From the world pool: December 20, 2014


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It’s been a long time since I’ve seen anything this deliberately vile. Takes “despicable” to a whole new level.

Interesting comparative analysis of truth in reporting.  “…a Public Mind survey out of Fairleigh Dickinson University found that “people who said they consumed no news” fared better on a current events questionnaire than people who had been using Fox News to find out what was going on in the world. Let that sink in for a moment. People who categorically don’t watch the news know more than people who watch a network whose primary function is ostensibly to relay the news.” (via Chris Boese @ChrisBoese)

In the spirit of the season: The Doubleclicks: Sexist Bullshit (Christmas song)

Sigh. Feminism, According to Stock Photography.(via Chris Boese @ChrisBoese)

E-Book Legal Restrictions Are Screwing Over Blind People  “My class has just been assigned a project for which we must use information in the class’s textbook. Every student has a Kindle, which has the textbook loaded on to it. All of the sighted students can easily read the material and complete the assignment independently… I, on the other hand, cannot read the book without the assistance of a sighted reader.”

Comment sections are poison: handle with care or remove them. “Comments are often regarded as a right but they can do more harm than good. In the absence of strict moderation, we’d be much better off without them.”  I so very much agree with this. Unmoderated comments quickly devolve into vileness. On the other hand, I regularly read well moderated comments on sites where enthusiastic discussion happens, with people disagreeing about things, and learn a lot.

Local activism

Expert Engineers Deem Trans Mountain Too Dangerous


In recent years there’s been a lot of talk about how economic changes are resulting in the “middle” classes disappearing, leaving only the privileged and the disadvantaged. This is an interesting article on how that’s happening to creativity as well. How the Death of Mid-Budget Cinema Left a Generation of Iconic Filmmakers MIA (via Chris Boese @ChrisBoese)

This looks interesting. MIT: From the Archive Friday: “Each Friday, we select an article from the depths of our online archive and make it freely available for one week.” (I think this one came via Chris Bourg @mchris4duke)

Studying society via social media is not so simple.

Just for fun

Hyphen Hate? When Amazon went to war against punctuation.

Stupid gravity. (Don’t know if this video is “real” or not but it’s fun either way.)

Science Explains Why Golden Retrievers Are Awesome  (They are!)

Just cool

Donald Stookey: the joy of glass (obituary)

From the world pool: December 13, 2014


“It’s a form of child abuse,” she said. Unconscious bias and how it plays out in schools. Schools’ Discipline for Girls Differs by Race and Hue 

“The results of two experiments supported the hypothesis that, for sexist men, exposure to sexist humor can promote the behavioral release of prejudice against women.” An older study, but just recently spotted a reference to it.

5 Ways Marginalized People Can Recognize Their Privileges In Other Areas

Police Chief Magazine: Racial Bias in the Decision to Shoot?

What I’ve Learned from Two Years Collecting Data on Police Killings  (via Chris Bourg @mchris4duke)

“Rape victims: This is an important time in your life. With so many details to attend to, here’s a checklist to make sure you’re not missing out.”

Why Poor People Stay Poor. Excerpted from Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America by Linda Tirado. (via Kameron Hurley @KameronHurley)

Art + Design

“In Copenhagen, a wireless network of flashing green LED lights waves cyclists on, helping them ride through traffic signals without getting stuck at a red light.” (via Paola Antonelli @curiousoctopus)

“Acrylics shows up with wide, glazed eyes and lisps, ‘Whatever the master pleases! Yesssss! Master wishes us to do what?'” Heh. I know a number of people who feel like this. Eye of the Dragon, and Gibbering Rant about Acrylics


Some interesting people profiled in this article: A World Disrupted: the Leading Global Thinkers of 2014. I wonder who got left off? (Via Paola Antonelli @curiousoctopus)

When I put the two following articles together I can’t help thinking that higher education and the prospects of graduates are really, really screwed.

Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2014: School as “Skills”. “After all, students who love to learn, students who know how to learn, students who know how to ask critical questions and solve problems – that’s sorta what a liberal arts degree could and should be, right? But nah. Instead this year, we got more “bootcamps” to address the “skills shortage.“

Is an MFA the new MBA? “More often than not, arts graduates are invisible to us when we search for new talent. But based on the SNAAP research findings, one of the largest surveys ever conducted of college graduates, these former art students have many of the skills and habits necessary to navigate a circuitous career—including the constant reinvention and “retooling” necessary for any environment that values innovation.”

Quote of the week

The parchment is hairy.” Cheeky Complaints Monks Scribbled in the Margins of Manuscripts

Just for fun

Oh, the humanity.

Creative typography with icing.

