If we're going to confront sexual abuse, we must confront abusers
Feminist, author, and whistle-blower Rose McGowan joins us for a wide-ranging talk about the myths behind sexual abuse and why it's never O.K. to label someone with loaded words.
Rose McGowan is a thought leader and agent of change. As a writer, director, music artist, icon, entrepreneur, and feminist whistle-blower, she focused a spotlight on injustice and inequality in the entertainment industry and beyond. As an activist, she led a movement to break the silence and became a leading voice in the fight to disrupt the status quo. By creating the social justice platform #ROSEARMY, she has signaled to the world that it is time to think differently and be better. Rose gained recognition as an actress who held lead roles in films such as The Doom Generation, Scream, Jawbreaker, and Planet Terror. She starred on the hit series Charmed, one of the longest-running female-led shows in tv history. Her directorial debut, Dawn, was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Join the movement at a ROSEARMY.com.
Rose McGowan is a thought leader and agent of change. As a writer, director, music artist, icon, entrepreneur, and feminist whistle-blower, she focused a spotlight on injustice and inequality in the entertainment industry and beyond. As an activist, she led a movement to break the silence and became a leading voice in the fight to disrupt the status quo. By creating the social justice platform #ROSEARMY, she has signaled to the world that it is time to think differently and be better. Rose gained recognition as an actress who held lead roles in films such as The Doom Generation, Scream, Jawbreaker, and Planet Terror. She starred on the hit series Charmed, one of the longest-running female-led shows in tv history. Her directorial debut, Dawn, was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
Join the movement at a ROSEARMY.com.
Rose McGowan: I was in a Lyft—ironically, because Uber shut me out because I complained about sexual harassment before any of this came out, I was like “your driver just said something really creepy,” and they froze my account… I’ll start again.
So I was in a Lyft and it was about five days after the big New York Times Harvey Weinstein story broke.
And this is a metaphor. This is to help people understand what a victim of abuse goes through: First of all you have to understand that—let’s say there‘s a gazelle or an ibex and they’re chased by a lion, and they get away. Or they get nailed. Do you think it’s the first time they’ve been chased by a lion? This happens a lot.
This guy the driver, he couldn’t see me, I was behind him and I use a different name. And he was listening to news radio and it started talking about this, and he said out loud, “I don’t understand why those women couldn’t just have fought them off.”
And I said, “Sir,” I’m a disembodied voice to him, I said, “Have you ever been so scared that you froze like a statue?”
And he stopped, actually stopped the car; he pulled over—he still didn’t look at me—he went almost into this trance-y kind of state and he said, “Yes. I was ten. I was scared so badly my feet were clay. I couldn’t move. I’ve never felt anything like this. Is that what it’s like? Is that what happens to you?”
But it doesn’t have to happen.
That’s the whole point of what I do. Just stop hurting us.
It’s like when I meet people and they’re like, “Oh, I’m not on the creative side,” and they’ll wave their hands at me as if it’s a disease.
And I think, how old were you when they took that from you?
How old were you when they told you the lie that you were one thing, and it belongs to a business card? “That’s you, that your identity.”
People keep referring to me as an actress. I’m like, I haven’t done that in a long time. I have no intention of ever doing it again. Also, I worked at a funeral home—That’s also not how I get introduced. I’ve done a lot of other things. A lot, I do many other things, but it’s just a classification system.
The word actress is very loaded. Like “celebrity”, like “liberal”, like “moral”, all these things have negative—“feminism”.
But if you look at these words and if you look at the definitions, they’re beautiful. “Moral”, the definition is gorgeous. How dare we let these people steal it. Don’t let them steal your kids.
People think, you know, The New York Times reviewed my book and people are like “What a great review.” I was annoyed by it. I thought, “That was stupid. This person with their khaki-pants brain is not understanding my point. How annoying.”
The last sentence was, “Oh, this should be great for teenage girls.”
Fuck you. You can cut that out, I’m sure.
No, it’s not great “for teenage girls.” It will be—as an addendum.
I want the 50-year-old, I want to 60-year-old, I want the man, I want the woman, I want the 80-year-old, I want anybody, because those are the ones messing those young people up, and that is how we have a cycle.
The kids are alright, it’s all y’all, that’s who I’m talking to. We just need to have a conversation. I really just wanted to have a Gertrude Stein-esque conversation with the world, but not have it only be snooty people. It’s not that complicated.
