Some trans history for trans day of visibility! Here is a poem written in 1322 by a jewish trans woman! (source and alternate translation). In case you were in need of the knowledge that yes, trans people have been around for a long, long time. [this is an english translation from hebrew]
“What an awful fate for my mother that she bore a son. What a loss of all benefit! … Cursed be the one who announced to my father: “It’s a boy! …
Woe to him who has male sons. Upon them a heavy yoke has been placed, restrictions and constraints. Some in private, some in public, some to avoid the mere appearance of violation, and some entering the most secret of places.
Strong statutes and awesome commandments, six hundred and thirteen. Who is the man who can do all that is written, so that he might be spared?
… Oh, but had the artisan who made me created me instead—a fair woman. Today I would be wise and insightful. We would weave, my friends and I, and in the moonlight spin our yarn, and tell our stories to one another, from dusk till midnight. We’d tell of the events of our day, silly things, matters of no consequence. But also I would grow very wise from the spinning, and I would say, “Happy is she who knows how to work with combed flax and weave it into fine white linen.”
And at times, in the way of women, I would lie down on the kitchen floor, between the ovens, turn the coals, and taste the different dishes. On holidays I would put on my best jewelry. I would beat on the drum and my clapping hands would ring.
And when I was ready and the time was right, an excellent youth would be my fortune. He would love me, place me on a pedestal, dress me in jewels of gold, earrings, bracelets, necklaces. And on the appointed day, in the season of joy when brides are wed, for seven days would the boy increase my delight and gladness.
Were I hungry, he would feed me well-kneaded bread. Were I thirsty, he would quench me with light and dark wine. He would not chastise nor harshly treat me, and my [sexual] pleasure he would not diminish
Every Sabbath, and each new moon, his head he would rest upon my breast. The three husbandly duties he would fulfill, rations, raiment, and regular intimacy. And three wifely duties would I also fulfill, [watching for menstrual] blood, [Sabbath candle] lights, and bread…
Father in heaven, who did miracles for our ancestors with fire and water, You changed the fire of Chaldees so it would not burn hot, You changed Dina in the womb of her mother to a girl, You changed the staff to a snake before a million eyes, You changed [Moses’] hand to [leprous] white and the sea to dry land. In the desert you turned rock to water, hard flint to a fountain.
Who would then turn me from a man to woman? Were I only to have merited this, being so graced by your goodness…
What shall I say? Why cry or be bitter? If my Father in heaven has decreed upon me and has maimed me with an immutable deformity, then I do not wish to remove it. And the sorrow of the impossible is a human pain that nothing will cure and for which no comfort can be found. So, I will bear and suffer until I die and wither in the ground. And since I have learned from the tradition that we bless both the good and the bitter, I will bless in a voice, hushed and weak, Blessed are you, O Lord, who has not made me a woman.
A couple of items today regarding Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), one of the groups supporting charter schools in Massachusetts.
First, DFER is putting $200,000 into Leland Cheung’s Democratic primary challenge to State Senator Pat Jehlen. That’s a huge amount of money to spend in the last 10 days of a campaign. Senator Jehlen’s press release on this subject is after the jump.
Second, DFER sent a questionnaire today to legislators, inquiring about their positions on ballot Question 2 and on charter schools generally. One can presume that DFER is intending to make other campaign spending decisions based on what (if anything) it hears back.
The questionnaire, in PDF form, is here. Since I know lots less about charter school issues than my fellow BMG’ers, I offer it up for their edifying comments.
What can $200,000 buy in final few days of a political campaign? We will soon find out.
On August 8, Democrats for Education Reform received $200,000 from a New York organization, Education Reform Now Advocacy. That group is a 501(c)4 and doesn’t reveal its donors. This is true dark money from outside the state. The money was designated for Leland Cheung’s campaign for Senate. It is by far the most money ever spent by an independent expenditure PAC for a Massachusetts legislative race, and more than many Senate candidates spend in an entire campaign.
Now there are 9 days left till the election, and about $180,000 left, or $20,000 a day. Cheung just sent a fund appeal asking for money to “purchase mailings, online ads, clipboards, and stickers.” $180,000 could buy two district-wide mailings to likely voters every day, although 2 of the days there won’t be mail delivery. Or it could buy 100,000 clipboards.
$200,000 is what a minimum wage worker earns in 10 years. Or what a top hedge fund manager makes in a little less than an hour. That may be the more appropriate comparison because DFER and its affiliates are dominated by hedge fund managers and other Wall Street financiers.
