Celiac Spoonies

Are there any spoonies with Celiac that know for certain brands of anxiety/depression medications that are gluten free? I’ve spoken to my primary care doctor and my psychiatrist and they’ve taken me off multiple kinds that HAD gluten, and then told me they don’t know what to prescribe me instead, so I’ve got fewer Celiac symptoms but I’m really feeling the fallout of losing meds that were necessary for me to function. Help??


Thanks to the hundreds of people who sent me their photos of the lunar eclipse! I used a lot of the photos (though not all — I’ve received a lot more since I put this together) to make this cross-country 20 fps time lapse. (It’s a big GIF so you might have to wait for it to load…)

The title card comes from Max Corneau (aka AstroDad) who camped out in Rockwall, TX and managed to get this terrific shot at totality before the clouds closed in.

Ron Pope in Abilene, TX caught a very spooky shot of the October moon rising from the mist.

I love the “moon bounce" images that Brittney Maehl sent me from Beloit, WI. She told me: “Trying to capture the Blood Moon as an amateur WITHOUT a tripod was like making the ultimate sniper shot!” Luckily she was Navy-trained, so she got some great steady shots as well that I included in the time lapse.

The last shot is from flickr user slworking2. He says, “I used the tracking mount from an old telescope to follow the moon - and this allowed for a sharply-focused exposure.”

It was wonderful to get your photos (there were so many cool ones I couldn’t highlight specifically) and to hear your stories of blood moon hunting. Thanks again!

ICYMI: Why are blood moons red, anyway?

I’ve sent out the mailers for the indiegogo fund today, so it’s time to start another kickstarter! Health insurance isn’t cheap, and grad school is in the foreboding future. Think you can help a girl out? I’ll still be working part time during school but hopefully not so much it affects school work. Thank you!

Help me get through graduate school and not starve plus get cool art and be my friend: Kira’s Gross Patreon

Iceland’s citizens were given a chance to help forge a new constitution for their country through Facebook and Twitter, so it’s not surprising that they backed the resulting draft. Now it’s over to the politicians.

Here’s a quick run-down of the background to all this. Iceland’s banking system collapsed right at the start of the financial crisis, taking the country’s government with it. The new leadership decided to go the open route, not least because secretive dealings were largely to blame for the banking fiasco.

There were two technologically interesting spinoffs of this situation. One was the creation of the Modern Media Initiative (now the International Modern Media Institute), a Wikileaks-inspired free speech drive – the idea here is to turn Iceland into an haven for free speech by inviting media organizations from around the world to host their sites in Iceland’s green data centers and enjoy the country’s strong new protections for whistleblowers and the like.

The other was the constitutional crowdsourcing. Iceland’s old constitution was based on that of former master Denmark and was seen as out-of-date, so 25 citizens were brought into into a Constitutional Council to help create a new one. The council took the ideas raised online by their fellow citizens and delivered the resulting draft in July last year. It took a while to ask the voting public at large what it thought of the result, but Iceland now has its answer to that question.

I’ve been on benefits for over a year now. Well, this time around anyway. I have basically spent most of my life battling mental illness. This time around was the worst it’s ever been, but as a result of many years of being mental, I have GCSEs and a job history consisting of a handful of name tag gigs that lasted a maximum of 6 months each, with massive gaps of unemployment in between. And considering how bad my mobility issues have gotten, there’s no way I can go back to standing all day at a cash register.

Now I’m at the best I’ve ever been. I feel motivated, and I’m ready to start living. There’s one major barrier to me getting my life where I want it, and that’s my lack of qualifications. I found a Pitman Training course to become a legal secretary. With that, I can get work in a legal environment, enabling me to start a CILEx course, eventually becoming an actual lawyer. I’m aiming to specialise in employment law and family law, so I can help the kinds of people who’ve been hurt by the end of legal aid. People like me.

However, the course is expensive. Over £300 per module expensive. It looks like I’ll need to do a minimum of three modules, at <14hrs a week so I don’t lose my benefits. On my restricted income, it’ll take me months to even save up for one module. I managed to save up £70 over several months and I’ve already had to dip into it and owe myself.

The government, despite it’s grandstanding about people like me being workshy spongers, will not fund the course, instead preferring to fund “cv skills” and other such nonsense through the Job Centre. The Princes Trust have no money, despite the Prince himself being minted. And the other charities that would be willing to help have all told me that they can’t because of Government funding cuts.

So yes, I’m crowd funding it. It’s my only option. My lovely boyfriend has offered to help out as best he can, but he’s not exactly swimming in cash either and as we’re both saving up for a deposit so we can live together and I can have something other than a one room dank pit, I’d rather not take his bonus and tax rebate from him.

