they ought not to be adjusted, narrow spainish street, the superstitious and those who follow them

Writer Aldous Huxley in a reclining chair in a patio area with second wife, musician and writer Laura Archera Huxley in September, 1961.

“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. “Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does.” They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.” – Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited

The quote is not about me pushing  the thoughts expressed as much as something interesting written by someone born in 1894. While it was written in the persona of someone in a novel, let’s assume to some degree – a safe assumption if you’ve read about Huxley, that he believed that quote to some degree. It is not unreasonable for someone who lived through two world wars and saw the beginning of the nuclear proliferation movement, with it’s mutually assured destruction.

narrow street in Spain

narrow street in Spain. this started out as a project with some muted colors and a little blur, but i liked the way it looked when i changed the washed out 2nd layer to softlight in photoshop. thus soft, rather than muted washed out colors.

If you had lived through this you might have begin viewing humanity as neurotic, The real witch hunters: Hopkins and Stearne

There were pockets of Catholic practice as well as areas of intense Puritanism, creating a climate of paranoia and fear, particularly in the context of the Civil War.

While belief in witchcraft was common, witch-hunts and professional witch hunters like Matthew Hopkins and John Stearne were not. They were to become the forefront of what Professor Malcolm Gaskill of the University of East Anglia terms “the most brutal witch-hunt in English history”.

Allegations of witchcraft could be prompted by commonplace events such as the death of livestock, an unexplained illness, or the death of a child. Elizabeth Clarke was accused of witchcraft by a local man, John Rivet, after his wife fell ill. The charges laid against her included the killing of a clothier’s child, and spoiling beer.

….Hopkins and Stearne were the ringmasters but they could not have done it without the help, and belief, of others.

“There’s a tendency to think that they are the bogeymen who stand alone and that they are forcing this upon people,” says Gaskill.

“But there’s nothing they could have done had they not had the support of a whole range of people.”

“The form which Hopkins’ campaign took was unpalatable to many but the inspiration for it may have been more conventional in Puritan circles than we might imagine. Rather than believing, in the way we tend to, that this is a world of growth and progress, the godly feel that the world is accelerating towards Armageddon, the Final Conflict.”

“The godly feel that they – the saved not the drowned – will inherit the Earth as living saints.”

Hopkins, Stearne and the people they whipped into hysterical fear and superstition were responsible for the death of 100 women.

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nelson’s central park, defining freedom as a wonderful nightmare, He felt the net very heavy

Carl Gustaf Nelson painted Central Park

Central Park, 1934 by Carl Gustaf Nelson (born Horby, Sweden 1898-died USA 1988). Nelson took the look on the bright side advice in this painting. It is both an accurate depiction of that area of the park at the time – though he seems to have embellished the colors a bit, it does reflect the way some people were lucky enough to live. Though while he was working on this wonderful painting, in north Central Park at there was another reality. That was where  “Hooverville” or the “shanty town” for the homeless was located. Painting:  Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Libertarians’ Idea of the “Most Free” State Is One of America’s Most Woman-Hating. North Dakota is conservative-libertarian paradise according to the Koch brothers affiliated The Mercatus Institute. Ironically or not, located at the public George Mason University.  Imagine political philosophy was made of tangibles. The conservative-libertarian concept of freedom is like a jagged rock coated in rat poison. It means you do not have dominion over your own body except access to all the low taxed corporate grown tobacco you want. Freedom means the right to have wage slaves – this are the people who do he work who make other people wealthy. One facet to the implementation of wage slavery is the absurdly named “Right to Work” law. Laws against prostitution laws are counted by conservative-libertarians as anti-freedom, so N.D. got point off for that. Maybe they could convert the women’s health clinics they’re shutting down into centers of prostitution to get their ranking up.

The Water Babies / Charles Kingsley

Cover of the The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley, published  New York : Dodd, Mead & Co., 1916. The cover and content illustration were done by Jessie Willcox Smith (September 6, 1863 – May 3, 1935). The entire book is now in the public domain and you can read it at Project Gutenberg.

