A Visualisation of the Airflow with and without a Facemask. This is done by Utilising Schlieren Imaging.
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In our latest “N Equals One” podcast, we speak with Aaron Carlin, MD, PhD, and Sandra Leibel, MD, assistant professors and physician-scientists at UC San Diego school of Medicine. Six months ago, Carlin was studying viruses such as Zika and Leibel was studying diseases that affect newborn lungs with “mini lungs” – stem cell-based organoids grown in a petri dish in the lab. Then SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that has caused the COVID 19 pandemic, entered our lives. Carlin and Leibel quickly teamed up to explore what happens to the lungs when they are infected with SARS-CoV-2, and how we might be able to mitigate that damage.
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Things that hit differently in 2020: Lore podcast episode 86: Under Siege
so i was thinking about this post i made some more and i feel like looking at the way the stories of evan lukas, agnes, and gerry are told to us is really interesting.
all three of them have this commonality where they were created to carry a legacy, to serve (or in gerry’s case, take advantage of) these entities; and each of them found at least some way to rebel against this, to take back their own agency and self-definition. agnes dated jack and chose the end of her life, gerry burned books and helped strays, evan completely broke from his family, made friends, fell in love.
but in the end, all three of them have their agency stolen again in death. gerry is bound into the book; evan lukas is buried at moorland house by relatives who take the chance to prey on his beloved. and then we come to agnes, who on some level did choose her death, but it also seems related to her connection with hilltop road and gertrude, which she had absolutely no control over.
and deeper than that, for agnes, comes what arthur nolan puts into words:
“Never really knew what she felt ‘bout any of it, not really. Not in her own words. Guess that’s the thing about being the… chosen one, or... at the end of it, you’re always just the point of someone else’s story, everyone clamoring to say what you were, what you meant, and your thoughts on it all don’t mean nothing.”
(Episode 145, Infectious Doubts)
One thing that I know frustrated some people is that we never got to hear Agnes on podcast, but in the context of the above quote I think that was absolutely an intentional choice. Agnes never got to tell her own story; the closest we get is the story told by people like Arthur Nolan or Jack Barnabas, who claimed to love her. But the stories they tell are all mired in what they wanted her to be far more than who she was. The final loss of agency is that who she was was forgotten, replaced by what she could do for others, what she meant to them.
And, to a lesser extent, the same happens to Evan Lukas. He had friends, loved ones, and Naomi, but he was buried, the ceremony intended to memorialize one’s life, as a Lukas, on some lonely stretch of moor. And even looking at Naomi’s statement... it doesn’t tell us much about him, really, how he got out or what he felt about the whole thing beyond that he didn’t get along with his family. She loved him, but at least to the listener, his story is lost in favor of what he meant to her and what she lost when he died.
Gerry, we can see, was headed the same way. We get a lot of bystander’s statements about him, about how he saved them or creeped them out, and we get the statements of both his parents (though Mary barely mentions him). And in death, he’s sealed into a book for some inscrutable purpose of Gertrude’s, and then reduced to his utility as a monster manual for Trevor and Julia, and then for Jon.
But meeting Jon changes everything, because even though Jon desperately needs the information Gerry can give him, he insists on treating Gerry as a person. The big example of this is him burning Gerry’s page, fulfilling his wishes rather than treating him like an object, of course, and that’s an incredible moment. But even before that, in episode 111, Gerry tells Jon about the storage unit immediately after his page is ripped out; Jon could feasibly just dismiss him and move on. Instead, they have the conversation that fed all us shippers, and then Jon asks if Gerry wants to give a statement.
Obviously Jon does get some fulfillment out of people giving statements, but he doesn’t compel Gerry, and it seems pretty clear at least to me that he wouldn’t have pressed the issue if Gerry said no. What Jon does here, instead, is give Gerry the opportunity that Agnes and Evan Lukas never had: he gets to tell his own story.
And I think that it’s genuinely lovely that Jon is the one to make this change. Obviously the tapes have taken on a sinister cast with the final revelations as far as the Web, but I think it’s worth viewing them in light of what they meant to Jon, back then. He doesn’t want to be-- refuses to be-- another goddamn mystery.
Because Jon, with all his struggles with the Web and Elias and his own transformation, also engages heavily with this question of agency. And above all, he doesn’t want to be defined by whatever incidentals someone pieces together about him; he wants his story to be preserved, and he wants, as much as possible, to write it himself.
And he wants other people to have the same; he doesn’t want them to be forgotten. He has everyone record their thoughts before the Unknowing in Testament; he listens, over and over, to the scraps of recording he gets of Gertrude, Gerry, Tim and Sasha. And when he finally stops Jonah, he does it-- at least partially-- in their memory.
Whether you believe Jon succeeded in defining his own story or not, I think there’s beauty in his desire to remember the stories of the people around him, as they were and as they wanted them to be told.
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Woke up to pee and saw my husband had sent this. At first I was going to argue the order but saw he had a point even though he does not listen to podcasts and has only heard of their work from Kiddo and Myself
Anyway the reason why this works
Justin as Pestilence: he is on sawbones, a show that discusses how not to cure infectious diseases
Travis as War: he came up with "play along at home" and "riddle me piss" I like them but mostly for how they cause rage in the others
Griffin as Famine: the boy can't eat anything or else he blows up his toliet
Clint as death: listen to the mbmbam where he starts talking about what music he would play to set the mood with a lady. Then tell me he's not death
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How would you recommend starting TAZ? A lot of my friends love it but I don’t know where to begin.
TAZ has three major arcs, Balance, Amnesty, and Graduation (ongoing), aired in that order. None of them are sequels, so you can go into any of them blind and all you’ll miss out on is a joke reference or two. Choosing which one to go into first just kinda depends on what you’re looking for. You can start Balance and Graduation from “episode 1,” and Amnesty has a set-up episode pre-episode 1.
Balance (69 episodes, DMed by Griffn) is the most popular arc, and is a fantasy adventure about 3 guys who take a job together and then find themselves major assets of a secret society trying to save the world. It’s got found family, whacky hijinks, and a really infectious optimism to it when the rubber hits the road. It’s got structured arcs, and most people will tell you that it takes a couple to really get into it. It was most of their first time playing D&D at all, and so they had to figure out what they were doing, but the McElroy’s are hilarious by default, so even when you’re not neck deep in the story any episode is a good time.
Amnesty (36+1 episodes, GMed by Griffin) is the second arc that started as an experimental mini-arc and was then chosen to be season 2. It’s a monster-of-the-week style story played in a Powered by the Apocalypse game system about two guys and a young women in no-where West Virginia keeping abominations from revealing the fact that monsters and cryptids are real. And also aliens. The guys went all-in on designing their characters this time, so there’s a lot of fun character backstory and they jump into it right out of the gate. The world Griffin crafted blooms over and over as they tell the story.
Graduation (27 episodes, ongoing, DMed by Travis) is the current arc, and Travis managed to (in a time saturated by Hero and Villain stories) create a unique setting structured around Heroism and Villainy... for economics. Three D&D boys enrolled as students in a university-style school which teaches how to be a Hero or Villain (or sidekick or henchperson) for hire and career. Graduation has a slow start, the opening episodes have a lot to take in, but careful you don’t take what you see at face value (especially not the players). Also, The Power of Friendship is strong with these college roommates. They nailed an excellent balance between pre-written character and meet-them-as-you-play-them that’s unique to D&D play podcasts.
There’s also two other mini-arcs that they did after Balance, if you want to just dip a toe in to see how the McElroys play. Commitment (4 episodes GMed by Clint) is a superhero story in the fate system, and Dust (4 episodes, (I think) in a Powered by the Apocalypse system, GMed by Travis) is a supernatural/western/mystery.
Personal Opinion: the best places to start are either Balance or Graduation. Balance has a solid, complete story that created the foundation of the McElroy’s play/story-style; and since Graduation is ongoing you can still catch up and join in on fan content before it ends. Balance has one of my favorite story worlds, and Graduation has my favorite TAZ PCs. I’m also loving themes and stories unfolding in Graduation right now, I’m just. So hooked. I love Amnesty (I’m relisting to it right now) it’s just not my favorite of all the other excellent stories.
You’re also bound to see wank about Graduation, and if you’re willing to dive into any point in TAZ, I think it might be worth giving Graduation a shot first, to be able to say, unequivocally, that you formed your opinion over something other than comparing Griffin and Travis’s DM-style.
