Detention Camps on Military Bases ‘Smacks of Totalitarianism,’ Troops Say

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‘Active-duty and retired U.S. military officers and enlisted personnel are
expressing a sense of moral emergency over the Defense Department setting up detention camps for undocumented immigrants on military bases.

“It smacks of totalitarianism,” said Steve Kleinman, a retired Air Force colonel and military intelligence officer.

Raf Noboa, an Iraq War veteran and former Army sergeant, said he was astounded by the “enormous moral offense” the camps represent and which the military will be ordered to support.

“America’s military once liberated people from concentration camps,” Noboa told The Daily Beast. “It beggars the mind and our morality that it might be used to secure them.”…’

Via Daily Beast

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One-third of American children take alternative medicine. This is a problem.

NewImage‘Some supplements or vitamins may very well help you. The problem with multivitamins is the same with probiotics: loading your body up with a bit of everything is not only often ineffective, but dangerous. If you don’t know what your body is deficient of—the same holds true with your microbiome, hence probiotics—taking these pills, oils, and tinctures are only helping companies profit while potentially harming you in the process….’

Via  Big Think

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Music designed for extraterrestrials

NewImage‘One of the possible roadblocks to discovering extraterrestrial life is that it may be so different we might not recognize it. As recently retired astronaut and biochemist Peggy Whitson put it, “it’s not necessarily going to look the same as us, or be based on the same principles.” We’re so used to the lifeforms on Earth—mind-bogglingly varied as they may be—that it’s difficult for us to imagine beings completely out of our frame of reference, more specifically beyond our senses. Beings made of light or mist, or some kind of matter we can’t see; there’s no end to the possibilities. As we hunt for other life, our limited imaginations amount to an unavoidable form of prejudice that could doom the search. Mindful of this, and to help us practice being more open-minded, experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats is about to reveal, in San Francisco, music for aliens who don’t hear. At least as we do. He calls it Omniphonics. He’s even composed a “Universal Anthem” for us to play together with our new acquaintances….’

Via Big Think

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Maybe we’re the multiple personas of cosmic consciousness

NewImage‘Consciousness: Where is it? What is it? No one single perspective seems to be able to answer all the questions we have about consciousness. Now Bernardo Kastrup thinks he’s found one. He calls his ontology idealism, and according to idealism, all of us and all we perceive are manifestations of something very much like a cosmic-scale dissociative identity disorder (DID). He suggests there’s an all-encompassing universe-wide consciousness, it has multiple personalities, and we’re them….’

Via Big Think

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Leading psychiatrists: roll back Goldwater rule

 ‘Twenty-two psychiatrists and psychologists, including some of the field’s most prominent thinkers, are calling on the American Psychiatric Association on Thursday to substantially revise its controversial Goldwater rule, which bars APA members from offering their views of a public figure’s apparent psychological traits or mental status.

In a letter to be delivered to the APA, Dr. Robert Jay Lifton, one of the world’s leading experts on the psychological effects of war and political violence; Philip Zimbardo of the “Stanford prison experiment”; violence expert Dr. James Gilligan; and their colleagues argued that the Goldwater rule, which the APA adopted in 1973, deprives the public of expert opinion on crucial questions, such as the mental health and stability of elected officials.

While the policy holds that it would be unethical for mental heath professionals to offer their opinions on anyone they have not examined, the letter’s signers argue it would be unethical to withhold their views. Psychiatrists and psychologists, they contend, have “an affirmative responsibility” to publicly discuss “mental health issues discerned in public figures” when they pose “a clear and present danger to the public’s health and well-being.” …’

Source: Statnews

Elie Wiesel on our shared duty in ending injustice

1986 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech:

‘I remember: it happened yesterday or eternities ago. A young Jewish boy discovered the kingdom of night. I remember his bewilderment, I remember his anguish. It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed.

I remember: he asked his father: “Can this be true?” This is the twentieth century, not the Middle Ages. Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How could the world remain silent?

And now the boy is turning to me: “Tell me,” he asks. “What have you done with my future? What have you done with your life?”

And I tell him that I have tried. That I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices. And then I explained to him how naïve we were, that the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.

We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must — at that moment — become the center of the universe…’

The Nature of ‘Brain Tingles’

NewImageHeard about ASMR? Have you experienced it?

