From the world pool: January 13, 2017

The flurry of stuff going on after the election got me all twitchy about political reading and posting, but somehow I haven’t managed to post anything now for a while despite collecting links. And you know what? I think it can get overwhelming. So I’m going to trim it back.

…you might not notice, overall. But I really did. Continue reading “From the world pool: January 13, 2017”

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From the World Pool: November 25, 2016

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

Socio-political commentary

Standing against bigotry

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

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

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

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

20 steps for resisting fascism

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

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

Imagining Restorative Justice

US politics

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

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

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

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

No. Clinton did not fund ISIS.

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

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

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

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

Blue Feed, Red Feed.

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

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

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

A Dark View From Flyover Country

Responding to our oral culture

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

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

Hate and extremism:

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

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

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

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

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

Fixing a presidential election.

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

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

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

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

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

10 ways to tell if your president is a dictator.

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

Trump

For foreign diplomats, Trump hotel is place to be.

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

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

Donald Trump personally blasts the press 

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

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

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

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

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

Trump’s Cabinet.

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

Dykes to Watch Out For:

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

Racism and Black Lives Matter

Racism With No Racists: The President Trump Conundrum

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

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

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

Building a House: Using Rhetorical Strategies to Persuade

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

First Nations

The Refuge

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

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

#NoDAPL

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

Dakota Access pipeline: 300 protestors injured after police use watercannons

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

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

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

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

If you want to donate to Standing Rock:

 

Art + Design

Kinetic ‘Insecta’ Lamps by U-Ram Choe

British Columbia arts and culture research projects

Imagining Restorative Justice

 

Just cool

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

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

Just for fun

Food art. Food cookies? Whatever.

 

From the world pool: 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: October 18th, 2016

closeup of peeling arbutus bark

Let’s start with a picture of a sexy arbutus tree.

Socio-political commentary

US election

Hillary Clinton is a 68-year-old woman. And plenty of people hate her for it. (via @ChrisBoese)

A woman her age is supposed to be invisible. But Hillary Clinton, who is 68, refuses to disappear — and there is no shortage of people who despise her for it. 

Donald Trump’s conspiracy theories are making his supporters paranoid—and dangerous. I know it’s easy to get caught up in the drama of it all, but this scenario is beginning to look more and more likely. And Sarah Kendzior has called a lot of stuff accurately in this election.

And read this for examples of how supporters are responding: Warnings of conspiracy stoke anger among Trump faithful.

“If she’s in office, I hope we can start a coup. She should be in prison or shot. That’s how I feel about it,” Dan Bowman, a 50-year-old contractor, said of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee. “We’re going to have a revolution and take them out of office if that’s what it takes. There’s going to be a lot of bloodshed. But that’s what it’s going to take. . . . I would do whatever I can for my country.”

…His supporters are heeding the call. “Trump said to watch your precincts. I’m going to go, for sure,” said Steve Webb, a 61-year-old carpenter from Fairfield, Ohio. “I’ll look for . . . well, it’s called racial profiling. Mexicans. Syrians. People who can’t speak American,” he said. “I’m going to go right up behind them. I’ll do everything legally. I want to see if they are accountable. I’m not going to do anything illegal. I’m going to make them a little bit nervous.”

 Black Lives Matter

Michael B. Jordan, Danny Glover Star In Haunting Police Brutality PSA (via @IjeomaOluo)

This Baltimore school replaced detention with meditation. The results have been incredible. So simple. And apparently so effective.

Alicia Garza on the beauty and the burden of Black Lives Matter. (via Ashley Ford @iSmashFizzle)

The disturbing reason why we don’t believe young, black women are really doctors.  (via @tressiemcphd) No news here, but still a good review of internalized bias.

When Tamika Cross heard a woman screaming for help for her husband, who fell ill on a Delta flight last weekend, she sprang to action. The young black doctor, on her way home from a wedding in Detroit, took off her headphones, put her tray table up and unbuckled her seat belt…. Cross, a fourth-year resident at McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, raised her hand.

“She said to me, ‘oh no sweetie put ur hand down, we are looking for actual physicians or nurses or some type of medical personnel, we don’t have time to talk to you,’ ” Cross wrote in a Facebook post that has gone viral. “I tried to inform her that I was a physician, but I was continually cut off by condescending remarks.”

