Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday Reading

My family's Thanksgiving on the reservation is a rebuke to America's colonialism
by Frank Waln
My family is Sicangu Lakota, and I was born and raised on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. My family was in no way wealthy, but we were lucky enough to have food on our table when we got together at my grandma’s house to eat every day. My mother taught me to give thanks for the things we have every day, because that’s what Lakotas do.
Read More at The Guardian

Giving thanks for new traditions
by Mermaid Rising
It’s been several years since I abandoned the mandatory trek to a family members home amid tensions and stuffed resentments. I had already started the process while my mother was still alive; it is just that now, I feel no guilt. I planned to spend the holiday alone and prepared a day for myself. Being alone is not my first choice but I am still  in sore need of a chosen circle of family (not necessarily biological). However, I suspect that will change in the future as my former isolating ways are now being replaced with attempts at connections.
Read More at Mermaid Rising

Old School Sim City
by Keir Clarke
Micropolis.JS is a port of the original SimCity game created with JavaScript. The game includes all the features of the original game and requires you to build residential, commercial and industrial zones. To ensure that your city continues to grow you will need to plan carefully to ensure you have enough power stations. You will also need to keep your town's citizens happy by keeping crime and pollution to a reasonable level.

I remember well the momentous nature of the 1984 recording, and my Dad instructing all of his children to buy the record, despite our meagre pocket money. And we were happy to play our small part in something that was clearly of a magnitude to which we had hitherto not been exposed. Yet watching the artists arrive to take part in the 2014 recording, l felt no such euphoria. In fact, l felt a distinct sense of unease. And clearly, l am not alone.

Anyway, there is one bit of the palace that made an impression from the very first time we went round with the kids, when it was newly open to the public. And that is a small room called the "Guard Room" at the top of the Grand Staircase. There are two amazing statues there -- of Victoria and Albert as Romans (not the ones at the top of this post -- these are variations on the same theme). And as we spotted last night there are some other Roman themes in that little room too.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Reading

How to ignore your family on Thanksgiving
by Cathy O'Neil, mathbabe
There has been lots of advice lately on how to have a civil conversation at Thanksgiving – NPR ran a piece yesterday on “topics both Democrats and Republicans enjoy”, for example, which made me slightly annoyed and amused – perhaps because I am neither – and inspired this somewhat alternative list of ways to enjoy or otherwise ignore your family today.
Read More at MathBabe

Ferguson: It is Right to Resist, By Any and All Means Necessary
by Glen Ford
You know that a genuine movement is being born when it becomes necessary to draw lines within the circles that purport to support that movement, in order to defend the political space that has already been claimed by the popular struggle. That moment definitively arrived on Monday night when young people in Ferguson, Missouri, responded to the state’s rigged grand jury absolution of Michael Brown’s executioner with outraged defiance, bricks and fire – in accordance with the actual logic of the slogan “No Justice – No Peace.”

by Miri
Pay attention to this. This is one of many ways people delegitimize our demands to be free from harassment, assault, and abuse. “Offense” is subjective. “Offense” can be caused by “thin skin,” “weakness,” “intolerance of dissenting views,” and so on. “Offense” is a reaction to a claim or idea with which you disagree.

When the accusation is that looting and riots constitute unacceptable violence, the rest of the statement goes thusly: every life has a price and these lives are cheaper than any property damaged.

by Jon Bois
I said that a lot of working at RadioShack felt like guard duty. One week, it was actual guard duty: a RadioShack in a stone-dead mall was scheduled to close in a week, and all its employees had already bailed, so they sent me there to manage it for a few days.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday Reading

Finishing “Politically Inept with Homer Simpson” & “The D’oh-cial Network” and Starting “Moe Goes from Rags to Riches”
by Chris Ledesma
Most people have probably only heard “Rhapsody in Blue” being performed by a large orchestra, but I knew that the piece was composed in 1924 for The Paul Whiteman Orchestra which was really an expanded jazz band – think Duke Ellington’s or Glenn Miller’s band with violins, banjo, and tuba added – which only had 24 players. The symphony orchestra version didn’t appear on the scene until 1942. I told Alf if we could find a copy of the 1924 version, we could record that one, he wouldn’t have to rebuild the score for our needs and we would be true to the original spirit of the piece. As it turns out, we were able to find – with the assistance of the always helpful JoAnn Kane Music Service – a PDF scan of the original manuscript that had been donated to the Library of Congress by the original orchestrator, Ferde Grofé. Woo-Hoo!
Read More at Simpsons Music

