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 It’s been replaced by the brutal pornography of racial violence.”(via @tressiemcphd)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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From the world pool: April 10, 2015

Socio-political commentary

Why Sealioning is Bad. “The biggest reason why people hate sealioning is because responding to it is a complete waste of time.”  (via @KameronHurley)

Follow the money: The Weird, Money-Making World of Parody Twitter Accounts. (via @kyliu99)

Feminism

Risky Date (via @KameronHurley)

Gaming

The media and what I mean by “reinforcement”. “I’m not arguing that videogames are evil and cause lots of horrible things and we should ban them forever. I’m also not arguing that they’re distinct from other media – I’m arguing that they are one of many influences on people’s views (concious and unconscious) and that they will have a much easier job supporting society-wide views than implanting new unique ones.” Laying out the difference between reinforcement and causality.  (via @Quinnae_Moon)

A 12-Year-Old Girl Takes On The Video Game Industry (via @ChrisBoese)

SF/F

I’m a huge science fiction and fantasy fan, and this week that world exploded. Tl;dr: a group of conservative writers and fans, self-named the Sad Puppies (supported generally by the Rabid Puppies, an overlapping group), who believe that they represent the only real sf/f (and its True Fans) and have been shut out of winning the Hugos they deserve by the conspiracies of SJWs (Social Justice Warriors), gamed the nomination process to get a slate of their people onto the lists of nominees, displacing many worthy candidates.

Natalie Luhrs at Pretty Terrible has a round-up of links that I won’t bother recapping, go check them out; there are also oodles of posts by other sf/f writers and fan writers that you can find with a bit of digging. I will also add a few from mainstream media (which has been picking up on this, interestingly) to her list. All of these articles have lots of links, if you want to drop down a rabbit hole.

One additional note on this: last night I was reading comments on the post by George RR Martin that Natalie linked to in her links round-up. One of the Sad Puppy supporters complained that, “We’re tired of hateful, double-standard holding bigots attempting to sabotage the careers and reputations of people who don’t toe their lines.”

Martin asked for citations: “You make sweeping angry statements, drag in the odious Social Justice Warriors term, talk about feminists in the 1800s… but where are your FACTS? Whose career has been destroyed by the SJWs? Who are these pariahs? How does any of this relate to the Hugo Awards?”

The answer: “I can’t name many because you never hear about them in the first place.” And then the writer goes on to explain that a “chilling effect created by all of this means up-and-coming authors who have such ‘unpopular’ political views stay quiet. They don’t write works that might offend these peddlers of despair and outrage. They don’t get their careers ruined very often because they’re smart enough to keep their mouths shut. If they aren’t, their careers are shut down before the destruction of said careers would ever be newsworthy.”

Do you see what this is saying?! The fact that examples don’t exist is being used to prove that a conspiracy exists. This is the level of Sad Puppy logic.

Art + Design

Jay Smooth: Beating the Little Hater. An old video, but still a good one—“there’s a little voice inside my head that starts playting tricks on me…:  (via @iSmashFizzle)

Venn diagram of the intersections between passion and profession and much else.  (via @mcahogarth)

More online art: Rijksmuseum Digitizes & Makes Free Online 210,000 Works of Art, Masterpieces Included! (via @ChrisBoese)

25 Exclusive Designs for Print’s 75th Anniversary (via @debbiemillman)

Education

Using Wikipedia: a scholar redraws academic lines by including it in his syllabus. What a great approach.  (via @mchris4duke)

Writing

Just a lovely story to take the taste of the Sad Puppies away: Ursula Vernon, Jackalope Wives.  (via Ursula Vernon @UrsulaV)

From the world pool: April 3, 2015

Socio-political commentary

Things My Male Tech Colleagues Have Actually Said to Me, Annotated
(via @fozmeadows)

One does not simply send an email. “We’re not going to get to perfect security overnight, and the people who demand heroic measures aren’t being realistic or even helpful most of the time. I am not a security perfectionist. But there measures we can all start to take that would do a huge amount to reduce many, even most, of the security problems we face on a daily basis.”  (via @tressiemcphd)

This is… appalling. Exclusive: Amazon makes even temporary warehouse workers sign 18-month non-competes. “The Amazon contract, obtained by The Verge, requires employees to promise that they will not work at any company where they ‘directly or indirectl’ support any good or service that competes with those they helped support at Amazon, for a year and a half after their brief stints at Amazon end. Of course, the company’s warehouses are the beating heart of Amazon’s online shopping empire, the extraordinary breadth of which has earned it the title of “the Everything Store,” so Amazon appears to be requiring temp workers to foreswear a sizable portion of the global economy in exchange for a several-months-long hourly warehouse gig. …The company has even required its permanent warehouse workers who get laid off to reaffirm their non-compete contracts as a condition of receiving severance pay.”  (via @scalzi)

On Community, Fragments, and the Fringe: GamerGate, SJWs, and Everyone Between. “I want to build a community again, but every piece I have is broken, and I don’t know how they can be fit together again, or even if they can. I don’t even know where to begin.”

Feminism

Men just don’t trust women, and it’s a huge problem. (via @evilrooster)

Everyday sexism. (via @MaryRobinette)

Author Scott Lynch takes on a reader complaining about one of his characters: “Why shouldn’t middle-aged mothers get a wish-fulfillment character, you sad little bigot?” (It gets even better.) (via @rcloenenruiz)

Why do we mock teenage girls who love One Direction when Top Gear fans are just the same? I had never heard of either One Direction or Top Gear, but the principle discussed is very solid. (via @fozmeadows)

Education

O adjunct! My adjunct! “When I got to graduate school and began investigating post-graduate work, I finally learned what it meant to be an adjunct, and what such positions entailed. When it occurred to me that this was the job Harvey had, I was embarrassed by my naïveté, and angry that the school had never spelled this out for me, had never made it clear that so much of the work that Harvey did for his students was essentially uncompensated.”

