From the world pool: June 25, 2016

Socio-political commentary

LGBT issues

I don’t understand.”

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

Eli Lieb & Brandon Skeie – Pulse

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

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

Disability issues

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

Cripple privilege

Privacy

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

Diversity

How Privileged Are You?

I just can’t even

Jo Cox:

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

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

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

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

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

In the news

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

Thought-provoking

Tickle Me Dead. Fascinating.

Writing

Good Bones, by Maggie Smith

Quote of the week

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

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

Just cool

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

Just for fun

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

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

From the world pool: June 16, 2016

Socio-political commentary

Another day, another death from hatred

Labour MP Jo Cox dies after being shot and stabbed

Gun control

Gun violence in America, in 17 maps and charts

The NRA vs. America (via @PatrickWeekes): Today’s NRA stands astride some of the ugliest currents of our politics, combining the “astroturf” activism of the Tea Party, the unlimited and undisclosed “dark money” of groups like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, and the sham legislating conducted on behalf of the industry through groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council. “This is not your father’s NRA,” says Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, a top gun-industry watchdog. Feldman is more succinct, calling his former employer a “cynical, mercenary political cult.” … The NRA insists in its publications that it is “not a trade organization” and that it is “not affiliated with any firearm or ammunition manufacturers or with any businesses that deal in guns and ammunition.” That is a lie. NRA’s corporate patrons include 22 firearms manufacturers, 12 of which are makers of assault weapons with household names like Beretta and Ruger, according to a 2011 analysis by the Violence Policy Center. The report, drawn from the NRA’s own disclosures, also identified gifts from dozens of firms that profit from high-capacity magazines, including Browning and Remington. Donors from the industry and other dark reaches of the corporate world – including Xe, the new name of the mercenary group Blackwater – had funneled up to $52 million to the NRA in recent years.

Fandom

There’s been a lot of talk about Devin Faraci’s rant about entitled fans. Some good responses:

  • This Song Was Written By a Committee: What Devin Faraci Gets Wrong About Audience, Ownership and Power “Social media is democratizing in that it amplifies the possibilities of disruptive speech. But it does not give material power to those who previously had none and it does not, by function, dissolve traditional power structures. Social media amplifies, it does not imbue.”
  • Geek culture isn’t ‘broken,’ but it does have a harassment problem“Except none of these examples are remotely comparable, representing different issues from different corners of fandom. Criticism is not the same as entitlement. Death threats are not the same as social media activism. And death threats aren’t purely the realm of disgruntled fans sending hate mail to creators; harassment is a broader issue of sexism and bigotry online.”
  • From Hydra to Ghostbusters: The False Equivalences of Fan Culture “Fans tweeting about giving Steve Rogers a boyfriend or Elsa a girlfriend are expressing a consumer desire, one that reflects changing social attitudes and as such that should be celebrated. I can’t even imagine us having this discussion four years ago and now it feels normal. That’s an incredible step forward.”

Diversity

Use of the term POC. “So, the term “person of colour” is meaningless to me in the non-Western context context, and I personally find it actively harmful when people lump us as “POC cultures” because it purports to create an illusion of solidarity that obscures the massive amount of racism and oppression Asians are enacting against each other till today. Further, I see it as a projection of Western race politics on a non-Western context, which is decentering from local dynamics.”

Participating While Privileged  (via Chris Bourg @mchris4duke)

Residential schools findings point to ‘cultural genocide,’ commission chair says

How media clearly reflects the sexism and the racism we cannot see in ourselves.  (via @fozmeadows)

And you wonder why people are upset about the Kill Your Gays trope  (via @kameronhurley)

Death by numbers: A complete breakdown of 2016 TV character deaths and what they mean

Emily Brill: copy editing /is/ political

Feminism

Stories of working retail. It adds up to quite a horror show.

Periodic Uterine Tantrum, by Natalie Luhrs. A wonderful essay. Women have been saying for decades that the medical profession doesn’t take female complaints seriously. It’s disappointing to see how little has changed.

