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March 29 2017






i think amidst encouraging people to take their meds and trust their therapists we should also keep in mind that bad medication combinations and bad therapists do exist

if your mental health medication is making you feel numb/out of sync with the world/sad/paranoid/any number of other things (im just listing some that have happened to me) then your medication is not working right. medication is not supposed to make you gray and sad all the time

similarly if you’re feeling worse in therapy its okay to think about whether you really click with your therapist, oftentimes the first or second or even third therapist you try isnt the right one

ive been thinking about this a lot lately because theres been both a pushback against mental health treatment in general AND a pushback against that that boils down to “all doctors know best listen to them exclusively and therapists can do no wrong”

im on the right combination of meds for the first time in my life but it took ages to get here, and if i hadnt trusted myself in the past i never would have gotten this far. i guess what im trying to say is, have some nuance in how you think about mental health treatment because everyone has different experiences and accessibility levels with the systems in place. and if youre seeking treatment, trust yourself and do your best to find doctors/therapists you trust

This is very true. Advocate for yourself! Mental healthcare is much less cut-and-dry than I ever expected it to be and I’ve learned that sometimes you do actually know what’s best for yourself.

A lot of the time new medications/therapists take a few weeks to fit right, and you’ll be told to give it a chance, which is usually good advice. That said, if it keeps making you feel bad/flat/unlike yourself, or if you are not going to be able to make it those few weeks, yes, you can in fact say “no, this is not working, I need something else.” The idea that medication necessarily makes you not yourself is a myth.

Improper treatment sucks but it’s a reason to keep advocating for yourself, not to give up on getting proper help! @commanderfraya‘s a step ahead of me in terms of finding medication that works, but hearing about their/my rocky path to get there isn’t any reason to be discouraged, the idea is that you do eventually get there. You can and deserve to be well and feel good.

(Small qualification - if you’re going to stop a medication against doctor advice, please learn how to do so safely, and I’d recommend keeping your doctor in the loop - your mental state will change and they’ll need to know why, even if they haven’t been great at treating you. This is something I’ve done and I’m not down on it but you gotta do the research to keep yourself safe, yknow? Even if a medication’s severely messing you up, dropping off it improperly can be even worse. In my case a nurse was able to help me confirm the advice I’d found online when my psychiatrist wouldn’t entertain the idea of stopping the medication.)

good thoughts here re: being responsible with your meds!! you’re definitely not stepping on any toes, knowing how to responsibly manage your medication and monitor whether its working is super super important when taking care of your mental health

chiming in as a therapist here- There are definitely some therapists out there who are not good, and there are many therapists who are good, but not a good match for you. At the same time, though, it’s important to remember that therapy isn’t always going to be pleasant. Sometimes you’re going to be dealing with some really painful things that you haven’t had time or space or knowledge to face before, and it might feel worse before it feels better.

If you’re finding yourself struggling in therapy, and thinking about firing your therapist, the best course of action is to tell them that you’re thinking of leaving, and be honest about why. How they respond will tell you a lot about whether this is a good therapist. If they get defensive or dismissive of your concerns, feel free to gtfo and never look back. They might agree that you two aren’t a good match, and will help you find another therapist (this is the ethical thing to do). If they are a good therapist and feel that it’s not an issue of poor match, but just part of where you are in the process of therapy, they will work to connect, change their behavior where needed, and collaborate with you about what you are wanting to get out of therapy.

 If you bring up problems with therapy/the therapeutic relationship and you leave the session more hurt and confused, then it’s a good sign it’s time to find a new therapist. If you bring up problems and you leave the session feeling calmer and more connected with the therapist, then you’re on the right track and should consider sticking it out. 

I can use myself as an example of a time in therapy when therapy might feel bad but not be harmful for you. I struggle a LOT with trusting parental figures/authority figures, and there have been times in my life when I’ve been activated around this issue for MONTHS at a time. During those times, I avoid therapy, find excuses for why my therapist “cannot be trusted,” and nitpick every single thing my therapist does that I don’t like, up to and including the fact that she doesn’t pluck her eyebrows and wears shoes I find unattractive. When this happens, it’s about me and my issues, not how skilled or compatible my therapist is.

That said, many therapists are legit untrustworthy. Many therapists, just like any other group of people, are bigoted or abusive in their personal lives, and this can bleed through into their clinical work. Many may just lack the specialization you need, or lack emotional “chemistry” with you. It can be really hard to figure out when a desire to leave a therapist is your own stuff coming up, and when it’s your intuition telling you your therapist is not the right one for you or is actively harmful.

This is why I tell people to interview therapists over the phone or by email before seeing them in person. You can tell a lot about a person just from the sound of their voice and the way they talk to you in a fifteen-minute phone call. 






I have spent an inordinate amount of time lately thinking about vampire boners.

