Information

What is this insect flying in my Los Angeles bathroom?


We live in the Los Angeles area. This insect has been very common in our bathrooms recently:

They're about 1/4" long, and can often be found resting on our towels. In the months leading up to December, we've been seeing them more and more.

  • Do they cause any harm?
  • Could they be responsible for the holes I've been finding in my shirts?
  • Even if they're just a nuisance, how can we get rid of them?

Looks like the common clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella). And, yes, the larvae (caterpillars) are likely the source of the holes in your shirts. You can purchase traps online or from hardware stores, or you can go the pesticide route if necessary (e.g., Delta Dust is available from online retailers). See this site for further info, or search the web for more info on this species. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tineola_bisselliella


What is this insect flying in my Los Angeles bathroom? - Biology

No, you are download the realm world. All your doing is placing down a couple new blocks then putting it back into the realm. No progress is lost.

I did this and then it started again 20 minutes later. Nothing new on the ticket

PS4 realms issue - Disconnected from server

This is a problem! I issued a ticket with Mojang and this is the bullshit line they gave:

Umija5895 [Mod] Umija5895M added a comment - 16/Jan/21 5:25 PM Thank you for your report! However, this issue is Invalid. Crashes such as these are logged automatically, this will therefore be investigated further by the development team internally.

Realms rollback problem

I’m having the same issue, ten player realm. I logged on with a different gamer tag on the same console and was able to play without issue. A different player with a different account is having the same rollback problem I am, completely different console. His problem started happening after I tried to log on while he was playing, almost as if I “infected” him with the bug.

Opened a ticket and they told me that crashes are already logged. What bullshit


UV-C wand touted as super-weapon against germs

For all the trouble they cause, bacteria and viruses are actually very fragile. Shower them with a little bleach or Lysol and they’ll die in apocalyptic waves. Make their homes too dry, too cold or too hot and they’ll drop like microscopic flies.

Ultraviolet light -- more specifically, short wavelength ultraviolet light, or UV-C -- kills germs too. In nature, UV-C is almost always absorbed by the atmosphere before it reaches Earth, but scientists have harnessed artificial UV-C rays to blast germs in labs, hospitals and water treatment plants.

If you’re afraid that germs have the upper hand in your kitchen or bathroom, you can bring the power of UV-C rays home. Several portable UV-C devices promise to help you kill bacteria and viruses wherever they hide.

One especially popular example is the UV-C Light Wand from Germ Guardian. The wand is 21 inches long and weighs 1 pound. Available at Lowe’s, Costco and online, it costs about $130. Germ Guardian also offers a Mini Sanitizer Wand that’s a little less than 12 inches long, weighs about a half-pound and costs about $60. Both types run on four AA batteries.

Users are encouraged to use the wand on all sorts of potentially germ-ridden places, including cutting boards, kitchen countertops, floors, waste baskets, doorknobs, remote controls, toys, motel bedspreads, toothbrushes and pet bowls. According to the Germ Guardian website, the device works best if held 2 inches away from the target for at least 20 seconds.

The Germ Guardian website claims that the wands “kill up to 99 percent of germs on surfaces using natural UV-C light -- not harmful chemicals.”

Chris Keller, marketing manager at Germ Guardian, says that “UV-C light is a proven technology for killing germs” that works well on any hard surfaces.

UV-C rays definitely kill germs, but it’s still not clear that sanitizing wands make homes significantly cleaner or healthier, says Elizabeth Scott, an assistant professor of biology at Simmons College in Boston and the co-director and founder of the Simmons Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community Settings, a research center.

“I don’t see a lot of potential for this kind of product,” Scott says. “We don’t have any evidence that these wands work.” Although many studies have investigated UV-C in labs, she says, no one to her knowledge has ever checked to see if portable devices can prevent diseases and infections in the home.

Even if the device really can kill 99% of germs on surfaces, that isn’t necessarily enough to prevent disease, Scott says. “For [disease-causing] germs, 99% isn’t enough. If you started with a million germs, you still have 10,000 that can make you sick.”

Dr. Donald Milton, a professor in the School of Health and Environment at the University of Massachusetts Lowell who studies industrial and clinical applications of UV-C, sees many obstacles to UV-C in the home.

For one thing, Milton says, UV-C wands wouldn’t do much to stop airborne germs, a potentially important cause of flu and other illnesses.

He also believes that the rays would have a difficult time reaching all of the nooks where germs hide. Even something as simple as a doorknob would have shadowy places where the light wouldn’t shine, he explains. And because UV-C rays don’t travel well through grease or grime, he says the wand would be only marginally helpful in the kitchen. “It might help a little bit, but washing would be a lot better and a lot cheaper.”

According to Keller, the wand works best when combined with more traditional cleaning strategies. For example, she recommends washing a cutting board with soap and water before using the wand.

Keller advises customers to use caution, because UV-C rays can damage skin and eyes. The wand automatically shuts off when turned upside down, but some users may still want to wear goggles to protect their eyes, she says.

Kelly Reynolds, an associate professor of public health at the University of Arizona in Tucson and a paid consultant for Germ Guardian, says the UV-C wand is a “great product,” although she’s never put it to any formal tests. “I’m a big promoter of disinfecting and sanitizing,” she says. “Plenty of studies show that UV-C kills germs.”

But the prospect of sanitizing a house 21 inches at a time with a UV-C wand strikes Scott as ridiculous. “They’re playing on people’s fears,” she says. “People’s logic flies out the window when their fears are aroused.”


New Year, New Top City on Orkin’s 2021 Bed Bug Cities List: Chicago

ATLANTA (February 1, 2021) &ndash Chicago has a new gold medal as the #1 city on Orkin&rsquos Top 50 Bed Bug Cities List, with Baltimore and Washington, D.C. trailing in second and third place. Despite less travel in 2020, bed bugs were still biting in Chicago, a popular hub for tourism. In fact, the Windy City usually welcomes more than 48 million visitors annually and boasts a transit system of buses and railways that carries 1.7 million passengers on any weekday 1 &ndash a dream for bed bugs.

After joining the list last year, Toledo saw the biggest jump moving up 23 spots to number 27. Denver and Charleston both broke into the top 20, and six new cities joined the top 50 list for the first time this year.

The list is based on treatment data from the metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments from December 1, 2019 &ndash November 30, 2020. The ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.

  1. Chicago (+2)
  2. Baltimore
  3. Washington, DC (-2)
  4. Detroit (+3)
  5. Columbus, OH
  6. Cleveland, OH (+5)
  7. Indianapolis (+2)
  8. Cincinnati
  9. Los Angeles (-5)
  10. Grand Rapids, MI (+8)
  11. Charlotte, N.C. (+9)
  12. New York (-6)
  13. Atlanta (-3)
  14. Philadelphia (-2)
  15. Champaign, IL (+1)
  16. Dallas-Ft. Worth (+1)
  17. Raleigh, N.C. (-3)
  18. Charleston, W.V. (+8)
  19. Pittsburgh
  20. Denver (+7)
  21. Flint, MI (+10)
  22. San Francisco (-9)
  23. Greenville, S.C. (-1)
  24. Norfolk, VA (-9)
  25. St. Louis, MO (+3)
  26. Richmond, VA (-5)
  27. Toledo, OH (+23)
  28. Dayton, OH (+21)
  29. Buffalo, N.Y. (-5)
  30. Omaha (+5)
  31. Nashville (-2)
  32. Milwaukee (+1)
  33. Ft. Wayne, IN (+13)
  34. Greensboro, N.C. (-9)
  35. Cedar Rapids, IA (+6)
  36. Knoxville (-13)
  37. Houston (+1)
  38. Davenport, IA (-1)
  39. Tampa (-5)
  40. Youngstown, Ohio (new to list)
  41. South Bend, IN (new to list)
  42. Phoenix (+3)
  43. Lexington, KY (new to list)
  44. Seattle (-1)
  45. Orlando (-9)
  46. Louisville, KY (new to list)
  47. Miami (-15)
  48. Lansing, MI (-18)
  49. Peoria, IL (new to list)
  50. Minneapolis (new to list)

Typically, bed bugs are 3/16 inch long and are mostly nocturnal insects that come out of hiding to take blood meals from sleeping humans and are red to dark brown in color. Bed bugs are hematophagous, which means blood is their only food source. They can travel from place to place with ease, including items such as luggage, purses and other personal belongings.