He felt the net very heavy

“He felt the net very heavy” illustration by Smith. The illustration is at this juncture of the story,

And he groped with his net under the weeds so violently, that, as it befell, he caught poor little Tom. He felt the net very heavy; and lifted it out quickly, with Tom all entangled in the meshes.

“Dear me!” he cried. “What a large pink Holothurian; with hands, too! It must be connected with Synapta.”

And he took him out.

“It has actually eyes!” he cried. “Why, it must be a Cephalopod! This is most extraordinary!”

“No, I ain’t!” cried Tom, as loud as he could; for he did not like to be called bad names.

“It is a water-baby!” cried Ellie; and of course it was.

“Water-fiddlesticks, my dear!” said the professor; and he turned away sharply.

There was no denying it. It was a water-baby: and he had said a moment ago that there were none. What was he to do?

the eyes of old penn station, it is not the conservative thesaurus that needs changing, audubon’s rats

Pennsylvania Station

This was the concourse roof on the old Pennsylvania Station in New York – erected in 1910 and demolished for a new building in 1963. I liked it because it looks like giant eyes.

Conor Friedersdorf writes in, The Right-Wing Hucksters Who Dare Not Be Named

President Obama’s critics “seem eager to believe he is a lightweight,” John Podhoretz writes in Commentary, “and he is not.” Conservatives underestimate him to their own detriment, he argues, utterly failing to know their adversary, for when they’re not calling him “a golf-mad dilettante,” they’re indulging in the polar-opposite delusion that he’s a power-mad Kenyan Marxist.

The unintended result:

The notion that Obama is a dangerous extremist helps him, because it makes him seem reasonable and his critics foolish. It also helps those who peddle it, because it makes them notorious and helps them sell their wares. But it has done perhaps irreparable harm to the central conservative cause of the present moment — making the case that Obama’s social-democratic statism is setting the United States on a course for disaster and that his anti-exceptionalist foreign policy is setting the world on a course for nihilistic chaos. Those are serious arguments, befitting a serious antagonist. They may not sell gold coins as quickly and as well as excessive alarmism, but they have the inestimable advantage of being true.

[   ]….All I can say for sure is that you’ve got individuals in mind who, by your own admission, are doing damage to the movement you’re both invested in far more earnestly than they are … and you’ll only criticize them obliquely. As best I can tell from regularly seeing your work, they’re the only sort you disdain but won’t name.

Conor has a point and he means well, yet, and I say this as someone on the the same side as Conor, Conor seems somewhat clueless. Conservative and libertarian intellectuals use phrases like “social-democratic statism” as a synonym for of Marxist Anti-Christ, but the pompous pretender  John Podhoretz, and the moral and intellectual vacuum known as Jonah Goldberg know this. Statism is is just another limp piece of hyperbole from mental defectives who think they’re being clever. If the Limbaughs, Glenn Becks, Michelle Malkins and Sean Hannitys would just start using the conservative intellectual thesaurus, the Orwellian dazzle from the new spin will make their proto-fascist agenda much more palatable to the average American. Podhertz is saying the same thing the cheap seats say on Fox News when he writes, “his anti-exceptionalist foreign policy is setting the world on a course for nihilistic chaos.” He will not and cannot give details because he is doing nothing more than what 13 year olds do in the cafeteria when they see someone they don’t like. They start making things up about them. They project their weird imagination on people. Goldberg had to rewrite history to make his point about liberulism, Hillary Clinton, Woodrow Wilson and FDR. What nihilism – killing Bin laden when the neocons could not do the job? Leaving Iraq after conservatives wasted thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. Anyone with a laptop can spew out accusations, how about some measurable, verifiable proof – Obama’s actions and how they pushed the world even one micrometer towards nihilistic chaos. If nothing else one cannot have a dark nothingness and chaos at the same time. I’ve been reading Podhoretz or his dad, since high school. The far Right treats them with a reverence reaching the heights of idolatry. Yet, John has a record of being wrong so often and egregiously, if America was truly a merit based culture, he’d be living in a cardboard box in an ally.