The thing is, a vampire getting an erection is no more implausible than a vampire walking around. A penis works because of blood flow, but so do feet? And honestly, it takes a lot more effort for a heart to get blood all the way to the feet than just down the trunk to the penis. Or if not blood, whatever *wiggles fingers* makes them walk could certainly also pop a boner.

@thebibliosphere care to weigh in? I feel like you might have given this some thought. For reasons.

So the thing is…vampires aren’t empty of blood. Blood takes a while to go through the system and replenish, so even if they were draining themselves of blood every time they went to the bathroom (unlikely), it’d still take them maybe, about… I think it’s 8 weeks?—based on how long it takes for the human body to replace lost platelets from donating whole blood—before they’d need to feed again and drink a whole person.

(Which is why sensible vampires top up with the odd pint every other week, no one likes having an entire village come after you with pitchforks every eight weeks) 

Depending on where you are in the world there’s a few myths as to why they drink blood, some say it’s to do with the power of the soul and drinking the literal life force for occult powers, others attribute it to their bodies being dead so they can’t process solids so it’s a bit like an extremely liquidy blood pudding for energy. Like the atkins diet but liquid.

Personally I like to believe vampires are just a little bit shit at creating and retaining their own hemoglobin levels, in much the same way I was when I was chronically anemic due to dietary issues caused by malabsorption in the gut.

 Which I mean, bright light hurts, you spend all your time asleep, you’re craving things high in iron, foods with sulfur in them hurt your stomach (and can also contribute to anemia) and your circulation has gone to shit so you’re always cold and you’ve got enough bags under your eyes to get charged extra air fair and your libido has died a death, and up pops Not Like Other Girls who thinks she’s a Plain Jane—and the girl just seems to generate *drama*—and wants to  “save” you but only if you give her a ride on your eldritch boner, like yea okay Susan, I’d probably just eat you instead too then go back to playing video games in the dark before calling out for pizza. 

This all makes sense to me. But there are some people out there who say that vampire erections are unrealistic *stare* because of the blood flow involved. Like, literally that’s how feet (and all body parts) work? Blood carries oxygen to the feet and then circulates back out. So surely if blood can get all the way down to the feet and come all the way back up, a short trip to the penis is nbd.

I’m inclined to agree with you there. The whole trope that vampires need to feed to have an erection is just hamming up to the whole predatory prey fascination people have with them, which I frankly find boring.

But then I also spent five years of my life (I was an erotica editor when Twilight was it it’s height- help me) editing nothing but vampire novels that revolved around that trope so I’m somewhat braindead when it comes to whole “oh no, he’s a monster but I’m so attracted to him, better let him bite me so we can bone and then go through unnecessary drama because I’m just the product of lazy writing…” spiel. 

March 28 2017





Stop censoring the words people are using to blacklist, you are actually exposing people to the word/subject you think you’re protecting them from. If rape is on my blacklist and you have an in depth account of rape and you used r*pe for everything, I WILL NOW BE EXPOSED TO IT because my blacklist DIDN’T BLOCK IT because YOU CHANGED THE WORD.

To add: Censoring is only really necessary when it comes to a slur your cannot reclaim, but you still need to at least tag the post with the themes so anyone who has, say, antiblack violence blacklisted for instance, won’t be exposed to what it is that triggers them.

I would really appreciate it if people could reblog this instead of ignoring it because this IS becoming a wide spread problem. I have had several panic attacks over the last month due to things that are on my blacklist not being caught specifically because of people censoring the black list word. Blacklists can pick up on words inside posts, but they can’t pick up on those words when you change one or more letters to a star.

Stop censoring words in posts that aren’t slurs, you are not protecting us from exposure, you are forcibly exposing us to it. You are doing precisely the opposite of helping us.

this also applies to slashes & periods inserted into words




I know cats have a stigma of being evil little robots who care for nobody but themselves. I don’t deny that there are some out there like this. But in defense of the large majority of darling cats who have been given a bad name due to the wicked few, I would like to tell you a story…

I am asthmatic. I’m not as bad as some; my asthma is generally well-controlled, and I don’t have much trouble with it on a daily basis. However, as all asthmatics know, getting sick becomes a nightmare. Even a small cold can turn into a days-long asthma attack, one that is very painful, and very annoying for me and those around me. The asthma cough sounds like an ill seal at best, or an angry moose with a nasal condition at worst. Y'all with asthma, and y'all with asthmatic friends, know exactly what I’m talking about. The bark. The hack. The Cough Heard Round The World. It’s painful, it’s loud, and it doesn’t stop. Even the rescue inhaler can only do so much to calm it. It just has to run its course with the cold.