I tried to summarize with minimal spoilers, but if you want me to start dumping tropes at you so you can find your favorites just let me know!
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Human Error Casting Call
Title: Human Error
Project Type: Fiction Podcast
Genre: Post Apocalyptic Horror
Length: Four Seasons, Season one is 8 episodes long
Recording Period: Season one: 4 Months, starting in June. Future seasons will be decided after season one is finished.
Recording Location: Remote only with group table reads over Google Meet. We plan to do table reads two episodes at a time. Each table read is estimated to be about 2 hours long.
Compensation: Minimum of $25 per episode with the possibility of a higher rate dependent on fundraising success.
Audition Deadline: April 30th
About the Show: Set in an apocalyptic version of 2033, ‘Human Error’ follows a young adult named Billie as they travel across South Central Texas where society has fallen to hordes of zombie-like creatures called Errors. Having lost their own family and friends to death and tragedy, Billie takes refuge with a group of other survivors seeking safety and a cure for Errors. But Billie has more in common with the Errors than they’d like to admit to their companions. ‘Human Error’ dives into loss, love, and finding hope within ourselves.
Diversity, Safety, and Harassment Policy: https://humanerrorpod.wixsite.com/main/diversity-safety-harassment-policy
Death (both discussed and “on screen”)
Use of guns
An Infectious Disease
Zombie like creatures
Billie Ryan - They/Them - This role is only open to nonbinary/ trans actors. Lead actor.
Hazel Nicole Jarrell - She/Her Pronouns - Open Casting. Lead actor.
Gus (Augustus) William Hill - He/Him - Open Casting. Lead actor.
Jace Franklin - She/Her/They/Them - This role is only open to actors who are both trans/nonbinary and deaf/hard of hearing. Lead actor.
Waverly Wilson - She/Her Pronouns - This role is only open to deaf/hard of hearing. Lead actor.
Eden Eli Wilson - They/Them Pronouns - This role is only open to trans/nonbinary actors. Lead actor.
Kyra Jones- They/Them Pronouns - This role is only open to actors who are both trans/nonbinary and deaf/hard of hearing. Lead actor.
Grace Katherine Ryan - She/Her Pronouns - Open Casting. Recurring Actor.
Silas Nicholas Palmer - He/Him Pronouns - Open Casting. Recurring Actor.
Ensemble - Open Casting
If you are interested in learning more, please check out our casting call page here!
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Ghost of You [Twelve]
Series summary: Bucky has worked hard to come to terms with his past and enjoy the new life he’s been given. But his mind is still plagued by nightmares of what he’s done and by the face of an unknown woman. What happens when the team is tasked with recovering another Winter Solider, causing Bucky’s past and present to collide in the form of the woman from his dreams?
Pairing: Bucky Barnes x Reader, Steve Rogers x Reader (platonic)
Chapter warnings: Mostly fluff with a hint of angst. Mentions of a therapy session and nightmares.
Word count: 2,830
A/N: Some more Bucky and Reader times! Thank you for all the support and love, as always! Hope you like! Enjoy! 😊💜 gif not mine.
A cloud of steam engulfs you, hot water streaming over your body as you stand motionless in the shower. The heat a welcoming respite after countless years in ice. Hoping that cleansing your body is a passage to cleansing your mind.
Nightmares have become more regular now. A recurring scenario with the same moving parts: a metal chair, a dark figure with sinister blue eyes hovering nearby, and the incessant feeling of fear, torture, agony surrounding you. And when you wake, the response to the terrors is predictable, but no less terrifying. Sheets stick to your body from a cold sweat, the beat of your heart pounds against your ribcage, and the panic of the unknown, the uncertainty of what’s to come, has you gasping for air and crying out in fear.
Moving to the new room upstairs did give you some form of control back, like Dr. Walters said. But unsurprisingly, you rarely left unless you needed to. Steve or Wanda would occasionally convince you to eat in the kitchen with them, or sometimes you would take the long way back from Dr. Walters’ office after a session. Other than that though, most of your time was spent within these four grey walls.
Steve showed you how to use the internet, and you were hell-bent on learning what you missed while you were held captive. Articles, videos, and something called podcasts provided you with all the information on any event you wanted to learn more about. And in between your personal history lessons, you continued to write in your journal.
Billows of steam suspend in the heated space when you step out of the shower, and your reflection is a foggy blur in the mirror. Wiping a hand over the glass, your profile comes into view, and you take a moment to regard it because you’re still not used to the face that stares back at you.
Eyes a little less dull, wrinkles a little less prominent, and smile a little more hopeful.
The scar on your shoulder catches your attention, light fingers run over the raised skin. Recalling the memory Dr. Walters pulled from your subconscious, a small smile tugs at the corners of your lips.
Reaching for the white towel that hangs on the back of the door, you dry off before choosing something to wear. And it was the little things like that you found yourself being overwhelmingly grateful for.
Choices, options, freedom.
You wondered if Bucky felt the same way when he first got here.
The man who you shared a still somewhat mysterious past with seemed to occupy most of your waking thoughts recently. The pages of your journal filled with words and entries dedicated to him. Some are faded memories you’ve been able to retrieve, and others are written passages of the emotions you feel growing inside you, an attempt to make sense of it all.
But you feel your mind slowly starting to concede to knowing him. Or at least, you’ve accepted the idea he isn’t a threat, and want to give whatever relationship the two of you have a chance. When you found him in the library the other morning, you weren’t expecting to see him, but you couldn’t deny the seed of joy that planted itself inside you.
And then it started to blossom into something you’re sure you haven’t felt in a long time when he kindly talked with you and picked out a book for you to read.
I think you’ll like it.
For some reason, those words played over and over in your mind, watering the seed and dampening the feeling of remorse that stuck itself within you. It solidified to you that he knew you, and you knew him at one time.
Asking him to go for a walk was rather easy, and when he agreed to it, the underlying tension that had a hold of your body dissipated, and relief washed over you. Tears of appreciation formed in your eyes, because after everything you’ve done to him—screamed at him, refused to see him, physically harmed him—he’s still here, hoping and waiting.
Optimism filled you at the prospect of your relationship with Bucky developing because if there is anyone here you would be able to bond with, it would be him. He’s the only one who understands your past because it’s his past, too.
Once dressed, you call out to the AI system Steve explained how to use after your initial Compound tour.
“F.R.I.D.A.Y., could you ask Bu—Bucky,” the name sticks in your throat as you realize it’s the first time you’re saying it out loud. It’s foreign on your tongue, but there’s a fluttering in your chest as it rings back in your ears, “Could you ask Bucky if he’s available to meet by the south entrance for a walk in an hour?”
“Of course, Miss Y/l/n,” the AI responds. “One moment.”
Cleaning up the towel from your shower, you don’t have to wait long for a response.
“Miss Y/l/n,” the Irish voice calls for your attention, “Sergeant Barnes replies ‘I’ll be there.’”
The fluttering in your chest intensifies as you bite back a smile, already counting down the minutes.
The white clock hanging above Dr. Walters’ desk has most of your attention during the session. Eyes incessantly flicking to it as you watch the big hand slowly make its way around, one tick, tick, tick closer to seeing him.
“Are the nightmares still happening?”
Dr. Walters’ voice draws your focus back to the session. A pause while you shift on the couch, licking your lips and nodding your head.
“Yes,” you reply with a sigh, “I expect them, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to them.”
Dr. Walters hums in understanding. “Hopefully after a while they’ll lessen, but I suspect they unfortunately won’t ever go away, not entirely.”
Nodding again, you give her a tight lipped smile.
“Are they still the same? Anything new?”
A shake of your head while you reach for the glass of water Dr. Walters gave you, taking a sip to cool the tension this subject always induces.
“Still the same for the most part,” you respond replacing the drink on the table. “There’s still the shadowy figure and just the overall feeling of dread.” Shrugging your shoulder in a matter-of-fact way, you glance to the split skin around your thumb.
The gold pen you’ve come to associate only with Dr. Walters glides across her paper as she takes notes. Sometimes you wonder what her notes consist of, but then you quickly determine you probably wouldn’t want to read what she writes about you and your situation.
Looking up from her notepad, she picks up her mug as she speaks.
“Well, I’ll say keep writing in your journal and we’ll continue to talk through them.” She pauses when she takes a sip of her tea. “Anyways, how are things with Sergeant Barnes?”