The sexism problem. Harassment drove me out of physics 30 years ago and little has changed. Why is scientific sexism so intractable? “Most depressing of all is how sexism keeps reinventing itself, morphing into new forms just when it seems we might be on the verge of overcoming the old ones. There are signs now that we have reached a plateau in terms of women’s representation in the ‘hard’ sciences, suggesting that underlying structural issues remain unresolved. According to the US National Science Foundation, only 20 per cent of physics PhDs in the States go to women, a figure that hasn’t shifted much in two decades. In computer science, it’s now 21 per cent: fewer than 20 years ago.”

What trans men see that women don’t. “Cultural sexism in the world is very real when you’ve lived on both sides of the coin”

Environment

These are the cities that climate change will hit first. And here’s the interactive map.   (via @ChrisBoese)

Economics

Never Mind the Sharing Economy: Here’s Platform Capitalism  “This might sound trivial but given the confused usage of the notion of sharing, it seems appropriate to remind ourselves that helping each other out by sharing our resources is one thing while commodifying these resources by charging a fee for their use is quite another. And this gets us to the more innovative dimension of the “sharing economy.” Today, the “sharing economy” entails much more than just digital updates of second-hand exchange and rentals. What companies like Uber, AirBnB, TaskRabbit or Postmates have in common is that they are platforms coordinating supply and demand of products and services that in their present form were previously unavailable on the market. … While it might be convenient to make use of these services, they have absolutely nothing to do with sharing. They stand for a digitally enabled expansion of the market economy, which, again, is the opposite of sharing. If someone does my shopping or drops me at the airport in exchange for a financial fee, how is this sharing?”

Art + Design

Artist Creates Spellbinding Salt Labyrinth Inside a 13th Century French Castle

10 most clever examples of shadow street art.

Crochet coral reef gallery. This is just so cool.

Book art by Isobelle Ouzman

Beautiful 2,200-year-old mosaics discovered in ancient Greek city

Geeking Out

This Startup Is Renaming Every Place On Earth. I… am not certain this is going to catch on. (via @ChrisBoese)

Thought-provoking

This graphic is quite appalling. People who are 18-29 are definitely getting screwed.

But there was one other thing I noticed.

  • Baby boomers: between 52 and 70 years old in 2016
  • Generations X: early 60s to the early 80s (i.e in 2016 roughly between 35 and 51)
  • Millenials: early 80s to 2000 (i.e in 2016 roughly between 18 and 35)
  • Generation Z: after 2000 (i.e in 2016 will be under 17)

Now, there’s obviously no direct correlation between these generations and the age groups in the graphic. Most baby boomers fall into the oldest group. The second oldest group, those who have done the best, are a couple of years of boomers and 5 or 6 years of Millenials, but are mostly Generation X. The second youngest group, which is half Millenials, doesn’t do quite as well as boomers, but it’s after the older cohort of Millenials that the road really goes over the cliff.

I’ve seen quite a lot of online complaining about how boomers got everything for themselves and in the process ruined it for everyone else. (Which ignores, of course, issues of class and power, but that’s another topic.) And of course on the whole boomers have done very well for themselves, and young people are extremely disadvantaged by comparison, and have a right to be pissed. But based on this graphic, it looks like the “got everything” demographic isn’t just greedy old farts.

Another chart. Attitudes in two different industries. The comments are also interesting.

Nature

A stealthy, stronger line of female salamanders are skipping sex and stealing DNA from males instead.

Just cool

The nostalgia machine. Hit a year and see what music was playing.

I might want one of these,” I thought. And then I thought: CATS.

Just for fun

Neighbors said to fear ‘transient academics’. The comments are golden.

Yes, English can be weird.

Some of you may not know what cosplay is. It’s short for “costumed roleplay” and is a delightful combination of craft and fandom and passion that produces some spectacular creativity. Most of the time cosplayers present themselves as superheroes and/or characters from popular media, but sometimes they do… other things. (Be sure to watch both videos).

And because of the horrors in Orlando this week, it seems appropriate to end on something so unabashedly celebratory: Shut up and dance with me.