8 reasons the curriculum is white. (via @mchris4duke)

Audrey Watters: Doxxing to defend student privacy.  (via @tressiemcphd)

Art + Design

Download 422 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The article ends with links to other downloads.) (via @Quinnae_Moon)

Artist Uses Her Background in Science to Create a Line of Gorgeously Surreal Animal Sculptures. Just amazing. (via @UrsulaV)

Shylights: Undulating jellyfish-like chandeliers. Wow. Watch the whole video. (via @KameronHurley)

Useful!

Keywords for the Age of Austerity. Essays on how language is used. (via @mchris4duke)

Quote of the week

The rhetoric of colorblindness is harmful in that it identifies difference (in race, gender, sexuality, ability, class, and more) as the impediment to equity rather than the systems that have registered those differences as inferior.

Duke People of Color Caucus (via Chris Bourg @mchris4duke)

Just for fun

the video clip you never knew you needed.  (via @ChrisBoese)

Just cool

Brilliant use of post-it notes. (via MCA Hogarth @mcahogarth)

I was introduced to the antifascist resistance song Bella Ciao by Chumbawamba (this is their rewritten version in English, not a translation of the original lyrics). You can find a collection of original versions and translations here. And this week in my Twitter feed here it is again, led by a priest: Bella Ciao dopo la Santa Messa (via @makinglight)

From the world pool: March 13, 2015

Happy Friday the 13th! (A short list this week, was preoccupied with work deadlines.)

Socio-political commentary

Culture as ‘Ways of Life’ or a Mask of Racism? Culturalisation and the Decline of Universalist Views. (PDF) An interesting paper from the journal of the Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association that discusses how “culturalization” can be used on the left as well as the right to disguise, reinforce and depoliticize racist structures and discourse. (via @rcloenenruiz)

Audrey Watters: Men (Still) Explain Technology to Me: Gender and Education Technology. Transcript of a talk delivered to Leeds Beckett University. “The problem isn’t just that men explain technology to me. It isn’t just that a handful of men explain technology to the rest of us. It’s that this explanation tends to foreclose questions we might have about the shape of things.”   (via @tressiemcphd)

Online harassment

Anita Sarkeesian: What I couldn’t say.

A redditor succinctly breaks down the fear behind “credible threats” with regards to safety precautions/leaving home. “So now you get to decide: do I panic? Or do I fucking panic?” (via @ Quinnae_Moon

Quote of the week

It’s the rule you make, not the rule you intended, that everyone will have to deal with in the future.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Just cool

Further adventures in multiple inheritance. (via @evilrooster)

From the world pool: February 27, 2015

crocuses

Socio-political commentary

The wonderful Jay Smooth: The Oscars and learning the craft of being good. “While this year’s presentation was the most “explicitly political” Oscars ceremony in years, the academy selections and nominees also managed to represent ‘the most exclusionary, white-ish, dudebro-ish’ aspect of Hollywood. The mentality of the anonymously quoted ‘Oscar voter’ revealed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, explains how the Academy’s view of racists as ‘cretinous snaggletoothed hillbillys’ masks the more insidious, covert racism that continues to taint the Academy’s reputation.”

On Points, and the Missing Of Them. A response to a response to a challenge to diversify your reading by reading only writers who are not white straight cis men. (For the life of me I cannot fathom why so many people find this challenge so difficult to understand.)  (via @scalzi)

Sarah Kendzior: Academic funding and the public interest: The death of political science.

Just… appalling. No Boys Allowed: School visits as a woman writer. (via @eilatan)

Art + Design

Who knew it was so complicated? How Video Game Breasts Are Made (And Why They Can Go Wrong). “I remember saying to the artist, ‘the breasts are moving wrong.’ And I remember directly asking him, ‘Have you watched breasts move? Have you actually watched breasts move?” Maybe NSFW.

Thought-provoking

We Are All Confident Idiots. “The trouble with ignorance is that it feels so much like expertise. A leading researcher on the psychology of human wrongness sets us straight.” This is the most fascinating article I’ve read in a long time, looking at the range of ways we can be wrong and absolutely convinced that we’re right. Should be required reading for everyone. (via @KameronHurley)

Quote of the week

Live on, survive, for the earth gives forth wonders. It may swallow your heart, but the wonders keep on coming. You stand before them bareheaded, shriven. What is expected of you is attention.

—Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet. (Brought to my attention by Sunny Moraine in this article.)

Just for fun

Just Checking In: Emails of Dread. (via @makinglight)

Just cool

An amazing story by Kat Howard: Hath No Fury.

Just… wow. Interview with Benjamin Harff, upcoming Tolkien illustrator and creator of the Edel-Silmarillion.  (via @mcahogarth)

Down and dirty fairy tales: How this rediscovered stash of darker-than-Grimm stories destroys our Prince Charming myths. “Where else but in Schönwerth do you find a boy who works in the kitchen? He acts like a Cinderella. You never find boys in the kitchen cooking in the Brothers Grimm.”  (via @ChrisBoese)

From the world pool: February 20, 2015

Socio-political commentary

When letting your kids out of your sight becomes a crime. People have pointed out that the writer is speaking from a position of relative privilege (and presumably therefore safety), and I can see their point. But I also remember my childhood, when a great deal of what my friends and I did was out of our parents’ sight, roaming around the neighbourhood, exploring down by a river and out along backroads (we lived in a bedroom suburb surrounded by farms). Knowing what that freedom was like, I think kids have lost a lot.