Audubon’s Work Becomes Feathering For Rats Nests

Audubon’s Work Becomes Feathering For Rats Nests. 

Unidentified Japanese Meiji artist, Audubon Opening His Box of Watercolors Destroyed by Norway Rats, 1872–77. Ukiyo–e woodblock print on paper. Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, Bella Landauer Collection. This is the post the paining goes with.

benton’s flood disaster, the bestest business startup tips ever

 Flood Disaster

 Flood Disaster, 1951. By American Regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton. I’ve been having a some good luck lately stumbling over things that are related to what I was researching, but I had not thought of. I finally got a good print of this painting and while looking Benton’s birth date (April 15, 1889 – January 19, 1975) I came across this recent article on Flood Disaster, Thomas Hart Benton An American Artist

I recently read an article about a 1951 Thomas Hart Benton painting that sold for nearly $1.9 million at a Southeby’s auction. The painting, Flood Disaster, was created to highlight the devastating flooding of the Kansas and Missouri rivers in July 1951 that killed 17 people and displaced more than half a million residents. The painting seems timely in light of the current flooding of the Mississippi River.

I was looking at a Benton painting in a museum once and some older women that seemed to be part of a tour group looked at the same painting and one said that it reminded her of a cartoon. They looked over at me – I was fascinated by that painting and was trying to sear it into my memory -I smiled and nodded. They seemed embarrassed that they might have made a silly evaluation. Especially in the context of what we grow up with in terms of graphics – his style does have an illustrated graphic novel quality about it. That might be because his style has influenced directly, or indirectly, so many graphic artists.

tree at sunrise

tree at sunrise

I got this link on Twitter. I generally don’t like links or articles that began with “Ten Tips…” I’m not sure why I clicked over, boredom, restless, anyway this turned out to be a major exception to my rule about such links, via Anil Dash, Ten Tips Guaranteed to Improve Your Startup Success

Having had the good fortune to work with a broad range of entrepreneurs and get a front-row seat to the foundations of their success, I thought it’d be good to share 10 key tips that I’ve found work 100% of the time to increase your odds of startup success. Try to execute on as many of these as you can!

  1. Be raised with access to clean drinking water and sanitation. (Every tech billionaire I’ve ever spoken to has a toilet!)
  2. Try to be born in a region that is politically and militarily stable.
  3. Have access to at least a basic free education in core subjects.
  4. Avoid being abused by family members, loved ones, friends or acquaintances during the formative years of your life.
  5. Be fluent in English, or have time to dedicate to continuously improving your language skills.
  6. Make sure there’s enough disposable income available to support your learning technology at a younger age.
  7. If you must be a member of an underrepresented community or a woman, get comfortable with suppressing your identity. If not, follow a numbingly conventional definition of dominant masculinity.
  8. Be within a narrow range of physical norms for appearance and ability, as defined by the comfort level of strangers.
  9. Practice articulating your cultural, technological or social aspirations exclusively in economic terms.

By following these ten simple tips, you’ll massively increase the odds of success of your startup! I guarantee it, or your money back.

 

wood’s stone city, ethics and consequences, women’s health in north dakota

Stone City, Iowa,1930 by Grant Wood (American, 1891–1942)

Stone City, Iowa,1930 (oil on wood panel) by Grant Wood (American, 1891–1942). Courtesy the Joslyn Museum. This is their write-up on this painting,

Stone City, Iowa was Wood’s first major landscape, painted in the same year as his now famous American Gothic. At the height of his style, Stone City is also the epitome of the dialogue about change that was often threaded through Wood’s traditional subjects. Understood in this tranquil, idealized scene of life in harmony with nature was the knowledge that Stone City itself reflected the transitions brought about in a rural community by industrialization. Located on the Wapsipinicon River twenty-six miles from Cedar Rapids, Stone City was a boomtown gone bust: built on the success of its limestone quarries and laid to rest by the development of Portland cement. The land, Wood seems to suggest, has gone back to a purer purpose of grazing animals and growing crops. Wood’s interest in the village continued, and it became the site of a summer artist’s colony which he ran from 1932 to 1933.

