Comet Fragments

The temperature has dropped off the side of a cliff and I’m all caught up on school. It’s time for another link dump. So let’s get started.

The mysterious black hole of the Pacific Ocean: Apparently, this is just an optical effect, which is good because for a second there, I was concerned about the state of the world.

Hundreds of three-eyed ‘dinosaur shrimp’ emerge after Arizona monsoon: And there’s really nothing to worry about at all. Just try to ignore the three-eyed dinosaur shrimp. They’re just part of the beauty and wonder of nature. Fucking nature. At least, humans have their shit together. There’s still that, right? Humans?

Are US booster shots sapping the world’s vaccine supply?: I wish the ethical case was enough to get the rich countries to stop hoarding vaccines, get off their asses and start sharing the vaccines and the capacity to make them but, well . . . So maybe self-interest?

“If the coronavirus continues spreading anywhere in the world, it has the capacity to spread everywhere. Every new infection provides the virus with an opportunity to mutate, potentially generating a new variant—like the Delta variant, first identified in India in early 2021.”

This whole situation is fucking disgusting.

Moderna won’t share its vaccine recipe. WHO has hired an African startup to crack it: As depressing as it is that things should come to this when THE VACCINE RECIPE IS KNOWN AND DOES NOT TO BE CRACKED BY ANYONE BUT ONLY SHARED BY THOSE WHO HAVE IT AND MODERNA RECIEVED HOW MUCH GOVERNMENT MONEY IN THE FIRST PLACE SO LIKE WHY THE FUCK IS THAT RECIPE NOT PUBLIC PROPERTY AND SHARED AND USED FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL PEOPLE INSTEAD OF BEING HOARDED BY GREEDY FUCKERS AND WHAT THE FUCK DO WE PLAN TO DO ABOUT IT??!! I hope this plan works out.

A letter to a refugee child who must ‘survive’ in a new country: This was really very touching. A lot of people are really being put through it these days and a lot more will be in days to come. (I have some bad news — these are still The Good Old Days.) So it’s nice to see someone reach out to help someone who is in the same situation they once were, even if it’s just with words. It’s much better than the usual approach of kicking out the ladder you climbed up, pouring boiling oil down on anyone trying to scamper up after you, then setting everything on fire because, well, why should anyone ever have anything easier than you?

South Korean Workers Dress Up As ‘Squid Game’ Characters To Protest For Labour Rights: There was a one day general strike in South Korea. Probably goes without saying (I hope it does anyway) but I’m on the side of the strikers. I hope they get everything they’re demanding and more besides. It’s good that people fighting for more than the shit they get.

Because like — what the fuck? We’re not a bunch of goddamn prey cows for the rich to feed upon. And it’s well past time the rich learned that. Again.

Aside from the strike itself, a thing that cheered me up (well, that’s a bit strong – let’s say ‘gave me some hope’) is the appearance of Squid Game at the strike. Basically, since that came out, I’ve seen it primarily talked about as a success story, heard about the craze it’s started, and seen it turned into shopping. That’s a bit depressing.

I mean, it’s basically impossible for an anti-capitalist piece of art to be more successful than Squid Game and yet it became a SUCCESS story and started shopping crazes. For someone like me, who has a pony in that race with their own book (TECHNICOLOR ULTRA MALL – SHOP NOW!) that’s just totally depressing. So seeing Squid Game being used in a strike rather than a shopping campaign? Seeing it being used to communicate the problems in a way that’s paired with action?

Good stuff.

Hurts So Good: The Culture and Science of Pain on Purpose: Speaking of good stuff.

My copy of Hurts So Good by Leigh Cowart arrived the other day. But, being a shallow fucker, I waited for my new bookmark to arrive before digging in.

I’ve known Leigh for . . . Phew, yeesh . . . A long time now. Leigh is one of the only people I know from the internet that I’ve ever had a skype conversation, let alone multiple ones, with. They’re a really fucking good writer and they have been for a long time. I can’t think of anyone who deserves to sell a book more than Leigh. So I was expecting the book to be good. I was not expecting it to be great. And I think this is a great fucking book.

It’s one of the best popular science books I’ve ever read. I don’t even know if I’d call it that. If it’s popular science, then it’s popular science for freaks not geeks. But it’s much more than that. It’s not a simple “explainer” but a really personal and powerful piece of writing. It delves into the question of masochism. Of all types and on all sorts of levels. It made me laugh and it made me wince. It made me think about things, including myself, in new ways.

One difference between a first rate book and a third rate book is a first rate books provides more questions than answers and a third rate book provides more answers than questions. Rather than an answer, the book has questions. The attempt to answer these questions uncovers a lot about science, sex, society, and even the duck billed fucking platypus – if you can believe it. The fucking platypus! I’ll never look at those fuckers the same way again.

That, to me, is the sort of writing I like. Something that starts with a question and then digs, just fucking digs, right into it. Shit that starts with an answer? Bores me.

Above and beyond its humor, its power, and its gruesome bits, Hurts So Good is an honest and profound inquiry into machoism. If you ask me, honesty is the most important quality of any piece of art — so important that even lies are allowed in its pursuit. And honesty is a quality that is too often lacking in art, writing, or anything these days. Maybe all days. All times. Here to never forever. But Hurts So Good is honest. And it’s fucking great.

So go buy it.

(I’m pretty happy with that bookmark too.)

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