Pharrell x G-Star Raw Team up with Sea Shepherd


Pharrell Williams, music industry giant and serial-collaborator is also owner of Bionic Yarn, and has partnered with G-Star Raw and Sea Shepherd’s Project Vortex to create a fashion line that is made from the recycled plastic waste accumulating in the oceans. An estimated 10 tons of recycled marine debris were used in created the collection. The collection will be available through G-Star this September.Pharrellraw4

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Muay Thai Fighter: Cornell Ward


Cornell Ward is a Muay Thai fighter, a sci-fi devotee and co-host of the Walking Alone Podcast along with MMA fighter Diego Lopez I was recently interviewed on their podcast, which you can listen to here :

I had the opportunity to also interview Cornell, and our conversation is below:

Joshua Katcher: How did you get started fighting?
Cornell Ward: When I was a kid I loved the scenes in the movie Bloodsport with Muay Thai fighter Paulo Tocha. Back then I didn’t even know what Muay Thai was, it was just something about the movements (which were very much Hollywood Muay Thai) that piqued my interest. It wasn’t until years later that I actually found a Muay Thai school and began really learning about the sport.

JK: Did your upbringing inform both your interest in martial arts and veganism?
Not really…well growing up watching Star Trek helped a little, haha. I was never really super into eating meat, and when I realized that Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry as well as a lot of the characters he created were vegetarian, I looked more into it. When I got a little older and got deep into the hardcore scene, which had a strong vegan community, I wanted to learn even more. The more I learned, the more I realized that veganism was the natural progression for me. As far as martial arts, my love of Street Fighter video games and kung fu movies was the main catalyst for stepping into my first Muay Thai gym. So pretty much being a fat kid who watched sci-fi, played video games, and listened to loud music in his room turned me into the lean mean fighting machine that I am today ;)

“…being a fat kid who watched sci-fi, played video games, and listened to loud music in his room turned me into the lean mean fighting machine that I am today.”

JK: What are the typical obstacles you face as both a vegan and a man of color in the world of athletics?
Fortunately not many, save for the occasional “how do you get protein?” comment. Also, I’m very lucky to have a gym like Five Points here in New York which provides a great environment for athletes of all backgrounds. Everyone is there to train, learn, get healthy, get strong, etc. I’ve never been anywhere as free of judgment as that place. Its definitely my safe place.

JK: Why did you decide to start Walking Alone Podcast, and give a cross-section of your listeners.
I wanted to do a podcast for a long time, but just wasn’t sure what it was going to focus on. I met Diego, who also wanted to start a podcast so he said, lets do one together. We did it and it was fun so we just kept doing it. Our listeners are anywhere from martial arts practitioners and fans to scifi/comic nerds. We like to keep discussion open and touch on all kinds of random topics and that usually means there is a little something for everyone.

JK: What music are you listening to, book are you reading, and food are you currently obsessed with?
I listen to a few tracks off of the record Gala by Lush pretty much every day. They will always be my all time favorite. At the moment I’m super stoked on Tweens, Boards of Canada, Bad Brains, Faith No More, Go Deep, Outer Limits Recordings, Troubled Sleep, old Metallica….shoot, I could go on forever. I’m currently reading The Sigularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil and Dune(for the 100th time). Sushi…I haven’t been able to get enough of it for the past few weeks and anything from Blossom Du Jour.

JK: Do you have any upcoming fights or events? If so, what does your training regimen look like?
I don’t have any fights scheduled at the moment. I still train about 5 days a week, though. I love it so much, that its hard to stay away for too long.

JK: Lastly, how can people find out more about you?
You can follow me on twitter and Instagram: @cornellward

Drinking Tiger Bones

TigerPaintingThe Daily Beast recently wrote an article about the mythic Asian machismo associated with drinking spirits containing tiger bones. Like many other superstitions of acquiring the two-dimensional, symbolic strengths of animals by consuming their horns, penises, flesh and bones – the black market in tiger bones exists as a luxury status symbol to many successful men in China who believe that these body-parts have medicinal, if not magical powers. In what is perhaps the most revealing quote from Li,  a businessman who both drinks and distills the illegal drink, he states:

“If I ever had to face that thing,” Li Wen said as he pointed to the tiger bone steeping in his vat of rice wine, “it would kill me. But now it’s in a jar, like I tamed it.” He believes that consuming the spirit on a regular basis gives him the strength of a tiger and the senses of a predator. “I’m a better businessman because of it.” – The Daily Beast

Animals typically appear in this context as empty vessels without their own perspectives – to be filled with anthropocentric meaning, caricatures that represent one or two unwavering quality – one of which is almost always virility. But no, tiger bones will not help your boner. I have difficulty with medical practitioners and the faithfully-superstitious who use animals without acknowledging the scientific reality that these animals have their own complex inner lives that have nothing to do with the meaning assigned to them, the meaning we are all asked to accept as self-evident. Tigers represent ruthless power, nothing more, and so can you! This is a form of our own power, perhaps, but also a source of our dysfunctional relationship with nature and animals in general, and ultimately a sign of our unwillingness to validate the non-human world or to venture out of our own, selfish heads.

Tigers have it rough in China. In 1959, as part of the Great Leap Forward, Mao Zedong waged a public campaign in an attempt to eradicate the South China Tiger, as he considered the species “an enemy of man.” More recently, at a CITES meeting held in Geneva—CITES stands for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora—a Chinese delegate said, “We don’t ban trade in tiger skins but we do ban trade in tiger bones.” It was the first time that a Chinese public official acknowledged the existence of the tiger pelt trade within the country. The official ban on tiger bone sales has been in place since 1993—but why does the Chinese government see a difference between killing endangered animals for their skins and killing them for their bones? – The Daily Beast




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David Carter: NFL’s Vegan Defensive Lineman


David Carter is a defensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders and a competitive powerlifter with Plant Built. He will soon launch his website, The 300 Pound Vegan, and admits “this is a chapter in my life I was never expecting“. That’s not surprising to hear from someone who grew up eating every kind of meat, and lots of it, at his grandfathers barbeque restaurant in LA, and who believed the mythology that if you eat muscle, you become muscle. His recent evolution to veganism, initially sparked by his wife’s same decision, is controversial for a guy who plays professional football and has to stay big and beefy. But he’s more confident than ever that “being vegan is not only the most efficient way to be full-body strong, it’s also the most humane; everyone wins.” On his forthcoming website, he explains his journey since he went vegan in February of 2014:

Very early on I was taught that if I wanted to be big and strong there was only one way to go about it.  You guessed it—eat meat and the more the better. Every coach, trainer, nutritionist, and doctor all pointed me in the direction of animal products. From protein shakes to weight gainers there was no other alternative, so I did as I was told and followed the standard athlete’s diet regimen.  Whey protein, raw eggs, gallons of milk, and casein were in just about every supplement I took…

The more I learned, the more my body benefited and my results came quickly. More energy, shorter recovery time, increased stamina, improved strength, and the peace of mind that no one had to die in order for me to live.  Every one of my nagging injuries is gone. Tendonitis, inflammation, scar tissue, nerve damage, and chronic muscle fatigue all corrected themselves within months of adopting veganism.

…by making this one small change not only have I saved my own life but the countless lives of voiceless and defenseless animals everywhere. Not to mention veganism is great for our planet as well.  Becoming vegan has given me a greater purpose, something bigger than myself to fight for, and fight I will.