The Younger Futhark

The runic alphabet that was used during the Viking Age is called Younger Futhark. These runes can be found on hundreds of runestones throughout Scandinavia. This alphabet does not consist of many runes, and that is because the Norse language evolved a lot during the Iron Age, which meant that the runic alphabet was reduced from 24 to 16 runes.

Each rune has its own name and sound. Some of the runes are used to spell the same letter, for instance, the Týr rune is used for the letters “t” and “d”, and kaun is used for “g” and “k”. 

The names on this list of the Younger Futhark runes have been taken from the website of The National Museum in Copenhagen. The names of the runes may vary slightly depending on the language and on which runologist has conducted the research.

Frida Kahlo Accident

On September 17th of 1925 Frida Kahlo suffers near-fatal injuries in a bus accident in Mexico, causing her to abandon her medical studies and take up art.

Her taking up art was fortuitous, as she became one of the greatest artists of our time and a personal favorite. But she had a rough life, with her painful injuries and repeated (botched) surgeries combined with her husband’s (Diego Rivera) infidelities. She died at only 47. A Kahlo painting, “Self portrait with thorn necklace and hummingbird” [1940]

A bit surprising the U.S. government issued a stamp of her in 2001 even though she was an avowed communist and personal friend of Leon Trotsky.

Homemade Toasted Nut Butters

Peanut butter
550 g (1 lb 4 oz/4 cups) peanuts
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt

Almond butter
650 g (1 lb 7 oz/4 cups) almonds
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt

Cashew butter
625 g (1 lb 6 oz/4 cups) cashews
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt

Pistachio & macadamia butter
350 g (12 oz/2½ cups) pistachio nut kernels
230 g (8 oz/1½ cups) macadamia nuts
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt

Preheat the oven to 150ºC (300ºF).

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Spread your chosen nuts on the baking tray, sprinkle with the salt and bake for 10–15 minutes, or until golden, shaking the tray occasionally to ensure they don’t burn.

Transfer the toasted nuts to a high-speed food processor and start blending. The blending time will depend on how smooth and creamy you like your nut butter, and how powerful your processor is. It can take up to 10–20 minutes to achieve a smooth nut butter, and you’ll need to stop and scrape down the sides of the processor bowl a few times, and to give the motor a rest. The nut butter is complete when it is smooth and creamy, with no nut pieces — unless you prefer a crunchy nut butter, in which case you can stop processing earlier.

Store your nut butter in a clean jar in the fridge. It will keep for up to 3 weeks.

Lost Generation

In the aftermath of World War I there arose a group of young persons known as the “Lost Generation.” The term was coined from something Gertrude Stein witnessed the owner of a garage saying to his young employee, which Hemingway later used as an epigraph to his novel The Sun Also Rises (1926): “You are all a lost generation.” This accusation referred to the lack of purpose or drive resulting from the horrific disillusionment felt by those who grew up and lived through the war, and were then in their twenties and thirties. Having seen pointless death on such a huge scale, many lost faith in traditional values like courage, patriotism, and masculinity. Some in turn became aimless, reckless, and focused on material wealth, unable to believe in abstract ideals.

In literature, the “Lost Generation” refers to a group of writers and poets who were men and women of this period. All were American, but several members emigrated to Europe. The most famous members were Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and T. S. Eliot.

Common themes in works of literature by members of the Lost Generation include:

Decadence – Consider the lavish parties of James Gatsby in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby or those thrown by the characters in his Tales of the Jazz Age. Recall the aimless traveling, drinking, and parties of the circles of expatriates in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and A Moveable Feast. With ideals shattered so thoroughly by the war, for many, hedonism was the result. Lost Generation writers revealed the sordid nature of the shallow, frivolous lives of the young and independently wealthy in the aftermath of the war.

Gender roles and Impotence – Faced with the destruction of the chivalric notions of warfare as a glamorous calling for a young man, a serious blow was dealt to traditional gender roles and images of masculinity. In The Sun Also Rises, the narrator, Jake, literally is impotent as a result of a war wound, and instead it is his female love Brett who acts the man, manipulating sexual partners and taking charge of their lives. Think also of T. S. Eliot’s poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, and Prufrock’s inability to declare his love to the unnamed recipient.

Idealised past – Rather than face the horrors of warfare, many worked to create an idealised but unattainable image of the past, a glossy image with no bearing in reality. The best example is in Gatsby’s idealisation of Daisy, his inability to see her as she truly is, and the closing lines to the novel after all its death and disappointment:

“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eludes us then, but that’s no matter- to-morrow we will run faster, stretch our arms farther… And one fine morning — So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sources: Writers Inspire

MDMA (Ecstasy)