Outside, tomorrow, hangovers, regrets, the grind. Outside, tomorrow, the struggle to effect change. But inside, tonight, none of that matters. Inside, tonight, the only imperative is to love. Lap the bar, out for a smoke, back inside, the ammonia and sweat and the floor slightly tacky, another drink, the imperative is to get loose, get down, find religion, lose it, find your hips locked into another’s, break, dance on your own for a while — but you didn’t come here to be a nun — find your lips pressed against another’s, break, find your friends, dance. The only imperative is to be transformed, transfigured in the disco light. To lighten, loosen, see yourself reflected in the beauty of others. You didn’t come here to be a martyr, you came to live, papi. To live, mamacita. To live, hijos. To live, mariposas.

—Justin Torres, In Praise of Latin Night at the Queer Club

From the world pool: May 27, 2016

After a bit of a hiatus, I’ve got a lot collected.

Socio-political commentary

Privilege

On a plate: a wonderful explanation of privilege.

On white privilege.

Feminism

In other words, they weren’t waiting to “have it all” – they were waiting to have enough.”

Can we talk about Susan’s fabulous adventures after Narnia?

#WhoWillYouHelp Good on you, Government of Ontario.

Historically authentic sexism in fantasy. Let’s unpack that.

Media screwups:

Captain America is a Nazi, it turns out.

The straw that breaks the camel’s back: within a period of 30 days, four lesbian or bisexual female characters on TV were killed off. And one of them was killed literally two minutes after a long-simmering relationship was finally consummated. Which may be why there’s been a lot of discussion about the narrative laziness and implied homophobia of the dead lesbians trope in the media recently. Ya think?

Odds and ends

What has the European Convention on Human Rights ever done for us?

When “local” isn’t local. At Tampa Bay farm-to-table restaurants, you’re being fed fiction. I have a funny feeling this story applies everywhere. “This is a story we are all being fed. A story about overalls, rich soil and John Deere tractors scattering broods of busy chickens. A story about healthy animals living happy lives, heirloom tomatoes hanging heavy and earnest artisans rolling wheels of cheese into aging caves nearby. More often than not, those things are fairy tales.” (via @UrsulaV)

On the perils of IP mapping (via Tiro) How an internet mapping glitch turned a random Kansas farm into a digital hell (via @TiroTypeworks)

Art + Design

Free art book downloads from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

And more free books are listed in the endnotes and sidebar to this article.

Useful!

When in drought: the California farmers who don’t water their crops. I suspect we on Gabriola could benefit by learning more about this. “Bucklin’s Old Hill Ranch, purchased by his stepfather Otto Teller in 1980, claims to be the oldest-rooted vineyard in the area. Teller fell in love with the vineyard because it was one of the few that still “dry-farmed”. Dry farming is a method that bypasses artificial irrigation, relying instead on seasonal rainfall and working the soil in such a way that it holds on to water for the drier months.”

Resources for the young entrepreneur. (Via Alice MacGillivray)

Just cool

The Insect Portraits of Levon Bliss

Hortum Machina, B (or, plants go walkabout)

Treehouses in houseplants!

Tumblr linguistics

Just for fun

I don’t want nobody… (nsfw)

Designing a really practical font: Sans Bullshit Sans

Scottish trad music genres 

From the world pool: June 12, 2015

Socio-political commentary

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

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

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

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

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

Bonus tracks: Joe Hill and Solidarity Forever.

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

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

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

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

In the news

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

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

Art + Design

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

Hermann Zapf dies at 96

Medieval bookbinding PDF (via @evilrooster)

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

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

Useful!

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

On Writing

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

Quote of the week

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

Drew (via @KameronHurley)

Just cool

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

Just for fun

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

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

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

You’ll only relate if you have cats

Golden retrievers. What can I say?

From the world pool: June 5, 2015

Socio-political commentary

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

What Search Engines Say About Women (pdf)

Why America Demonizes Its Teachers (via @ChrisBoese)

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

Art + Design

Marian Bantjes: Barbed Wire! (via @TiroTypeworks)

Interesting

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

Useful!

700 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices.

