What space sounds like.

You heard me.

From NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory:

*

Voyager.

captures.sounds.

of.interstellar.freaking.SPACE.

I mean. I just.

Did you hear me? You heard me! You heard SPACE!

And now, just for snicks, throw in the fact that Voyager has left the solar system. It’s gone. Se fue. And we have no idea whatsoever where it will end up and what it might find. I honest-to-goodness have chills just writing that.

It’s only a matter of time….

kirk voyager

In which I am front-paged at The Daily Beast (aka: Newsweek’s online presence).

No, seriously!

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I began writing regularly for Open Zion — a blog edited by author/journalist/controversial-but-extraordinarily-pleasant holder of opinions Peter Beinart — a few months ago, and Open Zion is hosted by The Daily Beast, which is Newsweek‘s online presence (the question of why Newsweek‘s online presence isn’t called Newsweek.com is above my pay grade).

Today I wrote about the fact that Israel’s governing coalition has fallen apart, rather spectacularly but entirely unsurprisingly. And The Daily Beast put it on their front page! As of this moment in time (10:39 on Tuesday night) it’s item #7 on their rotating stories thinga-ma-jigee that is the very first thing one sees upon going to thedailybeast.com.

And that, my friends, is totally boss, I don’t care who you are!

As is the tradition around these parts, I hereunder provide you with the top of said post; to get the rest, you’ll have to click through.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll just be over here doing a little jig with Snoopy.

************

MOFAZ TAKES HIS TRUCKS AND GOES HOME.

We learned today that the Israeli Uber-Coalition, a government supported by 94 of the Knesset’s 120 members, has fallen apart. I am hard-pressed to express much in the way of shock.

Shaul Mofaz, recently-elected head of the Kadima party, is taking his trucks and going home because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to come through on a promise to formulate a universal Israeli draft law, one which would include both Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, and ultra-Orthodox Jews, a community currently allowed to study in yeshivas rather than pick up guns.

Leaving aside for the moment the advisability of such a law–the Palestinian-Israeli community has enormous reservations about being drafted into service by the Jewish State, for instance, even if the draft is broadened to include non-military national service, and the Israeli ultra-Orthodox community is well-known for often failing to provide its children with many of the educational basics so necessary to taking part in any essentially secular endeavor–the simple fact of the matter is that nothing in Netanyahu’s political history indicates that he is a man to take bold, controversial action or risk any damage to his position of power within Israel’s political system. The notion that he was going to start bordered on absurd.

To read the rest of the post that The Daily Beast put on its front page (!), click here!

Welcoming our gobsmacking (if mildly creepy) overlords.

Back when I was a wee lass and imagining what the future would be like, I think I didn’t think about it very hard. Flying cars, à la the Jetsons? Seemed a mite impractical. Food-in-a-pill? Not very appealing. And all those sleek and pointy fashions we were going to be wearing surely would get boring after awhile.

But I will tell you one thing: I never in a million years thought that we might be producing body parts via office equipment.

3D printing has got to be one of the most gobsmacking things to emerge in the last decade, just on sheer cool factor alone. Below you’ll find a video of folks printing out a wrench. A wrench! From a printer!

But wrenches, and toys, and various other useful items and gee-gaws absolutely pale in comparison to two things that floated across my eyeballs in the past couple of days:

  1. A 3D printed jaw.
  2. 3D printed human tissue.

The jaw was developed for an 83 year old woman by a research team from Belgium and Holland (suggesting that Rick Santorum might-maybe have been mistaken in his declaration that the Dutch like to off old people for being all old n’ stuff):

After an 83-year old woman was diagnosed with progressive osteomyelitis, an infection affecting almost her entire mandible, and doctors surmised that removal of the infected area was the only way forward. Removal would have left her with a non-functional jaw, which would require highly complex microsurgical reconstruction via transplantation of bone and soft tissues.

Due to the patient’s age, this wasn’t an ideal solution, so the team collaborated with Xilloc, a company specializing in tailor-made implants, and LayerWise, a metal additive manufacturer, to create a 3D printed prosthetic jaw. The team used traditional computer-aided design (CAD) software to model the implant, but when it came to constructing it, they needed to think outside the box.