Of course, we don’t know who donated the $200,000. That’s a secret. They’re not saying.
Independent expenditures PACs are supposed to promote the values they are organized to support, but the first DFER mailing doesn’t mention education. Independent expenditures PACS are not allowed to coordinate with the candidate’s campaign, but the mailing imitates Cheung’s own mailings.
What can $200,000 in dark money buy? In ten days we’ll know if it can buy a seat in the Massachusetts Senate.
Pay with one click, avoid additional bank fees, and track your gaming budget!
Today, we're rolling out the GOG Wallet, a highly-requested quality-of-life feature aimed at gamers who frequently face international bank fees, use pre-paid debit cards, or prefer the extra convenience and control over their budget.
The GOG Wallet is designed to be user-friendly and flexible: top-up your Wallet with any amount between 5 USD and 500 USD (or the local equivalent) using any payment method; if you're using a pre-paid card, or you're just a bit short on Wallet funds, you can easily combine GOG Wallet funds with other payment methods during checkout. It's easy, fast, and totally safe.
Additionally, any store credit earned with the Fair Price Package (if a product costs more in your country than in the US, we always make up the difference) will now be automatically added to your GOG Wallet funds. Nobody likes to take time out of their gaming to do math, so we're doing it for you!
To kickstart your GOG Wallet and learn about the details, make your way to www.gog.com/wallet.
Crabs with Beach Trash Homes is a series I am currently working on. I photograph Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus) on local beaches in Okinawa, Japan, that have begun to use beach trash as their shell.
The crabs are photographed both in their natural environment and also on white for the Meet Your Neighbours global biodiversity project. The images are used for environmental awareness and educational purposes.
Most of these crabs are blue but they occasionally have color variations of purple, pink, orange and or gray. They prefer to have a seashell as a protective home, but when no shell is available they adapt.
Before plastic caps filled our shorelines, hermit crabs adapted using tree nuts if no shells were available.
It’s becoming more common to find crabs with beach trash homes. I have friends combing local beaches in search of more crabs for my series. While these are cute images, our trash is becoming a serious problem to the ocean and the animals that call the shoreline home. I often find hermit crabs using a variety of plastic caps from twist top pet bottles, laundry detergent containers, small propane tanks, sports water bottles and beauty supplies.
Limited number of available shells may be causing the crabs to make due with the best homes they can find. This is a good example of adaptive behavior.
Hermit crabs are very social animals and often fight over shells. Having a protective lightweight shell that covers the abdomen (soft parts of the animal) is crucial for survival.
Below are some of my favorite images photographed on a portable field studio board. The crabs are safely placed on a white studio board, photographed and released back into the natural environment.
It’s important to photograph the hermit crabs in their natural habitat. I prefer to photograph them using a wide-angle lens to achieve a unique perspective. I also photograph the hermit crabs using a dedicated macro lens. I mainly use the Canon 60 mm or 100 mm macro lens to concentrate on the subject. These crabs are fairly small and it’s important to have a lens that will focus close and deliver high quality sharpness.
Our trash is becoming a serious problem on our shorelines! Let’s keep our shorelines clean!
About the author: Shawn Miller is a wildlife photographer and naturalist who specializes in capturing the flora and fauna of Okinawa, Japan. Along with publications in scientific papers and magazines, his images were recently on display in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History as part of “Portraits of Planet Ocean.” His work has been featured in National Geographic Magazine. You can find more of his work on his website, blog, and Flickr. This article was also published here.
SpaceX and SES, an international communications satellite operator based in Luxembourg, have agreed to place the SES 10 television relay craft aboard the first launch of a reused “flight-proven” Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral as soon as October, the companies announced Tuesday.
The agreement ends SpaceX’s search for a customer to put a satellite aboard a previously-flown booster, and a successful demonstration of the launcher’s ability to fly multiple missions could persuade other companies to sign up for a flight on a reused rocket.
“Thanks for the longstanding faith in SpaceX,” SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk tweeted. “We very much look forward to doing this milestone flight with you.”
SES officials earlier this year said the company was willing to be first to put a payload aboard a used Falcon 9 first stage, even without a test flight. The global operator also signed up as the customer for the Falcon 9 rocket’s first launch to geostationary transfer orbit — the favored destination by most large telecom satellites — in December 2013.
“Having been the first commercial satellite operator to launch with SpaceX back in 2013, we are excited to once again be the first customer to launch on SpaceX’s first ever mission using a flight-proven rocket. We believe reusable rockets will open up a new era of spaceflight, and make access to space more efficient in terms of cost and manifest management,” said Martin Halliwell, chief technology officer at SES.