Quote of the week

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

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

—(maura) @behindyourback (via @pericat)

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

—deray mckesson @deray

Just cool

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

From the world pool: May 31, 2015

Well, I missed a whole week of links posts, and then a bit more, so this is an attempt to make up for it. I missed them because I mostly find interesting stuff when I’m surfing on my iPad, and then send myself an email with the links so that they’re in my mailbox when it comes time to write the links post, which I do on my computer. But last week when I went to go through those emails, they weren’t there. Somehow the mail I sent from any number of programs on my iPad wasn’t getting through. I checked the settings and they seemed to be okay, but…

Anyway, I tweaked some things and maybe it’s working now. More getting through, at any rate, though it still seems a bit wonky.

Socio-political commentary

Salamanders need your help. (via @UrsulaV)

Say her name: resisting police brutality against black women (via @PennyRed)

Revelations About Being Brown in a World of White Beauty. “In dentistry speak, the space between two front teeth is called a maxillary midline diastema. It is a genetic trait. It occurs across cultures and in casual observance, appears to have a higher occurrence among black communities. Some research notes black children exhibit more than twice the prevalence of gap teeth as white children. In books and articles I’ve read over the years, a worldview became visible about its value, ranging from ‘normal’ to ‘appalling’ to a ‘deviation from normal adult dentition.’ … A Nigerian acquaintance once told me how much he loved my gap. I learned from him that my gap teeth are valued, and in some instances coveted, by some Nigerian woman. I had never considered that I would posses anyone’s ideal. I live in America, and there are many reinforcements to remind me that small gap-toothed dark girls are the least desired. My gap teeth defined as a beauty mark? That shifted my axis.” (via @iSmashFizzle)

Kansas has found the ultimate way to punish the poor. “The legislature placed a daily cap of $25 on cash withdrawals beginning July 1, which will force beneficiaries to make more frequent trips to the ATM to withdraw money from the debit cards used to pay public assistance benefits. … It’s hard to overstate the significance of this action. Many households without enough money to maintain a minimum balance in a conventional checking account will pay their rent and their utility bills in cash. A single mother with two children seeking to withdraw just $200 in cash could incur $30 or more in fees, which is a big chunk of the roughly $400 such a family would receive under the program in Kansas.” (via @pericat)

The Pencilsword: On a plate. A graphic explanation of entitlement and privilege.  (via @KameronHurley)

 Art + Design

Splendid 14th century veterinary guide to horses at the Matenadaran, Yerevan (via @dynamicsymmetry)

Seymour Chwast launches a digital archive. How cool is that?  (via @brainpicker)

Geeking Out

Dragon Age by Molly Ostertag. A cartoon explaining the appeal of the video game to so many queer people. (Click the cartoon to advance to the next frames.) (via @hawkwing_lb)

Thought-provoking

“Technology Hand” Is Destroying Your Upper Body Strength

Quote(s) of the week

James honed a definition that he finally published in his 2012 book, Assholes: A Theory. Formally stated, “The asshole (1) allows himself to enjoy special advantages and does so systematically; (2) does this out of an entrenched sense of entitlement; and (3) is immunized by his sense of entitlement against the complaints of other people.”

What separates the asshole from the psychopath is that he engages in moral reasoning (he understands that people have rights; his entitlement simply leads him to believe his rights should take precedence). That this reasoning is systematically, and not just occasionally, flawed is what separates him from merely being an ass. (Linguistics backs up the distinction: ass comes from the Latin assinus, for “donkey,” while the hole is in the arras, the Hittite word for “buttocks.”)

—Jerry Useem: Why It Pays to Be a Jerk

After these trivial but bracing exchanges, my pulse rate was normal, my cheeks were not red, I was not trembling. I hadn’t thought direct action would be so much fun. Habits of a lifetime peeled away. The world bristled with opportunities for a woman in her 70s to take a stand. I shouted on planes. I fought for my place in queues. I talked to myself out loud in public. I walked along the street singing a little song under my breath: “Back off. How dare you? Make my day.” I wouldn’t say I was on a hair-trigger. I was just primed for action.

