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Drowning In Berlin

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By the time you read this, I’ll be finishing packing and out the door towards Berlin, where I have a meeting.  And it will be fucking freezing, because, for some reason, I only go to Berlin when it’s fucking freezing.  I’m sure Berlin is a lovely city, really, but whenever I’m there it’s full-on icy Cold War grimness just the way we and television drama imagined it in the 1970s.  Bad enough that I barely speak the language any more — I studied it at school for a few years, but I retain so little of it that the cab drivers laugh at me and say I’m from Monkey Island, which is what Europeans call us because we put so little effort into (or are simply, as a people, so bad at) learning other languages.  It’s a fair cop.  I can’t even do what I do in France, which is apologise in French for being English.  It’s appalling.  I simply have no facility for languages.  I’m still learning English.

The most terrible thing about that is that I genuinely love Germany(and France), to the point where I spent a beautiful Millennium eve in Hamburg.  But off I go, armed with ten words of German, the Word Lens app and a lot of well-meaning sign language.

Note: I’ve had to reset my personal website to a generic theme because about ten things broke when I moved it to its current hosting company.

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"Hey, everyone likes spiders, right?" "Well, uh…" "Of...

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"Hey, everyone likes spiders, right?"

"Well, uh…"

"Of course they do. Spiders are cute, and they keep the insect population under control.”

"They sure do, evolution."

"Anyway, I was thinking of making something similar, but for the ocean. Like a… sea spider."

"A sea spider."

"Mmm hmm. Only it’ll barely need a body, because I’m going to stuff most of its organs and its digestive tract down its legs. And instead of eating insects, it’ll stick its long proboscis into sea anemones and suck their insides out. What do you think?”


"I think everybody’s going to love it."

"Yes, evolution, I’m sure."

Source: NOAA Ocean Today / Creatures of the Deep: Sea Spider (click for video)

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January 24, 2015

3 Comments and 17 Shares

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3 public comments
18 hours ago
We need a word to express "bathos rollercoaster"
Brunswick, Victoria, Australia
2 days ago
oh golly
Atlanta, Georgia
2 days ago
and yet, some things never change

Please Don't Give A Damn About My Bad Reputation

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Once upon a time, a man wrote a story primarily about his ex-girlfriend - let's call her "Zoe Flynn". The story was filled of allegations against several parties. The story was one of betrayal, hypocrisy and even some insinuation that some sex-for-favors happened within the indie game industry.

It was a tale to be read many different ways, and one with several aspects disputed by Flynn. The details of this particular story are not relevant to repeat, as the crucial point is that the story was one of the catalysts of the drama that is "#GamerGate".

For many "feminist" activists, #GamerGate was not at all confusing. It was obvious - a sordid online misogynist pile-on trying to tear down women that loves to pretend to be anything else. #GamerGate was just all the people that hated Anita Sarkeesian deciding to also find the time to hate Flynn, gaming blogs, and feminism generally. Simple.

Long before any #GamerGate nonsense, social media had its tribes. Despite it being quite a source of controversy, we don't need to believe that #GamerGate is an event that fractured many communities. Chances are that all one's social media connections moved lock-step into a pro-#GamerGate, anti-#GamerGate, or ambivalent camp.

Two people that had little to do with gaming and each other are Milo Yiannopoulos and Shanley Kane. It's likely both of them spend more time in a word processor than a first-person shooter. That their relationship has anything at all to do with gaming drama is interesting.

To make a long story somewhat shorter, Shanley is an outspoken critic of the technology industry, is an advocate for women in techand publishes a quarterly journal on the subject. Milo is a columnist. To be entirely reductionist, they have the same job - write something moderately interesting about the topic of the day.

Milo, from disagreement or dislike, decided his topic was Shanley. In December, Milo published a profile of Shanley - which everyone that knows Shanley knows she does not particularly enjoy. In January, Milo followed up with a more revealing story, in which it was alleged that Shanley dated a well known internet troll with which she shared racist humor and some sexually submissive inclinations.

Shanley later confirmed the relationship and problematic past opinions, but held that the troll in question was a manipulative liar that she broke up with - a claim that no reasonable person doubts as the poor character of her ex-boyfriend has been confirmed by many witnesses. Further, Shanley labelled the interest in this aspect of her life "kink shaming".

Shortly afterwards, Shanley blamed the Linux community for a doxxing that happened about the same time:

Last Thursday, I criticized the Linux community for continuing to support and center a leader with a years-long, documented history of unrepentant abusive behavior, someone who has actively and systematically nurtured a hostile, homogeneous technical community, and someone who has long actively chased people from marginalized groups out of open source. 
The retaliation has been terrifying.

