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Thought Crime: UK Leadership Wants To Ban Predicted ‘Extremists’ From Social Media, TV, Events

Yes, if the government “reasonably believes” you engage in harassment at some point in the future, it can have you declared an extremist, bar you from TV and public events, and make sure that all your social media posts are pre-reviewed for approval. Supporters flat out admit that this would be done to get people who are currently doing things that are perfectly legal:

The new orders will be part of the Government’s “Prevent” strategy, which tackles the ideology behind the terrorist threat. So-called hate preachers, who currently stay just within terrorism legislation, will be one of the targets of banning orders and Extremism Disruption Orders (EDOs).


A stag-shaped Parthian drinking horn. 1 of about 4 similar horns currently on view at the Getty, I believe. 

Made of silver, gold, glass, and garnet, this stunning drinking vessel dates from 50 BC- AD 50.

The forepart of a stag emerges from the curving body of this gilt silver rhyton. The stag is very naturalistic and highly detailed, down to the rendering of veins in the snout. The wide inlaid eyes and the outstretched legs heighten the realism as the stag seemingly bolts in flight. The term rhyton comes from the Greek verb meaning “to run through,” and depictions of rhyta on Greek vases show that they were used to aerate wine. Wine poured into the top of the vessel came out of a spout between the animal’s legs. The spout on this example is now missing, but the hole remains visible.

Stylistic features suggest that this rhyton was made in northwest Iran in the period from 50 B.C. to A.D. 50. This region had been part of the Achaemenid Persian Empire until Alexander the Great’s conquest. After his death in 323 B.C., the Hellenistic Greek Seleucid dynasty, whose kingdom stretched from Turkey to Afghanistan, ruled this area. As Seleucid authority began to weaken In the later 200s B.C., a group of semi-nomadic people called the Parthians, from the steppes of south central Asia, challenged the dynasty and by the mid-100s B.C. had firm control of this area of Iran. This complicated political history left its legacy in the art of the area. Rhyta of this form had a long history in earlier art of Iran, but the floral motifs were drawn from Seleucid art. (getty)

Courtesy of & currently located at The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California. Via their online collections86.AM.753.


Called the “City of 1001 Churches,” Ani stood on various trade routes and its many religious buildings, palaces, and fortifications were amongst the most technically and artistically advanced structures in the world.

At its height, Ani had a population of 100,000–200,000 people and was the rival of Constantinople, Baghdad and Damascus. Long ago renowned for its splendor and magnificence, Ani was abandoned and largely forgotten following the earthquake of 1319.


How to Remove a Kidney Stone in the Middle Ages,

During the Middle Ages up to around 19th century, administration of medicine was left to all sorts of weird people, from learned physicians, to sketchy barber surgeons, to the village wise woman, to a wide variety of quack healers and doctors.  One forgotten member of Medieval medical profession was the lithotomist, a traveling surgeon who specialized in removing kidney stones.  For most, small stones could be easily, but painfully urinated out.  However for those who could not pass a stone, it became obvious that the stone would have to be removed surgically, a terrorizing and agonizing prospect for both kings and commoners alike.  

Since kidney stones are not as common as other ailments, a lithotomist tended to be traveling physicians who would journey from town to town in order to ply his trade.  He would take all of his equipment with him and was usually accompanied by an assistant, usually a young apprentice.  Unlike other medical professionals of the day, a lithotomist probably did know what he was doing, being specialized in one type or surgery using tried and true methods dating to ancient Greece, India, or the Middle East.  However, surgery before the invention of anesthetics was terribly painful, and there was no concept of “sterile technique” as it would be hundreds of years before the germ theory was first proposed.  Many a kidney stone suffering patient died in agony on the lithotomist’s table, a fact that caused many to avoid treatment.

To begin the surgery, the patient was placed in “lithotomy position”, a position used in childbirth today with the legs up and nether regions exposed to the air.  Sometimes a lithotomist might have a special table with leg stirrups, but if not a couple of villagers might be recruited to hold the patient’s legs.  A couple of other strong blokes may also be needed to restrain the patient.  Once in position, a hollow metal catheter was inserted into the urethra to empty the bladder of urine.  The catheter was also used to probe the bladder for the position of the stone, and acted as a way to manage the penis so it did not get in the way of the surgery.  Once this was accomplished the lithotomist either made an incision below the scrotum into the bladder, or went into the anus, through the colon into the bladder, depending on the position of the stone. Surgery on female patients typically needed to be done through the vaginal canal as the pubic bone prevented the lithomist from making any other incisions.  Once the opening was made, the lithotomist would fish out the offending stone, stitch up the incisions, and bloodlet the patient to insure he or she didn’t get an infection.


A crude and terribly invasive procedure, patients might suffer permanent damage to the bladder or urethra. In addition, the absence of antibiotics combined with a lack of cleanliness increased the risk of infection.  For centuries the technique of removing kidney stones pretty much stayed the same.  Then in the 18th and 19th centuries innovative physicians developed new and less invasive ways to remove kidney stones.  In the 18th century surgeons found ways to remove stones using incisions below the naval rather than way down under.  In the 19th century, surgeons invented the “lithotripsy”, where they either inserted a tool into the urethra or a small incision, then crushed the stone rather than removing it altogether.

Today, with modern medicine and modern anesthetics, the removal of kidney stone isn’t anywhere close to as horrifying as what our medieval ancestors faced. Today, doctors can even use a method called ESWL, a form of lithotripsy where high frequency sound waves are used to crush the stone. Ain’t we got it lucky?


pooh-bear and piglet


Let’s play a game called “Is it an anti-transhumanist Tumblr rant or the motive speech of an omnicidal B-movie supervillain?”


rob living the dream


Tim Burton and Lisa Marie Smith photographed by Mary Ellen Mark, 1997