From the world pool: September 9th, 2017

I’ve had some busy weeks, so I haven’t been online as much, and that means fewer links to post, and somehow I missed out on the “just for fun” category. Which is too bad, as so many of the stories linked are so thoroughly depressing.

But never fear! One of the essays referenced this video. And yeah, it made me feel better.

Continue reading “From the world pool: September 9th, 2017”

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From the World Pool: November 25, 2016

There’s nothing like a problematic election to generate an unending list of things to read. Can I just say that I’d really rather have the unproblematic election?

Socio-political commentary

Standing against bigotry

I’m not putting this under US politics, because (a) some of it isn’t and (b) some of it applies wherever you live.But then that applies to quite a bit under the US politics subhead too, so you should read that as well.

Don’t be divided by Trump and Brexit: minorities are part of the working class 

Jo Cox in her own words “Our priority now is to try and focus on Jo’s amazing life and not the manner of her death.”

How to encrypt your entire life in less than an hour.

20 steps for resisting fascism

A Time for Treason: A reading list created by a group of Black, Brown, Indigenous, Muslim, and Jewish people who are writers, organizers, teachers, anti-fascists, anti-capitalists, and radicals.

Where we go from here Warrior up! Begin with small actions. We’ll be updating this list of resources, so do check back, and please comment below with your own suggestions. 

Imagining Restorative Justice

US politics

Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say

The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.

Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery — including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of websites and social-media accounts — echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia.

Fake News Is Not the Only Problem. Bias, propaganda, and deliberately misleading information are much more prevalent and do more damage.

No. Clinton did not fund ISIS.

No. She does not have Parkinson’s or some bizarre neurological disorder.

But the web that we’ve built — the social web, search engines, and spaces governed by algorithmic systems attuned to social signals (clicks, shares, likes, comments) — makes it increasingly difficult to locate a definitive response to fabrications like Clinton funding ISIS.

Christiane Amanpour: 2016 Burton Benjamin Memorial Award Acceptance Speech. Transcript here.

Since when were American values elitist values?…And since when did neo-Nazism and anti-semitism stop being a crucial litmus test in the United States?

Blue Feed, Red Feed.

To demonstrate how reality may differ for different Facebook users, The Wall Street Journal created two feeds, one “blue” and the other “red.” If a source appears in the red feed, a majority of the articles shared from the source were classified as “very conservatively aligned” in a large 2015 Facebook study. For the blue feed, a majority of each source’s articles aligned “very liberal.” These aren’t intended to resemble actual individual news feeds. Instead, they are rare side-by-side looks at real conversations from different perspectives.

 The dark rigidity of fundamentalist rural America: a view from the inside

In deep-red white America, the white Christian God is king, figuratively and literally. Religious fundamentalism is what has shaped most of their belief systems. Systems built on a fundamentalist framework are not conducive to introspection, questioning, learning, change. When you have a belief system that is built on fundamentalism, it isn’t open to outside criticism, especially by anyone not a member of your tribe and in a position of power. The problem isn’t “coastal elites don’t understand rural Americans.” The problem is rural America doesn’t understand itself and will NEVER listen to anyone outside their bubble. It doesn’t matter how “understanding” you are, how well you listen, what language you use…if you are viewed as an outsider, your views are automatically discounted. I’ve had hundreds of discussions with rural white Americans and whenever I present them any information that contradicts their entrenched beliefs, no matter how sound, how unquestionable, how obvious, they WILL NOT even entertain the possibility it might be true. Their refusal is a result of the nature of their fundamentalist belief system and the fact I’m the enemy because I’m an educated liberal.

A Dark View From Flyover Country

Responding to our oral culture

I realized that the Trump campaign wasn’t talking to readers; it was delivering content to watchers. This meant Trump had identified an audience for himself different from that of any other candidate. He was the only candidate campaigning exclusively through television. All the other Republicans, despite appearing on television, were campaigning in text. They produced policy statements; they read written remarks. Even Marco Rubio, in delivering his concession speech, read from a text.