A tweet from Tressie McMillan Cottom sent me to an interesting article called Death to the “Public Intellectual”, but one of that story’s links led to the essay I found really interesting: Outside Charlie Hebdo. This essay, written at the time of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, takes that event as the starting point for a discussion of problems with satire. Caroline Small writes: “In what way does [satire] serve a positive end or increase our overall intelligence? Doesn’t satire need to be effective at challenging and destabilizing stupid beliefs if it is intended to have political power? If it only reaches people who don’t hold the belief, isn’t it just mockery? Mockery just ends up creating a group identity among the people who collectively believe the stupid thing is stupid. I think that may be why people react so negatively to this kind of imagery – even if it doesn’t actually qualify as racist (and I will refrain from an opinion on that in this particular context that is not my context), it does alienate and separate, working against solidarity rather than increasing it.” This articulates my discomfort with satire well: I find it funny occasionally, but if I’m honest with myself I find it most funny exactly when it allows me to feel superior to stupid people.

More from Tressie McMillan Cottom: The University and the Company Man. “Some colleges are doubling down on serving the most elite, most well-prepared students. Those students, through a combination of ability and fortune, will end up in high-skilled good jobs. But there aren’t enough of those spots to go around.

Intersectionality Undone: Saving Intersectionality from Feminist Intersectionality Studies. “This article identifies a set of power relations within contemporary feminist aca-demic debates on intersectionality that work to ‘depoliticizing intersectionality,’ neutralizing the critical potential of intersectionality for social justice-oriented change.” (via @tressiemcphd)

Lean In

Stop Blaming Women for Holding Themselves Back at Work. “But, as many women already suspected, it turns out that educated, ambitious women are not failing to achieve the corner office because they’re insufficiently tough, savvy, or competitive at work. It’s also not because they are diverted during their 30s and 40s by the demands of breast-feeding and test prep and the like. They are not ‘ratcheting back’ or ‘opting out’ or failing to ‘lean in.’ And now there’s a study to prove it.” (via @scalzi)

Jessie Daniels: The Trouble with ‘Leaning In’ to (White) Corporate Feminism. “As long as ‘race’ is a taboo subject for liberal feminists, then liberal feminism will continue to be consistent with white supremacy.

A follow-up to a link I posted last week: Mourning Justine Sacco Is Missing the Point. “The basic mistake of writers like Ronson is seeing the racialized contempt for Sacco as separate from the racialized contempt for people of color. They see a new problem where in fact they are merely seeing an atypical iteration of a very old and very common problem.” (via @tressiemcphd)

Art + Design

The Economist: Inside the box. “What workers need from their offices has long been clear. A flexible workspace that encourages movement, combined with mobile technology, could finally liberate them from the cubicle farm—but only if employers pay heed to the evidence, rather than the short-term savings. Even cubicles were Utopian before the accountants took over.

Geeking Out

Wow. Medical tech research is really going in amazing directions these days. Zoom Contact Lens Magnifies Objects at the Wink of an Eye (via @mcahogarth)

Thought-provoking

‘You Can Burn the Paper, But the Stories Live On’ A day with the nomadic booksellers of Pakistan.  (via @evilrooster)

Useful!

Oh my! A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles. “These are the original public domain volumes of the dictionary that was eventually published as the Oxford English Dictionary.

Links to 65 full-text research studies on women in technology. (via @tressiemcphd)

Quote of the week

It was the verb that did it: today we want to strip fat people of their benefits. How long will it be before some minister of public health suggests we strip them naked and run them through town?

Zoe Williams: Blame corporate greed, not the obese.  (via @ChrisBoese)

Just for fun

I think it would be an awful lot of fun to play in an orchestra directed by Bobby McFerrin.  (And that reminded me of this, and that led to this….)

And on the New Music from Old Stars front, as started last week, have you seen this? Not the Hozier “Take Me to Church”—the other one.  Also, about the album. (Love the understatement: “I don’t necessarily fit into the moulds that it seems females are supposed to fit into. I’m kind of irregular.”)

How have I missed noticing Ane Brun? Via Liz Bourke, who tweeted it as “My present repeat-ad-infinitum dance song.”  Heading for iTunes….

Just cool

I wish I could have taken this course: David Carr’s syllabus for “Press Play.” I wish my syllabuses were half as clearly and economically written.

From the World Pool: February 13, 2015

Happy Friday 13th!

Socio-political commentary

Race is a Technology (and so is Gender)After all, what political project doesn’t have its share of fools who can be conveniently held up for mockery by opponents? But shouldn’t we look to those who best articulate the ideas underlying a project to evaluate its worth?” (via @tressiemcphd)

Molly Crabapple: How ‘broken windows’ policing harms people of color (via @iSmashFizzle)

I was constantly worried that I’d be found out.I had a black dog, his name was depression. (via @tressiemcphd)

From the “oh for god’s sake” department: Little Free Libraries on the wrong side of the law. “Crime, homelessness and crumbling infrastructure are still a problem in almost every part of America, but two cities have recently cracked down on one of the country’s biggest problems: small community libraries where residents can share books.” (via @ChrisBoese)

Feminist issues

Hands, by Kari Sperring. “My body, these days, is for hiding, as is considered proper in our culture for older women. No-one wants to look at *that*. My written words are judged, by some, by my age and appearance. They don’t need to read me to know what I think, for older women are a uniform class. Our bodies, like our words, are not worthy. My hands, though. My hands are always welcome, as long as they serve. As long as they work for others.” (via @jimchines)

Stop Telling Women to Smile. (via @jsmooth995) and The Catcalls (via @iSmashFizzle)

Big news in fashion: an image of 48-year-old supermodel Cindy Crawford doing an underwear photo shoot for Marie Claire surfaced on Twitter yesterday. Why is this news? The photo has not been retouched. What’s amazing is that this is amazing.