Well, this week I caught the crud, and in the past few days it deteriorated into The Cough. Last night, I took some NyQuil to try and stave it off for as long as I could, just to try and get some sleep. That meant that for a few hours, I was cough-free. After that, I was still doped up enough to sleep through some of it. However, by 2am the sleep aid had worn off and The Cough woke me up. Since lying down makes it worse, and I didn’t want to wake my sister, I sneaked out of my bedroom into the living room, where I sat on the recliner and proceeded to hack up a lung while I waited for my next dose of NyQuil to kick in. That is when I noticed Simon.

Simon is a Russian Blue with a masterful resting-witch-face and an attitude to match. She (yes, she’s a girl, that’s another story) is old, fat, proprietary, and attitudinal. She isn’t shy about telling you when she is displeased, and does so with a loud shriek and some teeth or claws thrown in. She is convinced she owns the place, and owns all of us in turn. She is particular about where you can pet her, like most cats; and, like most cats, she loves her sleep and hates to be woken up.

And of course, my hacking woke her up.

Attempting to whisper an apology in between bouts of coughing, I noticed she was getting off her perch atop the chair nearby. She stretched, made a little squeaking sound, and trotted over to me.

I expected her to demand petting as payment for having woken her precious sleep, but she did not. Instead, this traditionally cranky dragon of a cat did something that amazed me.

She began to purr loudly, and sat herself directly on my aching chest. She kneaded my sternum softly, and nosed my chin as if to say, “I’ve got this, you sleep.” Even though I was still coughing, and bouncing her horridly in the process, she remained settled on my chest right above my diaphragm, purring loudly so that it vibrated through my ribs. I don’t know what magic spell she was chanting between her boat-like purrs, but within minutes my cough had subsided and I was able to sleep.

I didn’t wake up until about 4:30. When I did, it was to discover that my lap and chest were devoid of Simon’s presence, and I was coughing again. As I started coughing once more, I heard her familiar “I’m here” squeak from the area of the water dish. I heard some hurried lapping, and then her heavy gallop across the floor. She flumped onto my lap again, and resumed her purring and kneading. She had evidently been doing that for the past 2 hours, and had only left to get some water. Hydrated, she had returned to take care of me.

So yes, she has her share of evil, jerk-cat moments, but I can no longer pretend that Simon is entirely heartless. For that matter, I now refuse to believe that about any cat. Just because they act like a jerk doesn’t mean that they don’t love you.

Awwww! My cats do stuff like this, too! Like if I’m in a lot of pain from scoliosis, Addie and Babybel will lie down with me, often on the painful area, and the heat decreases the pain somewhat. Addie does the same thing by sitting on my stomach when I have period cramps. I think they experience concern for their humans, too because my little guy Jack seems to know when I’m about to have an episode of sensory overload, sometimes even before I know it! He gets all cuddly with me a few minutes or hours before it begins, and doesn’t leave my side until I calm down.


Seeing as World Autism Awareness Acceptance Day is coming up on the 2nd of April here’s some reminders for allistics (non-autistic people)!

  • Do not support Autism Speaks, they treat autism like a disease and a burden and talk over actual autistic people when we disagree with them. Instead consider supporting organisations run by autistic people, such as the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and the Autism Women’s Network!
  • Support #RedInstead not #LightItUpBlue. (#LightItUpBlue was started by Autism Speaks while #RedInstead was started by autistic people as an alternative).
  • Don’t use the puzzle piece to represent autism (again, Autism Speaks does this - implies autistic people are a “puzzle” needing to be solved). Many autistic people prefer to use the rainbow-coloured infinity symbol!
  • Don’t tell autistic people to use “person first language” (i.e. “person with autism” as opposed to “autistic person”). Let them decide how they wish to describe themselves!
  • Autism has most likely always existed, it just wasn’t recognised until the early 20th century. Also no, autism is not caused by vaccines.
  • Remember that autistic children become autistic adults. Autism is stereotyped as being a children’s disability and resources are often tailored exclusively to autistic children and/or their families, completely ignoring autistic adults.
  • The terms “low functioning” and “high functioning” are generally considered to be outdated in addition to being problematic in that they are often used to deny autistic people resources/self-agency (i.e. “you’re too high functioning to need help!” “you’re too low functioning to know what’s best for yourself!”). Autism is a wide spectrum which doesn’t have just a “high functioning” and “low functioning” end but rather several different areas which we may or may not struggle with (e.g. sensory processing, social interaction/communication, organisational skills, etc) which can even differ depending on our mood, stress levels, etc. 
  • Please don’t use “autism”/”autistic” as an insult (or r*tard/r*tarded).
  • Please don’t tell us how we “don’t look autistic”. That’s not a compliment.
  • Please be patient with autistic people if we’re having trouble understanding what you mean or having difficulty accomplishing certain tasks. We’re trying our best!
  • Ask an autistic person you know about their special interest(s)!
  • Listen to autistic people when we talk about our experiences!

