Nullary Sources

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Artist/photographer John Poppleton draws on women’s backs with UV paints and photographs them under black lights. (It might be kind of weird that he only draws on women because of “the beauty of the female form,” but that’s what he does.)

Here’s a time lapse video of him working on “Northern Lights on Mother & Daughter.” Watching full screen in the highest quality is recommended.

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How Gangs Took Over Prisons

Graeme Wood reporting for The Atlantic at a California prison:

At first, we seem to be watching a sullen but semi-random parade of terrifying men—heavily tattooed murderers, thieves, and drug dealers walking past one of five casual but alert guards. Some inmates, chosen for a strip search, drop their prison blues into little piles and then spin around, bare-assed, to be scrutinized. Once inspected, they dress and walk out into the yard to fill their lungs with oxygen after a long night in the stagnant air of the cellblock. The first Hispanic inmate to put his clothes on walks about 50 yards to a concrete picnic table, sits down, and waits. The first black inmate goes to a small workout area and stares out at the yard intently. A white guy walks directly to a third spot, closer to the basketball court. Another Hispanic claims another picnic table. Slowly it becomes obvious that they have been moving tactically: each has staked out a rallying point for his group and its affiliates.

Once each gang has achieved a critical mass—about five men—it sends off a pair of scouts. Two of the Hispanics at the original concrete picnic table begin a long, winding stroll. “They’ll walk around, get within earshot of the other groups, and try to figure out what’s going down on the yard,” Acosta says. “Then they can come back to their base and say who’s going to attack who, who’s selling what.”

Eventually, about 50 inmates are in the yard, and the guards have stepped back and congregated at their own rallying point, backs to the fence, with Acosta. The men’s movements around the yard are so smooth and organized, they seem coordinated by invisible traffic lights.

Take some time for this one, it’s a long’un.

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Here’s former Namco composer Junko Ozawa showing off her hand-drawn notebook of waveforms that she used when composing video game music in the ’80s.

This is from episode 1 of Diggin’ In The Carts, an in-progress documentary series by Red Bull Music Academy on video game music from Japan. The first episode covers Namco arcade games and Hirokazu Tanaka (Nintendo NES games), and the second covers Konami and Sunsoft NES games. There’s a lot of pretty good and actually accurate info in there and the photography’s real nice, I recommend it. Listen to bleeps and boops today!

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For Japanese Linguist, A Long And Lonely Schlep

I don’t remember how I ended up on this, but here’s a 2012 article by Lucy Craft for NPR:

In Japan, a linguist has toiled quietly for decades to compile the world’s first Yiddish-Japanese dictionary — the first time the Jewish language has been translated into a non-European language other than Hebrew.

[Kazuo] Ueda made several trips to Israel, but most of his research was a lonely, solo affair. Isolated from actual speakers of the language, he taught himself, with the help of Yiddish newspapers and literature.

Ueda would later publish a series of books on the Jewish language and people, but he considers that a prelude to his magnum opus — the 1,300-page, 28,000-entry Idishugo Jiten, or Yiddish-Japanese dictionary, published several years ago. His publisher wouldn’t release details but conceded sales are most likely tiny for the dictionary, which costs more than $700.

Now only $600 on Amazon.co.jp!

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Bay Area nudist resort accused of stealing 280,000 gallons of water

Veronica Rocha, the Los Angeles Times:

A nudist resort in Los Gatos struggling to stay afloat during California’s drought has been accused of stealing more than 280,000 gallons of water from a local creek, which authorities say sustains area wildlife.

But Lupin Lodge owners say they have a historic right to the water, which they said they have used since a drought in the 1970s and maintain to support fire suppression efforts.

Truly a crisis of the modern age.

Water rights are a serious deal during a drought, though.

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Mike Mahoney, Gamers in Beta:

Never Alone is a 1-2 player experience which chronicles the traditions of the Iñupiat people of the Arctic. In other words, the game is about Alaska Natives, their folklore, and this particular story, “Kunuuksaayuka” (Koo-nook-sah-yooka). A story which has been told for thousands of years. Players will be able to control both Nuna and the white fox. During the course of the game, the duo will have to use their own set of skills and unique abilities to solve puzzles and conquer various challenges. Along the way, they’ll encounter various characters taken from this heritage-laden story, such as Helping Spirits, Blizzard Man, Manslayer and more.

Not sure the game portion’s going to end up anything more than a typical multi-character platformer deal, but it’s great to see non-European/non-east Asian mythology in a game, and dang if that doesn’t look adorable.

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ISIS or ISIL? The debate over what to call Iraq's terror group

Ishaan Tharoor on The Washington Post's WorldViews blog:

If you’re following the ongoing crisis in Iraq, you’ve probably encountered the conflicting acronyms used for the jihadist group storming through the country. The Washington Post has been referring to the organization as ISIS, shorthand for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. This is how most news organizations that operate in English began identifying the outfit when it emerged as a dangerous fighting force two years ago, launching terror strikes and carving out territory amid the Syrian civil war.

But the acronym that’s now deployed by many agencies as well as the United Nations and the U.S. State Department — and President Obama — is ISIL, for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Etymology is always welcome here on Nullary Sources.

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Less than one half of one percent of articles in video game journalism explicitly mention feminist topics

Morgan Ramsay has a 7.1 GB database of news articles from video game media outlets, because that’s a totally normal thing to collect, and he decided to investigate whether video game journalism has been overwhelmed by feminism, as apparently sad people on the internet fear:

Of the 84,796 articles downloaded in 2013, only 0.4493% of those articles, published by 28 of the 33 tracked outlets, mentioned feminism, sexism, or misogyny and their -ist counterparts. Less than half of a percent!

Of the 65,950 articles downloaded during the first six months of 2014, only 0.4428% of those articles, published by 27 of the 33 tracked outlets, made similar references. Also less than half of a percent! But during a six-month period.

So that’s settled.

He’s also got the articles in a Personal Storage Table in Microsoft Outlook, because that’s a totally normal place to put this kind of data. Seriously, get a load of how convoluted it is to set this thing up.

Colin: oh my god pay for a real document database application

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Today’s music selection: “Swing Star Part 2” by Todd Terje, off his album It’s Album Time. Not much to say about this one, aside from that I hadn’t heard of Terje until a few days ago and I thought this song was kind of neat. Sometimes it’s just a dance music kind of day.