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Posted by Marykate Jasper

Nicole Kelly, a former Miss America contestant who was born without a left forearm, has been putting her master’s degree in broadcasting to use by teaching others about her experience with a new “bionic hand.” Though Kelly rarely wore a prosthetic arm growing up, preferring to instead perform most tasks one-handed, she recently started using the Coapt Complete Control system, a robotic arm that “uses sensors in the arm that work with Kelly’s muscles” and “allows her to control the arm by thinking about what she wants to do.”

She’s decided to document her learning curve on YouTube, so that she can help to normalize the process. “I wanted to show my growth,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that I put on the arm and now magically I changed and I am like everyone else…I want to be able to educate you on my level of capability.”

Kelly previously competed in beauty pageants, eventually becoming Miss Iowa and competing in the 2014 Miss America contest. Though the pageant and its deeply problematic beauty standards have been around since 1921, Kelly was only the second women in its history to have a disability. She told Today, “That was the most attractive thing to me — I can wear a sparkly dress and talk about difference. That is why I did it.”

As awesome as it is that Kelly’s pushing back against ableist ideas of beauty, she undeniably fits conventional beauty standards in a number of ways. However, she certainly doesn’t fit the mainstream narrative about who’s “biohacking” and leading the way in the day-to-day of robotics research, so I’m excited to watch as she progresses.

Here’s Kelly trying to pick up a bottle of juice:

And here’s Kelly practicing brushing her teeth:

I certainly don’t want to downplay how frustrating and difficult it must be for Kelly to adjust to her new hand. It clearly requires tons of practice, and it’s crucial for the people in her life to accommodate her as she works with it, gets annoyed with it, and takes a longer time to complete tasks. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone dealing with an arm like this to be full of good humor all the time, and Kelly’s smiles and can-do attitude don’t make it any less crucial for our society to do a whole lot better by disabled people.

However, I have to appreciate the joy and normalcy in her videos, where she laughs, tries again, gets creative, and explains what makes using the prosthetic arm (or one hand, in her older videos) difficult. Her videos demonstrate how people with disabilities aren’t necessarily tragic or helpless figures, like we so often see in fiction. Instead, they’re going to discuss their bodies with the same infinite variety of approaches we see people use for every other bodied experience. Some of those stories will be tragic; some will be angry; some will be funny; some will be gross; and others – like Kelly’s videos – will be about the humor, struggle, and joy of experimentation and persistence.

(Via Today; image via screengrab)

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Posted by Rebecca Stokes on Gizmodo, shared by Melissa Kirsch to Lifehacker

There are three things in life that I love: Sex toys, technology, and repurposing stuff in my home so that I can someday achieve my goal of breaking Etsy and/or Pinterest with my doubtlessly charming Brooklyn-based craft projects.

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Posted by Marykate Jasper

While LGBT History Month isn’t until October in the U.S., or until February in the U.K., September 23 is International Celebrate Bisexuality Day/Bi Visibility Day! “What we asked people to do,” reads the initial summary of the day, “was find some time on this day to celebrate who they are. That could be lighting a candle, saying a prayer, buying a bi pride flag, getting together with other bisexuals for brunch, having incredible sex, march somewhere, whatever they desired.” Check out the #BiVisibilityDay tag for some A+ jokes, celebratory selfies, and knowledge dropping.

September was originally chosen because it’s Freddie Mercury’s birth month, so let’s also celebrate with this photo of Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury:

  • Yuri!!! On Ice is getting its own Funko Pop collection, including Yuri, Yurio, Victor, and Young Victor – flower crown included, obvi. (via Nerdist)
  • Pennywise is either the world’s greatest dancer or its worst, as his routine fits pretty much any song you can set it to. Check out this Twitter account which matches his dance sequence to a bunch of different tunes.
  • Boom! Studios will release a graphic novel that builds on the universe of The Expanse. It’ll be titled The Expanse: Origins and will “take a peek at who our beloved crew was before the Rocinante.” (via SYFY Wire)
  • Over at the AV Club, Clayton Purdom argues that “Rick And Morty’s worst fans don’t deserve Rick And Morty.” Couldn’t agree any more.
  • Things are pretty dire in Mexico City, which has been shaken by its second earthquake in less than a week. Jezebel has reports from the city itself, where it seems that volunteers are being blocked by the police, as well as links where you can donate.
  • Puerto Rico still isn’t receiving the aid it needs after its electricity system was decimated by hurricanes. Have you contacted your representatives yet to demand action and aid for them?

