I made my own ink for the apocalypse

Meg Elison is a high school dropout and a graduate of UC Berkeley. Her debut novel, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, won the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award. Its companion, The Book of Etta, is now available. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and writes like she’s running out of time.

As an author of apocalyptic fiction, I get letters from all over the globe from people who are more prepared for the end of the world than the average individual. Many of them focus on the more popular aspects of prepping: growing and/or storing food, conserving water and even building their own cisterns, and weapons training and storage to be ready for the worst. When I first started writing in this subgenre, I thought about my own odds of survival in the worst sort of worlds. Nobody really survives nuclear war, so I didn’t build a bomb shelter. I’m not the fastest of my friends, so I hope to provide means of escape for them by being tasty zombie food. But those slow apocalypses allow for me to examine what my own role might be in another kind of world. The question is: would writers still write? Could I, if I had the time?

In my second book, it’s been a century since Bic and Parker and Pilot shut down. There are no new pens and ink isn’t as simple as one might think. In most cases, it’s a complicated combination of pigments, fixatives, and preservatives. When imagining a post-industrial future, it helps to examine the pre-industrial past. What did people do before pens and ink were cheap?

In my research, I found that most inks start with a natural source of pigment. Many plants like berries and grasses have a little color, as anyone who’s ever stained the knees of their jeans can tell you. Better still are the inky secretions of deep sea creatures: octopodes, squids and cuttlefish. However, these are deep sea creatures and even though I live on the Pacific, I’m not sure how I would catch one. I dug deeper.

In a public library’s photo archive, I came across high-quality digital images of letters written in the nineteenth century in the U.S., many of them around the time of the Civil War. Their homely ink was brown, not quite opaque, and seemed handmade. A little more digging led me to fascinating descriptions of how walnut hulls (the fibrous material surrounding the shell of a walnut as it grows on a tree) could be boiled to produce this black-brown colored substance that was passable as ink and was commonly used to hastily dye clothes into mourning-dark hues. In isolated and rural places, where true black was costly or inaccessible, everything was rendered in this dark brown by careful work.

From the pages of a 250-year-old diary, I found instructions. Gather walnut hulls from a tree; even better if you can pick up slightly rotted ones from the ground, for these are darker. Boil in clean water for half a day, until liquid is reduced by half. Lit sit overnight. Strain, and add a dash of aged spirits, for preservation. In my case, I used 100-proof vodka.

On the website for my city, I found historical markers for walnut and oak trees that were over 200 years old. It wasn’t quite a walk back in time, but I did go out gathering after dark. That felt more like a dystopian adventure. I found the rottenest hulls I could, largely piled up in the gutter near the tree. I put them on the boil and left the stove on overnight.

In the morning, I strained it and added the vodka. When the slightly thickened mixture had cooled, I had two small bottles of brown, sour-smelling ink. I used a dip pen with a fine nib to test it out and found that it printed clearly and stayed visible even after drying. It didn’t clog my pen or bleed out into the paper. I could make it with what was lying around; I could even brew my own spirits if I had to. (That, too, is another common way to prepare for the apocalypse; scratch the surface of a home brewer or distiller and you’ll find paranoia running wild and deep.)

Writing is a luxury born of a leisure class. In most apocalyptic scenarios, people will need to scramble for food, shelter, and safety as life resumes it nasty, brutish, and short default settings. Any world’s end that offers us the time to brew ink to tell our stories is a good one. But like those preppers who write to me from their carefully cataloged canned-food empires, I am ready. I am prepared to keep telling stories long after the world that gave them to me is gone.

Meg Elison is a high school dropout and a graduate of UC Berkeley. Her debut novel, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, won the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award. Its companion, The Book of Etta, is now available. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and writes like she’s running out of time.

As an author of apocalyptic fiction, I get letters from all over the globe from people who are more prepared for the end of the world than the average individual. Many of them focus on the more popular aspects of prepping: growing and/or storing food, conserving water and even building their own cisterns, and weapons training and storage to be ready for the worst. When I first started writing in this subgenre, I thought about my own odds of survival in the worst sort of worlds. Nobody really survives nuclear war, so I didn’t build a bomb shelter. I’m not the fastest of my friends, so I hope to provide means of escape for them by being tasty zombie food. But those slow apocalypses allow for me to examine what my own role might be in another kind of world. The question is: would writers still write? Could I, if I had the time?