— Helen Garner: The insults of age, A one-woman assault on condescension

Just cool

David Zinn’s street art.

Rishi Kaneria videos on Vimeo. These are some amazingly beautiful videos. Watch the Stunt Poetry one, even if you don’t watch the others.

British Pathé films on YouTube.

Just for fun

Mad Max posters improved by Daily Mail comments. (Click on the individual images.) I keep reading reviews by feminists about this movie, and now I REALLY want to see it. (There are negative reviews by feminists as well, but so far in my online sources the pro-Mad Maxes are coming out way ahead.)

Can’t. Stop. Laughing: Xenostapler

J.K. Rowling Just Had the Best Reaction to How Hot Neville Longbottom Is Now.

That escalated quickly.” (Ignore the warning about “sensitive content” if you get it, it’s worth it to see a sterling example of how one person sees one thing in an image while another might see something quite different.)  (via @pericat)

From the world pool: May 8, 2015

A bit short as this week another part of my back decided to self-destruct, so sitting at a computer is iffy.

Socio-political commentary

Amy K. Nelson tweet: “One female gang member I profiled for @ReadMatter left me vm crying saying 1st time they’ve been treated as humans.” “We Ain’t Choosing No Sides; We Just Choosing Our Side” The gangs of Baltimore believe they can do a better job policing their community than the police. (via @iSmashFizzle)

You’re still nothing until you’re a mom: Why does pop culture hate the child-free? “There are pressures for men and women, but it’s still particularly bad for females. As Marisa Tomei said: “I don’t know why women need to have children to be seen as complete human beings.” That’s the part that really gets to me. And that’s what rubs me the wrong way with Baumbach’s movie. The idea that we’re all (but especially females) just frivolous people who are wasting our lives away until we add to the world’s population isn’t just wrong—it’s offensive.”(via @iSmashFizzle)

Geeking Out

The geekery of slang: Why Is It That You “Can’t Even” But You Never Find That You “Can Even”? (via @mcahogarth)

Just cool

About time! Empathy Cards For Serious Illness.  (via Kameron Hurley @KameronHurley)

The Best of Laurie Anderson (on Youtube). Now must go play all my albums…
(via @curiousoctopus)

Just for fun

There’s an advertising campaign called Are You Beach Body Ready? from a weight loss company that has been attracting a lot of flak recently for body shaming, and generated parody ads as well under the #beachbodyready hashtag. This is one of the funniest responses I’ve seen.  (via @UrsulaV)

So there’s a tv show I’ve never watched, called Supernatural, that after 10 years has a very engaged and vibrant fandom; someone I follow on Twitter is part of that fandom, which is how I found out that a lot of fans are upset by this week’s episode. [SPOILER ALERT! in the unlikely case that someone who cares hasn’t already heard] The reason: one of the recurring characters, a queer woman played by Felicia Day, was fridged in the service of man-angst. Even outside the fans who love the character, not everyone thinks this was a good move. One of the stars of the show actually said: “… there’s an episode towards the end of the season when we make a sacrifice that i was thinking, ‘how are our characters okay with this? This is terrible, what we’re doing. This is disgusting’ we’re making some serious compromises in order to rescue dean.

Fridging. Sigh. I hope they bring her back somehow.

But… and this is why I’ve put this under the Just For Fun section, and not Socio-political, where it also could fit… my reading up on this pointed me to a lovely short clip from an earlier ep, showing Felicia Day as Charlie. If this doesn’t cheer you up I don’t know what would. Go full screen and turn up the volume.

From the world pool: May 1, 2015

Happy May Day and Happy International Workers’ Day!