It's hard to put a bio of Rose McGowan into one sentence. She is one of the whistle-blowers behind the anti-sexual-harassment movement sweeping the nation, and she is also one of the most visible voices of the #METOO / #TIMESUP movements. Rose McGowan is part people's champion, part feminist orator, and, in our wide-ranging interview with her (of which is this part 1 of several), she is part cool-aunt that gives you incredibly solid life advice. Here, she talks with us about the myths behind sexual abuse. It's not just a women's issue, she says, it's a people issue. And certain kinds of people seem to propagate the idea that it's somehow O.K. to put other people into boxes. She posits this is part of the abusive cycle, and that it doesn't have to be that way. Her marvelous new book is appropriately titled BRAVE.
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A study finds that baby mammals dream about the world they are about to experience to prepare their senses.
- Researchers find that babies of mammals dream about the world they are entering.
- The study focused on neonatal waves in mice before they first opened their eyes.
- Scientists believe human babies also prime their visual motion detection before birth.
Imagine opening your eyes for the first time as a brand new baby. The world is so mysterious, full of obstacles and strange shapes. And yet it does not take babies all that long to get their bearings, to latch on to their parents, and to start interacting. How do they do this so quickly? A new study published in Science proposes that babies of mammals dream about the world they are about to enter before being born, developing important skills.
The team, led by professor Michael Crair, who specializes in neuroscience, ophthalmology, and visual science, wanted to understand why when mammals are born, they are already somewhat prepared to interact with the world.
"At eye opening, mammals are capable of pretty sophisticated behavior," said Craig, "But how do the circuits form that allow us to perceive motion and navigate the world? It turns out we are born capable of many of these behaviors, at least in rudimentary form."
Unusual retinal activity
The scientists observed waves of activity radiating from the retinas of newborn mice before their eyes first open. Imaging shows that soon after birth, this activity disappears. In its place matures a network of neural transmissions that carries visual stimuli to the brain, as explained by a Yale press release. Once it reaches the brain, the information is encoded for storage.
What's particularly unusual about this neonatal activity is that it demonstrates a pattern that would happen if the animal was moving forward in its environment. As the researchers write in the study, "Spontaneous waves of retinal activity flow in the same pattern as would be produced days later by actual movement through the environment."
Crair explained that this "dream-like activity" makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint, as it helps the mouse get ready for what will happen to it after it opens its eyes. It allows the animal to "respond immediately to environmental threats," Crair shared.
What is creating the waves?
The scientists also probed what is responsible for creating the retinal waves that mimic forward motion. They turned on and off the functionality of starburst amacrine cells — retinal cells that release neurotransmitters — and discovered that blocking them stopped the retinal waves from flowing, which hindered the mouse from developing the ability to react to visual motion upon birth. These cells are also important to an adult mouse, affecting how it reacts to environmental stimuli.
Graphic showing the origin and functionality of directional retinal waves.Michael C. Crair et al, Science, 2021.
What about human babies?
While the study focused on mice, human babies also seem to be able to identify objects and motion right after birth. This suggests the presence of a similar phenomenon in babies before they are born.
"These brain circuits are self-organized at birth and some of the early teaching is already done," Crair stated. "It's like dreaming about what you are going to see before you even open your eyes."
The non-contact technique could someday be used to lift much heavier objects — maybe even humans.
- Since the 1980s, researchers have been using sound waves to move matter through a technique called acoustic trapping.
- Acoustic trapping devices move bits of matter by emitting strategically designed sound waves, which interact in such a way that the matter becomes "trapped" in areas of particular velocity and pressure.
- Acoustic and optical trapping devices are already used in various fields, including medicine, nanotechnology, and biological research.
Sound can have powerful effects on matter. After all, sound strikes our world in waves — vibrations of air molecules that bounce off of, get absorbed by, or pass through matter around us. Sound waves from a trained opera singer can shatter a wine glass. From a jet, they can collapse a stone wall. But sound can also be harnessed for delicate interactions with matter.
Since the 1980s, researchers have been using sound to move matter through a phenomenon called acoustic trapping. The method is based on the fact that sound waves produce an acoustic radiation force.
"When an acoustic wave interacts with a particle, it exerts both an oscillatory force and a much smaller steady-state 'radiation' force," wrote the American Physical Society. "This latter force is the one used for trapping and manipulation. Radiation forces are generated by the scattering of a traveling sound wave, or by energy gradients within the sound field."
