Friday word: Spinthariscope

Oct. 21st, 2017 05:43 am
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Posted by med_cat

A spinthariscope is a device for observing individual nuclear disintegrations caused by the interaction of ionizing radiation with a phosphor (see radioluminescence) or scintillator.

(A quality toy spinthariscope taken from a 1950s Chemcraft brand "Atomic energy" chemistry experimentation set)


The spinthariscope was invented by William Crookes in 1903.[1][2] While observing the apparently uniform fluorescence on a zinc sulfidescreen created by the radioactive emissions (mostly alpha radiation) of a sample of radium bromide, he spilled some of the sample, and, owing to its extreme rarity and cost, he was eager to find and recover it.[3] Upon inspecting the zinc sulfide screen under a microscope, he noticed separate flashes of light created by individual alpha particle collisions with the screen. Crookes took his discovery a step further and invented a device specifically intended to view these scintillations. It consisted of a small screen coated with zinc sulfide affixed to the end of a tube, with a tiny amount of radiumsalt suspended a short distance from the screen and a lens on the other end of the tube for viewing the screen. Crookes named his device from Greek σπινθήρ (spinth´ēr) "spark".

Toy spinthariscopes[edit]

Spinthariscopes were quickly replaced with more accurate and quantitative devices for measuring radiation in scientific experiments, but enjoyed a modest revival in the mid 20th century as children's educational toys.[4] In 1947, Kix cereal offered a Lone Ranger atomic bomb ring in exchange for a box top and 0.15 USD that contained a small one.[5][6]Spinthariscopes can still be bought today as instructional novelties, but they now use americium or thorium.

(Source: Wikipedia)

(thanks to acelightning for the word!)

violsva: The words HATPIN TIME, over a pearl topped pin, a reference to The Comfortable Courtesan (hatpin)
[personal profile] violsva
Anthony Comstock was such a deeply unpleasant person that near the end of the first chapter I checked the index to see how much longer I’d have to put up with him. But it turns out that the next chapter was full of judges and prosecutors and other officials who also thought he was an asshole (and refused to convict or harshly punish people under his law), so that was nice.

Lots and lots of anti-abortion free love proponents. (And some anti-”unnatural” contraception ones, too, which. IDEK.)

The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice included lots of prominent and wealthy citizens, some of whom happened to own contraceptive-selling businesses which for some strange reason never got raided or shut down. “Freethinkers dubbed the NYSSV the “Society for the Manufacture and Suppression of Vice” and boycotted [its President] Colgate’s products for years.” (29) Most of the people prosecuted for selling birth control were women, immigrants, and/or Jewish.

Today in Awesome Historical Women You Probably Haven’t Heard of, Sarah Chase.

Comstock was so well known that people sold birth control devices under the name “Comstock Syringes”, which meant they could avoid prosecution by not actually saying they were for birth control. A+.

At least from the 1860s, and probably before, a man in New York City who wanted birth control could walk into a pharmacy or a “rubber shop” and walk out with a package of condoms, even though after 1873 the US had the most restrictive contraception laws in the west. A woman who wanted birth control could get it by mail order anywhere in the country. (Though it was mostly only advertised in publications aimed at the working class.) This was almost certainly even more true in most of Europe (definitely in London).

However, condoms seem to have had about a 50% failure rate (note that that’s the % of pregnancies after one year of use, not the breakage rate). Douching was extremely popular and also basically useless. “Womb veils” (diaphragms and/or cervical caps) were probably more effective, but it’s hard to tell because so much depends on sizing and details. IUDs worked and were available but generally needed doctors to insert them and also were deeply unsafe.

I wonder how many women had major gynecological issues in this period and just ... dealt with them, lived through them, spent days in bed sometimes, did all the housework while in unspeakable pain because that was just their life and no one could do anything about it. (I mean, throughout history, but in this period specifically so much of “women’s medicine” seems to have been just making things worse.)

The 19th century understanding of ovulation was that it probably happened around menstruation, which means that lots of doctors recommended only having sex during what they thought was the “safe period” and lots of couples followed their advice and immediately got pregnant. (Timing of ovulation discovered in the 1920s; modern rhythm method described in 1930.)