The internet is full of men who hate feminism. Here’s what they’re like in person. (via @ChrisBoese)

Civil discourse?

“I find this offensive”: how “offense” discourse traps us into inaction, by Katherine Cross. “No, you do not have a right to not be offended. Concomitantly, we need to stop using ‘offended’ as a synonym for “structural harm” or “oppression” in everyday political discourse.” An important essay on how the concept of “offense” can be used to derail discussions away from core issues. (via @Quinnae_Moon)

How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life. People should be held accountable for their words and actions; but the shaming—the accountability—should be proportional, and too often it isn’t. (But also, as someone commented on this article elsewhere; it’s important to note that pile-ons are not equal opportunity, and the pile-on will be different depending on who you are; in one case mentioned in this article, a tech developer who made a stupid sexist joke in public lost his job; so did the black woman who reported him for it. He got a new job quickly and put it behind him; she is still under attack.) (via @tressiemcphd)

In the news

A man named David Carr, culture reporter and media columnist for the New York Times, died yesterday. I don’t read the NYT unless I’m pointed toward an article and haven’t hit their free-till-you’ve-read-ten-this-month limit, so I didn’t know his work. But quite a few people on my Twitter Feed did, and mentioned this article, which is amazing: Me and My Girls. “When a woman, any woman, has issues with substances, has kids out of wedlock and ends up struggling as a single parent, she is identified by many names: slut, loser, welfare mom, burden on society. Take those same circumstances and array them over a man, and he becomes a crown prince. See him doing that dad thing and, with a flick of the wrist, the mom thing too! Why is it that the same series of overt acts committed by a male becomes somehow ennobled?

Art + Design

Medium wants you to make your online typography better: Death to typewriters. My attention was caught by their challenge: identify the elements of typographic finesse in the sample they provided. I missed 4 of the 20 items listed completely (hrmph—I challenge YOU to spot the hair spaces); two others I did actually identify, but thought they wouldn’t be what was being counted, so my final score was 14/20.

Even Words Can Kill. I don’t think this Italian ad campaign is completely original—I think I’ve seen something like it before somewhere—but it’s a great example of images speaking louder than words, and particularly apposite given the events this week in Chapel Hill. (via @rcloenenruiz)

Ha. Quality does matter. As photos flood our screens, which ones hold our attention?When we analyzed the data, we found that each photograph rated highest had been taken by a professional photojournalist. And, professional images were twice as likely to be shared by the participants. …People spent 50 percent more time on the pro photographs, on average.” (via @ChrisBoese)

Geeking Out

“Look, a bunny!” This will be mostly meaningless to anyone who doesn’t play this kind of game, but it made me laugh and laugh and laugh… If RPG Video Game Characters Were Honest. “I guess I’ll just drop it… I can’t, it’s too rare! Help!” This is exactly how I play Dragon Age. How embarrassing. (via @Quinnae_Moon)

This is a real thing that happened. Oh, this is lovely. Two minutes of your time, you can play in your browser. (via @evilrooster)

Useful!

How to Turn Off Tynt, the Most Annoying Thing on the Internet. Oo, as someone who does a lot of copy/pasting I must look into this. (via @tressiemcphd)

Quote of the week

BCFerrys: Thank you for choosing our complimentary WiFi. Our next connection is at 5 o’clock. Expect delays.

If you don’t travel on BC Ferries regularly and try to use their wireless, you won’t get the joke, but if you do….I laughed myself silly over this.

Just for fun

This is the sheep I will ride into battle. (via @KameronHurley)

I… am speechless. Who knew? Zoo Security Drills: When Animals Escape. (via @evilrooster)

So on Grammy Awards night my Twitter feed blew up with this duet. Takes me back to the 80s and seeing the Eurythmics perform live… I’d gone to that concert just for the hell of it, not really caring that much about the group, and found myself absolutely transfixed. Oh my, Annie Lennox knows how to put everything into a live performance.

From the World Pool: February 7, 2015

I was on the road over the last couple of days, so this is a day late. Whatever!

Socio-political commentary

The concept of the Overton Window and its relationship to social media is fascinating, and in this application explains so much. Political Correctness Is More Reasonable Than Jonathan Chait. (via @tressiemcphd)

Trauma is the Truth Worth Talking About. If the central political questions of our time are inescapably personal, how can we dismiss arguments for being “too emotional”?

Chris Bourg: Never neutral: Libraries, technology, and inclusion. “I start with the premise that it isn’t just that libraries aren’t perfectly equitable or neutral because we live in a society that still suffers from racism, sexism. ableism, transphobia and other forms of bias and inequity; but libraries also fail to achieve any mythical state of neutrality because we contribute to bias and inequality in scholarship, and publishing, and information access.

I’m Autistic, And Believe Me, It’s A Lot Better Than Measles” by Sarah Kurchak. Calling out the anti-vaxxers on bigotry: “I take the decision not to vaccinate personally. I’ve tried to have empathy for the other side, I’ve tried to tell myself that it’s none of my business, but I can’t and it is. Someone who refuses to vaccinate their children because they’re afraid of autism has made the decision that people like me are the worst possible thing that can happen to their family, and they’re putting everyone at risk because of it.”