Trump appears to have understood that the U.S. is transitioning from a text-based to an oral culture. I don’t mean by this that a commitment to text will disappear, only that it has become a minority practice, once again a mark of membership in a social elite.

Hate and extremism:

Shattered: Hillary Clinton aimed at the highest glass ceiling. What broke instead was the coalition she thought would pierce it—and faith that it will happen.

We are in a period of tremendous national turmoil. What we are seeing is a backlash not just against Clinton’s candidacy but against the entire eight years of the Obama administration. It’s not just about who gets to be president. It’s about who gets to vote for the president, who gets to stay in America and make their families here and how those families get to be configured. It’s about who controls the culture, who makes the art, who makes the policies, whom those policies benefit and whom they harm.

ThinkProgress will no longer describe racists as ‘alt-right’

Calling them alt-right helps us fight them. I’m not sure I entirely agree with this, but it raises some interesting points and has information on the sub-variants.

Being Catfished by the “Alt Right” & the Importance of Escaping the White Liberal Echo Chamber.

Fixing a presidential election.

What It’s Like to Be Named to a Watch List of ‘Anti-American’ Professors

Attending a demonstration in Ferguson, Mo. Advocating against campus-carry gun laws. Writing about gun violence as a public-health issue.

Those are the types of actions that landed about 200 professors on a watch list started on Monday by Turning Point USA, a nonprofit group that aims to “to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government.”

The group’s website, meanwhile, intends “to expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values, and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”

The GOP’s Anti-LGBT, Anti-Women ‘Religious Freedom’ Law on Steroids

10 ways to tell if your president is a dictator.

The bottom line: I am by no means predicting the collapse of democracy in the United States under a President Donald J. Trump. What I am saying is that it is not impossible, and there are some clear warning signs to watch out for. Now, as always, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Or to use a more modern formulation: If you see something, say something.

Trump

For foreign diplomats, Trump hotel is place to be.

A scramble to assess the dangers of President-elect Donald Trump’s global business empire 

Trump has a plan for government workers. They’re not going to like it.

Donald Trump personally blasts the press 

“I have to tell you, I am emotionally fucking pissed,” another participant said. “How can this not influence coverage? I am being totally honest with you. Toward the end of the campaign, it got to a point where I thought that the coverage was all about [Trump’s] flaws and problems. And that’s legit. But, I thought, O.K., let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. After the meeting today, though—and I am being human with you here—I think, Fuck him! I know I am being emotional about it. And I know I will get over it in a couple of days after Thanksgiving. But I really am offended. This was unprecedented. Outrageous!”

Kellyanne Conway, who managed Trump’s campaign and who is now his senior adviser, said that the meeting had been “very cordial, candid, and honest.”

KING: The alt-right movement goes full Nazi as Steve Bannon prepares to enter the White House

On Hamilton, Pence, and “this is why Trump won”

Trump’s Kleptocracy Is So Astounding It Already Feels Like Old News

Trump’s Cabinet.

Work is a gift our kids can handle. This organization is said to have received thousands of dollars in donations from Betsy DeVos and her family.

Dykes to Watch Out For:

Ursula K. Le Guin: The Election, Lao Tzu, a Cup of Water

Racism and Black Lives Matter

Racism With No Racists: The President Trump Conundrum

Then I asked around and professional media people told me that there isn’t a style convention on this matter so much as an informal culture. The general rule, I was told, is to never call anything racist and certainly to never call anyone racist. At best, they might quote someone calling something or someone racist.

The implication is that there is no such thing as objectively racist. Racism, according to many mainstream media producers and gatekeepers, can only be subjective.

A thread for white people considering how to talk to their relatives

Building a House: Using Rhetorical Strategies to Persuade

No Asians, no black people. Why do gay people tolerate blatant racism?

First Nations

The Refuge

For hundreds of generations, the Gwich’in people of Alaska and northern Canada have depended on the caribou that migrate through the Arctic Refuge. With their traditional culture now threatened by oil extraction and climate change, two Gwich’in women are continuing a decades-long fight to protect their land and future.