When tiny particles encounter this radiation, they tend to be drawn toward regions of certain pressure and velocity within the sound field. Researchers can exploit this tendency by engineering sound waves that "trap" — or suspend — tiny particles in the air. Devices that do this are often called "acoustic tweezers."
Building a better tweezer
A study recently published in the Japanese Journal of Applied Physics describes how researchers created a new type of acoustic tweezer that was able to lift a small polystyrene ball into the air.
Tweezers of Sound: Acoustic Manipulation off a Reflective Surface youtu.be
It is not the first example of a successful "acoustic tweezer" device, but the new method is likely the first to overcome a common problem in acoustic trapping: sound waves bouncing off reflective surfaces, which disrupts acoustic traps.
To minimize the problems of reflectivity, the team behind the recent study configured ultrasonic transducers such that the sound waves that they produce overlap in a strategic way that is able to lift a small bit of polystyrene from a reflective surface. By changing how the transducers emit sound waves, the team can move the acoustic trap through space, which moves the bit of matter.
Move, but don't touch
So far, the device is only able to move millimeter-sized pieces of matter with varying degrees of success. "When we move a particle, it sometimes scatters away," the team noted. Still, improved acoustic trapping and other no-contact lifting technologies — like optical tweezers, commonly used in medicine — could prove useful in many future applications, including cell separation, nanotechnologies, and biological research.
Could future acoustic-trapping devices lift large and heavy objects, maybe even humans? It seems possible. In 2018, researchers from the University of Bristol managed to acoustically trap particles whose diameters were larger than the sound wavelength, which was a breakthrough because it surpassed "the classical Rayleigh scattering limit that has previously restricted stable acoustic particle trapping," the researchers wrote in their study.
In other words, the technique — which involved suspending matter in tornado-like acoustic traps — showed that it is possible to scale up acoustic trapping.
"Acoustic tractor beams have huge potential in many applications," Bruce Drinkwater, co-author of the 2018 study, said in a statement. "I'm particularly excited by the idea of contactless production lines where delicate objects are assembled without touching them."
Evolution proves to be just about as ingenious as Nikola Tesla
- For the first time, scientists developed 3D scans of shark intestines to learn how they digest what they eat.
- The scans reveal an intestinal structure that looks awfully familiar — it looks like a Tesla valve.
- The structure may allow sharks to better survive long breaks between feasts.
Considering how much sharks are feared by humans, it is a bit of a surprise that scientists don't know much about the predators. For example, until recently, sharks were thought to be solitary creatures searching the seas for food on their own. Now it appears that some sharks are quite social.
Another mystery is how these prehistoric swimming and eating machines digest food. Although scientists have made 2D sketches of captured sharks' digestive systems based on dissections, there is a limit to what can be learned in this way. Professor Adam Summers at University of Washington's Friday Harbor Labs says:
"Intestines are so complex, with so many overlapping layers, that dissection destroys the context and connectivity of the tissue. It would be like trying to understand what was reported in a newspaper by taking scissors to a rolled-up copy. The story just won't hang together."
Summers is co-author of a new study that has produced the first 3D scans of a shark's intestines, which turns out to have a strange, corkscrew structure. What's even more bizarre is that it resembles the amazing one-way valve designed by inventor Nikola Tesla in 1920. The research is published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
What a 3D model reveals
Video: Pacific spiny dogfish intestine youtu.be
According to the study's lead author Samantha Leigh, "It's high time that some modern technology was used to look at these really amazing spiral intestines of sharks. We developed a new method to digitally scan these tissues and now can look at the soft tissues in such great detail without having to slice into them."
"CT scanning is one of the only ways to understand the shape of shark intestines in three dimensions," adds Summers. The researchers scanned the intestines of nearly three dozen different shark species.
It is believed that sharks go for extended periods — days or even weeks — between big meals. The scans reveal that food passes slowly through the intestine, affording sharks' digestive system the time to fully extract its nutrient value. The researchers hypothesize that such a slow digestive process may also require less energy.
It could be that this slow digestion is more susceptible to back flow given that the momentum of digested food through the tract must be minimal. Perhaps that is why sharks evolved something so similar to a Tesla valve.
What is Tesla's valve doing there?
