the fourth stage, satisfaction, any inclination to a good or bad state of mind, pain, and serenity are left behind, and the meditator enters a state of supreme purity, indifference, and pure consciousness.

Levels Five to Eight

A - The higher-numbered jhanas J5–J8 are characterized by more subtle and profound perceptions […] Each jhana is reported to be deeper and more remote from external stimuli than the last

  • J5 is called “infinite space,”
  • J6 is “infinite consciousness,”
  • J7 is “nothingness,” and
  • J8 is named “neither perception nor non-perception.”

B - The dhyanas are followed by four further spiritual exercises, the samapatti-s (“attainments”):

  1. Consciousness of infinity of space,
  2. Consciousness of the infinity of cognition,
  3. Concern with the unreality of things (nihility), and
  4. Consciousness of unreality as the object of thought.

So there 🙏🧘‍♀️📿

The Freedom Phone

Just some quick notes about a piece of shit from the hit machine that is Conservative Tech.

The Freedom Phone is another grift for those inside the Sphere of Shit who are upset that their Orange Daddy got censored by Facebook (that mighty ethical paragon of Silicon Valley) and Twitter (they aight.) It’s about empowering Conservatives, and is a fine device for Newsmax-lobotomized patriots who proactively disregard their own digital safety and well-being in the interest of sticking it to the Libs as much as possible.

Hardware

It’s a skinned Umdigi A9 Pro you can pick up from AliExpress for $120 but which is sold through the website for $500 (plus $20 shipping because the grift never stops.)

It’s manufactured in Shenzhen, China, although you can totally ignore this like the good Conservative you are and lie about how it’s actually made in Hong Kong (which is a part of China) and hence supports the good democratic anti-China people there with zero fucking evidence.

Software

It runs FreedomOS, of course, which is a “blend of AOSP, LineageOS, GrapheneOS, and our personal development.” Because you have total and complete Freedom of Choice, it has preloaded Conservative-friendly apps like MeWe, Parler, Newsmax, and Rumble (a YouTube competitor that will definitely be around two years from now.)

Need more Conservative-friendly apps? You can get them from the uncensorable “PatriApp Store.” Yes, that’s the actual name. Who needs Liberal creatives when you can just ask your Aunt Sally to smush some shit together? And no more Big Tech censoring you! ‘Uncensorable’ also absolves the PatriApp store of any responsibility apropos terrible exploitative or neo-Nazi content. Freedom is freedom is freedom.

Security

It’s a fucking nightmare. But it’s not a problem if you’re willing to give up on personal liberty, safety, ethics, humanity, and data if you’ve just had it with anyone who hurts your Daddy’s fee-fees and doesn’t love him as much as you do.

Founder

It’s Erik Finman. He has, in his own words, “made it in Silicon Valley and accomplished a lot in my life already.” How, you ask? He invested in BitCoin when he was a wee lad and his investment is now worth some millions.

That’s it.

But winning the lottery makes this Discount Bin Steve Jobs completely trustworthy and eminently capable of dealing with supply-chains, ISPs, regulatory bodies, software and hardware engineering, and the few thousand moving parts needed to create a modern phone and ecosystem worth a shit. It’s not his fault though. As Conservatives like to say, the problem isn’t tech oligopolies… it’s regulation bro 🧐😡

Product Pitch

Enjoy. Plucking MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech out of its context is totally appropriate here.

People Using It

Absolute fucking morons aside, a few Conservative people with large followings did express a lot of interest in this horror but appear to still spew their bile onto the internet with their iPhones and Androids.

The Most Country Song I’ve Seen

There isn’t much variety in the music I listen to. I stick to soundtracks, minimalist composers, some weird surprises1, and mostly to what my good friend calls “electronic windchime shit” (by which he means “ambient music.”)

This means I’ve heard fewer than, say, twenty country songs in my life so far (aside from Dolly Parton ♥️) And this the country-est of them all.