(Featured image via Shutterstock)

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Posted by Vrai Kaiser

Neo Yokio—an anime-style Netflix miniseries written by the lead singer of Vampire Weekend, steered by the executive producer who was also behind Metalocalypse and Superjail!, and starring Jaden Smith—was released this Thursday to great…well, there were a lot of tweets about it, anyway. The series revolves around Kaz Kaan, an exorcist and member of the “neo riche,” as he battles very relatable concerns like purchasing a tuxedo that’s slightly the wrong shade and having to clear out a dead relative’s house in the Hamptons. Some have defended the series as satire, some have embraced it as camp, and some have settled in to watch the garbage fire secondhand.

This was not a series to be watched alone, so I enlisted fandom academic and acerbic wit (and, full disclosure, my partner) Dorothy Kingswood to help me truck through all six episodes. The experience left us four hours closer to death; hopefully our discussion will shed some light on the baffling fumble of execution that is Neo Yokio.

Vrai Kaiser: Most people are, I think, flocking to watch this on the assumption that it’ll be good MST3K material–the trailer definitely gave off that kind of vibe. The horrible truth, though, is that Neo Yokio quickly stops being fun-stupid and moves right into being exhaustingly stupid.

 

Dorothy Kingswood: Yeah, I mean, when I turned on Netflix, I was certainly expecting a tamely silly piece of adolescent weeb power fantasy–and that’s said with love. There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting that kind of cheesy, popcorny entertainment. The problems, though, are many and rampant, starting from the Hanna-Barbera-as-Flash cheapo art and continuing on through concept and execution right up to its insistence on attempting to apply the language and theories of progressive thought in a careless and slapdash manner. It wants to make audiences really think, man, but instead wallows in a sea of superficiality, shallowness, and aesthetics that the creators can’t quite bring themselves to let go of, despite their moves towards interrogation.

VK: It’s ostensibly meant to be satire–that’s certainly in the headlines of plenty of reviews I’ve seen, and Ezra Koenig floated it as parody before he allegedly started “caring about the characters,” but it fails pretty crucially from the word “go.” If Jaden Smith’s character is supposed to be representative of the idle, idiotic rich, we should probably be exposed at some point to characters who aren’t the .01% or aiding and abetting same. I believe you called him “Bertie Wooster without the charm.”

 

DK: He is, he really is. They give him a mean bossy Aunt Agatha who makes him–horrors!–actually perform exorcisms. She’s a clear reference to Wodehouse’s works, but where the goodhearted Bertie essentially wanted to be left alone and allowed to enjoy himself, Kaz is intensely focused upon his externally-validated social standing. Which brings us, I guess, to one of the oddest conventions of Neo Yokio (the location): the Times Square Bachelor Board.

 

VK: Ah, yes–imagine if those “most eligible bachelor” lists leapt from the pages of magazines to be inexplicably emblazoned on the heart of Times Square. It exists entirely to set up a rivalry with the local blond asshole, but there’s never any real sense of urgency beyond the fact that Draco (not his real name) said a mean thing about Kaz once. The plotting for the series is lax beyond belief, as if Koenig grasped that long-running anime have early establishing shenanigans-based episodes but not that one shouldn’t apply that logic to a show with a six-episode maximum.

All of that is within the realm of camp, though–stupid plotting is a help to mockery if anything, and I’m sure some people will be drawn in by the low-quality animation and that Big Toblerone meme. Plus, it is nice to see animated series with racially diverse casts. It’s just such a shame about, y’know, the rest of it.