The Black Administration of White Interests
 The commodification of black bodies, once big business during the slave trade, and the cruelty and brutality associated with that condition lingers on today in a modified but obvious form. No longer is it the white mob eager to seize a black body, string it up, mutilate it, and drag in through the streets as a token of white supremacy; that job now rests with law enforcement who maintain the prescribed racial boundaries and can shoot, mutilate, and abuse black bodies under the protection of white policemen, white prosecutors, and white juries in spite of the presence of black public officials. The history of law enforcement in the United States has denied African Americans due process and equal protection, and so the agents of law enforcement have little legitimacy among African Americans in general. In fact, there has been a long history, extending back to World War I, of police precipitating riotous incidents and conspiring with white mobs to do violence against blacks. The “bad nigger” who formerly was punished and made an example for resisting his or her place is now “any nigger” who rouses white suspicion. This is the way white power is maintained.

Once upon a time, I had just come out to my family as an ex-Muslim. Believing me to be under the influence of a a heathenish social group or malicious atheist man, my folks dragged me to mosque after mosque all over California. The miles were clocked in the hopes that some imam or sheikh would manage to “answer my questions” (though I was long past questions, really). I went along with it, since I had been successfully gaslit into feeling guilt for my choices and had learned that there were rewards to giving into their “requests” instead of resisting them (i.e. I’d be left blissfully alone about it for a longer while if I yielded instead of standing my ground).

by The Belle Jar
Like most white people, I grew up with the idea that the cops are on my side. Over and over again, I was told that the police were here to protect me. As a little kid, I was told that if I was ever lost or in danger, the first person I should try to find was a police officer. I was taught that this is the system; I was taught that the system was here to take care of me. 
What I was never taught was that the system takes care of white people like me first, and everyone else second. If at all.

Tim and Julie Tennant adopted little Beth and her younger brother Jonathan back in the ‘80s. The couple took the sibling pair into their home, not aware of their past abuse at the hands of their biological father. Her mother, who had abandoned her and Jonathan, died when Beth was one. When Child Services found the children, Beth was screaming in her own soil and Jonathan was found in his crib with a curdled bottle of milk, his head flattened from the way he’d been positioned. Tim and Julie didn’t know about the sexual abuse Beth had been subjected to as early as 19 months old by her father. They didn’t know she was suffering from Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), a condition that surfaces from past trauma and neglect into oceans of disturbing, detached, unresponsive, and apathetic behavior. They couldn’t possibly know that a young girl could be filled with so much—that much rage.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuesday Reading

No indictment. No trial. No justice. No peace. | #BlackLivesMatter
There was never — could never have been — an advocate for Michael Brown in the grand jury proceedings. This was a grand jury that was 75% White, asked to see the humanity of a Black teenager. This was a prosecutor who, despite his job being to speak on behalf of the victim, clearly perceived the victim in this situation to be Officer Darren Wilson, and not the teenager whom Wilson may have illegally killed.
Read More at reappropriate

White Supremacy in Action--No "Probable Cause" to Indict The Killer Cop Darren Wilson
by Chauncey DeVega
A prosecutor can get a jury to indict a ham sandwich if so inclined. Michael Brown, and by proxy the lives of black and brown folks, are apparently worth less than a sandwich.

by Kim Tran
When white women say I’m too confident, it’s because they have a set idea of who I, as an Asian American queer womyn, am supposed to be. For white liberal feminism, confidence has become the ideal way to take the corporate workplace by storm. I would venture to say that if I were a high powered white woman, like Sheryl Sandberg, no one would be calling me too confident. But, as an Asian American womyn, I am expected to be more quiet and less aggressive. Why? Because stereotypes, or controlling images, work differently in different communities. Unlike white women, Asian American women have been pervasively defined by a history of forced sex work, colonialism and American imperialism.