&ldquoBed bugs are a concern for everyone because they are master hitchhikers, traveling home with people when they likely don&rsquot realize it,&rdquo said Ben Hottel, an Orkin entomologist. &ldquoTheir nature of hiding in difficult-to-find cracks and crevices once introduced into a room can make them hard to control, which is why involving a trained professional at the sight of an introduction is recommended.&rdquo

With the anticipation and excitement around 2021 travel, it&rsquos easy to forget that bed bugs are still very much a threat and should be top of mind for anyone who is itching to take a trip. Bed bugs can survive for several months while waiting for their next blood meal, so they&rsquore likely to emerge when a food source, humans, become available.

Whether you decide to travel or want to be proactive at your home, remember the acronym S.L.E.E.P. to inspect for bed bugs:

  • S urvey the room for signs of an infestation. Be on the lookout for tiny, black, ink-colored stains on mattress seams, in soft furniture and behind headboards. They can even hide out in electrical outlets and picture frames!
  • L ift and look in bed bug hiding spots: the mattress, box spring and other furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.
  • E levate luggage away from the bed and wall. The safest places are in the bathroom or on counters.
  • E xamine your luggage carefully while repacking and once you return home from a trip. Always store luggage away from the bed. Be sure to also examine all secondhand furniture and clothing before bringing it in your home and inspect after guests visit.
  • P lace all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 45 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.

Celebrating a milestone anniversary this year, Orkin is proud to have achieved 120 years of business, an accomplishment that can be attributed to the company&rsquos ongoing commitment to excellent service. With well over a century of knowledge and experience with bed bugs and state-of-the-art tools and products, Orkin is well-equipped to assess your bed bug problem and mount a strategic response to rid your home of the pest and provide maximum protection.


Daniel Hale Williams (1856 - 1931)

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams was the first cardiologist to successfully perform a tricky open heart surgery &mdash the repair of the pericardium, the thin sac that encases the heart. Williams also founded the first Black-owned hospital in the country. Williams was born in Pennsylvania in 1856, the youngest of eight children, according to a biography from Jackson State University. After unrewarding stints as a barber and a shoemaker's apprentice, Williams pursued medicine at the Chicago Medical College.

He spent some years working in an integrated hospital in Chicago, while also working as an instructor at the Chicago Medical College, according to a biography from the Columbia Medical School's Department of Surgery. In 1889, he was appointed to the state's board of health.

Williams felt it was important to have interracial hospitals, where Black and White doctors could learn together. So in 1891, Williams successfully opened the Provident Hospital and Training School for Nurses, the first interracial hospital and nursing school in the country.

His pioneering surgery occurred in the summer of 1893. James Cornish, who had been stabbed in the chest, was brought to Provident Hospital, according to the Provident Foundation, which helps fund the hospital and preserve its legacy. In a hospital room crammed with other doctors who were observing, he cut open the cartilage between Cornish's ribs and opened a "trapdoor" to the heart, according to Columbia's Department of Surgery. From there, he sutured a punctured artery and sewed the pericardium. Williams had no option for blood transfusion, so he rinsed the wound with salt solution and held the wound together with forceps. Cornish walked out of the hospital 51 days later, and he would live another 20 years.

Williams soon became the head surgeon at the most prestigious hospital for Black patients, Freedman's Hospital in Washington, D.C. In 1902, he performed another pioneering surgery on a damaged spleen. Williams continued to practice medicine well into his 70s, until he suffered a stroke in 1926. He then retired, until his death in 1931, according to the Provident Foundation.


MATERIALS AND METHODS

Insects

Wild-type A. aegypti (line F21 MRA-726, MR4, ATCC®, Manassas, VA, USA) were used in all of the experiments. Groups of 200 larvae were reared on a diet of Hikari Tropic First Bites (Petco, San Diego, CA, USA) in a 26휵흌m covered pan containing 1 cm of water, at 25ଌ, 60널% relative humidity, and under a photoperiod of 12 h:12 h (light:dark). Adults were transfer into mating cages, maintained on 10% sucrose and blood-fed on weekdays on bovine heparinised blood (Lampire Biological Laboratories, Pipersville, PA, USA), using an artificial feeder (D. E. Lillie Glassblowers, Atlanta, GA, USA 2.5 cm internal diameter).

For the mosquitoes used in learning bioassays,

200 same-age animals (both males and females) were separated from the colony at pupation and maintained on 10% sucrose after emergence. Emerged males and females were kept in a collapsible cage (20휠휠 cm BioQuip Products, Rancho Dominguez, CA, USA) for 6 days to allow for mating to occur (random dissection of females revealed that 95% of them had oocytes present). After this time period, female mosquitoes were either captured individually using a mouth aspirator for individual training, or chilled until immobile at 10ଌ for group training, and transferred to either individual or group containers (300 ml clear plastic cups, Solo Cup Company, Lake Forest, IL, USA), the tops of which were covered by a piece of fabric mesh. Females were used in experiments the day following their isolation.

Preliminary experiments

In A. aegypti, it has been shown that various behavioural activities follow cyclic patterns (Haddow and Gillett, 1957 McClelland, 1959 Boorman, 1961 Gillett et al., 1962 Jones et al., 1972 Trpis et al., 1973). In order to train mosquitoes during periods of the day at which they are responsive to host-associated cues, and determine the best amount of blood meal that maintained motivational states, a series of preliminary experiments was performed. First, behavioural responses to artificial feeding of 6-day-old starved females were tested at four different times of the mosquitoes' subjective day. The results of these preliminary experiments revealed that mosquitoes displayed higher levels of responses a few hours after the onset of the lights and a few hours before the offset of lights (see supplementary material Fig. S1). Consequently, the experiments presented here were performed during the two activity peaks displayed by female A. aegypti (Trpis et al., 1973). In addition, the volume of blood provided during training is an important component for the learning paradigm – a large enough volume is necessary to provide a reward, but the volume needs to be small enough to maintain a high motivational state in the behaving insect. To assess the ingested volume, we exposed mosquitoes to blood for short durations during training and then compared the mass of females with that of unfed and fully engorged females. For individually and group-trained mosquitoes, the amount of blood ingested during training represents

38.57% and 72.51% of a full meal, respectively. For cycloheximide (CXM)-treated mosquitoes, the amount of blood ingested during training represents 16.38% of a complete blood meal (i.e. 2.82ଐ.57 mg n=20 females).