From housing to health, Trudeau’s rhetoric on First Nations out of step with reality, critics say

#NoDAPL

Dakota Access pipeline protester ‘may lose her arm’ after police standoff

Dakota Access pipeline: 300 protestors injured after police use watercannons

I watched the livestream video of this about two or three hours after it happened. I watched the hose spray everywhere in the crowd. I watched a fire start where the police had been lobbing things, and protectors rush to put it out; the hose was nowhere to be seen for that fire. And then the next day I read the police statement that said that the fires had been lit by the protestors—exactly what the person making the video said they would say.

And later I watched the almost complete absence of coverage of this by American media. Shameful.

A Dakota Pipeline’s Last Stand. The historical context of the water protectors’ action.

Their confrontations with police — who have responded with water cannons, pepper spray and rubber bullets — have steered attention to the 1,170-mile-long oil pipeline project and its owner, Energy Transfer Partners. But the real source of Native Americans’ grievance stretches back more than a century, to the original government incursions on their tribal lands. And those earlier disputes over their rights to the land, like the one over the Dakota Access pipeline, pitted the tribes against a persistent force, the Army Corps of Engineers.

If you want to donate to Standing Rock:

 

Art + Design

Kinetic ‘Insecta’ Lamps by U-Ram Choe

British Columbia arts and culture research projects

Imagining Restorative Justice

 

Just cool

Technically as jewellry this falls into the “art” category, but… biostantsiya and scanic.

Hood River woman’s stunning galaxy ceiling paintings bring comfort to young boy

Just for fun

Food art. Food cookies? Whatever.

 

From the world pool: August 19th, 2016

I think it’s time for a cheery set of links. (It’s a short list because I last posted links just a few days ago.)

Local environmental activism

Biologist Single-Handedly Repopulates a Rare Species of Butterfly in His Backyard  “The California pipevine swallowtail butterfly was once suffering a fate that so many creatures face—the loss of its habitat in San Francisco was causing their population to decline. But thanks to one man’s DIY efforts, the iridescent blue-winged insect is flourishing again. California Academy of Sciences aquatic biologist Tim Wong single-handedly revived the flailing species by building a home for them in his backyard. Now, over three years later, the stunning butterflies have slowly returned to the Golden Gate city.”

Art + Design

Oh, now this is cool.  “Raubdruckerin uses drain covers as a printing module for textiles and paper. By pressing a garment on a drain cover coated with paint, the surface is being transferred as a graphical pattern onto the desired object. After first experiments in 2006 Raubdruckerin is meanwhile printing in streets all over the world.

Discover NYC’s Over 1,000 Public Artworks with a New Interactive Map
(via @brainpicker)

Geeking Out

I’m not sure if this should be categorized as art or geekery. Both, maybe? MIT and Microsoft Research made a ‘smart’ tattoo that remotely controls your phone   “The paper presents three key use cases for the tattoo: you could use it to turn your skin into a trackpad, design it to change color based on temperature, or pull data from the tattoo.”

From the world pool: June 12, 2015

Socio-political commentary

Henry A. Giroux | Flipping the Script: Rethinking Working-Class Resistance (via @ChrisBoese)

A grandmother’s 36-year hunt for the child stolen by the Argentinian junta (via @ChrisBoese)

Which brings me to this recording by Holly Near and Ronnie Gilbert.

(And let’s not forget… women are missing in Canada.) http://www.missingwomeninquiry.ca/

And of course I was reminded of this because Ronnie Gilbert died this week.

Bonus tracks: Joe Hill and Solidarity Forever.

The ACLU unveiled a new mobile app designed to help you record and report abusive cops.

I somehow stumbled onto this music video this week. It’s… so true. Ladytron: Seventeen. (Interesting to pair it with Janis Ian’s At Seventeen.)

How a No-Tipping Policy Helped This Restaurant Triple Profits in 2 Months (via @KameronHurley)

SMDH moment: famous scientist demonstrates not just sexism but general idiocy.  But never fear, women scientists have responded.