Many thanks if you reblog this post! Also, any autistic people please feel free to add to this post! (or point out if I’ve made any mistakes) ❤️

‘Lion King’ Remake: Donald Glover Cast as Simba, James Earl Jones as Mufasa



When you instantly can’t even be mad about a live action remake because it’s already looking perfect as hell.

How amazing is it to be James Earl Jones and do this film twice in the span of his career? Like wow.


when the jedi were shocked that anakin had turned to the dark side

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It’s time


This is what clocks look like in hell.

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The Element EVERYTHING in Your Story Needs


To all the writers who have ever felt lost, alone, and completely confused during the labyrinthine journey that is writing anything, and felt like screaming this at your story …


There’s hope.

There’s a light at the end of that darn tunnel. First, let me describe how I used to fight my way out of these periods of confusion and hopelessness. 

Usually, I would try to force myself to get back into the groove of the story. I would reread it, and be yelling at myself in my head, “Remember why you love it! LOVE your book again! Keep reading and FALL IN LOVE, damn it!” I’d go over descriptions, bits of dialogue, banter between the characters. I’d go over settings and imagery, and try to make myself remember how much they’d once excited me. I’d read things that had made me laugh when I typed them, sentences that I was particularly proud of, paragraphs that made me feel particularly clever. But the thing was, it didn’t work. 

I didn’t care.  


What was the problem? The problem was some of those descriptions, settings, images, and witty episodes of bantering had no Story Reason to be there. They were just there because they amused me. Just because I found the imagery beautiful. Just because I found a sentence or joke really clever and wanted to share my wit with the world. But the world didn’t care about my wit. Because the world (the people reading my book) knew subconsciously that there was no story to give that so-called witty sentence substance and meaning. I could create the most breath-taking images, I could make the most well-rounded living and breathing character, I could make a setting that you wanted to run away from home and live inside … and it didn’t matter. If the thing didn’t have a purpose for being there within the narrative, nobody cared. And I didn’t either. 

So what is a Story Reason? 

Everything in a story exists to support one of three things. 

1. The A-story: The surface plot, the quest of the main character to achieve a specific tangible goal. What the story is about on the surface. 

2. The B-Story: The love story, or relationship of the thing. Usually this relationship is instrumental in causing the third element, which is …  

3. The Character Arc. The theme of the story, the purpose, the piece of truth the story seeks to prove to the main character and the audience. 

If something in a story doesn’t contribute to the progress of these three, there’s no reason we should care about it. It has no point. Because in the end, all we care about is the story!

When it comes to scenes, story reason means continuity. It means the way the story unfolds logically. If every scene is there for a darn good reason, the scenes after and before will make total sense, they’ll connect seamlessly, a steady progression of events. Every scene’s turn triggers the next scene. 

And to do this, every scene must be able to be linked with three words: Because of that.

Because of the turn of one scene … 

The next scene happens. 

And because of the turn of that scene the next scene happens.

To illustrate how this works, let’s look at a small movie you might have heard about called Zootopia. (Thanks to @inked-withlove for the movie suggestion!)

So let’s start at this point, the turn of the scene with Clawhauser and Judy searching the file on Emmitt Otterton. 

Turn: “I have a lead.“ 


Because of that …

Judy has to get Nick to tell her what he knows about Otterton.


Turn: It all goes poorly, and now Nick and Judy are stuck together by an incriminating adorable carrot recorder. (The B Story, the relationship, has intertwined with the A Story.)


Because of that …

Nick takes Judy to the place he saw Otterton go, a place he thinks will cause her to give up. 

Turn: She doesn’t quit, she marches right in. (B Story: Nick sounds surprised, and a little impressed, that she didn’t back down.)


Because of that … 


She has to question a rude yoga-performing elephant. 

Turn: Though the elephant is absolutely no help, the seemingly addled yak is more than helpful – he even remembers the license plate number of the car Emmitt left in. 


Because of that …

Nick thinks his part in this endeavor is complete. But Judy remembers that she’s not in the system yet, and thus can’t run a plate. Nick, however, can. And he’s going to, or else. 

Turn: It just so happens that he has a pal at the DMV. 


Because of that …


Sloths. He takes her to a DMV run by sloths and wastes as much of her precious dwindling time as he can.

Turn: “It’s night?!”


Because of that …

Legitimate Enterprise Car Service (at least that’s what it’s called in the screenplay) is closed. Judy doesn’t have a warrant and Nick is enjoying her suffering tremendously. After a spat, she tosses the carrot over the fence instead of handing it to him.

Turn: Because she has now seen a shifty low-life climbing the fence, she has probable cause, and doesn’t need a warrant. She can go in. (B Story: Nick is looking at her with more respect.)