‘Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is the sensation experienced by some individuals in response to specific sights and soft sounds, such as whispering, tapping or slow hand movements.

These feelings are described as a warm, tingling and pleasant sensation starting at the crown of the head and spreading down the body. The “tingles” are sometimes described as “brain tingles” or “brain orgasms.” They are typically accompanied by feelings of calm and relaxation.

There are more than 13 million ASMR videos on YouTube — including medical examinations, haircuts and massages and folding towel tutorials — which people view to relax, relieve stress or sleep better. Still, research on ASMR has been limited….’

Via Psych Central

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Thoreau:

‘Who can be serene in a country where both the rulers and the ruled are without principle? The remembrance of my country spoils my walk. My thoughts are murder to the State, and involuntarily go plotting against her. …’

Via Austin Kleon

Return of the Blood Libel

Paul Krugman writes:

‘The speed of America’s moral descent under Donald Trump is breathtaking. In a matter of months we’ve gone from a nation that stood for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to a nation that tears children from their parents and puts them in cages.

What’s almost equally remarkable about this plunge into barbarism is that it’s not a response to any actual problem. The mass influx of murderers and rapists that Trump talks about, the wave of crime committed by immigrants here (and, in his mind, refugees in Germany), are things that simply aren’t happening. They’re just sick fantasies being used to justify real atrocities.

And you know what this reminds me of? The history of anti-Semitism, a tale of prejudice fueled by myths and hoaxes that ended in genocide. …’

Source: New York Times op-ed

R.I.P. Koko, 1971-2018

The Gorilla, Who Used Sign Language and Befriended Mr. Rogers, Dies at 46:

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‘Koko, the gorilla whose apparent aptitude for sign language endeared her to fans around the world, died in her sleep on Tuesday morning in California, according to the Gorilla Foundation, which oversaw her care. She was 46.

Koko became an instant celebrity in her youth thanks to an early facility with American Sign Language. That fame was bolstered over the years as Koko, a western lowland gorilla, charmed entertainers like Fred Rogers and Robin Williams as well as their audiences.

“Koko touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas and an icon for interspecies communication and empathy,” the Gorilla Foundation said in a statement. “She was beloved and will be deeply missed.”

By the age of 4, Koko had developed a vocabulary of more than 170 words and showed an ability to use language creatively, Penny Patterson, her longtime caretaker and trainer, told The New York Times in 1975.

“She occasionally makes up new words [signs] which are amazingly appropriate and she is able to string known words together in novel and meaningful constructions,” Dr. Patterson said at the time. “Koko also has a sense of humor and plays word games.”

But soon after Koko gained fame, some in the scientific community began to question the extent of her abilities, suggesting that she was responding to cues or that Dr. Patterson and others had overstated her skill, projecting what they wanted to see onto her actions. The debate has continued through the decades, but it did little to diminish interest in Koko.

NewImageIn public appearances, she seemed to experience emotions like happiness, frustration and heartbreak. A lifelong friend to other animals, she displayed an endearing gentleness toward cats. Her relationship with a kitten named All Ball inspired the popular children’s book “Koko’s Kitten.”…’

Via New York Times

 

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The Real Story of Donald Trump Jr.

NewImageIt’s never been trickier to be the president’s son:

‘All he ever wanted was to make his dad proud, but things have never turned out quite right for Donald Trump Jr. Even now, despite finding his purpose as a bombastic star of the far right, Junior’s personal life is in shambles and the specter of Robert Mueller looms large….’

Via GQ

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Why our brains see the world as ‘us’ versus ‘them’

NewImageBrain battle between distrust and reward:

‘At the most fundamental level of biology, people recognize the innate advantage of defining differences in species. But even within species, is there something in our neural circuits that leads us to find comfort in those like us and unease with those who may differ?…’

Via The Conversation

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The Longest Longest Day

NewImageThis Solstice, Earth’s Days Are Longer Than Ever:

‘[Geoscientists] recently showed that 1.4 billion years ago, a single “day” lasted only about 18 hours. And changes in the gravitational dance between our planet and the moon are causing Earth’s day to get ever so slightly longer each year….’