DK: The Mean Thing that not-Draco said about Kaz is implied to be a slur, in that the lax, sloppy worldbuilding includes a Hogwarts-lite sort of wave at Once Upon A Time Sorcerors Were an Oppressed Class, You Know, and “ratcatcher” is their “Mudblood.” Also all the magic people have pink, purple, or blue hair, but so does poor, poor Helena St. Tessoro, because something this obviously inspired by 90s anime cannot possibly abide a love interest with boring regular hair, worldbuilding be damned.

 

VK: Neither of us are really qualified to get too deep into the series’ approach to race, but the show does definitely choose to have an oppressed fantasy underclass rather than dealing with issues even tangentially related to real-world racism. Which might be an attempt to create an aspirational fantasy, but that’s not the vibe I get from the show. It seems to think it’s saying something. So…rather than say anything real, it makes up its own windmills to swing at. It lives in an absolutely wretched bubble, and its homages to anime sometimes cross into straight-up appropriating terms from Japanese culture it doesn’t get. Specifically hikikomori, a thing anime makes jokes about but is…y’know, an actual community of real people suffering from mental illness.

Certainly we CAN say that its approach to women isn’t great. There’s Helena, as you mentioned, who spends most of the series as a strawman and Freshman Who Just Read the Communist Manifesto.

DK: The ill-use of hikikomori goes hand-in-hand with the show’s decision to describe Kaz’s whining over girls breaking up with him as “depression.” Sure, he’s theoretically meant to be a flawed protagonist in a shallow fishbowl world, but that doesn’t really hold water when there are no stakes or consequences, and every realization of his asshattery results in no marked change in his behavior.

The show gives lip service to performative wokeness, but always in aid of getting away with doing the very things it calls out. It’s a sort of Hipster Racism as applied to every other type of oppression the writers have at some point read about. (Homophobia, misogyny, transphobia, classism.)

In anything else, Helena would be insufferable. In this, she is the best character in a bad bunch, simply because she actually modifies her actions and lifestyle in line with her changing beliefs. And that says a lot. (Also, given her later actions, that’s far from a ringing endorsement.)

I hope you weren’t expecting that subtitle to be examined at any future point

VK: A lot of it is easy to shrug off in isolation, I think, particularly the early going: the fact that the show is too dumb to understand the “anime” terms it appropriates, the fact that the protagonist is a bubble-headed rich idiot whose biggest problem in life is his very expensive suit being the wrong color, the fact that most of the female characters are totally unimportant–either they’re idiots, they’re evil, or they’re…whatever the writing was trying to do with Helena. But camp is found, not created, and it’s a lot harder to sink blissfully into the silliness when the show keeps tapping you on the shoulder to Say Something. And then it says things that are completely tone-deaf.

The anime references, for example; mostly they’re eye-rolling and pretty basic. “Hey, it’s the dream sequence from AKIRA!” “Hey, they said tuxedo mask!” But then they decide to parody Ranma ½ (one of Koenig’s favorite anime, apparently), and things go real sideways, real fast.

Now Ranma (a series about a boy who’s cursed to turn into a girl whenever he’s splashed with cold water) is a series that provided a kind of wish-fulfillment role among a certain age group of trans nerds, myself included. But it was hugely problematic in regards to gender essentialism when it was written in the 90s, and it’s only gotten more ugly with age. There is absolutely no way a cis creator could tango with that material in a tasteful way. And this is egregiously bad.

By introducing a shenanigansy plot wherein Kaz’s cis male friend is transformed into a woman, the show opens the door to twenty minutes of walking into horrible stereotypes about trans women, including having the female-identified, loudly male-identifying Lexy use his physical appearance to hit on a lesbian; or having Kaz tell Lexy not to talk because his voice “gives him away.” The latter plays on fears of trans women being subject to mockery or even violence if they can’t pass, and the former plays right into TERF ideology that trans women are “really” just men trying to get with lesbians.

