From the world pool: November 29, 2014


The masculine mistake, by Patrick Blanchfield. Why is America producing so many young men who are hostile to women?

As someone who teaches at a post-secondary level as a contract instructor—a vulnerable position—I have a strong interest in issues like this. Scabs, Scantrons, and Strikes at the University of Oregon. From the Department of You Can’t Make This Shit Up…  You should also read the PDF of the statement from the department heads/program directors as to why the proposed actions are untenable. For example, “With regard to practical reasons, many program directors and department heads are stretched to the limit already, and telling us that we are forced to be responsible for the grades in all GTF-related courses in our units – for some of us numbering 90 sections or more, with literally thousands of total students – is not tenable.” What kind of mind thinks a solution like that could work? The level of cluelessness is amazing.

From “Open” to Justice #OpenCon2014: presentation by Audrey Watters on some problems of defining and implementing open access. (via Barbara Fister @bfister)  (via Chris Bourg @mchris4duke)

Two powerful articles on what Lemony Snicket said at the National Book Awards, and then Jacqueline Woodson’s response to it:

  • Nikki Finney: “On Wednesday night Jacqueline Woodson won the 2014 National Book Award for Young Peoples Literature. After she left the stage the host of the National Book Awards, Daniel Handler, told the crowd that she, a Black woman, ‘was allergic to watermelon’ and then implored the crowd at the National Book Awards to ‘let that settle in your mind.’ I found myself staring at my laptop and choking on a waterfall of watermelon seeds.”
  • Meanwhile In America, Brown Girls Are Still Dreaming (via Ashley Ford @iSmashFizzle)
  • Jacqueline Woodson: The Pain of the Watermelon Joke.

Using a tax system to destroy small businesses: this is beyond fucked up. The VATman cometh, destroying businesses. “As you may know, the whole situation with VAT on ebooks is crazy. Although the rate for paper books is zero in the UK, the rate for ebooks is 20%. … anyone selling digital products in Europe has to register for VAT in every country, charge VAT on each sale according to the local rate, and account for all of this on a quarterly basis. …If all you do is sell one ebook, or a few knitting patterns on Etsy, or a little app you made for fun, you are required to register for VAT and file VAT returns once a quarter. Even if the tax involved is only pennies. …The implications for any small company selling digital products are so horrendous that the Head of Tax at the Institute of Chartered Accountants (England & Wales) has apparently suggested that small businesses stop selling in Europe to avoid all of this mess.”

Why women leave tech: what the research says. “The research shows that women in disproportionately-male industries are assumed to be less competent than men, and that when they’re perceived as competent they’re considered less likable. Being disliked hurts women’s pay and their prospects for advancement. The research finds that the only way competent women will be found likable is if they behave in a stereotypically-female “communal” style at work (cooperative, helpful and understanding), but if they do that they will no longer be perceived as competent. It’s a classic double bind.” (via Brianna Wu @Spacekatgal)

And then of course there is Ferguson.


Amazing. I hope the artist wears gloves. Shattered Glass Animals by Marta Klonowska


The Retreat. “I wondered why going off by myself was so strange and frightening. Almost everyone I knew was married, and most had kids. They did not go off to places alone, even if they might have wanted to.”

Quote of the week

Jesse Williams responding on Twitter to someone telling him to “rein in” his criticism of CNN’s coverage of Ferguson: “Please disabuse yourself of the notion that my purpose on earth is to tuck ignorance in at night.”

Just cool

In the academic scams department: “Journal Accepts Paper Reading “Get Me Off Your Fucking Mailing List”. “Dr Peter Vamplew, a computer scientist at Federation University Australia got one too many invites from the International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology and hit back with the seven words repeated over and over, along with headings, pseudo-citations, a flow chart and graph. Vamplew didn’t expect to be published – he just hoped the ‘editors’ would stop cluttering up his inbox. Instead a return message said a reviewer had rated the paper as ‘excellent’ and IJACT would publish for the low, low price of $150.”

Hermit crab migration (via @KameronHurley). And here’s an article about it.

Brain Pickings: Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Catalog of Beautiful Untranslatable Words from Around the World. I love the word tsundoku, it lives in my house.

Cymatics is the science of visualizing audio frequencies using dust particles, water, or other materials to demonstrate how vibrations move. Nigel Stanford has applied it to this remarkable music video.


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