gross

If you can’t use Excel without a mouse, keep your résumé updated. 390 Greenwich is just down the street.

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A census of workplace microbes found that men’s offices have significantly more than women’s, and offices in New York have more than those in San Francisco.

{ PLoS One | NY Times }

Mental concentration in front of a mirror

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A freak attack described as drug induced “zombie face eating” has hit international headlines this week. Until the results of a toxicological analysis emerge, the drug(s) involved is unknown and open to speculation. This has not stopped the newspapers, who understandably have gone absolutely bat-shit over the story. The Daily Mail has claimed the attacker was “high on LSD”, while the Guardian initially claimed the assailant was “under the influence of a potent LSD-like drug called bath salts”, the Guardian went on to make the bizarre claim that the assailant had taken “the delirium-inducing drug, which is similar to cocaine and other forms of LSD.” […]

Far from LSD or even formerly popular legal chemicals such as mephedrone, the consensus among speculators appears to be that the “zombie face eater” in addition to likely having an undiagnosed pre-existing mental condition may have been in a state of severe drug induced psychosis and/or may have taken something more along the lines of a PCP analogue. This is obviously pure guess work, however PCP is known for its astounding ability to precipitate psychosis, bizarre behaviour and extreme violence. It has even been linked to cases of cannibalism in the past, cases such as this are of course rare and heavily publicised but the fact that people are now taking drugs blindly as a matter of course, the contents of which may contain substances they are utterly unprepared for is extremely worrying. Another key factor pointing to PCP is that it is well known that PCP users are prone to getting naked and becoming violent. Another popular guess that may be more grounded in reality is that the drug could be MDPV, a drug with a thoroughly unpleasant reputation that has been known to be marketed as bath salts in the past.

{ Neurobonkers | Continue reading }

Kill everyone now! Condone first degree murder! Advocate cannibalism! Eat shit!

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{ A human brain overrun with cysts from Taenia solium, a tapeworm that normally inhabits the muscles of pigs. | Discover | full story }

Extraordinary the interest they take in a corpse

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Mummies were stolen from Egyptian tombs, and skulls were taken from Irish burial sites. Gravediggers robbed and sold body parts.

“The question was not, ‘Should you eat human flesh?’ but, ‘What sort of flesh should you eat?’ ” says Sugg. […]

Blood was procured as fresh as possible, while it was still thought to contain the vitality of the body. This requirement made it challenging to acquire. The 16th century German-Swiss physician Paracelsus believed blood was good for drinking, and one of his followers even suggested taking blood from a living body. […]

As science strode forward, however, cannibal remedies died out. The practice dwindled in the 18th century, around the time Europeans began regularly using forks for eating and soap for bathing. But Sugg found some late examples of corpse medicine: In 1847, an Englishman was advised to mix the skull of a young woman with treacle (molasses) and feed it to his daughter to cure her epilepsy. (He obtained the compound and administered it, as Sugg writes, but “allegedly without effect.”)

{ Smithsonian | Continue reading }

photo { Volgareva Irina }

We are now living in a time in which the first generation in history that never experienced life before the internet is coming into cultural power. And it is awful.

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Researchers have established a direct link between the number of friends you have on Facebook and the degree to which you are a “socially disruptive” narcissist, confirming the conclusions of many social media skeptics.

People who score highly on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory questionnaire had more friends on Facebook, tagged themselves more often and updated their newsfeeds more regularly.

The research comes amid increasing evidence that young people are becoming increasingly narcissistic, and obsessed with self-image and shallow friendships.

A number of previous studies have linked narcissism with Facebook use, but this is some of the first evidence of a direct relationship between Facebook friends and the most “toxic” elements of narcissistic personality disorder.

