My computer has been in the shop for a week and a half, so I’m putting this together on my iPad. It doesn’t have all the same tools, so apologies if the formatting is screwy. Continue reading “From the world pool: September 15, 2018”
I didn’t post last week, so the world pool is extra deep today. Continue reading “From the world pool: April 14, 2017”
Another long, long set of links.
Collected over the last month. I’m not doing nearly a good enough job keeping up with this!
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
Laurie Penny: I’m With the Banned
Likable. Because 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
“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.
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
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
UK cuts to disability spending: “They know they’re killing us.”
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.
I just can’t even
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)
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.
- Britain’s Breaking Point
- But on the bright side, I’ve also been watching this unfold from Scotland: I believe my favourite so far is “mangled apricot hellbeast.”
In the news
Warning to all cat-lovers: Humans’ Use Of Pain-Relief Creams Proves Fatal To Felines
Tickle Me Dead. Fascinating.
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.
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.)
Another day, another death from hatred
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.
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.”
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.”
Emily Brill: copy editing /is/ political
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”
These are the cities that climate change will hit first. And here’s the interactive map. (via @ChrisBoese)
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
Crochet coral reef gallery. This is just so cool.
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.
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.
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
After a bit of a hiatus, I’ve got a lot collected.
On a plate: a wonderful explanation of privilege.
#WhoWillYouHelp Good on you, Government of Ontario.
Captain America is a Nazi, it turns out.
- On Steve Rogers #1, Antisemitism, And Publicity Stunts (via @nkjemisin) “So let me be very clear: I don’t care if this gets undone next year, next month, nextweek. I know it’s clickbait disguised as storytelling. I am not angry because omg how dare you ruin Steve Rogers forever. I am angry because how dare you use eleven million deaths as clickbait.”
- Captain America (updated) (via @tnielsenhayden)
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?
- Bury your gays
- Stop killing off TV’s lesbians
- All 156 Dead Lesbian and Bisexual Characters on TV, and How They Died.
- “…the issue at hand here is what happened off screen and in social media.”
Odds and ends
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
And more free books are listed in the endnotes and sidebar to this article.
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.”
Hortum Machina, B (or, plants go walkabout)
Just for fun
I don’t want nobody… (nsfw)
Designing a really practical font: Sans Bullshit Sans
The “just for fun” edition.
For various reasons I haven’t been making “from the world pool” posts, but this week I decided to try to get back into it. And I decided to make it all things that cheered me up, because we all need cheering up sometimes.
Japan Keeps This Train Station Running for Just One Regular Passenger. (Obligatory snark: nice to see some governments take transportation seriously.)
Rare Cold Weather Phenomenon Displays Mesmerizing Light Pillars in the Sky. This is something I’ve never heard of, and boy is it cool.
1.5 billion pixel of the Andromeda Galaxy: this is… amazing. Zoom in.
Swimming with elephants and sharks: the photography of Ali Bin Thalith.
Choir! Choir! Choir! A tribute to David Bowie: singing Space Oddity at the AGO.
I wish I was a lot younger, so I could do this. I might not choose to do it, but I would love to be ABLE to.
If you like science fiction… Starships! —a fanvid tribute to sf tv and movies. (Bonus points for dancing.) (R for language, if you’re concerned about it.)
Follow the money: The Weird, Money-Making World of Parody Twitter Accounts. (via @kyliu99)
The media and what I mean by “reinforcement”. “I’m not arguing that videogames are evil and cause lots of horrible things and we should ban them forever. I’m also not arguing that they’re distinct from other media – I’m arguing that they are one of many influences on people’s views (concious and unconscious) and that they will have a much easier job supporting society-wide views than implanting new unique ones.” Laying out the difference between reinforcement and causality. (via @Quinnae_Moon)
I’m a huge science fiction and fantasy fan, and this week that world exploded. Tl;dr: a group of conservative writers and fans, self-named the Sad Puppies (supported generally by the Rabid Puppies, an overlapping group), who believe that they represent the only real sf/f (and its True Fans) and have been shut out of winning the Hugos they deserve by the conspiracies of SJWs (Social Justice Warriors), gamed the nomination process to get a slate of their people onto the lists of nominees, displacing many worthy candidates.
Natalie Luhrs at Pretty Terrible has a round-up of links that I won’t bother recapping, go check them out; there are also oodles of posts by other sf/f writers and fan writers that you can find with a bit of digging. I will also add a few from mainstream media (which has been picking up on this, interestingly) to her list. All of these articles have lots of links, if you want to drop down a rabbit hole.
- Kameron Hurley in The Atlantic: Hijacking the Hugo Awards Won’t Stifle Diversity in Science Fiction
- Guardian: George RR Martin says rightwing lobby has ‘broken’ Hugo awards (Martin is a Big Deal right now because he is the writer of Game of Thrones.)
- Slate: How Sci-Fi’s Hugo Awards Got Their Own Full-Blown Gamergate
One additional note on this: last night I was reading comments on the post by George RR Martin that Natalie linked to in her links round-up. One of the Sad Puppy supporters complained that, “We’re tired of hateful, double-standard holding bigots attempting to sabotage the careers and reputations of people who don’t toe their lines.”
Martin asked for citations: “You make sweeping angry statements, drag in the odious Social Justice Warriors term, talk about feminists in the 1800s… but where are your FACTS? Whose career has been destroyed by the SJWs? Who are these pariahs? How does any of this relate to the Hugo Awards?”
The answer: “I can’t name many because you never hear about them in the first place.” And then the writer goes on to explain that a “chilling effect created by all of this means up-and-coming authors who have such ‘unpopular’ political views stay quiet. They don’t write works that might offend these peddlers of despair and outrage. They don’t get their careers ruined very often because they’re smart enough to keep their mouths shut. If they aren’t, their careers are shut down before the destruction of said careers would ever be newsworthy.”
Do you see what this is saying?! The fact that examples don’t exist is being used to prove that a conspiracy exists. This is the level of Sad Puppy logic.
Art + Design
Using Wikipedia: a scholar redraws academic lines by including it in his syllabus. What a great approach. (via @mchris4duke)