From the world pool: February 13, 2016

I haven’t been posting the weekly links for a while, so I’ve got quite a backlog of stuff to work through. Here’s a start.

Socio-political commentary

The Selfish Side of Gratitude, by Barbary Ehrenreich. An excellent takedown of the cooption of the idea of gratitude by the self-love industry. “So it’s possible to achieve the recommended levels of gratitude without spending a penny or uttering a word. All you have to do is to generate, within yourself, the good feelings associated with gratitude, and then bask in its warm, comforting glow. If there is any loving involved in this, it is self-love, and the current hoopla around gratitude is a celebration of onanism.

Speak Up and Stay Safe(r): A guide to protecting yourself from online harassment.


Gloria Steinem made some controversial comments this week, but not everyone agrees that they were wrong.

Progressive. “I keep smiling — always smile at the job interview —  but I cannot speak. Largely because I believe that what I just heard cannot possibly be what he really said. I misinterpreted something. I missed a word, misheard a word. He can’t actually be telling me that I would have to stop being so feminist to get a job at his “progressive” site. Or that “progressive” media is mostly for men.” (via Roxane Gay)

Feminism vs the Oxford Dictionary.

How to be a male feminist.

When Teamwork Doesn’t Work for Women  (via Chris Boese)


Black history you didn’t learn in school: Pauli Murray

The Reductive Seduction of Other People’s Problems. “If you’re young, privileged, and interested in creating a life of meaning, of course you’d be attracted to solving problems that seem urgent and readily solvable. Of course you’d want to apply for prestigious fellowships that mark you as an ambitious altruist among your peers. Of course you’d want to fly on planes to exotic locations with, importantly, exotic problems.”

Losing My Voice, by Natalie Luhrs. This could go under writing, or feminism, but I stuck it under diversity, because it belongs there too.

In the news

Touching moment on Skytrain goes viral. What happens when human kindness gets a chance.

Art + Design

Very cool book art by Kelly Campbell Berry!

Project Monsoon

Imaginary Villages

Geeking Out

Well, this is interesting. NASA has trialled an engine that would take us to Mars in 10 weeks.

Bladeless wind turbines.


When the song dies. “In Scotland, folk songs serve as memories, of places and the dead who once inhabited them. Exploring the theme of change, When the Song Diesseeks to bring the audience under the captive spell of the old ways. Featuring a range of contributors, the film is a poignant reminder that the dead linger on, all around us, in the houses and landscapes we live in, and in the language and music of our culture.”


The New York Public Library has digitized over half a million items from its collections.

On Writing

Sunny Moraine: Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Quote of the week

I think a lot of people don’t understand that when we talk about these issues—blackface, rape jokes, the appropriation of marginalized cultures, and so on—we are having an ethical conversation, not a legal one. There is no thought police. No one’s coming to your house and carting you off to Insensitivity Prison. But you, as a person living on this planet, get to make a choice whether you want to hurt people or help people. Whether you want to listen or shut people out. I can’t imagine why you’d choose “defensive shithead” over “nice lady capable of empathy,” but okey dokey.


Our culture is quick to dismiss quiet, ordinary, hardworking men and women. In many instances, we equate ordinary with boring, or, even more dangerous, ordinary has become synonymous with meaningless. One of the greatest cultural consequences of devaluing our own lives has been our tolerance for what people do to achieve their “extraordinary” status.

Brené Brown (I Thought It Was Just Me), via Natalie Luhrs

Just cool

A Natural Woman: Aretha Franklin. Just… wow.

Just for fun

Flashmob Charleston.

I was never this coordinated.

Waking Up Ryer.

Adele at the BBC: how extraordinarily nice to see a joke where the punchline is a gift instead of a punch. I want to see more things like this.

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