One of the most persistent gender gaps in cognitive skills is found in the area of spatial skills, specifically on measures of mental rotation, where researchers consistently find that men outscore women by a medium to large margin (Linn & Petersen, 1985; Voyer et al., 1995). While no definitive evidence proves that strong spatial abilities are required for achievement in STEM careers (Ceci et al., 2009), many people, including science and engineering professors, view them as important for success in fields like engineering and classes like organic chemistry. The National Academy of Sciences states that “spatial thinking is at the heart of many great discoveries in science, that it underpins many of the activities of the modern workforce, and that it pervades the everyday activities of modern life” (National Research Council, Committee on Support for Thinking Spatially, 2006, p.1).

Frankenplace is a 'thematic map search engine.' Which means that you can use the map to create instant heat-maps for a range of words based on the words' frequency in over 1.6 million articles on Wikipedia and online travel blog entries.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday Reads

Frieze Art Fair 2014 Is All About the Food
by Jane Frye
The Frieze Art Fair is back in New York for the third year in a row, taking the city's art scene by storm in the hopes of creating "the ultimate art fair experience." It's no surprise then that together under a magnificent serpentine tent of "the most exciting contemporary galleries from around the globe," you will not only find some of the world's best art but also some of New York City's best and most sought-after food. Feeling inspired? Hungry? We've done the leg work for you to present the best food and art pairings from the event, starting with a chilled slice of the one and only "Crack Pie" from two-Michelin starred chef David Chang's Momofuku empire. Enojy the addictive dessert while checking out "A Certain Framework #1 (wood)," by european artist Su-Mei Tse.
Read More at The Daily Beast

Movie Review: Gone Girls & Nice Guys
by Scarlett Harris
The movie version of Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne and Rosamund Pike in the title role and based on the 2012 book of the same name by Gillian Flynn, was released in theatres in October. While Flynn’s manuscript gives equal time to its disturbed married main characters in the form of Amy Dunne’s (Pike) dairy entries and alternating chapters from Nick’s point of view, the film adaptation made it clear that Gone Girl isn’t about the gone girl in question at all, but about her NiceGuy™ husband, who is sick and tired of all the “crazy bitch whores” in his life “picking [him] apart”, and how he deals with his wife’s sudden disappearance. Sounds like a real nice guy to me!
Read More at Scarlett Woman

by Nat Newman
I'm an Australian woman living in Croatia. I'm only 35, but this is the 5th country that I've lived in. I'm not a "3rd culture kid" - I didn't move around much growing up. These are all countries I've chosen to live in as an adult, for various reasons.

I am one of more than 200 million people living as an expat.
Read More at The F Word

Sticks and Stones and Jokes
by Jadehawk
The belief that words, especially if intended as humorous, cannot cause harm is counterfactual. And because it is counterfactual, it does harm in itself.

First, I'd like to point out that in many cases, even people who make this claim often don't act as if they believed it: e.g. people who will defend the use of slurs because words are harmless will easily turn around and whine for ages about how being criticized is bullying. That's not behavior consistent with "words don't harm", it's behavior consistent with a belief that some words don't cause harm, while others do.
Read More at Secular Woman Salon

Final Season of Newsroom, Grace & Frankie, & Halloween
This Sunday on HBO at 9pm, the final season of The Newsroom begins. There are only 6 episodes this season and I hope you watch them because Aaron Sorkin has outdone himself with the finale he has created. All the actors (and HBO execs) were on pins and needles wondering what he would come up with . . . especially given that he ended Season 2 with what could have been interpreted as a finale. In the last episode, he gave me an extended scene to die for and wraps up Leona’s and the newsroom’s dilemma in the most surprising way. But to ‘get’ it, you need to have seen all the previous 5. It’s worth it. And so moving!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thursday Reading

Clayton Cubitt
by Tina Essmaker
Raised in New Orleans, Clayton Cubitt is a photographer, filmmaker, and writer based in New York City. He mixes art and fashion with technology and is the creator of the viral video art series, Hysterical Literature. He has exhibited worldwide and worked for a variety of editorial and advertising clients, like Vogue, Rolling Stone, HBO, and HarperCollins.

