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All the miscellaneous links I’ve been hoarding up through the midterms November 7, 2018

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Trying to actually clear out my to-post pile — from political, technical, and fannish links alike.


Useful:

“Am I really just lazy?: A helpful key to why you are not doing that thing you know you are supposed to be doing.

Many of us are taught to make sure our sites can be used via keyboard. Why is that, and what is it like in practice? Chris Ashton did an experiment to find out.” Great article, prompted me to review my own sites and make some updates.

“At the end of June, through Comic Tea Party, I surveyed webcomic/indie comic readers and gathered data on their reading habits. This included questions about reading frequency and how they interacted with the comics they read. The survey received 188 responses, and today I would like to go through the data and share what we have learned.”


Depressing:

The YouTubers taking this challenge are very young, and they are making fetish content for adults. They just don’t know it.” Creepy. (Article from 2016.)

Bowles knew the sedative was “dripping into her veins” and that at any second she would cede control to a surgeon who had just revealed his intention to do something she’d explicitly asked him not to do. She felt panicked, but her body was unable to move. She recalls saying no twice, repeating that she wanted to be flat.”

Many parents and their kids are becoming more and more immersed in the fandoms surrounding their favorite shows, movies, and books. The below article by guest contributor Sean Z. is an in-depth look at the recent history of fandom and some of the pitfalls we should all be aware of and be discussing with our kids.


Uplifting:

The intersex community is counting on doctors to improve the treatment conditions our community has inherited. We dream of a world in which diverse sex traits are once again seen as natural variations, as they are in some cultures — not problems to be fixed. It can be intimidating to be called upon to rebuild a paradigm. But at least there’s a step-by-step guide.”

So, hey, it seems like George Takei is cool. (And literally did get targeted by Russia-based propaganda networks.)


Miscellaneous:

If Le Guin’s hand-drawn map of the icebound planet Gethen is somewhat obscure, it’s perhaps because it seems to pop up for the first time only in the endpapers of The Hainish Novels & Stories. Published in 2017, the year before the author’s death.”

“The Dutch firm Ecory was commissioned to research the impact of piracy for several months, eventually submitting a 304-page report to the EU in May 2015. […] illegal downloads and streams can actually boost legal sales of games, according to the report. The only negative link the report found was with major blockbuster films.” (So guess what was the only part of the report that got released?)

“Not since the angel Gabriel visited Muhammad in a cave around 610 AD, informing him that he is God’s prophet, has there been a new globally influential religion with hundreds of millions of followers. Though the world’s religions are very dynamic, and major faiths continue to shift and evolve in ritual and doctrine, the world today is dominated by the same four faiths that dominated the globe a millennium ago: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. According to a 2012 Pew study, 92 percent of religiously affiliated people around the globe belong to one of these four faiths.” An investigation on some of the cults and mini-religions growing today, and why it’s been so long since one of them made it big.

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Guys, imagine what they would say if Hillary compulsively ripped up all her papers. Just IMAGINE. July 4, 2018

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White House aides realized early on that they were unable to stop Trump from ripping up paper after he was done with it and throwing it in the trash or on the floor, according to people familiar with the practice. Instead, they chose to clean it up for him, in order to make sure that the president wasn’t violating the law.”

A combined 20 people have died in the Sodini, Rodger, and Minassian attacks. None of it was hard to see coming. The radical misogynist ideology behind the incel attacks was not remotely obscure.”

“But no matter whose fault it is, giving birth to a child with a terminal disease is something I did do. This is just as obvious as it is important: I am the one who was pregnant and gave birth to Dudley. That I continued my pregnancy under mistaken pretenses feels like an irreparable violation, one that I don’t think any man — including the one who loves Dudley as much as I do — is capable of understanding.

“Tell me again how much God hates abortion. Here, he’s giving the recipe for a drink that induces one.” (Numbers 5:11-31)

“While some claim targets for the inclusion of underrepresented groups lead to the promotion of individuals that do not deserve it, economists at the London School of Economics found that the reverse is true. Quotas can work to weed out incompetent men.

Apparently the uptick in allergies over the past few decades can be traced, at least partly, to sex differences in post-Dutch-Elm-disease urban tree-planting patterns, beginning in the 1980s.

“Media attention to rape in film is targeted mostly at how audiences perceive the scenes and lamenting the studios’ sheer mass of sexual violence on screen. Many articles ask the question: Are these scenes gratuitous? But rarely do we think about the filmmakers, actors and crew who make on-screen rapes happen, like MacNair. How do they feel?

“The Erics who spoke up with change-oriented ideas were far more likely to be identified as leaders than Erics who simply critiqued their team’s performance. But Ericas did not receive a boost in status from sharing ideas even though they were exactly the same as the Erics’.”