Consumer-facing 3D printers commonly use materials such as plastic or resin to sculpt their creations, which would have been unsuitable for surgical application, so LayerWise used powdered titanium.

Powdered titanium! In your jaw!!1!

On the 3D tissue front, we probably shouldn’t really call it “human,” in the strictest sense, but it’s close enough that drugs can be tested on it, potentially saving pharmaceutical companies billions of dollars by detecting toxicity before the human testing stage.

But that’s not all.

A start-up called Organovo uses a 3D printer to build a variety of human tissue types, from cardiac muscle to blood vessels. The company hopes to eventually print entire organs for transplant from feedstock of a patient’s own cells, thereby reducing the likelihood of rejection.

AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

I mean: Isn’t that totally cool?!

To read more about the titanium jaw, go to the original article on The Verge: Doctors use 3D printing to rebuild a woman’s jaw.

To read more about the human-like tissue, go to my source, Boing Boing: Printing human tissue for drug testing or go directly to their source, MIT’s Technology Review: Printing Muscle.

And to watch a really pretty nifty example of 3D printing, watch the following!

*

And if you need me, I’ll be on my fainting couch.

Black History Month Eve – 21 years ago, one Mr. Barack Obama had something to say.

*

He’s so – him! Plus: Now I know who Charles Hamilton Houston was. Win!

Update: Be sure to read the backstory that socioprof provides – click here!

The internets & their bounties – I Really Kind of Hate George Lucas edition.

The internet, man – what doesn’t it have? I know a lot of bloggers do a regular round-up of cool links, but I never have before. History – IT IS BEING MADE.

  1. The back of the husband’s head at the Liam Finn show. Ok, it’s kind of really a brief video of the crowd singing Happy Birthday while Liam does a shot and then launches into a wickedly shredded version of the Beatles’ “Birthday” — but still!! That’s the husband’s head in the immediate foreground!! And a very brief vision of the top right of the back of my head!! We were that close!! h/t Liam Finn (!!) and Lincoln Hall (the fantabulous venue. Who knew the acoustics and sound systems could be good at those places?)
  2. “Eventually, this process will allow you to record and reconstruct your own dreams on a computer screen.” Read that sentence again, slowly, and then click through to read the rest and watch the this-goes-to-a-eleven-gobsmacking video. As the writer says “Indeed, it’s mindblowing. I’m simultaneously excited and terrified.” h/t Skepchick
  3. “Mordor doesn’t look that bad now, does it?” Apparently Frodo/Elijah Wood has beef with Merry/Dominic Monaghan…? Click here to see the mighty Elijah! Click here to see Dominic’s worthy reply! (Honestly the thing that concerns me most is the apparent possibility that Elijah Wood might be a smoker). h/t BuzzFeed
  4. Human skin strengthened with spider silk can stop a bullet. You heard me — and there’s video in which you can see it happen. h/t I can’t remember what series of clicks got me here.
  5. Skeletal whole-hand bracelet. Again, with the hearing (though there’s no video this time. How can you make a video of a bracelet? Seriously people, sometimes you worry me). h/t Boing Boing
  6. Well. This explains everything.

h/t my Balloon Juice buddy Lev, at Library Grape

Marty Peretz & Grendel’s mother. Same-same.

Beowulf & Grendel's mother.

Someone on Twitter reminded me today that I actually once discussed Grendel (the monster in the Beowulf story) and Marty Peretz (an Islamophic monster in modern letters) in a single breath.

I had no recollection of this at all, but it sounded so much like me that I googled “grendel peretz emily hauser” — and lo! There it was! On Balloon Juice.

So:

A) How much do I love the internet and the Google subset of the internet? OMG, soooo much!

and B) This so amused me that I had to share the actual comment with you. Behold:

Monsters are not always monsters, not in every waking moment of their lives. Grendel’s mother loved him, and that’s why she came to avenge him. She was still a monster.