Via National Geographic

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Here’s Stephen Miller’s Cell Phone Number, If You Need It

‘The Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their families has been credited primarily to the strenuous efforts of White House adviser Stephen Miller. Perhaps you would like to call him about it. The New York Times reported that Miller, the wolfish young Trump whisperer, has been the most effective driving force behind the implementation of the brutal policy that is now leading the national news—a policy that Miller himself called “a simple decision.” And while citizens plan protest marches and scream at Kirstjen Nielsen as she eats dinner, Miller himself has been rather unavailable for direct feedback from the public.

We all know that Donald Trump is a great fan of facilitating direct feedback from the public, because he personally published the cell phone numbers of both his Republican primary opponent Lindsey Graham and Univision anchor Jorge Ramos. So it is fair to assume he would support the public’s right to call (or text) Stephen Miller.

Miller’s cell phone number is 202-881-8641. He’s a busy guy, but maybe you can get ahold of him long enough to have a productive discussion…’

Source: Splinter News

In Your Name: The Wretched Reality of American Fascism

NewImageHundreds of children wait in Border Patrol facility in Texas

(Via Associated Press)

 

‘Prison-like’ migrant youth shelter is understaffed, unequipped for Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy, insider says

(Via LA Times)

 

What’s Really Happening When Asylum-Seeking Families Are Separated?

(Via Texas Monthly)

 

Laura Bush: Separating children from their parents at the border ‘breaks my heart’

(Via Washington Post op-ed)

 

Secret recording of weeping children begging for their parents while a Border Patrol official mocks them

(Via Boing Boing)

 

America’s ‘Detention Centers’ Added to Wikipedia List of Concentration Camps

(Via Gizmodo)

How to Fight Trump’s Policy of Separating Children From Their Parents

NewImage‘Slate has a long list of organizations fighting the separation of immigrant families, which could all use donations or volunteer work (especially from lawyers or translators). If Slate’s growing list is overwhelming, you can just donate money at this ActBlue page to fund eight organizations fighting for immigration rights, including the ACLU and Kids In Need of Defense, which provides legal representation for children.

The newsletter “Activism for Non-Activists” includes an easy script for calling your congressional representative (which does make a difference), plus some first steps for protesting, volunteering, and checking that you’re still registered to vote…’

Via Lifehacker

I just watched Trump flunky DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s outrageous baldfaced lying performance excusing and justifying our inhumane, immoral and illegal actions at the border,  facing unanimous outrage (that Sarah Saunders was unwilling to do on her own). at this afternoon’s press conference. I seem to recall a generation of Americans vow that the internment of the Japanese-Americans during WWII could never happen again, but it is. In your name, concentration camps enacting child abuse are now active at the border. Do something.

Addendum: Glad to hear that the governors of Colorado and my state, Massachusetts (Charlie Baker, who is a Republican) have announced that they will not allow state resources to be used in support or enforcement of this policy.

You Can Now Search for Addresses Across 750 Million Years of Earth’s History

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‘Ever looked at a picture of the supercontinent Pangea and wondered where your current address would have been 250 million years ago? A new interactive map provides this very service, allowing you to see modern locations across 750 million years of our planet’s history.

This awesome 3D map is the brainchild of Ian Webster, curator of the supremely impressive Dinosaur Database. It defaults to 240 million years ago, during the Early Triassic, a time when life was rebounding from the Permian mass extinction and early dinosaurs began to make an appearance. Back then, our planet was dominated by the giant Pangea supercontinent, and it makes little sense from our current perspective.

To help, Webster overlays the map with modern political boundaries, and you can even search for present-day addresses to pinpoint specific locations. Using the left or right cursor keys, you can scroll back or forward in time to see the shifting of the continents. In all, the map goes from 750 million years ago to the 21st century, so you can watch how a specific location on Earth changes across the Devonian, Jurassic, Neocene, or whichever period strikes your fancy….’

Via Gizmodo

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This Is What American Christians Think God Looks Like – Motherboard

 

NewImageGod is a young white dude who looks like he plays the acoustic guitar, according to a study of more than 500 American Christians.

‘Researchers were surprised to find that despite centuries of art depicting God as an elderly, wizened old white man, people leaned toward a younger, softer visage. And their biases about what he looks like reflected their own political views: Liberals saw a feminine God, while conservatives saw God as more of a hardass….’