On the other hand, “Doctors’ remonstrations against withdrawal, which linked it to insanity, impotence, blindness, and a host of other ailments, may have persuaded some men not to try it and others to “change their minds” at the last minute. Although modern science has invalidated such prophecies of doom, they may well have had a placebo effect on Americans in an earlier era. In 1895, one woman complained that her husband, a physician, had practiced withdrawal only to complain of being entirely “worn out [the] next day.”” (72) Men.

Evidence that some mothers told their daughters about birth control, at least in the pre-wedding Talk: I did not expect this.

1924 study found that 2/3 of respondents had used some form of birth control. Also mentions “one woman from a small Midwestern town whose determination [to gain information] led her to the doorsteps of the community member she believed possessed the most expertise: the “keeper of a brothel.”” (78)
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Posted by Senti Sojwal

Writers and feminist activists Attiya Taylor and Ailyn Robles started Womanly Magazine in 2012 as a way to circulate women’s health information and resources through the lens of art.

Since its inception, the magazine has evolved to include 20 women working in various roles to build and expand this innovative online platform. They define their mission as “to bridge the gaps between generations, cultures, economic statuses, borders, and any barrier that society tells us should set us apart.”

The first issue is on sex ed and features an incredible array of video, visual art, memoir, and more, addressing topics from female sexuality in Cuba to vaginal health.

For this week’s Feministing Five, I had the pleasure of catching up with Attiya and Ailyn about the creation of the magazine, their own journeys in health awareness, why it’s so important for women of color to educate ourselves about our bodies, and more! Check out the magazine and follow them on Twitter and Instagram @WomanlyMag!


Senti Sojwal: What inspired you to marry the worlds of art and women’s health in Womanly Magazine? What is your hope for how exploring these two issue areas in an intersectional way can empower readers?

Attia Taylor: I have been working in the nonprofit world for over 10 years, and my work has been primarily focused on the empowerment of girls and women. I also have a degree in communication, and love researching the ways that people consume information and connect with each other through modern media. When I moved to New York in 2012, I landed an internship with PAPER magazine, and quickly learned during that time that there were many facets of that career track that didn’t work for me, and my passion to serve. However, I still considered print media to be this classic and historic vehicle for the consumption of information. So, after working at Planned Parenthood, I thought about how to take the accurate and valuable preventative health information provided by organizations like Planned Parenthood, and put it before the eyes of women with limited education and access to that information. The end result of that thought process is Womanly Mag. Our goal is to make learning about health and our bodies fun, and digestible for adults. We are currently seeking out ways to make sure women not only learn this information for themselves, but share it with future generations.

Ailyn Robles: I grew up the daughter of an immigrant single mother who very rarely talked about her own health issues, and who was not exposed to the sorts of conversations we aim to create with the content in Womanly. Conversations revolving around sexuality, mental health, and reproductive health were very taboo in my home, despite how much my mother believed she was doing a better job at it than her own mother. Having had to pull words out of her for most of my life, I quickly realized how necessary it was to create intergenerational opportunities where we could learn from each other. Our hope is to continue creating and highlighting captivating artwork that will spark enough attention to make someone say “Hey, Mom,” or ”Hey, Tia, can I show you something?” Being both a visual artist and visual learner taught me the importance of digesting information in different ways. One of our goals is to make the magazine as accessible as possible as we grow, including translating content, as well as adding more visual and audio components.

Senti Sojwal: Issue 1 deals with Sex Ed and features visual art, memoir, video, and more. Can you each discuss one of the pieces featured in this issue and how/why it spoke to you in particular on this issue area?

Attia Taylor: The piece that affirms this work and the magazine for me is, Birth Announcement For Those Who Will And Will Never Be by a close friend and artist, Emily Carris. When we started discussing and researching sex education, we had a discussion around how limited past and present education is in relation to gender, sex, and sexuality. Emily’s piece brought a history of sexual education that is much less acknowledged in these conversations. She challenges us to think of slavery and sex through the lens of Black women, and their choices in history. I love that I can represent a magazine that changes narratives, and tells the stories that never get told.

Ailyn Robles: The Things They Carried drawn by one our art residents, Singha Hon, is one of the most representative pieces of the magazine for me. It’s impactful, inclusive, and insightful, yet simple. Singha’s piece brought to life what women look like to me – being both women with penises, as well as women who carry the weight of the world.