Wood is best known for his 1930 painting American Gothic. Which might be one of the most commercially co-opted paintings in history.

I’m a consequentialist. Many people are and just do not put a label on it. Consequentialism is  – at least the brand worth having – the justified belief that acts have consequences. Not supernatural, weird consequences, but frequently natural consequences. Say you or someone you depend on is injured by someone else. That has economic consequences in addition to the existential and psychological issues. It gets far more complicated than that. Consequentialism ethics has a long history. Like many ethical systems it can have variations that go way off track and adherents that take it to illogical extremes. Social Democracy has a very good Cliff Notes version and economics, Thoughts on a Version of Consequentialist Ethics

But my position is in no sense an endorsement of any natural rights theory of ethics, a theory which, I think, remains nonsense. Rights are not natural; they are ethical constructs, requiring rational justification, and requiring human institutions and human beings to enforce them.

I suppose a serious ethical theory must pass three tests:

(1) it must not commit the “appeal to nature” fallacy;

(2) it must explain how it overcomes or is consistent with G. E. Moore’s “naturalistic fallacy,” and

(3) it must explain how it overcomes or is consistent with Hume’s “is–ought” problem (sometimes called Hume’s Law and Hume’s Guillotine).

A complete answer to the question whether the “good” is really identifiable with natural properties (as naturalism contends), or is an indefinable, non-natural property (as G. E. Moore argued in Principia Ethica) I leave as an open question for further thought, although I do now lean towards the view that the “good” is at least explicable for humans in naturalistic terms.

Jean Harlow

Jean Harlow. Before there was Marilyn Monroe or Jennifer Lawrence, or anyone else that the general public sees as a screen siren, there was Jean Harlow, (born Harlean Harlow Carpenter; March 3, 1911 – June 7, 1937). Sexist or not she was the first actress to be called the “blonde Bombshell”. While she suffers in the light of current cultural standards, she was a very independent woman for her time. If not for her mothers’ ill health she might never have pressed herself into trying out as an actress. She rejected one offer some executives at Fox Studios. After a few small roles  Harlow was signed to a five-year, $100 per week contract on October 24, 1929.

This is what freedom smells like, The Republican March In North Dakota To Have Tyrannical Government Control of Women’s Bodies.

On Tuesday afternoon, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) signed into law three different abortion restrictions — HB 1305, HB 1456, and SB 2305 — that women’s health advocates say will effectively ban abortion in the state. The extreme legislation that has received the most media attention is HB 1456, an unconstitutional “fetal heartbeat” ban that would outlaw abortions after just six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even realize they’re pregnant. But when it comes to the new laws’ concrete effect on the lives of women in North Dakota, a lesser-known piece of legislation may actually pose an even bigger threat to reproductive rights.

North Dakota women will feel the immediate impact of SB 2305, which indirectly targets abortion access by over-regulating abortion providers — a popular anti-choice tactic known as the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, or TRAP. Abortion opponents push TRAP laws with the ultimate goal of forcing abortion clinics to close their doors.

TRAP laws are cleverly framed in terms of ensuring women’s safety, but they’re actually incredibly effective methods of cutting off access to reproductive care at health clinics.