Because of that …

They find the car and begin investigating. The car is a crime scene; claw marks everywhere, the missing otter’s wallet … and a cocktail glass etched with a “B”.

Turn: And it all adds up for Nick. This car belongs to Mr Big, a notorious crime boss. And his polar bear henchman are right outside. They grab Judy and Nick and yank them off screen. 


Because of that  …

Judy and Nick are wedged between the bear henchman, on their way to face Mr Big. 

Turn: Nick sold him a very expensive rug that happened to be made from the fur of a skunk’s butt. Or in other words, Mr Big really doesn’t like Nick.


Because of that …

They wait fearfully for Mr Big to appear, and even when he’s revealed to be a tiny shrew, Nick still launches into obsequious and panicked mode. He tries talking his way out of it, but Mr Big really REALLY doesn’t like him. And when Judy shouts at him that she’s a cop and she has evidence on him –

Turn: “Ice ‘em.”


Because of that …


“No icing anyone at my wedding!” Fru Fru Shrew is not a happy camper. Father and daughter bicker about his promise of no murder on her wedding day, and the fact that “I have to, baby. Daddy has to.” Until – 

Turn: “She’s the bunny who saved my life yesterday. From that giant doughnut!” Well, Judy is now in Mr Big’s good books. He’s going to pay her kindness forward. Nick is floored. 


I’m gonna stop there.

SO! After going through that analysis of how the scenes are linked together, let’s abandon the “everything needs a story reason to be in there” rule, and see what happens. 

After the scene where Judy and Nick reluctantly join forces, we could add a scene where Nick is trying to remember the name of the place, and where it is. Then we could have them asking around, searching the city, refusing to ask for directions, lots of banter. THEN we can finally get to The Mystic Springs Oasis.

And after they get the plate number, maybe Nick grabs the carrot pen and makes a run for it. Then we can have a chase scene, but he gets away. Then we can have Judy trying to run the plate on her own, before realizing she isn’t in the system, and failing. Then we can have a scene where she has to track down Nick again. Then a scene where she figures out how to blackmail him into it. THEN they finally get to the DMV. 

And you know what would have happened then?

Zootopia would have made everyone bored. 

All of these inserted scenes are unnecessary. Sure, they might add conflict, add complications to Judy’s quest, but they’re ultimately just filler. They’re just there for the sake of bulking out the story. This is why that tip I hear so often in writing circles always perplexes me: “Figure out the worst possible thing that can happen to your character, then do that.” If people went with this rule, they’d just keep throwing terrible things at the characters for no apparent reason, one after another, and the reader or audience would be expected to be entertained by it (but wouldn’t be). It would be like cartoons before Mickey Mouse came along and applied story to animation: before, cartoons were just gag after gag, slapstick situations mashed together like a funny video compilation. Except with books and movies, it would just be conflict-heavy situations strung together, taking an inordinate amount of time to make any actual progress.  

Once you make sure everything has a purpose within the narrative, things get so much better.  And I find, when I reread my work I don’t have to scream at myself to “love your book or else” if everything has a reason for being there. And instead of feeling like yelling at my story like an angry overworked crab, I feel a lot more like this gif.


I hope it works for you too.

Measles making comeback as parents opt out of vaccines







I am. So angry.

Listen to me.

I do not care whether or not you believe vaccines cause autism. Even though studies have shown time and time again that vaccines don’t cause autism and the original study stating that there was a link with autism and vaccines was fraudulent, it does not matter.

The reason that people are concerned about vaccines causing autism is because they’re not thinking of the long-term. Here’s the truth: when you are choosing to not having your child vaccinated because you’re afraid of autism, you are actively choosing death over a neurodevelopmental disorder. Let me phrase that in another way – you are either picking autism or death. It doesn’t have to be the death of your child. It can be literally any child. And death is the worst case scenario. Autism is not the worst case scenario. Death is always and will constantly be the worst case scenario.

There are children who are too young to get vaccines. There are kids who have compromised immune systems that cannot get vaccines. Your child getting vaccinated prevents these illnesses from spreading and keeps those children safe. It’s called community immunity and it’s important to maintain that so people don’t die.

tl;dr - Stop being a selfish asshole and get your kids vaccinated. There are worse things in the world than autism.

And before anyone starts coming to my inbox screaming about how “I don’t know how bad autism can be”, I know. Not only do I have a neurodevelopmental disorder, but I also had a friend with a severely autistic brother that could not talk when he was fifteen. I know. And even after witnessing him and being through my own shit, I would still get my kids vaccinated because I want them, and other kids, to live.

WTF, people.

Why the fuck do you think that your fear of autism (ungrounded, btw), beats someone else’s RIGHT TO LIVE?!?!

