From the world pool: November 20, 2016

Well, I suck at updating my blog, don’t I? I haven’t done a world pool collection since October 18th. And as I had a lot of stuff to post two weeks ago—and almost got to it but didn’t quite—I now have an enormously long list of links.

Much of it had to do with the American election. I’m still going to post some of it, if I think it’s relevant to the aftermath, though I must say that the aftermath on its own is generating an ever-growing cascade of things to read.

This is a VERY long blog post, so I’m going to put the actual links under the cut.  Continue reading “From the world pool: November 20, 2016”

From the world pool: September 2, 2016

Socio-political commentary

Feminism AND GENDER ISSUES

This Vote Is Legally Binding. Did you read that awful advice thing from the Men’s Rights Activist called How to Talk to a Woman Wearing Headphones? (Trigger Warning: extraordinary levels of privilege and creepiness.) It spawned quite the internet memes, but this is one particularly brilliant response, from the wonderful Ursula Vernon.

The Disappearing Act. How women in science and academia get erased. “Take one 11th century Italian physician named Trotula who gained both fame and respect in her own lifetime for treating women’s ailments. By the next century, a historian assumed someone so accomplished couldn’t be a woman and changed her pronoun and name to the masculine form. (via @KameronHurley)

Equal Means Equal: A Wake-Up Call to Women WRITER-DIRECTOR-ACTRESS Kamala Lopez is an outspoken proponent of the Equal Rights Amendment. She believes that, more than any other legislation on behalf of women, the ERA could turn the tide on the systemic sexism and biases against women — including the gender pay gap, sexual assault and rape, pregnancy discrimination, domestic violence, female poverty and homelessness, health care and reproductive rights — by its assertion that “civil rights may not be denied on the basis of one’s sex.” Her film Equal Means Equal takes on these weighty issues in a sobering 94-minute wake-up call to American women on the vast inequities they face in the United States, while providing a compelling argument for the urgency of ratifying this constitutional amendment, which was first introduced in 1923 and passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification in 1972.

It’s hard to believe that it’s never passed, isn’t it? Or maybe not so hard to believe.

Watch Helen Mirren shut down the patriarchy in this incredibly sexist 1975 interview. This cheered me up a bit.

The ignorance aimed at Caster Semenya flies in the face of the Olympic spirit. “If this were a simple case of sour grapes it would fade with few caring. But the stakes are far higher. The IAAF is going back to Cas to defend a policy that it accepts discriminates against women. A policy whose explicit aim is to make women slower. That benefits no one.”

Globalization

The Court That Rules the World This is scary stuff. “A parallel legal universe, open only to corporations and largely invisible to everyone else, helps executives convicted of crimes escape punishment.”

Diversity and Racism

Video presenting people with their DNA results forces us to confront our biases against others (via @tressiemcphd)

What is the “Alt-Right”? A Guide To The White Nationalist Movement Now Leading Conservative Media  (via @eilatan)

The Legacy of Lynching, on Death Row. “Lynchings, which took the form of hangings, shootings, beatings, and other acts of murder, were often public events, urged on by thousands, but by the nineteen-thirties the behavior of the crowds had begun to draw criticism in the North. ‘The only reason lynchings stopped in the American South was that the spectacle of the crowds cheering these murders was becoming problematic,’ Stevenson told me. ‘Local law enforcement was powerless to stop the mob, even if it wanted to. So people in the North started to say that the federal government needed to send in federal troops to protect black people from these acts of terror. No one in power in the South wanted that—so they moved the lynchings indoors, in the form of executions. They guaranteed swift, sure, certain death after the trial, rather than before the trial.'” (via @eilatan)

Why Do We Judge Parents For Putting Kids At Perceived — But Unreal — Risk? “Additional analyses suggested that it was indeed participants’ judgment of the parent’s immorality that drove up their assessments of risk. The authors sum up their findings like this: ‘People don’t only think that leaving children alone is dangerous and therefore immoral. They also think it is immoral and therefore dangerous.'”

