From the world pool: September 26, 2014

cloud reflections in water

A few years ago I joined Twitter—and never used it. I had some built-in resistance because (a) I couldn’t see a point in reading 140-character tweets and (b) I figured it would be a major time suck at a time when I had absolutely no time to spare. It was only in the last few months that I finally decided that I should see what was actually happening in the twitterverse.

It turns out I was right about the second point; it can take up a lot of time, even when you are careful.

But boy howdy, I was wrong about the first point. No depth in 140 characters? One of the things I now love about Twitter is that many people use it to point to in-depth information. This can be real-time info on news events as they happen, but also lengthy, thoughtful analysis from a variety of perspectives.

And as a result of that pointing I discovered that bloggers often do weekly roundups of links specifically relating to their interests, whether those are purely for self-entertainment or issue analysis or damn well anything you can blog about. So, inspired, I thought I would resurrect the “From the World Pool” aspect of this blog. Instead of walling it off on a page I keep forgetting to update, I’m going to try to regularly post lists of links. My interests are eclectic, so expect the links to be wide ranging. I don’t promise to post a list every week, but will try to do it fairly often. And here’s the first list.

  • Radish reviews: Natalie Luhrs writes “about books and culture with a focus on science fiction, fantasy, and romance.” Apart from her regular posts, her Friday links lists include a lot of interesting stuff, including considerable content related to her socio-political and feminist interests. Over the past few months she’s followed major issues around misogyny and harassment in the sf/f, comics and gaming communities.
  • In a somewhat related area, I’ve recently started following librarian nina de jesus on Twitter. She and Lisa Rabey are being sued for defamation and are currently fundraising at the Team Harpy website because they named a specific individual as responsible for harassment at library conventions. ”We…believe that women calling out harmful the behaviour of men is an act of free speech and of resistance to a culture that regularly reduces our bodies to sexual objects existing only to serve men. We have decided to fight this lawsuit, at great financial and emotional cost to ourselves, because we believe that all victims of sexual harassment should be supported and believed. We believe that by speaking up and speaking out we are contributing to a change in culture whereby victims and survivors no longer have to be silent about our experiences. A culture where we can speak out and not be punished more severely than the men who engage in harassing behaviour.” You can find nina at on the web and as @satifice on Twitter. Don’t expect her to match the cliché of the dull, conservative librarian. Sometimes her tweets are outside my comfort zone: good! She makes me think.
  • Continuing on issues relating to women and media, here’s an article on the assumptions made about what women find attractive in male and female characters: “Once again, what women want is ignored (or, more accurately, invisibilized— in that men deny or are oblivious to its existence) in favor of the ideological construct of “what women want,” which is determined and enforced by men. Men genuinely believe that they know what women want, and are earnest in their attempts to explain “what women want” to women. They are deeply confused, because of course they know what women want! Right? They are unable to see that they are selling a version of “what women want” is essentially “what it would be attractive to men for women to want.”
  • And here is a sign of a totally fucked up world.

Jeez. Getting away from the political stuff:

  • Or am I? This is about a clothing line for people with Down syndrome. When I thought about it, this made perfect sense. Which obviously brings up the point, why didn’t I—or anyone else, apparently—think about it before?

Okay, and REALLY just for fun:

  • Foldscope is an origami-based print-and-fold optical microscope that can be assembled from a flat sheet of paper. Although it costs less than a dollar in parts, it can provide over 2,000X magnification with sub-micron resolution (800nm), weighs less than two nickels (8.8 g), is small enough to fit in a pocket (70 × 20 × 2 mm3), requires no external power, and can survive being dropped from a 3-story building or stepped on by a person. Its minimalistic, scalable design is inherently application-specific instead of general-purpose gearing towards applications in global health, field based citizen science and K12-science education.” (I want one, don’t you?)
  • “This audio illusion is worth your time because it demonstrates your brain’s uncanny ability to use new information to help process something that is otherwise incomprehensible.”
  • And finally, if you are delicate about things that are gruesome, you may wish to avoid this video on the Clockwork Saw by medical historian Dr. Lindsay Fitzharris—but I fell over laughing.

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