The mention of his name has your chest fluttering again and stomach tingling with butterflies. A reflexive smile curls the corners of your lips, giddiness taking over at the mere thought of him.
“They’re, uh…going well,” you say, averting Dr. Walters’ stare, eyes set on the twisting of your fingers. “I saw him in the library the other morning.”
“Oh? And how did that go?”
“Fine,” you reply, pausing as your smile stretches fully across your face. “I asked him to go on a walk later today.” Finally, you look back up to Dr. Walters and she’s giving you a pleased, almost proud smile of her own.
“I think that’s wonderful, Y/N,” she says with sincerity. “A positive relationship in any capacity with Sergeant Barnes can aid in your recovery.” She pauses as a knowing smirk begins to curve the edge of her mouth. “And I’m sure Sergeant Barnes is keen on the idea, as well.”
The smirk lingers and it’s difficult for you to hold her gaze. A bashful heat takes over your body as you try to suppress a smile, and you think you’re pretty keen on the idea, too. Briefly recalling when the thought of him had you recoiling in fear and panicking if he was anywhere nearby.
Minutes continue to tick by and you’re sure this might be the least productive session you’ve had with Dr. Walters. But then again, you suppose you’re making gains in other aspects of your recovery as the doctor mentioned.
Exiting Dr. Walters’ office, you make a beeline for the south entrance. Your session unexpectedly went over and you pray your tardiness didn’t deter Bucky from waiting. The sun is warm on your skin when you step outside, but it’s nothing in comparison to the warmth flooding your insides when you spot him.
Bucky stands tall, hands in his pockets while a slight breeze ruffles through his hair. And when he sees you, the smile that spreads across his face is infectious.
The word is breathy as you greet him. Lungs releasing the air they hold in a frenzy of excitement to be in his presence again and in a stunned fascination at his physical grandeur.
“Hi,” Bucky replies, smile never faltering.
A stillness falls between you, eyes locking on one another and communicating an unspoken awareness. This is happening and it’s real.
Awkwardly clearing his throat, Bucky is the first to pull his gaze from you, and you’re blinking away the dampness in your eyes. He steps to the side and gestures towards the path that leads to the lake.
Walking in time together, the sound of gravel crunching beneath your feet fills the silence until you get the urge to speak.
“Thank you,” you say softly, a tinge of nausea stirring in your stomach as you continue, “for agreeing to meet with me.” Glancing to Bucky, the uncertainty you feel quickly dissipates when he gives you a reassuring smile.
“You… you don’t have to thank me,” he replies.
“I feel like I do though,” you sigh looking to the ground. “Before…when you came to see me, I was awful to you and I’m just so sor—“
“Don’t,” he cuts you off sternly, but his tone is tender.
Quickly flicking your gaze to him, you swallow down the lump in your throat as his blue eyes intently stare into yours.
“Please don’t apologize,” he says gently, stopping and turning to face you. “I understand and I don’t blame you. For anything.” He continues to speak with conviction, a slight waver to his voice at times, and you try your best to hold back the onslaught of tears as you listen to his words. “I know this whole thing is confusing, hell, I’m still confused, but…But if you’re willing, I’d like to move forward and…get to know you.” His voice trails at the end, a wistful pull to the corner of his eyes, but there’s a hopeful smile on his lips.
A few tears slip down your cheeks and you nod eagerly.
“Yes,” you reply, voice weak from emotion, “Yes, I’d like that.”
Smile widening, his chest deflates as the breath he was apparently holding passes through his lips. Staring into his eyes for a moment longer, there’s a newfound glint within the deep depths of blue and it elicits the warmth inside to take over your entire body.
Continuing down the path, you take in the scenery around you. Large trees with luscious greenery frame the stony walkway with birds singing their songs from the branches. The air is fresh; every breath you take in feels like a purification of your soul, wishing there was a way you could bottle it up for times when you felt the darkness creeping back in.
The dock comes into view and you suggest taking a seat on the bench by the water. Bucky sits a modest distance from you, and you would be lying if you said you didn’t wish he was a little bit closer. Occasionally a breeze picks up and the water laps against the dock, a calming background noise to your conversation.
“How’s painting with Steve going?” He asks with a quirk of his eyebrow. It’s not obvious, but you can sense a hint of jest in his tone.
Scraping your top teeth over your lower lip, you hold back a coy smile. “Uh, alright I guess, although I haven’t painted in a while.” You pause, turning your head to glance at him. “I think I prefer writing more, and reading.”
The hint of a knowing smirk is on his face and he presses his lips together as he chews gently on the bottom one. “Is that right?”
“Hm,” you hum in confirmation. “And you were right, I did like it.”
His brow creases slightly in confusion until realization dawns on him. “To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my favorites.”
“Well, I trust your judgment for any future book recommendations.” You give him a smile and the tinge of pink to his cheeks causes your heartbeat to stutter.
He looks away when he responds with a chuckle. “There’s a book series Sam suggested to me a little bit ago. It didn’t seem like my cup of tea, but it was a fun read. I’ll get you the first book.”
A quiet giggle falls from your lips, but then your smile is fading as a darkness clouds your thoughts.
“Can I ask you something?”
There’s a seriousness shading his features when Bucky senses your mood shift.
Taking a moment to collect yourself, you shift to grip the edge of the bench before you speak.
“Do you…still have nightmares?”
Mirroring your position, Bucky sits upright as his hands clutch the seat of the bench. He’s silent, gaze falling to the ground, and jaw muscles twitching when he nods in response.
“I do,” he states lowly.
“Does it get better?”
Tortured blue eyes are back on you, and you swallow thickly under the intense stare and daunting response you await.
“Not necessarily, no.”
You appreciate the honesty in his answer, but you have a feeling there might be something he’s keeping from you. Perhaps not quite ready to share the more intimate parts of his thoughts, and you respectfully accept that.
Nodding your head and glancing to your hands on the bench, you take note of the broken skin around his thumb. A small smile tugging at the corners of your lips.
“You, too?” You question softly.
“Hm?” Bucky hums in questioning, looking to you before following your line of sight. “Oh, uh, yeah, it’s a bad habit I’m trying to get rid of.”
“Well, if you find something that works, let me know.”
He gives you a smile before turning his attention to the lake, eyes squinting from the sun rays reflecting on the water.
Letting your gaze linger on the reddened skin of your thumbs, a sudden urgency comes over you. The beating of your heart picks up as you slide your hand closer to Bucky’s, a shaky pinky lifting to gently brush the soft skin of his.
Bucky’s stare on the water is unwavering, but his knuckles turn a bright white as his grip on the bench tightens. The only indication that he feels your gentle touch. After a few tender caresses, your hand is under your thigh, skin tingling and heartbeat never relenting.
The sun begins to set, sky turning to mesmerizing shades of purples and pinks, and you both reluctantly decide to return to the Compound. Entering the building, you try to contain the excitement swirling in your belly when Bucky offers to walk you back to your room.
Gripping the handle of your door, the goodbye between the two of you is stalled, neither of you wanting to leave just yet.
Awkward giggles fill the silence when you both talk in unison.
A nervous hand rubs the back of Bucky’s neck and he gestures with his metal hand for you to continue.
“Go ahead,” he says softly.
Giving him a small smile, hoping to not sound too eager, you anxiously ask, “Would you want to go for another walk tomorrow, maybe?”
Bucky starts to nod his head, the corners of his lips etching upwards.
Beaming, you don’t hold back your smile any longer.
“Okay,” he breathes through a grin. “Right, well, I’ll see you tomorrow then.”
He begins to step backwards in the direction of his room, and you nod, watching him retreat down the hallway. Before you close the door, you call after him.
Bucky stops in his tracks, turning abruptly to face you with a look of astonishment. Realizing it’s the first time you’ve used his name to address him, your words falter.
“I, just…thank you.” A shy smile pulls at your lips.
He returns your smile and nods his head.
Previous // Next // Masterlist
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THE SILT VERSES
is a podcast with a religious horror focus that just finished it’s first 15 ep season so now is a great time to get into it (most episodes are around 30-60 minutes)
from their official site:
In this horror/fantasy serial drama, Carpenter and Faulkner, two worshippers of an outlawed god, travel up the length of their deity’s great black river, searching for holy revelations.
As their pilgrimage lengthens and the river’s mysteries deepen, the two acolytes find themselves under threat from a police manhunt, but also come into conflict with the weirder gods that have flourished in these forgotten rural territories.
From Gods that bend flesh and mind to their wits, to authorities that want to hunt them down, our two worshippers try to stay alive and ahead.