White Nonsense Roundup: on Facebook and on Twitter.  “White Nonsense Roundup (WNR) was created by white people to address our inherently racist society in our own communities. We believe it is our responsibility to call out white friends, relatives, contacts, speakers, and authors who are contributing to structural racism and harming our friends of color. We are a resource for anti-racist images, links, videos, artwork, essays, and voices. These can be used by anyone for a DIY white nonsense roundup, or by the WNR team to support people of color upon their request.”

How To Talk About Privilege To Someone Who Doesn’t Know What That Is. “The actual privileges we inherit because of our identity don’t define our character, but what does is whether we choose to act to change the system of oppression that affords us those privileges.” (via @nowhitenonesense)

Think Before You Appropriate: The Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage (IPinCH) project is a seven-year international research initiative based at Simon Fraser University, in British Columbia, Canada. The researchers there have created a resource titled: “THINK BEFORE YOU APPROPRIATE” and CARFAC is urging all artists to give it a read.

Think Before You Appropriate provides advice to designers and marketers on why and how to avoid misappropriation, and underlines the mutual benefits of responsible collaborations with Indigenous artists and communities. This is an important tool for all peoples in Canada as we move towards reconciliation and respect for Indigenous cultures and peoples.

Environment

Well, this is depressing.

“Our living dinosaurs:” There are far fewer African elephants than we thought, study shows. “The current rate of species decline is 8%, meaning that elephant numbers could halve to 160,000 in nine years if nothing changes, according to the survey — and localized extinction is almost certain.” (via @ChrisBoese)

Orangutans face complete extinction within 10 years, animal rescue charity warns

Art + Design

Artist Turns Old Farm Equipment Into Incredible Animal Sculptures You’ll Ever See. I kind of want one for my yard.

Just cool

Wow. Meet The Closest Living Relative To The Extinct Dodo Bird With Incredibly Colorful Iridescent Feathers  (via @fozmeadows)

Just for fun

Watch. The. Whole. Thing.

There is honestly no point in doing anything but this guy’s job.

From the world pool: August 14, 2016

Socio-political commentary

Collected over the last month. I’m not doing nearly a good enough job keeping up with this!

US politics

Trump’s Assassination Dog Whistle Was Even Scarier Than You Think  Stochastic terrorism, as described by a blogger who summarized the concept several years back, means using language and other forms of communication “to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.” Let’s break that down in the context of what Trump said. Predicting any one particular individual following his call to use violence against Clinton or her judges is statistically impossible. But we can predict that there could be a presently unknown lone wolf who hears his call and takes action in the future. Stated differently: Trump puts out the dog whistle knowing that some dog will hear it, even though he doesn’t know which dog. (via @PatrickWeekes)

This is particularly terrifying in the context of this recent poll: New Poll Shows Trump Supporters Mostly Believe Whatever He Says

And this chart: Who Lies More: A Comparison

In talking about Trump and the baby  “Sometimes brevity is the enemy of an accurate picture of just how bad something is.” (via @tressiemcphd)

Trump & Putin. Yes, It’s Really a Thing  (via @sarahkendzior)

Laurie Penny: I’m With the Banned

LikableBecause Hillary Clinton, you see, would like to be President. And the thing is, there’s no right way for her to do that, either. The problem is that, if she campaigns too hard, or works too much, she (again) looks “pathologically ambitious,” obsessive, “ruthless,” selfish, and over-confident in her own abilities. (Unlike, say, anyone else who thought they deserved to be the leader of the free world.) On the other hand, if she actually wins anything, or succeeds in any way, everyone is pretty certain that she didn’t earn it: She slept her way to the top! The media is being unfair to Bernie! This whole thing is rigged!!!! She works too hard, and wants to succeed too much, but when she succeeds, it’s apparently never due to all that hard work. The only way for her to campaign “appropriately,” in this scheme, is to sit back and let a male opponent win. Or to not run at all. (via @juliedillon)