Apparently the doxxer was not Milo writing the story, not the ex-boyfriend filling in the details, but people retaliating on behalf of "the Linux community". The Linux community is to be the part of the triune Godhead of harassment that was ultimately the source of the dox.

The timeline of events is Shanley apparently trash talked Linux on Thursday, posted Milo's phone number on Twitter on Friday, and Milo posted the account of her ex-boyfriend on Saturday.

It sounds like a game of Clue, except Shanley is here to tell us it was definitely Linus Torvalds with a candlestick in the conservatory. To dial up the weirdness, the same day Shanley fingered the Linux community, her former business partner and co-founder of Model View Culture posted an account of her own fallout with Shanley:

I left Model View Culture because working with Shanley felt like I was in an abusive relationship.
But as the business grew, my relationship with Shanley deteriorated. Each day I dreaded having to interact with her. I had trouble squaring that dread with how much I loved the work I was doing and the company’s vision, and for several months I tried everything to make it work. But eventually I was able to see many of the things I was experiencing - such as yelling, excuses that the yelling was just because she needed me so much, her demands that I isolate myself from my friends - as classic abuser tactics. I woke up one morning with the bone-deep realization that I could no longer work with her. 
Shanley has since erased me from Model View Culture’s history. Fighting erasure of work is a feminist issue, and also one that Shanley is aware of and has specifically addressed in the past. Yet the publication did not announce that I had left, and quietly took me off the about page, though it has continued to refer to itself as “we.” Shanley credits herself as “Founder” not “co-founder.” In telling the story of founding the company in press, she does not mention that I was there unless specifically asked about it.
I decided to write this disclosing my own experiences with Shanley because the feminist conversation about tech right now feels like “You’re either with Shanley or you’re with [Shanley's ex-boyfriend].” And I think there should be room for a third option: You support diversity in tech and the work Model View Culture has done, but you are allowed to have doubts about Shanley's sincerity or track record of abusive behavior.

Indeed, if the Model View Culture publication is good at anything, it is erasure. Not only did MVC erase a founder, but it unceremoniously erased the writings of a one Dana McCallum, once a feminist and transgender activist that is now most famous for pleading guilty to domestic violence charges. McCallum was once a listed Model View Culture author, but now no trace of McCallum exists on the site.

As bizarre and outrageous as all this nonsense is, it might not be the best drama of late.

For it turns out that another semi-famous social media personality, Holly Fisher, is facing her own critics. Fisher is famous for doing her very best to be the embodiment of everything American "progressives" are said to despise. Vocally pro-gun, pro-Bible, pro-abortion restrictions and anti-Obama, Fisher is perhaps what Sarah Palin would be if Palin had a lower profile and was more ready to engage random people on Twitter.

The source of drama in the Fisher story is her admission that she had an affair. The admission may have come after some relatively unknown idiotappeared to want to publish the details. The incident is particularly problematic in conservative circles, as her husband is a doubly sympathetic figure due to his service in the military - seems he was at one point deployed overseas. The other man in the picture is a Tea Party activist.

The steamy setting romance this pro-life advocate had, according to her traitorous conservative pals, was apparently a “Restoring the Dream” event, a "Faith & Freedom" conference, and on election night 2014. (No word yet on whether or not "Faith & Freedom" conferences have acceptable and inclusive harassment policies.)

Shanley Kane and Holly Fisher are two very different women, yet their response to their similar predicament can be summarized in the same phrase - "this is basically none of your business". One does not need to subscribe to any particular brand of feminist ideals to imagine that there may be a double standard in play - all the people revealing the embarrassing details are men, and the individuals embarrassed and scandalized are women. Just another example of misogynistic slut shaming.

Yet it isn't quite so simple. The men in these stories are not embarrassed as they were either invisible or already considered creepy. To speak of the men these two women chose to hook up with would be to first learn their names or give them an ounce of respect which they could forfeit. The men are nobodies.

In what version of reality does a feminist critic of a male-dominated tech industry think it's not the least bit relevant that she dated a particularly wicked internet troll? It is somewhat difficult to hold men accountable for "microaggressions" while dating a man that is a macro-asshole.

Similarly, what kind of booze is in the punchbowl at an adulterous "Faith & Freedom" conference? One may as well do lines of cocaine at a rehab clinic. Did the red hot rendezvous happen in a hotel room, or in the 15 minute break between the family values and abstinence-only education seminars?

Relationships matter. We know this as nobody is quite in the mood to discuss hiking the Appalachian trail or the meaning of "is". It turns out women are also capable of having a relationship built on secrets that when revealed undermines trust their followers held for them.