Via Motherboard

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The Bullshit-Job Boom

Nathan Heller in The New Yorker:

‘In “Bullshit Jobs” (Simon & Schuster), David Graeber, an anthropologist now at the London School of Economics, seeks a diagnosis and epidemiology for what he calls the “useless jobs that no one wants to talk about.” He thinks these jobs are everywhere. By all the evidence, they are. His book, which has the virtue of being both clever and charismatic, follows a much circulated essay that he wrote, in 2013, to call out such occupations. Some, he thought, were structurally extraneous: if all lobbyists or corporate lawyers on the planet disappeared en masse, not even their clients would miss them. Others were pointless in opaque ways. Soon after the essay appeared, in a small journal, readers translated it into a dozen languages, and hundreds of people, Graeber reports, contributed their own stories of work within the bullshit sphere….’

Via The New Yorker

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Rocks Under I-95 Present Odd, and Scary, Threat to Power Grid

NewImage‘Here’s something you probably didn’t know you needed to worry about: 

There’s a layer of 300 million-year-old rock under Interstate 95 that’s capable of killing the lights from Washington to Boston and beyond the next time the sun erupts in all its fury.

Sound far-fetched? Perhaps. But not to scientists. A solar storm is now viewed as enough of a risk in fact that grid operators across North America are working on plans to respond to just such a disturbance. And a draft of a soon-to-be-published U.S. Geological Survey report pinpoints the Eastern Seaboard as one of the areas most in danger.

Illustration of events on the sun changing the conditions in Near-Earth space.Source: NASA That’s because this Paleozoic-era rock doesn’t let the energy from a major geomagnetic storm — a once-in-a-100-years kind of event — pass through it but instead acts as a backstop that sends the surge back up above the ground for a second shot at causing mayhem….’

Via Bloomberg

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One of the World’s Largest Steam Locomotives Is About to Make a Triumphant Return

NewImage‘SEVENTY YEARS AFTER THE FIRST Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869, the steep Rocky Mountains of Wyoming and Utah were still giving the Union Pacific Railroad trouble.

Despite having massive steam engines, the Union Pacific, one of the biggest railroads in America, still struggled to move heavy freight trains over the mountains and would often have to use multiple locomotives to get trains to their destination. This practice required more workers and more fuel. In 1940, the Union Pacific’s mechanical engineers teamed up with the American Locomotive Company to build one of the world’s largest steam locomotives, a class of engine simply known as “Big Boy.”

Now, six decades after the last Big Boy was taken off the rails, the Union Pacific is rebuilding one of the famous locomotives in honor of the upcoming sesquicentennial celebration of the first Transcontinental Railroad. It’s a project so ambitious that Ed Dickens Jr, a Union Pacific steam locomotive engineer and the man leading the rebuild, has likened it to resurrecting a Tyrannosaurus rex….’

Via Atlas Obscura

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Have we forgotten how to die?

NewImage‘Although we greedily consume death at a distance through fiction, drama and the media, we are hamstrung by it up close and personal. In 1955 the commentator Geoffrey Gorer declared that death had become more pornographic than sex. It was, he said, the new taboo and mourning had become “indecent”. Since then, matters have arguably got worse….’

Via Times Literary Supplement

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Is a Stress Shot on the Horizon?

‘An immunization for stress created from beneficial bacteria could be on the horizon. The vaccine is said to have long lasting anti-inflammatory effects, making people more resilient to the psychological and physical effects of stress….’

Via Neuroscience News

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Passel of Interesting Stories on Gizmodo Today