There has been a lot of hard won progress since the 1930s. Though the attitude that some men in an office somewhere know the best possible intimate health decisions for every woman in America, is still with us. These new laws are going to be challenged in court by people who have a better concept of freedom and the Constitution than North Dakota conservatives.

tulip blossoms wallpaper, you do not own your genes

tulip blossoms wallpaper

tulip blossoms wallpaper

I am surprised that this science-culture-ethics research paper seems to have gotten some traction on the net. I read a science news fed most days and often think, well that story is going to get a lot of attention, and other than a couple science bloggers, the story fails to generate much buzz. You Don’t “Own” Your Own Genes. Researchers Raise Alarm about Loss of Individual “Genomic Liberty” Due to Gene Patents That May Impact the Era of Personalized Medicine

Humans don’t “own” their own genes, the cellular chemicals that define who they are and what diseases they might be at risk for. Through more than 40,000 patents on DNA molecules, companies have essentially claimed the entire human genome for profit, report two researchers who analyzed the patents on human DNA. Their study, published March 25 in the journal Genome Medicine, raises an alarm about the loss of individual “genomic liberty.”

In their new analysis, the research team examined two types of patented DNA sequences: long and short fragments. They discovered that 41 percent of the human genome is covered by longer DNA patents that often cover whole genes. They also found that, because many genes share similar sequences within their genetic structure, if all of the “short sequence” patents were allowed in aggregate, they could account for 100 percent of the genome.

Furthermore, the study’s lead author, Dr. Christopher E. Mason of Weill Cornell Medical College, and the study’s co-author, Dr. Jeffrey Rosenfeld, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey and a member of the High Performance and Research Computing Group, found that short sequences from patents also cover virtually the entire genome — even outside of genes.

“If these patents are enforced, our genomic liberty is lost,” says Dr. Mason, an assistant professor of physiology and biophysics and computational genomics in computational biomedicine at the Institute for Computational Biomedicine at Weill Cornell. “Just as we enter the era of personalized medicine, we are ironically living in the most restrictive age of genomics. You have to ask, how is it possible that my doctor cannot look at my DNA without being concerned about patent infringement?”

The U.S. Supreme Court will review genomic patent rights in an upcoming hearing on April 15. At issue is the right of a molecular diagnostic company to claim patents not only on two key breast and ovarian cancer genes — BRCA1 and BRCA2 — but also on any small sequence of code within BRCA1, including a striking patent for only 15 nucleotides.

In its study, the research team matched small sequences within BRCA1 to other genes and found that just this one molecular diagnostic company’s patents also covered at least 689 other human genes — most of which have nothing to do with breast or ovarian cancer; rather, its patents cover 19 other cancers as well as genes involved in brain development and heart functioning.

“This means if the Supreme Court upholds the current scope of the patents, no physician or researcher can study the DNA of these genes from their patients, and no diagnostic test or drug can be developed based on any of these genes without infringing a patent,” says Dr. Mason.
One Patented Sequence Matched More Than 91 Percent of Human Genes

Dr. Mason undertook the study because he realized that his research into brain and cancer disorders inevitably involved studying genes that were protected by patents.

Under U.S. patent law, genes can be patented by those researchers, either at companies or institutions, who are first to find a gene that promises a useful application, such as for a diagnostic test. For example, the patents received by a company in the 1990s on BRCA1 and BRCA2 enables it to offer a diagnostic test to women who may have, or may be at risk for, breast or ovarian cancer due to mutations in one or both of these genes. Women and their doctors have no choice but to use the services of the patents’ owner, which costs $3,000 per test, “whereas any of the hundreds of clinical laboratories around the country could perform such a test for possibly much less,” says Dr. Mason.

The impact on these patents is equally onerous on research, Dr. Mason adds.

“Almost every day, I come across a gene that is patented — a situation that is common for every geneticist in every lab,” says Dr. Mason.

Dr. Mason and his research partner sought to determine how many other genes may be impacted by gene patents, as well as the overall landscape of intellectual property on the human genome.

