Lokal Stops: Chaos Reigns

Some days, you just have to accept chaos. Below is chaos.

Climate change is how we die, claims government propaganda on a surprisingly well-designed website.

Also, vampires are real.

Here’s some sex data, just for fun:


Turns out that fountains of youth walk amongst us, and they are just young people. Hate the youths however much you want, but: scientists put blood from young mice into old mice and that “rejuvenated their muscles and brains.”

By the way, if you’ve ever wondered why women are so hysterical, it’s because their wombs are living beasts preying on their bodies. At least that’s what Plato told everyone. (Aristotle said that women are just deformed males. It’s unclear who is correct.)

This game makes you dip into its code to get by.


It kinda feels like wedding season, so perhaps you’ll find value in this wikiHow:


And let’s end with poop.bike.


Lokal Stops: Heads Will Roll

“Terror is only justice,” says 18th century France. And 21st century America agrees: some are calling for the return of the National Razor, La Guillotine. When you take a quick look back at the history of the American death sentence, it’s not a terrible idea. Most notably, it’s a great cure for a headache.

In other vaguely referential news, police in Maryland are going to live-tweet an upcoming prostitution sting, marking (potential) sinners for life–with the letter D, I guess, for Degenerate? Whatever the Letter, the message is clear: don’t do anything remotely sinful, unless you want to be branded by your crime for life. This is clearly a good idea.

If you don’t want your life to end in crime, perhaps you’d consider finding a mentor. Note: mentors only available to white males, women and minorities need not apply. Women’s heads, by the way, aren’t controlled by their periods, it turns out! Listen, we all just have emotions sometimes and that’s okay.


Though women are not slaves to their periods, we are all slaves to our smartphones.

The lesson is this: in the end, our differences don’t much matter. We begin with nothing, we end with nothing. Which is why it was so easy for Minecraft creator Notch to write the coded story of our lives in less than 48 hours. Whether you play or not, you’re stuck with the non-code of your real life, so I guess what I’m trying to say is… have a great weekend!

Women Do Science Sometimes, and Sometimes We Talk About Them

The eighth episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, “Sisters of the Sun,” focused on female scientists who majorly influenced astronomy and astrophysics. Here’s the rundown (uh, it’s not possible to spoil the plot of Cosmos, is it?): because at the time women couldn’t receive science degrees at Cambridge where she attended lectures, Cecilia Payne left her native England to study astronomy at Harvard. With the help of Annie Jump Cannon – who was the first to organize and classify the stars based on their temperatures – Payne discovered that stars are mostly composed of hydrogen and helium, which she then realized are the most abundant elements in the universe. Otto Struve, a Russian-American astronomer and man, said that her 1925 thesis, titled Stellar Atmospheres, A Contribution to the Observation Study of High Temperature in the Reversing Layers of Stars was “undoubtedly the most brilliant PhD thesis ever written in astronomy.” (He did die in 1963, so perhaps he missed a few of the recent ones, but still.)

Watching the episode last night, as usual, I felt a little inadequate to the genius minds that not only comprehend amazingly complex science, but also make seemingly extraneous connections to fuel new discoveries. (This feeling of inadequacy, by the way, I take as a great great motivator.) The female pioneers featured on last night’s Cosmos were, just like any of the males we generally learn about, brilliant thinkers. And they – like most women in any field even today – made these scientific strides facing harsh adversity. Women in science are rare, precisely because of the gendered setbacks (like not awarding degrees in science in the past, or still relevant today, mythologizing that women are bad at math).

At the same time, female scientists rarely get the attention they deserve. So last night’s episode perhaps attempted to redeem this sexism in historical narrative.

But then again, maybe if Cosmos focused on women in science alongside men all the time, in each episode… maybe it wouldn’t need an entire episode dedicated to female scientists. Women have made equally important contributions consistently (just take a look at this Wikipedia list of female scientists before the 21st century!) – and have been omitted from previous episodes. Such as Caroline Herschel, whose brother William was featured in episode four, “A Sky Full of Ghosts,” although both were equally as interested and active in astronomical discoveries. She discovered M110 (NGC205) – a satellite of the galaxy Andromeda – and discovered several comets.