Sexuality and gender

A map of gender-diverse cultures

On nearly every continent, and for all of recorded history, thriving cultures have recognized, revered, and integrated more than two genders. Terms such as “transgender” and “gay” are strictly new constructs that assume three things: that there are only two sexes (male/female), as many as two sexualities (gay/straight), and only two genders (man/woman). Yet hundreds of distinct societies around the globe have their own long-established traditions for third, fourth, fifth, or more genders. 

This is fascinating. It’s linked from a page about a documentary called “Two Spirits”.

The Navajo believe that to maintain harmony, there must be a balanced interrelationship between the feminine and the masculine within the individual, in families, in the culture, and in the natural world. Two Spirits reveals how these beliefs are expressed in a natural range of gender diversity. For the first time on film, it examines the Navajo concept of nádleehí, “one who constantly transforms.”

Thought-provoking

Blind people gesture (and why that’s kind of a big deal).

On Writing

The Fantastic Ursula K. Le Guin.  I was sorry to see that Ursula K Le Guin didn’t win the Nobel Prize for literature, as she is my favourite author. But here’s a great article on her. One of the things that I love about her is her beautiful, sly sense of humour. Which is likely why I loved this:

Le Guin dresses well, but casually, favoring T-shirts, and wears little jewelry, though occasionally she puts on earrings fastened with clips or magnets. “You put the stone in front and a tiny magnet behind your earlobe,” she explains. “The trouble is that if you bend down near the stove, for instance, all of a sudden your earrings go wham!—and hit the stove. It’s kind of exciting.”

More seriously,

By breaking down the walls of genre, Le Guin handed new tools to twenty-first-century writers working in what Chabon calls the “borderlands,” the place where the fantastic enters literature. A group of writers as unlike as Chabon, Molly Gloss, Kelly Link, Karen Joy Fowler, Junot Díaz, Jonathan Lethem, Victor LaValle, Zadie Smith, and David Mitchell began to explore what’s possible when they combine elements of realism and fantasy. The fantasy and science-fiction scholar Brian Attebery has noted that “every writer I know who talks about Ursula talks about a sense of having been invited or empowered to do something.” 

Not a bad legacy, whether you get a Nobel or not.

Just for fun

OMG.

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 19th, 2016

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

Local environmental activism

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

Art + Design

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

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

Geeking Out

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

From the world pool: 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 15th, 2016

Socio-political commentary

Self-Care

After more horror this week, some still unfolding, this seems more necessary than ever.

Coping with Traumatic Events

“Self care is a neo-liberal scam. Here’s why you should do it anyway.” Laurie Penny: Life-Hacks of the Poor and Aimless:

The problem with self-love as we currently understand it is in our view of love itself, defined, too simply and too often, as an extraordinary feeling that we respond to with hearts and flowers and fantasy, ritual consumption and affectless passion. Modernity would have us mooning after ourselves like heartsick, slightly creepy teenagers, taking selfies and telling ourselves how special and perfect we are. This is not real self-love, no more than a catcaller loves the woman whose backside he’s loudly admiring in the street.

The harder, duller work of self-care is about the everyday, impossible effort of getting up and getting through your life in a world that would prefer you cowed and compliant. A world whose abusive logic wants you to see no structural problems, but only problems with yourself, or with those more marginalized and vulnerable than you are. Real love, the kind that soothes and lasts, is not a feeling, but a verb, an action. It’s about what you do for another person over the course of days and weeks and years, the work put in to care and cathexis. That’s the kind of love we’re terribly bad at giving ourselves, especially on the left.

Black Lives Matter

Death in Black and White: what white America fails to see “You cannot know how we secretly curse the cowardice of whites who know what I write is true, but dare not say it. Neither will your smug insistence that you are different — not like that ocean of unenlightened whites — satisfy us any longer. It makes the killings worse to know that your disapproval of them has spared your reputations and not our lives.”

Dear people “Black Lives Matter” does not have an “only” in front of it, but a “too” at the end. Stop being whiny pissants & grow up.  — @MKKare

If someone posted “Thank you Veterans”….

well I think that all lives matter

Molly Suzanna: When I was 19  (via @fozmeadows)

Law professor’s response to BLM shirt complaint  (via @nkjemisin)

15 Things Your City Can Do Right Now to End Police Brutality  (via @pericat)

Diversity

Structural racism in action. (And the comments prove the point.)