In the news

Good news for once. Conservation groups welcome protection for Strait of Georgia’s unique glass sponge reefs.  (via Sheila Malcolmson)

Creative activism: People in Portland are protesting potholes by planting flowers in them. (via @brainpicker)

Art + Design

Errol Morris: How Typography Shapes Our Perception Of Truth (via @eilatan)

Hermann Zapf dies at 96

Medieval bookbinding PDF (via @evilrooster)

Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home just won 5 Tony awards, including Best Musical. Also: FUN HOME’s Journey to Broadway

Marko Korosec’s weather photos are amazing, especially some from this set: “I love extreme weather and seen a lot, but this was just above my imagination what I experienced earlier this week. A crazy amount of hard rime after more than a week of strong Bora winds and freezing fog atop of mt. Javornik, Slovenia. It was 100-150cm deep at some most exposed placed.”

Useful!

Cornell’s website can ID bird species through photos (via @curiousoctopus)

On Writing

Maggie Stiefvater: A novel is a lovely but forbidding natural monument, like an iceberg

Quote of the week

By the way, “full-diaper-angry” is Open For Business as slang for young men who are full of shit and mad at women for not being their mom

Drew (via @KameronHurley)

Just cool

13th copy of 4th/5thC copy of 1st AD Roman world map now explorable online, with layers  (via @mchris4duke)

Just for fun

Here’s how women find time to look appealing to men during the apocalypse

So I pretended to throw a ball and caught the exact moment my dog realised I had betrayed him

If I ever get stuck in an airport for six hours I would really like it to be one with the casts of two Broadway musicals.  (via @mcahogarth)

You’ll only relate if you have cats

Golden retrievers. What can I say?

From the world pool: June 5, 2015

Socio-political commentary

Janet Mock: Revealing Caitlyn Jenner: My Thoughts on Media, Privilege, Healthcare Access & Glamour. “To make any trans person a symbol for an entire community is an unfair task. No one can speak about the varying, intersecting and layered ways in which trans people experience the world. That is why it’s necessary to create a space for nuance and to amplify the voices of those who often are not heard. What excites me about Jenner’s story as a trans woman who revealed myself as a teenager is my own opportunity to learn about her experience. I find it fascinating, even as a trans woman, to learn about the journey of another trans woman who had taken steps to be her true self only to be pressured back into “the closet” and to step out more famous than ever in her mid-60s — at a time in most women’s lives when they’re deemed invisible.” (via @iSmashFizzle)

What Search Engines Say About Women (pdf)

Why America Demonizes Its Teachers (via @ChrisBoese)

The Theology of Consensus”  A look at some of the inherent issues with consensus-based decision making that ties them to its history. As someone who worked for two and a half years in a co-op studio committed to consensus decision making, I found this fascinating. (via @al3x)

Art + Design

Marian Bantjes: Barbed Wire! (via @TiroTypeworks)

Interesting

Seven Scribes: Letters from the Underground. WE ARE PLEASED to announce the launch of SEVEN SCRIBES, a brand new online publication. We are committed to creating a space where young Black writers and artists can offer commentary and analysis on politics, pop culture, literature, and art. This is a space where writers and artists can experiment with content and be intentional about consumption.

Useful!

700 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices.

Quote of the week

20 Things That Women Should Stop Wearing After The Age of 30

1-20: The weight of other people’s expectations & judgments

—(maura) @behindyourback (via @pericat)

I have learned not to be seduced by the notion of inevitability — whether it’s progress, hope, love, or friendship. It all requires work.

—deray mckesson @deray

Just cool

“Blanket octopuses literally rip the tentacles right off portuguese men-o-war and use them like little nunchuks.” Six reasons the blanket octopus is my new favorite cephalopod.  (I think this was via @UrsulaV)

From the world pool: May 31, 2015

Well, I missed a whole week of links posts, and then a bit more, so this is an attempt to make up for it. I missed them because I mostly find interesting stuff when I’m surfing on my iPad, and then send myself an email with the links so that they’re in my mailbox when it comes time to write the links post, which I do on my computer. But last week when I went to go through those emails, they weren’t there. Somehow the mail I sent from any number of programs on my iPad wasn’t getting through. I checked the settings and they seemed to be okay, but…

Anyway, I tweaked some things and maybe it’s working now. More getting through, at any rate, though it still seems a bit wonky.

