Saturday, February 23, 2008

Scientific tattoos

"Underneath their sober lab coats and flannel shirts, scientists hide images of their scientific passions. Here they are revealed to all."

Via the Dinosaur Mailing List I came across this great blog of scientific tattoos -
Carl Zimmer's Science Tattoo Emporium

Here's a selection of those that caught my eye.

Claire d'Alberto of the University of Melbourne writes, "I would like to share what my friends call my 'science nerd' tattoo with you! I am currently doing my PhD in Zoology and have been fascinated by the biological world for as long I can remember, so when I decided to get a tattoo it seemed logical that I look within my field for inspiration....It took 4.5 hours, and certainly didn't tickle, but I love that I have such a beautiful representation of evolution and the natural world with me all the time."

The pictures around the tree represent the five kingdoms--Monera (bacteria), Protista (amoebae and other single-celled organisms), Plantae (plants), Fungi (illustrated here by yeast and the penicillin mold), and animals (a comb jelly, a mollusc, a starfish, and a seadragon fish).

Here is a picture of my serotonin tattoo. I don't know that it needs much more explanation than it's my favorite neurotransmitter.--Hayley

"It is an approximation of the locus of connectedness for the Julia sets of the family of functions f(z) = z^2 + lambda/(z^2) (rotated by pi/2). This is analogous to the standard Mandelbrot set (which applies to the family f(z) = z^2 + c), but holds additional fascination because for lambda values which are in the interior of one of the subdomains of the connectedness locus, the Julia set is a Universal Curve. To me this represents the structure unifying chaos (since Julia sets are chaotic) and order (since Universal Curves act as a sort of catalog of all planar curves)." --Aaron

Amanda, a biologist, writes, "Here's my science tattoo. It's inspired from the REM song Man on the Moon and by trip to the Galapagos a few years ago."

And as Darwin is a personal hero of mine, here's another:

"Attached is a photo of a tattoo I got immediately after turning in the final paperwork a little over two weeks ago for the completion of my Ph.D. in biological anthropology. It's the first evolutionary tree that Darwin sketched in his 1837 Notebook B on the transmutation of species." --Julienne

And finally, a tat by somebody who, unlike Jacques Lacan, knows what a Mobius Strip actually is:

" I am a Rocket Scientist (Friends Named me that, more like
Mechanical Engineer) and an Amatuer Astronomer. Got this tattoo on my inner right arm, since the Science inside of me is screaming to come out. Going to get another related Tattoo on my left inner arm next year. Not really going much further than that (as far as I know). " --Spacemanbobby

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Today's music

My favouritest bestest bands of all time. For the moment.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Satan Said Dance

Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth

Cold War Kids

Hang Me Up To Dry

hospital Beds

We Used to Vacation

Saturday, February 16, 2008

For your vampire needs

Chanced across these videos from one of my favourite films, Nosferatu: The Vampyre (the 1979 Werner Herzog remake), last night. A mix of beautiful (if at times unsettling) images and great music.

The overture from Wagner's Das Rheingold (as explained by the poster of the video - "The Carpathian Mountains set against the E-flat major triadic-drone of the Rheingold Prelude (beginning 2:22 minutes into the video). One of the great moments in film.")

The US trailer

And finally, the wonderfully creepy (and somewhat unsettling) opening of the film, with the camera panning over the dried husks of his victims

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tonight children will be subjected to unspeakable acts

Well, it's all over and with the country still soggy with white middle class sanctimony and delusion, the voice of reason and hard reality is as unwelcome as ever.

And yes I am pretty angry about it all and I suppose that shows. But I don't suffer fools gladly, and it is all the worse for this week's display of collective madness and studied refusal to face the facts about aboriginal degradation and disadvantage in this country.

I have a terrible premonition that the events of this week may actually make things worse for aboriginal people, and especially aboriginal kids. It appears that all those responsible for the 40 or more years of bad policy that has been the true wrecker of so many lives are now back in the driver's seat thanks to the Rudd government.

Just as we were starting to confront the reality that the greatest threat to aboriginal children are their own families - broken and dysfunctional people in totally debased, hopeless and dysfunctional "communities" who can't or wont look after their children - we are back to the fiction that kids were only ever taken for the wrong reasons and the inaction of white social workers and child care workers, on the basis that they 'don't want another stolen generation', dooming yet more young children to nightmare existences of neglect and abuse and horrible deaths in squalor and filth.

That's the core of my unease here - the events of this week have powerfully reinforced this inertia where people look on as kids literally are neglected and abused to death, (think of that little baby girl who died amidst just the squalor and filth I mentioned in the north of WA, with parents too stupified by drink to care for her), and do nothing. It's bad enough that the stolen generations is a myth, it is so much worse that the myth is killing aboriginal children today.

If it was happening to white kids, there would be an uproar and demands to know why the government and its agencies tasked with the care of children sat back and did nothing.

But apparently the myth is more important than these wretched children and the wretched and miserable lives they must suffer.