Bernie or Bust Supporters Continue to Sabotage Clinton Just to Prove a Point  They are so desperate to see Hillary lose, several thousand have now huddled up around Jill Stein as the third-party spoiler. That means that their need for revenge is bigger than their need to preserve a moderate to liberal Supreme Court. It’s bigger than the safety of Muslim Americans under a spiteful Trump presidency. It’s bigger than respecting millions of hardworking Latino immigrants. It’s bigger than the fate of LGBT families whose rights will be stripped and reversed under a conservative Supreme Court. It’s bigger than the bare bones austerity budget Paul Ryan wants and needs to pass, reversing the course of decades of post-Roosevelt social policies. It’s bigger than demanding equal rights for women not be rolled back. It’s bigger than the environment because Trump has made it very clear that he doesn’t believe in climate change and wants to drill baby drill, burn coal till there’s no more to burn, and “bomb their oil and take their oil.” Their need for revenge is bigger than any other concern facing anyone poor, struggling, needy or oppressed. It has only to do with their anger and rage, their sense of entitlement, their hatred of women. (via @juliedillon)

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter did something huge today

Feminism

The Intersectional Woman’s Reading List

Environment

“CHASING ICE” captures largest glacier calving ever filmed On May 28, 2008, Adam LeWinter and Director Jeff Orlowski filmed a historic breakup at the Ilulissat Glacier in Western Greenland. The calving event lasted for 75 minutes and the glacier retreated a full mile across a calving face three miles wide. The height of the ice is about 3,000 feet, 300-400 feet above water and the rest below water.

As a visual spectacle, this is just amazing. But it’s scary, too: think global warming.

Censorship

Scaling the firewall: Ways around government censorship online

Education

In debt and out of hope: Faces of the student loan mess  I am so very glad I’m not living in the US with a student loan.

Art + Design

Simon Stalenhag

Getty Likely To Settle $1B Suit By Photographer For Appropriating Her Public-Domain Work “Getty Images was perhaps a bit overzealous when it attempted to collect money from prolific photographer Carol Highsmith for using her own photograph without Getty’s permission.”

Understatement, I’d say.

Geeking Out

How Pokemon Go Simulates the Ravages of Old Age Through Terrible Game Design.  All right, I confess, I’m playing it, in a very laid back sort of way, not trying to capture the local gym (our post office) but just collect, which is a challenge in a rural environment. I hope these are things they fix. (via @kyliu99)

Thought-provoking

A dissertation finds her readers.

The Case Against Honeybees  (via @KameronHurley)

E = E-commerce  As humans, we don’t prefer low quality. It was only through the rise of fast fashion — a business model based on the artificial creation of short-term trends combined with clothing that doesn’t last, what other industries call “planned obsolescence” — that consumers were, with of course very large marketing budgets, convinced to accumulate all of this stuff.

Useful!

How to Email Your Professor (without being annoying AF) Every semester, I see the tweets and Facebook posts. My professor friends, they are annoyed. Their students do not know how to write emails, they say. What they really mean is that their students don’t know how to follow the conventions of email etiquette in the academy. I used to be exasperated by student emails too. Until I realized that there was a simple explanation for why they didn’t know how to write them — they’ve never actually been taught how.

Wish some of my students had seen this.

On Writing

The Boy Who Lived Forever  You can see both sides of the issue. Do characters belong to the person who created them? Or to the fans who love them so passionately that they spend their nights and weekends laboring to extend those characters’ lives, for free? There’s a division here, a geological fault line, that looks small on the surface but runs deep into our culture, and the tectonic plates are only moving farther apart. Is art about making up new things or about transforming the raw material that’s out there? Cutting, pasting, sampling, remixing and mashing up have become mainstream modes of cultural expression, and fan fiction is part of that. It challenges just about everything we thought we knew about art and creativity. 

Quote of the week

I wake up from my reverie and we are still parked at South Station. I tune into the conversation around me and hear the kids. Let me emphasize KIDS. Kids making a game plan for what they will do if the police start to shoot them.

I glance up at the boy across from me. He is squirming. He wants off bad. He is texting fiercely. I’m assuming he’s telling someone what we are both observing.

The girl next to me notices my presence and says “Sorry for messing up your ride.”

I say “Don’t worry about it.”

My voice catches on the last word. My throat starts to sear. She asks “Are you upset?”

I respond “Yeah, I guess I am. I just don’t understand why they are calling the cops.”

She says “Because we are black.”

The 12-year-old turns to the group and quietly says “Black lives matter.” They all murmur in agreement.

This week I had one of the most disturbing train rides of my life – and it changed my perspective on Black Lives Matter (via @pericat)

Just cool

Jupiter Approach NASA/JPL is excited to share the unprocessed images that comprise the approach movie acquired by JunoCam as the Juno spacecraft approached Jupiter.