This podcast is planned for two seasons, with a global cast and straddles the dark place between horror and weird fiction.
Listen, listen this podcast has the incredibly cool line “We each get to choose the one thing that eats us.”
it’s got saints as a transformation from human into something animal and infectious,
it’s got faith for the mundane gods of an office or a reputation- gods as professions- consumption by the powerful concepts of our own creation,
it’s got crabs,
it’s got murder and loss of faith,
it’s got murder as an act of worship,
it’s got fish hooks that pierce and curses that transfer and gods that transform and bones that shift and ideas that catch and outlawed religions in hiding and powerful markings in chalk
it’s also pretty funny
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This is how Healthcare Workers currently treating Coronavirus patients suit-up to ensure their own safety.
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The COVID-19 Vaccine: Our shot at immunity from SARS-CoV-2
October 26, 2020, 1:45 p.m. — Around the world, at least 53 COVID-19 vaccines are currently undergoing clinical trials. Four of the largest and most promising have reached the final Phase III stage. UC San Diego is a testing site for three of the big four: Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson.
To learn more, we spoke with the trials’ two principal investigators: Susan Little, MD, professor of medicine, and Stephen Spector, MD, Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics, both at UC San Diego School of Medicine.
Question: Why is it important to develop a COVID-19 vaccine?
Little: As we’ve seen, anyone can become infected with SARS-CoV-2. A significant proportion of people with SARS-CoV-2 infection remain asymptomatic — the overall likelihood of asymptomatic infection is currently thought to be 15 to 20 percent, though this rate decreases with advancing age.
Community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from both asymptomatic people and pre-symptomatic people (approximately two days of viral shedding that occurs before the onset of symptoms in those who become symptomatic) remains one of the major public health challenges for current mitigation control measures, such as facemasks and social distancing. Persons who may not perceive themselves to be ill are still able to efficiently transmit to others if appropriate hand hygiene, face-masking and social distancing are not practiced.
There are a number of factors that increase the risk of severe illness. People who are more vulnerable to infection include men and older adults, with the risk of severe illness increasing for those over the age of 65. Additionally, certain underlying conditions exacerbate risk: obesity, cancer, chronic kidney or lung disease, a serious heart condition or diabetes, for example.
Q: How is UC San Diego involved in COVID-19 vaccine trials and how do they work?
Spector: I’m the principal site investigator for the Moderna trial, which began here in July. It’s a randomized, observer-blind, placebo-controlled study — the gold standard for trials. The plan is to recruit up to 30,000 participants at multiple sites across the country. We have currently enrolled approximately 300 participants at UC San Diego. The goal is 500. Half will get the two-injection vaccine; half will get a placebo. The vaccine uses a newer mRNA technology. When the lipid nanoparticle containing mRNA is injected into muscle, the mRNA is translated into the full-length spike protein (the protein thought to confer protection against SAR-CoV-2) and stimulates the human immune system to produce antibodies and cellular immunity against the virus.
Little: I’m the principal investigator for both the AstraZeneca and Janssen trials at UC San Diego, which began in September and October, respectively. Both trials will prioritize making vaccine study participation available to people in San Diego communities that have the highest rates of COVID-19.
For the Janssen trial, we have partnered with National City to establish a semi-permanent vaccine clinic in El Toyon Park. Persons throughout San Diego County who are 18 years of age or older are eligible for both vaccine studies, though enrollment will take place at the specified clinic sites in Southern and Eastern San Diego County. The trial will recruit up to 60,000 participants in multiple countries, including 2,000 at UC San Diego. It builds on a well-tested vaccine platform that has been used for many other infectious diseases, including Ebola and Zika. A deactivated human adenovirus, that cannot replicate in people (and so will not cause people to develop a cold), is modified to carry the protein for the coronavirus’ characteristic spikes. When the cold virus enters host cells, the spike protein prompts an immune response and resulting antibodies.
(NOTE: Johnson & Johnson, the trial sponsor, temporarily paused the Janssen trial to investigate a reported illness in one participant. It was not yet clear whether the participant had received the candidate vaccine or the placebo.)
The AstraZeneca study will use a unique mobile vaccine clinic strategy that will bring the vaccine clinic to La Mesa, Chula Vista and Imperial Beach. This study will recruit up to 30,000 participants nationally, approximately 1,000 in the San Diego arm of the trial. It uses a weakened adenovirus from monkeys, that can cause a common cold in monkeys, but cannot replicate in humans. The adenovirus is modified to deliver specific SARS-CoV-2 proteins to human cells, which prompts an immune response and production of neutralizing antibodies.
(NOTE: The AstraZeneca trial was paused in mid-September when a participant in the UK trial developed serious neurological symptoms. The participant recovered and the trial resumed in the UK and in other countries but remains on hold in the United States.)
Q: How are the vaccines designed to produce protective antibodies?
Spector: The general idea is to safely expose the human immune system to elements of the novel coronavirus that induce an immune response similar to a natural exposure, but without the risk of actual infection. In this case, that means generating neutralizing antibodies. These are proteins produced by immune cells that recognize and target specific pathogens, bind to them and interfere with the pathogen’s ability to enter cells, rendering them non-infectious. The presence of neutralizing antibodies is fundamental to acquiring immunity to a disease.
What isn’t known yet is how long these neutralizing antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 persist and remain effective. That will have a strong bearing on how frequently an approved COVID-19 vaccine might need to be administered.
Q: Is it realistic to hope that one or more vaccines will be approved before the end of the year?
Spector: It is possible, but I think it’s more important to make certain that any vaccine that is licensed is both safe and effective. We should keep in mind that ordinarily new vaccines require a decade or more to develop. Scientists have been working on a COVID-19 vaccine for less than a year, and here we are with multiple trials in Phase III. So, although we would all like a vaccine today, it is critical to make certain that the scientists performing the studies and the public who will be receiving the vaccine have confidence in the process.
Little: The usual process of vaccine development is long and difficult, intentionally so. Many vaccines never make it to the finish line. An approach turns out to be less promising than originally hoped, and is abandoned. A drug candidate may not produce the desired effect in trials or may be associated with unacceptable adverse effects. A lot of things can dramatically slow or stop a candidate vaccine.
Spector: With COVID-19, the development timeline has been incredibly accelerated, in large part because so many people and resources are focused on the task, including at UC San Diego.
Q: What else do you want our community to know?
Spector: We are living in challenging times. There are moments when I think we all feel a sort of helplessness, that the situation just keeps going from bad to worse. In fact, we’re making progress. The virus is relentless and apolitical. It looks for vulnerabilities and exploits those vulnerabilities. But we are fighting back. Much has been learned about how best to treat patients with COVID-19. Hopefully, we will soon have an effective and safe vaccine that can contribute to getting back to normal. San Diegans have a rare opportunity to be part of the fight by volunteering for a trial.
Little: There are the proven, practical things we can all do now to reduce our risk of viral illness this fall. Flu season is upon us. Get your flu shot! COVID-19 and influenza are different diseases caused by different viruses, but reducing the risk of the latter can only be beneficial. Also, do these three things daily that reduce your risk of contracting either infectious disease: Wear a mask. Socially distance. And wash your hands frequently.
Though our clinical trials and research studies, UC San Diego Health leads the region’s efforts to prevent COVID-19 and improve treatments for people with the disease. By volunteering for a trial or study, you get a chance to participate in groundbreaking research and contribute to developing better cures and treatment options.
Learn more about the COVID-19 clinical trials here.
— Jeanna Vazquez
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Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the origins of infectious disease. Infectious disease has been with us for millennia. There are reports of ancient outbreaks of plague in the Bible, and in numerous historical sources from China, the Middle East and Europe. Other infections, including smallpox, tuberculosis and measles, have also been known for centuries. But some diseases made their first appearances only recently: HIV emerged around a century ago, while the Ebola virus was first recorded in the 1970s.But where do the agents of disease come from, and what determines where and when new viruses and bacteria appear? Modern techniques allow scientists to trace the histories of infective agents through their genomes; the story of disease provides a fascinating microcosm of the machinery of evolution.With:Steve JonesProfessor of Genetics at University College LondonSir Roy AndersonProfessor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College LondonMark PallenProfessor of Microbial Genomics at the University of Birmingham.Producer: Thomas Morris.