Socio-political commentary

Salamanders need your help. (via @UrsulaV)

Say her name: resisting police brutality against black women (via @PennyRed)

Revelations About Being Brown in a World of White Beauty. “In dentistry speak, the space between two front teeth is called a maxillary midline diastema. It is a genetic trait. It occurs across cultures and in casual observance, appears to have a higher occurrence among black communities. Some research notes black children exhibit more than twice the prevalence of gap teeth as white children. In books and articles I’ve read over the years, a worldview became visible about its value, ranging from ‘normal’ to ‘appalling’ to a ‘deviation from normal adult dentition.’ … A Nigerian acquaintance once told me how much he loved my gap. I learned from him that my gap teeth are valued, and in some instances coveted, by some Nigerian woman. I had never considered that I would posses anyone’s ideal. I live in America, and there are many reinforcements to remind me that small gap-toothed dark girls are the least desired. My gap teeth defined as a beauty mark? That shifted my axis.” (via @iSmashFizzle)

Kansas has found the ultimate way to punish the poor. “The legislature placed a daily cap of $25 on cash withdrawals beginning July 1, which will force beneficiaries to make more frequent trips to the ATM to withdraw money from the debit cards used to pay public assistance benefits. … It’s hard to overstate the significance of this action. Many households without enough money to maintain a minimum balance in a conventional checking account will pay their rent and their utility bills in cash. A single mother with two children seeking to withdraw just $200 in cash could incur $30 or more in fees, which is a big chunk of the roughly $400 such a family would receive under the program in Kansas.” (via @pericat)

The Pencilsword: On a plate. A graphic explanation of entitlement and privilege.  (via @KameronHurley)

 Art + Design

Splendid 14th century veterinary guide to horses at the Matenadaran, Yerevan (via @dynamicsymmetry)

Seymour Chwast launches a digital archive. How cool is that?  (via @brainpicker)

Geeking Out

Dragon Age by Molly Ostertag. A cartoon explaining the appeal of the video game to so many queer people. (Click the cartoon to advance to the next frames.) (via @hawkwing_lb)

Thought-provoking

“Technology Hand” Is Destroying Your Upper Body Strength

Quote(s) of the week

James honed a definition that he finally published in his 2012 book, Assholes: A Theory. Formally stated, “The asshole (1) allows himself to enjoy special advantages and does so systematically; (2) does this out of an entrenched sense of entitlement; and (3) is immunized by his sense of entitlement against the complaints of other people.”

What separates the asshole from the psychopath is that he engages in moral reasoning (he understands that people have rights; his entitlement simply leads him to believe his rights should take precedence). That this reasoning is systematically, and not just occasionally, flawed is what separates him from merely being an ass. (Linguistics backs up the distinction: ass comes from the Latin assinus, for “donkey,” while the hole is in the arras, the Hittite word for “buttocks.”)

—Jerry Useem: Why It Pays to Be a Jerk

After these trivial but bracing exchanges, my pulse rate was normal, my cheeks were not red, I was not trembling. I hadn’t thought direct action would be so much fun. Habits of a lifetime peeled away. The world bristled with opportunities for a woman in her 70s to take a stand. I shouted on planes. I fought for my place in queues. I talked to myself out loud in public. I walked along the street singing a little song under my breath: “Back off. How dare you? Make my day.” I wouldn’t say I was on a hair-trigger. I was just primed for action.

— Helen Garner: The insults of age, A one-woman assault on condescension

Just cool

David Zinn’s street art.

Rishi Kaneria videos on Vimeo. These are some amazingly beautiful videos. Watch the Stunt Poetry one, even if you don’t watch the others.

British Pathé films on YouTube.