When you really think about it, this is just so amazing.

Just for fun

Radioooo  Pick a country and a decade and listen.

Cat reacts to watching horror movie

From the World Pool: July 8, 2016

Socio-political commentary

What a fucking awful week.

Black Lives Matter.

The Raw Videos That Have Sparked Outrage Over Police Treatment of BlacksThe New York Times

Ohio Police Officer Gives a Furious Plea to Her Colleagues Who Are Afraid of Black People “Why don’t we just keep it real? If you’re that officer that knows good and well you got a God complex and you’re afraid of people that don’t look like you, you have no business in that uniform.”

This is what white people can do to support Black Lives Matter. Educate yourselves, put your bodies in the streets, and help dismantle white supremacy. (via @OwenJones84)

For white people preoccupied with “doing something”

How to tell the difference between real solidarity and “ally theatre”

Alton Sterling, Eric Garner and the double standard of the side hustle “We’re criminalizing poverty,” he says. “We’re saying you’re super poor, but to get to the next level [as a business owner], you have to have three years of business experience. In the meantime, we’re going to fine you, we’re going to arrest you, we’re going to confiscate your stuff, we’re going to kill you.” (via @tressiemcphd)

Iljeoma Oluo: Dallas is a tragedy for all of us – and shouldn’t shut down calls for justice

Diversity

How Samantha Bee Crashed the Late-Night Boys’ Club Bee took the same approach to hiring writers, creating a blind application process that didn’t favor people who’d already had success. (It spelled out, for example, how scripts should look when submitted, leveling the playing field for the uninitiated.) Lo and behold, she ended up with a writers’ room that looked kind of like America: 50 percent female; 30 percent nonwhite. (via @eilatan)

Pottermore problems: Scholars and writers call foul on J.K. Rowling’s North American magic.  The Ilvermorny origin story perpetuates colonialist perspectives, appropriates and erases Native American culture.

What is Latinx?

Orlando: Love wins, actually

President Obama Designates Stonewall a National Monument

Feminism

Underwritten Female Character trailer

Why stuntwomen are in more danger than men  Performing life-threatening stunts is scary enough – but to swordfight or crash into cars wearing skimpy costumes rather than padding requires a special kind of courage

Study reveals that women are literally working themselves to death  So why do long hours take a different toll on the body based on gender? Before you shout “women are the weaker sex,” consider this: The researchers hypothesize that one reason women are experiencing more adverse health affects is because, beyond carrying a full-time job, women are also saddled with the brunt of housework and childrearing—what many sociologists refer to as the “second shift”—which increases their work time and stress levels.

US politics

The GOP’s war on voting is working  WI DMV rejected nearly 1/5 of voter ID applicants, 85% of whom black, Latino, or Native American. (via @mchris4duke)

Who are all these Trump supporters?

British politics

The top six plot twists in British politics after the Brexit referendum

Everything that’s painful about Brexit, summed up in 190 eloquent words

Laurie Penny: I want my country back  This was a working-class revolt, but it is not a working-class victory. That’s the tragedy here. The collective howl of rage from depressed, deindustrialised parts of the country bled white and reckless by Thatcher, Blair and Cameron has turned into a triumph for another set of elites.

Canadian politics

Canada Post’s lockout is a sham

B.C. parks down to 7 full-time rangers  “One of the most endangered species in all of Canada is the Northern Spotted owl,” said Barlee. “We have fewer rangers than spotted owls.” This is disgraceful.

Geekery

Why Does My TV Make Everything Look Like a Soap Opera? 

The evolution of the book

Thought-provoking

The Negro Motorist Green Book and Black America’s Perpetual Search For A Home  The fact that the American Dream presents two very different faces depending on the color of yours is why Victor H. Greene created the Negro Motorist Green Book in 1936. Greene, an African-American postal worker, and an early social entrepreneur, saw opportunity in the fact that Black people wanted to enjoy the vast American landscape, but had to take into account inconveniences like being refused service, spat on, or lynched. Jewish newspapers had long published comprehensive listings of establishments for readers to avoid and the analogy to Black life was not lost on Greene. He developed a solution to what he termed the “embarrassment” that comes with being refused service for the color of your skin. Greene created a travel guide that listed all the restaurants, filling stations, museums, hotels, guest homes, grocery stores and establishments that readers would feel safe being Black in.