I suppose it’s nice that the boffins behind YouTube think I need a change of pace 🎣

  1. I will listen to things if the album art looks interesting. ↩︎

On HTML5

The entire infotainment system is a HTML 5 super computer,” Milton said. “That’s the standard language for computer programmers around the world, so using it let’s [sic] us build our own chips. And HTML 5 is very secure. Every component is linked on the data network, all speaking the same language. It’s not a bunch of separate systems that somehow still manage to communicate.

Trevor Milton, Founder of electric truck company Nikola, indicted for fraud

Note that the company still had a market cap of $5B at the time of this writing.

On Garlic

“Garlic is divine. Few food items can taste so many distinct ways, handled correctly. Misuse of garlic is a crime. Old garlic, burnt garlic, garlic cut too long ago and garlic that has been tragically smashed through one of those abominations, the garlic press, are all disgusting. Please treat your garlic with respect. Sliver it for pasta, like you saw in Goodfellas; don’t burn it. Smash it, with the flat of your knife blade if you like, but don’t put it through a press. I don’t know what that junk is that squeezes out the end of those things, but it ain’t garlic. And try roasting garlic. It gets mellower and sweeter if you roast it whole, still on the clove, to be squeezed out later when it’s soft and brown. Nothing will permeate your food more irrevocably and irreparably than burnt or rancid garlic. Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screw-top jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don’t deserve to eat garlic.”

Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential

If this resonates with you, you might love Sri Lankan Garlic Curry

Portrait of Hotto Enmyo Kokushi

Portrait of Hotto Enmyo Kokushi

This beautiful piece was sculpted in Japan around the 13th century and is about three feet tall. The subject is a Zen Buddhist monk Shinchi Kakushin, who lived till the ripe old age of 95. After his death, he was given the title “perfectly awakened national teacher of the Dharma lamp” which is what “Hotto Enmyo Kokushi” means.

It’s at the Cleveland Museum of art. More info here.

“The Dance Around the May Pole”

I bought this print at a thrift store a decade ago because it looked ‘nice’ and warm and I loved the colors. It’s an innocent celebration at a glance and from a distance, and a total bacchanal when you examine its scenes up close.

The Dance Around the May Pole by Peter Bruegel

I never knew who painted it until now. It’s Pieter Bruegel the Elder (not to be confused with the Younger) who “was the most significant artist of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting, a painter and printmaker from Brabant, known for his landscapes and peasant scenes (so called genre painting); he was a pioneer in making both types of subject the focus in large paintings.” (Source.) I’m glad that’s settled.

Peace Lily are Hard to Maintain

I have a dying peace lily. I’m a bit attached to it and don’t know that I’ll be able to save it. Searching the internet for any hope led me to this post (cached) which made me feel slightly better about my inexperience.

The first mistake is relying upon the plant’s visual cue that needs water: the leaves droop. But, as the post notes, this can happen when they’re both over and under-watered!

[…] This would be a good indicator of when to water, except that by the time things reach the point of laying flat, damage has been done: the roots die back slightly each time this happens, and if it happens often enough, it will eventually fail to come back at all.

[…] it’s difficult to get the watering just right. […] If it’s too wet, there’s a tendency for plants to rot where they sit, except that they do it in such a way that you don’t necessarily realize what’s going on. One day you go to pull off a dead leaf, and a whole rootless plant comes out. This will generally not be salvageable. To make things trickier, the plant (like a lot of other plants) responds to being too wet by – you guessed it – drooping, which would make an inexperienced grower think that it needs more water.

I think I ruined mine by transferring it to a larger pot, thinking I was ‘suffocating’ it in a smaller one.

However, it’s been my experience that, nine times out of ten, a peace lily with black leaf edges is suffering from root suffocation, either because its soil has broken down and compacted, or because part of the soil never gets to dry out. Especially in a very large pot, and especially especially in a plant that’s been overpotted (put in a pot that’s too large for the plant), and especially especially especially in a plant that’s in a very large pot, too big for the plant, with no drainage hole, the top of the soil can dry out while everything after the top three inches is soaking wet.