Which is to say: I loathe Marty Peretz, and made rather a stink about it when the anti-Muslim shit hit the fan. But it is possible that, in addition to being a loathsome xenophobe and racist, he is generous to a fault with those he likes, and possibly also good at cards. Who can tell.

Seriously. Who else do you know who would do such a thing? I’m a special snowflake, I am.

For your Beowulf/Grendel needs: Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (the Seamus Heaney version), Beowulf (a middle-school appropriate re-telling) and Grendel (a re-telling from the vantage point of the monster). And yes, I really have read all three — I read the second one out loud to the boy, and will read it to the girl in a year or two. Geek is as geek does, my friends!

h/t @HoldenDCat

My on-going domination of all the internets.

Ok, so a funny thing happened on my way to obscurity.

This blog was found by the good folks at Feministe, and two weeks and one day after I wrote that woe-is-me-I’m-not-sure-if-I-can-stand-writing-anymore post, they emailed to ask if I would like to guest blog this summer…!

And so, not being a complete idiot, I said yes. And with great pleasure!

The gig begins today. I’ll be crossposting everything I write for Feministe here and at Angry Black Lady Chronicles, as per yooz, but I encourage you to go over there as well. The writers at Feministe are passionate, come from wildly varied backgrounds, and always leave their readers with new ideas to chew over. You’ll find a link over to your right, on the Smart People blog roll, or you can click right here. Either way, I urge you to check it!

My first post is an introductory thing, much of which is information that any regular reader of In My Head already knows, but if you can stand being introduced to me again, here ye be:

Lovely to meet you.

Hi Feministe!

:: waves ::

So, I’m one of the summer guests! And I’m very honored, not to say a little surprised to be here. My own blog is a teeny-tiny affair, and because I have roughly as little tech knowledge as one could reasonably have and still run a blog, I never have any real sense of how broadly anything gets read or by whom – but the internets, man, you never know where you’ll wind up! So here I am, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity.

But who the hell (you ask yourselves, and quite reasonably too) are you?

I’m a professional freelance writer. I wrote for many years in big newspapers and smaller magazines, doing news, op/eds, features, and book reviews and/or serving as a foreign correspondents’ assistant at a few really-big newspapers (Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post).

All of which means that since the bottom fell out on print media in 2008, followed closely by the bottom falling out on the world of finances, my byline has barely appeared anywhere. So it goes. I still do book reviews! And write a lot for leftie/progessive PR firms and leftie/progessive nonprofits.

As I mentioned, I also blog, posting at my own place (Emily L. Hauser In My Head) and crossposting at Angry Black Lady Chronicles. I started my internet life as an active commenter at Jezebel (where I was known as ellaesther), but went out in a blaze of Midwestern polite disagreement over their new commenting policies like, two years ago or something, so it’s entirely possible that the policies have changed again and are currently really quite human and lovely, but I wouldn’t know.

Other than that: I’m a straight white lady married to a straight white dude, living in the suburbs of Chicago with our two white kids (sexuality yet to be determined, as far as I know). I drive a station wagon, and volunteer at my kids’ schools.

I’m a feminist who actually managed to march (as a high school freshman) for the ERA before it was killed. I spent a good few years as a rape crisis counselor. And I’ve written in several national newspapers about the fact that I’ve had an abortion. I’m to the left of Obama and to the right of Kucinich. I volunteered in the 2008 Obama campaign & intend to do so again in 2012.

I’m also Jewish, American-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, pro-two-states and a Zionist (meaning I’m often very lonely in my little Venn diagram), and I often write about Israel/Palestine and the conflict — but then again, I also often don’t. Recently, for instance, I’ve written about Marcus Bachmann, a fucking awesome Planet of the Apes-techno mashup, and weird rules that exist in my house (“no biting the table,” for one).

So. Here I am! :: jazz hands ::

My approach to comments is as follows: I’ll wade in there with y’all, but I ask that people remember the humanity and the dignity of everyone. Which is to say, if you disagree with me (and some of you are likely to disagree with me, right? It’s the internet!) or with anyone else in a thread, please express that disagreement in a way that sheds more light than heat.