DK: Don’t forget that it uses that male character, Lexy, as the speaker for nearly all of its “feminist” talking points–neatly keeping the voice located within the mouth of a Dude. In a better show, this would mean something, like that Kaz only listens to other men, but in this? He dismisses Lexy just as much as Helena, to no apparent ill effects for their friendship once the magic spell is reversed. (Ah, the good old reset button. Because the writers enjoy both gag-an-episode structures and ongoing arcs, and haven’t figured out where those things might be incompatible.)

VK: And then the episode has the gall to pretend it’s about Kaz being sexist to women and patronizingly tells the viewer that gender is a spectrum, not a binary. Fuck you, Neo Yokio.

….Actually that’s something of a distillation of the show’s problem. It knows how to parrot concepts but absolutely fails to grasp the contexts at play behind them. I mean, that classism.

DK: The classism is baked into the premise; only two people of a lower status are given speaking roles. One is a fawning Bergdorf’s employee whom Kaz calls “Salesclerk” to his face.

The other is a human being Kaz literally owns.

Getting into spoilers, here, but over the course of that same hi-lar-ious transphobia episode, Kaz spends an entire subplot denying a personal servant access to resources that they need in order to function, as they repeatedly plead for him to assist in sustaining their life, because they are unable to disobey his minor whims even for such a dire predicament. This is played for laughs.

 

VK: For a show that’s ostensibly about the corruption of society and the exploitation of the average person by the elite in the end (I think? It’s possible Eden of the East is one of the shows Neo Yokio would like us to know it has seen), it has absolutely no interest in showing us any kind of actual civil unrest. All the employees of the rich are pleased as punch with their roles (even the human being Kaz definitely owns, whom we have no indication has been paid ever); Helena is the only mouthpiece for anti-capitalist ideology, and she experiences it in an entirely theoretical way.

The show name-drops designer fashion brands endlessly, valorizes the nobility of shallowness, practically drowns the viewer in luxury- and food-porn it can’t actually afford to animate beguilingly, and then pretends like it’s commenting on the excesses of rampant capitalism via a character who is also a billionaire who has never known hardship. This is Reality Bites, 2017 edition.

DK: None of which sits well with the conceit of a demon-hunting show. Because, lest we forget, our hero is ostensibly a magical demon hunter who fights… definitely not season 1 Sailor Moon villains. At all.

That whole plotline sort of fades away after the exorcism of Literal Monster Taylor Swift, presumably at the behest of Spotify.

SAILOR PELLEGRINO CAN’T COME TO THE PHONE RIGHT NOW

Sharp satire there, folks.

The demons here seem to be in some way connected to greed or avarice, except that after the halfway point the focus shifts to the ills of Neo Yokio’s castle-in-the-clouds elite. The metaphor collapses in on itself.

And perhaps most uncomfortably of all, the creators choose to represent the destabilization of the social stratification through the elimination of its biggest, dumbest symbol: the Bachelor Board.

By bombing.

This is shown as a positive action.

While Smith was only 3 years old the last time Americans saw NYC landmarks burning and falling, Koenig doesn’t have the excuse of youthful thoughtlessness. Why did he, and everyone else on the production team, believe that mimicking 9/11 of all things was a good idea?

 

VK: I have no idea what this show thought, at any point. I’m unsure we can prove it did. It’s so breathtakingly stupid in ways that can’t possibly have been on purpose (SEE! Kaz lecturing young women about how Helena is no longer an acceptable role model for them. CRINGE! As Helena evolves into some kind of cis-swapped version of Christian Slater in Heathers. BAFFLE! As Kaz buys ANOTHER ROBOT that may house a human who will never be paid, we just don’t know).

There are probably people who can get down with that, toxically transphobic episode aside. But a show that’s supposedly parodying the wealthy by giving their entire lifestyle a lavish tongue bath really doesn’t work for me at a point where I’m worried about losing medical care and feeding my family. You?

 

DK: This was four hours of my life I spent, shouting and livetweeting in bursts between being periodically struck dumb by the sheer offensive incompetence of it all. It’s not The Room or Birdemic bad; it’s not even the toxically hopeful foolishness of Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Instead, Neo Yokio is the kind of bad you get sitting in a Gender Studies lecture hall, listening to a dude with a trust fund and a scarf explain Marxism to the professor.