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How Republicans froze Texas solid
The collapse of Texas's power grid during a lethal cold snap has put Texas politics under a spotlight. There's no better place to start than the Deconstructed podcast, where Ryan Grim delivers a historically informed, timely series of interviews.
Grim reminds us that the roots of Texas's woes are in the 2002 midterms, when the GOP took the Texas House for the first time in a generation, then engaged in brutal gerrymandering to keep it, and embarked on a string of ideology-driven deregulation adventures.
The GOP ideology holds that businesses are "efficient" because every penny they squeeze out of their costs is converted to profit. There's a kernel of truth to this - indeed, the most prominent early theorist of this was Karl Marx!
In an unregulated market, capitalists increase profits by reducing labor and input costs, and/or by raising prices. Competition is supposed to prevent prices from going up, so when market proponents talk about "efficiency" they really mean reducing labor and input costs.
Markets do squeeze input costs. The "dematerialization" of goods and buildings has been a steady march for more than a century - from the steel in your car to the concrete in your home to the energy consumed by your TV, the world uses less stuff and energy to make more.
But material and energy efficiencies require innovation. Reducing labor costs, on the other hand, merely requires *power*. Capitalists whose workers are denied collective bargaining and a social safety net can squeeze wages far more easily than energy or materials.
And of course, not all material and energy savings are created equal. It's one thing for Ikea to figure out how to shave material inputs from composite shelves by inventing better glue - it's another for a company to reduce material costs by dumping toxic waste.
Again, the difference is between innovation and power. Making stronger, cheaper, more efficient materials requires investment in R&D. Saving by externalizing your costs - by imposing harms on others - merely requires the power to get away with it.
The GOP experiment involves granting unlimited power to corporations, through "deregulation" - stripping worker protections, environmental protections, and operating standards. And, as our right wing friends like to remind us, "incentives matter."
Relieved of the need to negotiate with workers, compensate the public for harms, or provide high-quality services, "the market" responds by slashing wages, harming the public, and tightening the slack in the system that allows it to cope gracefully with abnormal conditions.
Hence "we are experiencing unexpected call volumes, please hold." That's "efficiency" - squeezing down staff levels to levels that barely cope with median load, so any bobble results in long lines. Hence aviation breakdowns when a single hub airport (like DFW) is snowed in.
Hence a power-grid that is fully isolated from neighboring states. Hence generation facilities that were not weatherized despite multiple historical events that proved they'd be needed, someday, one as recent as 2011.
There are windmills in northern Canada. In Norway. At the *Antarctic research stations*. If Texas's windmills shut down during the storm, it's not because we don't know how to make cold-weather windmills - it's because allowing windmills to fail in cold weather was profitable.
Lysenkoism was the Soviet Union's disastrous foray into politicized science. For ideological reasons, Stalin bought into the beliefs of Lysenko, who said that the traits a parent acquired in their life could be genetically passed onto their children.
Stalin insisted on applying Lysenkoism to wheat cultivation, to prove that his ideology would work. The result was the famine of 1932-3, which killed tens of millions of people. So many people that there weren't enough survivors to count the dead.
The Republican insistence that selfishness is optimal, that companies should only care about maximizing shareholder returns, that deregulation produces efficiencies, that states cannot perform - this is American Lysenkoism.
American Lysenkoism is why Red States like Texas refused to lock down and have told each county to design its own vaccination and public health program. It's also why those states refuse climate science.
American Lysenkoism kills. It's why the pandemic has killed 500k Americans. It's why so many Texans are in danger of freezing to death now. It's also why Republicans - the "party of life" - are performatively refusing to care about these deaths.
You can't be an American Lysenkoist unless you deny that we have a shared destiny. That's why climate, pandemic, energy, education and health are so confounding to conservatives. These are systems that require collective responses.
Energy is a collective enterprise (Lenin: "Communism is soviet power plus electrification of the whole country"). It requires failover to nearby grids. It requires "overinvestment" in peak capacity. It requires cooperation and coordination to smooth out discontinuities.
Maybe a market could accomplish this, but so far it hasn't. Instead, deregulated power systems strip out safety margins, undermaintain facilities, underinvest in improvements, and price-gouge.
As James K Galbraith writes for the Institute for New Economic Thinking: "Demand for electricity is what economists call inelastic: it doesn’t respond much to price, but it does respond to changes in the weather, and at such times, of heat or cold, the demand becomes even more inelastic."
And "Supply has to exactly equal demand every single minute of every single day. If it doesn’t, the entire system can fail."
Only a Lysenkoist could see these truths and still opt for deregulating energy.
Now Texas is in the grips of a double-whammy. The covid-overloaded hospitals are treating exposure and CO-poisoning cases. Potentially infectious families are doubling up in the few heated homes.
As Kelsey McKinney writes for Defector, Texas epitomizes America's failed love-affair with Lysenkoism, battered by climate (hurricanes, floods, freezes), pandemic without public health, and a dematerialized energy grid, destined to fail.
Lysenkoism demands a hard heart. To survive watching your neighbors die for your ideology, you must somehow shift the blame to them. Small wonder that Ted Cruz feels empowered to take his germ-ridden family to a Cancun resort, abandoning his constituents.
Tim Boyd, the Texas mayor who had to resign after telling his residents that their city owed them nothing, that the strong would survive and the weak would perish? He was just being a good Lysenkoist.
You can't embrace an ideology that kills your neighbors and still look yourself in the mirror unless you can find a way to make it all your neighbors' fault. Lysenko is a monstrous ideology, and it makes monsters of its adherents.
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By: Marianne Wurm
Published: March 24, 2021
In his book The Parasitic Mind: How infectious ideas are killing common sense, Gad Saad offers a relentless and provocative diagnosis of the origins and damage of the pathogenic thoughts that are destroying the western world's ability to think rationally.
Throughout the book, he often humorously suggests ways for the soldiers of reason to fight back so that they can win this battle of ideas and freedom.
The author is a freethinker who teaches at Concordia University in Montreal. He holds the Research Chair in Evolutionary Behavioral Science and Darwinian Consumption and is the author of numerous books. Since 2013, he has hosted The Saad Truth podcast, which has 200,000 subscribers. His guests include well-known personalities Dave Rubin, Joe Rogan and Jordan Peterson.
The questions posed immediately catapult us to the heart of the matter: how do the ideological locks of the left come into place, how has this infectious disease infected academia in particular? What ecosystem is conducive to their evolution? How can we protect our minds against its deleterious effects?
His sharp eye, his talent for popularization, his fluid and colorful style dissect and investigate political correctness, the thought police, victim culture and its eternal offended, social constructivism, radical feminism and transgender theories. The boxer Saad is in the ring, he frames his opponent, sharpens his hooks and puts him out of the fight.
Without complacency, the author relates a number of real-life experiences, illustrating his words with amusing anecdotes. He emphasizes that the pursuit of truth in science should not be based on ideological preferences or personal beliefs, but on verifiable facts.
This book helps us understand how the parasitic mind prevents us from functioning with clarity. It denies or rejects reality and protects itself from it by fabricating a network of connected ideas between different imaginary variables, as a pseudoscientist did when he attributed an Islamist attack in 2015 in Paris to climate change…
He virulently denounces the tyranny of cancel culture, worthy offspring of Maoism and Stalinism. He attacks progressivism, this intellectual terrorism with hollow and incomprehensible language, far from reality and repeating ad nauseam that there is no objective truth, but only emotions. But one cannot see clearly with eyes full of tears, wrote Milan Kundera.
The fraudulent practice of the ideas of diversity, inclusion, and equity also takes its toll. Students at some universities must meet these criteria to receive a scholarship. How can they apply to science studies? It is better for a society to ensure that every human being is given opportunities to succeed based on their work, merit and skills rather than privileges based on gender, race or position on the victim list.
You can’t think outside of words, said the philosopher Wittgenstein. To allow words to be imposed is to allow a way of thinking to be imposed.
Among the solutions offered by the author: do not hesitate to express your ideas! Know that you have a voice, do not censor yourself.
If you are a student and your professor is spouting progressive gibberish, challenge him or her politely in a constructive way. Don’t give any more money to a university that doesn’t respect free speech. Offer alternative views. Don’t be afraid to lose your Facebook friends. Stand up for your ideas and don’t compromise.
It’s about reviving that freedom of speech and conscience we used to take for granted. Dare to hold politicians accountable for open borders, condemn political Islam without being called Islamophobic, racist or intolerant and without fear of being excluded from political, academic, friendship, family or cultural circles.
