Dr. Platypus

The Platypus Society

Feb 27, 2009 3:51am
Tom Neely is a painter and cartoonist in Los Angles who was born in Paris, Texas and who is also the author of The Blot. He is phenominal.
i will destroy you
Tom Neely’s Sketchbook

Tom Neely is a painter and cartoonist in Los Angles who was born in Paris, Texas and who is also the author of The Blot. He is phenominal.

i will destroy you

Tom Neely’s Sketchbook

Feb 13, 2009 4:21pm
Jennie Lynn Paske is an artist from Portland who is incredible.
Obsolete World

Jennie Lynn Paske is an artist from Portland who is incredible.

Obsolete World

Feb 12, 2009 2:42am

Clair Patterson: An Actual American Hero

Let me tell you a story about one of the most important men of whom you’ve (likely) never heard.

Once upon a time (the late 40’s) there was a man from Iowa who had a girl’s name & actaully cared about the world. His name was Clair Cameron Patterson. As a geologist at the University of Chicago Clair was trying to determine the age of the Earth by figuring out the age of lead in meteorites. This was an ingenious method and he actually did determine (in 1953) that the Earth is approximately 4,550 million years old, +/- 70 million years. But that is not Clair’s true legacy. (because, you know, being the first guy to figure out how old our planet is just isn’t that big a deal)

For the longest time Patterson was finding that any of his samples that had been exposed to air were tremendously tainted with Atmospheric Lead. Being of an inquisitive disposition, upon determining the age of our planet he immediately turned to the Lead Problem. Where the FUCK was all this lead coming from he asked himself. Well it was coming from the leaded gasoline in our cars. And Clair proved it by analyzing the lead content of Old Ice From Greenland. Since the introduction of leaded gasoline in 1923, when our air was virtually lead free, cars had pumped huge quantities of lead into the atmosphere. The big problem? Lead don’t go away and lead be bad fer yer brains.

But lead was Big Business. When Dr. Patterson began speaking out about the dangers of Atmospheric Lead the Lead People got him fired from his job, got his funding taken away, and even got him barred from a panel investigating lead in the air.

Still, Clair Patterson prevailed. After some 30 years of fighting he got lead banned from gasoline in 1986. Bam, lead levels in the blood of Americans dropped by 80%. Even so, today we have 625 times more lead in our blood than did people before leaded gasoline. And lead still gets pumped into our air through various industrial projects. The world is still waiting for the next Clair Patterson to clean it up.



Clair Patterson June 2, 1922 – December 5, 1995

Feb 11, 2009 11:51am

Narwhal (mondon monoceros)

BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | ‘Arctic unicorns’ in icy display

The BBC has rare footage of these tusked whales. My favorite thing about narwhals is that they sword fight with their tusks. Why? Because they have fucking horns and they are whales and they know that that makes them fucking awesome. 

Feb 11, 2009 1:23am
HEED THE WARNING:The Terrifying Genius of Sherlock, Jr.

Buster Keaton’s 1924 Sherlock, Jr. both lays the foundation for the modern American comedic sensibility, and qualitatively surpasses the modern Hollywood movies expressing same. Keaton’s mastery of the technical elements of film-making, in combination with his prodigious physical comedy, exposes today’s Hollywood comedies as mere hack films. Yet Sherlock Jr. endures because beneath the film’s slapstick sensibility and dazzling editing, lies a work of art that marries its aesthetic grace with tremendous philosophical and meta-filmic implications. 

The faultlessly crafted Sherlock elicits immediate pathos as we watch Keaton’s hapless projectionist/amateur detective scour the refuse cast aside by theater-goers for an extra dollar to spend on his intended sweetheart. The audience is made to sympathize with the selfless "Sherlock" character as he first gives away his found dollar, and subsequently a dollar of his own, only to watch a burly man momentarily root through the trash and come out with a cash-stuffed wallet. This scene constitutes almost all the necessary character development in Sherlock. The silent form compels a far less literary film than today’s discerning cine-o-phile expects, but in a more cinematically artful style (a la Chaplin’s “cinema is the art of pantomime” theory). The story is allowed to progress unencumbered by dialogue, so that we can infer what we may about the relationships between characters. The audience need only see “Sherlock’s” act of charity in order to root for him. Archetypes are introduced and genuine plot takes a back seat to ideas, the audience compelled to watch not by story but by spectacle. 