Just for fun

Mad Max posters improved by Daily Mail comments. (Click on the individual images.) I keep reading reviews by feminists about this movie, and now I REALLY want to see it. (There are negative reviews by feminists as well, but so far in my online sources the pro-Mad Maxes are coming out way ahead.)

Can’t. Stop. Laughing: Xenostapler

J.K. Rowling Just Had the Best Reaction to How Hot Neville Longbottom Is Now.

That escalated quickly.” (Ignore the warning about “sensitive content” if you get it, it’s worth it to see a sterling example of how one person sees one thing in an image while another might see something quite different.)  (via @pericat)

From the world pool: May 1, 2015

Happy May Day and Happy International Workers’ Day!

Socio-political commentary

Feminism

In this case the caption CANNOT UNSEE is a happy one. (via @evilrooster)

Randi Harper: “It’s just the internet.”  (via @scalzi)

Game of Fear: “What if a stalker had an army? Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend was obsessed with destroying her reputation—and thousands of online strangers were eager to help.” (via @scalzi)

Racism

When ambiguity works either way: “Teachers/profs, here’s your next real-world classroom example of the importance of pronoun-antecedent clarity.”  (via @mchris4duke)

Rebecca Solnit: “Dear other white people, this is about Baltimore. When you demand that a person of color explain or justify the situation to you, you are asking them to work for you for free. …The work of explaining has already been done. It’s our job to engage with it, not theirs to keep doing over again.”  (via @Quinnae_Moon)

Christine Slocum: White People Do Not Understand Racism. “…racism is not simply the result of prejudice. It is an enduring institution that separates society through a centrifuge of differential access to opportunities. Racism exists beyond individual prejudices; it exists in the foundation of everything we consider acceptable and laudable.”  (via @tressiemcphd)

Just… wow. David Simon on Baltimore’s Anguish: Freddy Gray, the drug war, and the decline of “real policing.”  (via @evilrooster)

And…

Shut up and take my money! A tale of a poor gamer. The classism of definitions of “gamer.” “Of course I realize it was escapism from the harsh reality of my world, but is that really so bad, escaping that for a little while? When people realized I was homeless and had a laptop, they would sneer at me. $60 they would then turn around and pay for a game with a fee-structure attached to it. And I was a horrible person for keeping my laptop.” (via @Quinnae_Moon)

Art + Design

After Three Decades of Obscurity, Helvetica’s Successor Reemerges (via @curiousoctopus)

Advice from a Badass: How to make users awesome. “In her book, Sierra establishes why helping users become awesome can directly lead to the success of a product or service and and then builds a model with the reader to achieve this. I think it’s an exceptional book that wisely advises how to address the emotional and behavioural setbacks to learning new things without having to resort to bribery or gamification, neither of which work after the novelty wears off. The language of the book is informal but the research behind the words is formidable.”

Thought-provoking

David Whyte: “All friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness.” Looks like an interesting book. (via @brainpicker)

The Cost of Paying Attention. “Attention is a resource; a person has only so much of it. And yet we’ve auctioned off more and more of our public space to private commercial interests, with their constant demands on us to look at the products on display or simply absorb some bit of corporate messaging. Lately, our self-appointed disrupters have opened up a new frontier of capitalism, complete with its own frontier ethic: to boldly dig up and monetize every bit of private head space by appropriating our collective attention. In the process, we’ve sacrificed silence — the condition of not being addressed. And just as clean air makes it possible to breathe, silence makes it possible to think.”  (via @KameronHurley)

Quote of the week

“The gold in you does not rust.”

Mahmoud Darwish (via @dynamicsymmetry)

Just cool

This Couple Moved Off The Grid And Built A Self-Sustaining Floating Island (and not so far away from us, either)  (via @mcahogarth)

Just for fun

Oh. My. God. Last F**kable Day. *Falling over laughing* Definitely NOT Safe For Work. (via @ChrisBoese)

5 Mètres 80: An Absurd Animation Depicting a Herd of Giraffes Leaping Off a High Dive by Nicolas Deveaux

When you sneeze in front of your pet and they look at you like you’ve just offended their great ancestors.

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