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20 May 2013 @ 08:08 pm
What I've Been Reading: 5/20/13  
Since I haven't done a linkdump in a while, I figure I might as well do one now. There's a lot here, so it's all under a cut, with very little commentary of my own unless it helps clarify what the article is about. Enjoy! ^_^;

POLITICS
--The REAL reason the U.S. failed in Afghanistan
--The Ghetto Is Public Policy - on the precise ways racism created the inner city
--Why the Rich Don't Give to Charity
--The Trader Joe's Lesson: How to Pay a Living Wage and Still Make Money in Retail - on how treating employees right actually improves one's business
--U.S. Out of Vermont! - on the movement in Vermont to secede from the United States (unfortunately, the article makes no mention of how the movement allied itself with racists, white supremacists, and neo-Confederate groups a while back)
--Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens: New Atheists flirt with Islamophobia
--Mainstream green is still too white - on the lack of racial politics in environmental activism
--The Republican Party is officially broken
--5 Mind-Blowing Facts Nobody Told You About Guns
--A Few Bad Men - on why America doesn't really have a terrorism problem
--Is it wrong to care more about 4 deaths in Boston than 80 in Syria?
--America the skittish - on American overreaction to events like the Boston Marathon bombings
--Weren't Buddhists Supposed to Be Pacifists? - on racial violence in Burma/Myanmar
--Everything Libertarians and Liberals Get Wrong About Drones - an interesting and necessary perspective on the current drone controversy
--Put Your Shirts Back On: Why Femen Is Wrong - on Islamophobia in mainstream feminism
--The Liberal Narrative Is Broken, and Only Populism Can Fix It - on U.S. politics and why you can't simply say "government is good"
--Niall Ferguson, Ted Cruz, and the Politics of Masculinity - on how traditional views of masculinity hinder gun control
--Violence Against Women Can Be Funny - a self-proclaimed feminist's defense of a controversial Onion article
--What Commencement Speeches Leave Out - on the importance of civic duty
--Does Abortion Cause Infanticide?

SCIENCE
--The Immortal, Shattered Cells of Henrietta Lacks - on how HeLa cells aren't as reliable as we first thought
--How Much Longer Until Humanity Becomes a Hive Mind?
--We Don't Actually Know Why Plants Are Green
--10 Psychological States You've Never Heard Of -- And When You've Experienced Them
--Scientific Explanations for Why Spoilers Are So Horrible
--Evolution via Roadkill
--Slow Down! Why Some Languages Sound So Fast
--What's so bad about extinction, anyway?
--How Nature Resets Our Minds and Bodies
--The Brains of the Animal Kingdom - on underestimating animal intelligence
--How Ancient Life May Have Come About
--Why Refusing to Apologize Feels Better Than Apologizing
--The Nocebo Effect: How We Worry Ourselves Sick
--Autonomous sensory meridian response: Self-diagnosed neurological condition/superpower that makes you really enjoy whispering
--5 Steps to Separate Science from Hype, No PhD Required
--Life on Earth... but not as we know it - on the possible existence of a "shadow biosphere"
--6 Ways Nature Cleans Up Our Messes Better Than We Do
--Why do humans kiss?
--Why Humans Will Survive the Next World-Ending Catastrophe
--Oxford has a bell that's been ringing for 173 years
--The 'glass is a liquid' myth has finally been destroyed
--Why music makes us all verklempt (or angry, or wistful, or...)
--Why everything you know about wolf packs is wrong
--Antarctica's "bleeding glacier" is kind of terrifying
--How to Explain to Children Why, in Space, No One Can Hear Them Scream

ENVIRONMENT
--Easily the most staggering infographic you'll see today - on the overfishing of sharks

SPACE & ASTRONOMY
--11 of the Weirdest Solutions to the Fermi Paradox - or, some more creative thoughts on why aliens haven't visited us yet (if they're out there at all)
--Is Earth Rarer Than We Think?
--How Parellel Universes Actually Work, Scientifically
--If Earth 2 Exists, TESS Will Find It
--NASA has discovered the most Earth-like planets yet
--Moore's Law predicts life originated billions of years before Earth
--Anthropologists explain how to approach aliens parked in Earth orbit
--Are we screwing ourselves by transmitting radio signals into space?
--The Space City That Could Have Been, If Not for Wernher Von Braun
--How the price of paint is set in the hearts of dying stars - on why barns are painted red
--Space Is Now a Reality TV Show - and how that's a good thing
--Unglamorous Space Catastrophes That You'll Never See in a Movie
--Why would aliens come all this way just to invade Earth?