But enough of my yakkin’! Let’s rock n’ roll!

Or: I’ll be back to rock n’ roll a little later with a real post. But I will stop yakkin’ now.

Emily’s Uterus, Inc.

I often write political posts. I occasionally write funny posts. I almost never do anything that could be considered both at the same time.

Today the world changes, my friends!

Author Lesley Hazleton — an absolutely marvelous writer, who happens to also have a voice made for teaching all of us the wisdom of the ages — blogs under the name The Accidental Theologist and tweets at @accidentaltheo. In these two latter capacities, through sheer good fortune on my part, I find myself internet buddies with her (it’s like being internet buddies with your that professor who was secretly your mentor. A little head-turning).

So ANYWAY, Lesley’s got an awesome sense of the absurd, and these days, these United States are seeing an awful lot of absurd out and about — such as a week ago today, when the following really happened:

During last week’s discussion about a bill that would prohibit governments from deducting union dues from a worker’s paycheck, state Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, used his time during floor debate to argue that Republicans are against regulations — except when it comes to the little guys, or serves their specific interests.

At one point Randolph suggested that his wife “incorporate her uterus” to stop Republicans from pushing measures that would restrict abortions. Republicans, after all, wouldn’t want to further regulate a Florida business.

Apparently the GOP leadership of the House didn’t like the one-liner.

They told Democrats that Randolph is not to discuss body parts on the House floor.

“The point was that Republicans are always talking about deregulation and big government,” Randolph said Thursday. “And I always say their philosophy is small government for the big guy and big government for the little guy. And so, if my wife’s uterus was incorporated or my friend’s bedroom was incorporated, maybe they (Republicans) would be talking about deregulating.

“It’s not like I used slang,” said Randolph, who actually got the line from his wife. He said Republicans voiced concern about young pages hearing the word uterus.

No really. That happened*.

So today, Lesley posted the following little piece of the Florida ACLU’s response to said moronitude absurdity, under the headline “Entitle Your Uterus” (and I’m making you click through because I want you to get the full effect. Because I love you, that’s why): (more…)

Holy fish and fowl, Batman! (Updated!)

Ooookay then, what to write about? /taps finger on chin/ Hmmmm.

There is a heck of a lot going on. The swearing-in of the new United States Congress, the heckling of Israel’s Prime Minister and Interior Minister, the fact that apparently the minivan is “rising again.” Stuff that I should probably consider, analyze, weigh, pronounce upon and declare –

Oh, who the fuck am I kidding.

NONE OF IT MATTERS!

IT’S FUCKING RAINING BIRDS!

WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!

And you know, not to be alarmist or anything but, not only is it raining birds, but fish are dying by the tens of thousands, too!

I am not, by nature, a crazy person. I do not believe in conspiracies, nor ancient prophecies, nor, indeed, any literal understanding of any of your holy scriptures, be they mono- or polytheistic. I am, in fact, rather a fan of science and the scientific method. I have been known, on more than frequent occasion, to quote that wisest of men, Randall Munroe, who once said, wisely: “Science. It works, bitches.” That’s how much I like science.

But I confess that I have begun to consider the Apocalypse — ooh, wait, do you think that’s it? People used the word “apocalypse” to makes stupid snow puns too many times and then the gods were all “Are you crazy? That’s just heavy snow! I’mma show you an apocalypse, morons!” Maybe, maybe that’s it! Hurry, weather reporters, make sacrifices! Go, pundits, do dances! The future of humanity depends on it!

Because motherfucking birds and fish are falling from the sky and clogging up the motherfucking waterways!!1!

No. Seriously.

I’m actually just barely educated/modern/sane enough to believe that, in fact, science is going to find the answer to these genuinely horrible events, but I really don’t think the answer’s going to be at all comforting.