Luckily for some, the subject of women's preferences is a third rail for feminism. Speaking of any affinity a gender may have to even the most innocent of behaviors is quite taboo. Any realistic discussion about women's sexuality might lead to gender essentialism or "victim blaming" - both of which are tragedies to be avoided at all costs. We live in a world where Jian Ghomeshi can still find a date and Charles Manson can still find a wifebut it remains not one's place to question the logic.

Consider the possibility that every woman activist that would like to see empowerment in the workplace may currently be dating a man that the very image of what it is to be a toxic, misogynist colleague. Also possible is that every self-identified fan of "personal responsibility" and our brave men in uniform may actually spend their free time being fed Plan B by buttoned-up political desk jockeys.

It's taken for granted that some number of the "men's rights" activists ranting and raving about child custody made at least a few relationship mistakes. Having a crazy ex-wife does not put one in a position to speak objectively about the merits of feminism.

It's simply time to take the same calculus that we apply to these "activist" men and apply them to our "activist" women. A safe assumption is that every popular social media personality is hypocritical, depressed and manipulative until proven otherwise. Taking their soap box seriously is a bad idea.

Human beings can be transparent, honest and consistent. The world's in trouble, there's no communication.

On the other hand, a girl can do what she wants to do and that's what I'm gonna do.
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1 day ago

"Similarly, what kind of booze is in the punchbowl at an adulterous "Faith & Freedom" conference? One may as well do lines of cocaine at a rehab clinic."

"It's simply time to take the same calculus that we apply to these "activist" men and apply them to our "activist" women. A safe assumption is that every popular social media personality is hypocritical, depressed and manipulative until proven otherwise. Taking their soap box seriously is a bad idea."
iPhone: 49.287476,-123.142136
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A Series of Packaging Novelties – 02

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141252-Panther_2 W540 100dpi

Here is the second series of packaging novelties as continuation of my previous article about this subject. Some more novelties, which didn’t get attention in a theme attributed article. With this series I close the year 2014.

HebeBühne Packaging
The corrugated packaging created by Panther-Packaging of Germany, is includes a lift for the product. A special mechanism keeps the contents securely in place. Upon opening of the two side flaps the platform lifts the product upward. Once the sides are folded down and the product is lifted up, the product can be removed easily.

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The design was inspired by the typical jewellery boxes. This type of presentation is perfect for presenting smaller plants, as in this example. But also a variety of other products makes the lift a very special star. This presentation is interesting for small plants and non-food products such as electronics or gift items.

Safety, functionality (for example, through the practical carrying handle) and the element of surprise come together in this innovative packaging solution. At the same time, the outer areas provide plenty of room for a decorative and brand-oriented design.

Self-heating technology
RBC Technologies’ self-heating pack is based on a derivative of hearing aid battery chemistry, which scavenges oxygen from the air to power the heating reaction. The reaction is air activated, making it inherently safe yet very powerful, says the company.

141212-rbc_products_splint W320 100dpiIt enables a lot of heat to come out of a thin profile package. The company comes up with an example for the medical industry. In the thermo-formable Rapid Splint product, the heater is able to heat the splint inside the packaging up to 200°F (93°C) in a matter of minutes, from a heater just 0.030” thick. And while the inside is very hot, the outside of the packaging maintains a temperature that is still safe to touch.

A key enabler for long-lifetime performance and user friendliness is an adaption of the Sonoco SmartSeal technology, which is used to provide on-demand air access that powers the heating reaction.

The RBC self-heating technology is adaptable in size, is flexible and easy to integrate with existing packaging. It uses only FDA GRAS (for direct and indirect food contact) materials and is currently made entirely in the USA at FDA registered manufacturing facilities.

I add some extra information from another. A development that might be interesting to the further evolution of self-heating packaging.

It’s only still a prototype. But this cardboard battery will probably be on the market in two years. They are particularly targeting the smartphone users, as the consumer buys a package in which 8 batteries are sitting together. You can break them off one by one and put them into your phone, which in turn has another 6 hours of power.

141144-Schermafbeelding-2014-11-30-om-09.26.471-584x340-W540 100dpiBut of course there are many other applications feasible, particularly in the packaging field.

Squeasy Pouch
Transferring a liquid from a pouch into a narrow neck bottle can be a messy proposition. That’s exactly one of the reasons why refill packaging isn’t very popular with consumers.

Squeasy Pouch debuted this summer as an EcoSierra 3oz concentrate attached to a ready-to-use 24oz bottle for a 5-product line of cleaners. The “pouch-within-a-pouch” makes the refill process mess-free and convenient.