SES did not disclose whether it received a discount by agreeing to the launch. Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, said in March that the launch provider hopes to offer price reductions of as much as 30 percent to customers willing to launch their satellites on a reused rocket.
“Re-launching a rocket that has already delivered spacecraft to orbit is an important milestone on the path to complete and rapid reusability,” Shotwell said in a statement. “SES has been a strong supporter of SpaceX’s approach to reusability over the years and we’re delighted that the first launch of a flight-proven rocket will carry SES 10.”
On its website, SpaceX lists the price of a Falcon 9 rocket launch at $61.2 million, but industry sources say the California-based launch firm submits bids higher and lower than that figure, depending on the specific mission.
A 30 percent discount would put Falcon 9 prices near $43 million, at least compared to SpaceX’s online list price. Shotwell said further cuts could come as SpaceX improves on the time and cost of turning around flown rocket stages for another launch.
SpaceX and SES have not announced a target launch date for SES 10, but an official familiar with the launch manifest said in early August the contractual window for the launch opens in mid-October and runs through mid-November.
The launch of SES 10 is one of at least nine Falcon 9 rocket flights on SpaceX’s manifest before the end of the year. That rapid-fire launch schedule begins Saturday with the launch of the Amos 6 communications satellite for the Israeli telecom operator Spacecom Ltd.
“This new agreement reached with SpaceX once again illustrates the faith we have in their technical and operational expertise,” Halliwell said in a statement. “The due diligence the SpaceX team has demonstrated throughout the design and testing of the SES 10 mission launch vehicle gives us full confidence that SpaceX is capable of launching our first SES satellite dedicated to Latin America into space.”
SpaceX has recovered six Falcon 9 first stages since December 2015. Two of the 15-story rocket boosters have returned to land at Cape Canaveral, while the other four touched down on a landing platform positioned hundreds of miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean.
The first stage booster assigned to SES 10’s launch first flew April 8 with a Dragon supply ship heading for the International Space Station. The stage made a propulsive landing on SpaceX’s barge a few minutes after liftoff.
Engineers transported another Falcon 9 first stage, retrieved after the May 6 launch of the Japanese JCSAT 14 communications satellite, to SpaceX’s development facility in McGregor, Texas, for a series of tests.
The checkouts included three full-duration hotfire tests in late July of the first stage’s nine Merlin 1D engines conducted on three consecutive days. The tests were designed to verify the rocket can withstand the rigors of another launch.
SpaceX engineers already put the Merlin 1D engine through qualification tests aimed at proving the powerplant can launch multiple times. The recent testing focused on the suitability of the entire booster for another launch.
The Falcon 9’s second stage and nose fairing will be new for SES 10’s launch.
No SpaceX customer has been as bullish about reusability as SES.
SpaceX’s largest commercial customer, Iridium, said in June it ordered all-new Falcon 9 rockets for its 10 launches to deploy 70 low-altitude voice and message delay satellites beginning next month.
Intelsat, one of the world’s largest geostationary satellite operators alongside SES, has one launch reserved on a newly-built Falcon 9 rocket in the first quarter of 2017, when the Intelsat 35e satellite will launch from Cape Canaveral.
Ken Lee, Intelsat’s senior vice president of space systems, said in an interview with Spaceflight Now last week his company is taking a wait-and-see approach on reusability.
“We’ll see how that product evolves, and then we’ll make a decision at a later time,” Lee said. “We have to go through our full due diligence to satisfy ourselves that the risk is the same or lower than what they offer today.”
If the SES 10 launch is successful, and if SpaceX can meet its goal of an initial 30 percent price cut, more companies could be lured to place their costly payloads on a used Falcon 9 rocket.
Built by Airbus Defense and Space, the SES 10 satellite will provide direct-to-home television, enterprise and mobile communications services over Latin America. It will be the first SES satellite dedicated to the Latin America market, with 55 Ku-band transponders and a hybrid propulsion system consisting of electric plasma thrusters and a chemical system for initial orbit-raising after separation from the Falcon 9 in a preliminary egg-shaped geostationary transfer orbit.
SES plans to park the SES 10 satellite in geostationary orbit nearly 22,300 miles (35,800 kilometers) over the equator at 67 degrees west longitude.
The high-altitude destination needed for SES 10’s launch likely means the Falcon 9 first stage will have to land at sea again. SpaceX’s rockets can only return to the launch base at Cape Canaveral on low Earth orbit missions with light payloads.