From the world pool: April 24, 2015

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It’s not a long list today, as I posted the last one just a few days ago.

Also, I realize I’ve been posting lists and not much else; not sure what that is. Certainly I’ve been taking photos. Memo to self: put the damn things online, okay?

Socio-political commentary

Words for cutting: why we need to stop abusing “the tone argument”. “Outrage has a valuable place; it is the natural reaction to injustice, to a severe moral breach that must offend every nerve ending of one’s sensibilities. To look at our world at present there’s much to be angry about, and there’s some wisdom to the idea that outrage is better than a placid acceptance of our present condition, better than becoming desensitized to the cavalcade of moral crimes that litter the daily newspapers. But like any emotion or tool, there are right and wrong ways to deploy it, and when we uncritically suggest that all rage is valid so long as it is expressed by activists we thereby foreclose all strategic discussion of the utility of rage.”

WFT? Some days I hate humanity. Quebec girl told to stop reading book by school bus driver. “Sarah Auger, 8, enjoyed reading to and from school, until the bus driver said it was dangerous.”

Diversity matters: Being mixed race.

Who cares about the vulnerable when there’s a fight to manufacture?

This, EXACTLY THIS, is why we can’t have nice things.”  (via Tressie McMillan Cottom @tressiemcphd)

Kameron Hurley: Hijacking the Hugo Awards Won’t Stifle Diversity in Science Fiction

Art + Design

Safety banana! (via Natalie Luhrs @eilatan)

Geeking Out

Losing Count: “Eeny, meeny, miny, mo” and the ambiguous history of counting-out rhymes. (via @KameronHurley)

On Writing

We Were Always Here: Exploring one hundred years of women in science fiction and fantasy literature.  (via @rcloenenruiz)

Authors Alliance: Keeping Your Books Available. “(A) guide that arms authors with the information and strategies they need to revive their books.”

Quote of the week

You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, “Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist?” And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it.

—Junot Diaz, via the “Diversity Matters” article cited above

Just cool

Historic photo: Restaurant de la Réserve, Nice, France, c. 1900. / (via @mcahogarth)

View from the ISS at night. (via @Quinnae_Moon

Just for fun

Introducing the Waterstones Watch.

Performance of Bach’s Prelude No. 1 Using Only Boomwhackers. (via @evilrooster)

Without doubt, the greatest chew toy ever invented.”

This bird keeps itself in the air by sheer force of anger alone.” (via @mcahogarth)

From the world pool: but NOT on April 17, 2015

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I missed posting on Friday, because migraine plus back spasm, and that lasted through the weekend. So here’s the catch-up.

Socio-political commentary

Let Them Eat Privilege. “By substituting class relations for an arbitrary list of “privileges,” Vox is attempting to paint a picture of an immiserated America with no villain. It’s an America without a ruling class that directly and materially benefits from everyone else’s hard times. And this omission isn’t just incorrect — it robs us of any meaningful oppositional politics that could change it all.” (via @al3x)

Gwyneth’s SNAP Challenge bombed, of course: Living in poverty takes skills she didn’t bother to learn. “So here’s what’s galling anyway about her “poverty tourism” — and what gives me just a touch of white hot fury. It’s that rich person arrogance of assuming that privilege equals ability. …Actually, guys, it’s hard for you to be poor. Lots of us are great at it. Lots of us do it every goddamn day.” (via @KameronHurley)

What you don’t know about Internet algorithms is hurting you. (And you probably don’t know very much!) “Unfortunately, personalization isn’t always everything it’s cracked up to be. Because personalization algorithms try to predict content you will like, they tend to surface only things that agree with your established preferences; over time, and through lots of clicks, you gradually work your way into an online world where all news articles are fiercely liberal, or all recipes contain Brussels sprouts.” (via @mchris4duke)

Policing

Thousands dead, few prosecuted. “Among the thousands of fatal shootings at the hands of police since 2005, only 54 officers have been charged, a Post analysis found. Most were cleared or acquitted in the cases that have been resolved.”  (via @tressiemcphd)

The police can’t police themselves. And now the public is too scared to cooperate with them. (via @sarahkendzior)

Racism and diversity

Vanessa Mártir: Color in AW(hite)Place. “I could tell you about so much but my mind goes to that black body on the floor just outside the men’s bathroom, one sneaker just inches from his face.” (via @rgay)

Toni Bell on the language of racism: “So when someone says, ‘Oh, they did that to you because you’re black,’ I quickly correct them with, ‘No, they did that because they are bigots.’”  (via @tressiemcphd)