141203-EcoSierra W540 100dpiThe flexible packaging was fundamental to the launch of EcoSierra’s line of ready-to-spray cleaners in 24-oz PET bottles. Attached to the bottle neck, the Squeasy Pouch contains 3-oz of concentrated cleaner, providing consumers an additional 24-oz of product when they add the contents to water and dilute to volume.

The Squeasy Pouch has a unique structure. When the consumer snips off the pouch tip, inserts it into a spray bottle and then squeezes the frangible inner portion of what is essentially a pouch-in-a-pouch will rupture and the liquid will follow into the bottle.

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This all sound good, but the consumer doesn’t easily trust the convenience claim in cases of refill, which leaves the company with the challenge of consumer education. Detailed on-pouch graphics explain what the Squeasy Pouch is all about, which is why the refill instructions are printed with clear directions in text and visuals in six steps on the pouch front.

Extreme Sinco PET technology
Sipa introduced a new PET technology to produce “extremely” light preforms that are up to 10% lighter than even the lightest preform produced by conventional injection moulding, without losing any key properties.
The Xtreme Sincro system brings together in a single machine Sipa’s preform compression moulding system with a stretch-blow moulding unit.

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With the XTREME, injection-compression moulding for filling moulds with very thin walls the moulds have only to be slightly opened when injection starts, and then closed as dosing finishes. This means a lower injection pressure can be used, a lower clamp force is needed, which extends mould life, and there is less stress on the melt, which means acetaldehyde (AA) levels are reduced, and resin intrinsic viscosity (IV) falls less. It is now possible to produce preforms with bases thinner than before.

The system, which Sipa claims to be the “world’s first injection compression stretch-blow moulding system”, combines the flexibility of two-stage systems with the convenience of single-stage system

Pickles are popular because they’re a way to add texture and a different flavour to a dish whatever the season. The pickling process has been around for over 4,000 years, but the preserving practice is enjoying a renaissance in both homes and on restaurant menus throughout the country.

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To meet consumer requirements UK onion specialist, Gʼs Fresh, has brought a “Pickle your own” kit. The packaging consists of all the essentials to create pickles at home including an airtight container, malt vinegar and pickling onions together with a recipe and directions on how to create the perfect blend.

A report by food trends agency, The Food People, put the rise in popularity down to heavily influences from the Nordic food scene that has seen restaurants moving on from molecular gastronomy to a simple pared back way of cooking. The trend is pushing the popularity of raw foods, vegetables and foraged foods and pickling them as a way of preserving for year round enjoyment.

Dune 250 Glass Bottle
Bruni Glass is an Italian company focussing on speciality glass for exclusive markets including spirits, wine and olive oil. To give you an idea of their typical Italian design, take a look at the slide show.

Click to view slideshow.

Recently it revealed that it plans to produce its stackable bottle in ‘antique green’.
The Dune 250 is a stackable bottle, currently available in ‘flint’, which can be stacked in two different ways and allows space for the customer label. The bottle has the form of a dune, which is stackable in a horizontal way. The bottle can be stacked in two or three and Bruni also developed the vertical stackability.

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The stackable bottle could be presented in four different ways, which could be used for appearance or space saving benefits.

The 250ml bottle, which can be also produced in 200ml, can be horizontally or vertically stacked to combine two different products or the same product in a really different way. The top part of the bottom bottle has to enter the bottom part of the top bottle and they have to keep together but not be too orientated on the technical way they are stacked.

141224-Bruni Glass Dune 250 bottle W320 100dpiBruni developed the Dune in 250ml, as a typical gourmet food size for the high end olive oil, vinegar and gourmet products.
The concept of the Dune bottle is not new it is a bottle as a result of “Progetto Millennio”, Bruni’s design contest.

Progetto Millennio, which is known as the Bruni Glass design award, is a contest between different schools of design in Europe every two years at SIMEI show in Milan.
Progetto Millennio is giving to Bruni, the opportunity to work with young designers and lots of new ideas. On the other hand when they do have a project, which takes the interest of the public, and goes in production, the company recognises royalties to the young designer up to the life of the product.

Tagged: Bruni Glass, corrugated paperboard, Dune 250 Glass Bottle, EcoSierra, Gʼs Fresh, HebeBühne Packaging, Panther-Packaging, PET bottles, Progetto Millennio, RBC Technologies, Self-Heating Technology, Sipa, Squeasy Pouch, stackable bottles, Xtreme Sincro system
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Meldung des Tages: 1700 private jets expected to Davos ...

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Meldung des Tages: 1700 private jets expected to Davos in Switzerland to discuss climate change at World Economic Forum.
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