{ Guardian | Continue reading }

photo { Leo Berne }

quote { Hamilton Nolan/Gawker }

The Zombie’s Rage

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Eating people is wrong. But why? People of different sorts, at different times, expressing their views in different idioms, have had different answers to that question. Right now, our culture isn’t obsessed with cannibalism, though we are still unwholesomely fascinated enough to buy books and go to movies about anthropophagy among the Uruguayan rugby team that ran out of food after their plane crashed in the Andes. (…)

Our modern idioms for disapproving of cannibalism are limited. There is a physical disgust at the very idea of eating human flesh, though it’s not clear that this is necessarily different from the revulsion felt by some people confronted with haggis, calf brains, monkfish liver, or sheep eyes, the rejection of which rarely requires, or receives, much of an explanation. It is widely thought that cannibalism is in itself a crime, but in most jurisdictions it isn’t. (It is criminal to abuse a corpse, so eating dead human flesh tends to be swept up under statutes mainly intended to prevent trading in human body parts or mutilating cadavers.)

{ LA Review of Books | Continue reading }

artwork { Keith Haring }

‘The four most over-rated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics.’ –Christopher Hitchens

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In 1986, Guantanamo became host to the first and only McDonald’s restaurant within Cuba.

A Subway sandwich shop was opened in November 2002. Other fast food outlets have followed. These fast food restaurants are on base, and not accessible to Cubans.

It has been reported that prisoners cooperating with interrogations have been rewarded with Happy Meals from the McDonald’s located on the mainside of the base.

In 2004, Guantanamo opened a combined KFC & A&W restaurant at the bowling alley and a Pizza Hut Express at the Windjammer Restaurant. There is also a Taco Bell, and the Triple C shop that sells Starbucks coffee and Breyers ice cream.

All the restaurants on the installation are franchises owned and operated by the Department of the Navy. All proceeds from these restaurants are used to support morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) activities for service personnel and their families.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

And then what after supper? Music? Whispers?

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Microwave Massacre is a 1983 dark comedy/horror film directed by Wayne Berwick. (…)

After coming home drunk one night and getting into an argument with his wife May, Donald loses his temper and bludgeons her to death with a large pepper grinder. He wakes up the next day with a bad hangover, no memory of the night before, and a growling stomach. He discovers May’s corpse in the microwave and after the initial wave of horror passes, he starts to take it in stride, telling his co-workers that he and May separated. After work, he cuts up May’s body and stores it in foil wrap in the fridge.

Looking for a midnight snack one night, Donald unintentionally takes a few bites of May’s hand, and after the initial wave of horror passes, he realizes it’s the best thing he’s ever eaten. He even brings some to work with him and shares it with Phillip and Roosevelt, who concur. He soon starts picking up hookers and using them for meat in his recipes. (…)

Donald’s lunches continue to be a hit with his friends, and he decides to cater an outing to a wrestling match with a new recipe he calls “Peking chick.” When Roosevelt and Phillip show up to pick up Donald, they discover him dead on the floor of a heart attack, and some body parts in the microwave. They leave in horror and disgust, realizing what Donald had been serving them.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

photo { Glenn Glasser }

Dr. No: One million dollars, Mr. Bond. You were wondering what it cost. James Bond: As a matter of fact, I was.

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{ This is a GoogleMaps picture of a farm near Goldsboro in North Carolina. The two salami-colored ponds on either side are lagoons, but not the kind where you want to swim. They’re open basins full of feces. Livestock agriculture in the US produces manure on a truly titanic scale — some ~133 million tons’ dry weight per year, ~13 times more than the sanitary waste produced by the human population. | Puff the Mutant Dragon | full story }

I notice that you got it, you notice that I want it, you know that I can take it

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Public restrooms are a great place to find bacteria, as the authors of the new study euphemistically put it, “because of the activities that take place there and the high frequency of use by individuals with different hygienic routines.” Furthermore, different neighborhoods within bathrooms probably house different communities of bacteria. To perform a census on these hidden but lively communities, researchers sampled surfaces in six men’s rooms and six women’s rooms at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Genetic sequencing of these samples told them which species of bacteria were present. Out of all the bacterial types that turned up, there were 19 phyla of bacteria present in every bathroom.

