From the world pool: April 24, 2015

It’s not a long list today, as I posted the last one just a few days ago.

Also, I realize I’ve been posting lists and not much else; not sure what that is. Certainly I’ve been taking photos. Memo to self: put the damn things online, okay?

Socio-political commentary

Words for cutting: why we need to stop abusing “the tone argument”. “Outrage has a valuable place; it is the natural reaction to injustice, to a severe moral breach that must offend every nerve ending of one’s sensibilities. To look at our world at present there’s much to be angry about, and there’s some wisdom to the idea that outrage is better than a placid acceptance of our present condition, better than becoming desensitized to the cavalcade of moral crimes that litter the daily newspapers. But like any emotion or tool, there are right and wrong ways to deploy it, and when we uncritically suggest that all rage is valid so long as it is expressed by activists we thereby foreclose all strategic discussion of the utility of rage.”

WFT? Some days I hate humanity. Quebec girl told to stop reading book by school bus driver. “Sarah Auger, 8, enjoyed reading to and from school, until the bus driver said it was dangerous.”

Diversity matters: Being mixed race.

Who cares about the vulnerable when there’s a fight to manufacture?

This, EXACTLY THIS, is why we can’t have nice things.”  (via Tressie McMillan Cottom @tressiemcphd)

Kameron Hurley: Hijacking the Hugo Awards Won’t Stifle Diversity in Science Fiction

Art + Design

Safety banana! (via Natalie Luhrs @eilatan)

Geeking Out

Losing Count: “Eeny, meeny, miny, mo” and the ambiguous history of counting-out rhymes. (via @KameronHurley)

On Writing

We Were Always Here: Exploring one hundred years of women in science fiction and fantasy literature.  (via @rcloenenruiz)

Authors Alliance: Keeping Your Books Available. “(A) guide that arms authors with the information and strategies they need to revive their books.”

Quote of the week

You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, “Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist?” And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it.

—Junot Diaz, via the “Diversity Matters” article cited above

Just cool

Historic photo: Restaurant de la Réserve, Nice, France, c. 1900. / (via @mcahogarth)

View from the ISS at night. (via @Quinnae_Moon

Just for fun

Introducing the Waterstones Watch.

Performance of Bach’s Prelude No. 1 Using Only Boomwhackers. (via @evilrooster)

Without doubt, the greatest chew toy ever invented.”

This bird keeps itself in the air by sheer force of anger alone.” (via @mcahogarth)

From the world pool: April 3, 2015

Socio-political commentary

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

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

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

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

Feminism

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

Everyday sexism. (via @MaryRobinette)

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

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

Education

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

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

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

Art + Design

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

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

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

Useful!

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

Quote of the week

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

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

Just for fun

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

Just cool

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

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

From the world pool: March 13, 2015

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

Socio-political commentary

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

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

Online harassment

Anita Sarkeesian: What I couldn’t say.

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

Quote of the week

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

Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Just cool

Further adventures in multiple inheritance. (via @evilrooster)

From the world pool: March 7, 2015

Yep, running behind schedule again; yesterday was busy.

Socio-political commentary

The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think. “But this new evidence isn’t just a challenge to us politically. It doesn’t just force us to change our minds. It forces us to change our hearts.”  (via @mcahogarth)

Further Thoughts on Call-Out Culture. (via @tressiemcphd)

Plastic People: Epigenetics has shown that there’s no such thing as a normal human body, so how did it get hijacked by the body police?

Venting About Students: Punching Up or Down? I’ve seen a lot of discussion about this subject recently; this struck me as a balanced position that identifies a core problem of relative privilege.

Marissa Lingen: Attention policing paradox. “Telling people, ‘You should not like the thing you like!’ or ‘You should not care about the thing you care about!’ hardly ever works.”  (via @hawkwing_lb)

In the news

“We’ve got little doors everywhere. We’re not anti-fairies but it’s in danger of getting out of control.” ‘Fairy control’ to halt tiny doors in Somerset woods. We have some of these doors in our local woods. Thank heavens it hasn’t gone this far. (via @pericat)

Geeking Out

Shut up, Blackwall, I still don’t care what you think.” This will mean nothing unless you are playing the game, but if you are, it’s gold.

It was a sad week for those in the sf/f community, amongst which I count myself.  (via @mcahogarth)

I can’t believe so many folks didn’t get this!” (via @evilrooster)

On Writing

Kate Elliott: Writing Women Characters as Human Beings (via @hawkwing_lb)

Are they going to say this is fantasy?” Ursula K. LeGuin takes on Kazuo Ishiguro.  (via @eilatan)

Chris Clarke: Desert words I want.  “I want a word for the earth’s shadow in the sky on a summer sunset evening, that terminator between pink and indigo, and the knowledge in the gathering chill that tomorrow’s sun will be every bit as hot.” What words do you want? (via @evilrooster)

Quote of the week

The fad to make every game into an online multiplayer really does drive me nuts. I play computer games because I don’t like other people.