Fun statistics for adults! (via @KameronHurley)

For Colored Girls Who Are Violently Quoted King When Their Own Words Are Enough. “So, no, I don’t place the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. or Nelson Mandela or any other famous man above my own understanding and experience of the world. I value them in the ways that they speak to me, in the ways that they align with my freedom—now, today— and the freedom of other black women—now, today—and I respectfully reject them when they don’t.”  (via @mchris4duke)

Police Reform is Impossible in America. “I imagine, like Coates seems to, that identifying blacks as this country’s criminals helps white Americans dismiss their own criminal activity as incidental (teenage drug use, insider trading, mass shootings, etc). But I think it also must help to organize their fear in an uncertain world.” (via @iSmashFizzle)

Verizon Finally Buckles, Will Allow A Total Opt Out From Sneaky Super Cookies.  This week’s coverage was the first I heard of this. Glad to see them change their approach, but I wonder what else we don’t know about? (via @ChrisBoese)

Feminist issues

This is absolutely a feminist issue. Trailer: The Mask You Live In.  Also: The Representation Project (via @iSmashFizzle)

How Tipping Helped Make Sexual Harassment the Norm for Female Servers. I was beyond appalled when I read that the federal minimum wage for “tipped workers” (i.e. restaurant servers) in the US is $2.13/hour. I had no idea.  No wonder 37% of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims of sexual harassment come from the restaurant industry. (via @tressiemcphd)

Coordinated Online Terrorist Attacks: a very personal statement.

If we liberate men’s sexuality, the war against women can end. “As a dominatrix, men come to me to explore a sexuality that is socially forbidden. While patriarchy endures, they will never be free to express who they are, or treat women as they should be treated.”  (via @Quinnae_Moon)

I’m a guy, and I need feminism. Not ‘men’s rights.’ Feminism. Here is why.”

Art + Design

Why Every Movie Looks Sort of Orange and Blue. I actually had noticed this trend, and wondered if it was motivated by a deliberate attempt to look “retro”—like all those photos from the 50s and 60s that have colour that’s just a bit yellowish. But I guess the answer has more to do with deadlines and what the software enables you to do, proving yet again that the choice of tool defines what the results of your work will look like. “The big change that digitization made was it made it much easier to apply a single color scheme to a bunch of different scenes at once. The more of a movie you can make look good with a single scheme, the less work you have to do.” (via @makinglight)

Lots of fun being had here: 28 Days of Black Cosplay & Superheroes Reimagined.

Jonathan Mann: You Are Not a Content Creator. Must-watch for people working in creative fields. (via @femfreq)

Related: Taylor Swift and the Myth of the Mean Greedy Artist.  (via @KameronHurley)

Geeking Out

For the players of Dragon Age: Inquisition. Cassandra rocks.

Thought-provoking

“Joe Hanson of It’s Okay To Be Smart explains some of our weirdest automatic body functions, including yawns, hiccups, and sun sneezes.” I was delighted to learn that hypnagogic myoclonus is a thing, as I suffer from it.

Useful!

Cheap Shot Challenge: Photos Taken with Expensive Gear Recreated On the Cheap.  (via @ChrisBoese)

Quote of the week

This link takes you directly to a comment by Cole on an article by Angus Johnston relating to the current struggle with “political correctness” on the left. I’ve linked directly to the comment, which is much more extensive than the part I quote here—read the whole thing. You should also read the article the comment is on. (via @pnh)

The idea that PC language is inaccessible to working class people needs to die in a fire. I’m poor, but I ain’t stupid and being more doesn’t mean I’m more cruel than the cultured academic. If someone tells me that using a certain word hurts them, I stop. I’m perfectly capable of understanding the ideaology behind various types of language uses- because in case you didn’t realize this, a lot of this ideology came out of working class movements. Academics chiding each other over inaccessible language has to be one of the most patronizing and belittling things I have experienced in my own organizing.

Just for fun

Do not try this at home. I haven’t played Assassin’s Creed, other than a free tester on my Touch, but I’m familiar enough with the game to know how well done this is: Assassin’s Creed Unity Meets Parkour in Real Life – 4K! Only slightly illegal, I’m sure. But jeez, well done parkour is amazing.  Also, Behind the Scenes. (via @mcahogarth)

The Gnome Chomsky Garden Gnome. (via @mchris4duke)

Just cool

What This City Did With An Abandoned Walmart Is Absolutely Brilliant. You’ll Love It.

From the world pool: January 23, 2015

Socio-political commentary

This explains a lot. How the average American perceives the US racial mix vs. what it actually is. (via Chris Bourg @mchris4duke)

Holder limits seized-asset sharing process that split billions with local, state police: “Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without warrants or criminal charges.” The article links to a WSJ investigation of this appalling practice, and there’s also a New Yorker story about it here: Taken. (via @ChrisBoese)

Useful! Stop Googling your health questions. Use these sites instead. (via @ChrisBoese)

This is what The Toronto Star had to say about refusing to publish Charlie Hebdo materials.  (via @UrsulaV)

Help, My Friend Won’t Stop Having Fibromyalgia At Me! (via @makinglight)

Gaming while black: Casual racism to cautious optimism (via Katherine Cross @Quinnae_Moon)

You think you know what teachers do. Right? Wrong.

Deep Lab: “a congress of cyberfeminist researchers, organized by STUDIO Fellow Addie Wagenknecht to examine how the themes of privacy, security, surveillance, anonymity, and large-scale data aggregation are problematized in the arts, culture and society.” (via Alex Payne @al3x)

The invasion boards that set out to ruin lives. “Internet harassment doesn’t just stay on the internet any more. Banned from 4chan, the ‘net’s worst trolls are making life hell for ‘social justice warriors’—and anyone else that takes their fancy.” (via Katherine Cross @Quinnae_Moon)

Crash Override Network: Online Anti-Harassment Task Force  (via Wil Wheaton @wilw)

“Things have happened in the past week”: on doxing, swatting, and 8chan (via Katherine Cross @Quinnae_Moon)

Misantry. (via Liz Bourke @hawkwing_lb)

And finally for this section, Natalie Luhrs has a roundup of links, with a section relating to Shanley Kane and Model View Culture. It provides a good overview of a complex situation, and I agree with Natalie’s position on this: it’s complicated and hard, and harassment and abuse are never okay. I have a feeling I might eventually have some bigger-picture stuff to say about this, but we’ll see; it depends on whether I can pull my thoughts together coherently and actually produce something worth saying.