TECHNOLOGY
--The Touch-Screen Generation - on young children using digital technology and how it affects their development
--The Child, the Tablet, and the Developing Mind - an article on the same topic that comes to a more pessimistic conclusion
--China is building buses so enormous that cars can just drive underneath them
--The 'right to be forgotten' - on whether or not information on the Internet should have an expiration date
--Tremble at the sight of Mantis, a 2-ton walking machine - or, more real-life mecha being made (!)
--One of those rare moments when a small thing gives you hope for the future of the planet - on the invention of carbon-neutral fertilizer
--He Unplugged From the Internet For a Year. This Is What He Learned.

EDUCATION
--Friends Don't Let Friends Say "Althusserian Exegasis" - on academic writing and the importance of clarity and accessibility
--Why do college students love getting wasted?
--The Legendary Dr. Fox Lecture - on how easily people can confuse academic jargon for legitimate information
--Why is the stuffed corpse of a great philosopher at University College London? - more information here
--Reading, Writing, and Video Games - on the consequences of including video games in the classroom
--The Ivy League Was Another Planet - on what happens when elite colleges don't go after the rural poor
--Live First, Write Later: The Case for Less Creative-Writing Schooling
--5 Things It Turns Out You Were Right to Hate About School
--6 Beneficial Things They Made You Stop Doing in School
--Prep School: Talking Trash - on bad lessons learned from prep schools

HISTORY
--When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink?
--The Brilliant Scientist Who Was Destroyed By America
--Humanism and Holocaust History
--How an Ancient Kingdom Explains Today's China-Korea Relations
--Linguists identify 15,000 'ultraconserved words'
--What if people told European history like they told Native American history?

SOCIETY
--What Being a Handyman Has Taught Me About Male Insecurity
--The Secret World of 'Garbagemen'
--Don't Blame 'Hookup Culture': Romance Always Involves Failure and Despair
--Are Mean Coaches Effective?
--Rick Ross, Don Draper, and the fantasy world of masculinity
--Seeing and believing - on science, religion, and the decline of ghost and UFO sightings
--Every language needs its, like, filler words
--Usually, "Francis" Makes You Laugh. This Time, He Might Make You Cry. - on how you never know where life will take you
--How to Escape the Cult of "Busy"
--5 Basic Facts of Life (That Were Made Up by Marketing Campaigns)
--5 Styles That Defined Entire Eras (That Were Made Up by Movies)
--Relationships Are More Important Than Ambition
--Manhunts Appear to Be the New Car Chases
--'Yo' Said What? - on how poor kids in Baltimore have come up with a working gender-neutral pronoun
--McDonald's Theory - on how to come up with good ideas
--Wine tasting is bullshit. Here's why.
--Depression Part Two - Hyperbole and a Half's most recent take on depression
--Do people turn mean because they're helpless? - on the just-world theory
--The Unexpected Antidote to Procrastination - on being afraid of feeling pain
--How to Walk Away - on "the psychology of lost causes"
--When to Do Surgery on a Child With 'Both' Genitalia

GEOGRAPHY
--A 'Whom Do You Hang With?' Map of America
--More than half of the world's population lives inside this circle
--Time-lapse satellite images show how Earth has changed over 28 years

SEX
--My tantric "awakening" turned me off sex - I only include this article because I honestly have no clue what to make of it; I'm a skeptic, so I don't place much value in the experiences the author and the commenters to this article talk about, but there's something about this talking about sex, kink, and spirituality that makes me wonder if there's some truth to all that
--Are men who pay for sex normal, or just weird?
--The Day I Taught How Not to Rape - on what "teach boys not to rape" actually means
--Nearly 1 in 10 Americans would have sex with a robot
--Why Still So Few Use Condoms