Quote of the week

“It’s a sheriff’s star.” “Their body cameras fell off.” One of the privileges of power is lying without needing to be believed.

—Sam Adams (@SamuelAAdams)

We had no idea of the shooter’s identity or motive and yet before the night was over former congressman Joe Walsh had declared war on Black Lives Matter and President Obama. “Real America is coming after you,” he threatened. The New York Post declared “Civil War” on its front page. The Drudge Report declared, “BLACK LIVES KILL” and The Wrap echoed both sentiments, asking, “Is This War? When #BlackLivesMatter Veers Into Violence.”

And so, with this added grief, I and so many other black people in America must push forward knowing that this horrific act of violence will be used to silence us, to tell us that we have no right to demand protection under the law and justice for crimes committed against us. We are so sad and scared and disheartened. We have worked so very hard to simply be seen as human, but the progress we made was so fragile, the fear and hatred toward us so strong, that it can be shattered with an act of violence that horrifies us as much as anyone else.

I and many others have been desperately reaching out to my community, reminding them that what we demand is not too much, what we say is not controversial, what we fight for is not wrong. Black lives matter. That is all. That is all we want our country to believe.

Black lives matter. We will not stop saying it.

Iljeoma Oluo

Just for fun

Kulning – Ancient Swedish herdingcall 

From the world pool: June 16, 2016

Socio-political commentary

Another day, another death from hatred

Labour MP Jo Cox dies after being shot and stabbed

Gun control

Gun violence in America, in 17 maps and charts

The NRA vs. America (via @PatrickWeekes): Today’s NRA stands astride some of the ugliest currents of our politics, combining the “astroturf” activism of the Tea Party, the unlimited and undisclosed “dark money” of groups like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, and the sham legislating conducted on behalf of the industry through groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council. “This is not your father’s NRA,” says Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, a top gun-industry watchdog. Feldman is more succinct, calling his former employer a “cynical, mercenary political cult.” … The NRA insists in its publications that it is “not a trade organization” and that it is “not affiliated with any firearm or ammunition manufacturers or with any businesses that deal in guns and ammunition.” That is a lie. NRA’s corporate patrons include 22 firearms manufacturers, 12 of which are makers of assault weapons with household names like Beretta and Ruger, according to a 2011 analysis by the Violence Policy Center. The report, drawn from the NRA’s own disclosures, also identified gifts from dozens of firms that profit from high-capacity magazines, including Browning and Remington. Donors from the industry and other dark reaches of the corporate world – including Xe, the new name of the mercenary group Blackwater – had funneled up to $52 million to the NRA in recent years.

Fandom

There’s been a lot of talk about Devin Faraci’s rant about entitled fans. Some good responses:

  • This Song Was Written By a Committee: What Devin Faraci Gets Wrong About Audience, Ownership and Power “Social media is democratizing in that it amplifies the possibilities of disruptive speech. But it does not give material power to those who previously had none and it does not, by function, dissolve traditional power structures. Social media amplifies, it does not imbue.”
  • Geek culture isn’t ‘broken,’ but it does have a harassment problem“Except none of these examples are remotely comparable, representing different issues from different corners of fandom. Criticism is not the same as entitlement. Death threats are not the same as social media activism. And death threats aren’t purely the realm of disgruntled fans sending hate mail to creators; harassment is a broader issue of sexism and bigotry online.”
  • From Hydra to Ghostbusters: The False Equivalences of Fan Culture “Fans tweeting about giving Steve Rogers a boyfriend or Elsa a girlfriend are expressing a consumer desire, one that reflects changing social attitudes and as such that should be celebrated. I can’t even imagine us having this discussion four years ago and now it feels normal. That’s an incredible step forward.”

Diversity

Use of the term POC. “So, the term “person of colour” is meaningless to me in the non-Western context context, and I personally find it actively harmful when people lump us as “POC cultures” because it purports to create an illusion of solidarity that obscures the massive amount of racism and oppression Asians are enacting against each other till today. Further, I see it as a projection of Western race politics on a non-Western context, which is decentering from local dynamics.”