Experimental apparatus

Artificial feeder

Female mosquitoes were handled in the plastic containers described above and trained 24 h after their isolation. The tops of the containers were covered with a fabric mesh, allowing the insects to fly and access the artificial feeder by landing on the surface of the mesh. The artificial feeder ( Fig. 1A ) was composed of a glass feeder (D. E. Lillie Glassblowers 3.8 cm internal diameter, 6 cm height), the bottom of which was sealed with Parafilm®, through which mosquitoes were able to bite. The feeder was filled with 10 ml of bovine heparinized blood (Lampire Biological Laboratories) and connected to a water bath maintaining the temperature of the blood at 36଑ଌ, which roughly corresponds to human blood temperature. A volatile-delivery system, via a constant, charcoal-filtered airstream (5 cm s 𢄡 ), could be connected to insect containers to deliver the CS ( Fig. 1A ). Similar to the stimulus delivery system of the olfactometer (detailed below), the airflow was split into two circuits, each circuit being made of Teflon® tubing (3 mm internal diameter), conducting the air flow through 20 ml glass bottles filled with 8 ml of either the test solution or the same volume of the corresponding solvent. During training, the choice of the circuit was controlled manually by connecting the tubes into the individual container this enabled us to subject the mosquitoes to streams of either clean ambient air or air loaded with the CS at the same temperature, flow rate and relative humidity.

Olfactometer

To compare the responses of controlled, untrained and trained mosquitoes to different odours, an olfactometer was used. It consisted of an enclosed Y-maze made of Plexiglas® (Cooperband et al., 2008) (110 cm long, 10 cm internal diameter Fig. 1B ). Fans (Rosewill, Los Angeles, CA, USA) were connected to two of the arms of the olfactometer (choice arms) to generate airflows (air speed

20 cm s 𢄡 ). Airflow generated by the fans first went through an air filter (to remove odour contaminants C16x48, Complete Filtration Services, Greenville, NC, USA) and a series of mesh screens and a honeycomb (10 cm long) to create a laminar flow before entering the Y-maze ( Fig. 1B ). As for the artificial feeder, odour delivery was achieved via a charcoal-filtered air stream that was split into two circuits and adjusted via flowmeters equipped with needle valves. Each circuit was made of Teflon® tubing (3 mm internal diameter) conducting the airflow (5 cm s 𢄡 ) through a 20 ml glass bottle containing 8 ml of either the test odour or the control solution (i.e. MilliQ water). To avoid contamination, tubing and bottles were cleaned with ethanol and changed for each odour. Ends of the tubes were placed in the arms of the olfactometer, 4 cm from the fans, and in the centre of the olfactometer's arm. The bottles containing the test and control stimuli were replaced every 15 to 30 min to control for any change in odorant intensity.

To prevent the accumulation of odours in the experimental room, both artificial feeding and olfactometer experiments were conducted in a well-ventilated environmental chamber (Environmental Structures, Colorado Springs, CO, USA), at a temperature (25଒ଌ) and relative humidity (40�%) that remained constant throughout all experiments.

In order to avoid environmental biases, the stimulus and control treatments were randomly exchanged in the olfactometer arms between experiments. In addition, the positions of the different parts of the olfactometer (i.e. choice tubes and fans) were also randomised. Data analysis did not reveal a preference for the left or right side of the olfactometer (P=0.86). After each experiment, the olfactometer was cleaned with ethanol (50%, 70% and 95% ethanol) to remove odorant contamination.

Training protocols

Two conditioning paradigms were adapted in the present work to assess the ability of mosquitoes to learn the association between an olfactory stimulus and a blood reward. The first involved training individual mosquitoes using conditioning protocols adapted from classical insect models for haematophagous insects (Vinauger et al., 2011a). This permitted detailed control of the experimental treatments to determine whether mosquitoes learned the association under Pavlovian conditioning and to investigate the nature of the involved memory form. In a second set of experiments, group training allowed rapid training and efficient testing of different olfactory stimuli as CS.

Individual training

For individual training experiments, single mosquitoes were exposed to L-(+)-lactic acid (LA Sigma, �% purity) at a concentration of 22 mmol l 𢄡 in MilliQ water. This concentration is similar to that emitted by human skin (Eiras and Jepson, 1991 Cork and Park, 1996 Geier et al., 1996).

Before the training session began, and before each trial, mosquitoes were allowed to acclimate for 1 min in the absence of stimulation, except for the delivery of a clean air current. After this time, a trial begun when the airflow loaded with LA was delivered for 2 min. The artificial feeder was then placed over the containers for two further minutes, during which LA stimulation was maintained.

From this moment, mosquitoes that did not feed during this period of time were considered as not motivated and discarded from further analysis. Those that landed on the mesh and started biting through the membrane of the feeder were allowed to feed for 20 s before the artificial feeder was removed from the individual container. Only females that fed during the two trials were kept for the analysis. Trials were separated by 20 min. During this inter-trial interval (ITI), mosquitoes were maintained in the same experimental room, and only exposed to a clean air current. Conditioned mosquitoes were submitted to two trials before being tested in the olfactometer, 24 h after the end of the training session.

In order to discard potential effects of CS or US on the performance of mosquitoes during the test, specific control groups were performed where mosquitoes were exposed only to the CS or the US during the first session and tested 24 h later. Another group was exposed to both the CS and the US in an unpaired way during the first session, i.e. in the absence of contingency (Rescorla, 1988), and then tested 24 h later. Additional untrained mosquitoes were tested in the olfactometer while having to choose between two clean air currents, a clean air current versus CO2 (positive control, [CO2]=2300 ppm above ambient level) or a clean air current versus LA (Barrozo and Lazzari, 2004).

Group training

For group training experiments, the following odorants were tested: LA, 1-octen-3-ol [OCT Aldrich, �% purity enantiomeric ratio: �:1 (GC)], Z-3-hexen-1-ol (Z3H Sigma, 㺘% purity 92% of the Z isomer) and β-myrcene (MYR Fluka, 95% purity). LA was dissolved in MilliQ water at the same concentration as for individual training experiments (22 mmol l 𢄡 ). In order to provide a similar level of humidity – a strong activator of behaviour in mosquitoes – OCT (14 mmol l 𢄡 ) and Z3H (91 mmol l 𢄡 ) were also diluted in MilliQ water. These concentrations were chosen to match the same volatility as odours used successfully in behaviour assessment paradigms similar to our own (Cooperband et al., 2008). For MYR treatments, we used a 1/10,000 odorant dilution (0.58 mmol l 𢄡 ) as higher concentrations caused avoidance behaviours, resulting in no insects leaving the starting chamber.

In a preliminary experiment, solid phase micro-extraction fibres were placed in the two arms of the olfactometer while delivering Z3H in water in one arm and Z3H in mineral oil in the other arm. This allowed us to quantify (via GCMS) the emission rate of Z3H diluted in water or mineral oil. The analysis revealed that emission rates between the two arms were not statistically different (0.98ଐ.33 ng min 𢄡 for mineral oil 1.09ଐ.13 ng min 𢄡 for water).

Similarly to individual training, the air-delivery system was connected to insects' containers to deliver the odorant or the ‘no odour’ (MilliQ water) control ( Fig. 1A ). The training session began when the odorant was perfused into the container for 2 min. The group was then exposed to the blood feeder for 20 min while still delivering the odorant. This succession of events represented one training trial. As for individually trained mosquitoes, groups were submitted to two training trials spaced by a 20 min ITI.