How discrimination feels

LGBTQIA

OITNB Killed Off Poussey and You Can’t Tell Me Not to be Pissed

A really, really important read. I Am A Transwoman. I Am In The Closet. I Am Not Coming Out.

In the news

BBC to drop online recipes as part of slimmed-down website “The broadcaster has agreed to archive 11,000 recipes from its website as part of savings intended to stop it competing with newspapers.”

The reaction:

Thought-provoking

Crafters shaking their heads about academics.

Quote of the week

The reason Canadians are so nice is because at birth a ritual is performed to extract all of their hate and place it in their geese.

@MarcStraight

Just cool

Plant lamps: want. Ingenious Lamps Allow Plants to Grow Indoors without Direct Sunlight or Water

Just for fun

Warthogs Visit Mongooses for Spa Treatments  (via @PatrickWeekes)

Owl loves rubs 

 

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 25, 2016

Socio-political commentary

LGBT issues

I don’t understand.”

Investigators Say Orlando Shooter Showed Few Warning Signs Of Radicalization  In fact, intelligence officials and investigators say they’re “becoming increasingly convinced that the motive for this attack had very little — or maybe nothing — to do with ISIS.”

Eli Lieb & Brandon Skeie – Pulse

After Orlando, time to recognize that anti-gay bigotry is not religious freedom

“Orange Is The New Black” Broke Everybody’s Heart To Teach Idiots A Lesson

Disability issues

UK cuts to disability spending: “They know they’re killing us.”

Cripple privilege

Privacy

Anil Dash: What is Public? Public is not simply defined. Public is not just what can be viewed by others, but a fragile set of social conventions about what behaviors are acceptable and appropriate. There are people determined to profit from expanding and redefining what’s public, working to treat nearly everything we say or do as a public work they can exploit. They may succeed before we even put up a fight. … The phenomenon of doxxing (revealing personal information about a person online) has made clear that public information exists in a context of power and consent, and we must construct our ethics in that context. We can’t do that if we are still pretending that taking information that was merely available and instead making it easily accessible is an act without any moral or ethical consequences.

Diversity

How Privileged Are You?

I just can’t even

Jo Cox:

Why careers are gone, and jobs are going next “If companies can do business without permanent employees, they will.”

The End of Prison Visitation “These fees are the linchpin in an elaborate racket between telecommunications providers, prisons and local governments. The business model for the three major prison telecoms is built around long-term contracts that establish them as the sole provider in a given county or state. In order to win these contracts, the major companies promise each county or state “site commissions” — a euphemism for kickbacks. These deals are lucrative: In Los Angeles County, for example, it brings in a baseline, contractual guarantee of $15 million a year. In some counties, this money trickles back down to the prisons. … County officials across the country claim video visitation is good for security. When Renaud got ahold of prison records, they showed that incidences of inmate-on-inmate violence, disciplinary infractions and possession of contraband all rose after Travis County did away with in-person visitation. Because visitation is so new, these statistics are the earliest indication that the pro-security pitch for video visitation is all snake oil.” (via @tressiemcphd)

Scandal: Senator: Red Cross Misled Congress, Refused To ‘Level With the People’ on Haiti Money  Documents provided by the Red Cross to Grassley show that the charity at times spent large sums of money on management even when it appeared to be simply writing a check to other organizations that were doing actual projects. (via @ChrisBoese)

A Trump Rally in Greensboro “Anger in here is palpable”

And I don’t even know where to start with Brexit; it’s been all over the news. But here, have a couple of things.

In the news

Warning to all cat-lovers: Humans’ Use Of Pain-Relief Creams Proves Fatal To Felines

Thought-provoking

Tickle Me Dead. Fascinating.

Writing

Good Bones, by Maggie Smith

Quote of the week

When you shout BREAKING POINT over and over again, you don’t get to be surprised when someone breaks.

http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/06/a-day-of-infamy/

Just cool

Lost Ladybug Project  Across North America ladybug species composition is changing.  Over the past twenty years native ladybugs that were once very common have become extremely rare.  During this same time ladybugs from other parts of the world have greatly increased both their numbers and range. This is happening very quickly and we don’t know how, or why, or what impact it will have on ladybug diversity or the role that ladybugs play in keeping plant-feeding insect populations low.  We’re asking you to join us in finding out where all the ladybugs have gone so we can try to prevent more native species from becoming so rare. (via @UrsulaV)

Just for fun

This illustrates one of the reasons I love Tumblr: regional differences. (There are more forks of this around—really, this is only the start.)

