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By Daisy Razor on Friday Open Thread

@olivebee My favorite professor once told me that your early 20s suck, but it starts getting better once you turn 25. At least in my case, she was totally right. I was so excited to turn 25 that I bought a tiara and wore it for every birthday until I turned 30.

Anyway, my bday is a week before Christmas and I actually like it because I just call my birthday party a holiday party and people feel more obligated to come. Mwa ha ha.

Posted on November 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm 6

By realizedniche on Building a Better Food Label

@DullHypothesis Oh jeez, a good lesson in dashing off a quick comment on the interweb! Yes, my explanations were way over-simplified. I was mostly pointing out why a distinction is made - how the person whose job it is to check that GMO box on the label, for example, would be making that decision based on our current use of the term. Didn't mean to make my explanation seem loaded - indeed, similar things happen in natural systems all the time. Genetic engineers take advantage of Agrobacterium's ability to, yes, transfer DNA from its plasmid to the genome of a plant cell, causing crown gall... or with some modification to that plasmid, transferring some other nifty piece of genetic material. This bacterium is used for genetic engineering in several commonly modified plants, though a viral vector would be used for an animal cell. I agree it's interesting and the distinction is fluid, but GMO does mean something different from artificial selection.

Posted on October 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm 1

By Jennifer Culp on Friday Open Thread

@hurts Yeah, you've got to talk to guys if you want to improve your boyfriend-getting odds. When it comes to talking to dudes, I think it helps to look at the situation differently than you seem to be doing. Speaking to a guy isn't an audition for you, it's a fact-finding mission about him. Don't worry about yourself; you're investigating HIM. That's how the whole boyfriend/girlfriend scenario escalates, anyway: you're interested in him, he's interested in you, you both want to make each other feel good because making him feel good makes you feel good, and vice versa. Trying to imagine how a stranger you haven't spoken to yet might (MIGHT!) perceive you and react just leads to crippling performance anxiety. Be curious about him instead of anxious about yourself. "That guy's cute. I want to know more about him. I'm going to ask him!" Once you get started, it gets so much easier. Guys are just people, too. Some of 'em are great, some of 'em are jerks, you just have to do a little research (talking) to figure it out. And you never ever ever have to settle for doing anything with anyone you're not 100% interested in.

Posted on August 31, 2012 at 3:52 pm 4

By hotdog on Outside's Oral History of Burning Man

@kfizz Ok, let's talk about this: "I've never been much of a germophobe, but for what it's worth, the playa is sterile. The dust is so alkaline that it does not support any life at all, microbial or otherwise. Sooo imagine living in it for a week! Obviously people bring their own bacteria with them (and bugs, and one time I totally saw a bird), but they can't survive very long."

THAT IS CRAZY TALK. There is absolutely no way that is possible; who told you that, and why did you believe them? I'm sorry, but I am losing my mind over this: no microbial life?!? YOU WOULD DIE. In fact, the playa floods every few years, and the abundance of human traffic is ACTUALLY KILLING the eggs of brachiopods that would otherwise inhabit the area. "The Burning Man Festival decreased fairy shrimp egg abundance in Black Rock City roads and camping areas but had little effect on water flea egg abundance (Figure 15). Approximately 30 percent fewer fairy shrimp eggs were found in Black Rock City roads following the Festival, and approximately 50 percent fewer fairy shrimp eggs were found in camping areas following the Festival." (http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/nv/field_offices/winnemucca_field_office/nca_pdfs.Par.30693.File.dat/Black%20Rock%20Playa%20DRI%20Report.pdf).

The desert is dry. It is not by any means sterile. Bacteria can certainly survive. The playa is not a blank canvas, it is an ecosystem, and burning man is helping to destroy it. This is exactly what I mean by 'neo-hippie BS'.

Posted on August 28, 2012 at 11:27 am 32

By queenofbithynia on No Epiphanies Whatsoever

@Decca But also, terrible taste is an important developmental stage! I do think if you're going to love things that are bad, which everybody should do in order to develop generosity of the soul, it is best to do it when you are 14. if you wait too long after that, self-awareness will prevent you and then you will never fully flourish as a person.

I am proud to say I hated Kerouac even as a teenager, although I read him determinedly for a little while because I was sure there was some secret knowledge in there somewhere for me. (there was not.) but I learned all about cocaine and serial killing from Bret Easton Ellis back then and it didn't hurt me any.

(or did it)

Posted on August 27, 2012 at 10:51 am 17

By apple on 'Pin Picks: Eight is Not Enough

Lizard Music! I got sad last semester, and asked my mother to mail me our (many-times-dropped-in-the-bath-) copy, and then I got less sad.

Also great:
- The Sky Is Everywhere, Heist Society, Anna and the French Kiss, Warm Bodies

The trick to finding awesome YA is never looking at the covers, and doing your best to avoid their names until you already love them anyway.

Posted on August 8, 2012 at 5:57 pm 1

By Dorothea on All vs. Enough

@liverwortlaura i actually really hate looking at these two pieces next to each other, because i don't feel like they are in conversation at all. to me, slaughter's piece was about why we treat women differently than men in the workforce, and how this contributes to continued male domination of powerful institutions. i didn't understand it as a piece about personal satisfaction at all. of course people can be content in situations that are in some sense unfair or unjust, and it is wise and valuable to examine what we individually want out of life. but to posit an individual answer as a response to slaughter's piece suggests that political problems are an issue of personal discontent rather than systemic injustice, or that women are wrong to strive for power when most of them could be perfectly happy without it.

Posted on July 30, 2012 at 1:17 pm 33

By Nicole Cliffe on Really Good Advice Not Taken by Kristen Stewart

I made a really filthy Tumblr pun about him pulling his Sword of Godric Gryffindor out of um, my Sorting Hat, and then realized no one I know will ever be able to run for political office again.

Posted on July 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm 31

By Diana on Love Your Friends, it is the Only Way

@atipofthehat

Are we doing that thing where women are complaining that they are always depicted as X and guys combat that with that one film where guys were also X and it was hilarious so what is the big deal anyway?

Don Draper does not fight with Pete Campbell because they both want Peggy. Robb Stark and Joffrey Baratheon are not duking it out because they totally want Margaery Tyrell. Their desires, motivations, and interactions are not shaped entirely with the end goal of pussy. Even bullshit like Entourage was not subtitled 2 Sexy 2 City. They manage to make decisions based on things other than the good opinion of the women around them. Furthermore, their decisions - even the competitive, backstabbing, and strategic decisions - are usually depicted as more important than those relating to women. Yeah, Don Draper got married - but will he get the vodka account? Yeah, Robb got secretly married, which is cool, but how will this affect his strategic alliance with the Freys and ultimately the war for the Iron Throne? It's almost as though their identities are not entirely based upon their abilities to attain female approval.

Posted on July 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm 48

By meetapossum on Friday Open Thread

@carbonation "The Best Time I Went on a Date with the Same Tall Dude as Another 'Pinner"

Posted on June 15, 2012 at 3:25 pm 8