You don’t want to vaccinate your kid. Goody gumdrops.

You expose your godchild - who’s too young to be vaccinated.

You expose your sister-in-law - who is going through chemo (because having cancer isn’t bad enough), and immunocompromised.


Number of people killed by symptoms associated with autism diagnoses: 0.

Number of people killed by measles in 2015: 134,000

Number of people killed per annum before vaccination became widespread in 1980: 2,600,000 (paraphrased from WHO).

(Source: World Health Organization. http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/)


Measles is not harmless. Researchers noticed that after the measles vaccine came out, kids started dying less from other diseases as well. It turns out that measles suppresses your immune system for YEARS (and no, no amount of vitamin C or zinc is going to make up for that).

Source (on mobile so these are going to be ugly links) NPR article (easier reading, you don’t have to be a scientist): http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/05/07/404963436/scientists-crack-a-50-year-old-mystery-about-the-measles-vaccine
Article in Science (a very highly ranked journal): http://science.sciencemag.org/content/348/6235/694


Re blogging for the cartoon tho omfg

Also, here are the complications from measles:

  • Ear infections occur in about one out of every 10 children with measles and can result in permanent hearing loss.
  • As many as one out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the most common cause of death from measles in young children.
  • About one child out of every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain) that can lead to convulsions and can leave the child deaf or with intellectual disability.
  • For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it.
  • Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is a rare degenerative central nervous system disease believed to be due to persistent measles virus infection of the brain. Onset occurs an average of 7 years after measles (range 1 month–27 years), and occurs in five to ten cases per million reported measles cases. The onset is insidious, with progressive deterioration of behavior and intellect, followed by ataxia (awkwardness), myoclonic seizures, and eventually death. SSPE has been extremely rare since the early 1980s.

 So you’re willing to gamble that your child (or someone else’s child) might go deaf, become intellectually disabled, develop a fatal degenerative nervous system disease, or die either from pneumonia or be killed by measles itself, rather than get your kid (or yourself) vaccinated. Uh-HUH.

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imagine presenting this in a class full of straight people

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drained of blood, the heart is white


No, that is NOT what this is. You’ve taken an amazing medical invention, a total game changer, and made up some stupid, faux-deep sentence fragment for it that is a complete falsehood. You should be embarrassed and ashamed, honestly.

This is a ghost heart. What they’ve done is taken a pig heart and stripped it down to, basically, a cell framework that they can use to BUILD A NEW HEART UPON. You could inject stem cells into this framework so that a newly formed personalized heart can be transplanted into a donor with a significantly reduced chance of rejection. FUCKING AMAZING. It’s not been done with human tissue yet, but the promise this given to people who need hearts - or kidneys or livers or whatever - is beautiful. Science is beautiful.

And it’s IMPERATIVE to mention that a woman, Doris Taylor, at the Texas Heart Institute developed this. And she started with a rat heart and worked up to he bigger, more complex (and more human) pig heart. What a total bad ass.

So look, quit making shit up, learn to do a reverse image search on stuff you find on the internet, and STOP ERASING WOMEN IN SCIENCE.

Re-blogging for @xhangryx ’s commentary

Yes. This is a ghost heart. And it is fucking *amazing*.

I worked as a research vet tech at the Texas Heart Institute lab for several years. Basically, I watched patients all night, acted as an ICU nurse to give meds and monitor vitals and handle emergencies, and collected study data for the primary researchers.

Since there were usually only 2 of us there at night, we also sometimes had to help with other experiments in the back rooms that needed monitoring or needed to have simple steps completed overnight. Which means I got to help *make* these amazing things a couple times, when they were testing some minor methodology points and not doing the stripping in the careful sterile tank system they use for hearts that will be regrown, and instead doing it in a big bucket in the back of my lab.

What you’re essentially looking at is the connective tissue of the heart- collagen, fibrous tissue, etc, with all the DNA containing cells removed by a simultaneously simple and complicated washing process.

Then, up in the stem cell lab (I worked in the basement surgical lab, so I never got to do this part, the closest I ever came to helping with stem cells themselves is drawing blood to send up for stem cell harvesting), they’d take these stripped down pig heart frameworks… And use COW stem cells, isolated and multiplied from a cow down in my lab, to grow a new full heart.

So it became a *trans species* heart. Pig to cow. Which demonstrates the ability to go from pig to *human*.

Before I left, the collab between Dr. Taylor’s stem cell team and the surgical research team I worked for had progressed to implanting those newly grown pig-to-cow hearts inside the cows they were grown for, alongside the cow’s original heart, all plugged into the circulatory system. We were looking for signs of rejection, and seeing if the last tricky part of regrowth (growing the endothelial lining of the heart) could be finished via stem cell infusion after implantation. But we had cows with two genetically identical hearts. And sometimes the newly grown hearts would start spontaneously contracting alongside the originals, even though we weren’t actually trying to make them *work* like that yet.