The spectacle of Keaton’s physical comedy can be enjoyed nearly a century later for its humor, but even more for its pure athleticism. The Silent-Era-displays of physical prowess are continued in today’s martial-arts-based action films, but Keaton’s athleticism is more enjoyable, more compelling and more thrilling than violence, closer to gymnastics than to a boxing match. This legacy of physicality has been watered down in today’s comedies, reduced to facial vamping and puny gags. Even modern attempts to recapture the completely silent comedy of a bygone era turn out parodic because they lack the beauty, elegance, pathos and very subtle subtlety of Keaton or Chaplin. There is wit in the way these men move.

Keaton highlights and enhances his physical spectacle through the use of editing techniques and cinematic spectacle that would not fail to impress the modern mass-market. When Keaton blends his character into the film-within-a-film (F-W-A-F) the value of Sherlock, Jr. is exponentially heightened. The film becomes more visually entertaining, the characters become wealthier, the stakes of the plot are raised, the stunts more thrilling, but more importantly when the F-W-A-F is introduced, Sherlock, Jr. transforms into a Work of Art with an Idea at its core. Keaton’s 1924 silent comedy is revealed to be a prescient comment on the nature of film and audience, as relevant today as it was 90 years ago. 

Keaton’s character, through the F-W-A-F, is able to live out his greatest fantasy. He becomes a forensic genius, exposes his rival and wins the girl. Keaton’s character is the prototypical audience member. He literally falls asleep, leaves himself, is completely enraptured by the film. As he lives his fantasy, again literally sleeping through his menial projectionist job i.e. his actual responsibilities, his problems are sorted out for him! His sweetheart solves the real life mystery that he, for all his prodigious fantasizing, was unable to solve. Keaton’s character is in the end a completely useless, lazy man. He gets the girl but has to watch the film as it plays in order to know what to do with her, feebly acting it out while keeping one eye on the action. Hence the audience of Sherlock, Jr. is offered a glimpse of the best possible outcome a life of completely passive entertainment can afford. You can close your eyes and dream that you are the hero of the movie-version of your life, you can even hope to open them and find yourself awash in happiness, but you, like poor Sherlock, will be without actual accomplishment, terrified, not knowing what to do next, because you have not seen the end yet. 

Feb 11, 2009 12:56am
The okapi (okapia johnstoni) is the closest living relative to the giraffe. Best thing about the okapi? It is the only mammal that can lick its own ears. These babies live in the Ituri Rainforest with a whole host of other fascinating things. This picture looks to be of quite a young fellow. 

The okapi (okapia johnstoni) is the closest living relative to the giraffe. Best thing about the okapi? It is the only mammal that can lick its own ears. These babies live in the Ituri Rainforest with a whole host of other fascinating things. This picture looks to be of quite a young fellow. 

Feb 10, 2009 11:37pm
The Carillon Sacré-Coeur, a variant of the flag of Québec proposed as the official flag in the early 20th century and flown informally by Catholic Québécois. 

The Carillon Sacré-Coeur, a variant of the flag of Québec proposed as the official flag in the early 20th century and flown informally by Catholic Québécois. 

Feb 10, 2009 3:53pm

The Platypus

The Platypus is the most bad-ass awesome animal. A semi-aquatic mammal, duck-billed and beaver-tailed with the feet of an otter, the male has enough venom in a spur on one of his back feet to bring down a full sized human or kill a small animal. They lay eggs. They can sense the electrical field generated by your muscles moving. Though there is no agreed upon plural form of “platypus” I assert that the Greek plural form, “platypodes” is clearly the most awesome. This is my mission statement. This is the home of the platypus and other equally fascinating things.  

A platypus displaying its stealth capabilities

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