The US State Department evacuated at least two diplomats in China following a mysterious illness experienced after hearing strange noises—the latest in a series of unexplained sicknesses that have hit American diplomats and their family members in recent years. According to the New York Times , the State Department has flown in a medical team to test employees at the American consulate …
It’s taken as a given that the more schooling we get, the better off our lives will be across the board. But a new study published Wednesday in The BMJ reaffirms a hidden health risk of higher education. The more years of school someone gets, it turns out, the greater the chances of them becoming near-sighted. For more than a century, observational research across the world has pointed to…
Not Gilderoy Lockhart Dr. Mehmet Oz is at it again. The infamous snake oil salesman tweeted today, asking his followers to learn more about the link between a person’s astrological sign and their health. After a brief paroxysm of screaming, I clicked through the slideshow to learn that, as a Capricorn, I am so ambitious and take on so many tasks that I am prone to literally becoming weak in the knees…
Beginning in August, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin piloting a new face recognition system at the Mexican border. Using a series of cameras, the CBP plans to use face recognition to remotely check the identifies of both drivers and passengers. Called the Vehicle Face System (VFS), the program will track drivers and passengers on either side of the crossing at the Anzalduas …
A Texas man thought he had bested a rattlesnake by decapitating it, but when he tried to pick up the slain serpent’s head, it bit him and released a potentially fatal dose of venom into his body. His wife Jennifer Sutcliffe told local news station KIIITV that doctors said he might not survive, but he is now in recovery, thanks to 26 vials of antivenom. Trauma surgeon Michael Halpert told the news …
Comcast’s Xfinity landline service has been experiencing issues across the U.S. since this morning, with thousands of problems still being reported this afternoon, according to DownDetector.com . The outage map indicates that customers throughout the U.S. have encountered issues, with the most recent reports coming from San Francisco, Chicago, Portland, Mountain View, Denver, Seattle, Atlanta, …
Hurricane Harvey, as seen from low-Earth orbit. The pace at which hurricanes move across the planet is slowing, according to new research. This suggests Hurricane Harvey, which stalled over Texas last summer, may not have been an…

via Gizmodo

U.S. Army develops algorithm that shows how to get ‘optimal alertness’ from caffeine

The researchers behind the new study aimed to find the optimal balance between the amount of caffeine and the time it’s administered. To do so, they used data from four past caffeine-sleep studies and inputted them into an algorithm built on the unified model of performance, which is a mathematical model that accurately predicts the effects of sleep–wake schedules and caffeine consumption on simple neurobehavioral tasks.

The team, led by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s Dr. Jaques Reifman, ran thousands of simulations across a wide range of doses and sleep-wake schedules.

“We found that by using our algorithm, which determines when and how much caffeine a subject should consume, we can improve alertness by up to 64 percent, while consuming the same total amount of caffeine,” Reifman told Science Daily. “Alternatively, a subject can reduce caffeine consumption by up to 65 percent and still achieve equivalent improvements in alertness.”

The algorithm could someday be used, for instance, by college students who want to know when they should consume caffeine “so you are as alert as possible during the exam,” Reifman told Live Science.

The optimal caffeine dose amounts and times depended on each individual scenario, so there’s no universal recommendation for when and much caffeine to consume. However, the U.S. Army is reportedly using the algorithm in experiments with soldiers in an effort to improve sleep health in the military, an organization in which sleep deprivation is a constant and often unavoidable problem.

The base algorithm looks like this:

If that’s not your cup of joe, a simplified version of the algorithm is available to the public through the 2B-Alert app, which lets users enter their sleep schedules and caffeine intake to find out when and how much caffeine they should consume.

Source: Big Think

Physicists Are Excited About Fresh Evidence for a New Fundamental Particle

NewImageHints of a ghosty, “sterile” version of the neutrino:

There are three types of neutrinos in the Standard Model, the blueprint of particle physics. But in past experiments, scientists have thought there could be a fourth, more mysterious type. Results from an experiment called MiniBooNE, combined with data from another called the Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector, seem to add even further evidence for the existence of the sterile neutrino.

Neutrinos are perhaps the second most common particle in the universe, after light particles, called photons. Physicists have long known about the electron neutrino, the muon neutrino, and the tau neutrino. They’ve also known that the neutrinos can swap identities, or oscillate, between types. And experiments seemed to observe neutrinos disappearing and reappearing, as if they’d swapped into a fourth, more difficult-to-observe identity….’

Via Gizmodo

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Where Are Europe’s Last Fairytale Forests?

NewImageThe best way to explore  “last-of-their-kind patches” might be in the pages of storybooks, or in the chapters of our imagination:

‘in Kay Nielsen’s illustrations for the Brothers Grimm story of Hansel and Gretel, the deep woods are full of secrets. The trees are towering, gnarled, and knotted. Their canopies, crunchy and brown, blot out the sky. On the ground, clusters of ferns unfurl around tree roots; there are patches of grass, and verdant trees studded with blooms. In a glen, of course, sits that devilishly tasty house built from bread and cakes.

The woods are a character in the story. They are thick, tall, and deep—so much so that the young duo could wander them for days. Their allure, and a dash of horror, comes from the fact that they are unknown, and maybe unknowable.