In my second book, it’s been a century since Bic and Parker and Pilot shut down. There are no new pens and ink isn’t as simple as one might think. In most cases, it’s a complicated combination of pigments, fixatives, and preservatives. When imagining a post-industrial future, it helps to examine the pre-industrial past. What did people do before pens and ink were cheap?

In my research, I found that most inks start with a natural source of pigment. Many plants like berries and grasses have a little color, as anyone who’s ever stained the knees of their jeans can tell you. Better still are the inky secretions of deep sea creatures: octopodes, squids and cuttlefish. However, these are deep sea creatures and even though I live on the Pacific, I’m not sure how I would catch one. I dug deeper.

In a public library’s photo archive, I came across high-quality digital images of letters written in the nineteenth century in the U.S., many of them around the time of the Civil War. Their homely ink was brown, not quite opaque, and seemed handmade. A little more digging led me to fascinating descriptions of how walnut hulls (the fibrous material surrounding the shell of a walnut as it grows on a tree) could be boiled to produce this black-brown colored substance that was passable as ink and was commonly used to hastily dye clothes into mourning-dark hues. In isolated and rural places, where true black was costly or inaccessible, everything was rendered in this dark brown by careful work.

From the pages of a 250-year-old diary, I found instructions. Gather walnut hulls from a tree; even better if you can pick up slightly rotted ones from the ground, for these are darker. Boil in clean water for half a day, until liquid is reduced by half. Lit sit overnight. Strain, and add a dash of aged spirits, for preservation. In my case, I used 100-proof vodka.

On the website for my city, I found historical markers for walnut and oak trees that were over 200 years old. It wasn’t quite a walk back in time, but I did go out gathering after dark. That felt more like a dystopian adventure. I found the rottenest hulls I could, largely piled up in the gutter near the tree. I put them on the boil and left the stove on overnight.

In the morning, I strained it and added the vodka. When the slightly thickened mixture had cooled, I had two small bottles of brown, sour-smelling ink. I used a dip pen with a fine nib to test it out and found that it printed clearly and stayed visible even after drying. It didn’t clog my pen or bleed out into the paper. I could make it with what was lying around; I could even brew my own spirits if I had to. (That, too, is another common way to prepare for the apocalypse; scratch the surface of a home brewer or distiller and you’ll find paranoia running wild and deep.)

Writing is a luxury born of a leisure class. In most apocalyptic scenarios, people will need to scramble for food, shelter, and safety as life resumes it nasty, brutish, and short default settings. Any world’s end that offers us the time to brew ink to tell our stories is a good one. But like those preppers who write to me from their carefully cataloged canned-food empires, I am ready. I am prepared to keep telling stories long after the world that gave them to me is gone.


Steve Wozniak on how he became passionate about computers

https://youtu.be/deITLnM73uo

Apple computers was founded on April 1, 1976. In this commercial for the Japanese human resources brand PERSOL, Steve Wozniak talks about how he “stumbled into a journal about digital computer topics” and how it changed his life.

https://youtu.be/deITLnM73uo

Apple computers was founded on April 1, 1976. In this commercial for the Japanese human resources brand PERSOL, Steve Wozniak talks about how he “stumbled into a journal about digital computer topics” and how it changed his life.

April Fools’ 2017: Here’s the best and worst of this year’s pranks (so far)

 April Fools’ Day falls on a Saturday this year. Seemingly worried that the internet goes away on weekends, a bunch of companies rolled out their April Fools’ jokes a few days early.
Some of them are really, really good. Some of them… are not.
Here’s our round-up of the ones worth a laugh, chuckle or, at the very least, a mildly amused puff of air through your… Read More

 April Fools’ Day falls on a Saturday this year. Seemingly worried that the internet goes away on weekends, a bunch of companies rolled out their April Fools’ jokes a few days early.
Some of them are really, really good. Some of them… are not.
Here’s our round-up of the ones worth a laugh, chuckle or, at the very least, a mildly amused puff of air through your… Read More

Kendrick Lamar’s lyrics about photoshop and stretch marks are sparking a lot of feelings

TwitterFacebook

Kendrick Lamar snuck up on the world yet again, dropping a music video for new single “Humble” Thursday. 