As Saad says, any attack on freedom of thought and expression can only weaken the strong values of Western thought at the expense of everything that still gives it meaning and lead it to self-destruction.
The Parasitic Mind is a breviary on the art of repartee and self-expression. It is a work that fights against the ambient gloom. The whole is read with a renewed pleasure on each page. It is a vaccine against ignorance.
Quebec could be enriched by Gad Saad’s stimulating reading, just as the rest of Canada would benefit from knowing Mathieu Bock-Côté. These two solitudes together would make us stronger.
The book is currently a best seller on Amazon… and still available!
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Another civilian AU idea, but Red, a busy college student and amateur inventor who's going through some crap with his parents, gets addicted to this one art podcast, where the host has the most soothing voice. And the worker at the noodle shop down the street, both cute and funny, sounds a lot like that host...
THATS REALLY CUTE WTF
and I can see that too! like idk what is usually featured on art podcasts, I'm more of a 'super niche interests' kind of podcast listener, but I'm imagining MK's voice while in podcast mode is like lowkey 'Next Generation's Bob Ross' energy
And- Listen i'm someone who has audio sensitivity too so i'ma just throw my classic 'Red Son is also Autistic AF' headcanon in there because finding a good audio stim like that is a fucking haven for how many Bad SoundsTM there are in the day to day. So i can see this.
Basically this guy is just REALLY good to have on in the background while Red's planning out a project or doing the menial work of assembly, and really his voice is like a saving grace for him when Midterms begin to loom overhead because just taking five minutes to rest his head on his worktable, close his eyes and just listen for a bit just immensely helps in keeping him from literally stressing himself into a meltdown.
It was actually during midterms that he ended up in the noodle shop. He normally ate on campus, but there was construction going on near the food area and if he had to smell cement and hear the construction trucks on top of the splitting headache he already had he would actually go insane, so he said fuck it and decided to just hole up in the noodle shop until his next class.
and it's... quaint... It's a cute little hole in the wall. And it's far enough that he can't hear the construction work anymore, so he figures its safe to take his headphones off, and ends up pulled into a conversation with the boy working there, and... Yes okay, he IS cute. very cute. And that whole thing about the both of them being overworked and running exclusively on caffeine and spite WAS pretty funny.
It had to just be a coincidence that he had a similar voice to the mystery host. After all they weren't IDENTICAL, the podcast was super slow and chill and the host's voice reflected that, very rhythmic and steady, calm and soothing as though he were hosting it in the same room someone was sleeping in. And despite the similar sound the Noodle shop boy had far bigger energy about him. So much more energetic and fast talking, like all of this energy was contained inside him and it was just begging to be released--it was different. Equally as infectious and equally as kind on his long since overwhelmed ears and head, but different.
It had to just be a coincidence.
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pairing: ransom x female!reader
warnings: very cheesy and unrealistic. lots of fluff, your teeth might fall out. strangers to lovers
summary: when a nasty snow storm ruins your girls trip to a ski lodge, you have to... adapt to your interesting new roommate.
word count: 2.7k
a/n: and there was only one bed…. oh my god there was only one bed….
Come on, they said. A girls trip would be fun, they said. You all needed a break from your routine and work, they said. Who doesn’t wanna kick off their New Year on vacation, they said. Of course, that was all before you arrived at a remote, overbooked resort in the middle of nowhere, hours after your friends’ flights had been cancelled due to an incoming horrendous snow storm.
Now, you stood near the counter in the lobby, biting back tears as you began to desperately rake your brain for solutions to the bizarre issue you were facing.
“God damnit, don’t you know who I am?” a deep voice at the desk thundered.
“Of course, Mr. Drysdale, but you know that we can’t just give this room up to you in conditions like this,” the poor hotel employee told him, trying to keep his composure. “We have way too many clients for you to get a room like this all by yourself!” After hearing this remark, this ‘Mr. Drysdale’ character, who didn’t seem much older than you were, grit his teeth, leaned his head back, and groaned exasperatedly.
You tried not to be too nosy, but it was nearly impossible not to look over at the dramatic scene that was playing out next to you. A grown man, throwing some sort of hissy fit about not getting a room. Luckily for you, he glanced in your direction at the perfect moment to make an uncomfortable eye contact, and suddenly, his annoyed look turned into a devilish smirk.
“Well, lucky for you, I’m not here all by myself. In fact, my girlfriend is right over there,” he tilted his head to gesture to you. Oh no. This was much worse than you anticipated. When you saw that smirk, you thought that maybe he’d hit on you, maybe even catch you at the bar and make some crude offer to you. You didn’t think he’d be using you in order to get a room.
“Oh, I-” you stuttered, not even knowing where to begin. What the hell was going on? You could barely process the last 5 hours of your life, let alone the scenario you’d just been tossed into.
“Alright, Mr. Drysdale. Sorry about the inconvenience.” The hotel employee didn’t even bother hiding his annoyance as he looked down and began to type on the computer. The man looked back over to you, gave you a little chuckle, then moved a bit closer to you so that he could wrap an arm around you.
You were honestly at a loss for words. What the fuck was happening? Maybe you were asleep. There was no way that this was all real. You were incapable of fighting this situation, or even arguing with this man. To be honest, he was pretty handsome. And it seemed like you two were getting one of the last rooms in the whole lodge, so at least you wouldn’t be sleeping on a couch in the lobby until the snow storms stopped.
“Alright, Hugh, Here’s your key. 2C.” The employee bit the inside of his cheek, enjoying the tiny win of calling the bothersome man a name he hated. Hugh? Really? You thought to yourself while rolling your suitcase away, and keeping up the act of being some stranger’s girlfriend until the pair of you reached the elevator.
As you two stood in silence, the weight of your actions began to sink in. What the hell did you just sign yourself up for? For all you know, this Hugh dude could be a murderer. Or a rapist. Or a crazy murderer rapist. You began to envision your name as the title of some True Crime podcast. ‘The Ski Lodge Slaughter of Y/N L/N.’ You began to feel yourself sweat under your winter coat.
“So, your name?” Hugh asked you casually, as if he hadn’t taken you more or less against your will. He basically kidnapped you. Oh god, ‘The Kidnapping and Killing of Y/N.’ Hugh looked down at you and quirked a brow. “My God, loosen up. You look like you’ve just seen a ghost!” He laughed. You debated whether or not to even tell this man your real name, but in a split irrational decision, you blurted it out.
“Y/N,” you said, then grimaced after. “Hey, don’t try anything funny on my guy,” you warned, trying to sound tough, but probably not sounding like it. “I have pepper spray on me, and I know your full name. No funny business, Hugh Drysdale.” You warned.
You watched as Hugh’s face went through a rollercoaster of emotions, but the general theme of which being amusement. You swore he stifled a laugh as the two of you exited the elevator and walked through the rather cozy halls. The pair of you stopped in front of a pine door labelled 2C.
“How about you call me Ransom,” he told you before opening the door to your home for at least the next week.
You spent the first few minutes in your suite looking around at all the luxuries it offered. It was essentially an apartment, and saying you were impressed was an understatement. The space was truly beautiful, with views like nothing you’d ever seen before. The master bedroom overlooked a mountain, the bathroom was massive and gorgeous, the balcony contained a hot tub, and the living room held a massive fireplace. There was only one problem.
There was just one bed.
Maybe you could sleep in the living room or something. It was definitely large enough. You were simmering deep in your thoughts while staring out the main window in the living room when you heard the words of your new roommate.
“It’s nice right?” He asked while coming to stand next to you.
“Yeah,” you agreed.
“We used to come here every year, you know.”
“Oh really?” you replied, trying to sound intrigued in order to stay on his good side in the event that he actually was a murderer. “Like, you and your family? Or like, you and your friends..?”
“My family,” he looked away from the window and at you. “I can assure you, it’s always this nice.”
You looked up at him and tried to ignore the fact that you felt like you were a character in a Hallmark movie. “Why’d you stop?” you inquired, and he shrugged before turning away. You honestly felt kinda bad for the guy, even if he was just a random stranger. “Well, if it’s any consolation, I was supposed to be here with my friends. But their flights got cancelled because of some impending snow storm.”
You swore you heard a faint chuckle as Ransom began to walk into the bedroom. “That is pretty funny,” he confirmed before you heard the door close. Rude. You thought to yourself, before sitting down on the sofa in the middle of the room, and trying to find a show to hold you over.