But also, last night’s episode also mentioned something that I feel like I should have heard about before? There’s a huge mega supermassive star called Eta Carinae only 7,500 light years away that’s going to explode perhaps in our lifetimes. (Note: nothing really ever happens in our lifetimes. We exist for a miniscule portion of time, and we can barely see anything from Earth, so what are the chances?!) From NASA:

Eta Carinae is not only interesting because of its past, but also because of its future. It is one of the closest stars to Earth that is likely to explode in a supernova in the relatively near future (though in astronomical timescales the “near future” could still be a million years away). When it does, expect an impressive view from Earth, far brighter still than its last outburst: SN 2006gy, the brightest supernova ever observed, came from a star of the same type, though from a galaxy over 200 million light-years away.

Lokal Stops: Death is Imminent, But at Least We Have Drugs

Good news, everyone: gender is just a construct! Don’t let that get your hopes up, though. Women are still inferior abstract thinkers. You win some, you lose some. Today, victory means a female penis, and sometimes that is the best you can hope for in life.

Mixed news: our past is knocking, and I’m not sure I want to open the door.

Speaking of things that might be better left alone, people now have one more reason to bemoan the tampering of the natural order of the world. Robots are becoming more human and humans might one day become more robotic. These are all just exciting ideas about what soft robotics can do, but that doesn’t mean robots aren’t already reaching miraculous heights. For example, some robots can do the limbo now:

Sometimes technology can really make you go, “huh.”

And sometimes technology can get you drugs. Finally, a search engine that yields the results you want to see when you type in “how to get weed.” I guess this is goodbye, Yahoo Answers.

By the way, kids these days. Doing drugs, signing up for Obamacare… The prez announced today that of the 8 million people that have signed up, 35 percent are under the age of 35. The New York Times says that’s a good percentage.

But Jesus didn’t have health insurance, and yet he still rose from the dead, several hundred years ago this weekend. Celebrate by infusing Peeps into your vodka. Americans though have a tendency to die for good: here’s a beautiful data visualization of how we die. But at least perhaps we don’t die alone: scientists have found Earth’s twin or cousin or something! She is 500 light years away, is only 10% fatter than Earth, and her “orbit lies within the ‘Goldilocks zone’ of its star, Kepler 186 — not too hot, not too cold, where temperatures could allow for liquid water to flow at the surface, making it potentially hospitable for life.”

I guess we’ll have to gauge whether we’re actually related by how excited she is for the next season of Orange is the New Black.

Bossy Ban(ter): Yes, Let’s Get Into Semantics

Facebook COO – better known for writing a book that, admittedly, I haven’t read – Sheryl Sandberg has a new thing: she’s started a campaign to ban the word “bossy.” (It’s called… Ban Bossy. And it has a hashtag and everything!) #Banbossy has the support of a bunch of awesome women – like Beyoncé! – and the Girl Scouts, too.

The fact is that, out of fear of being called “bossy,” girls often don’t assert themselves, which eventually contributes to the gender gap.  So Sandberg’s solution is to “ban” the word. And by “ban,” I’m not very sure what she means. Because the word isn’t, uh, actually being banned… Us civilians – Sheryl Sandberg included – don’t have enough jurisdiction to legally prohibit anything. Unfortunately, whoever came up with the name of this campaign was less into semantics and more into alliteration.

What the campaign is actually doing is making the word into a pariah. We all know what happens when you ban something: remember when drinking was prohibited? (Note to self: change to “remember when marijuana was illegal?” in ~5 years.)  Mark Twain said that thing once:

Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits. Fanatics will never learn that, though it be written in letters of gold across the sky. It is the prohibition that makes anything precious.

The Ban Bossy campaign website offers up some literature in downloadable PDF form (which, side note, is frankly really annoying because who enjoys downloading PDFs anymore/ever) and the advice is all too valid. For example, tip number two in the version for girls is to “stop apologizing before you speak.” This is a linguistic habit that kids (I hesitate to say that this only pertains to girls) pick up without realizing. (“I’m not sure if this is right, but…” is a provided example, as is upspeak, aka making statements sound like questions.)

But what does this have to do with banning the word bossy? This feeble attempt to delete a word from our lexicon does not solve the issue, nor does it even adequately address the point. (The point being that girls should embrace their ambitions.) Slate’s Katy Waldman offers up a much better framing and solution: instead of banning the word, “bossy” should be reclaimed by the very women it’s aimed at. (Word reclamation is what happened to “nerd” for example: though it’s common usage was pejorative, it’s now largely been redefined to be a term of pride. Nerds are cool now, you know.) Waldman finishes:

So, while I admire the sheer bossiness of a massive campaign designed to expunge the word bossy from our vocabularies, I don’t intend to stop using it, even if the feminist super-team tells me to. They’re not the boss of me.

No, #ReclaimBossy doesn’t feature the same contemptible alliteration, but at least it’s a more productive solution.