Harvard has a pigment library that
stores old pigment sources, like the
ground shells of now-extinct insects,
poisonous metals, and wrappings from
Egyptian mummies, to preserve the
origins of the world’s rarest colors.


A few centuries ago, finding a specific color might have meant trekking across the globe to a mineral deposit in the middle of Afghanistan. “Every pigment has its own story,” Narayan Khandekar, the caretaker of the pigment collection, told Fastcodesign. He also shared the stories of some of the most interesting pigments in the collection.


Mummy Brown

“People would harvest mummies from Egypt and then extract the brown resin material that was on the wrappings around the bodies and turn that into a pigment. It’s a very bizarre kind of pigment, I’ve got to say, but it was very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries.”


Cadmium Yellow

“Cadmium yellow was introduced in the mid 19th century. It’s a bright yellow that many impressionists used. Cadmium is a heavy metal, very toxic. In the early 20th century, cadmium red was introduced. You find these pigments used in industrial processes. Up until the 1970s, Lego bricks had cadmium pigment in them.”

“The lipstick plant—a small tree, Bixa orellana, native to Central and South America—produces annatto, a natural orange dye. Seeds from the plant are contained in a pod surrounded with a bright red pulp. Currently, annatto is used to color butter, cheese, and cosmetics.”


Lapis Lazuli
“People would mine it in Afghanistan, ship it across Europe, and it was more expensive than gold so it would have its own budget line on a commission.”

Dragon’s Blood
“It has a great name, but it’s not from dragons. [The bright red pigment] is from the rattan palm.”


“This red dye comes from squashed beetles, and it’s used in cosmetics and food.”

Emerald Green
“This is made from copper acetoarsenite. We had a Van Gogh with a bright green background that was identified as emerald green. Pigments used for artists’ purposes can find their way into use in other areas as well. Emerald green was used as an insecticide, and you often see it on older wood that would be put into the ground, like railroad ties.”



This is pure alchemy. I love it! 


So there’s this thing I’ve noticed with marginalized folk who make this decision to actively participate in the systems of oppression, especially when they direct it to folks who are equally if not more so oppressed than they are.

I mean, you know the deal — we’re basically talking about homophobic religious brown folk, TERFs who themselves are subject to misogyny and lesbophobia, literal gay Nazis, East and South Asian white supremacists, brown and black Muslim and ex-Muslim folk who become either guides or collaborators with Islamophobes or global white supremacy… you know the deal. This stuff isn’t even exactly new.

And I even know some of the reasons why it happens. Some of it’s because abuse or trauma fucks you up and messes things, and you never grow out of it. Some of it’s through learning some bad shit and never really figuring out that it’s bad. Some of it’s a conscious decision to fuck people over, if only to get safety and power, or for survival, whatever the cost. Other times it’s because it’s a calculated risk, that you can win safety and power for you and yours, for whatever reason, venal or noble. Sometimes it’s just, you don’t think you can do anything about the oppression anyway, because it’s inherent and natural and going against it is foolish. Sometimes you just don’t want to have to work through the fucked-up-ness of your identity and your history, and you don’t want to deal with being complicit or culpable, and growth is scary. Sometimes it’s just comfortable to let someone else lead, and you operate in a universe that only encompasses your own needs and those under your care. Sometimes the hate you feel over some of the other marginalized folk overrides everything else, and you go with it. Sometimes you’re just a little evil sod who may or may not get yours, but if you do, you fucking deserve it. There are many reasons.

They all lead to bad ends. I’m not saying that this is a certainty, of course — one of the greatest tragedies with the human condition is that people sometimes don’t get what they deserve, and you can be a literal monster who gets to die, in peace, in bed, and never have to face any culpability this side of existence. And hey, you know, that may extend to your children, or your children’s children, down the generations. I mean, it’s not as if white people don’t exist, many of them still quite privileged (if not exactly happy or content), and there’s such a thing as generational wealth where literal wastes of skin are bequeathed obscene amounts of wealth simply because your to-the-nth ancestor was a murderous slaver, or a child rapist, or something equally heinous. Nothing is certain.