The general argument in favor of patenting genes is that some companies cannot make a profit off their research without a patent. This will come out of the mouths of Fox News talking heads as we’re all gonna die if you don’t have patents on genes. What researchers should be making a profit from is the treatment regime, if anything. To see how this gene patenting plays out just look at Monsanto’s patents on seeds. It does not look evil on the very front end. You buy some patented seeds that they created to survive being sprayed with the weed killer, that they also patented. The problem is that nature does not respect seed patents. The pollen containing the patented genes are blown into the field of someone who did not buy the patented seeds. That farmer cannot harvest that crop without paying Monsanto because the wind blew some of their genes into his/her field. The farmer that did not buy the patented seeds because the economic prisoner of Monsanto. Are cancer patients going to become the economic prisoners of companies that own the gene that requires a gene therapy on the patented genes. Monsanto also claims that in order to make a profit they must patent those genes. Simply put, I don’t care if Monsanto goes out of business and gee, I don ‘t know, we find a way to plant wheat, corn soy beans or whatever, like we did before Monsanto came along and got American, and increasingly European farmers into this cycle of dependence on them because of their weed killer. It is not the least been hyperbolic or melodramatic to say that if a corporation owns our genes they own life. Congress will never let it come to that? They already have by allowing the patenting of human genes and letting Monsanto claim they own even accidentally pollinated crops that have their genes in them.

gershwin by steichen, the moral corruption model of politics, 14th century social networks

George Gershwin

George Gershwin (26 Sep 1898 – 11 Jul 1937), 1927. By Edward  Steichen, 27 Mar 1879 – 25 Mar 1973. This photo is small, but to post anything larger by Steichen would require that I search the sofa cushions for gold doubloons. Most of Steichen’s work, if not all, is still under copyright. Though there are a few like this one that are small, low resolution that are available for display. Edward was one of the pioneers of the modern art photography movement that began with is friend Alfred Stieglitz. Picture credit: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquired in memory of Agnes and Eugene Meyer through the generosity of Katharine Graham and the New York Community Trust, The Island Fund.

Blackburn

Blackburn (2002) by © 2002, Ron Adams ( b. Detroit, MI 1934). Subject Robert Blackburn. Again, small, but free because of the size. There is a little satire here of the art world with the art connoisseur pondering three exact copies of the same work, in the background. The transparent mating used by Blackburn is a cleverly drawn detail.

Aerial view, 8th Avenue Subway Station 1937-1939

Aerial view, 8th Avenue Subway Station. 1937-1939. part of the World’s Fair of 1939. “Colored axonometric drawing (airbrushed pen and ink on board) of Independent 8th Avenue subway station showing streamlined building serving as entrance to Fair in Amusement section, with bridge across Flushing River.”

If you cannot win on principles. If all you have if some nationalistic blather, combined with misogyny, racism and social-Darwinism, run on character assassination, How Low Can Morally Corrupt Republicans Go, GOP Opposition Researcher Names Drudge As A Propaganda Model.

The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin interviewed Tim Miller, executive director of a new conservative political action committee centered on opposition research, who reminisced about how conservative operatives successfully used blogger Matt Drudge to push debunked or thinly-researched smears against Democrats in 2004, describing it as a “great model” that needs to be updated.

Pre-Hispanic Southwest Artifacts Shed Light on Social Networks of the Past

Their findings illustrate dramatic changes in social networks in the Southwest over the 250-year period between A.D. 1200 and 1450. They found, for example, that while a large social network in the southern part of the Southwest grew very large and then collapsed, networks in the northern part of the Southwest became more fragmented but persisted over time.

“Network scientists often talk about how increasingly connected networks become, or the ‘small world’ effect, but our study shows that this isn’t always the case,” said Mills, who led the study with co-principal investigator and UA alumnus Jeffery Clark, of Archaeology Southwest.

“Our long-term study shows that there are cycles of growth and collapse in social networks when we look at them over centuries,” Mills said. “Highly connected worlds can become highly fragmented.”

I feel old when I think I was part of a generation that did not text or tweet in class, we passed hand written notes using  writing instruments called pens and pencils.