Art + Design

Two articles talking about the design of living spaces.

Home Petite Home  (via @evilrooster)

Watery Dwellings

Quote of the week

Life Hacks: “If someone points at your black clothes and asks you whose funeral it is, a look round the room and a casual ‘haven’t decided yet’ is always a good response.”

Just for fun

Maria Popova of Brain Pickings says: “Brilliant-nitpickery-of-the-decade award goes to: All of my Issues With the “Goodnight Moon” Bedroom.”

From the world pool: January 16, 2014

Do I ever do anything but collect links? Naw.

Socio-political commentary

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. “I am a white woman. I am standing beside a black woman. We are facing a group of white people who are seated in front of us. We are in their workplace, and have been hired by their employer to lead them in a dialogue about race. The room is filled with tension and charged with hostility. I have just presented a definition of racism that includes the acknowledgment that whites hold social and institutional power over people of color. A white man is pounding his fist on the table. His face is red and he is furious. As he pounds he yells, “White people have been discriminated against for 25 years! A white person can’t get a job anymore!” I look around the room and see 40 employed people, all white. There are no people of color in this workplace. Something is happening here, and it isn’t based in the racial reality of the workplace. I am feeling unnerved by this man’s disconnection with that reality, and his lack of sensitivity to the impact this is having on my cofacilitator, the only person of color in the room. Why is this white man so angry? Why is he being so careless about the impact of his anger? Why are all the other white people either sitting in silent agreement with him or tuning out? We have, after all, only articulated a definition of racism.” (via Tressie McMillan Cottom @tressiemcphd)

Incredibly useful: Jim’s Rule of Buts. “In any charged conversation, find any statements containing the conjunction ‘but’ and reverse the clauses.” (via @makinglight)

The ad Doritos don’t want you to see.  More here.

An Old Fogey’s Analysis of a Teenager’s View on Social Media.  “There’s a reason why researchers and organizations like Pew Research are doing the work that they do — they do so to make sure that we don’t forget about the populations that aren’t already in our networks.” (via @satifice)

Family Outraged After North Miami Beach Police Use Mug Shots as Shooting Targets. “What the soldiers discovered when they entered the range made them angry: mug shots of African American men apparently used as targets by North Miami Beach Police snipers, who had used the range before the guardsmen. Even more startling for Deant, one of the images was her brother.” (via @evilrooster)

Charlie Hebdo

Saladin Ahmed: In an Unequal World, Mocking All Serves the Powerful

We should not kill people for speech. But I am not Charlie Hebdo.  “It is possible to value one’s rights and simultaneously to refuse to support the abuse of those rights. And it is possible to refuse to support the abuse of a right, while simultaneously condemning utterly, entirely and without reservation those who would respond to that abuse with murder. It’s more than possible. If we’re to actually make anything better, it’s essential.

The right-wing domestic terror plot you didn’t hear about this week (via @ChrisBoese)

Roxane Gay: If je ne suis pas Charlie, am I a bad person? Nuance gets lost in groupthink

These World Leaders Are a Worse Threat to Free Press Than Terrorism (via @scalzi)

Misogyny and harassment

How to Interview a Woman Writer: “If she is attractive; tell your readers exactly how attractive, within the first paragraph. Speculate on whether she is attracted to you.”  (@KameronHurley)

Jay Allen (@a_man_in_black) How crowdfunding helps haters profit from harassment. “Here’s the fashionable anti-feminist narrative: any woman who complains about mistreatment is a “professional victim” doing it only to promote herself. Speaking out against harassment, in this view, is evidence of an ulterior motive, as though ending that mistreatment wasn’t enough of a motivation on its own. These women—and it is almost always women—are accused of inciting this mistreatment in order to profit from decrying it. Though these accusations are transparently unfair and untrue, the trolls using them to attack vulnerable people are nothing new. What is new is the cottage industry of professional victimizers, using crowdfunding tools to capitalize on their infamy and devote even more time to harassment.” (via @Quinnae_Moon)

Rape culture

Evidently some guys are unclear on the definition of rape. From a study of college men: “a sizable number of participants indicated that they might use force to obtain intercourse, but would not rape a woman.”  (via @jimchines)

Gamergate

(Whether one is pro- or anti-gamergate—or anything else—doxxers and swatters are scumsuckers.)

Zoe Quinn: August Never Ends. “Keep in mind that I’m also writing this about 3,000 miles from the home it’s no longer safe to be at while we try and figure out how to move on from this meteor hitting us and be people again. I miss sleeping in my own bed, having my own space. I miss my cat.

Gamergate hits new low with attempts to send Swat teams to critics.

