Geneticist: It’s time we stopped human evolution

Unknown’Our greatest achievement as a species has been to break free from the sheer naked ferocity of evolution. It means we need GM food to avoid starvation. We need additives to ensure that the food we grow can be safely consumed before it spoils — an important consideration for an increasing population. And most importantly of all, we need vaccines to prevent disease. We must never again expose our children to the wholesome, fully organic, unblemished and obscene fury of Mother Nature unleashed. Love science, hate evolution. Coming to a car bumper sticker near you soon, I hope.…’

Via Big Think

Here’s how to help women in Alabama get an abortion

YelloXeni Jardin on Boing Boing:

’It’s a bad day. But there are things you can do to help the women affected by abortion bans like the one Alabama’s female Republican governor cynically signed into law today, touting the sanctity of life, and forgetting all about the lives of women who will suffer under this abuse of state power.

Here is a thing you can do to help women.

Donate to The Yellowhammer Fund to help the women of Alabama with medical costs, and travel and a place to stay, if they need and/or want an abortion.…’

Via Boing Boing

Is There a Witch Bottle in Your House?

Is there a witch bottle in your house 1050x700’In 2008, a ceramic bottle packed with about fifty bent copper alloy pins, some rusty nails, and a bit of wood or bone was discovered during an archaeological investigation by the Museum of London Archaeology Service. Now known as the “Holywell witch-bottle,” the vessel, which dates between 1670 and 1710, is believed to be a form of ritual protection that was hidden beneath a house near Shoreditch High Street in London.

“The most common contents of a witch-bottle are bent pins and urine, although a range of other objects were also used,” writes archaeologist Eamonn P. Kelly in Archaeology Ireland. Sometimes the bottles were glass, but others were ceramic or had designs with human faces. A witch bottle might contain nail clippings, iron nails, hair, thorns, and other sharp materials, all selected to conjure a physical charm for protection. “It was thought that the bending of the pins ‘killed’ them in a ritual sense, which meant that they then existed in the ‘otherworld’ where the witch travelled. The urine attracted the witch into the bottle, where she became trapped on the sharp pins,” Kelly writes.

It’s probable many witch bottles were made as a remedy at a time when available medicine fell short.
Akin to witch marks, which were carved or burned onto windows, doors, fireplaces, and other entrances to homes in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, witch bottles were embedded in buildings across the British Isles and later the United States at these same entry points. “The victim would bury the bottle under or near the hearth of his house, and the heat of the hearth would animate the pins or iron nails and force the witch to break the link or suffer the consequences,” anthropologist Christopher C. Fennell explains in the International Journal of Historical Archaeology.…’

Via JSTOR Daily

Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up has created a flood of clothing no one wants.

Dec03c87 bfe2 48e3 89e4 8cc8050c27c7’Marie Kondo has convinced us of the morality of purging. If we knew where our clothes ended up, though, we’d feel differently… The problem is that most of our donated clothing does not reach any sort of higher purpose; it just ends up as waste. Clothing is one of the fastest-growing categories in landfills in the U.S. Almost 24 billion pounds of clothes and shoes are thrown out each year, more than double what we tossed two decades ago. And there’s every reason to believe the show only added to the problem, Adele Meyer, executive director of the Association of Resale Professionals, confirmed to me.…’

Via Slate

The drone of dread

UnknownThat movie sound you hear every time something bad is about to happen:

‘For almost a century, film composers and sound designers have used a similar sound to create a tension in movies: that long, eerie, sustained tone (or cluster of tones) known best as “the drone of dread.”

Drones can be low- or high-pitched, subtle or cacophonous, and made with a variety of instruments and electronic tools, but the effect is always the same. It instantly produces a sense of anxiety, as if out of thin air.…

[You] can hear it in everything from 2001: A Space Odysseyto The Thing to, more recently, The Dark Knight and The Social Network. This week’s episode of Game of Thrones, in fact, had an obvious drone toward the end that signaled a character’s impending doom…’

Via Quartz