But, you know, they’ve got pastel hair.

Dorothy Kingswood is a queer nerd with a Master’s degree in talking about fans. She’s a bartender by day and a writer by night, or maybe the other way around. Previously, she’s taught English, interned as a copy editor, and dug ditches in summer. You can hear more of her dulcet tones on her podcast, Trash & Treasures, or tweet her @dorothynotgale.

Vrai Kaiser is a queer author and pop culture blogger; they can’t. You can read more essays and find out about their fiction at Fashionable Tinfoil Accessories, listen to them podcasting on Soundcloud, support their work via Patreon or PayPal, or remind them of the existence of Tweets.

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Posted by Jaime Green

“Ahh, this is it.” It’s the sigh we all want to sigh on vacation. Full relaxation, total enjoyment, that pure vacationy feeling. But it may turn out that pursuing a vacation ideal—whether it’s a perfect sunset, pre-planned trip, or just the expected awe of seeing, say, the Grand Canyon in real life—is exactly how not

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Posted by Marykate Jasper

UPDATE: The Golden State Warriors, given Trump’s tweet, have announced that they will not visit the White House.

This weekend, Trump did his best to remind us that Jemele Hill’s criticism of him as a white supremacist was entirely accurate. I know we don’t cover a ton of sports here at The Mary Sue, but we do cover social justice – and Trump spent this week attacking a number of professional athletes because they’re black, successful, and opinionated. It’s racist as hell, and it echoes all his resentments of Obama.

First, on a Friday campaign rally in Alabama, Trump went after NFL player Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality. Kaepernick inspired other athletes to adopt the same silent, powerful method of protest, and he is currently a free agent without a contract (likely because of all the right-wing backlash against his exercise of free speech).

Though Trump didn’t refer to Kaepernick by name, he asked the rally crowd, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now – He’s fired’?”

This is Trump, a man who waffled about condemning a KKK Grand Wizard and called the Charlottesville torch bearers “very fine people.” But Kaepernick? He’s apparently a “son of a bitch” for advocating for racial justice.

Trump also followed up with two tweets today:

Not a day after the rally, Trump went on his typical weekend tweetstorm, and among his many targets was NBA superstar Steph Curry. Curry, a superstar player on the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, had said he would vote against the traditional team trip to the White House – emphasizing that it was still a group decision.

“That’s going to be my vote when I meet with the team, but it is a collective,” he said. “It’s not just about me, it’s not just about KD [Kevin Durant]. It’s about the whole team, and what we were able to accomplish as a team, and the opportunity that historically has been afforded to championship teams. So, we’ll have that conversation and we’ll do it as a group and we’ll have one voice.”

“Obviously,” he continued, “you don’t want to rush your decision on understanding the magnitude of what this means. We have an opportunity to send a statement that hopefully encourages unity, encourages us to just appreciate what it means to be American and stand for something. So, whatever your opinion is on either side … we want to take advantage of this opportunity.”

In response to that mature and thoughtful statement of principled personal opposition, Trump tweeted this:

Luckily, the civilized world went after Trump for his bullshit. Kaepernick’s mom let Trump know that she was fiercely proud of her son, snapping back with the following tweet:

She also gave an amazing interview with Deadspin, where she said, “There are a lot of racist people in that crowd [at his rallies], a lot of people that are just looking for something to get hyped about, and this is the kind of thing he does. It’s like a bully on a playground, I guess. It’s almost what I’ve come to expect from him…In Charlottesville, he would not call out the Nazis, not call out the white supremacists, but he’s calling out these guys who are peacefully kneeling and asking for their country to do better.”