Contrary to marketing material, they are not easy beginner plants:

In the time I’ve been at Garden Web (since Dec. 2006), I’ve seen more people post about issues with their peace lilies than any other plant, no contest: too many marketers think that the only important thing about a plant is how much light it needs. It’s true that Spathiphyllum doesn’t require a lot of light; that doesn’t make it the best plant for you, any more than knowing Jennifer Anniston’s name makes her your best friend.

So what does one do?

Common sense is important. If your plant is droopy and the soil feels wet, the plant is obviously not drooping because it’s too dry: don’t give it water. If the plant looks fine and the soil feels dry, the plant doesn’t need water just because the soil is dry: wait for the leaves to get a little limp first. Spathiphyllums are nothing if not good communicators.

And don’t worry about humidity. And use progressively larger pots. I think mine is too far gone at this point 😔

The Bieber of Comic Sans

From an interview with Vincent Connare, creator of Comic Sans:

Q. What do you think of comic sans’ detractors?

A. I think most of them secretly like Comic Sans — or at least wish they had made it. Interesting fact: the main designer at Twitter tweeted that the most server space is used by complaints about: first, airlines; second, Comic Sans; and third, Justin Bieber. So not even The Bieber can beat Comic Sans!

Here’s the tweet he’s talking about (it’s from 2010.) Also:

Regular people who are not typographers or graphic designers choose Comic Sans because they like it, it’s as simple as that. Comic Sans isn’t complicated, it isn’t sophisticated, it isn’t the same old text typeface like in a newspaper. It’s just fun — and that ‘s why people like it.

I tend to ignore gatekeeping bullshit when it comes my typographical loves 😛 And from that NYTimes article, emphasis mine:

“It’s like, ‘Not only am I going to refuse to submit these documents, but I’m going to use a typeface that doesn’t submit to the solemnity of the law, and Congress and public institutions,” said Michael Bierut, a partner at the design firm Pentagram. “Or maybe he just likes Comic Sans. It’s hard to say. Few typefaces are this freighted with public opinion.”

I think these are the final words on the matter from the creator himself:

If you love Comic Sans you don’t know much about typography. And if you hate Comic Sans you need a new hobby.

Plurals in Python

>>> n = 0
>>> print "%d item%s" % (n, "s"[n==1:])
0 items
>>> n = 1
>>> print "%d item%s" % (n, "s"[n==1:])
1 item
>>> n = 2
>>> print "%d item%s" % (n, "s"[n==1:])
2 items

# If you might want to print negative items, add abs to the test:
>>> n = -1
>>> print "%d item%s" % (n, "s"[abs(n)==1:])
2 items

# If a word has irregular plural morphology, use a list:
>>> n=1
>>> print "%d %s" % (n, ['abacus','abaci'][n!=1])
1 abacus
>>> n=2
>>> print "%d %s" % (n, ['abacus','abaci'][n!=1])
2 abaci

Source.

The Universal Estimation Table

Estimate Actual Time
Very Easy 1 Hour
Easy 2 Hours
Quite Easy 4 Hours
Looks Quite Easy 6 Hours
Average 8 Hours
Looks Average 12 Hours
No Clue 16 Hours
Seems Complex 24 Hours
Complex 30 Hours
Very Complex 40 Hours
Can Take Some Time 48 Hours
Fuck 60 Hours
Yeah Looks Pretty Easy 80 Hours

Combine: “No Clue. Can take some time, but yeah… looks pretty easy” = 16 + 48 + 80 = 144 hours.

Source Unknown. See also: “Midwest Distances

The Schmidt Pain Index

This is the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, an eponymous and subjective measurement of the pain caused by bees, wasps, and ants (and other things in the order hymenoptera.) It ranges from 0-4. In Level Zero, you don’t feel any pain whatsoever; the stinger doesn’t even penetrate your skin. The humble and familiar honeybee will deliver a Level 2.