So what are the calls now, even as we know that a humanitarian disaster has been happening, and continues to happen, before our very eyes and children only months old are raped so savagely that they require surgery to try and repair the damage to their genitals; malnourished six year olds, unwashed and wearing dirty clothes, who already have a range of sexually transmitted diseases; and as young boys are taken out into the desert by tribal elders to be anally fucked as their "initiation" into the nightmare world of the remote "communities"?

What is the call of the smug and comfortable white middle classes whose own children, as Noel Pearson so devastatingly observes, "sleep safe at night"?

Never, never again! That no aboriginal child ever be removed from his or her parents again.

What, no matter what? No matter how neglected or abused some poor kid may be, no matter that he or she may be in danger of their life, they think this is better?

Are these people mad? Though of course much of the pressure for an apology for the "stolen generations" has really had more to do with the insufferable moral vanity of the white middle classes and their desperate need to feel good about themselves.

So some more dead aboriginal children are reckoned to be an acceptable sacrifice on the altar of their need to feel morally superior and virtuous. Collateral damage if you will.

Such is the danger of myths founded on falsehoods, especially when social policy starts to be based upon them.

And no, it isn't enough that it is well meaning and well intentioned. You can't solve a problem until you've actually understood just what it is. That's why aboriginal Australia is in such a mess today. We allowed ourselves to be sidetracked by the naive nativists who sought to reestablish the "wonderful" hunter-gatherer lifestyle, "uncontaminated" by the modern world and capitalism.

(Not that they'd imagine a similar life for their own children, sent off to the best private schools money could buy and then onto the best universities and well paid careers in the law or medicine.)

But the hunter gatherer lifestyle was never the noble savage fantasy they dreamed of and projected onto their poor unwitting victims.

Never mind too that this lifestyle was already effectively doomed and never to come back.

A policy course was set that dumped small groups of aboriginal people into the middle of nowhere, with no obvious means to make a living, and then just left them to rot.

And rot they did. And the poisoned fruit of this experiment continues to sicken and kill, as one generation of people, reduced to madness by boredom, lack of self-esteem and endless torrents of grog and other drugs, destroy their own children.

And the the best idea we can come up with is to do nothing, other than stand back and watch helplessly (but caringly of course) as children are raped, beaten and starved. To allow one doomed generation to destroy another.

Lara Wieland, who spent eight years working as a doctor in Aboriginal communities in Cape York (thanks to Andrew Bolt for pointing to this article in a post appropriately titled Sorry to these children we will “never, never” save), comments:

IN the eight short years since I started living and working in Cape York communities, I have witnessed a rapid and tragic decline in the environment that
children live in.

The older generation, the last few threads holding the social fabric together, is disappearing. The few who survive have become powerless, bewildered and despairing, living at the mercy of their dysfunctional families who harass them for money and steal their food.

Members of a generation who were raised by people under the control of substance abuse and welfare dependence are now becoming parents themselves. Many of these young parents have known nothing other than violence, mostly towards women, neglect of children, and an almost complete lack of understanding of the wider world.

The older generation with the strong morals, parenting skills and courage remember Christmas as a time when functional, self-sufficient families gathered after church to share good food, laughter and traditional dances. All today's kids can remember from last Christmas is fighting and drunkenness and the interviews they had to give police when their little friends were raped.

Worst of all, we are increasingly being left with a population that does not even understand the gravity of its situation. As Noel Pearson says, the dysfunction has become "normalised".


Boys raping younger boys becomes just boys “playing gay” - to be “told off”. Yes, young boys do often engage in explorative sexual play but that is completely different to non-consensual acts where pre-pubescent boys sodomise little kids with objects while they scream out “no”, or where older teenagers or adults watch as they make younger teenagers rape little kids, who then have nightmares....

I think one of the great tragedies of the last election was that Mal Brough is no longer the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, and we now have a naive and foolish leftist who will blunder along and turn back what little progress has been made over the last year or so.

It's from him that I've drawn the title of this post and anyone truly interested in the welfare of aboriginal children needs to read what he has to say.

Tonight there will be children who will be subjected to unspeakable acts; who will see their parents or relatives with whatever form of substance abuse; who will actually live in the most deprived and depraved circumstances; who will put their heads down on concrete floors not having bathed for days, if not weeks; with lice and scabies; who will get rat bites tonight. All in Australia, all at a time when we are celebrating in our nation's capital a new beginning.
I can take you tonight to houses I can guarantee you that you would not allow a pet to live in because the RSPCA would go in and charge the owners and the owners would be on A Current Affair tomorrow night.
But our best idea is to leave these children where they are and to their inevitable tragic and pathetic fate.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Party Boy Corey Interviewed on Insiders

Very cleverly done - even people outside of Australia may have heard of Corey Delaney - a 16 year old "legend" who threw a particularly wild party while his parents were away and made the news internationally.

Apparently he is now the new leader of the opposition. Thanks to Andrew Bolt.

Plus the Naughty Corey Song - Music Video!