In 2018, they aren’t many truly unknown corners of the globe—few places are pristine and untraveled the way they might be described in a fairytale. Still, dense clusters of primary forests—where trees have grown, for ages, largely undisturbed—exist in patches of the Amazon basin, Southeast Asia, and Canadian and Siberian Taiga. Slivers of Europe are still luxuriant with trees, too, and very old ones at that. But they’re dwindling.

A team of researchers, led by Francesco Maria Sabatini of Berlin’s Humboldt‐Universität, recently set out to map exactly where those oldest, least-disturbed forests are, and how many of them are left….’

Via Atlas Obscura

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Why does it seem like serial killers all wear the same glasses?

NewImage‘The list of serial killers who wore glasses is long and bloody, from Dahmer to BTK to Harold Shipman and his professorial frames; even the Zodiac Killer, never caught, wears a thick-rimmed pair in a police sketch. The aesthetic of “serial killer glasses” is so pervasive that it pops up everywhere from Urban Dictionary (“Eyeglasses with heavy or severe frames that live somewhere between fashionable and creepy”) to TV Tropes (where “a guy who is cold, emotionless … or even a soulless monster” is given glasses “to quickly tip off the audience to his personality”), and countless Tumblr posts in between.

Search for “serial killer glasses” on Amazon and you’ll be directed to the “So In Luxe Aviator Retro Fashion Glasses” – perfect for the manic pixie dream serial killer. Naturally, Spirit Halloween sells a pair, too. It’s a look that signifies “creep” and “outsider” so well that it’s become the punchline to a joke: Amy Schumer and Conan O’Brien have both done skits about how men who favor a certain style of glasses tend to be serial killers, molesters, cult leaders or all of the above.

Of course, the fact that many serial killers wear glasses is simple math: over 60% of Americans use some sort of vision correction, and serial killers are just like the rest of us, at least when it comes to their eyesight. But because these killers are often exhaustively scrutinized and even fetishized in the media, their glasses have become part of the serial killer iconography. A pair of shiny lenses, perched on the bridge of a serial killer’s nose, becomes a subtle metaphor for his walled-off nature, for her sociopath’s aloofness. Glasses become a mask that’s acceptable for the killer to wear in public. They become a threat, too: after all, the serial killer who wears glasses is apparently someone who can see us better than we can see them. Someone who’s always watching….’

Via The Guardian

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The Lost Lingo of New York City’s Soda Jerks

Natasha Frost writes:

‘…“[S]oda jerk[s],” …half a million [of whom were] employed at tens of thousands of soda fountains across the United States in the 1930s and 1940s, …had white coats, swift fingers, and even swifter tongues—indeed, their linguistic concoctions were as much of a draw as the sweet treats they served up. [One] got a special shout-out in a university English course on American colloquialism after a professor ordered a large cherry coke and heard him shout back: “Stretch one, paint it red!” …’

Source: Gastro Obscura

Kim’s tunnel explosions a goodwill gesture?

NewImageNo so fast:

‘No weapons inspectors or nonproliferation experts were invited to witness the detonation, and now initial assessments indicate that the show was essentially a charade. “The explosions seem to have been too small” for scientists to have discerned any significant geologic activity such as collapsing tunnels, an international arms control official who follows North Korea closely told CNN. “The fact that journalists were reportedly only around 500 meters from the explosions is a good indication that these were small blasts. And the amount of dust leads us to believe that they were quite superficial,” the official said….’

Via CNNPolitics

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White House Reporters Say Things Are Getting More Challenging

NewImage‘…Trump’s inner circle has solidified, and the president is increasingly acting on his own. Meetings are getting smaller, reducing the number of people with proximity to information. Top officials, some who acted as relatively helpful press gatekeepers, like former communications director Hope Hicks, have left without replacements. And, after back-and-forth hostile leaks between the White House and State Department under Rex Tillerson, reporters are now dealing with National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, kindred spirits who are also more discreet. 

All the while, Trump’s behavior is becoming more and more erratic, and White House reporters say it’s becoming harder to know what’s going on — not like it was ever easy…

The White House, for its part, has continued its quest to find those speaking to the press, particularly after the leak of comments in a private meeting made by White House aide Kelly Sadler that Sen. John McCain’s opinion didn’t matter because he would die soon…’

Via BuzzFeed News

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