Socio-political commentary

Feminism

In this case the caption CANNOT UNSEE is a happy one. (via @evilrooster)

Randi Harper: “It’s just the internet.”  (via @scalzi)

Game of Fear: “What if a stalker had an army? Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend was obsessed with destroying her reputation—and thousands of online strangers were eager to help.” (via @scalzi)

Racism

When ambiguity works either way: “Teachers/profs, here’s your next real-world classroom example of the importance of pronoun-antecedent clarity.”  (via @mchris4duke)

Rebecca Solnit: “Dear other white people, this is about Baltimore. When you demand that a person of color explain or justify the situation to you, you are asking them to work for you for free. …The work of explaining has already been done. It’s our job to engage with it, not theirs to keep doing over again.”  (via @Quinnae_Moon)

Christine Slocum: White People Do Not Understand Racism. “…racism is not simply the result of prejudice. It is an enduring institution that separates society through a centrifuge of differential access to opportunities. Racism exists beyond individual prejudices; it exists in the foundation of everything we consider acceptable and laudable.”  (via @tressiemcphd)

Just… wow. David Simon on Baltimore’s Anguish: Freddy Gray, the drug war, and the decline of “real policing.”  (via @evilrooster)

And…

Shut up and take my money! A tale of a poor gamer. The classism of definitions of “gamer.” “Of course I realize it was escapism from the harsh reality of my world, but is that really so bad, escaping that for a little while? When people realized I was homeless and had a laptop, they would sneer at me. $60 they would then turn around and pay for a game with a fee-structure attached to it. And I was a horrible person for keeping my laptop.” (via @Quinnae_Moon)

Art + Design

After Three Decades of Obscurity, Helvetica’s Successor Reemerges (via @curiousoctopus)

Advice from a Badass: How to make users awesome. “In her book, Sierra establishes why helping users become awesome can directly lead to the success of a product or service and and then builds a model with the reader to achieve this. I think it’s an exceptional book that wisely advises how to address the emotional and behavioural setbacks to learning new things without having to resort to bribery or gamification, neither of which work after the novelty wears off. The language of the book is informal but the research behind the words is formidable.”

Thought-provoking

David Whyte: “All friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness.” Looks like an interesting book. (via @brainpicker)

The Cost of Paying Attention. “Attention is a resource; a person has only so much of it. And yet we’ve auctioned off more and more of our public space to private commercial interests, with their constant demands on us to look at the products on display or simply absorb some bit of corporate messaging. Lately, our self-appointed disrupters have opened up a new frontier of capitalism, complete with its own frontier ethic: to boldly dig up and monetize every bit of private head space by appropriating our collective attention. In the process, we’ve sacrificed silence — the condition of not being addressed. And just as clean air makes it possible to breathe, silence makes it possible to think.”  (via @KameronHurley)

Quote of the week

“The gold in you does not rust.”

Mahmoud Darwish (via @dynamicsymmetry)

Just cool

This Couple Moved Off The Grid And Built A Self-Sustaining Floating Island (and not so far away from us, either)  (via @mcahogarth)

Just for fun

Oh. My. God. Last F**kable Day. *Falling over laughing* Definitely NOT Safe For Work. (via @ChrisBoese)

5 Mètres 80: An Absurd Animation Depicting a Herd of Giraffes Leaping Off a High Dive by Nicolas Deveaux

When you sneeze in front of your pet and they look at you like you’ve just offended their great ancestors.

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: but NOT on April 17, 2015

I missed posting on Friday, because migraine plus back spasm, and that lasted through the weekend. So here’s the catch-up.

Socio-political commentary

Let Them Eat Privilege. “By substituting class relations for an arbitrary list of “privileges,” Vox is attempting to paint a picture of an immiserated America with no villain. It’s an America without a ruling class that directly and materially benefits from everyone else’s hard times. And this omission isn’t just incorrect — it robs us of any meaningful oppositional politics that could change it all.” (via @al3x)

Gwyneth’s SNAP Challenge bombed, of course: Living in poverty takes skills she didn’t bother to learn. “So here’s what’s galling anyway about her “poverty tourism” — and what gives me just a touch of white hot fury. It’s that rich person arrogance of assuming that privilege equals ability. …Actually, guys, it’s hard for you to be poor. Lots of us are great at it. Lots of us do it every goddamn day.” (via @KameronHurley)

What you don’t know about Internet algorithms is hurting you. (And you probably don’t know very much!) “Unfortunately, personalization isn’t always everything it’s cracked up to be. Because personalization algorithms try to predict content you will like, they tend to surface only things that agree with your established preferences; over time, and through lots of clicks, you gradually work your way into an online world where all news articles are fiercely liberal, or all recipes contain Brussels sprouts.” (via @mchris4duke)

