Committee on Public Information

simply a method for the mass distribution of ideas (and pretty pictures). drop me a line





Pumzi - dir. Wanuri Kahiu // Kenya

In a dystopian future 35 years after an ecological WWIII  has torn the world apart, East African survivors of the devastation remain locked away in contained communities, but a young woman in possession of a germinating seed struggles against the governing council to bring the plant to Earth’s ruined surface.

The main character is a museum curator in the future and also yes I would like see this now please


The complete short film is on youtube and it’s really good and the end kind of took my breath away. 

(via pearlsnapbutton)


Oh my god, guys, members of These Arms Are Snakes, Minus The Bear, and Undertow (plus EVEN MORE BANDS because WHY NOT) formed a band called Dust Moth, and it sounds exactly like that combination of bands. They’re working with the label The Mylene Sheath, who puts out mostly kinda mathy, heavy, art-rock — and their first single from back in October is a little more typical of that. But vocalist Irene Barber takes on more of an Andrea Zollo sound, which lightens the load a little bit and sounds totally magical.

Listen to more or pre-order over here, or just listen to this track on loop and pretend you’re at The Vera Project back when it was in Belltown, or El Corazon when it was Graceland, or something.


I’d like you to meet Jenny Haniver.

These have been produced by fishermen and dock merchants for centuries and sold to sailors, travelers, and tourists as dried mermaids, sea monsters, or sea devils.  They were marketed as good luck charms and curios, respectively.  And probably also at least occasionally as something with medicinal properties? Because Europe in the middle ages was fucking weird.  Like, there was pretty much nothing that didn’t get ground up and tried out as medicine at some point or another.  Human fucking mummies got turned into pills and sold as quack remedies, guys.

If you’re now asking what they were produced out of, well, here you go.

Below: Jenny Haniver in her natural state.

(“Nares” are nostrils, for those of you not hip to the lingo.)

Jenny Hanivers were constructed by cutting a dead ray’s wings into the desired shape, constricting the upper portion of the body with twine or string, posing the whole construction in an appropriate fashion, and drying it in the sun.  The skin would shrink, desiccate, and harden, after which varnish or shellack would be applied to preserve it.

Above: Photo by James W. Atz, appearing in Richard Ellis’s Monsters of the Sea (pg. 84).

Most of the Jenny Hanivers made today are sold to particularly drunken tourists or made for display in museums, but they used to do a very brisk trade.  In addition to the more logical mermaid/sea monster shape, people would also turn them into “baby dragons,” “sea monks,” various types of bird, angels, devils, and so forth.

The oldest definitive record we have of these things is from 1558, when a Swiss dude was already warning people that they were a hoax, so one presumes they were in pretty wide circulation by that time.

Above: Scan from Konrad Gesner’s Historiae animalium, which included a whole lot of other fun shit, too.

Given the multitude of shapes and figures they could be shaped into, the Jenny Haniver is almost more of a class than a specific type of monster. 

Above: Ulysses Aldrovandi’s sea eagle from his work De Piscibus (1613).

Likely due to how completely weird they look once they’re cut, posed, and dried out, they’ve managed to linger around the periphery of the culture way longer than they shoulder have.  Our cultural idea of “mermaid” has left these ugly little things behind, and we prefer our sea monsters much larger than pocket-sized.

Above: A monstrosity for the ages poses with a Jenny Haniver.

But they endure in the dusty corners.  Probably because of all the varnish.

(via woah-itsbethany)


History Meme | 2/8 Objects: 1920’s Dresses

1920’s Dresses were lighter and brighter and shorter than ever before. Fashion designers played with fabric colors, textures and patterns to create totally new styles of dress. Evening dresses, coats and jackets were often trimmed with fur. Hemlines rose for most of the decade but dropped slightly toward the end. Shoes and stockings assumed a greater prominence now that they were more visible. Silk stockings in all the colors of the rainbow, often with patterns, were designed to match the coordinated outfits of stylish women. (x)

(via beyondvictoriana)




This absolutely fantastic field bag was created by Angie T of Miskatonic River Valley Leatherworks and was completed just before Christmas. It is entirely hand-made of real leather and is extremely durable.

The design features Microraptor, the famous holotype with feather imprints. I am totally in love with this bag and could not be more pleased! Check out Angie’s blog (linked above) if you’re interested in the process details, or if you’re interested in commissioning a custom field bag for yourself. 


(via moniquill)

(Indeed, an astoundingly small proportion of arguments ‘for free speech’ & ‘against censorship’ or ‘banning’ are, in fact, about free speech, censorship or banning. It is depressing to have to point out, yet again, that there is a distinction between having the legal right to say something & having the moral right not to be held accountable for what you say. Being asked to apologise for saying something unconscionable is not the same as being stripped of the legal right to say it. It’s really not very fucking complicated. Cry Free Speech in such contexts, you are demanding the right to speak any bilge you wish without apology or fear of comeback. You are demanding not legal rights but an end to debate about & criticism of what you say. When did bigotry get so needy? This assertive & idiotic failure to understand that juridical permissibility backed up by the state is not the horizon of politics or morality is absurdly resilient.)

—China Mieville, reminding us needy bigots what free speech actually means (via angryampersand)

(via angryampersand)