From the world pool: December 2, 2016

http://www.wnyc.org/series/breaking-news-consumers-handbook
http://www.wnyc.org/series/breaking-news-consumers-handbook

Socio-political commentary

Political correctness: how the right invented a phantom enemy 

If you go looking for the origins of the phrase, it becomes clear that there is no neat history of political correctness. There have only been campaigns againstsomething called “political correctness”. For 25 years, invoking this vague and ever-shifting enemy has been a favourite tactic of the right. Opposition to political correctness has proved itself a highly effective form of crypto-politics. It transforms the political landscape by acting as if it is not political at all. Trump is the deftest practitioner of this strategy yet. …

PC was a useful invention for the Republican right because it helped the movement to drive a wedge between working-class people and the Democrats who claimed to speak for them. “Political correctness” became a term used to drum into the public imagination the idea that there was a deep divide between the “ordinary people” and the “liberal elite”, who sought to control the speech and thoughts of regular folk. Opposition to political correctness also became a way to rebrand racism in ways that were politically acceptable in the post-civil-rights era.

No, identity politics is not to blame for the failures of the left

The truth is that social justice and economic justice are not mutually exclusive. Those who would sacrifice one for the other will end up with neither, which is of course what the unscrupulous narcissists manspreading at the gates of power are counting on. 

Stop Calling It Identity Politics — Its Civil Rights

US election

The American political system is broken

Donald Trump’s Cultural Terrorism

C.I.A. Chief Warns Donald Trump Against Tearing Up Iran Nuclear Deal

How to Deal With the Lies of Donald Trump: Guidelines for the Media

The news media are not built for someone like this.

Trump’s Tweet Wasn’t a Distraction. It Was the Start of a Precision Assault on Voting Rights.

Trump’s lies have a purpose. They are an assault on democracy.

It is tempting to suppose Trump built this phantasmagoria by accident — that it is the byproduct of an erratic, undisciplined, borderline pathological approach to dishonesty. But the president-elect should not be underestimated. His victories in both the Republican primary and the general election were stunning upsets, and he is now set to alter the course of world history. If he does not fully understand what he is doing, his advisers certainly do.

Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President

Major Advertising Technology Company Bars Breitbart News for Hate Speech

“We did a human audit of Breitbart and determined there were enough articles and headlines that cross that line, using either coded or overt language.”

Breitbart declares war on Kellogg’s after cereal brand pulls advertising from site  (And Kellog’s is just the tip of the iceberg.)

Hacks and Recounts

New Report Prompts Call For Democrats To Halt Transfer Of Power To Trump Before Dec. 13 Deadline

Americans keep looking away from the election’s most alarming story

How to Hack an Election in 7 Minutes: With Russia already meddling in 2016, a ragtag group of obsessive tech experts is warning that stealing the ultimate prize—victory on Nov. 8—would be child’s play.

The NSA Chief Says Russia Hacked the 2016 Election. Congress Must Investigate.

The US, Russia, cyber warfare, and its role in the 2016 American presidential election: a reading list

U.S. election recounts halted by lawsuits in Wisconsin, Michigan  Well, well, what a surprise. We’ll see if the lawsuits are allowed…

Know your enemy

Frightened by Donald Trump? You don’t know the half of it

You cannot confront a power until you know what it is. Our first task in this struggle is to understand what we face. Only then can we work out what to do.

Accountability in the Era of Trump

From the hustle that’s typical of presidential transitions to the bustle of near-daily Twitter wars, there’s a lot of noise coming from Trump Tower. In the midst of such chaos, true accountability seems to have gotten lost.

But accountability has never been more important — because for far too many of us, our very livelihoods are at stake.

That’s why GLAAD today unveiled a resource for news makers and concerned citizens alike — the Trump Accountability Project.The project databases false facts, misleading information, and hateful rhetoric purveyed by Trump and those in his circle, using video, audio recordings, and other source material to track and hold the new administration accountable for its hateful words and actions that target LGBTQ people and other minority communities. 

What Gamergate should have taught us about the ‘alt-right’

Looking back, Gamergate really only made sense in one way: as an exemplar of what Umberto Eco called “eternal fascism”, a form of extremism he believed could flourish at any point in, in any place – a fascism that would extol traditional values, rally against diversity and cultural critics, believe in the value of action above thought and encourage a distrust of intellectuals or experts – a fascism built on frustration and machismo. The requirement of this formless fascism would – above all else – be to remain in an endless state of conflict, a fight against a foe who must always be portrayed as impossibly strong and laughably weak. This was the methodology of Gamergate, and it now forms the basis of the contemporary far-right movement.

Privacy

I sense a theme here.

Feminism

What Do We Really Mean When We Say Something Is ‘Flattering’?

i think the most egregious example of the manic pixie dream girl trope was this play

Environment

The strange case of Tennie White: Did the EPA Prosecute and Jail a Mississippi Lab Owner Because of Her Activism?

Inequality

GOODBYE, MIDDLE CLASS, Part 1: Our Growing Inequality. It’s Worse than You Think.

#NoDAPL

A #NoDAPL map

‘Bogus charges’: Standing Rock activists say they face campaign of legal bullying

North Dakota pipeline protest garners support from U.S. veterans  (I guess the CBC finally got a reporter to Standing Rock after Ed Ou was stopped at the US/Canada border.)

“I bled in Iraq and you’re going to threaten to shoot me on a bridge in North Dakota?”

From the Department of You Can’t Make This Shit Up: Looks like the veterans are really ramping the conflict up, as the Morton Police are careful to tell us: Protestors Harass Female Officers.