So, if you’re willing to help me get into work either out of the kindness of your heart or because you’re the kind of person who hates tax money going to the unemployed or disabled, now’s your chance. Even £1 would help. So please consider helping out, or sharing this with your (hopefully minted) friends.

In theory, anyone can contribute to Wikipedia articles and anyone can propose a new policy or rule. In reality, Wikipedia functions as a largely closed community, using procedural knowledge and a sort of passive-aggressive resistance to deter outsiders. Wikipedia’s professed egalitarianism means that status in the outside world, including deep subject expertise, counts for nothing. But an internal hierarchy still exists. Status comes from mastering Wikipedia’s ever-increasing rules, engaging in community debates, and earning a reputation as hardworking. Racking up sheer numbers of edits matters a great deal, and Jemielniak laments that “a thousand minor corrections help raise organizational standing more than creating a perfect one-thousand-word article does.”

Official policies tell editors to tolerate newcomers’ innocent mistakes (“Please do not bite the newcomers”), but active editors often reverse newbies’ contributions without explanation. “Activists have been at it five and 10 years and don’t tolerate little mistakes,” says Jensen, an editor since 2005. He recalls running a workshop in which a well-known expert on Montana history tried to add a paragraph to the site, only to see it immediately erased.

Editors distrust newcomers for a reason: bitter experience. “Trolls come,” Jemielniak tells me in an interview. “If you spend time reviewing recent changes, after an hour or two you will have a feeling that the world is composed mostly of primary school students and cranks.”…Eternal vigilance keeps the site’s contents from decaying.

But the us-against-them attitude threatens Wikipedia’s future, as existing editors drift away and aren’t replaced.

A handful of family businesses with storefronts on West Florissant Avenue, or near police headquarters, have set up pages on, asking for donations to help replace lost inventory and to make repairs, especially necessary after the violent round of protests on Nov. 24 when officials said that police Officer Darren Wilson, who killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in August, wouldn’t be indicted. 

“During the rioting, the windows were smashed and a bomb was thrown into the store,” Jun Hee Lee, whose parents own Beauty World supply shop located just a few blocks away from the Ferguson Police Department, wrote on the store’s GoFundMe page.

Though the building didn’t catch fire, much of the store’s inventory was stolen and the rest of it was badly water-damaged.

Lee created the site on Nov. 26, and by Dec. 10 it had more than $12,000 pledged of its $20,000 goal.

The St. Louis Forward, which promotes sustainability in the metropolitan area, has listed 19 crowdfunding efforts created to help local business owners rebuild.

Once again crowdfunding illustrates how much we don’t need a centralized government collecting and divesting tax money.

Crowdsourcing: Sandpaper Lips Edition

WINTER IS HERE. I know because it was like negative fafillion degrees outside this morning (maybe a slight exaggeration), but also because my lips are dry, peeling, chapped, and overall ughhhh. 

I’ve tried nearly every lip balm available in grocery/drug stores and none of them have wowed me—particularly for winter time. I even drink a good amount of water to no avail.

So, I ask this of you: regardless of price (I mean, keep it somewhat reasonable) what is the best, most moisturizing lip product I can buy to remedy this situation?


What do you think - is Mary Cassatt’s handwriting as fancy as her hat? We hope you’ll evaluate this important question and admire the penmanship of many other artists while participating in our BRAND NEW TRANSCRIPTION PROJECT, The Art of Handwriting. In a first for the smithsoniantranscriptioncenter, your transcriptions will be featured in a forthcoming book on handwriting to be published in 2015 by Princeton Architectural Press. If you’ve transcribed before, this is your chance for the limelight! And if you haven’t, there’s no better time to start than today!

Mary Cassatt, 1914 / unidentified photographer. Frederick A. Sweet research material on Mary Cassatt and James A. McNeill Whistler, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Mary Cassatt letter to John Wesley Beatty, 1905 Sept. 5. Carnegie Institute, Museum of Art records, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Transcribe this letter here!


I recently asked which children’s novels and stories should be operas.

Now I’m curious: which events and people from real history — untold history, past or modern — should be turned into an opera?  What pivotal things deserve their fair share of the limelight?

I’ve sent out the mailers for the indiegogo fund today, so it’s time to start another kickstarter! Health insurance isn’t cheap, and grad school is in the foreboding future. Think you can help a girl out? I’ll still be working part time during school but hopefully not so much it affects school work. Thank you!

Help me get through graduate school and not starve plus get cool art and be my friend: Kira’s Gross Patreon