MEDIA
--What Will Human Cultures Be Like in 100 Years?
--Emoticon, Emoji, Text: Part I, I Second That Emoticon - on the history of emoticons like :-) and why they exist
--The Internet Narcissism Epidemic
--When Your Facebook Friend Is Racist
--This Restaurant Is a Nerd Paradise
--How to become Internet famous for $68 -- without ever existing
--You didn't make the Harlem Shake go viral -- corporations did
--Teaser for documentary "Aspie Seeks Love" - on looking for relationships while being on the autism spectrum
--30 things to tell a book snob
--Babylon 5's J. Michael Stracynski explains why most TV scifi is awful
--This Ad Has a Secret Anti-Abuse Message That Only Kids Can See
--Europa Report: At Last, a Space Thriller Worth Taking Seriously
--Drexciya -- the film
--10 Completely Annoying Anime Clichés - a.k.a. part of the reason why I don't care for anime anymore
--An Open Letter to White Male Comedians
--In Defense of Justin Bieber: Why America Turns on Male Child Stars Who Try to Grow Up
--The Gay Bechdel Test: Why Hollywood Needs to Expand Its Representation of LGBT Characters
--The 5 Ugly Lessons Hiding in Every Superhero Movie

VIDEO GAMES
--Breaking out of a self-centered gamer mentality - on how video games breed fandom entitlement
--The Prisoners May Be Innocent in One of 2013's Most Interesting PC Games - on making a video game about the prison-industrial complex
--5 Ways Video Games Are Saving Mankind
--4 Video Games That Help You Understand and Deal With Your Depression

ART
--A Walking Dream Made Just For You: Odyssey Works Makes Art For and About One Person
--Space Suit of the Week: Dominik Smialowski, The Pilot's Melancholy
--The Magic Cube, by Pixelux Studio
--Epic Superhero Art in a Traditional Native American Style
--Believe It Or Not, This Video Game Poetry Is Beautiful
--Short film: "Abe" is 7 minutes of sheer robot horror
--Hellishly complex, gorgeous assemblage about endless work
--"Expo": A heartbreaking short about a mother's loss, set in a lunar mine
--"Archetype": This no-budget science fiction short looks better than most movies



Originally posted at http://quadruplify.dreamwidth.org/137733.html || Comments on original post: comment count unavailable
 
 
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night_owl_9: Catelyn Stark - I have never been nothinnight_owl_9 on May 21st, 2013 02:59 am (UTC)
As always, these links are amazing! I particularly like the ones about why humans kiss, the music one, the wolf one, and the odyssey walk :) Thank you for sharing.
n/a: eva [the guys]quadruplify on May 21st, 2013 04:36 am (UTC)
You're very welcome!! :D
Lordeslordes on May 21st, 2013 08:33 am (UTC)
It's simple. If you're a killing Buddhist, you're not a Buddhist. You're just a killing man who feels close to Buddhism but doesn't get the hang of it yet.

Buddhism does not equal violence, and it never will.

It pains my heart to read that article.
n/a: iran [police]quadruplify on May 21st, 2013 10:38 am (UTC)
Given what little I know about Buddhism, you're absolutely right.

Unfortunately, there seem to have been Buddhists fighting wars for as long as the religion has been around. And more recently there have been scandals of young boys being sexually abused in monasteries. Apparently, just like in every religion, you have Buddhists who use the tenets of their religion as an excuse to do horrible things. At least the vast majority of Buddhists out there know better. :/
Lordeslordes on May 21st, 2013 11:04 am (UTC)
I hope so.
ekkii gevebs: city girlchildings on May 22nd, 2013 01:07 am (UTC)
sorry I speak so frankly about sex and stuff, so TMI WARNING I guess
I'm pretty overwhelmed by all these links, I gotta say.

- www.salon.com/2013/03/17/my_tantric_awakening_turned_me_off_sex/

This lady has some other problems unrelated to sex, that's what I took away from this. I've had an orgasm that lasted over a minute before and I was crying, etc. (it's a pretty otherworldly experience to have an orgasm that lasts a long time and that's a lot of pleasure of the most intense variety for your brain to process, so it's not unusual that someone could have an intense reaction to that.) I didn't have any of the other problems this author did. I came away feeling like I usually do after sex, refreshed, energized, like something in my body has changed in a positive way (at least temporarily until I have to have sex again), a general feeling of fullness, nothing like the author describes. Honestly I chalk most of her problems up to lack of moderation in sexual activities (everything needs to be experienced in moderation IMO, that's the healthy way of doing things anyway) and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the commentators were correct, that she did experience a psychotic (or manic?) episode.

