March 13th, 2020


Braille Smartwatch

Check out this Braille smartwatch.  It's so smart, it will teach you to read Braille.  Also, it's accessible even if you don't read Braille: it has a mode to tell time just by counting the dots.  

Something the article did not mention: anyone can read this in the dark, which makes it totally appropriate for theaters where you can't see your unlit watch and lighting it up would be rude.

Antidepressant Addiction

Doctors like to lie that antidepressants are nonaddictive. However, some people experience extreme withdrawal symptoms when they try -- and often fail -- to get off the drugs.  There is then no medical support for that problem.  Let's not forget the people who lose their insurance, displease their doctor, or fail a test and get cut off by force.

Let's be clear: if people are having a hard time trying to quit a drug, with physical symptoms, and they often fail, then it is addictive.  Ignore what the doctors say while trying to cover their ass and look at the physical evidence.

Drug addiction charities need to be more helpful for people with clinical drug addictions, because street drugs aren't the whole problem.  It doesn't magically stop being a problem just because their pusher wore a white coat.

If you have a problem with a substance, and you can't get clinical help because nobody believes it is a real problem, stop trying to wring blood out of a stone.  Go to the peer support groups.  They damn well know what it's like to have a monkey on your back, and can help you deal with it.  There are religious and secular programs, most of them free, so take your pick.

Watermelon Snow

 But look, it's growing in stripes!  I want to assault that iceberg with a pickaxe and extract many different samples to analyze and see why the algae are growing intensely in some areas, moderately in others, and little or none in some.  I'm betting on either density or nutrients.  The stripes mean snow/ice of different ages is more or less attractive; it's a regular pattern.  If we could figure out what the algae likes and dislikes, that might help us shoo it away.

Would you shoot an albino deer?

This question is fascinating because it has different answers depending on which ethical stance and hunting purpose you prefer:

* It is illegal to shoot albino game, or indeed any atypical game, in some areas.
-> Don't shoot the albino deer if albino game is protected there.

* Conservation preserves wildlife so humans can enjoy it.  This encourages people to fall in love with wildlife and do more to preserve it.  Albinos are rare and interesting.  If you believe that hunting is an adjunct to conservation...
-> Don't shoot the albino deer.

* Albinos are genetic aberrations that usually have other problems, such as vision deficiencies.  One purpose of predation is to clean such problems out of the gene pool so they don't spread and weaken the species.  Humans have removed most other predators.  If you believe that human hunters replace wolves/cougars/etc. ...
-> Shoot the albino deer.

* Albinos are similar in most regards to others of their species, so they can be eaten safely. Some people hunt for food.
-> If you're hungry, shoot the albino deer, it is perfectly edible.

* Albinos are rare and in many traditions considered sacred.  All parts of them are holy and precious.  You can keep some parts for yourself and give or trade others to more people.  However, there are often special requirements before anyone is allowed to harvest white spirit animals, and some traditions ban the practice.
-> If allowed, follow your traditions of prayer/ritual/etc. and then shoot the albino deer.
-> If banned, follow your traditions for having seen an albino deer and let it go.

Albino Issues

Just in case you thought America had the worst problems in the world regarding skin color, here's a little reminder that some places in Africa are even more batshit: attacking albinos for their body parts.  Malawi has responded by issuing security alarms to albinos.

On a brighter note, there is now a beauty brand for albinos, offering such things as white false eyelashes.  Logically the brand should also work for people with alabaster skin, like some redheads.

Vegan BBQ Recipes

Here are some vegan BBQ recipes.

However, I struggle with the concept of grilling as inherently alienating for herbivores.  There are vast caches of recipes for grilling fruits and vegetablesSkewer ALL the things! That's before getting into the above recipes for veggie burgers and kebabs and such.  

Plus we live in an age of stupendous luxury for grilling tools.  No more fucking around with a toasting fork or scrounging around for enough green sticks to make a grill.  You can just buy open grill baskets, closed grill baskets, skewers, and all kinds of other marvelous toys.  This is one of the few things modern society does ridiculously well, so smoke 'em while you got 'em!

A grill is just a tool; you can cook damn near anything on it.  Humans have been grilling everything we could get their hands on for many thousands of years.  If you are a herbivore and you feel alienated by grilling, your carnivore friends are assholes.  There's nothing wrong with grilling, you just need new friends and maybe some new recipes.

Accessibility tip for large groups: if you have some people who eat X (meat, pork, nightshades, whatever) and some who can't or won't, it is helpful to obtain grills in different colors so they can be color-coded as to what does or does not get cooked on them.  Frex, red grills for all meats, black grills for halal/kosher meats (no pork), green grills for vegetarian (no meats), yellow grills for vegetables other than nightshades, etc.  You can color-code the tools for each grill in the same way.  Then you just put up signs describing your code.  This has the advantage of breaking up the lines so you're not trying to funnel 200 people past 2 grills with everything on them.  Break it up, and not only do more people get to enjoy the BBQ, everyone gets their food faster.  \o/


Poem: "Petrichor"

This poem was the linkback perk for the March 3, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl, originally hosted by DW user Dialecticdreamer. It came out of the January 7, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from DW user Erulisse.  DW user Elinox sponsored the last two verses.


Rain falls,
and the earth
gives up a scent

of soil soaked with
the oils of plants,
rich with the breath
of tiny living things

and when thunder comes,
ozone rides the wind with it.

The name itself means
"blood of the stone,"
and it touches on
the gods of old.

It is incense without fire,
ancient and sacred.

* * *


Petrichor is the scent of rain falling on soil.