Black Men Being Killed Is The New Girls Gone Wild. “Forget the illicit thrill of naked bodies. It’s been replaced by the brutal pornography of racial violence.”(via @tressiemcphd)

Feminism

Comic: What They Really Mean When They Say They’re Not a Feminist. (via @Quinnae_Moon)

10 Rape Prevention Tips (via @ChrisBoese)

Molly Crabapple: How police profile and shame sex workers. (via @iSmashFizzle)

Geeking Out

Now THIS is a rant. Programming Sucks. “Every programmer starts out writing some perfect little snowflake like this. Then they’re told on Friday they need to have six hundred snowflakes written by Tuesday, so they cheat a bit here and there and maybe copy a few snowflakes and try to stick them together or they have to ask a coworker to work on one who melts it and then all the programmers’ snowflakes get dumped together in some inscrutable shape and somebody leans a Picasso on it because nobody wants to see the cat urine soaking into all your broken snowflakes melting in the light of day. Next week, everybody shovels more snow on it to keep the Picasso from falling over.” (via @pericat)

On Writing

I Was Sexually Assaulted At UVA. I Don’t Accept the Reporter’s Apology. “When a someone agrees to tell his or her story, you must tell them you’re going to ask questions they don’t like. Let them walk away from the story if they aren’t prepared for how ugly and thorough the reporting can be. They need to know that you can’t shield them from the painful necessity of verification on account of the living hell they’ve walked through. It doesn’t feel good to cast aspersion on a trauma victim, but it’s not the survivor’s job to be able to craft a perfect, linear plot—it’s yours. As a journalist, you are not their friend, and you are not their advocate. That is someone else’s job, and you can’t lose sight of that for a minute.” (via @iSmashFizzle)

Kari Sperring: On political agenda in sff (and other fiction). “We can always find excuses for defaulting to our norms.”  (via Rochita Ruiz @rcloenenruiz) https://twitter.com/rcloenenruiz

Rewriting the Future. “For all of our ability to analyze and critique, the left has become rooted in what is. We often forget to envision what could be. We forget to mine the past for solutions that show us how we can exist in other forms in the future. That is why I believe our justice movements desperately need science fiction.”

Just for fun

Science proved you and your dog fall in love when you look in each other’s eyes.  (via @ChrisBoese)

I thought cats were the only ones who did this. (via @mcahogarth)

Well, hot damn.

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When we first moved to Gabriola seven years ago, I managed to get to the Coffeehouse open mic night a handful of times (mostly my work schedule didn’t allow this). And on a couple of those occasions I saw Shauna McAllister sing.

You know how some people have a stage presence that goes far beyond their technical skills, so that you are absolutely transfixed when they perform? For me Shauna McAllister is one of those people. I don’t even like country music, which is more or less what she performed, as I recall. But wowza.

She did a couple of performances on Gabe that I heard about but couldn’t attend (because work) and then I heard that she’d moved to Nanaimo, and I lost track of her. The other day I was thinking what a shame that was. But today, when while looking at something else on youtube, I noticed her name in the sidebar, videos shot at a couple of those island performances. This is one of her performing Hank Williams’ I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry with Victor Anthony and Nathan Tinkham at a benefit for the Commons, and here she is in concert with Nathan and Marisha Devoin, doing Folsom Prison Blues (that entire concert is up in one long video on YouTube if you dig a little).

So I checked to see what else might be online, and lo and behold: Jupiter Jill (also on Facebook). The album is Land of the Blind.

I am so delighted to find that she’s still making music.

From the world pool: April 10, 2015

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Socio-political commentary

Why Sealioning is Bad. “The biggest reason why people hate sealioning is because responding to it is a complete waste of time.”  (via @KameronHurley)

Follow the money: The Weird, Money-Making World of Parody Twitter Accounts. (via @kyliu99)

Feminism

Risky Date (via @KameronHurley)

Gaming

The media and what I mean by “reinforcement”. “I’m not arguing that videogames are evil and cause lots of horrible things and we should ban them forever. I’m also not arguing that they’re distinct from other media – I’m arguing that they are one of many influences on people’s views (concious and unconscious) and that they will have a much easier job supporting society-wide views than implanting new unique ones.” Laying out the difference between reinforcement and causality.  (via @Quinnae_Moon)

A 12-Year-Old Girl Takes On The Video Game Industry (via @ChrisBoese)

SF/F

I’m a huge science fiction and fantasy fan, and this week that world exploded. Tl;dr: a group of conservative writers and fans, self-named the Sad Puppies (supported generally by the Rabid Puppies, an overlapping group), who believe that they represent the only real sf/f (and its True Fans) and have been shut out of winning the Hugos they deserve by the conspiracies of SJWs (Social Justice Warriors), gamed the nomination process to get a slate of their people onto the lists of nominees, displacing many worthy candidates.