Senti Sojwal: What were your own early experiences in learning about your health and bodies, and how has that inspired you to women’s health activism?

Attia Taylor: I grew up with little to no discussion on sex education, or my body and my growth. In seventh grade, I had my mom order a book for me called Deal With It: A Whole New Approach to Your Body, Brain and Life because I was naturally curious as to what was happening to my body. In school, we had very limited to no education on our bodies and health. It was the gym teacher teaching us about STDs in one or two classes. I believe that my lack of education kept my curiosity very fresh. I went on to take college courses on these issues, and spent a lot of my personal time learning about these new developments. I was a very shy and anxious kid, so I didn’t know how to ask questions about sex or women’s health at a very young age. I think my curiosity and knowledge and the disparity of education on these topics have married to create my love for women’s health activism.

Ailyn Robles: My mom would probably enjoy telling you about all the times I made her feel uncomfortable with all the questions I had growing up. I couldn’t understand why these questions were considered inappropriate, and why no one wanted to answer them clearly. I was a very curious and sexual teenager, but at the age of sixteen, our family began attending a church where I was guilted and shamed for having lost my virginity. There, I was told that women were responsible for the sins of men, and that I should not hug people because I was not aware of the sexual influence I could have over them. I had already bore witness to similar mentalities in families where young girls were blamed for the abuse by the men in their lives and so, at the age of 18 I left church, and promised myself to advocate for women in any way I could for the rest of my life.

Senti Sojwal: What are your hopes for the future of Womanly Magazine? How would you love to see it grow and evolve?

Attia Taylor: We have big plans for Womanly! There is a significant need and desire for women who look like me and my friends (and our mothers and grandmothers) to take control, learn, and educate themselves and their children on all aspects of women’s health. We will hopefully be able to reach a global audience through travel, research, and localization, and are joining an already growing community of wonderful people and organizations working to give women the opportunity to thrive and succeed in this world. Personally, I would love to have a large summit in the near future, to help forge this community, develop ideas, and come together to further our reach to those who need it most.

Ailyn Robles: We’re an ambitious bunch and know the importance of representation. Because we grew up without being able to see ourselves represented, our goal is to continue making the magazine as inclusive as possible. We also understand the strength that lies in community, and want to create more opportunities to broaden what this looks like. We want to hold workshops that are accessible to people of all backgrounds and incomes. We want to hold events where we celebrate different definitions of womanhood. And we want to continue handing over the pen to people who have historically been silenced, so that we can share the stories that so many women and people can relate to.

Senti Sojwal: Can you each share a feminist artist that you love and why?

Attia Taylor: We’ve had three Womanly Instagram “takeovers” so far, and because I curate the page, I was able to select the artists for each takeover. One of these artists was Sara Gulamali. She is a mixed media visual artist from London, whose work centers around being Muslim, Asian, and British in today’s society. I was so blown away by her takeover, and her work all-together, because she is only 19 years old, and is fearlessly making some of the most groundbreaking and thought provoking art.

Ailyn Robles: Yesika Salgado. The way she expresses not only the experience of being a first generation Latinx navigating two cultures, but also the experience of a self-made creative, I find so relatable. To be brave enough to follow what is in our hearts, and what speaks to us from a higher place is so challenging, and so admirable. She inspires me to continue inspiring myself.


Photo courtesy of Jorge Salinas

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Unlike actors and Ashton Kutcher, cartoon characters can’t decide what products or ideologies they endorse in their off-time. Snoopy has no say in whether he sells MetLife. The Ninja Turtles most definitely get high—they are pizza-eating sword collectors named after artists—but they have to warn kids off drugs anyway.…


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Posted by Aimée Lutkin

The Orionid meteor shower is in town this week, and its visit will peak over the weekend, as trips usually do. If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of one of the best light shows in the solar system, Jane Houston Jones of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has recommended (via Time) that if stargazers look up from their…


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Posted by Michelle Woo on Offspring, shared by Michelle Woo to Lifehacker

When I read the statistic from a University of Maryland study that children between the ages of six and twelve spend only twenty-four minutes a day doing housework, a 25 percent decline from 1981, my first thought was, “Where the heck are these kids finding twenty-four minutes?!”


