Saturday February 25th, 2017

Using bacon fat to fry tofu feels

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Using bacon fat to fry tofu feels wonderfully transgressive and sinful

Friday February 24th, 2017

History to life

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Spicer threatens states on recreational marijuana

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Well, I think we're starting to see the true nature of how this administration views state's rights issues... Sympathy to all of you Libertarians who were optimistic. Spicer: Feds could step up enforcement against marijuana use in states

Thursday February 23rd, 2017

Fingerprints & warrants

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Can warrants for digital evidence also require fingerprints to unlock phones?

Federal Judge Denies Warrant to Fingerprint Unlock Random Apple Devices in Illinois Building.

What's interesting in that second take is that it appears that the Feds are starting to insert stock fingerprint requests in all of their warrant discussions.

Given that it's not that tough to 3d print a mold and cast a gelatin finger from that mold, even barring the legal aspects of being forced to surrender your biometrics, fingerprints should be considered compromised.

The New Yorker: Why facts don't change our minds.

Even after the evidence “for their beliefs has been totally refuted, people fail to make appropriate revisions in those beliefs,” the researchers noted. In this case, the failure was “particularly impressive,” since two data points would never have been enough information to generalize from.

Mentions a couple of books that might be worth reading if one were interested in introspection on such things.

Wednesday February 22nd, 2017

A little schadenfreude for your morning, courtesy of Shadow: Cyclist Girl Gets Revenge On Catcalling Van Drivers (YouTube video)

On a little reflection, I suspect it may have been staged. However/and: More media representations of "this is how you deal with sexist bullshit" may not be a bad thing.

Tuesday February 21st, 2017

Partners - a short film about gay square dancing.

One of my scenes (and, yes, I know a lot of the people in this film).

Today I learned that I drive down the

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Today I learned that I drive down the route of the final drag race scene in American Graffiti every Monday...

(Yes, I was searching for "drag" in Sonoma County, but... not in the burning ru.... damn it... not in the "racing cars" sense.)

The end of Kink(.com)

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Even as Ceases Production in the Armory, the Bay’s Porn Scene Thrives

I missed Shine Louise Houston's talk at the local community college last year, and would have like to have seen that. Maybe she'll come back. My relationship with porn has never been committed enough that I could see paying for a subscription to "Crash Pad" (If I've got $40 a month for a subscription, that's going to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and then podcasts and investigative journalism), but it sounds like she and her team are doing some amazing things in terms of portraying safer sex practices in porn, and in finding actors who have real energy with each other.

Gamify square dance

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Copied from a Facebook thread about how to gamify square dancing to make it possibly appeal to today's generation of video game obsessed kids:

I think the huge component of most modern games is how it fits into a social context: talk to people about why they game, and often it's about making connections to people, whether that's in different part of the world or dragging computers into one space to play.

I don't think the challenge is as much about adapting square dancing to the virtual world as it is to finding that thing that'll get a critical mass of them up on the floor. Make a video game that appeals to them and you'll end up with the next World of Warcraft (if you happen to be successful), make something different and you're not competing with World of Warcraft, you're competing on the novelty of "hey, bumping into actual people!"

I think the path forward is to create a culture about which more people say "Hey, I want to play in *that* space!" Reworking a real world experience into the virtual doesn't do that: We don't seek out virtual reality, we seek out virtual surreality. We're going there for things that can't/don't happen in the real world.

I also think that... Square dancing is a very D/s activity. I read a great essay once about how dance is the art form of totalitarian societies, how when we think of the Soviet Union we think of goose stepping soldiers patrolling the wall, when we think of North Korea, it's huge parade squares full of soldiers, or dancers, doing intricate routines which interlock with each other. When we think of factory work of 50-100 years ago, we think of rows and rows of people endlessly repeating the same precise task.

We've had a social shift, though, and many of us now think of those tasks as joyless, the thing that can be automated away so we can participate in the endeavors that don't involve rote.

I am honored that my fellow dancers pushed me to being a caller. I've also found that, in being a caller, I tend to relate more to other callers, and my relationship to square dancing has become one of service rather than participation. I wonder if we have a generational shift towards activities are self-organizing and peer-based, rather than hierarchical. That celebrate innovation by individuals, not just the elite. And that part of why kids these days aren't getting into square dancing is that we, as humanity, have moved on to different paradigms.

Platonic nudes

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A fantastic weekend (HAI Level 2) spent mostly naked in a valley up in northern Lake County has me thinking about friendship and the erotic and the intimate and how those things intertwine, and this struck a chord: Eden Rohatensky: How Sharing Nudes Platonically With My Best Friends Is The Best.

Wednesday February 15th, 2017

Thoughts on HAI

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Just making a note of it here so I have it in my blog history: Did a two HAI workshops in the last 3 weeks, doing another this weekend.

Level 1 ("Love Is a Miracle") HAI January 26th-28th.

HAI asks that we not talk about the workshop, both to protect the confidentiality of the participants, and because out of the narrative context the exercises of the weekend might lose some of their power.

Having been through several similar workshops, including the incredibly powerful-for-me New Warrior (now ManKind Project) weekend back in the spring of 1991, I totally understand.

So what I will talk about: There's an opening hand-on heart/sufi circle exercise, and a "sit opposite a partner and do gentle face touching" exercise, both of which are done in the free intro night. I highly recommend the intro night.

And there is nudity. It's always an option, but whether or not you choose to keep your own clothes on, other people will take their clothes off. Some people keep their clothes on all weekend.

As the weekend started out I had a bit of feeling like "okay, I know what's going on here, I'm doing this to get my ticket punched and get invited to the cool parties", and the exercises were fun, but not mind-blowing. Then, for various reasons, I kinda started feeling like I wasn't connecting with people, until on Sunday morning someone came along and blew my mind.