This is one of my all time favourite sets of tweets.

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: March 18, 2016

Socio-political commentary

The Turn-Around Guys: White Hetero-Patriarchy, Wealth, Paternalism, and the Willful Destruction of Public Education (via @tressiemcphd)

How my disabled son has changed my mind about political correctness“There is an inevitable backlash … to ‘political correctness gone mad’. And it’s true: prissily expressed PC attitudes do often look silly. The problem is that, broadly speaking, they’re also right. I know this with immense certainty. Without the prevailing wind of political correctness my life would be very different. The life of my son would be unrecognisable.”

(And… wow, the comments. Talk about illustrating the writer’s point.)

In the news

President Obama I’d love the log trucks.”

Just for fun

I’m not at all sure “fun” is really the right category for this video, but none of the others were either. Someone on Twitter made a comment about Sigur Rós, an Icelandic group I’d never heard of, pointing to one of their videos, and I just kind of fell down a rabbit hole for an hour or so. Ekki múkk is one of an experimental series of films made for their valtari album. It’s quite indescribable. I will warn that it has images of death and decay, if you’re squeamish about such things, but in context I found it quite beautiful.   You can find all the videos for the album here.

This is the greeting we all want to get when we come home. Warning: be prepared to adjust your volume.

From the world pool: March 11, 2016

fungus on old wood

Socio-political commentary

The Academic Publishing Scandal in Two Minutes. “Academics must generally hand away all rights to copyright of their best creations, creations that often take millions of dollars of public money to make. Even the editing process is done by academics acting as unpaid volunteers in a practice known as peer review. Once finished, the work is given permanently and for free to publishers who reap a higher profit margin than practically any other industry. Elsevier, the largest academic publisher, reports annual profits of over a billion dollars.” (via @mchris4duke)

Art + Design

Oh. Oh. Modern ruling pens. I’m actually so old that I was taught to use ruling pens to draw straight lines. But they were never like this, and they weren’t designed for calligraphy. Oh wow.   (via @TiroTypeworks)

Useful!

How to keep a clean home: or, clearly, I really, really suck.

Just cool

The inadvertent art of tiny bodies. Gorgeous.

Beautiful photos of the Portuguese man of war jellyfish by Matt Smith.

Now this is a fire department that takes community relations seriously.

Just for fun

Apparently someone at The Guardian has had enough.

From the world pool: March 4, 2016

Socio-political commentary

Syria’s Landmarks Restored in Miniature “In Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp a group of Syrian artists is working with basic tools and materials sourced from around the camp. They are using local stone, polystyrene and discarded wood, to build models and sculptures of iconic sites including Palmyra and the Krak des Chevaliers castle in Homs.” (via Tumblr)

John Oliver on Donald Trump. (via @ChrisBoese)

How to tell the difference between real solidarity and ally theatre. “Listen. Solidarity is action. That’s it. What we DO in solidarity is all that counts. How people with privilege listen to what marginalized groups ask of them and do that is all that counts.”

America has locked up so many black people it has warped our sense of reality. (via @KameronHurley)

McSweeney’s: Please don’t get murdered at school today. (via @KameronHurley)

The woman who gave two fingers to looking like a Disney Princess at the Oscars.  “I don’t do frocks and absolutely don’t do heels, I have a bad back. I look ridiculous in a beautiful gown….This is Marks & Spencer with Swarovski at the back. I had a bit of a shoe malfunction and the glitter fell off. I just like feeling comfortable and as far as I’m concerned I’m really dressed up.” And another article in which she says more on why she did it, as well as showing a photo of the back of the jacket:

On Writing

The Online Emily Dickinson Archive Makes Thousands of the Poet’s Manuscripts Freely Available. “Possibly due to the lack of scholarly interest before Johnson’s collection, Dickinson’s trove of manuscript drafts has remained scattered across several archives, sending researchers hoofing it to several institutions to view the poet’s handiwork. As of today, that will no longer be necessary with the inauguration of the online Emily Dickinson Archive, Emily Dickinson Archive, ‘an open-access website for the manuscripts of Emily Dickinson’ that brings together thousands of manuscripts held by Harvard, Amherst, the Boston Public Library, the Library of Congress, and four other collections.” (via @ChrisBoese)

“Real” writers don’t work. A response to the proud statement of Stephen Hull, editor of Huffington Post UK, that they do not pay their writers.