One hour before testing, groups were chilled and females were transferred into individual containers. Mosquitoes that did not feed during the training session (determined by the absence of blood in the abdomen or by the absence of abdominal distension) were considered as not motivated and thus discarded from analysis. Tests were then performed similarly to the individual training experiments, one mosquito being tested at a time. The testing session was performed 24 h post-training. To determine whether the mosquitoes exhibited any innate preference for the test odorants, control groups were also tested. Insects of these groups were naïve and had not been exposed to the odorant prior to the test.

Effect of learning on DEET repellency

We performed an additional series of training experiments in order to test whether mosquitoes' ability to learn the association between odorants and blood feeding could interfere with the action of insect repellents such as DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide Supelco, �% purity). We thus performed a series of experiments using pre-exposed, DEET-trained and DEET-naïve animals. In these experiments, 100 μl of either 10% DEET/90% ethanol (DEET) or 100% ethanol (solvent) was loaded on to a filter paper (Whatman) that was placed in a 20 ml scintillation vial (DeGennaro et al., 2013).

Different procedures were tested: (a) females trained to LA were tested for their response to LA+DEET versus control (clean air + solvent) (b) females trained to LA+DEET were tested for their response to LA+DEET versus control (clean air + solvent) (c) females pre-exposed to DEET 1 h before training were then trained to LA and tested for their responses to LA+DEET versus control (clean air + solvent) and (d) females pre-exposed to DEET 1 h before training were trained to LA+DEET and tested for their response to LA+DEET versus control (clean air + solvent).

Memory characterisation

The observed performance of trained animals relies on the formation of a mnesic trace that can last for different durations, depending on its consolidated nature (Tully et al., 1994 Tully et al., 2003). Because short-term (STM) and intermediate-term (ITM) memories last from a few to several hours (Tully et al., 2003), we expect the memory that we observed 24 h post-training to belong to longer lasting forms of memory. Among them, the anaesthesia-resistant memory (ARM) formed after massed training and spaced training is not disrupted by cold-induced anaesthesia but insensitive to the protein synthesis inhibitor CXM, while the long-term memory (LTM) is formed after spaced training only and is sensitive to CXM (for a review, see Tully et al., 1994).

Additional treatments were thus performed to investigate the nature of the memory formed during conditioning experiments. Four groups of individually trained mosquitoes were submitted to a 15 min cold shock (2.6ଌ) 1 h before training, 20 min after training, 2 h after training or 6 h after training. The cold shock was delivered by placing the individual container in an ice-filled Styrofoam box (30휵휠 cm). Two additional groups were constituted and individuals from these groups were starved for 14� h and then allowed to feed with either 17 or 35 mmol l 𢄡 of CXM (Tully et al., 1994) in a 10% sucrose solution for 16� h before the training session. All groups were tested 24 h post-training. An additional group was fed on 35 mmol l 𢄡 CXM before its response to CO2 was tested (CXM positive control group). For this group, insects were fed on 35 mmol l 𢄡 CXM in 10% sucrose for the same duration as the experimental groups and tested for their response to CO2 (positive control, [CO2]=2300 ppm above ambient level) versus ambient air.

It is worth mentioning that the CXM-treated groups displayed a higher mortality rate than the sugar-fed groups (34.6% of mortality being observed 8 days after training compared with 12% for sugar-fed females). Interestingly, the increased mortality induced by the ingestion of CXM appears to be due to the ingestion of a warm blood meal, as CXM-fed mosquitoes that were not blood-fed had mortality rates similar to those of sucrose-fed (control) mosquitoes (16% of mortality). These results suggest that the drug might also impair their ability to deal with the heat stress generated by the ingestion of warm blood (Benoit et al., 2011).

To make sure that CXM effects were not affecting the mosquitoes' flight motor responses or olfactory perception, tracking of flight pathways was performed by video recording (Logitech Quickcam pro, 2MPixel Newark, CA, USA) of the experiments in the olfactometer and subsequent analysis of the data in MATLAB (v7.02, The MathWorks, Natwick, MA, USA) using the DLT toolbox (DLT DigitizingTools) (Hedrick, 2008). Three treatment groups were tested: naïve mosquitoes fed on 10% sucrose solution (naïve control) trained mosquitoes fed on 10% sucrose solution (trained treatment) and trained mosquitoes fed on 35 mmol l 𢄡 of CXM in 10% sucrose solution (CXM treatment).

Testing protocols

The testing sessions began when a single mosquito was placed in the starting chamber located at the extremity of the starting arm of the olfactometer and closed in by a transparent Plexiglas® door ( Fig. 1B ). After a 30 s familiarisation period, the door was opened. Led by its positive anemotaxis and optomotor responses (Kennedy, 1940 Takken and Knols, 1999), the insect flew along the starting arm and, at the bifurcation, could choose to follow one of the olfactometer arms, one bearing the stimulus and the other only clean air (plus the associated solvent), by entering into one of the two choice arms. We considered the first choice made by mosquitoes when they crossed the entry of an arm. Females that did not choose or did not leave the starting chamber were considered as not responding and discarded from the preference analyses. On average, 42% of females were motivated to leave the starting chamber of the olfactometer and chose between the two choice arms. For both individually trained and group-trained experiments, more females were active in the trained groups (52% on average) than in the corresponding control groups (33%) (χ 2 test: Pπ.001).

Data analysis

For both individual and group experiments, binary data collected in the olfactometer were analysed and all statistical tests were computed using R software (R Development Core Team, 2013). Comparisons were performed by means of the exact binomial test (α=0.05). For each treatment, the choice of the mosquitoes in the olfactometer was compared either with a random distribution of 50% on each arm of the maze or with the distribution of the corresponding control when appropriate. For binary data, the standard errors (s.e.m.) were calculated as (Le, 2003):

where p is the observed proportion and n is the number of observations.

For each experimental group, a preference index (PI) was computed the following way: PI=[(number of females in the test arm – number of females in the control arm)/(number of females in the control arm + number of females in the test arm)]. A PI of +1 indicates that all the motivated insects chose the test arm, a PI of 0 indicates that 50% of insects chose the test arm and 50% the control arm, and a PI of 𢄡 indicates that all insects chose the control arm of the olfactometer (adapted from Schwaerzel et al., 2003). Means of instantaneous flight speeds were analysed in Excel and flight speed comparisons were made in R, by means of Student's t-test (α=0.05).


14 March 2008

The homeless hikers

In the morning after the school run, I often go for a hike in the Santa Monica mountains. These are one of the glorious things about living in Los Angeles.

"Here, the weather never stops you from doing what you want," said a mountain biker friend. "You'll get used to it. You'll never want to go back to Paris."

This morning I hiked up Temescal Canyon as far as the waterfall. It was dawn. The only sounds were my own breathing and my footsteps, the birds singing, and the rushing water in the little creek. Spring flowers were everywhere, and the sun was shining. I was alone. It was hard to believe that a city of many millions was close by.

A blond woman in sweatpants came down the trail clutching a water bottle. She wished me good morning. An Asian-American man passed me ten minutes later. He nodded hello. Except for his clothes, he could have been a Malibu millionaire.

The homeless who live in the mountains.


Unseen Essence

What must be remembered is that what appears as purely negative in tragedy also has a positive dimension. This is the pinnacle of Greek tragic wisdom. Why does Woman present itself as the apocalypse of man in this tragedy? It is because of an original betrayal of the feminine reality committed by the mortal family of Dionysus. By his entire family when they initially rejected him, and by Pentheus when he returned. This is what causes the breakdown of the Theban social order and the revenge of Woman.