If the 4 million views on YouTube in less than 24 hours is any indication, the majority of people seemed to lap up new work from the Compton rapper. 

But, like most things, there is room to appreciate and critique an artist at the same time—which is exactly what people on Twitter have been doing.

“I’m so fuckin’ sick and tired of the Photoshop / Show me somethin’ natural like afro on Richard Pryor / Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks / Still will take you down right on your mama’s couch in Polo socks,” Lamar raps on “Humble,” all while a women appears on a split screen—half of her in flawless makeup with straight hair, and the other half with no makeup and curly hair.  Read more…

More about Twitter Reactions, Kendrick Lamar, Conversations, Watercooler, and Watercooler

TwitterFacebook

Kendrick Lamar snuck up on the world yet again, dropping a music video for new single “Humble” Thursday. 

If the 4 million views on YouTube in less than 24 hours is any indication, the majority of people seemed to lap up new work from the Compton rapper. 

But, like most things, there is room to appreciate and critique an artist at the same time—which is exactly what people on Twitter have been doing.

“I’m so fuckin’ sick and tired of the Photoshop / Show me somethin’ natural like afro on Richard Pryor / Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks / Still will take you down right on your mama’s couch in Polo socks,” Lamar raps on “Humble,” all while a women appears on a split screen—half of her in flawless makeup with straight hair, and the other half with no makeup and curly hair.  Read more…

More about Twitter Reactions, Kendrick Lamar, Conversations, Watercooler, and Watercooler

Hey Crayola, quit dragging on this elaborate crayon saga. We’ve had enough.

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Cut the crap, Crayola. You can’t just declare war on all of our childhoods and then drag it on foreverrrrrrr. Have a freaking heart.

In case you’ve been lucky enough to miss the straight-up drama that is Crayola-gate 2017, we’ll fill you in. For the past two weeks, the formerly innocent art supply company has taken fans on a wild and emotionally taxing ride, messing with history and crushing the hopes and dreams of aspiring young artists everywhere.

What began with a ruthless announcement declaring a single crayon from the classic 24-pack would be retired on Mar. 31 (a.k.a. National Crayon Day,) soon spiraled out of control into a mess of social media warfare, a disappointing promotional event and ultimately, a whole bunch of unanswered questions. Read more…

More about Childhood, Watercooler, Conversations, Pr, and Crayons

TwitterFacebook

Cut the crap, Crayola. You can’t just declare war on all of our childhoods and then drag it on foreverrrrrrr. Have a freaking heart.

In case you’ve been lucky enough to miss the straight-up drama that is Crayola-gate 2017, we’ll fill you in. For the past two weeks, the formerly innocent art supply company has taken fans on a wild and emotionally taxing ride, messing with history and crushing the hopes and dreams of aspiring young artists everywhere.

What began with a ruthless announcement declaring a single crayon from the classic 24-pack would be retired on Mar. 31 (a.k.a. National Crayon Day,) soon spiraled out of control into a mess of social media warfare, a disappointing promotional event and ultimately, a whole bunch of unanswered questions. Read more…

More about Childhood, Watercooler, Conversations, Pr, and Crayons

Trump walks out of executive order signing ceremony without signing executive orders because help

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The President of the United States of America is feeling really tired today and just wants to be left alone, okay?

On Friday, President Trump was scheduled to sign executive orders in front of a press gaggle. Instead of actually signing the orders, Trump seems to have gotten a little bit cranky and walked straight out of the signing ceremony, leaving the orders unsigned.

Trump didn’t even respond to Vice President Pence’s desperate pleas for the President to come back and sign the orders. Like a good boy, Pence then proceeds to gather the orders in a nice little folder for the president to sign later. Read more…

More about Executive Order, Donald Trump, Politics, Watercooler, and Watercooler

TwitterFacebook

The President of the United States of America is feeling really tired today and just wants to be left alone, okay?