Ebola in Africa: A Product of History, Not a Natural Phenomenon
by August H. Nimtz
There is nothing inevitable about the Ebola epidemic now devastating parts of Africa. Like other disasters, it too is the product of history, of the decisions that governments have made in the past as well as the present. 
Modern African history teaches, often tragically, the need to distinguish between what might be called natural phenomena from those that are essentially socio-economic-political. The droughts that ravaged many parts of the continent in the early 1970s were an example of the former. (I leave aside the issue of human actions and global warming.) As drought-stricken California presently shows, the famines and the tens of thousands of lives lost that came in their wake were not, however, inevitable. That horrific outcome was largely the product of the policies put in place by colonial governments and dutifully and sadly reproduced by post-colonial regimes.
Read More at Black Agenda Report

“Tone policing” (and what to do instead)
by Kate
Essentially, “tone policing” or the “tone argument” is the practice of responding to an argument by focusing on the way it was said, instead of the actual issue it addresses. Often, it derails the whole conversation, distracting from something that was usually pretty important.
Read More at Disrupting Dinnger Parties

Top Five Tips for Men
by Ed Bertschinger
There's so much to write about this week on the topic of gender equity, I hardly know where to start.  I'll back up two weeks to when a well-known male supporter of women in science wrote me and several others on behalf of a male colleague in the UK who sought advice on how to improve the representation of women and minorities in physics departments.  He was frustrated that his colleagues didn't understand the problem and were resistant to change, and wondered how some US departments had made real progress.  This opened a fascinating small-group email discussion about what works and what doesn't work.  Despite the important efforts to make academic culture change a science, it is still primarily an art, and the conversation arising in the network of practitioners feels to me like the gathering of Impressionist painters whose creativity was rejected by the Salon de Paris.  We share tips and hone arguments in a creative online atelier before presenting our works in exhibitions.  We need our own Salons for mutual support and exchange of ideas - Salons that explicitly welcome men to become full partners in advancing gender equity.
Read More at Women in Astronomy

Why I won’t be wearing the ‘Poppy Hijab’
by Sofia Ahmed
But it is my grandfather’s legacy that really makes me reject this idea that I should celebrate these mens’ sacrifices. He was one of the 2.5 million Indian men that left British India to fight for the Allied powers during the second world war. Part of the Western Desert Campaign, he was stationed in Libya when he was captured by Italian forces in 1941, only to spend the next few years as a prisoner of war in German/Italian prison camps with none of his family aware of his whereabouts during the entire time. British Army officials in Delhi didn’t deem it necessary to provide them with any information. His family thought they were seeing a ghost when he walked back into the village nearly 5 years later.
Read More at Media Diversified

Lightbulbs and Lemon Battery
by Crazy Aunt Lindsey

See More at YouTube

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wednesday Reading

On Kindness
by Cord Jefferson
For a few weeks one summer, when I was about eight or nine, my family and I road-tripped from our home in Tucson to the Grand Canyon and then up to Yosemite National Park. We hiked and played and slept for days amid some of the world’s most majestic natural beauty, and yet I can tell you almost nothing about what Yosemite or the Grand Canyon are like from the inside. Instead, my most powerful memory from that trip is an afternoon spent at the beach during a brief stop in Los Angeles.
Read More at Medium

The Hollaback Video is Racist, But That Doesn't Mean Street Harassment Isn't an Issue
by Danielle
I've noticed a trend: white women use white feminism to let white men off the hook for their sexism and Black men use white feminism (or the excuse: well what white women did was racist!) to let themselves off the hook for their sexism.
Read More at 1 Black Girl. Many Words.