But for a lot of these people, the ones who decide that they’ll only fight for theirs and their kin, to hell with everyone else… it can end badly. Because the price of wanting to participating in this system of oppression is that the minute you’re no longer useful, and you’re not one of the (very) few people who the hierarchy considers “truly” human… the last thing they do before they dump you out in the cold is use you to perpetuate the systems of oppression you thought you had avoided for so long. Whether it’s Ernst Röhm getting a bullet to the chest, Tiger Mothers being used to explain why Asians are drone-like and robotic (defeating the entire purpose of you trying to push your children hard to escape the hole you dug yourself in), brown folks who participate in Islamophobia suddenly finding themselves or their kind being targeted because white folk don’t give a shit about what you believe in, only what you look like, someone using you as a lightning rod for controversy while they quietly slip away to do more wrong while you get the spotlight and the harassment… or, like Niemoller found out, too late, that the only people who are left around you are Nazis, who only really want you dead. It’s broken synagogue windows and bloody gurdwaras and demagogues comparing you to vermin and you wondering where it all went wrong, because all you did was look out for number 1, damn the consequences.

I mean, I had my own reckoning like this. I was raised in an environment steeped in transphobia, homophobia, classism and white supremacy (which doesn’t need white people to perpetuate it, just brown people who ascribe merit to things that are, coincidentally, white). I was raised believing that I’d find my own tribe, people who I thought would think like me, believed what I thought I believed in. Except… well, they didn’t. And that was hard for me, but honestly necessary. Because as bad as it was to realize it, I realized it fairly early, and it’s shaped the way I think about systematic oppression and what you’d need to end it.

You can’t just fight for just you and your own. You will need to find solidarity with others, to realize that you’re not free if everyone isn’t free, and you are going to need to unlearn and accept your culpability. Because as painful and tragic as finding out that what you did was wrong, it’s way worse to just live your life to the end not knowing, or thinking you got away with it. Because you didn’t. Until the end, you were a tool, nothing more.

And tools get discarded when no longer useful.

Missionary Influence on women’s role in Igbo society


The effect of the colonial administration was reinforced by the missionaries and
mission schools. Christian missions were established in Igboland in the late 19th
century. They had few converts at first, but their influence by the 1930’s was
considered significant, generally among the young. A majority of Igbo eventually
“became Christians” – they had to profess Christianity in order to attend mission
schools, and education was highly valued. But regardless of how nominal their
membership was, they had to obey the rules to remain in good standing, and
one rule was to avoid “pagan” rituals. Women were discouraged from attending
mikiri [meetings] where traditional rituals were performed or money collected for the rituals,
which in effect meant all mikiri. 

Probably more significant, since mikiri were in the process of losing some
of their political functions anyway, was mission education. English and Western
education came to be seen as increasingly necessary for political leadership –
needed to deal with the British and their law – and women had less access to
this new knowledge than men. Boys were more often sent to school, for a variety
of reasons generally related to their favored position in the patrilineage. But
even when girls did go, they tended not to receive the same type of education.
In mission schools, and increasingly in special “training homes” which dispensed
with most academic courses, the girls were taught European domestic skills and
the Bible, often in the vernacular. The missionaries’ avowed purpose in educating
girls was to train them to be Christian wives and mothers, not for jobs or
for citizenship.62 Missionaries were not necessarily against women’s participation
in politics – clergy in England, as in America, could be found supporting
women’s suffrage. But in Africa their concern was the church, and for the church they needed Christian families. Therefore, Christian wives and mothers, not female
political leaders, was the missions’ aim. As Mary Slessor, the influential Calabar
missionary, said : “God-like motherhood is the finest sphere for women, and the
way to the redemption of the world.”

— Judith Van Allen (1972). “Sitting on a Man”: Colonialism and the Lost Political Institutions of Igbo Women [free access PDF]

I keep on seeing people retweet that “NO ONE GOES BANKRUPT DUE MEDICAL BILLS IN CANADA” tweet and it kinda pisses me off because our lack of pharmacare still means people have to choose between their medication and essentials up here. Most people doing so are well meaning, but it’s just another example of our (false) reputation as a utopia obscuring the serious problems we still have



Also dental-care is not covered or vision-care, both of which can be expensive.

Some speciality services like Orthodontics also aren’t covered, and those can run into the thousands of dollars in cost.

In Canada people can and do go bankrupt (and/or live in poverty) because of  medical expenses. I hate that chronically ill and disabled Canadian experiences are always discounted in those kinds of statements.

Though, I find recognizing the difference in impact and scale is also important. Canadians aren’t going to go bankrupt with one hospital visit, for example.