Schmidt describes Level 4, the absolute worst, as follows:

Bullet Ant

“Pure, intense, brilliant pain… like walking over flaming charcoal with a three-inch nail embedded in your heel”

“That really shuts you down. It really felt like a bullet. It was instantaneous, almost even before it stung me. It was absolutely riveting. There were huge waves and crescendos of burning pain—a tsunami of pain coming out of my finger. The tsunami would crash as they do on the beach, then recede a little bit, then crash again. It wasn’t just two or three of these waves. It continued for around 12 hours. Crash. Recede. Crash. It was absolutely excruciating. There wasn’t much I could do except be aware of it and groan.”

Tarantula Hawk

“Blinding, fierce [and] shockingly electric”

“A running hair dryer has just been dropped into your bubble bath”

“Like you were walking underneath a high-voltage electric line in a wind storm, a wind gust snapped the line, and it fell on your arm. You get 20,000 volts all at once cascading through your body. It’s pure electrifying pain. Instantaneous. Very clean and sharp.”

Warrior Wasp

“Torture. You are chained in the flow of an active volcano. Why did I start this list?”

Here’s Dr. Schmidt with a giant bug on his face.

Dr Justin O. Schmidt

Some quotes and that image are from this article he penned in Esquire (cached) where he touches upon why the pain profiles are different.

“Crowded, Compartmentalized, Sticky, Spatially Inhomogeneous”

In college, I remember being blown away by a huge, physical map of metabolic pathways our Biochemistry professor once brought into class. It looked like this:

metabolic pathways

Here it is online. Kinda like a Google Maps of cellular reactions. It was impressed upon us that the interior of a cell (especially a eukaryotic one) is a really, really busy and tight and ‘goopy’ place: “crowded, compartmentalized, sticky, spatially inhomogeneous”. As that paper notes, this messy, “macromolecular crowding” helps your proteins fold properly (among several other factors.) This was a bit hard for me to appreciate since, up to then, I was only accustomed to images of cells from a light microscope or vastly simplified illustrations school texts.

I was somehow reminded of all of that after seeing some astounding paintings by Professor David S. Goodsell (Wiki, Twitter, Website). He calls the series “Molecular Landscapes.” Here are a few related to the pandemic we’ve been through.

SARS-CoV-2 and Neutralizing Antibodies, 2020

Art by David S. Goodsell

Acknowledgement: David S. Goodsell, RCSB Protein Data Bank and Springer Nature; doi: 10.2210/rcsb_pdb/goodsell-gallery-025. The painting was commissioned for the cover of a special COVID-19 issue of Nature, presented 20 August 2020, and is currently in the collection of the Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences.

(Unknown Title)

Art by David S. Goodsell

Acknowledgement: Illustration by David S. Goodsell

Coronavirus, 2020

Art by David S. Goodsell

Acknowledgement: Illustration by David S. Goodsell, RCSB Protein Data Bank; doi: 10.2210/rcsb_pdb/goodsell-gallery-019. This painting depicts a coronavirus just entering the lungs, surrounded by mucus secreted by respiratory cells, secreted antibodies, and several small immune systems proteins. The virus is enclosed by a membrane that includes the S (spike) protein, which will mediate attachment and entry into cells, M (membrane) protein, which is involved in organization of the nucleoprotein inside, and E (envelope) protein, which is a membrane channel involved in budding of the virus and may be incorporated into the virion during that process. The nucleoprotein inside includes many copies of the N (nucleocapsid) protein bound to the genomic RNA.

SARS-CoV-2 Fusion, 2020

Art by David S. Goodsell

Acknowledgement: Illustration by David S. Goodsell, RCSB Protein Data Bank; doi: 10.2210/rcsb_pdb/goodsell-gallery-026. This painting depicts the fusion of SARS-CoV-2 (magenta) with an endosomal membrane (green), releasing the viral RNA genome into the cell cytoplasm (blue), where it is beginning to be translated by cellular ribosomes to create viral polyproteins. The painting includes speculative elements that are designed to highlight the process, most notably, multiple states of the viral spike protein are shown.

SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccine, 2020

Art by David S. Goodsell

Acknowledgement: Illustration by David S. Goodsell, RCSB Protein Data Bank; doi: 10.2210/rcsb_pdb/goodsell-gallery-027. Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines developed for the COVID-19 pandemic are composed of long strands of RNA (magenta) that encode the SARS-CoV-2 spike surface glycoprotein enclosed in lipids (blue) that deliver the RNA into cells. Several different types of lipids are used, including familar lipids, cholesterol, ionizable lipids that interact with RNA, and lipids connected to polyethylene glycol chains (green) that help shield the vaccine from the immune system, lengthening its lifetime following administration. In this idealized illustration, all of the lipids are arranged in a simple circular bilayer that surrounds the mRNA and the PEG strands have both extended and folded conformations. In reality, the structure may be less regular, as suggested in the NanoLetters paper […]

Two Messages for Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to the fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, and father figures who enrich our character, love us unconditionally, and give so much of themselves every day so we can live lives worthy of their dreams and sacrifices.

President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

And, this is real (as much as you hope it isn’t but know deep-down that it is):

Happy Father’s Day to all, including the Radical Left, RINOs, and other Losers of the world. Hopefully, eventually, everyone will come together!

A soon to be ‘reinstated’, former President

I do love the capitalized “Losers”.

You Cannot Overcook Mushrooms

Note that you can certainly burn them. That’s not ‘cooking’, however. The key here is that mushroom cell walls are composed of chitin which is far more heat-stable by virtue of the structures it forms, compared to pectin which is what you’d find in veggies1.

In this video, Dan Souza explains all this and does something quite surprising when cooking mushrooms: He sautés the mushrooms in water to ‘collapse’ them prior to cooking them in just a teeny bit of oil (and the usual salt, pepper, butter, and herbs.) Amazing.

  1. You’ll also find chitin in the “exoskeletons of arthropods, such as crustaceans and insects, the radulae of molluscs, cephalopod beaks, and the scales of fish and skin of lissamphibians.” Leave it to fungi to be weird 😍🍄 ↩︎

Are they not Mothers and Fathers and Children?

I finish just by saying this: war is an easy thing to talk about; there are not many people - a - of the generation that remember it. The right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup served with distinction in the last war. I never killed anyone but I wore uniform. But I was in London in the blitz in 1940, living in the Millbank tower, where I was born. Some different ideas have come in since. And every night, I went down to the shelter in Thames house. Every morning, I saw dockland burning. Five hundred people were killed in Westminster one night by a land mine. It was terrifying. Aren’t Arabs terrified? Aren’t Iraqis terrified? Don’t Arab and Iraqi women weep when their children die? Does bombing strengthen their determination? What fools we are to live in a generation for which war is a computer game for our children and just an interesting little channel for news item.

Every Member of Parliament tonight who votes for the Government motion will be consciously and deliberately accepting responsibility for the deaths of innocent people if the war begins, as I fear it will. Now that’s for their decision to take. But this is a quite unique debate. In my parliamentary experience, where we are asked to share responsibility for a decision we won’t really be taking, with consequences for people who have no part to play in the brutality of the regime which we are dealing with.

And I finish with this: on 24 October 1945—the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup will remember—the United Nations charter was passed. And the words of that charter are etched into my mind and move me even as I think of them. “We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our life-time has caused untold suffering to mankind”. That was the pledge of that generation to this generation, and it would be the greatest betrayal of all if we voted to abandon the charter, and take unilateral action and pretend that we were doing it in the name of the international community. And I shall vote against the motion for the reasons that I have given the house.

Tony Benn, on 17 February 1998, Westminster.