Natalie Luhrs at Pretty Terrible has a round-up of links that I won’t bother recapping, go check them out; there are also oodles of posts by other sf/f writers and fan writers that you can find with a bit of digging. I will also add a few from mainstream media (which has been picking up on this, interestingly) to her list. All of these articles have lots of links, if you want to drop down a rabbit hole.

One additional note on this: last night I was reading comments on the post by George RR Martin that Natalie linked to in her links round-up. One of the Sad Puppy supporters complained that, “We’re tired of hateful, double-standard holding bigots attempting to sabotage the careers and reputations of people who don’t toe their lines.”

Martin asked for citations: “You make sweeping angry statements, drag in the odious Social Justice Warriors term, talk about feminists in the 1800s… but where are your FACTS? Whose career has been destroyed by the SJWs? Who are these pariahs? How does any of this relate to the Hugo Awards?”

The answer: “I can’t name many because you never hear about them in the first place.” And then the writer goes on to explain that a “chilling effect created by all of this means up-and-coming authors who have such ‘unpopular’ political views stay quiet. They don’t write works that might offend these peddlers of despair and outrage. They don’t get their careers ruined very often because they’re smart enough to keep their mouths shut. If they aren’t, their careers are shut down before the destruction of said careers would ever be newsworthy.”

Do you see what this is saying?! The fact that examples don’t exist is being used to prove that a conspiracy exists. This is the level of Sad Puppy logic.

Art + Design

Jay Smooth: Beating the Little Hater. An old video, but still a good one—“there’s a little voice inside my head that starts playting tricks on me…:  (via @iSmashFizzle)

Venn diagram of the intersections between passion and profession and much else.  (via @mcahogarth)

More online art: Rijksmuseum Digitizes & Makes Free Online 210,000 Works of Art, Masterpieces Included! (via @ChrisBoese)

25 Exclusive Designs for Print’s 75th Anniversary (via @debbiemillman)

Education

Using Wikipedia: a scholar redraws academic lines by including it in his syllabus. What a great approach.  (via @mchris4duke)

Writing

Just a lovely story to take the taste of the Sad Puppies away: Ursula Vernon, Jackalope Wives.  (via Ursula Vernon @UrsulaV)

JCSS

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libretto and records for Jesus Christ Superstar

On Friday I read an article about a 1970 musical I’d completely forgotten about: Jesus Christ Superstar, by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Easter Sunday evening seemed like a good time to rent the movie and watch it, so I did.

I loved JCSS. I own the original cast album from the musical: see above for evidence. I played it over and over, so I was very familiar with the music, and I did see the movie once, when it first came out in 1973. But that was a long time ago, and I’d forgotten a lot. What did I forget?

  • How much I liked the music. I still do, apparently. I was going to watch it over two nights, but once I got started I couldn’t stop watching.
  • HIPPIES. The entire cast dresses like hippies, apart from the villains who have obviously homemade villainous costumes. I had certainly forgotten that the Roman centurion uniform involved purple, almost mauve, tank tops. But the movie is framed as a performance by a travelling theatre group, so it makes sense. Sort of.(Also, I realized partway through that part of the reason I’d forgotten about the hippies was simply because this was what everyone looked like when I saw the movie, more or less. I was never a hippie, being a few years too young and far too timid, but there was a fair amount of spillover into the early 70s. By which I am dating myself. Sigh.)
  • Anachronisms. Tanks chasing Judas through the desert.
  • How subversive it was. In many ways the movie is completely over the top, but there was also a lot of stuff in there to upset people (and it did). This is NOT a canon retelling of the gospels. Sometimes the subversion was right in the maintext, sometimes in subtleties like the machine guns for sale in the market in the temple (if a machine gun in ancient Israel can be considered subtle).
  • Diversity. This was a cast of all colours, unusual then, and, unfortunately, now.
  • That sexy guys were lean, if not actually skinny or scrawny, in those days. Not a chiselled pec to be seen, and nary a sixpack. Fashions in what’s attractive certainly do change. (The women, of course, often wore scanty outfits. Some things never change.)
  • And related to thatthe actors were not perfect. I mean, really not perfect. They mostly looked like regular people; some were a bit prettier than others. But (this is what originally caught my attention) they did not have perfect teeth. They did not have perfect anything; they had not been remade.