I just wish folks wouldn’t take those “no one goes bankrupt because of medical expenses in Canada” with the grain of salt they deserve, but I am frustrated that so many people cling to that statement though it were entirely true.

As a struggling disabled Canadian facing the specter of bankruptcy, I know that people do take it literally and it allows problems with our medical system to be swept under the rug.

Our healthcare system is good, but it still fails many Canadians and it is vital that we acknowledge that.

Usually when those sorts of statements are made by Americans I’ll give them a little bit of leeway because all they have to go on is our reputation which seems to be squeaky clean as long as we stand it beside their tire fire. But when Canadians absorb those messages and believe them true and tout on about how great the Canadian healthcare system is I just… get so frustrated.

Especially after Harper and especially after Ford is done with Ontario.

Our system used to be better. But our complacency has allowed it to become worse.



(please, please, please copy, paste, and share widely):

-Border Patrol can verify citizenship within 100 miles of a border or “external boundary.” This includes coastlines so NYC is within the 100-mile zone.

-Border patrol can only ask brief questions about citizenship, and they cannot hold you for an extended time without cause.

-You always have the right to remain silent. You do not need to answer their questions.


-The most important acts of resistance are the small ones. Make it difficult and uncomfortable for ICE agents to do their jobs. They are counting on citizens to turn a blind eye and allow them to deport undocumented citizens without challenge. Disabuse of that notion.

-If you are on a train, bus, or anything else and ICE or CBP boards, you need to stand up and loudly let everyone know that they have the right to remain silent or only answer questions in the presence of an attorney, no matter their citizenship or immigration status. There have been numerous reports that confronting the agents in this way has caused them to leave without verifying citizenship. THIS CAN SAVE LIVES.

-If you see anyone being held up by immigration, loudly ask if they are being detained and if they are free to go.

-Immigration officers cannot detain anyone without reasonable suspicion, an agent must have specific facts about you that make it reasonable to believe you are committing or committed, a violation of immigration law or federal law.

If an agent detains you, you can ask for their basis for reasonable suspicion, and they should tell you.

-Always say no to a search and let everyone know that they can and should refuse consent to a search.

-They cannot search or arrest anyone without facts about that make it probable that they are committing, or committed, a violation of immigration law or federal law.

-Silence alone meets neither of these standards. Nor does race or ethnicity alone suffice for either probable cause or reasonable suspicion

-As white citizens, we have a level of privilege which protects us from retaliation from ICE for being “rude” and making a scene, which makes it our DUTY to speak up and make sure people without the same privilege know their rights. GET LOUD. YELL. YELL IN SPANISH IF YOU KNOW IT. LET PEOPLE KNOW THEY DON’T HAVE TO SAY SHIT. MAKE ICE UNCOMFORTABLE. THROW SAND IN THE GEARS OF WHITE SUPREMACY.


-It is perfectly legal to record immigration agents as long as you are not on government property or at a port of entry. If your train/bus gets board, pull your phone out and start videotaping immediately.

-If you are detained or see someone getting detained, get the agent’s name, number, and any other identifying information. Get it on tape.

-Contact the ACLU if you see someone’s rights being violated.



one thing that would be nice is when people talk about “scabs”/strikebreakers etc is that historically the labour movement has been extraordinarily racist and that unions as an institution have excluded black people & have had policies barring black people form membership (formally or informally), setting up a dichotomy of people who deserved fair wages & those who didn’t. demonizing people who cross picket lines is not a neutral act & i know there are multiple contexts and multiple histories here but “scabs” has often traditionally been a racialized insult at least in the US. (x, x, x, x, x)

this is just a fyi, not like a encouragement to cross picket lines. 

This is also like, a key weakness in unions and one of the most powerful weapons against them. 

If unions only protect union-workers (rather than the whole working class) then they swiftly become useless. As Union workers retire they are replaced with non-union workers (these new workers aren’t including in the negotiations with the union in return for giving Members a bigger piece of the pie) and a generation later the union represents so few workers that its strikes are meaningless.

Nowadays it is central to state propaganda to widen this division between Good Workers and everyone else (even as the state attacks Good Workers, it blames those attacks on the unemployed or undocumented or criminalised).

From the start – the white labour movement built this deep structural weakness into itself, because antiblackness was fundemental to their notion of their own liberation.