Policing

Thousands dead, few prosecuted. “Among the thousands of fatal shootings at the hands of police since 2005, only 54 officers have been charged, a Post analysis found. Most were cleared or acquitted in the cases that have been resolved.”  (via @tressiemcphd)

The police can’t police themselves. And now the public is too scared to cooperate with them. (via @sarahkendzior)

Racism and diversity

Vanessa Mártir: Color in AW(hite)Place. “I could tell you about so much but my mind goes to that black body on the floor just outside the men’s bathroom, one sneaker just inches from his face.” (via @rgay)

Toni Bell on the language of racism: “So when someone says, ‘Oh, they did that to you because you’re black,’ I quickly correct them with, ‘No, they did that because they are bigots.’”  (via @tressiemcphd)

Black Men Being Killed Is The New Girls Gone Wild. “Forget the illicit thrill of naked bodies. It’s been replaced by the brutal pornography of racial violence.”(via @tressiemcphd)

Feminism

Comic: What They Really Mean When They Say They’re Not a Feminist. (via @Quinnae_Moon)

10 Rape Prevention Tips (via @ChrisBoese)

Molly Crabapple: How police profile and shame sex workers. (via @iSmashFizzle)

Geeking Out

Now THIS is a rant. Programming Sucks. “Every programmer starts out writing some perfect little snowflake like this. Then they’re told on Friday they need to have six hundred snowflakes written by Tuesday, so they cheat a bit here and there and maybe copy a few snowflakes and try to stick them together or they have to ask a coworker to work on one who melts it and then all the programmers’ snowflakes get dumped together in some inscrutable shape and somebody leans a Picasso on it because nobody wants to see the cat urine soaking into all your broken snowflakes melting in the light of day. Next week, everybody shovels more snow on it to keep the Picasso from falling over.” (via @pericat)

On Writing

I Was Sexually Assaulted At UVA. I Don’t Accept the Reporter’s Apology. “When a someone agrees to tell his or her story, you must tell them you’re going to ask questions they don’t like. Let them walk away from the story if they aren’t prepared for how ugly and thorough the reporting can be. They need to know that you can’t shield them from the painful necessity of verification on account of the living hell they’ve walked through. It doesn’t feel good to cast aspersion on a trauma victim, but it’s not the survivor’s job to be able to craft a perfect, linear plot—it’s yours. As a journalist, you are not their friend, and you are not their advocate. That is someone else’s job, and you can’t lose sight of that for a minute.” (via @iSmashFizzle)

Kari Sperring: On political agenda in sff (and other fiction). “We can always find excuses for defaulting to our norms.”  (via Rochita Ruiz @rcloenenruiz) https://twitter.com/rcloenenruiz

Rewriting the Future. “For all of our ability to analyze and critique, the left has become rooted in what is. We often forget to envision what could be. We forget to mine the past for solutions that show us how we can exist in other forms in the future. That is why I believe our justice movements desperately need science fiction.”

Just for fun

Science proved you and your dog fall in love when you look in each other’s eyes.  (via @ChrisBoese)

I thought cats were the only ones who did this. (via @mcahogarth)

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: February 7, 2015

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

Socio-political commentary

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

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

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

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

Fun statistics for adults! (via @KameronHurley)

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

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

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

Feminist issues

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

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

Coordinated Online Terrorist Attacks: a very personal statement.

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

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

Art + Design

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

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

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

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

Geeking Out

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

Thought-provoking

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

Useful!

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

Quote of the week

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

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

Just for fun

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

The Gnome Chomsky Garden Gnome. (via @mchris4duke)

Just cool

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

From the world pool: January 23, 2015

Socio-political commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Misantry. (via Liz Bourke @hawkwing_lb)

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

Art + Design

Two articles talking about the design of living spaces.

Home Petite Home  (via @evilrooster)

Watery Dwellings

Quote of the week

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

Just for fun

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

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