Mad Quickies

Mad Quickies: Wheelchair Barbie 2.0, Lange Photos Confiscated, Wired Bacteria and More!

Holla, Earthlings — I’ve got Quickies for you — some skimmable, some deep-divey. Let’s get going! Hang ten!

In February, Teen Vogue took a moment from their work as a leader of The Resistance to write about Mattel’s most recent inclusive offering: the first-ever Barbie in a wheel-chair and with a prosthetic leg. Just days ago, in an even more excitingly inclusive development, Mattel has now released a black Wheelchair Barbie. Not only is she a person of color, but “her wheelchair is also as close to the real thing as possible.” In fact, “Mattel worked with wheelchair experts at UCLA Mattel Children’s hospital to ensure the toy was ‘modeled after a real, rigid frame wheelchair’.”


Although this dates back to 2017, my twitter pal @IBlame tweeted a post that is even more relevant today, thanks to the human rights atrocities committed by the current administration and the disinformation they disseminate.

“Dorothea Lange—well known for her FSA photographs like Migrant Mother—was hired by the U.S. government to make a photographic record of the “evacuation” and “relocation” of Japanese-Americans in 1942. She was eager to take the commission, despite being opposed to the effort, as she believed “a true record of the evacuation would be valuable in the future.”

The military commanders that reviewed her work realized that Lange’s contrary point of view was evident through her photographs, and seized them for the duration of World War II, even writing “Impounded” across some of the prints. The photos were quietly deposited into the National Archives, where they remained largely unseen until 2006.”


I don’t know how I am able t finish up this post for you because this feature by Carl Zimmer simply blew my mind! “Wired Bacteria Form Nature’s Power Grid: ‘We Have an Electric Planet’ — Electroactive bacteria were running current through “wires” long before humans learned the trick.” From the page: “But nature invented the electrical grid first, it turns out. Even in 1882, thousands of miles of wires were already installed in the ground in the New York region — in meadows, in salt marshes, in muddy river bottoms. They were built by microbes, which used them to shuttle electricity.” [ a tip o’ the mortarboard to Ashley for this]


Here’s something I did not know: America’s First Paleontologist Hand-Wrote The Declaration Of Independence. That’s right, Thomas Matlack was a brewer and bottler from my state, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and possessed a very tidy calligraphic hand. “But Matlack should be better known for his own words, because he also co-authored the first written report of a dinosaur fossil find in America.”


Honestly, I don’t know if there is something wrong with me, but I cannot get enough of post-apocalyptic, dystopian land- and cityscapes. Japanese illustrator Tokyo Genso creates “lush CG illustrations of notable Tokyo landmarks that are in ruins and, in many cases, have been reclaimed by nature.” These are completely gorgeous—some dark and brooding, others candy-colored and bright. In all, the masterful play of light is a main component of the illustrations’ success.


Bonus Monday Moment of Fun: Sesame Street Went to NPR and Did an Awesome Tiny Desk Concert to celebrate Sesame Street’s 50th birthday.





Geologic Universe, vault-keeper. Sheer Brick Studio, principal. Empty Set, designer. Bethlehem Mounties, media. WDIY 88.1FM NPR station programmer. Skepchick.

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