What is MDMA?
  • MDMA is the drug originally called ecstasy. It belongs to a family of drugs called entactogens, which means “touching within.” Other drugs in this category include MDA, MDE and MBDB.
  • MDMA was first synthesized in 1912 by Merck Pharmaceuticals in Germany, although it was never tested on humans. Recreational use of MDMA did not begin until the 1970s.
  • Before it was made illegal in 1985, MDMA was a therapeutic medicine. Studies are currently underway using MDMA to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and the drug is on track to be approved as a prescription medication by the FDA in 2021.
What are the Effects?
  • MDMA is a mood elevator that produces a relaxed, euphoric state. It does not cause hallucinations.
  • MDMA is almost always swallowed as a pill, tablet, or capsule. Effects are typically felt within 20 to 40 minutes, and peak effects within 60 to 90 minutes.
  • The come-up on MDMA is usually short but intense, feeling like a wave of tingling and warmth coming over the body.
  • Sensations are enhanced and the user experiences heightened feelings of empathy, emotional warmth, and self-acceptance.
  • The effects of MDMA subside after about 3-5 hours.
  • Most users say the experience is very pleasant and highly controllable. Even at the peak of the effect, people can usually deal with important matters.
What is a Normal Dose?
  • For most people, a normal dose of MDMA is between 70 and 125mg. However, some people require more to feel the same effect, while others require less.
  • Taking a single redose of 1/3 to 1/2 the original dose around the 1.5 to 2.5 hour mark can extend the experience by another hour or two, but might worsen the comedown/crash. Redosing any more than this usually will only increase side effects.
Is MDMA Addictive?
  • MDMA is not physically dependence-forming, and it is not considered to be significantly rewarding and reinforcing (addictive). However, it can often take on great importance in people’s lives, and some people become compulsive, every-weekend users.
  • Compulsive users may be unconsciously trying to self-medicate for depression or social anxiety. However, MDMA is not a good long-term antidepressant. Effective treatments for depression are available from a qualified physician.
  • If taken too frequently, MDMA can stop working. Users report that the “magic” goes away. This can last for many years or be permanent. Remember, less is more.
  • It’s hard to say exactly how often is too often. Some people lose the magic after rolling every few months for a couple of years, while others lose it in less than a year after rolling on a weekly or biweekly basis.
Be Careful
  • Because of prohibition, MDMA is unregulated. As a result, “Ecstasy” tablets and “Molly” powder can vary widely in strength and contents. Sometimes they contain no MDMA at all, but rather different, more dangerous drugs.
  • MDMA increases the risk of heatstroke. About 20 people per year in the US die of heat stroke after taking MDMA. Remember to take breaks from dancing, cool down, and stay hydrated. Some people have died from drinking too much water after taking MDMA. This is called “hyponatremia” and happens when the body’s electrolytes (salts) become diluted. Stay hydrated, but don’t drink too much water. About two to four cups per hour is all you need.
  • Studies have shown that high doses of MDMA can cause damage to serotonin axons (neurons) in laboratory animals. It is possible that similar damage can occur in human recreational users who take high doses too often, and/or who dose in a hot environment.
  • Although many users feel fine the next day, often describing an “afterglow,” some people experience depression the day after taking MDMA. This post-roll depression (“crash”) can last for up to a week, or more in some cases. People with a history of depressive episodes may be more prone to long and/or difficult “crashes.”
  • Taking more MDMA at this point won’t make you feel better. This is because MDMA works by releasing a natural chemical in your brain called serotonin, and you only have so much of it in storage. It takes about three weeks for your brain to replenish the serotonin released by MDMA.
  • Mixing MDMA with alcohol, stimulants or other drugs can increase the risk of adverse reactions, including dehydration, hyperthermia (overheating), and cardiac arrhythmia.
  • MDMA is illegal and a conviction for possession or sale can carry long prison sentences.
  • If you choose to use MDMA, knowing why is the best way to maximize the benefits and reduce the risks. Whether it’s for therapy, self-exploration or purely for recreation, understanding your intentions will help you assess whether or not they are being met.

LSD: A Primer

What is LSD?
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) is a hallucinogenic drug discovered in 1938. It was first ingested by the Swiss chemist, Albert Hofmann, on April 19th, 1943.
  • LSD is most often absorbed into small pieces of paper called “blotter,” but it can also be found in liquid form. It is almost always consumed orally.
  • LSD is extremely powerful. A typical dose is between 100 and 200 micrograms (mcg), which is such a small amount it makes it extremely difficult to measure. A single square of blotter or drop of liquid usually contains a typical dose, but may contain much more.
What are the Effects?

An LSD experience is often described as a “trip.” This experience may be broken up into four phases:

  1. The Onset – After about 30 minutes, colors appear sharper, moving objects leave “trails” behind them and flat surfaces may appear to “breathe.”
  2. The Plateau – Over the second hour, the effects become more intense. Open and closed eye visuals may begin to appear, from shapes in smoke to movement in the lines on the palms of the hand.
  3. The Peak – Time is often slowed significantly. Users may feel like they are in a different world, or a movie. Familiar things seem strange or unusual. For some this is profound and mystical, but it can be very frightening for others.
  4. The Comedown – 5 or 6 hours after taking the drug the effects begin to subside. After 8 to 12 hours, the trip is usually over, although residual effects may last much longer.
Caution
  • Because of prohibition, LSD is unregulated. Other, far more dangerous drugs, such as 25I-NBOMe (a synthetic hallucinogen that is used in biochemistry research for mapping the brain’s usage of the type 2A serotonin receptor) have been misrepresented as ‘LSD’ and sold in blotter or liquid form, leading to numerous deaths.
  • LSD trips can sometimes be frightening, inducing extreme anxiety and panic. Although rare, some people relive the experience days, weeks or even years later in episodes known as “flashbacks.” Flashbacks are not unique to hallucinogenic drugs; they can result from any intense psychological trauma.
  • LSD can induce very intense experiences that may exacerbate or bring out mental health conditions, especially mood or psychotic disorders. There is no hard and fast rule, but individuals with a personal or family history of mood or psychotic disorders have a higher baseline risk level when ingesting LSD and other psychedelics.
  • In a very small percentage of people, LSD and other hallucinogens have caused a long-lasting disorder known as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) that affects the person’s visual perception.
  • LSD can impair judgment. Never drive while under the influence of LSD.
  • LSD is illegal and possession can result in long prison terms. Supplying LSD to someone else (whether or not money was exchanged) carries even longer sentences.
  • If you choose to use LSD, knowing why is the best way to maximize the benefits and reduce the risks. Whether it’s for insight, self exploration or simply for fun, your intentions will greatly impact the kind of experience you have.
Bad trip and what to do
  • As with all psychedelics, “set” and “setting” are important factors in determining whether someone has a positive or challenging experience. “Set” is the mental state a person brings to the experience— their thoughts, mood and expectations. “Setting” is the physical and social environment in which the drug is consumed. Being in a good mental state with trusted friends in a supportive environment before taking LSD reduces the risk of having a bad trip.
  • If someone is having a difficult or challenging psychological experience on LSD, take them to quiet surroundings where they feel comfortable. Find a friend who can reassure them. Clarify to them that their panic is caused by the drug, and will wear off soon.
  • If you are at a festival, find out if they have a safe space or cooldown area, especially one that is equipped with people who can offer support during difficult experiences.

Ecofeminism

French feminist Françoise d’Eaubonne coined the term “ecofeminism” in 1974 for a new branch of feminism that focused on ecology, the study of the interactions between organisms and their environment. It holds that the domination and degradation of nature and the exploitation and oppression of women have significant connections.

Several environmental disasters in the US—most notably the 1979 near meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania—brought 600 women together in 1980 for “Women and Life on Earth,” the first ecofeminist conference. Held in Massachusetts during the spring equinox, the conference explored the links between feminism, militarization, healing, and ecology. Ecofeminism was defined as a “women-identified movement” that sees Earth’s devastation and the threat of nuclear annihilation as feminist concerns because they are underpinned by the same “masculinist mentality” that oppresses women. Ecofeminism holds that women have a special role to play in protecting the environment and campaigning against damage to the planet.

As ecofeminism developed, it began to splinter into different approaches, one of which is sometimes described as cultural ecofeminism. This strand is rooted in spirituality, goddess worship, and nature-based religions. Its adherents, including American writer and activist Starhawk (Miriam Simos), argue that women have an intrinsic kinship with the natural environment, and, as instinctive carers, should be at the forefront of its protection. Other feminists criticize this approach for reinforcing gender stereotypes, claiming women’s moral superiority, and taking little account of class, race, or the economic exploitation of resources.

Sources: The Feminism Book (DK)

Huda Sha’arawi

Often described as Egypt’s first feminist, Huda al-Sharaawi was born into a privileged family in Cairo in 1879. She was married by the age of 13, yet managed to further her studies and travel during a temporary separation from her husband.

Sharaawi later joined her husband as an anticolonial activist. After going to Europe in 1914, she returned to Egypt to mobilize women against British rule. In 1923, she founded the Egyptian Feminist Union.
After her husband’s death, Sharaawi famously removed her face veil (but not her head scarf) for the first time in public at the International Woman Suffrage Alliance of 1923 in Rome.

Sharaawi also wrote poetry, and in 1925 began publishing a journal called L’Egyptienne (The Egyptian Woman). She died from a heart attack in 1947.

Key works:

Harem Years: The Memoirs of an Egyptian Feminist (1879–1924)

Car Wars

Drive Offensively! Car Wars is a game featuring freeways of the future in which the right of way goes to those with the biggest guns. Players choose their vehicle — complete with weapons, armor, power plants, suspension, and even body style — then they take them out on the road, either to come home as “aces” or to crash and burn. If a driver survives, his abilities improve and he can earn money to buy bigger and better cars. Advanced rules let players design their own customized cars, trucks, and cycles.

Playing time 30 minutes and up, for players 10 and older. Any number can play . . . games with 2 to 8 are best.

Game components include:

  • 103 full-color die-cut game counters, storage bag, and Turning Key.
  • 64-page rulebook, plus extra tables and record sheets.
  • 2-sided game map, with autoduel arena and raceway.
  • Four 6-sided dice.

Awards:

  • 1981 Charles S. Roberts Best Science-Fiction Board Game Winner
  • 1981 Charles S. Roberts Best Science-Fiction Board Game Nominee