The tears started Monday, about mid-day. It was a good thing. The weekend was an amazing exercise in limerence and constructed love, and deconstructing that. In understanding that the feeling of being in love can be a conscious choice, and some of the tools to play with that feeling.

On February 9th through the 11th I went to the Couple's Workshop, which was similarly powerful, and has opened up all sorts of avenues for conversation and exercise.

This weekend, February 16th through the 18th, off to the Level 2 ("Loving Yourself") workshop.

Pink Pussy hat

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Huge thank you to Kristie for the hat, shirt by Luna Matatas:

Tuesday February 14th, 2017

Arsenic and mercury are gluten free

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University of Illinois: Gluten-free diet may increase risk of arsenic, mercury exposure

Maria Argos, assistant professor of epidemiology in the UIC School of Public Health, and her colleagues looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey searching for a link between gluten-free diet and biomarkers of toxic metals in blood and urine.

They found 73 participants who reported eating a gluten-free diet among the 7,471 who completed the survey, between 2009 and 2014. Participants ranged in age from 6 to 80 years old.

People who reported eating gluten-free had higher concentrations of arsenic in their urine, and mercury in their blood, than those who did not. The arsenic levels were almost twice as high for people eating a gluten-free diet, and mercury levels were 70 percent higher.

“These results indicate that there could be unintended consequences of eating a gluten-free diet,” Argos said. “But until we perform the studies to determine if there are corresponding health consequences that could be related to higher levels of exposure to arsenic and mercury by eating gluten-free, more research is needed before we can determine whether this diet poses a significant health risk.”

The press release speculates that it's because of the increased consumption of rice flour in gluten free products.

Same press release at Science News Daily: Gluten-free diet may increase risk of arsenic, mercury exposure

It is amazing that we can ID cars at 50 MPH going through toll booths, but a credit card in physical contact with a chip reader is flakey

Out like Flynn

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RT Julie Klam ‏@JulieKlam added and retweeting Jamie Dupree:

Pay no attention to that man behind the Iron Curtain!

Jamie Dupree @jamiedupree
Rep Jason Chaffetz R-UT tells reporters there's no need to further probe Flynn. "It’s taking care of itself"

Justice Department warned White House that Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail, officials say

Beware your phone

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RT Caroline O. ‏@RVAwonk:

Those pictures at Mar-a-Lago, showing Trump team using cellphone flashlight cameras to view nat sec info...
Here's some useful context:

The attached image is a quote from CBS News: Beware downloading some apps or risk "being spied on":

Some apps are simply collecting information for advertising purposes. In 2014, the Federal Trade Commission settled a lawsuit with a company over its popular Brightest Flashlight app, alleging it transmitted consumers' personal information to third parties without telling them.

But Miliefsky said he's found another flashlight app that can do much more troubling things.

"This one turns on your microphone in the background, listens in on you, and sends an encrypted tunnel to a server we discovered in Beijing," Miliefsky described.

"You're saying that they're actually listening to people's conversations and sending that audio back to Beijing?" Werner asked.

"Yeah, we've tracked it. I can show you where it does it," he said.

Miliefsky said it can be traced to a few blocks from Tiananmen Square on Information Drive in Beijing.

He gave a report on that app to the FBI.

"Because to me, it's spyware at the nth degree," Miliefsky said.

His recommendation?

"We really have to look at our phone and say, 'This is really a personal computer that fits in our pocket. Let's shut down all the apps we don't use. Let's delete apps that don't make sense and reduce the risk of being spied on,'" Miliefsky said.

Paid Protestors

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RT Jennifer Liao ‏@averagejenn:

People that believe the world is suddenly overrun with paid protestors should have to try and produce a crowd scene for a low-budget movie.

Crossing borders

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Find someone who looks at you the way Ivanka Trump looks at Justin 

Monday February 13th, 2017

Textbook case

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Team solidarity

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Coed CYO hoops team defies archdiocese order to kick girls out, forfeits season:

Two weeks prior, the team was told by the league's director that they should never have played as a coed team and the girls would not be allowed to play on the team for the last two games of the season. Parents said the team's record was wiped, too, since the girls had played in those games "illegally."

St. John's boys CYO basketball players refuse to play without girl teammates But no one expected what was coming next: The boys, hearing the news, decided they simply would not play ball without their girl teammates.

Bullets: dangerous

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One of the things about growing up is all of the stuff we used to do that modern society whines is "too dangerous" for children. Jarts. Riding in the back of pickup trucks. Not having to wear seatbelts in the back seat. Riding bicycles without helmets. And now it turn out that bullets are *dangerous*. What, I ask you, is this world coming to?

Bullet fragments linked to lead poisoning, CDC study says

Thursday February 9th, 2017

Irish Step Dog

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Courtesy of Shadow: Irish Step Dog (animated GIF). Very cute.

RT Corey Bennett @coreybbennett:

I see @Nordstrom and Congress have swapped roles: one checks the executive branch, the other is bought by rich people.

Nuclear Whistleblowers

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Well crap. One of my complaints about the Obama administration was how they didn't step in to stop executive branch harassment of whistleblowers. It just got worse: Trump administration halts penalties against firms that punish nuclear whistleblowers

Farmers with Trump regrets

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Bwahahahaha: NY Times: California farmers backed Trump, but now fear losing field workers:

“If you only have legal labor, certain parts of this industry and this region will not exist,” said Harold McClarty, a fourth-generation farmer in Kingsburg whose operation grows, packs and ships peaches, plums and grapes throughout the country. “If we sent all these people back, it would be a total disaster.”

People in the Central Valley are actually having to come to grips with the realities of their vote. Yeah, it's gonna suck for us 'cause produce prices are gonna rise, but...

Wednesday February 8th, 2017

Diet & Research

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