Brian McClellan, via (via @KameronHurley)

Just for fun

If you’ve had a I hate my job kind of Monday just be thankful. (via @MaryRobinette)

Man cuddles with a cute wombat. (via @rcloenenruiz)

A simple guide to washing machine symbols. (via @MaryRobinette)

From the world pool: February 27, 2015

crocuses

Socio-political commentary

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

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

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

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

Art + Design

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

Thought-provoking

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

Quote of the week

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

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

Just for fun

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

Just cool

An amazing story by Kat Howard: Hath No Fury.

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

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

From the world pool: February 20, 2015

Socio-political commentary

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

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

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

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

Lean In

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

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

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

Art + Design

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

Geeking Out

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

Thought-provoking

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

Useful!

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

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

Quote of the week

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

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

Just for fun

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

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

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

Just cool

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

From the World Pool: February 13, 2015

Happy Friday 13th!

Socio-political commentary

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

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

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

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

Feminist issues

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

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

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

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

Civil discourse?

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

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

In the news

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

Art + Design

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

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

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

Geeking Out

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

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

Useful!

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

Quote of the week

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

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

Just for fun

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

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

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

From the world pool: January 16, 2014

Do I ever do anything but collect links? Naw.

Socio-political commentary

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

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

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

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

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

Charlie Hebdo

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

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

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

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

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

Misogyny and harassment

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

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

Rape culture

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

Gamergate

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

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

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

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

Speaking while female

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

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

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

In the news

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

Art + Design

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

Thought-provoking

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

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

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

Quote(s) of the week

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

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

Just for fun

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

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

From the world pool: December 31, 2014

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

See you next year!

SOCIO-POLITICAL COMMENTARY

Class

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

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

Policing

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

In general:

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

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

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

The NYPD:

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

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

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

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

Feminism

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

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

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

Trans Issues

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

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

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

Odds and Ends

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

DESIGN

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

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

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

INTERESTING

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

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

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

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

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

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

Legend of korra

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

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

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

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

JUST FOR FUN

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

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

 

From the world pool: November 29, 2014

Socio-political

The masculine mistake, by Patrick Blanchfield. Why is America producing so many young men who are hostile to women?

As someone who teaches at a post-secondary level as a contract instructor—a vulnerable position—I have a strong interest in issues like this. Scabs, Scantrons, and Strikes at the University of Oregon. From the Department of You Can’t Make This Shit Up…  You should also read the PDF of the statement from the department heads/program directors as to why the proposed actions are untenable. For example, “With regard to practical reasons, many program directors and department heads are stretched to the limit already, and telling us that we are forced to be responsible for the grades in all GTF-related courses in our units – for some of us numbering 90 sections or more, with literally thousands of total students – is not tenable.” What kind of mind thinks a solution like that could work? The level of cluelessness is amazing.

From “Open” to Justice #OpenCon2014: presentation by Audrey Watters on some problems of defining and implementing open access. (via Barbara Fister @bfister)  (via Chris Bourg @mchris4duke)

Two powerful articles on what Lemony Snicket said at the National Book Awards, and then Jacqueline Woodson’s response to it:

  • Nikki Finney: “On Wednesday night Jacqueline Woodson won the 2014 National Book Award for Young Peoples Literature. After she left the stage the host of the National Book Awards, Daniel Handler, told the crowd that she, a Black woman, ‘was allergic to watermelon’ and then implored the crowd at the National Book Awards to ‘let that settle in your mind.’ I found myself staring at my laptop and choking on a waterfall of watermelon seeds.”
  • Meanwhile In America, Brown Girls Are Still Dreaming (via Ashley Ford @iSmashFizzle)
  • Jacqueline Woodson: The Pain of the Watermelon Joke.

Using a tax system to destroy small businesses: this is beyond fucked up. The VATman cometh, destroying businesses. “As you may know, the whole situation with VAT on ebooks is crazy. Although the rate for paper books is zero in the UK, the rate for ebooks is 20%. … anyone selling digital products in Europe has to register for VAT in every country, charge VAT on each sale according to the local rate, and account for all of this on a quarterly basis. …If all you do is sell one ebook, or a few knitting patterns on Etsy, or a little app you made for fun, you are required to register for VAT and file VAT returns once a quarter. Even if the tax involved is only pennies. …The implications for any small company selling digital products are so horrendous that the Head of Tax at the Institute of Chartered Accountants (England & Wales) has apparently suggested that small businesses stop selling in Europe to avoid all of this mess.”

Why women leave tech: what the research says. “The research shows that women in disproportionately-male industries are assumed to be less competent than men, and that when they’re perceived as competent they’re considered less likable. Being disliked hurts women’s pay and their prospects for advancement. The research finds that the only way competent women will be found likable is if they behave in a stereotypically-female “communal” style at work (cooperative, helpful and understanding), but if they do that they will no longer be perceived as competent. It’s a classic double bind.” (via Brianna Wu @Spacekatgal)

And then of course there is Ferguson.