{ inkfish | Continue reading }

illustration { Wendy MacNaughton, Meanwhile, The San Francisco Public Library }

‘Equality may be a right, but no power on earth can convert it into fact.’ –Balzac

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Simply speaking, disgust is the response we have to things we find repulsive. Some of the things that trigger disgust are innate, like the smell of sewage on a hot summer day. No one has to teach you to feel disgusted by garbage, you just are. Other things that are automatically disgusting are rotting food and visible cues of infection or illness. We have this base layer of core disgusting things, and a lot of them don’t seem like they’re learned.

But there’s also a whole set of things that have a lot of cultural and individual variation about whether it’s considered disgusting. For example, I like bloody steaks and my girlfriend, who is a vegetarian, finds them repulsive. The core base of what causes disgust has expanded to the point where certain kinds of moral violations, social transgressions, and even value systems of groups one is not a member of can come to be disgusting as well.

There’s a good case to be made that the culture we grow up in can fine-tune our disgust response or calibrate what we come to be disgusted by, but people don’t really need to learn how to be disgusted. The reaction is specified by nature, although it doesn’t start until we are around 3 or 4 years old.

{ Daniel Kelly/Salon | Continue reading }

‘We don’t eat, we don’t sleep, we don’t stop.’ –Blacky II

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Just across the river from Detroit, Lakeshore is where barrels of Canadian Club whiskey age in blocky, windowless warehouses. Scott, who had recently completed his PhD in mycology at the University of Toronto, had launched a business called Sporometrics. Run out of his apartment, it was a sort of consulting detective agency for companies that needed help dealing with weird fungal infestations. The first call he got after putting up his website was from a director of research at Hiram Walker Distillery named David Doyle.

Doyle had a problem. In the neighborhood surrounding his Lakeshore warehouses, homeowners were complaining about a mysterious black mold coating their houses. And the residents, following their noses, blamed the whiskey. Doyle wanted to know what the mold was and whether it was the company’s fault. Scott headed up to Lakeshore to take a look.

When he arrived at the warehouse, the first thing he noticed (after “the beautiful, sweet, mellow smell of aging Canadian whiskey,” he says) was the black stuff. It was everywhere—on the walls of buildings, on chain-link fences, on metal street signs, as if a battalion of Dickensian chimney sweeps had careened through town. “In the back of the property, there was an old stainless steel fermenter tank,” Scott says. “It was lying on its side, and it had this fungus growing all over it. Stainless steel!” The whole point of stainless steel is that things don’t grow on it.

Standing at a black-stained fence, Doyle explained that the distillery had been trying to solve the mystery for more than a decade. Mycologists at the University of Windsor were stumped. A team from the Scotch Whisky Association’s Research Institute had taken samples and concluded it was just a thick layer of normal environmental fungi: Aspergillus, Exophiala, stuff like that. Ubiquitous and—maybe most important—in no way the distillery’s fault.

Scott shook his head. “David,” he said, “that’s not what it is. It’s something completely different.”

Leave fruit juice on its own for a few days or weeks and yeast—a type of fungus—will appear as if by magic. In one of nature’s great miracles, yeast eats sugar and excretes carbon dioxide and ethanol, the chemical that makes booze boozy. That’s fermentation.

If fermentation is a miracle of nature, then distillation is a miracle of science. Heat a fermented liquid and the lighter, more volatile chemical components—alcohols, ketones, esters, and so on—evaporate and separate from the heavier ones (like water). That vapor, cooled and condensed into a liquid, is a spirit. Do it to wine, you get brandy; beer, you get whiskey. Distill anything enough times and you get vodka. When it’s executed right, the process concentrates a remarkable array of aromatic and flavorful chemicals.

{ Wired | Continue reading }