The flight must’ve taken more out of you than you initially thought, because you woke up early in the morning with a blanket lazily draped over you, and a sharp pain in your back. You dug into your pocket and checked the time on your partially charged phone. Unsurprisingly, it was way-too-early-to-be-awake-o’clock. Damn jet lag. You tossed the blanket off yourself and figured that if you were awake, you may as well be eating something good. Shuffling into the kitchenette, you found a room service menu, and ordered enough for a small army. It wasn’t like you were paying for the food in the first place.
Sometime after your food arrived, Ransom walked into the room as well, and sat across from you at the table. “Morning babe, what’d you get us?” He asked playfully before popping a strip of bacon into his mouth.
You couldn’t help but to quirk your lips. You were kind of annoyed that he hadn’t even attempted to offer you the bedroom and left you to sleep on an uncomfortable couch, but his playful demeanor was infectious. “Basically everything, babe, hope you don’t mind the tab.” You gave him a little smirk as you lifted a mug of coffee to your lips.
“Not a problem, babe. How’d you know I’d wake up with an appetite this big?” He continued to banter with you.
“I just know my baby so well,” you giggled, then abruptly stopped when you noticed Ransom was not exactly laughing along with you. “Uhm, I’m gonna go take shower,” you said quickly before standing up, pushing your chair in, then escaping to the bathroom.
Your awkward interaction had been about a day ago, but luckily you hadn’t had any moments like that since. Some time in the afternoon, you sat back down on the sofa and cuddled into your own little corner. A bit later, Ransom joined you on the opposite end of the couch, and the two of you sat in a comfortable silence while watching reruns of classic Christmas movies ever since.
You were honestly shocked at how fast you and Ransom warmed up to each other, and how quickly you’d let down your (nearly nonexistent) guard. But to be fair, what girl had the willpower to resist the kinds of baby blues in his eyes? And his slightly overly confident, yet funny personality was quickly growing on you. Not to mention the way he was wearing the shit out of every sweater he put on. You couldn’t help but to daydream about the man while a pot in the kitchenette warmed up the milk for your hot chocolates.
“Hurry up, babe,” he whined from the sofa, to which you rolled your eyes. What a brat.
“On my way, dear,” you giggled, before finishing up the drinks and bringing him a mug. “You know, I really didn’t know what to expect when you basically kidnapped me,” you stated while sitting down.
“Haven’t you had fun? I mean, I know we can’t really go out in this kind of weather, but I like to think of myself as a fun guy.” he took a sip of the drink, then reeled at the heat’s assault on his tongue.
“I mean, I never really saw myself having as much fun with a stranger as I did when we played Uno last night,” you gave Ransom a shy smile.
“That was pretty great,” he nodded in agreement, and returned your smile with a lopsided grin.
“You know, I really expected you to be a dick. I’ve never seen someone make as big of a scene as you did in the lobby those days ago,” you snickered, then let your laugh die away when you saw Ransom press his lips together, furrow his brows, and stand. “What?” you asked with concern laced in your voice.
“Goodnight, Y/N,” he said dryly before walking off to the bedroom. This man and his Goddamn mood swings. You set down your mug, and cuddled into the quilt covering your body before attempting to go to sleep.
You awoke to a loud thud, and the sensation of goosebumps prickling all over your skin as a visceral reaction to the frigid cold that had suddenly taken over the suite.
“What the fuck,” you’d heard a groggy voice say from the bedroom. Ransom shuffled out of the room, and stood in the hall leading to the living room while pointing an accusatory finger at you. “Did you do this?” he slurred slightly, words heavy from sleep.
“No!” you pouted. “I just woke up in the same freezer as you!” You sat up, and stretched your arms while you tried to think of a reason why it was suddenly so cold in your suite. Maybe the employees were playing a prank on their least favorite tenant. Maybe the furnace was broken. Either way, you were both cold as hell, and couldn’t find a solution. You only had so many blankets. Suddenly, something came to you.
“Go back to your room, asshole,” you said quietly before wiping the sleep out of your eyes. Ransom obliged, and you began your search for as many toasty clothing articles you could manage. Luckily, you were smart when packing, and made sure to bring plenty of cable knit sweaters with you. In your tired haze, you clumsily threw the articles of clothing on, then began your trek to the bedroom.
“What are you doing here?” Ransom asked while pulling on another sweater, seemingly having the same idea as you.
“Get in the bed,” you demanded, before flopping in the bed next to him and yawning. You nearly moaned at the comfort of a real bed, rather than a sofa, but filtered yourself. “Cuddle me. We’ll be like little penguins.” You whispered sleepily, already feeling more relaxed at the heat radiating off your bed partner.
There was not one word of complaint coming from Ransom as he threw a strong arm around you, then buried his nose in your hair. “‘Night, Y/N,” he told you, his voice trailing off.
Even in your sleepy haze, your heart rate quickened when you realized that the two of you fit together like puzzle pieces.
In the morning, you woke up to a soft, yet empty bed. The heat was now clearly back on, and the heat was definitely back on in your face when you began to recall last night’s events.
That day was more of the same for you, watching shitty Rom Coms, over-indulging on room service, playing endless rounds of chess, and even more card games. Neither of you addressed the furnace sized elephant in the room of your late-night cuddle session, and you honestly hoped to keep it that way.
Sometime between a game of Solitaire and Crazy, Stupid, Love, you fell fast asleep, and were surprised when you woke up without the crick in your back, and deeply inhaling the scent of pine.
After you’d drifted off, Ransom had decided to carry you into his bedroom. You just looked way too peaceful to have to spend another night in your sofa hole. He set you down on the bed, pulled the comforter over your body, then gave you a quick peck on your forehead.
“What the fuck,” He wondered quietly out loud to himself.
Cabin fever was beginning to eat at you and Ransom, and apparently, there was no better way to battle that than to drink excessively. It started when you added a bit of Bailey’s to your hot chocolates, and only escalated as you spent the night raiding the minibar.
After a few too many shots, you grabbed your phone and hit shuffle on a random playlist on your phone. “Come dance with me,” you giggled, pushing his hand away from a bottle of Grey Goose, and grabbing it instead. The pair of you stumbled over each others’ feet for a few minutes, before waltzing into the bedroom together and plopping clumsily onto the bed as a unit, with you straddling Ransom’s thin waist.
“I can’t believe I’m spending New Year’s Eve with you,” you leaned down and spoke into his face. “Imagine if I wasn’t so dumb, and I didn’t go along with your stupid plan to get this room,” your nose was basically pressed into Ransom’s at this point. You looked deep into his eyes, and he was quiet for a moment.
“Y/N, you are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen in my life,” he commented out of the blue, reaching up to rub his thumb on your flushed cheek.
“Shut up,” you averted your gaze. “You’re not so bad yourself.”
“Yeah?” He asked raspily.
“Yeah,” you agreed, setting your hand on top of his hand that sat on your cheek.
The sound of fireworks being shot off in the distance briefly caught both of your attention, leading you to look out the window for a moment, before looking back at each other.
“Happy New Year, Y/N,” you were quickly pulled into a sweet, passionate kiss.
And honestly, you couldn’t think of a better way to start the year.
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“We’re all healthy, so we should be fine, right?”
Sure, you should be fine, but my dad has previously perfectly healthy patients who die of the flu just about every year, so...I think Peterson should maybe have mentioned something like that.
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I don't know where Cahalan got her ideas about medieval mental health: she doesn't cite any sources for that part. But the This podcast will kill you hosts very clearly evoke the "if hygienia was bad in Victorian London, think how much worse it must have been in 1348."
ARGH. I stopped listening to Sawbones for similar reasons. I recommend Infectious Historians if you're looking for a medical history podcast.
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Part 4: The Sixteenth Fear
The Magnus Archives was a horror podcast. It is now completed. Many of the show’s mysteries were never explained on the show. I intend to explain them. Spoilers for the show, but also spoilers if you wanna solve these mysteries yourself.
In part 3 I said every fear has an opposite. But the Flesh didn’t exist before the industrial revolution. So there would have been 13 fears then, an uneven number, and not every fear could balance against an opposite. So how could that be?
The answer is, there were only 12 fears before the Flesh. The Corruption and the Desolation used to be the same fear.
Diego Molina of the Lightless Flame cult worships Asag. A Sumerian god of disease that could make fish boil. So Asag seems to be of both the Corruption and the Desolation.