It’s ‘100 per cent terrorism’: Burnaby victim decries Internet ‘swatting’ that brought Mounties to her door (via @Quinnae_Moon) 

Speaking while female

How to Get Ahead as a Woman in Tech: Interrupt Men. Some really interesting stats in this, especially when you look at the details of who exactly interrupts whom.  (via @ChrisBoese)

Year ago, while producing the hit TV series “The Shield,” Glen Mazzara noticed that two young female writers were quiet during story meetings. He pulled them aside and encouraged them to speak up more. Watch what happens when we do, they replied.Speaking While Female: Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant on Why Women Stay Quiet at Work  (via @eilatan)

It just seems a little crazy to me how people believe is perfectly OK for women to doubt a compliment they receive, [but] when they actually believe the compliment they receive, they get shamed and branded as ‘vain’ or ‘conceited’.This Is What Happens When Women Actually Accept A Compliment From A Man Online (via @fozmeadows)

In the news

Software updates, installations now require consent. “Starting [January 15th], it’s illegal in Canada for a website to automatically install software on your computer.

Art + Design

The interesting part of this article, to me, is its comparison of two approaches to designing communities. New, privatized African city heralds climate apartheid (via Kameron Hurley @KameronHurley)

Thought-provoking

We’re not good enough to not practice. (via @iSmashFizzle)

The whole idea of fanfiction baffles many people. This is a really interesting analysis of it that covers everything from whether it should be defined in legalistic terms to its exploration of alternative forms of relations to its position in terms of male/female gaze and the politics of gender relationships to…. Wow. Foz Meadows – Thoughts on Fanfiction. “Fanfiction is old and new, smutty and sweet; it is flawed and complex and achingly human, and we will continue to discuss it for as long as we discuss stories – because if narrative borrowing can be reasonably considered an integral part of storytelling, then whatever its faults and professional status; whatever its biases, blind spots and mainstream perception, fanfiction is and will remain a pure, joyful expression of our impulse to tell stories about stories, an endless cycle of narrative interdependence that, for all its complexities, is also fundamentally simple.

My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward. “Psychiatric crises are episodic, but they cut deep into relationships and the lacerations take years to mend.” (via @iSmashFizzle)

Quote(s) of the week

Sarah Kendzior in a 2012 article: “Free speech means not only the right to offend, but the right to defend.”

JK Rowling tweet, on Rupert Murdoch’s statement that even peaceful Muslims must be held responsible for Charlie Hebdo: “I was born Christian. If that makes Rupert Murdoch my responsibility, I’ll auto-excommunicate.

Just for fun

Such absolute joy. Harley the Hyena takes a bath  (via @mcahogarth)

Wiping away tears of laughter… Untimorous beastie: “Milo’s habits are simple and revolting. He is a proper South London dog.

From the world pool: December 31, 2014

Well, I missed my regular links post on Saturday due to extra seasonal activities and a need to avoid too much time typing because of a rotator cuff injury. So this is a longish list. But this is the last day of the year, so I figure it’s a great time to do that kind of round-up.

See you next year!

SOCIO-POLITICAL COMMENTARY

Class

The Poverty Mentality: Always Starving, by Emmie Mears. “This is a mindset that has worked its way into multiple facets of my life, and the reduction at the bottom of the pan once it’s boiled down is this: get it now, or you’ll never get a chance again.”  (via Pretty Terrible‘s Natalie Luhrs @eilatan)

What if Downton Abbey told the truth about Britain? :The period detail is impeccable but the series is a far cry from the brutal reality of upper-class attitudes. …Does it matter? Isn’t it just a bit of fun? Well, what would we think of a prettified series about British colonialism, whose heroes were cleansed of racism, violence, oppression or imperial snobbery? The implanting of falsely comforting memories of a better bygone era disguises fundamental things about the way we live now. (via @evilrooster)

Policing

If you read the posts I link to you’ll know that my politics fall on the progressive rather than the conservative side. One big issue I’ve been following recently is bad policing practices. (And just to be clear, I believe that many cops are good cops; the problems we’ve been seeing have resulted from institutionalized attitudes and practices, and those attitudes and the things that perpetrate them need to be fixed. I also believe firmly that challenging such institutionalized attitudes and practices, and trying to make police forces address them in ways that benefit not just the community but also the police themselves, is NOT the same thing as attacking the police.)

In general:

Popehat: Broken Windows And Broken Lives: why don’t we apply the broken window theory to cops?

What Would Happen if I Got in White Cop’s Face?

Whoa. Baltimore Fox Affiliate Edits Protest Footage To Sound Like ‘Kill A Cop’ and also a related FB post. (via Patrick Nielsen Hayden @pnh)

The NYPD:

In particular, the NYPD has been demonstrating an appalling level of tone-deaf arrogance and childishness that only works against them. Some comments on this:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: The Police Aren’t Under Attack. Institutionalized Racism Is. “Those who are trying to connect the murders of the officers with the thousands of articulate and peaceful protestors across America are being deliberately misleading in a cynical and selfish effort to turn public sentiment against the protestors. This is the same strategy used when trying to lump in the violence and looting with the legitimate protestors, who have disavowed that behavior. They hope to misdirect public attention and emotion in order to stop the protests and the progressive changes that have already resulted. Shaming and blaming is a lot easier than addressing legitimate claims.”

New York Times: Police Respect Squandered in Attacks on de Blasio. “Mr. de Blasio isn’t going to say it, but somebody has to: With these acts of passive-aggressive contempt and self-pity, many New York police officers, led by their union, are squandering the department’s credibility, defacing its reputation, shredding its hard-earned respect. They have taken the most grave and solemn of civic moments — a funeral of a fallen colleague — and hijacked it for their own petty look-at-us gesture. …[N]one of [their] grievances can justify the snarling sense of victimhood that seems to be motivating the anti-de Blasio campaign — the belief that the department is never wrong, that it never needs redirection or reform, only reverence.”