Participating While Privileged  (via Chris Bourg @mchris4duke)

Residential schools findings point to ‘cultural genocide,’ commission chair says

How media clearly reflects the sexism and the racism we cannot see in ourselves.  (via @fozmeadows)

And you wonder why people are upset about the Kill Your Gays trope  (via @kameronhurley)

Death by numbers: A complete breakdown of 2016 TV character deaths and what they mean

Emily Brill: copy editing /is/ political

Feminism

Stories of working retail. It adds up to quite a horror show.

Periodic Uterine Tantrum, by Natalie Luhrs. A wonderful essay. Women have been saying for decades that the medical profession doesn’t take female complaints seriously. It’s disappointing to see how little has changed.

The sexism problem. Harassment drove me out of physics 30 years ago and little has changed. Why is scientific sexism so intractable? “Most depressing of all is how sexism keeps reinventing itself, morphing into new forms just when it seems we might be on the verge of overcoming the old ones. There are signs now that we have reached a plateau in terms of women’s representation in the ‘hard’ sciences, suggesting that underlying structural issues remain unresolved. According to the US National Science Foundation, only 20 per cent of physics PhDs in the States go to women, a figure that hasn’t shifted much in two decades. In computer science, it’s now 21 per cent: fewer than 20 years ago.”

What trans men see that women don’t. “Cultural sexism in the world is very real when you’ve lived on both sides of the coin”

Environment

These are the cities that climate change will hit first. And here’s the interactive map.   (via @ChrisBoese)

Economics

Never Mind the Sharing Economy: Here’s Platform Capitalism  “This might sound trivial but given the confused usage of the notion of sharing, it seems appropriate to remind ourselves that helping each other out by sharing our resources is one thing while commodifying these resources by charging a fee for their use is quite another. And this gets us to the more innovative dimension of the “sharing economy.” Today, the “sharing economy” entails much more than just digital updates of second-hand exchange and rentals. What companies like Uber, AirBnB, TaskRabbit or Postmates have in common is that they are platforms coordinating supply and demand of products and services that in their present form were previously unavailable on the market. … While it might be convenient to make use of these services, they have absolutely nothing to do with sharing. They stand for a digitally enabled expansion of the market economy, which, again, is the opposite of sharing. If someone does my shopping or drops me at the airport in exchange for a financial fee, how is this sharing?”

Art + Design

Artist Creates Spellbinding Salt Labyrinth Inside a 13th Century French Castle

10 most clever examples of shadow street art.

Crochet coral reef gallery. This is just so cool.

Book art by Isobelle Ouzman

Beautiful 2,200-year-old mosaics discovered in ancient Greek city

Geeking Out

This Startup Is Renaming Every Place On Earth. I… am not certain this is going to catch on. (via @ChrisBoese)

Thought-provoking

This graphic is quite appalling. People who are 18-29 are definitely getting screwed.

But there was one other thing I noticed.

  • Baby boomers: between 52 and 70 years old in 2016
  • Generations X: early 60s to the early 80s (i.e in 2016 roughly between 35 and 51)
  • Millenials: early 80s to 2000 (i.e in 2016 roughly between 18 and 35)
  • Generation Z: after 2000 (i.e in 2016 will be under 17)

Now, there’s obviously no direct correlation between these generations and the age groups in the graphic. Most baby boomers fall into the oldest group. The second oldest group, those who have done the best, are a couple of years of boomers and 5 or 6 years of Millenials, but are mostly Generation X. The second youngest group, which is half Millenials, doesn’t do quite as well as boomers, but it’s after the older cohort of Millenials that the road really goes over the cliff.

I’ve seen quite a lot of online complaining about how boomers got everything for themselves and in the process ruined it for everyone else. (Which ignores, of course, issues of class and power, but that’s another topic.) And of course on the whole boomers have done very well for themselves, and young people are extremely disadvantaged by comparison, and have a right to be pissed. But based on this graphic, it looks like the “got everything” demographic isn’t just greedy old farts.

Another chart. Attitudes in two different industries. The comments are also interesting.

Nature

A stealthy, stronger line of female salamanders are skipping sex and stealing DNA from males instead.

