New Comics Haul – May 27th

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I picked up these comics today at my local shop. There are some good ones in there. But that’s not the best part of this post. The real story of my visit is the nice (older-ish?) couple, fulfilling their son/daughter/grandson/granddaughter’s pull list, while talking over the phone and consulting a hand-written list. This was FANTASTIC.

Seriously, I love everything about this. I love that they care enough to come in to the shop and pick up the comics. I love that they had a list prepared and a cell phone at the ready. And I LOVE that the cell phone connection wasn’t strong so the older gentleman had to yell things like: “SOUTHERN BASTARDS? Yeah, they have SOUTHERN BASTARDS. Issue #6? No? Oh, issue #7.”

If only the person had requested Sex Criminals.

I’ll tell you what, though. They had a big stack of comics to buy. Whomever they were buying for, they certainly love them.

Of course I have a few theories in my mind about what was really happening.

Perhaps the person on the other end of the phone has some terminal illness, and these kind young people are fulfilling her list so she can escape, for just a little while at least, the pain of this world.

Or…

The person on the other end of the line is the kingpin of some underground crime syndicate and these are his lackeys, forced to fulfill his every whim. Even acquire some random-ass comics from a local shop. Maybe he is making these two run all kinds of errands for him. Maybe he won’t even read the comics.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that is the real story.

This comic makes privilege incredibly easy to understand – Boing Boing

I’m sick and tired of people complaining about and denigrating the poor, and those on food stamps or welfare. Many of the people making such complaints are on my Facebook feed, and many whom I grew up with and know they most likely grew up in a household that received some type of assistance. Some still live there. The median income for a household in the borough was $29,219 as of the 2000 census. 12.3% of the population live below the poverty line. And it seems like 90% have absolutely lost any type of empathy.

I make pretty good money now that I have 15 years of work experience in my field, but I can certainly see all of the little breaks I’ve received over the years of no skill of my own. Growing up, we had enough to eat. We had a roof over our heads. My parents were loving and spent time with me and read to me what I was young. I was to afford to go to college. I chose a good major. And on and on.

Anyhow, the comic referenced below does an excellent job of illustrating this privilege. You should check it out.

“The idea of “privilege” can be a difficult concept to grasp for a lot of people, especially when advantages seem small and invisible to people on the receiving end. In the comic “On a Plate,” cartoonist Toby Morris breaks down how the subtle differences afforded to some people—in this case, on the basis of class and money—can make huge differences in their opportunities over time. Make sure you read all the way to the end—it’s worth it”

via This comic makes privilege incredibly easy to understand – Boing Boing.

Bill Nye to Grads: Become the Next Great Generation | TIME

I love the idea of somebody some day getting to Mars and reading the message: “To those, who visit here, we wish a safe journey and the Joy of Discovery.” A weary traveler reading a hopeful message from home.

You should head over and read the rest of the speech. Bill Nye is a good guy.

By the way, while you’re on Mars, stroll by The Spirit, Opportunity, or Curiosity Mars rovers. Each is fitted with a photometric calibration target, a small sundial that serves as a test pattern for their cameras. Look closely. Engraved on each are these words: “To those, who visit here, we wish a safe journey and the Joy of Discovery.” The joy of knowing: that’s science; that’s what drives us. It brings out the best in us — and makes our species worthy of the future.

via Bill Nye to Grads: Become the Next Great Generation | TIME.

Recommended: Melinda Gates Article – Three Stories That Explain Why I Am Relentlessly, Passionately, and Impatiently Optimistic

I read a lot of excellent articles on the web. I know it’s lazy, as a blogger, to just link and post about things others have written. However, I also think it is important that articles such as this one written by Melinda Gates are seen by as many people as possible. So I don’t apologize for the signal boost here.

“In Bihar, I visited a school called Prerna, founded by an incredible woman named Sister Sudha. Prerna is a Hindi word that means “inspiration” — and it only takes about five minutes on campus to realize the name is an apt one!

Most of the students at Prerna come from the marginalized Mushahar community, which is considered the very lowest rung of the caste system. All their lives, these girls have been taught that they are untouchable, that their lives have no value, and that they should expect nothing for themselves.