And finally, I think it’s important to point out that not all police respond to criticism with reflexive aggression: Nashville police chief shares message, responds to questions. Email to police criticizing them for allowing protests: “I just want myself and my family to feel that our city is safe, and right now we don’t feel that way.” Chief’s response: I have to admit, I am somewhat puzzled by this announcement. None of the demonstrators in this city have in any way exhibited any propensity for violence or indicated, even verbally, that they would harm anyone. I can understand how you may feel that your ideologies have been questioned but I am not aware of any occurrence that would give reason for someone to feel physically threatened.”

Feminism

2 ways quotas for women raise quality. “Both in terms of attracting stronger applicants and in terms of their impacts on groups, quotas increase quality. Period. That’s what the research tells us.”

Bill Cosby, Himself: Fame, Narcissism and Sexual Violence. Thought-provoking examination of the complexity of this issue and the intersections that make it so complex. “Let me begin by saying this:  I am prepared for this essay to be a hot mess.  It can’t not be a mess – how do you talk about Bill Cosby’s being accused of rape and drugging women, and not talk about stardom, and power, and racism, and sexism, and the news media, and black men, and white women, and fear, and slavery, and Jell-O, and childhood memories, and The Cosby Show, and class privilege, and rage at the first black president, and icons, and heroes, and fathers, hypocrisy, heartbreak and genius?”

Apparently feminists want to prevent men from enjoying the joys of 2D women, “the kind of joys many Japanese men who’ve rejected the pig disgusting ways of 3D women already have.” The screed reproduced is a call to men to free themselves from their oppression by real, live breathing women in favour of robots and/or digital female characters so that they can achieve their full potential. Um, guys? Feminists would have no reason to prevent men who think of women as “pig disgusting” from removing themselves from the dating pool. Trust me on this.

Trans Issues

Trigger Warning: This heart-breaking blog post, tweeted by several of the people I follow, is a suicide note, and yes, trans teenager Leelah Alcorn committed suicide.

UPDATE: Leelah Alcorn’s Tumblr site and suicide message have been purged from the net, presumably at the request of her family, but can still be found online: The Toast reproduces the suicide note here, and the first two comments on this blog post include links to archives of it.

The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s fucked up” and fix it. Fix society. Please.

Odds and Ends

Anti-intellectualism is taking over the US: The rise in academic book bannings and firings is compounded by the US’s growing disregard for scholarship itself.  (via Tressie McMillan Cottom @tressiemcphd)

DESIGN

Beloved Children’s Classics as Minimalist Posters. (via Maria Popova @brainpicker)

Google got it wrong. The open-office trend is destroying the workplace. I am SO glad that I have never been tortured with this kind of office setup.

Sara Wanenchak: “Here’s 2014!” “…Really?” – Facebook’s algorithmic storytelling. “This isn’t just about algorithms being thoughtlessly cruel, having the problems that algorithms have an enormous amount of the time. This is about something powerful – Facebook – claiming that power in order to tell us a story about ourselves, the terms of which we don’t really control.”

INTERESTING

Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Love to Write. “No matter the quality of your prose, the act of writing itself leads to strong physical and mental health benefits, like long-term improvements in mood, stress levels and depressive symptoms.”

Why airlines want to make you suffer. “But the fee model comes with systematic costs that are not immediately obvious. Here’s the thing: in order for fees to work, there needs be something worth paying to avoid. That necessitates, at some level, a strategy that can be described as ‘calculated misery.’ Basic service, without fees, must be sufficiently degraded in order to make people want to pay to escape it. And that’s where the suffering begins. …Ultimately, the fee models and the distinctions they draw make class inequality, which may be felt less in other places, painfully obvious.”

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

This exchange in the comments of a blog post cheered me up no end. It could apply to so many online interactions.

COMMENTER 1: I’m curious… what did you use to get the frothy indignation off your monitor? I have that same problem. I’ve tried righteous anger, teary-eyed sadness, even Windex, but it’s still there.

COMMENTER 2: Kittens. Those foul creatures love slurping up the froth and tears of righteous indignation.

Legend of korra

If you want to read the article and comments that are the source of the above quotes, it’s In Which John C. Wright Completely Loses his Shit over Legend of Korra by Jim C. Hines. It’s about an animated cartoon that ended its final season by having the female lead walk off into the sunset (spirit world, actually) with another female. Hurrah! I’ve never seen this but it sounds like I should check it out.

The show’s writers were explicit about their intentions: “Our intention with the last scene was to make it as clear as possible that yes, Korra and Asami have romantic feelings for each other. The moment where they enter the spirit portal symbolizes their evolution from being friends to being a couple.” Wright asserted that this ending betrayed the show’s audience (link to original Wright post): “You were not content to leave the matter ambiguous, no, but had publicly to announce that you hate your audience, our way of life, our virtues, values, and religion.”  Hines called him on it: “I can damn well make sure you understand that you do not speak for the audience of this show. You are not the mouthpiece for fans. Speak your poison in your own name if you must, but don’t tarnish the rest of fandom with your bile.”

Then it moved into the comments. And Wright wrote another blog post, and Wright’s supporters turned up, and somehow Russia and Iran got mixed in, and Wright huffily announced in Hines’ comments that “I did not call for the extermination of people, but of ideas.” (To which Laura Resnick responded, “Mr. Wright, calling for the extermination of ideas is an appalling position, not a righteous defense,” a position I entirely agree with.)

Just… wow. I wonder if guys like Wright have any idea as to the extent to which their attacks actually only increase the credibility of the people they are attacking?

JUST FOR FUN

A Christmas card from a friend included a postcard of this building in Vienna—LOVE the architecture. Google Maps street view has a pretty good perspective on it as well.

And finally, just a delightful piece of writing… “now think of a story where the fairy godmother becomes Bellatrix”— a twisted fairytale by Foz Meadows.

 

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