Pussy Riot Don't Surf

Beach Essentials in China: Flip-Flops, a Towel and a Ski Mask

"I'm afraid of getting dark," said the mask-wearer, Yao Wenhua, 58, upon emerging from the seaweed-choked waters of this seaside city in China's eastern Shandong Province. Eager to show why she sacrificed fashion for function, Ms. Yao, a retired bus driver, peeled the nylon over her forehead to reveal a pale, unwrinkled face.

"A woman should always have fair skin," she said proudly. "Otherwise people will think you're a peasant."

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Breaking: The Oatmeal still sucks

Since everyone on my Facebook feed feels the need to re-post that pandering Columbus Day comic, here:

But that's how the Oatmeal works. Stuef found a presentation given by Inman in which he explained the six principles that he uses to pick ideas for Oatmeal comics:

  • Find a common gripe
  • Pick things everyone can relate to
  • Create easily digestible content
  • Create an infographic
  • Talk about memes and current events
  • Incite an emotion

[...] As far as I'm concerned it doesn't matter whether or not Inman is misrepresenting himself as a relatable, struggling artist. Inman's comics aren't bad because he's a hypocrite or a faker (though it doesn't hurt). Inman's comics are bad on their own merits.

He can't draw. This is admittedly not an obstacle to success on the internet, where the Hallmark-for-engineers margin scribblings of XKCD's Randall Munroe can engender a kind of slavish devotion, but at least Munroe's stick figures, fedoras and all, seem to reflect some level of warmth or personality; Inman's jagged illustrations are reminiscent less of their creator's character or humanity than of the easiest shortcuts in whatever vector-graphics program he's using. [...]

The only thing that differentiates his comic "Why Nikola Tesla Was the Greatest Geek Who Ever Lived" from an illustrated essay is that it's white text on a black background, and Inman has hastily copied-and-pasted stars all over the graphic. It's indistinguishable from the hasty SEO-scam "infographics" -- really just long, haplessly illustrated lists of facts -- where Inman got his start. [...]

This, ultimately, is Inman's real failing: his inability to write comics that are his, from him, about him, by him, and not just comics that fill a space he's identified in the impossibly huge audience for content online. The Oatmeal doesn't feel like something from its creator's brain, marked by its creator's obsessions, driven by its creator's passions, the way even the worst newspaper strips do. It feels like something written by a committee. Or an algorithm.

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Reminder: Monsters are real.

"The surgeon disputed the patient's self-diagnosis."

Referring back to the paper: "Upon presenting the oral surgeon with photographic evidence (Figure 1A and B) and a detailed description and preliminary diagnosis of gongylonemiasis, the surgeon disputed the patient's self-diagnosis, claiming this was simply normal discoloration of the skin."

Referring back to my notes: "My jaw just dropped," Allen said. But he couldn't change the surgeon's mind. "I said, 'Look, I study these things for a living'. And he said, 'Well, I look in people's mouths every day." The scientist and surgeon did not part on a happy note. "I paid my co-pay and left. It was totally depressing."

And he stayed depressed -- "I'd lost faith in the medical profession" -- until he woke up about 3 a.m. the following morning. The spot had moved toward the front of his mouth again. He realized could remove the worm himself.

Of course, he needed help. No surgeon can work alone. He woke up his wife so that she could shine a flashlight in his mouth. With those #5 super fine tip Roboz Surgical Instrument forceps, he gently scraped the lining of his mouth until he was able to pull out the nematode. It came coiling out, a little less than an inch in length. It was not a happy parasite. "It was writhing."

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