Oh, just what I needed more of this holiday season: potatoes, butter, whipping cream, and sugar! How to make lefse, straight from Lutheran church ladies

The Revenge of the Champagne. (via Robin McKinley @robinmckinley) Yes, it’s advertising, but it made me laugh.

Just cool

Zoologger: The bird that mimics a toxic caterpillar (via Chris Boese @ChrisBoese)

Go to full screen: Stormscapes 2: Stormier. “I’d say it’s seriously one of the most incredible weather videos I have ever seen.” (via MCA Hogarth @mcahogarth)

From the world pool: December 6, 2014


The unprecedented scale of the #BlackLivesMatter Protests

Ill Doctrine (Jay Smooth): On Ferguson, Riots and Human Limits. “Ferguson didn’t fail to protest peacefully. We failed their peaceful protests.”

Black Lives Matter: “…when you look at the percentage by population, black people in the U.S. are three times more likely to be killed by the police than white people. The links below are some of those deaths from 2014. This is in no way a complete list.”

Tressie McMillan Cottom: Riots and Reason. “Why are police advocates, prosecutors, white people in online comments, the white guy who yelled at me to get a job as I crossed the street last night so angry? They won.”

Dear White Allies: Stop Unfriending Other White People Over Ferguson. “With each “unfriend” post, I felt myself getting angrier and angrier, wondering how on earth white people (who understand racism) disconnecting from white people (who don’t) was supposed to help anyone.”

The new threat: “Racism without racists.” “Colorblind racism is the new racial music most people dance to,” [Eduardo Bonilla-Silva] says. “The ‘new racism’ is subtle, institutionalized and seemingly nonracial.”

The Intellectual Condescension of White Liberals (via Natalie Luhrs @eilatan)

I’m Dreaming of a White Privilege Christmas.

@Awkward_Duck: I witnessed stuff like this a few times in #Ferguson.

First Person View: For Entertainment Purposes Only. “We enjoy violence and suffering. It is, and has been for much of human history, a center piece of popular forms of entertainment. … It is everywhere. And this, based on the historical record is, pretty normal. …And right now, we talk about what it will take for someone to do something, when so many are entertained by the festivities.” (viaTressie McMillan Cottom @tressiemcphd)

December 6, 1989: twenty-five years later

I have very vivid memories of this day, twenty-five years ago. I remember thinking, in response to an early news report that suggested that there was more than one shooter, “my god, they’ve started hunting us.” I remember the adrenaline surge when, leaving work a few minutes later, I realized that I was getting into an elevator with just one other person in it—a man.

And I remember my rage when commentator after commentator denied that anti-feminist misogyny had anything to do with the slaughter of women by a man who explicitly said he was killing them because he hated feminists. Some things never change.

Metafoundry 17: Twenty-Five Years Later by Deb Chachra. “I don’t think being a woman in technology is worth dying for, but I learned early that some men think it’s worth killing for. “

Shelley Page: How I sanitized the feminist outrage over the Montreal massacre. “I arrived in Montreal four hours after the killing was done. Yellow tape wrapped l’École Polytechnique like a macabre Christmas present; surviving students gripped each other in numb disbelief. I was 24, sent by the Toronto Star to write about the slaughter of female engineering students, all around my age; fourteen of them.”

Other socio-political commentary

Emic, Etic, and the depiction of Otherness in SFF.  (via Rochita Ruiz @rcloenenruiz)

New York Magazine: Gamergate should stop lying to journalists — and itself.

I found this explanation of chan culture and how it shapes online behaviour and responses fascinating. How Chan-Style Anonymous Culture Shapes #gamergate.


Harriet Mead: Sculptor. “Welder who makes natural history out of agricultural history. Cross between Steptoe and scrap heap challenge.”


Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Still Read Fiction: They tend to be more empathetic toward others. (via Chris Boese @ChrisBoese)

Haunting images of a lost city: Postcards from Pripyat, Chernobyl.

The Problem With the Internet of Things. “Want to turn on the bedroom light? Sure, just pick up your smartphone, enter the unlock code, hit your home screen, find the Hue app, and flick the virtual switch. Suddenly, the smart home has turned a one-push task into a five-click endeavor, leaving Philips in the amusing position of launching a new product, Tap, to effectively replicate the wall switches we always had.“ (via Chris Boese @ChrisBoese)

Stop Wasting Everyone’s Time. (via Chris Boese @ChrisBoese)

Quote of the week

Tweet by Ashley Ford: Don’t be the second lead vocalist in your own life.

Just cool

The motions of canoers and kayakers revealed with LEDs in long exposure photography.

And… the best birth announcement ever. 


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