In the same way that Woman is a constitutive element of the reality of sex, including the reality of man. The Dionysian rituals that the maenads take part in, that return to a primordial being and oneness, are constitutive of the Theban social order. It is even the root of the Theban social order. The unconscious reality of Thebes exists as the basis for its conscious and institutional realities.

It is precisely because the rituals of Dionysus exist outside of Thebes, in the rituals of the maenads on Mt. Cithaeron, that it is the base of Theban society. It is precisely because the maenads are all women whose rituals are constitutive of the male Theban social order. And it is precisely because the maenads come from the east that they constitute the western social order of Thebes. Dionysus and his cult are the external essences of Theban society. Essence, unlike appearance, is always unseen.


The Unsettling Truth About the ‘Mostly Harmless’ Hiker

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Illustration: Sam Whitney Getty Images

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Sometimes the most alluring stories we tell are the ones with the details left out. Objects and faces can be prettier in the half light. We see a faint shape and we add the lines and shadows we want. We hear one part of a story and add another part that we hope might be true.

I first learned of the man called Mostly Harmless this past August. A WIRED reader sent a note to my tip line: The body of a hiker had been found in a tent in Florida in the summer of 2018, but scores of amateur detectives, and a few professional ones too, couldn’t figure out who he was. Everyone knew that he had started walking south on the Appalachian Trail from New York a year and a half before. He met hundreds of people on the trail, and seemed to charm them all. He told people he was from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and that he worked in tech in New York. They all knew his trail name, but no one could figure out his real one.

I had just spent three days hiking on and off the Appalachian Trail with my 12-year-old son, and I was pulled in. We live in an age of constant machine surveillance and tracking. Yet somehow Mostly Harmless had escaped the digital dragnet. He had traveled without a phone or an ID. He carried cash and couldn’t be tracked by credit card receipts. His fingerprints weren’t in any database and his image didn’t turn up any results when run through facial recognition software. The authorities in Collier County, Florida, where his body was found, were stumped, but they were certain he had died of natural causes. He must have been smart. He appeared to have been kind. He was handsome in a general, familiar kind of way. It was easy to map a gentle story onto his past.

This article appears in the March 2021 issue. Subscribe to WIRED.

His life was a mystery packed inside a tragedy. A man had died alone in a yellow tent, and his family didn’t know. “He’s got to be missed. Someone must miss this guy,” said Natasha Teasley, a woman in North Carolina who organized a Facebook group with several thousand people dedicated to discovering his identity. Members of the group lit candles for him. They talked about “bringing him home.” They scoured every missing-persons database. Everyone had a story they wanted to be true: He was trying to escape modern society. He was trying to escape a medical diagnosis. He was trying to escape someone who wanted to hurt him. This was a way to use the internet to do something good.

I published an article about Mostly Harmless the day before the presidential election. More than one and a half million people read the story and looked at photos that other hikers had posted. People sent me theories about who he could have been or what he might have been doing. He had a long scar on his abdomen and readers diagnosed potential illnesses. He had perfect teeth, which suggested good dental care as a child. Others dug into Da Vinci Code–level clues. He had signed in at hostels as “Ben Bilemy,” which, with some creative effort, could be read in reverse as “Why me, lib?” And sometimes they just let their imaginations fly. “I think he could be a space alien,” one reader wrote to me. “A kind of astral Tocqueville taking a long, long trip to get a sense of the people and the planet, and when he was done, he wasted away and went back to Alpha Centauri. Think about it.”

And, of course, people thought they knew who he was. A few hours after the story went live, I got my first ID via DM. “Hi, this is a crazy note to be sending but I believe I know who the hiker was.” My correspondent had gone to high school with someone who looked like the hiker and whose name was something like Bilemy. A few phone calls later and it was clear the lead was a red herring. Her former classmate was alive and well.

The tips kept coming in. One Louisiana woman sent me a photograph of her brother, who bore an uncanny resemblance to the missing man, and told me she suspected Mostly Harmless was the illegitimate son of her drug-dealing uncle. A man was convinced the hiker had played in a hardcore punk rock band in New Orleans. But by far the most enticing tip came from a man in Virginia who persuaded me, briefly, that he had known the hiker and that his name was Daryl McKenzie. My correspondent told a moving story of befriending the man in a Newport News bowling alley and hearing that Daryl had terminal cancer and planned to hike to his death. Daryl had supposedly said, “I came into this world without a name and I’m going to go out of this world without one.”

I began searching for details to validate the tale. I told my editor, who got obsessed too, and she found a Facebook page for a Daryl McKenzie that hadn’t been active since 2017, the year Mostly Harmless started his trek. McKenzie had just four Facebook friends and his only posts were photos of the wilderness. It had to be him. I contacted one of the friends and explained that a hiker had disappeared and that his name might have been Daryl McKenzie. I’d written about his story and posted it online. She burst into tears. “Oh, no, Daryl,” she said as her voice quavered.

I felt awful. I’d wanted to help identify the missing hiker. But I hadn’t focused on all the pain that could bring. I told her that I was sorry to have broken such terrible news so suddenly. She should take her time and call me back whenever, if she even wanted to. Two minutes later my phone rang. “That’s not Daryl,” she said. The photos in my story didn’t look at all like her friend, who was indeed a hiker but who was alive and well in Los Angeles. He had never been bowling in Newport News.

Meanwhile, the dedicated Facebook hunters kept going. And they were ingenious. On the trail, Mostly Harmless had carried a notebook full of ideas for Screeps, an online strategy game for programmers. And so a group focused on digital forensics went through the accounts of every possible user who had been on Screeps up until April 2017, the date Mostly Harmless had given other hikers for when he’d begun his journey. They had a bead on a user named Vaejor. Meanwhile, a woman named Sahar Bigdeli had arranged for one of the country’s leading isotope analysts to study the hiker’s teeth in hopes that clues could be discovered about where he had lived. A genomics company, Othram, had taken his DNA and started to do cutting-edge genetic analysis to identify him. Collier County had sent them a bone fragment they had extracted the hiker’s DNA and then begun searching for genetic similarities among people in a database called GEDmatch to build a tree of potential relatives. They learned that the hiker had Cajun roots that his family had come from Assumption Parish, Louisiana and that there were family members with the name Rodriguez. The founder of the company, David Mittelman, went on Facebook to talk about the case. I bought Facebook ads on my personal page to promote my story in the region of Louisiana where I thought his relatives likely lived.

In the middle of December, photographs of Mostly Harmless found their way to a group of friends in Baton Rouge, one of whom called the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. This friend, who asked to be referred to by her middle name, Marie, told the detective that she knew who the hiker was. The sheriff’s office had received hundreds of bad tips. But this one seemed real. Marie recognized the face and she knew all about the scar. The handwriting was familiar, and the coding style too.

At 5:30 the next morning, my phone rang. It was the same person who had first sent the tip in August. We have a name, he said: Vance John Rodriguez. He texted two new photographs that looked just like Mostly Harmless. The nose was the same. The ears. The eyes with dark circles around them. I was elated to some degree. The mystery appeared to be solved. But then I thought back to my phone call to the friend of Daryl McKenzie. Someone was going to have to tell his family now. Someone would have to tell all the people who missed him.

I started reaching out, first to Marie, then to other old friends and girlfriends. I and others worked to confirm his identity, with the first press story about Rodriguez appearing in late December in Adventure Journal. The puzzle was formally solved today, when Othram confirmed that the DNA of the hiker matched that of Rodriguez’s mother.