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Posted by Claire Lower on Skillet, shared by Claire Lower to Lifehacker

Hello, and welcome to Will It Casserole?, the column where I take your delicious concepts and re-imagine them as delicious layered creations. I’m very excited to share this week’s project with you, which is so tasty it almost hurts.


Are Halloween Contacts Safe?

Oct. 20th, 2017 06:45 pm
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Posted by Beth Skwarecki on Vitals, shared by Beth Skwarecki to Lifehacker

Contacts with cat pupils or neon colors can be fun, but are you sure you want to put a piece of plastic from a costume store into your eye? We’ve got some tips from the American Optometric Association on how to look cool at parties without getting a raging eye infection.


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Posted by Brian Kahn on Earther, shared by Virginia K. Smith to Lifehacker

For the vast majority of Americans, cars are a way of life. Most people live in suburbs or cities that aren’t dense enough to have good public transit.


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Samsung’s quantum dot-powered Q7 TV isn’t exactly easy on the bank account, but it would be a stunning upgrade to your home theater, and you can once again save $1000 on the 65" Q7F today, if you missed the deal last month.


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Posted by Andrew Liszewski on Gizmodo, shared by Virginia K. Smith to Lifehacker

Still having a hard time finding a Nintendo Switch in stores? Or maybe you’re tired of waiting for Nintendo’s promised online store full of retro games? Tim Lindquist took things into his own hands and built a Nintendo Switch clone from scratch that can emulate games from over 50 classic systems.


The Frightening Friday Five

Oct. 20th, 2017 02:13 pm
jesse_the_k: Perfectly circlular white brain-like fungus growing on oak tree (Default)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k

What book frightened you as a young person?
None I can remember.

If you had to become a ‘living book’ (i.e. able to recite the contents of a book cover to cover upon request – reference Fahrenheit 451), what book would it be?
To Be of Use by Marge Piercy, poetry

What movie or TV show scared you as a kid?
The Outer Limits. I’d watch with my older sister and she told me when it was safe to lower my hands from my eyes.

What movie (scary or otherwise) will you never ever watch?
Silence of the lambs et seq

Do you have any phobias?
Centipedes, millipedes, and other Myriapodae make me recoil and squeal a little.

Spam spam spammity-spam

Oct. 20th, 2017 07:39 pm
oursin: Painting of a pollock with text, overwritten Not wasting a cod on this (pollock)
[personal profile] oursin

Or, I have just been followed on Twitter by 3 people who are the same person, and I do not think there is anything holy about having 3 Twitter identities which are all touting your book/s.

I am also mildly beset by people who, having by some means or other found my website, and discovering something there moderately pertinent to their interests (sometimes, I swear, it is Just One Word in the middle of text), email me offering to 'contribute' or begging me to link to their pages, or add in their link collections, without actually considering what the various bits of my site are doing.

E.g. on my - not even this year's, several years back - listing of my Quotations of the Week, is one which alludes to [problem] - which I probably posted originally because it was neatly turned and complete in itself and not because I have an overwhelming interest in [problem]. This is really not an appropriate venue for a link to somebody's site which is All About [Problem]. Point Thahr Misst.

Indeed, more or less equivalent to, if I had the famous quote attrib Mrs Patrick Campbell re the hurly-burly of the chaise-longue, sending me their list of links to custom makers of high quality chaises longues.

And they do not give up: there is one person who has been positively badgering me, even though I have ignored their email except to mark it as junk, because, for extremely personal reasons, I have a link to a UK charity dealing with [condition], to add in their set of links relating to [condition] which seem entirely US-related, several of them dealing with issues around healthcare which are still - so far - irrelevant in the UK context.

My site is a small, personal, and carefully curated site dealing with various interests of my own and not exactly inundated with hits, except when some media outlet links to certain pages.

Y O Y?

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Posted by Jacob Kleinman

One of the Pixel 2's most interesting features is Active Edge, which lets you launch Google Assistant by simply squeezing your smartphone. Unfortunately, Google made the annoying decision to lock this function to its AI assistant, but one developer has already found a way to get around the company’s restrictions.


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Posted by Patrick Lucas Austin

Greetings, fellow humans! It’s me, Patrick Lucas Austin, Lifehacker Staff Writer and resident tech expert. I’ll be here on the interwebz from 3-4pm ET (that’s 12-1pm on the west coast), answering any questions (tech-related or otherwise) you geniuses can whip up.



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