I Don't Exist (Yet)
Some time ago, I shared a secret with two friends: I find myself frequently searching for things that move me.  A deep, insightful book.  An exciting new song.  A novel movie.  An unusually critical article.  An event that pulls on my heart strings.  Something that will feed my spirit in a way that most things do not.
Read More at Conditionally Accepted

Henry Giroux's Wisdom and Warnings About 'Zombie Politics' and the 2014 Midterm Elections
by Chauncey DeVega
The Republicans will likely win control of the Senate in today's midterm elections.
I would like to tell folks to panic and that the sky is falling. The reality is that the sky had fallen down to Earth on the American body politics some time ago.
Does this mean that reasonable, sensible, and forward thinking Americans should not vote today? Of course not. The Republican Party is a political entity that has fully embraced white supremacy both on its own "merits", as a means of killing "the useless eaters", and advancing the neoliberal corporate Austerity Agenda.

Regarding Chauvinism
by Eugenia Loli
It rubs me the wrong way when people say “I’m proud that the XYZ place exists in my country” (e.g. a monument, or a natural place). Why would anyone be “proud” for something they had nothing to do with, is beyond me.
Read More at Eugenia's Rants and Thoughts

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Day Reading

The Empty Election
by Werner Herzog's Bear
There's a mysterious third party candidate called "Dark Angel" (no joke) on the ballot who actually has some good positions on student loan debt (his big issue), so he'll get my protest vote.
Read More at Notes From the Ironbound

The Hot-Taking of Evangelicalism
by David Sessions
Matt Walsh is a conservative blogger who recently moved to The Blaze after his personal blog, shared constantly by thousands of conservative Christians, became a viral phenomenon. Matt Walsh is a moron and a bad writer. He is proudly reactionary, sexist, anti-gay, and everything else you can imagine. He is the Platonic ideal of a douchebag as defined recently by Michael Mark Cohen.

Arena Homme+ (Fall/Winter 2013)
by Stoya
I like to use food as a metaphor sometimes, because most people seem to feel comfortable enough discussing food to do it anywhere, with anyone, and be able to look them in the eyes at the same time. There are a wide variety of foods in the world. Some are highly nutritious. Others have little value other than that of being considered a delicacy by the person about to ingest it. It is common for a person to enjoy many types of food, and to desire specific dishes at various times. Some people consistently prefer very simple foods and others can’t seem to get enough of complex and exotic dishes. The last time I checked, it was considered rude to mock someone for their culinary preferences whether those preferences are for grilled cheese or caramelized lobster with caviar mousse. We have no qualms about asking an acquaintance whether eating shrimp chow mein from eight days ago is a horrible idea or just a bad one.

On Lena Dunham
by Stavvers
Defenders of Dunham–and Dunham herself–have rejected claims that these behaviours were in any way abusing, using a two-pronged method. First, they are focusing on the source of the first media outlet to pick up on how concerning the behaviour Dunham confessed to was. They behave as though this is merely a right-wing issue, and these are the only people criticising Dunham, when in fact the vast majority of what I have seen has come from feminists, women, survivors. All these complaints are being erased, swept under the rug to form a narrative that it’s only bad people who have a problem with what Dunham said. That is categorically untrue.
Read More at Another Angry Woman

Every Man Gotta Right to Decide His Own Destiny: 35 Years of Bob Marley’s Survival
by Christopher J. Lee
It has been thirty years since Legend’s 1984 release, only three years after Marley’s early, tragic death from cancer at the age of 36 (a striking coincidence with Frantz Fanon, who also died at 36 from cancer). And I might have entitled this piece thirty years of Legend, except for the raw fact that the album largely, if not completely, erases Marley’s political legacy. Containing most of his charted hits with his backing band the Wailers, it is primarily an apolitical affair, though inclusions such as “I Shot the Sheriff” and “Get Up, Stand Up”—both originally from 1973’s Burnin’—provide a sense of the irreverence found in his back catalog. “Buffalo Soldier” (from the posthumous album Confrontation released in 1983) and “Redemption Song” (from his final album, Uprising, released in 1981) similarly invoke histories of black empowerment and resistance, the latter song drawing in part from Marcus Garvey (Garvey is considered a prophet by Rastafarians). But the trouble with Legend, as with most retrospective compilations, is that it upends the album concept—the sound recording as a problem-space, to borrow an expression from Columbia University anthropologist David Scott, who also happens to be from Jamaica.


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