Quote of the week

I was driving north up the coast of California, back to my home in the Bay Area. It was 12 days after Sandra Bland was pulled over and arrested by a police officer in Waller County after failing to signal a lane change. Nine days after she was found dead in her jail cell, a plastic bag wrapped around her neck. It was five days after a police officer pulled over Samuel DuBose for having his front license plate in the glove compartment. Five days after he was shot point blank in the head, safety belt fastened, his hands up. As I drove, I idly brainstormed a new protocol to follow if I were stopped by the police.

If stopped by the police, I thought to myself, I would set my phone to record audio and put it on the passenger seat. I would send a tweet that I was being stopped and had every intention of complying with the police officer. I would turn on Periscope and livestream the stop, crowdsourcing witnesses. I would text my family and tell them that I was not feeling angry or suicidal, that I was looking forward to seeing them soon. There would not be time to do all of these things, but maybe if I prepared in advance I could pull off one or two of them. What all of these plans had in common were that none of them were meant to secure my safety, but rather to ensure that my death looked suspicious enough to question.

I was figuring out how to enter evidence into the inquiry of my own death.

—from Slow Poison, via @mchris4duke

 

Just cool

Mysterious paper sculptures; and the story continued.

Just for fun

I had no idea. (via @mcahogarth)

Wintergatan Marble Machine: Rube Goldberg musical instrument that runs on 2,000 steel ball-bearings

A day at the spa. I wish OUR golden was this relaxed in the bath. And that we had a bath like this for him, with a raisable pedastal. It would be a lot easier. And less messy for both of us.

From the world pool: February 26, 2016

A short list this week.

Socio-political commentary

Europe shouldn’t worry about migrants, by Laurie Penny. “It should worry about creeping fascism. The greatest threat to our “way of life” is not migration. It is that we will swallow the lie that some human lives matter less than others.”

Where Are All the Disabled People in the Body Positivity Campaigns?

​The surging ranks of America’s ultrapoor

Why Straight White Dudes Don’t Get Offended As Often As Normal People Do

Mike Monteiro: Dear design student: 8 reasons to turn down that startup job

Geeking Out

The $1 pocket microscope.  I think I’ve blogged this before, but who cares?

On Writing

Rules for Anchorites, by Cat Valante. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be past writing about Persephone. If it will ever stop being the myth of my life. I don’t really want to–the thing about katabasis (fancy Greek word for descending to the underworld and returning. It’s such an important thing it gets it own word, and my name is Cat, and it’s short for everything) is that it never stops. It’s a process. And if you don’t hit that black stair every year or so things wither up. The whole idea of that story is how a person is a world, and the cycle keeps moving, and it’s never, ever over. You have to go into the earth, you have to come back up again.”

Just cool

Experimental sunken greenhouse in Minneapolis is weathering its first winter – and growing food

The Tree Church http://treechurch.co.nz/

Just for fun

Uptown Funk, the old movies mashup

Beat Box Dude. This is a great cover of Phil Collins’ Feel It (in the air tonight) by Naturally 7, performed on the Paris Metro. (The official video is here—and yes, it’s all a capella as well.)

 

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: June 12, 2015

Socio-political commentary

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

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

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

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

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

Bonus tracks: Joe Hill and Solidarity Forever.

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

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

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

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

In the news

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

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

Art + Design

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

Hermann Zapf dies at 96

Medieval bookbinding PDF (via @evilrooster)

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

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

Useful!

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

On Writing

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

Quote of the week

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

Drew (via @KameronHurley)

Just cool

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

Just for fun

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

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

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

You’ll only relate if you have cats

Golden retrievers. What can I say?

From the world pool: June 5, 2015

Socio-political commentary

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

What Search Engines Say About Women (pdf)

Why America Demonizes Its Teachers (via @ChrisBoese)

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

Art + Design

Marian Bantjes: Barbed Wire! (via @TiroTypeworks)

Interesting

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

Useful!

700 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices.

Quote of the week

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

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

—(maura) @behindyourback (via @pericat)

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

—deray mckesson @deray

Just cool

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

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