An amazing documentary about a crow named Canuck. Worth a watch.
An amazing documentary about a crow named Canuck. Worth a watch.
Daniel Vaughn reviews barbecue for Texas Monthly. Here he describes the bodily costs to him for his constant intake of meat.
I know this sounds terrible in a world full of hungry people, but to finally be hungry again is a welcome feeling. It’s not like I get chest pains while I’m driving around the state or anything, but I certainly take cholesterol medicine and I’ve put on about ten pounds since I started the job. (Let’s be honest, it’s fifteen, and it’s not coming off.) I get heartburn every time I’m sleeping in a hotel after eating barbecue all day. You wake up tired, so you drink a lot of coffee, so you get dehydrated, and then you’re driving all day, and you get hemorrhoids.
Cheers to the Lucky Peach, David Chang’s new excellent food magazine.
One of the most productive commentators about so-called gamergate is Katherine Cross. Her recent post on Feministing is so on point that it deserves some archival / expansion work.
1. There is an autoblocking program for twitter that removes most of the posts from gamergate trolls. For anyone out there interested in civil space, this is a big improvement. Cross describes it this way:
What offends GamerGaters about the autoblocker, aside from the fact that a woman found a technical solution to a social problem, is that it denies them the ability to impose themselves on targets. The idea that the women, people of colour, and queer folk who’ve comprised the majority of GG’s targets might be able to curate their online spaces and have certain discussions only with those of their choosing is repugnant to many GamerGaters. In the absence of genuine legal recourse, the worst thing you can do to a bully, harasser, or troll is ignore them after all.
2. Underscoring much of the gamergate vitriol is a toxic anti-trans politics. Much of the visibility of the violence seems to have a direction. Again Katherine Cross gathers enough targeted tweets and message board quotes to rile me up. For those who are trans-inclusive, trans-positive, or simply kind human beings, it is worth marking gamergate as a particularly anti-trans moment in time.
3. Katherine Cross introduces me to the idea of “sealioning” — a refined bullying tactic. Cross explains:
“Polite” GGers, defined as those who do not explicitly swear or use slurs, nevertheless harry the people they target because they do not take no for an answer and come in packs. The phenomenon of “sealioning”– barraging a target with politely worded but interrogating questions asked in bad faith– gained a name under GamerGate because of how common the tactic was.
Also provided is this nice comic!
I ran across a Boing Boing post where they point out that two American missionaries who contracted Ebola appear to have saved by an experimental treatment. CNN describes the situation:
Its a story that could have come from a cinematic medical thriller: Two American missionary workers contract Ebola. Their situation is dire. Three vials containing a highly experimental drug are flown into Liberia in a last-ditch effort to save them. And the drug flown in last week appears to have worked, according to a source familiar with details of the treatment.Dr. Kent Brantlys and Nancy Writebols conditions significantly improved after receiving the medication, sources say. Brantly was able to walk into Emory University Hospital in Atlanta after being evacuated to the United States last week, and Writebol is expected to arrive in Atlanta on Tuesday.
1. Starting in March 2014, Ebola started to be seen in West Africa. More than 1600 Africans have shown up sick with more than half of those infected dying. None of these people got a last-minute salvation.
2. Everyone in the world has to be terrified of Ebola. It is one of the most scary diseases I’ve ever heard about. The notion that a pharmaceutical company in San Diego had a treatment that seems to have worked that was never shared with dying African people is offensive.
3. I can only imagine what this looks like to people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
4. The cure had to be pried out of the hands of a for-profit pharmaceutical corporation. Turns out the months of Africans dying wasn’t sufficient incentive to release the treatment. So how did these two white American missionaries find out about this miracle treatment? CNN explains that the missionary charity (Samaritans Purse) made the connection:
As the Americans conditions worsened, Samaritans Purse reached out to a National Institutes of Health scientist who was on the ground in West Africa, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.”The scientist was able to informally answer some questions and referred them to appropriate company contacts to pursue their interest in obtaining the experimental product,” NIAID said.The experimental drug, known as ZMapp, was developed by the biotech firm Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., which is based in San Diego. The patients were told that the treatment had never been tried before in a human being but had shown promise in small experiments with monkeys.
5. You might call these Americans vampires. Back from the dead saved by the magical blood of the sacrifices of those who came before them:
The medicine is a three-mouse monoclonal antibody, meaning that mice were exposed to fragments of the Ebola virus and then the antibodies generated within the mices blood were harvested to create the medicine. It works by preventing the virus from entering and infecting new cells.
The rush of resources and last-minute miracle part of this narrative is worth talking more about. But also the sacrifices of the mice, monkeys and the dead Africans have to be considered when thinking about these two saved missionaries.
I think this makes visible the hierarchy of human bodies — the idea that some people count more than others.
Worth noting that the Wall Street Journal reports that one of the Americans was also given a blood transfusion from an African Ebola survivor.
Dr. Brantly and Ms. Writebol began receiving supportive care as soon as they were diagnosed, according to their respective charities. Dr. Brantly also got a blood transfusion from a 14-year-old boy who survived Ebola under Dr. Brantlys care, in the hope that antibodies would help him, too, fight off the virus. Both Dr. Brantly and Ms. Writebol received an experimental serum, the charities said, though they didnt specify what the treatment was.
6. Some people might ask: ‘don’t you think it’s worth it? Having a potential cure for Ebola is more important than any of these complaints about how the drug got made or released?‘
I would respond that the harm is done. Any attempt to justify this kind of hierarchical violence is probably worth noting in itself as evidence of a pernicious desire in the questioner to defend the pharmaceutical company.
Of course I wish for a cure for Ebola and am glad that a treatment seems to be in the works. I hope for an immediate and full distribution of this new treatment to everyone who has Ebola.
I haven’t seen any leader or press report advocating that the drug should be shared with other dying people.
It is always worth thinking about how we do things. Few would deny that injustices are done in the name of best intentions. And we should examine how CNN and the Wall Street Journal write about a phenomenon.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the death rate of those who get Ebola is one reason why researching a cure isn’t a priority:
There are several vaccines and drug treatments in development and testing for Ebola, but none have been approved by regulators. Commercializing them is a challenge given that Ebola is a rare disease, said Thomas Geisbert, who works on potential Ebola vaccine platforms as a researcher at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.”Ebola is very rare—there is not a financial incentive for large pharmaceutical companies to make vaccines for Ebola,” he said. “Its really going to require government agencies or a foundation.”
7. I’m glad that someone helped to save these two people’s lives. Here is hoping that same impulse counts for everyone else in the world.
Grotesque and cruel. To enslave an animal in a zoo for viewers to consume for pleasure. To ensure that the captive animals represent the happy animal fiction they are drugged.
After their experiences at the zoo in Boston, Murphy and Mufson were curious about the use of psychopharmaceuticals in other captive gorillas, so they surveyed all U.S. and Canadian zoos with gorillas in their collections. Nearly half of the 31 institutions that responded had given psychopharmaceutical drugs to their gorillas. The most frequently prescribed were Haldol haloperidol and Valium diazepam, though Klonopin, Zoloft, Paxil, Xanax, Buspar, Prozac, Ativan, Versed, and Mellaril had all been tried.
Thanks to Dan Weiss’s daily coffee from the Rumpus for the link.