Just cool

The nostalgia machine. Hit a year and see what music was playing.

I might want one of these,” I thought. And then I thought: CATS.

Just for fun

Neighbors said to fear ‘transient academics’. The comments are golden.

Yes, English can be weird.

Some of you may not know what cosplay is. It’s short for “costumed roleplay” and is a delightful combination of craft and fandom and passion that produces some spectacular creativity. Most of the time cosplayers present themselves as superheroes and/or characters from popular media, but sometimes they do… other things. (Be sure to watch both videos).

And because of the horrors in Orlando this week, it seems appropriate to end on something so unabashedly celebratory: Shut up and dance with me.

Outside, tomorrow, hangovers, regrets, the grind. Outside, tomorrow, the struggle to effect change. But inside, tonight, none of that matters. Inside, tonight, the only imperative is to love. Lap the bar, out for a smoke, back inside, the ammonia and sweat and the floor slightly tacky, another drink, the imperative is to get loose, get down, find religion, lose it, find your hips locked into another’s, break, dance on your own for a while — but you didn’t come here to be a nun — find your lips pressed against another’s, break, find your friends, dance. The only imperative is to be transformed, transfigured in the disco light. To lighten, loosen, see yourself reflected in the beauty of others. You didn’t come here to be a martyr, you came to live, papi. To live, mamacita. To live, hijos. To live, mariposas.

—Justin Torres, In Praise of Latin Night at the Queer Club

From the world pool: May 27, 2016

After a bit of a hiatus, I’ve got a lot collected.

Socio-political commentary

Privilege

On a plate: a wonderful explanation of privilege.

On white privilege.

Feminism

In other words, they weren’t waiting to “have it all” – they were waiting to have enough.”

Can we talk about Susan’s fabulous adventures after Narnia?

#WhoWillYouHelp Good on you, Government of Ontario.

Historically authentic sexism in fantasy. Let’s unpack that.

Media screwups:

Captain America is a Nazi, it turns out.

The straw that breaks the camel’s back: within a period of 30 days, four lesbian or bisexual female characters on TV were killed off. And one of them was killed literally two minutes after a long-simmering relationship was finally consummated. Which may be why there’s been a lot of discussion about the narrative laziness and implied homophobia of the dead lesbians trope in the media recently. Ya think?

Odds and ends

What has the European Convention on Human Rights ever done for us?

When “local” isn’t local. At Tampa Bay farm-to-table restaurants, you’re being fed fiction. I have a funny feeling this story applies everywhere. “This is a story we are all being fed. A story about overalls, rich soil and John Deere tractors scattering broods of busy chickens. A story about healthy animals living happy lives, heirloom tomatoes hanging heavy and earnest artisans rolling wheels of cheese into aging caves nearby. More often than not, those things are fairy tales.” (via @UrsulaV)

On the perils of IP mapping (via Tiro) How an internet mapping glitch turned a random Kansas farm into a digital hell (via @TiroTypeworks)

Art + Design

Free art book downloads from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

And more free books are listed in the endnotes and sidebar to this article.

Useful!

When in drought: the California farmers who don’t water their crops. I suspect we on Gabriola could benefit by learning more about this. “Bucklin’s Old Hill Ranch, purchased by his stepfather Otto Teller in 1980, claims to be the oldest-rooted vineyard in the area. Teller fell in love with the vineyard because it was one of the few that still “dry-farmed”. Dry farming is a method that bypasses artificial irrigation, relying instead on seasonal rainfall and working the soil in such a way that it holds on to water for the drier months.”

Resources for the young entrepreneur. (Via Alice MacGillivray)

Just cool

The Insect Portraits of Levon Bliss

Hortum Machina, B (or, plants go walkabout)

Treehouses in houseplants!

Tumblr linguistics

Just for fun

I don’t want nobody… (nsfw)

Designing a really practical font: Sans Bullshit Sans

Scottish trad music genres 

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.

Feminism

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)

Diversity

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.

Thought-provoking

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.”

Useful!

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.

Jezebel

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. http://n3ongold3n.tumblr.com/post/134515114581

Waking Up Ryer. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iQyXZkN_5ZM

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.

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.

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

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)

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