On Friday, President Trump was scheduled to sign executive orders in front of a press gaggle. Instead of actually signing the orders, Trump seems to have gotten a little bit cranky and walked straight out of the signing ceremony, leaving the orders unsigned.

Trump didn’t even respond to Vice President Pence’s desperate pleas for the President to come back and sign the orders. Like a good boy, Pence then proceeds to gather the orders in a nice little folder for the president to sign later. Read more…

More about Executive Order, Donald Trump, Politics, Watercooler, and Watercooler

Business is booming for viral star April, the very pregnant giraffe

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April the giraffe has been expecting a baby for more than a year, but it wasn’t until near the end of her very long pregnancy that people all over the world started to notice her.

The overdue giraffe at Harpursville, New York’s Animal Adventure Park has been the star of a livestream since early February, with hundreds of thousands of viewers watching her stand in her pen with her bulging belly. It’s been an opportunity ripe for monetization.

In addition to the spoofs, conspiracy theories and plenty of online chatter (she has her own hashtag #GiraffeWatch), April now has her own website, crowdfunding campaign, emoji collection for purchase, sponsorships and official merchandise galore. Read more…

More about Merchandise, Sponsorship, Business, Livestream, and April The Giraffe

TwitterFacebook

April the giraffe has been expecting a baby for more than a year, but it wasn’t until near the end of her very long pregnancy that people all over the world started to notice her.

The overdue giraffe at Harpursville, New York’s Animal Adventure Park has been the star of a livestream since early February, with hundreds of thousands of viewers watching her stand in her pen with her bulging belly. It’s been an opportunity ripe for monetization.

In addition to the spoofs, conspiracy theories and plenty of online chatter (she has her own hashtag #GiraffeWatch), April now has her own website, crowdfunding campaign, emoji collection for purchase, sponsorships and official merchandise galore. Read more…

More about Merchandise, Sponsorship, Business, Livestream, and April The Giraffe

Business Address Change Impact to Local SEO

I Changed My Business Address, Why are my Local Rankings Falling? If your business address is changing, read on to learn about how to ensure your Google local pack rankings don’t plummet. Moved to a New Address? Things You Need to Know for Local SEO Rankings. If you are a business owner or representing a business and don’t know what NAP means, you need the help of Webolutions SEO experts. What is NAP?  Why is it important? NAP stands for Name Address Phone.  It is important to have a consistent… Read More

The post Business Address Change Impact to Local SEO appeared first on Webolutions.

I Changed My Business Address, Why are my Local Rankings Falling? If your business address is changing, read on to learn about how to ensure your Google local pack rankings don’t plummet. Moved to a New Address? Things You Need to Know for Local SEO Rankings. If you are a business owner or representing a business and don’t know what NAP means, you need the help of Webolutions SEO experts. What is NAP?  Why is it important? NAP stands for Name Address Phone.  It is important to have a consistent… Read More

The post Business Address Change Impact to Local SEO appeared first on Webolutions.

On-demand dog walking startup Wag quietly raised funding from General Catalyst and Sherpa Ventures

walking the dog Earlier this week we wrote about how two big players in the pet-care business, Rover and DogVacay, decided to merge. Well, sources tell us that over the past two years Wag, another player in the dog-walking space, raised two rounds of funding to support expansion into new markets. Read More

walking the dog Earlier this week we wrote about how two big players in the pet-care business, Rover and DogVacay, decided to merge. Well, sources tell us that over the past two years Wag, another player in the dog-walking space, raised two rounds of funding to support expansion into new markets. Read More

Understanding Images: A Canine Model of Juvenile Dermatomyositis

0000-0002-8715-2896Source: Understanding Images: A Canine Model of Juvenile Dermatomyositis AddThis Sharing Buttons above Author: Leigh Anne Clark, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, United States of America Competing Interests: Leigh Anne Clark is an author of

0000-0002-8715-2896Source: Understanding Images: A Canine Model of Juvenile Dermatomyositis AddThis Sharing Buttons above Author: Leigh Anne Clark, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, United States of America Competing Interests: Leigh Anne Clark is an author of