It was fucking amazing. And it’s *gonna work eventually*.

I also got to see a LOT of work with incredible artificial hearts while I was there, but that’s another story.

But for real. This project is a large part of why I left the lab and gave up being a research vet tech… because I’m now back in school to get my biochem/molecular biology degrees and go to grad school so that I can be one of the people actually running this sort of research instead of down in the basement below the basement collecting data and staring at cows and never getting to do the extra awesome science.

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A Russian farmer thought he found 4 stray kittens behind his barn, but he’d actually come across a litter of Pallas’ cats. After realizing they looked like no kittens he’d ever seen, he left them with a nature reserve, where 2 house cats immediately treated them as their own, fed them, and took care of them until they could be released back into the wild. Source Source 2 Source 3

March 27 2017

You know what’s really depressing?



A serotonin imbalance 

too real

Humans Are Weird













So there has been a bit of “what if humans were the weird ones?” going around tumblr at the moment and Earth Day got me thinking. Earth is a wonky place, the axis tilts, the orbit wobbles, and the ground spews molten rock for goodness sakes. What if what makes humans weird is just our capacity to survive? What if all the other life bearing planets are these mild, Mediterranean climates with no seasons, no tectonic plates, and no intense weather? 

What if several species (including humans) land on a world and the humans are all “SCORE! Earth like world! Let’s get exploring before we get out competed!” And the planet starts offing the other aliens right and left, electric storms, hypothermia, tornadoes and the humans are just … there… counting seconds between flashes, having snowball fights, and just surviving. 

To paraphrase one of my favorite bits of a ‘humans are awesome’ fiction megapost: “you don’t know you’re from a Death World until you leave it.” For a ton of reasons, I really like the idea of Earth being Space Australia.

Earth being Space Australia Words cannot express how much I love these posts

Alien: “I’m sorry, what did you just say your comfortable temperature range is?”

Human: “Honestly we can tolerate anywhere from -40 to 50 Celcius, but we prefer the 0 to 30 range.”

Alien: “……. I’m sorry, did you just list temperatures below freezing?”

Human: “Yeah, but most of us prefer to throw on scarves or jackets at those temperatures it can be a bit nippy.” 

Other human: “Nah mate, I knew this guy in college who refused to wear anything past his knees and elbows until it was -20 at least.”

Human: “Heh. Yeah everybody knows someone like that.”

Alien: “……. And did you also say 50 Celcius? As in, half way to boiling?”

Human: “Eugh. Yes. It sucks, we sweat everywhere, and god help you if you touch a seatbelt buckle, but yes.” 

Alien: “……. We’ve got like 50 uninhabitable planets we think you might enjoy.” 

“You’re telling me that you have… settlements. On islands with active volcanism?”

“Well, yeah. I’m not about to tell Iceland and Hawaii how to live their lives. Actually, it’s kind of a tourist attraction.”

“What, the molten rock?”

“Well, yeah! It’s not every day you see a mountain spew out liquid rocks! The best one is Yellowstone, though. All these hot springs and geysers from the supervolcano–”


“Shit, man, we swim in the groundwater near them.”

Sounds like the “Damned” trilogy by Alan Dean Foster.

“And you say the poles of your world would get as low as negative one hundred with wind chill?” 

“Yup, with blizzards you cant see through every other day just about.”

“Amazing! when did you manage to send drones that could survive such temperatures?”

“… well, actually…”

“… what?”

“…we kinda……. sent……….. people…..”




“we sent-”

“no yeah I heard you I just- what? You sent… HUMANS… to a place one hundred degrees below freezing?”


“and they didn’t… die?”

“Well the first few did”


My new favorite Humans are Weird quote


aka The History of Russia

aka Arctic Exploration

aka The History of Alaska

Being from Alaska, this was sort of how I felt going to college in the lower 48′s and learned that no one else had been put through a literal survival camp as a regular part of their school curriculum, including but not limited to:

1. Learning to recognize all forms of animal tracks in the wild so you can avoid bears and moose and search out rabbits and other small animals to eat.

2. Extensive swimming and climbing on glacial pieces with competitions to see who could last the longest, followed by a group sit in the sauna so we wouldn’t get hypothermia (no, not kidding, I really did this many times as a kid!)

3. How to navigate using the stars to get back to civilization.

4. How to select the right type of moss from the trees to start a fire with damp wood (because, y’know, you’re in a field of snow. Nothing is dry.)

5. How to carve out a small igloo-like space to sleep in the snow to preserve body heat and reduce the windchill so you won’t freeze to death in the arctic.