Weɽ all been telling ourselves stories about his life. But the man whose journey had ended in the yellow tent wasn’t who anyone thought or hoped. If he had been trying to escape something, it was himself.

Vance John Rodriguez, a k a Vaejor, was born in February 1976 near Baton Rouge. He had a twin sister and an older brother. He told friends over the years that his father had deeply hurt him, but no one I spoke with seems to be clear exactly how. When he was about 15, according to friends, Rodriguez headed off into a field with a gun, intending to kill himself. He fired into his stomach. But then, as he lay bleeding to death, he decided to live. He raised his hand weakly and a passing truck saw him and pulled over. The surgeries that followed were the cause of the scar that had so intrigued the Facebook group. Later, he would tell friends that he wanted to be buried in that field.

At 17, with the consent of his parents, Rodriguez was emancipated by a Lafayette, Louisiana, court. Marie, who lived with him as a friend for several years in his twenties, says he was angry that his parents had institutionalized him after the near suicide. “He would not talk about his parents except to say ‘fuck them,’” Marie recalls. I wrote to his parents and sister in early January, two weeks after they heard the news. His sister wrote back, “My family has no comment.”

After graduating from high school, Rodriguez enrolled at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In the school’s computer lab, he came to know a man named Randall Godso. They became off-and-on roommates for the next five years. Occasionally they would go out and party one friend of Rodriguez’s wrote that she remembers him coming to her dorm and playing “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica on the piano. “I could be quiet around him,” she wrote, “and it never felt awkward.”

Godso and Rodriguez were both computer nerds, with Rodriguez taking it to the extreme. Godso remembers his roommate playing games for 18 hours a day and shutting everything else out. “He would go through huge bouts of depression. He’d go for a year without smiling or being nice to people,” Godso recalls. Rodriguez, according to his roommate, had cut off all contact with his family. “He was depressed and moody his whole life,” Godso recalls. “But I needed a roommate and we got along OK.” Godso adds that he doesn’t remember Rodriguez ever showing any interest in spending time in the wild. “Outside was between the car and the building.”


Contents

Halberstam earned a B.A. in English at the University of California, Berkeley in 1985, an M.A. from the University of Minnesota in 1989, and a Ph.D. from the same school in 1991. Halberstam is Jewish [8] of Bohemian descent. [9]

Assigned female at birth, Halberstam goes by the pronouns he/his and the name "Jack", [6] but says that he is "loosey goosey" and a "free floater" when it comes to his gender. [10] He says "some people call me Jack, my sister calls me Jude, people I've known forever call me Judith" and "I try not to police any of it. A lot of people call me he, some people call me she, and I let it be a weird mix of things." [6] He says that "the back and forth between he and she sort of captures the form that my gender takes nowadays" and that the floating gender pronouns have captured his refusal to resolve his gender ambiguity. He does, however, say that "grouping me with someone else who seems to have a female embodiment and then calling us 'ladies', is never, ever ok!" [10]

Female Masculinity Edit

In Female Masculinity (1998), Halberstam seeks to identify what constitutes masculinity in society and within the individual. The text first suggests that masculinity is a construction that promotes particular brands of male-ness while at the same time subordinating "alternative masculinities". The project specifically focuses on the ways female masculinity has been traditionally ignored in academia and society at large. To illustrate a cultural mechanism of subordinating alternative masculinities, Halberstam brings up James Bond and GoldenEye as an example, noting that gender performance in this film is far from what is traditional: M is the character who "most convincingly performs masculinity", Bond can only perform masculinity through his suave clothing and gadgets, and Q can be read "as a perfect model of the interpenetration of queer and dominant regimes". This interpretation of these characters challenges long-held ideas about what qualities create masculinity. [11] Halberstam also brings up the example of the tomboy, a clear case of a youthful girl exerting masculine qualities—and raises the complication that within a youthful figure, the idea of masculinity expressed within a female body is less threatening, and only becomes threatening when those masculine tendencies are still apparent as the child progresses in age.

Halberstam then focuses on "the bathroom problem". Here, the question of the gender binary is brought up. Halberstam argues that the problem of only having two separate bathrooms for different genders, with no place for people who do not clearly fit into either category to use, is a problem. The assertion is further made that our bathroom system is not adequate for the different genders found in society. The problem of policing that occurs around the bathrooms is also a focal point for examination of the bathroom problem not only is this a policing on the legal level, but also on the social level. The social aspect of policing, according to Halberstam, makes it even more difficult for people who do not clearly and visibly fall into one category or another to use public restrooms without encountering some sort of violent or uncomfortable situation.

The Queer Art of Failure Edit

In The Queer Art of Failure, Halberstam argues that failure can be productive, a way of critiquing capitalism and heteronormativity. Using examples from popular culture, like Pixar animated films, Halberstam explores alternatives to individualism and conformity. L. Ayu Saraswati calls The Queer Art of Failure "a groundbreaking book that retheorizes failure and its relationship to the process of knowledge production and being in the world." [12]

Introduction: Low Theory Edit

In his introduction, Halberstam proposes low theory as a way to deconstruct the normative modes of thought that have established uniform societal definitions of success and failure. Low theory is a term that Halberstam borrows from cultural theorist Stuart Hall, using it to undermine heteronormative definitions of success and to argue that failure to live up to societal standards can open up more creative ways of thinking and being in the world. Halberstam points out that queer and feminine success is always measured by male, heterosexual standards. The failure to live up to these standards, Halberstam argues, can offer unexpected pleasures such as freedom of expression and sexuality.

Halberstam clarifies his points encouraging failure in a lecture called "On Behalf of Failure": "My basic point with failure is that in a world where success is countered in relationship to profit . or relayed through heteronormative marriage, failure is not a bad place to start for a critique of both capitalism and heteronormativity." [13]

Halberstam describes low theory as a "utility of getting lost over finding our way". [14] In reference to societal norms and definitions of success, Halberstam asks the reader how to avoid those forms of knowing and being that relegate other forms of knowing to redundancy and irrelevancy.

Halberstam provides several examples of publications, films and popular cultural artifacts in order to aid in explaining the concept of low theory. These include SpongeBob SquarePants, Monsters, Inc., Little Miss Sunshine, and the writings of Monique Wittig and Barbara Ehrenreich among others. As Halberstam notes:

I do believe that if you watch Dude, Where’s My Car? slowly and repeatedly and while perfectly sober, the mysteries of the universe may be revealed to you. I also believe that Finding Nemo contains a secret plan for world revolution and that Chicken Run charts an outline of feminist utopia for those who can see beyond the feathers and eggs. [14]

Chapter One: Animating Revolt and Revolting Animation Edit

In the first chapter of his book Jack Halberstam focuses on certain animated films and how they inherently teach children about revolt. He then relates this sort of revolt into her idea about Queer Theory. He opens the chapter by simply stating how animated films "revel in the domain of failure". [14] He states how it isn't enough for an animated film to focuses on success and triumph because that it not what happens in childhood. He explains how childhood is "growing sideways," as stated by Kathryn Bond Stockton in her work The Queer Child or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century. [15] Halberstam goes on to speak about how Stockton has shown that childhood is queer in nature but society trains children to be heterosexual, by our parents placing emphasis and guiding their kids toward marriage and heterosexual reproduction. Simply put heterosexuality is made, not born. Halberstam explains that revolt and rebellion are inherent in children, and if these traits weren't, then society would have no reason to train them. He then makes the transition back to animated films, saying how they address the disorderly child who sees the large world beyond his controlling family. These animated films get to the root of the struggle between human and non-human creatures.