“We could see them huddling down like Lindsey had said, and um and you could see that they were taking more time to make the snowballs. They, at least two of them identified themselves as veterans and what’s disappointing to me as a law enforcement officer is we have veterans that are going out and doing stuff like that. That they say that they stand for our country and stand for our flag, but yet they are going out here, they are throwing snowballs, they are cursing vulgar things at female officers.”

The video ends with “Restraint in the Face of Protest.” Ah yes; great restraint has been shown by the police with their use of rubber bullets, concussion grenades, fire hoses in sub-zero temps, and mace. Snowballs are, after all, the great equalizer.

Racism  and Black Lives Matter

“That calling someone racist is not persuasive is mostly irrelevant to why you do it.”

A little history for those who don’t know about it. One person who says “no” can make a difference. Whistleblower Peter Buxtun and the Tuskegee Syphilis Study

Opportunities for White People in the Fight for Racial Justice

Finding Hope in a Loveless Place

My hopelessness is faith in things yet seen and works yet done. Hopelessness is necessary for the hard work of resisting tyranny and fascism. It is the precondition for sustained social movements because history isn’t a straight line. It is a spinning top that eventually moves forward but also always goes round and round as it does. Those erasers applied post-mortem confuse us to this, blind us to the defeats that will come and ill prepare us for the reality that most of what we believe in will not come to pass in our lifetimes. A transactional hope is anathema to social progress.

I knew this America could elect a President Trump. It is precisely because I always knew it, bone deep, that I worked so hard to stop it.

It’s why the work never stopped.

For some of us it never has.

Canadian politics

Time for Liberals to decide if they’re serious about electoral reform I am so angry about this backtracking that I am spitting.

On June 16, 2015, as he announced a broad agenda for political reform, Justin Trudeau declared that his Liberals were “committed to ensuring that the 2015 election will be the last federal election using first-past-the-post.”… A year and a half later, the four Liberal MPs assigned by Trudeau to participate in a study of electoral reform declared it would be a bad idea to keep the prime minister’s promise.

Trudeau’s Six Unanswered Questions on Kinder Morgan Expansion

Can Canada increase oil capacity and still meet its Paris commitments?

With the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline and other large oil and gas projects and a carbon tax regime still in its infancy, it appears it will be difficult for Canada to meet its Paris emissions targets. And without an unforseen government intervention to put us back on course, Canada’s Paris climate commitments could go up in smoke.

And just in case you thought Canada was waaayyy different from the US…

Non-peaceful pipeline protests will be met by police and military, federal minister tells Edmonton business leaders

 “If people choose for their own reasons not to be peaceful, then the government of Canada, through its defence forces, through its police forces, will ensure that people will be kept safe,” he said to applause from the room. “We have a history of peaceful dialogue and dissent in Canada. I’m certainly hopeful that that tradition will continue. If people determine for their own reasons that that’s not the path they want to follow, then we live under the rule of law.”

Of course, there’s always that pesky question of what “peaceful” means when someone’s doing something you don’t like. See “Protestors Harass Female Officers” under #NoDAPL, above.

“Elizabeth May has declared war on common sense and Canadian unity,” said Ric McIver, interim leader of the Alberta PC party, following Carr’s speech. “We can’t let the pipeline get held up by people that will never agree to any standard,” he added. “The law of the jungle cannot prevail.”

Resistance

Values for the Trump Era

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto (and a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen), this week proposed what she’s calling the Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct.

It is amazing that in this day and age and in a supposedly developed country it is even possible for a code of conduct to need to start with this:

  • I will not aid in the registering, rounding up or internment of students and colleagues on the basis of their religious beliefs.

5 Ways to be a Silent Trump Protestor  The details relate to the US, but the principles apply everywhere.

The Stop Trump Reading List

Though books can’t change the world on their own, Haymarket looked through it’s catalog to find books about systemic racism, hope in tumultuous times, and people who have changed the world. Here are 16 books to understand how Trump got elected, how we got to this point, and how we can organize for the future.

Barbara Kingsolver: Trump changed everything. Now everything counts

Why Some Protests Succeed While Others Fail

A List of Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry Organizations That Need Your Support

Media Literacy

Should you trust that news story you’re reading? Here’s how to check.

As much as it’s important to push back on what’s not true, it’s also important to focus on what is trustworthy and to explain why outlets and reporters who continually do a good job amidst this onslaught are worth trusting. After this disorienting election, I reached out to a wide range of friends from all points on the political spectrum to ask what outlets and which writers they had confidence in and to explain the reasons for that confidence.

You know, I think this is a real good time to evaluate the information we’re getting. So here are some more resources.

And if you’re not careful about paying attention…

Art + Design

What Designers Should Do Now

“We will enter economic instability, likely a recession; we will lose talents because no people with the right mind would want to study and work in this country that is dominated by xenophobic and racist ideologies, and many who are already living here, such as myself and the majority of my team, may choose to leave; we will possibly experience more hate crimes; and let’s not even start the whole terrorism paranoia.

“I don’t know what designers can do to move forward unless we, everyone, figure out what we can do as human beings. David Remnick’s article in the New Yorker captures this sentiment well: ‘Despair is no answer. To combat authoritarianism, to call out lies, to struggle honorably and fiercely in the name of American ideals—that is what is left to do. That is all there is to do.'”

—Natasha Jen, graphic designer and partner, Pentagram

Writing

A Holiday Gift: Ten Poems from Iman Mersal

Flyover Country

Just cool

Hints of tool use, culture seen in bumble bees

The secret libraries of history

Just for fun

Because we sure need it right now.

Cat Scales Rock Climbing Wall With Ease

Patty cake

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 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

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