“I’m telling you, I don’t think we need to worry about territory conflicts with the humans. You know all those deathtrap hell-worlds in the Argoth Cluster?”
“Those worthless rocks? Yeah.”
“80% of them are considered ‘resort destinations’ by those freaky little primates.”

This would be an interesting read if this was a book.

Like, an alien invasion is about to start and the book is a chronicle of how the aliens couldn’t handle both humans in general and the range of environments and ended up being destroyed through the eyes of one of the aliens.

Like a caption from the book would be something like

“So we sent a recon team to this place called Russia, but all we’ve heard back thus far is about the temperatures, giant monsters with fur the humans call “Bears”, and that once again, we have been reminded of how heavily well armed almost ever human settlement is.

Thus far we have lost more than a good chunk of our forces through experiments gone wrong, unsuccessful fire fights, and above all else, the humans seem to be more worried about these strange variation of their species calling themselves “Clowns”.

I don’t know what a Clown is, but sounds as if it is the dominant faction of this planet, and considering we only just found out humans practically poison themselves with this thing called beer and only get stronger and more violent, I don’t ever want to encounter such a being.

I believe this invasion was a mistake.“

I’ve been reading a bunch of these and all I can think about now is aliens finding out about our insane ability to walk away from accidents.

“Human Colony SDO435**, this is Gxanimi survey vessel 3489. We regret that we must inform you that the wreckage of your ship ‘Gecko Flyer’ has just been detected on planet F56=K=. We offer expressions of sympathy for this catastrophe.”

“Shit, thanks for telling us, we’ll be right there.”


“To find our people, of course.”

“… you wish to retrieve the corpses for your traditional death rituals, of course, we understand. We have sent the coordinates.”

“What do you mean, bodies? No survivors at all? There must be some.”

“Official mouthpiece of Human Colony SDO435**, the ship has crashed. It has impacted the planet’s surface at speed. Moreover, this might have happened as much as five vek ago. We do not understand why you speak of ‘survivors’.”

“Oh, there’ll be survivors. There always are.”

“(closes hyperspace voicelink) How sad that they are unable to accept the reality of their loss.”


“Hey, Gxanimi survey vessel 3489, thanks for letting us know about the Gecko Flyer. More than half the crew made it!”

“Made what?”

“They survived! A couple of lost limbs and so on, but they’ll be fine.”

“… but that vessel was destroyed! Images have been examined!”

“Oh, well, everyone in the fore-below compartment was crushed, obviously, but the others made it out.”

“… but the crash was vek ago! Excuse we… at least eighty of your ‘days’! How could they survive without a ship? Without shelter and supplies?”

“Well, the wreckage gave them some shelter, and of course the emergency supplies kept them going until they could start growing stuff. It’s actually a nice little planet, they said. Quite a lot of edible flora and fauna. T-shirt weather, in summer, too.”

“What is… t-shirt weather?”

“Oh, you know, when it’s comfortable to go around with only modesty covering over the epidermis. Exposed limbs.”

“That planet is so cold that even water solidifies in its atmosphere!”

“Well, in winter, obviously. But we like that. Listen, our people have been raising crops down there, and that’s usually how we rule a planet as ‘colonized’…. is anyone else using it, or can we call it?”

“Er… we have claimed the warmer planets in the system, but we believe we could come to some arrangement.”


It was really nice, the humans thought, how carefully most of the aliens kept an eye out for downed ships after that, once they found out that humans tended to survive anything less than explosive decompression or… well, explosions generally. They’d immediately inform the nearest outpost of a wreck’s location, or even ship survivors back themselves. It was very thoughtful.

They didn’t find out until a long time later that the Gxanimi had put out the word to every species they were in contact with. It was vital that everyone knew the things they had learned about humans after that first encounter.

1. Humans can literally walk away from an impact that renders a space-worthy hull so much scrap and would have actually liquefied a Gxanimi.

2. Humans will eat just about anything not immediately fatal to them - including, in extremis, the corpses of their dead crewmates. In fact, most human vessels keep a list of those willing to be eaten and those whose socio-religious scruples forbid it. They have a ridiculously high tolerance for dangerous substances, and if they can breathe on a planet they can probably eat something on it too. They also have something they call the ‘Watney Protocol’, which requires them to carry live soil samples, seeds, and simple tools that will allow them to start farming their own native foodstuffs on any remotely habitable planet immediately in the event of an accident.

3. Once they’ve farmed a planet, they bond with it. They’ll be polite, but it’ll take significant effort to get rid of them even so.

Conclusion: If a human ship crashes on a planet you like and want to keep, get other humans to come and get them immediately. Remove them yourself if you have to. Even the worst crash can result in a thriving colony in a few vek.

And don’t, for the love of gravitational regularity, try to solve that problem by killing off the survivors. Just don’t. It won’t work and it just makes all the rest of them mad.

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