But at Prerna, Sister Sudha teaches these girls that each one of them is precious and that all of them are filled with potential and possibility. That’s why, in addition to learning the usual subjects — like reading, writing, and (my personal favorite) computers — Prerna students also study activities like drumming and karate. Sister Sudha explained to me that the curriculum is designed to help girls see themselves as having power.

Despite the fact that so many of them come from difficult backgrounds, the girls I met at Prerna were brimming with confidence in themselves and optimism about their futures. They are proud to wear their uniform of blue salwar kameez, which they say makes them feel like “girls who study.” When I peeked into their classrooms, they were excited to try out their English on me. (“How are you feeling today?” was a question I got a lot.)”

via Three Stories That Explain Why I Am Relentlessly, Passionately, and Impatiently Optimistic — Medium.

Check out this photo series: Strong is the New Pretty

I came across this photo series this morning, following a link tweeted by the great @lemead. Check it out. You will not be disappointed. Well, maybe you will be disappointed if you don’t like cool things.

Strong is the New Pretty is a series of photographs showing my two young girls, as well as their friends, just as they are — loud, athletic, fearless, messy, joyous, frustrated. I wanted to celebrate these girls as they are, not how females are expected to be. I wanted to celebrate them, just as they are, and show them that is enough. Being pretty or perfect is not important. Being who they are is.

via Strong is the New Pretty | Mamalode.

Quite Important Aricle on Ending The War on Drugs via Medium

I highly recommend this article on the history of the war on drugs, why it is wrong, and what we can do differently.

So, Leigh noticed all this and started to think: Well, I went into this in order to bankrupt the drug gangs. What she realizes is that the drug war actually transfers this whole industry to the drug gangs. It’s what keeps them in business; they depend on it. They’re depending on it so much that at the start of the drug war, they actually bribed the narcotics agents to introduce it, as I explain in the book.

So she said that if you genuinely want to bankrupt the drug gangs, what you have to do is go back to where we were earlier in the 20th century and where many countries have gone, like Switzerland, and take the trade out of the hands of armed criminal gangs and give it to doctors and pharmacists instead. By the way, that does not mean a crack aisle in CVS. No one wants that — legalization has a very different meaning. It’s very important to understand what the kind of legalization that people like Leigh and people in Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) are in favor of actually means.

What we have at the moment is anarchy: unknown criminals selling unknown chemicals to unknown users, all in the dark. Legalization is a process for extending regulation to this currently anarchic situation. That means different things for different drugs, and we don’t have to invent anything new. We have the structures of regulation in place. I can’t just go into CVS and buy strong sleeping pills. I have to get them from the doctor. You would extend that form of regulation that has happened in Switzerland. I have seen it in practice, and it works remarkably well.

via ‘One Thing You Can Say for the War on Drugs … Is We Gave It a Fair Shot’ — Medium.

Color Photos from 1913!

I came across this article yesterday on mashup of amazing color photos taken in the year 1913. Head on over there and check them out. Seriously stunning.

It’s funny, because the majority of media we have from this time period is in black and white, my brain almost thinks that the world was without color back then. Stupid brain.

Seriously though, check it out.

Mervyn O’Gorman was 42 when he took these pictures of his daughter, Christina O’Gorman at Lulworth Cove, in the English county of Dorset. He photographed Christina wearing a red swimming costume and red cloak, a colour particularly suited to the early color Autochrome process.

Autochrome was one of the first colour photo technologies, which used glass plates coated in potato starches to filter pictures with dye.

via 1913 color photos reveal vivid reds like you’ve never seen.

Short Story ToRead: Someone to Watch Over Me

I came across this short story yesterday on Cory Doctorow’s tumblr and just needed to spread the word further because it is excellent. It’s got a real 1984 vibe to it that I enjoy.

“Amala’s got a new job: monitoring paroled prisoners’ CCTV feeds. What she sees isn’t nearly so disturbing as who sees her seeing it. A tale of science fictional horror from the new Black Candies – Surveillance.”

Excerpt:

“Everything you need to know is in the computer,” said Duggan, leaning across Amala to switch on the display. The computer was a fat black tower, a blue power light staring unblinking from the front panel. It looked sleek and powerful, at odds with the shabbiness of the office. She glanced around the room, taking in long desks lined with other computers, operators wearing headphones hunched over their displays.

via Cory Doctorow: Fiction: Someone to Watch Over Me.