Already folks on the Twitter (which, I know, I established just yesterday how useless a measure Twitter is, get off my case) are suggesting Shadowy Conspiracy (one tweet, re-tweeted a good few times, read “who’s testing on birds and what are they testing?”), and truth be told: What do I know? Either some absolutely frightening natural phenomenon (which I would be willing to bet would be traceable to human activity, like, you know, toxins in the air and, I don’t know, toxins in the water) has overcome literally hundreds of thousands of God’s creatures in the same week, or someone really is testing something and it’s gone south. Like: To Hades, south. We test fucking make-up on animals — who’s to say we wouldn’t test some new nerve gas or food pellet or hairspray out in the wild? Who’s to say?!

And in case you’re wondering, I’m certainly not buying the “oh, all those birds must have run into something, LOL!” theory, nor the one that says that 500 birds got chilly and, boom: Died. Render unto me (as a very wise woman was once given to saying) a break. Aside from anything else, they’re dropping from the sky in Louisiana and Sweden (!!), too.

I might consider the “disease outbreak” theory for 100,000 (!!!) fish in Arkansas – but a) why’d so many get so sick, so fast (bringing me back to the Humans Are Fucking Everything Up theory) and b) two million are also dead in Chesapeake Bay, not to mention c) they’re dying in New Zealand and Brazil too!!!

So yeah. Fucking hell, what is up with this shit? I don’t know, and I would wager that so far? No one else does either. All we know is that birds are dropping, en masse, from the sky and fish are dying, en masse, in their natural homes. But really: No need for panic.

Now, you all can do whatever you want with your little “Congress” and your little “foreign countries” and your little “mini-vans,” but if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find a bunker. I have some tin foil hats I think I should be trying on.

Update: Wait, hold on. What’s that? Science is actually on it?

According to Smithsonian Institution bird curator Gary Graves, this is one of those times where the human brain’s penchant for pattern-finding has gone a little haywire. Mass bird deaths aren’t uncommon. There’s a lot of reasons why they happen. Once we’re primed to pay attention, we start to see them everywhere.

Oh. Um, ok then. Never mind!

Crossposted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles.

Blogger stymied.

Well, this day has taken a turn for the surrealistic!

First, Ta-Nehisi posts an endorsement of this blog that just knocks me off my feet, makes me cry, turns my frown upside down, the whole nine yards. Then all the folks over there are so sweet I can hardly stand it. And Ta-Nehisi said I maka him cry. And all this time my Twitter feed is hailing me right left and center. Then I get a ping-back from my old internet pal The Grand Panjandrum — a delight unto itself — and thus learn that Balloon Juice has front-paged me again (it was, after all, John Cole at Balloon Juice who was the first blogger at the big kids table to ever link to me)! Then I scoot back over to TNC’s site to peek at the original post again — and lo and behold, not only do more kindnesses await, but my own sister has left a comment! And then I learn, via commenter DougEMI, that because Ta-Nehisi gets linked to on memorandum — so did I!

My head is spinning, inside and out. I’m sure that real bloggers, the grown-up kind, the kind that get linked to all the live-long-day, are not given head-spinnies by such events. I’m sure they are unmoved and unfazed. Well. I am still a very wee fish is an unfathomable sea, and as such, I am both moved, and fazed!

I had planned to write something light today — tired, as I am, of all the heaviness I’ve brought to these pages lately — and then I got paralyzed by the attention, thinking: Not light! Not light! Important! You must write something important!

And then I learned that there are serious troubles afoot for one of the two American-Jewish organizations that I really believe in, J Street (the other one being Americans for Peace Now), and then I learned of running battles in the streets of Jerusalem, and I was brought crashing to earth.

Because whatever has happened at J Street, it frankly doesn’t matter — because neither J Street, nor the people involved with J Street, are the point. The occupation is the point. The lack of peace is the point. The horrors that could be stopped, if only we were to do the one thing that could stop them, are the point. But none of that will matter, because now, for the next several weeks, all the talk around the conflict in American Jewish circles will center not on the conflict, but on J Street.

So. I’m wrecked with the whipsaw of emotion, and I’m not going to even try post a real post today. But I will do so on Sunday, a thing I don’t usually do, in order to kind of catch up. Pinky swear!

And in the meantime, I made a promise to another internet pal, and that is a promise I intend to keep. Watch this space, for soon, a lovely photograph will appear above it!

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