Devin McCourty, a team captain for the New England Patriots, was one of several Patriots players who decided not to visit the White House this past April after they won the Super Bowl. He tweeted the below, and it really sums up both the Curry and Kaepernick situation:

Kaepernick is “disrespectful” for kneeling during the national anthem; Curry is “disrespectful” because he doesn’t want to visit the White House. But Trump calling any principled advocate of racial justice a “son of a bitch”? Weirdly, the “respect” crowd doesn’t seem to care about decency anymore. This is because those calls for “respect” were really calls for silence and deference from non-white athletes.

McCourty is only one of dozens of NFL athletes who’ve criticized Trump for his comments.

Meanwhile, LeBron James responded to Trump’s criticism of Curry with the aptest, most succinct rebuttal:

And of course, the Obamas’ White House photographer had a perfect image for the moment:

It’s heartening that so many people are speaking out against and – pardon the pun – dunking on Trump’s racist, vulgar attacks on these athletes’ free speech. Even the NFL Players’ Assocation, a union which routinely fails its members in troubling ways, issued strong statements in support of Kaepernick and other protesters, calling Trump’s statement “a slap in the face to the civil rights heroes of the past and present” and declaring “this union…will never back down when it comes to protecting the constitutional rights of our players as citizens.”

It’s important that we condemn these comments as the petty, disturbingly authoritarian responses to free speech that they are. A president who can bear no criticism is not a president who respects the Constitution or his constituents, and that needs to be pointed out and condemned.

However, it’s equally important that we call these comments out for what they are: part of a larger pattern of racist, white supremacist resentment that defines Trump’s approach to non-white Americans.

(Via GQ, HuffPost, ESPN, and USA Today; image via Shutterstock)

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Posted by Marykate Jasper

Sage Hyden recently posted an exploration of animation storytelling over at the Just Write YouTube channel. In the video, Hyden argues that the storytelling trends in animated children’s films have undergone a fundamental change – one that’s influenced not only by society’s progress, but also by the transformation of the medium itself.

The original Disney films, Hyden argues, “are brightly colored, musical, public-domain fairytale adaptations…They are also stories that are very conservative – and I don’t mean that in a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ way, only that these movies believe in the idea that things should stay about the way they are. The stories will usually end with the restoration of a previous order. Typically, there’ll even be a shot returning the setting to whatever it looked like in the first scene, because change is bad.”

Most 3D-animated films, on the other hand, take a different approach. “When 3D animation arrived, a new generation of storytellers shook up that formula,” Hyden argues. “They stopped being conservative fairytales, and became liberal allegories…The take-home message of these films is often that society can change, and that an individual can be the instigator of that change. These films are concerned with civilizations, as much as they are with individuals.”

Hyden acknowledges that much of this change is a reflection of society overall, and these newer films “fit the political climate they were born into.” However, he also argues that “one of the underappreciated factors is the medium change itself.”

From there, Hyden looks at how the mechanics of 3D animation, such as modeling, are partly responsible for the change in storytelling. I personally think this might be too strong a cause-effect argument, but it definitely got me thinking about the way that medium can influence narrative. There’s plenty of truth to the idea that computer animation has made it easier for animators to tell stories about entire societies, rather than about individuals, and it had me curious about other ways the new production process could affect which stories animators are most excited to tell.

What do you all think, though? Is this a change that we can see throughout our all-ages storytelling, regardless of medium? Or has the change hit animation most noticeably?

(Via io9; featured image via YouTube thumbnail)

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Posted by Ruben Bolling

Trump supporters are flocking to the official video for Elton John's "Rocket Man" song, to applaud Trump's use of the nickname for Kim Jong-un in tweets and on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly.

However, the video itself is either confusing them, enraging them, or being completely misunderstood by them.

Turns out the video, the winner of a competition judged by songwriters Elton John and Bernie Taupin, is by Stephen McNally and Iranian filmmaker Majid Adin, who traveled through Europe during the 2015 refugee crisis. It's a stunning and heartbreaking animation that reimagines the song as a metaphor for the plight of immigrants and refugees, a group for which Trump and his supporters have shown only antipathy.

Most YouTube comments (but don't read them -- never read YouTube comments; I did so you wouldn't have to) from Trump supporters seem either oblivious to the fact that they're cheering a pro-refugee video, or furious that they were tricked into watching something that actually has sympathy and heart.