Design

Amazing. I hope the artist wears gloves. Shattered Glass Animals by Marta Klonowska

Interesting

The Retreat. “I wondered why going off by myself was so strange and frightening. Almost everyone I knew was married, and most had kids. They did not go off to places alone, even if they might have wanted to.”

Quote of the week

Jesse Williams responding on Twitter to someone telling him to “rein in” his criticism of CNN’s coverage of Ferguson: “Please disabuse yourself of the notion that my purpose on earth is to tuck ignorance in at night.”

Just cool

In the academic scams department: “Journal Accepts Paper Reading “Get Me Off Your Fucking Mailing List”. “Dr Peter Vamplew, a computer scientist at Federation University Australia got one too many invites from the International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology and hit back with the seven words repeated over and over, along with headings, pseudo-citations, a flow chart and graph. Vamplew didn’t expect to be published – he just hoped the ‘editors’ would stop cluttering up his inbox. Instead a return message said a reviewer had rated the paper as ‘excellent’ and IJACT would publish for the low, low price of $150.”

Hermit crab migration (via @KameronHurley). And here’s an article about it.

Brain Pickings: Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Catalog of Beautiful Untranslatable Words from Around the World. I love the word tsundoku, it lives in my house.

Cymatics is the science of visualizing audio frequencies using dust particles, water, or other materials to demonstrate how vibrations move. Nigel Stanford has applied it to this remarkable music video.

From the world pool: November 22, 2014

Lots of stuff this week—enjoy.

Socio-political

Karl Stefanovic’s sexism experiment: Today presenter wears same suit for a year. (via @KameronHurley)

Some issues won’t die, and for good reason. How Ferguson showed us the truth about police: whiteboard animation by Molly Crabapple.

In case you thought prisons were all about crime: “In recent filings, lawyers for the state have resisted court orders that they expand parole programs, reasoning not that releasing inmates early is logistically impossible or would threaten public safety, but instead that prisons won’t have enough minimum security inmates left to perform inmate jobs. …The debate centers around an expansive state program to have inmates fight wildfires. California is one of several states that employs prison labor to fight wildfires. And it has the largest such program, as the state’s wildfire problem rapidly expands arguably because of climate change. By employing prison inmates who are paid less than $2 per day, the state saves some $1 billion, according to a recent BuzzFeed feature of the practice.” California Tells Court It Can’t Release Inmates Early Because It Would Lose Cheap Prison Labor. (via @nkjemisin)

Eek! Inside the lonely fight against the biggest environmental problem you’ve never heard of (via gabriolan.ca)

Not all games fit your stereotypes.That Dragon, Cancer: a Kickstarter project  “We created That Dragon, Cancer to tell the story of our son Joel and his 4-year fight against cancer. Our desire is to craft an adventure game that is poetic, playful, full of imagination and of hope. This is how we choose to honor him and his memory.”

10 Moments Black People In The Workplace Know Too Well (via Ashley Ford @iSmashFizzle)

For those wondering why so many women think catcalling is such a scary big deal, when you know, it’s really just a compliment.

Re Uber and other “cottage” industries: “…as we welcome new participants to the disruptive impact of the internet-based sharing economy, we must keep one eye on the future to make sure that we don’t build an economy based on exploitation.”

On making a living from art… an interesting pairing of articles:

Ask Polly: How Do I Make a Living As an Artist? “The bad thing about high capitalism is that we have a twisted idea about the differences between things that sell and things that don’t sell, winners and losers, masterful brands and flaccid brands. And we think of ourselves in those terms, too. This crass world holds a pretty twisted view of what it means to create something without being widely acknowledged for it.”

and

An Open Letter to Oprah: “To achieve the life you want, avoid situations that devalue your worth. Like when Oprah’s “The Life You Want” tour, with its tickets priced up to $999, asks you to perform for free.”

In the news

Obituary: Leslie Feinberg. “She was a pioneer in trans and lesbian issues, workers rights, and intersectionality long before anyone could define the phrase.”

Design

Society’s Sandbox: Informal economies are the world’s biggest — and most overlooked — design research opportunity

Interesting

The Secret Life of Passwords. A fascinating article about how people use passwords as memory boxes. (NYT paywall may stop you from reading it if you’re over their limit.)

Just for fun

Baby owl cuteness fix.

I tend to ignore emojis, so I only recently noticed that this one existed. Oral history of the poop emoji (via @ChrisBoese)

Quotes of the week

Every once in a while I read something, some turn of phrase, that makes me stop dead. This week there were two.

“I’m glad I know; I wish there were less to know. I feel I am running out of space but can’t see where I end anymore.Rahawa Haile (via Ashley Ford @iSmashFizzle)

“Every morning, I try to break my heart. I crush it gently between my fingers until it can fit in the palm of my hand.” —Roxane Gay

Just cool

Oh my: Imperial Tortoise Beetle, from Brazil.

 

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