He gives these animated films a name, calling them "Pixarvolt" films. Pixar, referring to the company that created the first-ever computer-animated feature film. [16] Pixarvolts have themes that would never be seen in adult films, according to Halberstam. These films also make subtle and obvious connections between communist revolt and queer embodiment. Halberstam argues that although Marxist scholars have dismissed queer theory as 'body politics', these films do a great job of showing "that alternative forms of embodiment and desire are central to the struggle against corporate domination" (Halberstam 29). He begins talking about Toy Story (1995), the first movie Pixar created. [16] What made Toy Story such a success was its ability to engage children with the fantasy world of talking, living toys and also capture the nostalgia of older generations by employing the cowboy main character, Woody. He argues that the narratives of the film, past and present, adult and child, live and mechanic, show all the possibilities that this new animation world has created. Toy Story set the themes that are involved in all Pixarvolt film. These films are interested in social hierarchies, the outside world versus the imaginary world, and these films are all powered by revolution, transformation and rebellion. Most Pixarvolt films deal with escape to a utopian freedom. One such film about an escape to utopia is Chicken Run (2000). [17] These chickens escape using a natural solution combined with an engineering solution, which is using all the chicken's flying abilities to power one large plane so they can escape. The queer element of this film is that most all these chickens are female so the utopia is full of free green pastures of chickens with only a few roosters around. "The revolution in this instance is feminist and animated" (Halberstam 32).

Halberstam then speaks of how humans project our worlds onto animals. He explains the term of human exceptionalism, which he defines in two ways: Humans thinking they are more superior, and unique to other animals and Humans using cruel forms of anthropomorphism. He most speaks about anthropomorphism, which is the attribution of human characteristics to an animal. He speaks of a New York Times "Modern Love" article in which the author begins training her husband with the same techniques she saw the trainer in Sea World using on Shamu the killer whale. [18] Halberstam first knocks how committed this shows humans are to failing structures, like marriage, that we think we ourselves are failing and must try different things. He then goes on to explain how drawing on animal behavior makes humans feel heterosexuality is more natural or primal. She imposes her boring domestic lifestyle on the life of this exotic animal, which is anthropomorphism, just to maintain her flawed sense of natural heterosexuality. Halberstam moves on to talk about the successful documentary, March of the Penguins (2005). [19] Like other animal documentaries, this humanizes animal life and reduces animals to human ways of life. He explains how this film perpetuates heterosexuality in a false way. The film leaves out key facts about penguins journey to find love and have a baby. The first fact it leaves out is that penguins are not monogamous they mate for one year and move on. They also leave their babies after they know they are able to swim in the water. The baby penguins then gain five years of their lives on their own, before starting another mating cycle. Halberstam claims, "the long march of the penguins is proof neither of heterosexuality in nature nor of the reproductive imperative nor of intelligent design" (Halberstam 41).

Lastly Halberstam talks about monstrous animations and their direct connection to the queer way of thinking. Animation started to create these odd human-like figures that were not human, but not animal either. Halberstam goes on to reference the movie Monsters, Inc. (2001). [20] In this movie the corporate world relies on screams of little children to power themselves. When one monster goes to scare a little girl, and she is not scared, it scares him partially. Halberstam relates this to allowing the child to stand up to its 'boogeyman'-type figure, but at the same time form an affectionate relationship with the figure. This bond is queer in that it lets the child control the transgression of its own boundaries. It interrupts the more conventional romantic bond with a bond that seems odd and misplaced. He ends the first chapter by giving the differences on Pixarvolt films versus regular animated films. The main difference is that regular animated films stress family, human individuality and extraordinary individuals. Pixarvolt films focus more on collectivity, social bonding and diverse communities. Halberstam explains that, "Two thematics can transform a potential Pixarvolt film into a tame and conventional cartoon: an overemphasis on nuclear family and a normative investment in coupled romance" (Halberstam 47). He lastly says how Pixarvolt films show the importance in recognizing weirdness of bodies, sexuality and gender, but do it through other animal worlds.

Chapter Two: Dude, Where's My Phallus? Edit

In the second chapter of Judith Halberstam's The Queer Art of Failure, Halberstam highlights things such as stupidity, forgetfulness, and how they have impacted views on Queer culture. The second chapter illuminates how stupidity is viewed differently upon men and women, and how it can sometimes even be a gateway for the queer culture. He highlights certain movies scenes and novels where stupidity and forgetfulness couple together to actually opens the door for certain groups of individuals such as the LGBT community.

Halberstam begins to define stupidity on page 54 where she says "Stupidity conventionally means different things in relation to different subject positions for example, stupidity in white men can signify new modes of domination, but stupidity in women of all ethnicities inevitably symbolizes their status as, in psychoanalytic terms, "castrated" or impaired." Stupidity can mean a variety of things depending on the scenario. Right off the bat he gives an example of how stupidity in men is generalized compared to that of women. Stupidity in women seems to be strictly looked down upon, while stupidity in men can be seen as charming. Women have always been oppressed by the idea, which was created by past hierarchy systems, that women are just not as intelligent as men.. "Stupidity is as profoundly gendered as knowledge formations in general thus while unknowing in a man is sometimes rendered as part of masculine charm, unknowing in a woman indicates a lack and a justification of a social order that anyway privileges men. Though we both punish and naturalize female stupidity, we not only forgive stupidity in white men, but we often cannot recognize it as such since white maleness is the identity construct most often associated with mastery, wisdom, and grand narratives." [21] White males were the symbolization of knowledge and power, not stupidity. The election of 2004, between George W. Bush and John Kerry, was used as an example of how stupidity is beneficial in certain scenarios for men. John Kerry was the well-educated, hard-working, and well-spoken candidate who gets edged out by George W. Bush, a man who sold himself on being a fun-loving, fun to be around type of guy. Bush sold himself to the public in a way to show that he was just an average person like "everyone else". Society loved that he was a Yale student but not a 4.0 kind of student. Stupidity in men does not hurt their chances in society, unlike that of women. In a male-dominated culture, stupidity in men does not have a negative downside. In this case, it actually helped the person. Stupidity can also help shed light on queer culture also.

Halberstam goes on to talk about the movie, Dude, Where's My Car? and how the film used the stupidity and forgetfulness of the main characters, Jesse and Chester, to show that in given situations that would normally be uncomfortable for heterosexual white males, is not uncomfortable at all. The stupidity of Chester and Jesse in Dude, Where's My Car? led to many homosexual and transsexual references throughout the film. Halberstam says that by interjecting this idea of forgetting into Jesse and Chester's characters causes a certain queer phenomenon throughout the film. Jesse willingly knew that he was receiving a lap dance from a transsexual, but forgets the social norms that would typically go along with that. Most white heterosexual men would not willingly accept a lap dance from a transsexual, but Jesse is too stupid to realize what is taking place. His stupidity takes sexual orientation out of the equation because he doesn't think about the fact that it's a transsexual giving him the lap dance. Although Massachusetts was the first state to legalize gay marriage in 2004, Dude, Where's My Car? was released in 2000. [22] ). The film brought light to the gay community using stupidity and forgetfulness as a staple. In 2000, gay acceptance was not nearly what it is today, thus making Dude, Where's My Car? somewhat controversial. It was not until 2015 that same-sex marriage had become legal in all 50 states. [23] Even though it is legal in all 50 states, some states such as Mississippi tried to pass a law that protects those who object to same-sex marriage, but was blocked. [24] The queer culture was brought to light in this film when Jesse and Chester share their convincing kiss at the end in their car next to a heterosexual couple. The stupidity of Jesse and Chester was the gateway into the kiss.