In Infectious Doubts Arthur Nolan complains about it: “Not like I can vent to the others about what a prat Diego is. Got a lot of funny ideas. Still calls the Lightless Flame Asag, like he was when he was first researching it. I just really wanna tell him to get over it; I mean Asag was traditionally a force of destruction, sure, but as a church we very much settled on burning in terms of the – face we worship, and some fish-boiling Sumerian demon doesn’t really match up, does it? Plus there’s a lot of disease imagery with Asag that I’ll reckon is way too close to Filth for my taste, but no, he read it in some ancient tome, so that’s that –“
Ancient is the key word. The tome predates the industrial revolution and the Flesh. Asag probably isn’t a thing anymore and Diego is indeed a prat for worshipping it.
In The Architecture of Fear Smirke writes “I know you say the Flesh was perhaps always there, shriveled and nascent until its recent growth, but to grant the existence of such a lesser power would throw everything into confusion. Would you have me separate the Corruption into insects, dirt, and disease? To divide the fungal bloom from the maggot?”
It is not random that Smirke uses the Corruption as an example here. The Corruption is the opposite of the Flesh, so the Corruption is the fear that Smirke believed had no opposite for hundreds or thousands of years.
In part 3 I said vampires where Corruption/Desolation/Hunt. This is a little far-fetched, but I wonder if the vampire’s we’ve seen have been old ones that predate the Flesh. And that’s why they are part Corruption, since Corruption and Hunt used to be next to each other. Maybe there are more modern vampires without the long sucking tongue. Maybe instead of sucking blood, when they bite you begin to burn or boil. Since the Hunt is now next to the Desolation instead of the Corruption-Desolation combo.
In Vampire Killer Trevor says “I have killed five people that I know for sure as vampires, and there are two more that may or may not have been.” There is a missing middle part of Trevor’s statement. Maybe there he talks about killing two vampires that are modern and therefore different so he’s not sure if they’re actually vampires.
Speaking of fears splitting up, why is the Darkness the opposite fear of the Slaughter? In Last Words we hear of the first fear “A fear of blood and pounding feet, a fear of that sudden burst of pain and then nothing.”
And of the second fear “The fear of their own end, of the things that lived in the darkness, became a fear of the darkness itself.”
I think the first was a general fear of violence. It includes what became the Hunt “Blood and pounding Feet...” and the Slaughter “...Sudden burst of pain and then nothing”, and the End “The fear of their own end…” And the second fear was the Darkness. They were the opposite by default, simply for being the two first fears.
When the Buried became a fear, the Hunt split up from the Violence to oppose it. When the Vast became a fear, the End split up from the Violence to oppose it. All that was left of the Violence was Slaughter, still opposing the Dark. When humans began warfare, fear of war fit nicely with the Slaughter.
The Eye might have been part of the Dark at first. Still from Last Words: “...because they knew the dark held flashing talons and shining eyes…”
When the Lonely became a fear, the Eye split up from the Dark to oppose it.
So what about the Extinction? Does it have an opposite? Yes! There is a sixteenth fear. And what can be the opposite of the fear of the end of the world? The fear that the world isn’t real. That we’re all just living in a computer simulation. If you think the world isn’t even real, you’re not gonna be so worried about it ending. I’ll call it the Simulation.
Here is how the fears are arranged on the wheel, with the two latest fears added:
Description of image: A circle with 16 spots similar to a clock. On each spot is a number and the name of a power: 1. Corruption. 2 Extinction. 3. Desolation. 4. Hunt. 5. Slaughter. 6. End. 7. Lonely. 8. Stranger. 9. Flesh. 10. Simulation 11. Spiral. 12. Buried. 13. Dark. 14. Vast. 15. Eye. 16. Web.
The Extinction is next to the Corruption. Disease and garbage are both gross. Possessive is an Extinction episode, even if not acknowledged as such by any of the characters. It’s about garbage. And Maggie is creating people out of garbage. She is making the inheritors mentioned in Time of Revelation. There are also creatures made of garbage in Concrete Jungle. And Maggie was full of moving insect legs, showing Corruption influence.
Quote from Adelard Dekker from Rotten Core: “I’ve spoken before about how keenly I’ve watched news of possible pandemics, which is where I suspect the Extinction may pull away from the Corruption during its emergence.” Adelard knows the Extinction is next to Corruption.
The Extinction is next to Desolation. That fits, nuclear weapons cause fire. Quote from Times of Revelation, describing corpses: “They were stiff, and desiccated, mummified by some process Bernadette could not begin to guess at, but that rendered their flesh like tightly packed ash” Ash as if they were burned.
The Simulation is next to the Flesh. The Flesh makes you think humans aren’t people, they are just meat. The Simulation makes you think humans aren’t people, they are just NPCs.
The Simulation is the next to the Spiral. Both make you question what is real. The Spiral makes you doubt your mind, the Simulation makes you doubt your world.
There are four episodes about the Simulation: Binary, Zombie, Cul-de-sac and Reflection.
In Binary Sergey Ushanka uploads his mind into a computer. He becomes a simulation and it hurts. There is influence by the Spiral, the statement giver isn’t sure if she’s going crazy. And there is influence by the Flesh. Ushanka uploads himself into a computer and then he eats the computer. So that’s cannibalism.
In Zombie the statement giver thinks other people aren’t real, they’re philosophical zombies, In other words they like simulations or NPCs. The man that follows her repeats the phrase “Just fine, thank you for asking” and says nothing else. Just like some NPCs in video games will say the same phrase over and over. The man is identical the three times they meet, except for his t-shirt changes color. Sometimes in video games some NPCs will be identical, except for some colors are changed. (Because it’s less work to recollar a character than to draw one from scratch.)
John thinks Cul-De-Sac is about the Lonely. And yes, the statement giver was lonely. But the people affected by the Lonely choose to be lonely, and the statement giver didn’t. His boyfriend broke up with him because of cheating and then he lost his friends because they sided with his boyfriend.
I think the theme of the statement is unreality, not loneliness. In the Magnus Archives, when someone gets marked by a power it is because they made some wrong choice. The choice the statement giver makes is to return to the place he found dead and soulless. He drives back to his ex-boyfriend to deliver the moose, rather than send it by mail. He specifically wants to meet his ex. Not an act of loneliness, quite the opposite. Also he is returning a moose that is angular and creepy, in other words it is unreal.
When the statement escapes from the nightmare it’s because he got a phone call from his ex. And he says “I love you.” and that fits neatly with the Lonely. But it also fits with escape from the unreal. He escapes because he communicates with a real person.
The road signs says “Road” and “Street”. Generic and unreal. All the houses look the same. Like in a computer game. The statement giver wonders if they are the same house. Like in a computer game where one might reuse the code for a house many times.
The house he enters has stock photos. Unreal.
The people on TV have something wrong with their eyes, similar to the eyes of the zombies in Zombie. And it's a fake cooking show, and a fake infomercial.
The dead woman upstairs was someone who had social media profiles, and that nobody notices had died. Meaning she lived her life online. That sounds like she was lonely. But living online also makes her a good victim for the Simulation. Everyone she talked to was on a computer, she couldn’t know for sure if they were real.
The woman had killed herself with a mirror. I think what happened was she had looked into the mirror and seen that her eyes were wrong, like the eyes of the people on TV. And she had thought she was just a simulation, like everything around her. And therefore she killed herself. Or perhaps she wasn’t reflected in the mirror at all? Like in…
Reflection. Adelard speculated that this statement was about the Extinction, but I don’t think so. The protagonist was in a world that seemed unreal. A fun fair is artificial so that fits the theme. The people were playing games, which fits the theme via computer games maybe.
Adelard says “I can’t quite get past the detail that there was no reflection at all in the mirror he used to return.” It is almost at the end of Adelard’s letter, it’s clearly meant to be significant. The no reflection might be symbolic for the statement giver starting to think he isn’t real, which might be what happened to him after he gave the statement.
Reflection has influence by the Spiral, with the maze of mirrors. There is influence by the Flesh, with the cannibalism.
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Y'all look how his eyes crinkles when he's grinning really big. And he closes them when he laughs. He is so beautiful. God I love him so much.
Every time Eugene laughs like this it adds three years to my lifespan
Keith making him laugh like this is the absolute best.
Eugene laughing thisssss much on the latest episode of trypod [(ep 106) Eugene controls the podcast- chaotic] and genuinely having so much fun brings me ridiculous amounts of sheer joy. His laugh is truly infectious I can't help but smile when he's laughing.
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