Above, a Tesla valve. Below, a shark intestine.Credit: Samantha Leigh / California State University, Domi
Tesla's "valvular conduit," or what the world now calls a "Tesla valve," is a one-way valve with no moving parts. Its brilliance is based in fluid dynamics and only now coming to be fully appreciated. Essentially, a series of teardrop-shaped loops arranged along the length of the valve allow water to flow easily in one direction but not in the other. Modern tests reveal that at low flow rates, water can travel through the valve either way, but at high flow rates, the design kicks in. According to mathematician Leif Ristroph:
"Crucially, this turn-on comes with the generation of turbulent flows in the reverse direction, which 'plug' the pipe with vortices and disrupting currents. Moreover, the turbulence appears at far lower flow rates than have ever previously been observed for pipes of more standard shapes — up to 20 times lower speed than conventional turbulence in a cylindrical pipe or tube. This shows the power it has to control flows, which could be used in many applications."
A deeper dive
Summers suggests the scans are just the beginning. "The vast majority of shark species, and the majority of their physiology, are completely unknown," says Summers, adding that "every single natural history observation, internal visualization, and anatomical investigation shows us things we could not have guessed at."
To this end, the researchers plan to use 3D printing to produce models through which they can observe the behavior of different substances passing through them — after all, sharks typically eat fish, invertebrates, mammals, and seagrass. They also plan to explore with engineers ways in which the shark intestine design could be used industrially, perhaps for the treatment of wastewater or for filtering microplastics.
It could fairly be said, though, that Nikola Tesla was 100 years ahead of them.
Australian parrots have worked out how to open trash bins, and the trick is spreading across Sydney.
- If sharing learned knowledge is a form of culture, Australian cockatoos are one cultured bunch of birds.
- A cockatoo trick for opening trash bins to get at food has been spreading rapidly through Sydney's neighborhoods.
- But not all cockatoos open the bins; some just stay close to those that do.
Dumpster-diving trash parrots
In a study about these smart birds just published in Science, researchers define animal culture as "population-specific behaviors acquired via social learning from knowledgeable individuals."
Co-lead author of the study Barbara Klump of the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior in Konstanz, Germany says, "[C]ompared to humans, there are few known examples of animals learning from each other. Demonstrating that food scavenging behavior is not due to genetics is a challenge."
An opportunity presented itself in a video that co-author Richard Major of the Australian Museum shared with Klump and the other co-authors. In the video, a sulphur-crested cockatoo used its beak to pull up the handle of a closed garbage bin — using its foot as a wedge — and then walked back the lid sufficiently to flip it open, exposing the bin's edible contents.
Major has been studying Cacatua galerita for 20 years and says, "Like many Australian birds, sulphur-crested cockatoos are loud and aggressive." The study describes them as a "large-brained, long-lived, and highly social parrot." Says Major, "They are also incredibly smart, persistent, and have adapted brilliantly to living with humans."(Research regarding some of the ways in which wild animals adapt to the presence of humans has already produced some fascinating results and is ongoing.)
Clever cockie opens bin - 01 youtu.be
The researchers became curious about how widespread this behavior might be and saw a research opportunity. After all, says John Martin, a researcher at Taronga Conservation Society, "Australian garbage bins have a uniform design across the country, and sulphur-crested cockatoos are common across the entire east coast."
Martin continues, "In 2018, we launched an online survey in various areas across Sydney and Australia with questions such as, 'What area are you from, have you seen this behavior before, and if so, when?'"
Word gets around
Credit: magspace/Adobe Stock
Although the cockatoos' maneuver was reported in only three suburbs before 2018, by the end of 2019, people in 44 areas reported observing the behavior. Clearly, more and more cockatoos were learning how to successfully dumpster dive.
As further proof, says Klump, "We observed that the birds do not open the garbage bins in the same way, but rather used different opening techniques in different suburbs, suggesting that the behavior is learned by observing others." One individual bird in north Sydney invented its own method, and the scientists saw it grow in popularity throughout the local population.
To track individual birds, the researchers marked 500 cockatoos with small red dots. Subsequent observations revealed that not all cockatoos are bin-openers. Only about 10 percent of them are, and they are mostly males. The other cockatoos apparently restrict their education to a different lesson: hang around with a bin-opener, and you will get supper.
Thanks to the surveys, the researchers consider the entire project to be a valuable citizen-science experiment. "By studying this behavior with the help of local residents, we are uncovering the unique and complex cultures of their neighborhood birds."