Also I was put off by this sentence:

</i>Orgasms are only fun when you have to go hunting for them; when they hunt you, they are as terrifying as any other seizure.</i>

"Any other seizure"? Since when are orgasms a seizure?!

- http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/03/the-internet-narcissism-epidemic/274336/

Am I the only one put off by all these stock photos of twenty-somethings taking photos of themselves with their phones/tablets etc.? Like we shouldn't take advantage of technology to socialize face-to-face over the internet? Sure there are plenty of narcissistic young people but more common are people who Skype with friends online, or post photos of themselves on blogs as a way to communicate more fully with friends online. This just smacks of the whole "online friends aren't real friends" cliché (so do they get to be "real friends" once we exchange letters through the mail?)

- http://io9.com/10-egregious-anime-cliches-498788300

Child soldiers exist in real life and are a staple of science fiction though, I don't find that a cliché as much as a trope and it's not always done badly.

And to the people in the comments NO EVANGELION WAS NOT TRYING TO DECONSTRUCT ANIME TROPES, that fanservice is there unironically. You could argue that it was a "deconstruction" of the super robot genre but since other directors had already done that (Tomino with Ideon, for example) it's not even special in that regard. I still enjoyed it (mostly because of the way angels are depicted and for its unabashed portrayal of mental illness in a way I could relate to) but still
n/a: eva [eva-01]quadruplify on May 22nd, 2013 01:43 am (UTC)
Re: sorry I speak so frankly about sex and stuff, so TMI WARNING I guess
I'm pretty overwhelmed by all these links, I gotta say.

Sorry; that's what happens when I don't do this kind of thing for two months. ._.,

Honestly I chalk most of her problems up to lack of moderation in sexual activities (everything needs to be experienced in moderation IMO, that's the healthy way of doing things anyway) and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the commentators were correct, that she did experience a psychotic (or manic?) episode.

Now that you mention it, it makes perfect sense. I do find people who spend a lot of time thinking about and using sex to "explore" spirituality or themselves or whatever to be really obsessive, as if they're trying to be the next Marquis de Sade. Like, I'm pretty sure sex can be amazing with the right people and with good communication, and it's something I want to experience, but I'm pretty sure it's not that amazing, you know? It's sort of like using drugs to attains something important; obsessive drug users or sex-havers seem to go on about how you can achieve enlightenment or foster trust through their activities, far more than what kinds of "lessons" you learn through what they do, or how such things work; I'm sure you could do all the things they claim you could do with drugs or alternative sex practices, but I'm also certain you can do the same things without having to resort to such extreme and painful methods. (If this makes any sense at all. :P)

I completely agree with you about how the stock photos in articles about the Internet and social networking imply that online friends aren't real friends, and you make excellent points about how "selfies" can serve to create closer connections to people and all that. But I have seen a problem with narcissism on social networking sites, especially regarding teenagers on Tumblr, and just because you can make new friends and form close bonds with people using this new(er) technology doesn't mean the tech can't also blind you into thinking you're more important/special than you are if you're not careful.

Child soldiers exist in real life and are a staple of science fiction though, I don't find that a cliché as much as a trope and it's not always done badly.

True, but you don't see much media (especially anime) about what could really happen if children were used to fight wars, especially using futuristic technology like mecha (Evangelion's the only one I can think of at the moment). For example, sure the kids would grow stronger, more resilient, more effective fighters, etc., but perhaps at the cost of losing empathy, not having healthy ways of dealing with trauma, and the like. They'd probably turn out more like Ishmael Beah than a typical shounen/seinen hero. I think the point about child soldiers has more to do about the fact that most anime use the trope as an escapist fantasy rather than playing it straight.