Halberstam says that forgetting is one of the best ways for the queer group to break through. To forget about the past, forget family traditions and start new without having to conform to old societal norms. He goes on to explain that forgetting family as the standard mother and husband is essential to create a gateway for the queer community. We must forget these societal norms in order to make way for equality. Forgetfulness in the case of Dory in the film Finding Nemo brings about a queer version of selfhood. Since Dory's memory is so bad, it causes her to live in the present and forget about the past essentially. Dory cannot remember her past, causing her to forget and live in the moment. Forgetting is a way to keep the disturbing memories of the past, in the past. Forgetting opens up the doors for new things while suppressing the awful memories. Halberstam notes the importance of forgetfulness in the queer community and how positive that can be. Forgetting in this way can help one handle the stress of being oppressed for being part of a community such as the LGBT which is and has been discriminated against. Forgetting simply makes it easier for those to move on and accept a new beginning.

Chapter Six: Animating Failure: Ending, Fleeing, Surviving Edit

In Chapter 6 of The Queer Art of Failure, Judith Halberstam focuses more on the specific works of queer theory scholars, and examines works such as "Kung Fu Panda" and "Disney", to push her points forward. The sixth chapter truly encompasses the way animation is a ". rich, technological field for rethinking collectives, transformation identity, animality and post humanity." [14] A few of the large and popular examples she uses to prove her point and argue those of queer theory scholars are comparison of "George W. Bush" to the "Kung Fu Panda", Disney films and cartoons as a form of revolt, and the depth of form in Pixar films, such as Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc. and A Bug's Life.

In the chapter "Animating Failure: Ending, Fleeing, Surviving", Halberstam starts off by criticizing the view of Slavoj Zizek on Kung Fu Panda. Zizek compares the panda to George W. Bush, explaining that just like Bush, the panda rose to success because of the system, and that it was inherently tipped in his favor. Halberstam states that Kung Fu Panda ". joins new forms of animation to new conceptions of the human-animal divide to offer a very different political landscape than the one we inhabit, or at least the one Zizek imagines . " [25]

In addition to Kung Fu Panda, Halberstam goes in-depth on the complexity of animation, specifically in A Bug's Life, where a new form of "crowd scenes" were introduced. Once the technique behind the animation of the "crowd" is available, you then must make it believable by adding the proper story line. For example, in the film Fight Club, there is a scene of the brain created with much complexity, using L-systems, and is not as much an image of the brain or of cells as it is "an animation of the theory of cellular life". [26] The first step to animation is the technique, a ". heady mix of science, math, biology . " [27] However, without the narrative, it will not be effective, and the inner complexity of the image is what propels it forward to accurately represent what it is attempting to.

Stop-motion animation is the last point Halberstam touches on in this chapter. She goes into examples of "SpongeBob SquarePants", "Mr. Fox", "Chicken Run" and "Coraline" explaining how ideas of racism, entrapment, masculinity and political progression are present heavily in stop-motion films. Themes of remote control and imprisonment are also heavily present in stop-motion animation. The use of stop-motion animation can help evoke different emotions as well. For example, in Chicken Run, the start-stop jerkiness allows the narrative to be even more humorous. Themes of remote control and imprisonment are also heavily present in stop-motion animation. However, we must remember that ". the comedic soul of Chicken Run is not its operatic escape . it's about the viewer's personal relationship with his or her inner chicken." [28]

"Telling Tales: Brandon Teena, Billy Tipton, and Transgender Biography" Edit

"Telling Tales" is an essay concerned with the politics of "passing" as well as the ethics of transgender biography. The essay discusses how women who "pass" are often accused of being deceptive, and they are subjected to brutal violations and murder. Halberstam poses questions about who controls narratives that circulate about the lives of transgender people. The paper discusses "transgender biography as a sometimes violent, often imprecise project, one which seeks to brutally erase the carefully managed details of the life of a passing person and which recasts the act of passing as deception, dishonesty and fraud" (Halberstam 14). The essay also provides a brief transgender history that is accompanied by a definition of terms such as female masculinity, transsexual, realness, the 'real', female-to-male transsexuals (FTM), butch, and femme. The author thinks that trans bodies have a certain illegibility, and he is suspicious of "experts" who try to read, document, and pin down "lives filled with contradiction and tension" (Halberstam 20).

This essay is also an earlier iteration of a book chapter published In a Queer Time and Place, where his interests lie in cultivating something akin to a queer “archive of our own” whose entry is, in many ways, delimited by queer subcultural producers, theorists, and all those agents who tarry the line between the two. His archival practice is, in some ways, barred against those agents indebted to cultural logics that would reenact the violence of transgender histories. However, this closure of who can and should not write transgender biography isn’t an identitarian concern inasmuch as a cautioning against the “willful biographer” who reads for the lie (Halberstam 28). His archival practice might also understood as an ethics of transgender biography, manifesting as the refusal to read for the lie and a commitment to read for the life. [29]

Gaga Feminism Edit

In Gaga Feminism Halberstam uses Lady Gaga as a symbol for a new era of sexual and gender expression in the 21st century. The book has been noted as "a work that engages in the theorizing of contemporary gender relations and their cultural narratives, and the practice of calling for a chaotic upending of normative categories in an act of sociopolitical anarchy." [30] Halberstam describes five tenets of Gaga feminism:

  • Wisdom lies in the unexpected and the unanticipated.
  • Transformation is inevitable, but don't look for the evidence of change in the everyday look around, look on the peripheries, the margins, and there you will see its impact.
  • Think counterintuitively, act accordingly.
  • Practice creative non-believing.
  • Gaga Feminism is outrageous . impolite, abrupt, abrasive and bold. [31]

Halberstam uses contemporary pop culture examples such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Bridesmaids, and Dory from Finding Nemo to explore these tenets.

Other works Edit

In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives, published in 2005, looks at queer subculture, and proposes a conception of time and space independent of the influence of normative heterosexual/familial lifestyle. Halberstam coedits the book series "Perverse Modernities" with Lisa Lowe. [32]

Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variability, published in 2018, examines recent developments in the meanings of gender and gendered bodies. Through dissecting gendered language and creations of popular culture, Halberstam presents a complex view of the trans* body and its place in the modern world.

Halberstam is one of six children, including Naomi, Lucy, Michael, Jean and John. Halberstam's father, Heini Halberstam, and mother, Heather Peacock, were married until Heather's death in a car accident in 1971. Heini Halberstam married Doreen Bramley shortly thereafter, and they had a marriage of 42 years until Heini's death on January 25, 2014 in Champaign, Illinois at the age of 87. [33]

Halberstam is attracted to women. After a relationship of 12 years, Halberstam has been romantically involved with Macarena Gomez-Barris, a sociology professor from Los Angeles, since 2008. [34] Halberstam has said that he feels no pressure to marry, viewing marriage as a patriarchal institution that should not be a prerequisite for obtaining health care and deeming children "legitimate". Halberstam believes that "the couple form is failing". [35]

Halberstam has been nominated three times for Lambda Literary Awards, twice for the non-fiction book Female Masculinity.