I wish that was still true of actors. I prefer the natural look to shiny.

It’s a fun movie. Go watch it.

UPDATE: if you do watch, beware the earworms. Argh.

From the world pool: April 3, 2015

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Socio-political commentary

Things My Male Tech Colleagues Have Actually Said to Me, Annotated
(via @fozmeadows)

One does not simply send an email. “We’re not going to get to perfect security overnight, and the people who demand heroic measures aren’t being realistic or even helpful most of the time. I am not a security perfectionist. But there measures we can all start to take that would do a huge amount to reduce many, even most, of the security problems we face on a daily basis.”  (via @tressiemcphd)

This is… appalling. Exclusive: Amazon makes even temporary warehouse workers sign 18-month non-competes. “The Amazon contract, obtained by The Verge, requires employees to promise that they will not work at any company where they ‘directly or indirectl’ support any good or service that competes with those they helped support at Amazon, for a year and a half after their brief stints at Amazon end. Of course, the company’s warehouses are the beating heart of Amazon’s online shopping empire, the extraordinary breadth of which has earned it the title of “the Everything Store,” so Amazon appears to be requiring temp workers to foreswear a sizable portion of the global economy in exchange for a several-months-long hourly warehouse gig. …The company has even required its permanent warehouse workers who get laid off to reaffirm their non-compete contracts as a condition of receiving severance pay.”  (via @scalzi)

On Community, Fragments, and the Fringe: GamerGate, SJWs, and Everyone Between. “I want to build a community again, but every piece I have is broken, and I don’t know how they can be fit together again, or even if they can. I don’t even know where to begin.”

Feminism

Men just don’t trust women, and it’s a huge problem. (via @evilrooster)

Everyday sexism. (via @MaryRobinette)

Author Scott Lynch takes on a reader complaining about one of his characters: “Why shouldn’t middle-aged mothers get a wish-fulfillment character, you sad little bigot?” (It gets even better.) (via @rcloenenruiz)

Why do we mock teenage girls who love One Direction when Top Gear fans are just the same? I had never heard of either One Direction or Top Gear, but the principle discussed is very solid. (via @fozmeadows)

Education

O adjunct! My adjunct! “When I got to graduate school and began investigating post-graduate work, I finally learned what it meant to be an adjunct, and what such positions entailed. When it occurred to me that this was the job Harvey had, I was embarrassed by my naïveté, and angry that the school had never spelled this out for me, had never made it clear that so much of the work that Harvey did for his students was essentially uncompensated.”

8 reasons the curriculum is white. (via @mchris4duke)

Audrey Watters: Doxxing to defend student privacy.  (via @tressiemcphd)

Art + Design

Download 422 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The article ends with links to other downloads.) (via @Quinnae_Moon)

Artist Uses Her Background in Science to Create a Line of Gorgeously Surreal Animal Sculptures. Just amazing. (via @UrsulaV)

Shylights: Undulating jellyfish-like chandeliers. Wow. Watch the whole video. (via @KameronHurley)

Useful!

Keywords for the Age of Austerity. Essays on how language is used. (via @mchris4duke)

Quote of the week

The rhetoric of colorblindness is harmful in that it identifies difference (in race, gender, sexuality, ability, class, and more) as the impediment to equity rather than the systems that have registered those differences as inferior.

Duke People of Color Caucus (via Chris Bourg @mchris4duke)

Just for fun

the video clip you never knew you needed.  (via @ChrisBoese)

Just cool

Brilliant use of post-it notes. (via MCA Hogarth @mcahogarth)

I was introduced to the antifascist resistance song Bella Ciao by Chumbawamba (this is their rewritten version in English, not a translation of the original lyrics). You can find a collection of original versions and translations here. And this week in my Twitter feed here it is again, led by a priest: Bella Ciao dopo la Santa Messa (via @makinglight)

Well, sort of from the world pool: March 27th, 2015

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I got hit with deadlines today, so no real links round-up; maybe I’ll manage tomorrow. But in the meantime, or maybe in place of it, here’s something to hold you: two wonderful pieces of music.

I dug out an old album I’d forgotten about to listen to while working, thought, I wonder if there’s a video of them performing this song, and looked to see. No—but there they are doing something else that’s equally splendid. Zap Mama… so fine. (Looks like you’ll have to follow the link to YouTube; you should do so.)

Eva Cassidy could make any song sound new again. Every time I listen to her I’m blown away. And as I understand it, this was recorded when she had a bad cold. Go watch all her videos.

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