I'm curious as to why you think Evangelion wasn't trying to deconstruct anime tropes. It sure did a good job of at least subverting the audience's expectations, like playing the tsundere role (Asuka) straight.
ekkii gevebs: viruses released to destroy more victimschildings on May 22nd, 2013 01:07 am (UTC)
I lost all my favorite icons :(
- http://flavorwire.com/392560/the-gay-bechdel-test-why-hollywood-needs-to-expand-its-representation-of-lgbt-characters/

This article is spot on, I would add to this criticism that just about every movie I've watched where the protagonist(s) was/were gay, the movie is a) a coming of age story, b) about discrimination and fighting discrimination or a combination of the two, which gets old. There are very good films that fall into each of these tropes but I would for once, just like to see a typical movie that's like other movies, just with gay characters. Like a romantic comedy or a nice period piece or something, IDK. I still need to see Milk.

- http://io9.com/are-men-who-pay-for-sex-normal-or-just-weird-459038857

Have you ever read Chester Brown's graphic novel Paying For It? It's a memoir based on the author's experiences as a john. There's a huge appendix where he attempts to refute arguments against prostitution. He says he doesn't think it should be legalized because it could cause all kinds of other problems for sex workers, that Canada's system of decriminalization works pretty well, etc. I found myself disagreeing with him on several points (he seems reallllly uneasy when he comes across the issue of sex trafficking and more or less tries to convince himself that none of the women he had sex with were sex slaves, but honestly, I think it would be difficult to tell in a lot of cases) but for the most part he made good points and personally, I've never had any issue with sex work as long as it is something the sex worker chooses for her/himself.
n/a: shizuo [pic]quadruplify on May 22nd, 2013 01:50 am (UTC)
Re: I lost all my favorite icons :(
I would add to this criticism that just about every movie I've watched where the protagonist(s) was/were gay, the movie is a) a coming of age story, b) about discrimination and fighting discrimination or a combination of the two, which gets old. There are very good films that fall into each of these tropes but I would for once, just like to see a typical movie that's like other movies, just with gay characters. Like a romantic comedy or a nice period piece or something, IDK.

Nothing to add; I just agree with this 110%. ;-)

And yeah, Milk is actually a really good movie; you should go see it!

I've never had any issue with sex work as long as it is something the sex worker chooses for her/himself.

I agree with this as well. As for being the one paying for sex, though, I guess if a guy really wanted to do it, he should be absolutely certain the person he's paying chose his/her line of work out of choice and not out of force. Unfortunately it seems like a lot of johns don't really care, which I'm sure is partly why they're stigmatized so much (and rightly so, if they're having sex with trafficked workers, or if they abuse/try to kill sex workers).

And thanks for the rec; it sounds really interesting, even if he does have a few questionable ideas.
ekkii gevebs: viruses released to destroy more victimschildings on May 22nd, 2013 01:13 am (UTC)
http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/04/why-still-so-few-use-condoms/275301/

I don't like wearing condoms and I rarely do so this article made me feel much better. I mean, every time I had a one night stand I used one but with repeat partners I eventually dropped it, as long as the other person was tested for STIs and came out negative I didn't see the point. And it really DOES make a huge difference, those Norman Mailer quotes are absolutely spot-on.

I was surprised at the statistics regarding pregnancy and the pull-out method and that made me feel so much better, I had been so nervous about that (though after this week I won't have to worry about being pregnant anymore since I'm getting a tubal ligation). I also remember being a teenage girl and being so scared of that whole "pregnant by pre-cum" thing and I was interested to find that was a hoax, wow
n/a: yang [so what]quadruplify on May 22nd, 2013 01:55 am (UTC)
Yeah, the most commonly cited reason why people don't use condoms is because they reduce sexual pleasure, and yet I've never seen any pro-condom campaign that addresses this. Which is really unfortunate because it's the cheapest and most effective way of preventing pregnancy and the spread of STDs. And I was really surprised about the pull-out method too; I was taught in school that you could get a girl pregnant through pre-cum. It's blatantly obvious we need better sex education in this country, but stuff like that really drives it home. (And it didn't help that my health teacher was also the varsity football coach. >_>;)

Good luck with the surgery! I hope it goes well, and that it doesn't keep you off your feet for too long. ^_^;