Anyway, if you have sympathy and heart, this is a really great video.

h/t Arthur Chu

Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake

Sep. 23rd, 2017 04:30 pm
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Posted by Coco Morante

Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake

This apple cake is ready to celebrate!

With its festive topping of toasted almonds and a honey glaze, this grain-free cake is pretty enough to serve at any gathering, but easy enough to whip together at a moment’s notice.

Continue reading "Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake" »

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Posted by Jaime Green

Things are… not great now. Hurricane season is clobbering the Caribbean, earthquakes are plaguing Mexico, the Pacific Northwest is on fire. Understandably, you want to help, and often the best way to help is a monetary donation to a relief organization. And it seems like the best thing to do is to earmark your funds…

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Posted by Marykate Jasper

After dedicating the facility back in May of 2016, yesterday NASA opened the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility (CRF) at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Johnson, whose life was one of the inspirations for Hidden Figures, worked as a “human computer” at Langley in the 1960s, calculating the trajectories for the first US space flights, including John Glenn’s orbital mission and the Apollo 11 lunar landing.

According to NASA’s fact sheet, the $23-million facility consolidates more than 30 server rooms into a state-of-the-art, energy-saving structure. This CRF will “enable innovative research and development supporting NASA’s air mobility and space exploration missions” and “advance[] Langley’s capabilities in modeling and simulation, big data, and analysis” – a fitting tribute to Johnson’s own achievements, and to the achievements of other women who powered NASA, like Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan, who are also honored on the walls of the facility.

In a pre-recorded video interview, Johnson answered a number of questions about the honor. Asked what she thought about NASA naming a building after her, she laughed, “You want my honest answer? I think they’re crazy.”

Continuing more earnestly, she urged, “But give credit to everybody who helped. I didn’t do anything alone but try to go to the root of the question, and succeeded there.”

In the rest of the video, Johnson emphasized two of her favorite pieces of advice: like what you do, and do it to the best of your ability. “Do your best,” she advised young engineers, “but like it! Like what you do, and then you will do your best.”

My favorite part of the video has to be near the end, when you can still see Johnson’s wonder and curiosity as she remembers her groundbreaking calculations. She looks off into the distance as she talks about work and the stars. “I liked work,” Johnson said. “I liked the stars, and the stories we were telling. And it was a joy to contribute to the literature that was going to be coming out. But little did I think it would go this far.”

I dare anyone to watch her, at 99 years old, talk about space and math that way and tell me STEM is some sort of boy’s trade.

One of Johnson’s interviewers suggested that, perhaps, the trajectories that finally get humanity to Mars may be calculated in the Johnson CRF – and that’s the future I like to think they’ll create here. Here’s hoping one generation of black women engineers, who brought us to the moon, inspires the next generation to reach Mars.

(Via The Guardian and NASA; featured image via YouTube thumbnail)

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Smashed Sweet Potato Tacos

Sep. 23rd, 2017 08:10 am
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This is a quick write-up of the color fantastic tacos we had for lunch recently. So simple, so good! Homemade tortillas (worth the effort) get slathered with a layer of roasted, smashed sweet potatoes which are topped with a sprinkling of black beans. From there it's all about the extra toppings like sliced avocado, quick pickled red onions and/or serrano chiles, and a bit of cheese - I used Bulgarian feta, but cotija would be good, or skip it altogether if you're vegan. A squeeze of lime, and some sliced scallions are the finishing touch!

Smashed Sweet Potato Taco Recipe

Smashed Sweet Potato Taco Recipe

Smashed Sweet Potato Taco Recipe

Smashed Sweet Potato Taco Recipe

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Posted by Emily Price

When you’re visiting a town for the first time, it can be pretty tough to get the lay of the land. Especially if you’re moving to a new place, it’s hard to tell whether one neighborhood would be better for you to live in than another, or whether you’re accidentally (or intentionally) renting in the most hipster…

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January 2012

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