“So the student researchers were surprised when their hypothesis proved false – code written by women was in fact more likely to be approved by their peers than code written by men. But that wasn’t the end of the story: this only proved true as long as their peers didn’t realise the code had been written by a woman.

If we’re done being thankful, here are some things we need to be angry about. November 27, 2017

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Two months after Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, a sense of desperation seems to be yielding to resignation at best. More than half of the island is still without power, and hundreds of thousands of residents are fleeing to the American mainland in an extraordinary exodus.”

“Within months, Deen’s career was back on track. There was initial backlash, but none of it stuck. He continued to make money and win awards. But we were back to the drawing board. The network refused to give us the rights to the show and wouldn’t let anyone watch the already-shot pilot. After two years, we are still not legally allowed to show it to anyone.” How the media is set up not only to excuse rapists and punish their victims, but punish random innocent people who unwittingly worked with them.

“The liver department’s clinical director is Irish. Its academic director is Spanish. The hospital recently tried to hire a German as academic head of department, but he declined: He had been awarded a high-value European grant that he could not take to Britain after Brexit.” The (totally foreseeable) real effects of Brexit on the NHS.

“Trump was reportedly considering deporting Guo until aides talked him out of it—including informing him that Guo happens to be a member of his Mar-a-Lago resort (a privilege that costs $200,000 in initiation fees plus $14,000 in annual dues). The president subsequently changed his mind.”

“ICE agents in Austin scrambled — and largely failed — to engineer a narrative that would substantiate the administration’s claims that the raids were motivated by public safety concerns. Instead, the emails detail the evolution of ICE’s public statements once it became obvious that the Trump administration’s narrative was not true.

Militants detonated a bomb inside a crowded mosque in the Sinai Peninsula on Friday and then sprayed gunfire on panicked worshipers as they fled, killing at least 305 people and wounding at least 128 others. Officials called it the deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt’s modern history.”

“I’m as tired of writing it as you are reading it, but you know good and well that if [this white American terrorist] was a young Muslim — hell, if he had ever even visited a mosque in the past 25 years — that Trump would be tweeting about him right this very moment to tout how essential a Muslim ban is for American safety. […] In this case, though? Crickets.

Remember that time a white supremacist was reduced to a terrified blubbering mess when he realized he might actually get arrested? (Was that really only a few months ago?) A lot of these people are cowards at heart. They treat being Nazis like it’s LARPing. They do not expect actual consequences. Make them suffer consequences.

Exotic non-shooting ways the police might kill you in America May 22, 2017

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People killed by police, 2017. Currently at 460.

This one’s not a shooting, it’s a hit-and-run: “The evidence was overwhelming. The [white] driver’s identity was known. Her extensive criminal history was known. A witness was actually in the car when the crash happened. But this is America.” Justice for Quason Turner.

Shannon Hurd was sentenced to life without parole for stealing $14. Ten years later he was diagnosed with kidney cancer, though the prison had ignored his symptoms and complaints for so long that they didn’t catch it until the tumors had spread to his brain.

Women suffer domestic abuse in at least 40% of police-officer families, way higher than the overall US rate of 25%. (Appears to only deal with the rate of male cops abusing their female wives/girlfriends, no stats for non-male police and/or their non-male partners.)

“Ms Grice was then charged with “having caused wasteful employment of police by making a false report” because she failed to disclose that Lane was her on-off boyfriend, and was issued with a fixed-penalty notice.” That was February 2016. In August, the boyfriend murdered her.

No charges for the prison officers who scalded Darren Rainey to death. Apparently in Florida it’s a totally understandable accident for a responsible employee to “accidentally” boil a human being alive.

In addition to attempted manslaughter in the third degree, North Miami Police Officer Jonathan Aledda was also charged with culpable negligence, a first-degree misdemeanor, for the shooting of behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey in July.” At least someone’s getting charged for something.

“But why do you feminists get so *angry*?” April 5, 2014

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“When a man set up a fake internet dating profile pretending to be female, he set out to prove a point about how easy women have it when searching for an online match. However, his experiment backfired when – just two hours later – he was forced to delete his account because of an ‘onslaught’ of unwanted attention.

“So I made the OkCupid profile of the Worst Woman on Earth, hoping to prove that there exists an online dating profile so loathsome that no man would message it.” Or: the only proof you will ever need that harassment is not a compliment.

“Teachers are often unaware of the gender distribution of talk in their classrooms. They usually consider that they give equal amounts of attention to girls and boys, and it is only when they make a tape recording that they realize that boys are dominating the interactions.

Leading Men Age, But Their Love Interests Don’t: the graphs.

Pregnant Italian woman in the UK for a work trip, has a panic attack (that she normally takes medication to control, but like 99% of medications, you’re not supposed to take it while pregnant), social workers forcibly sedate her, give her a C-section, and have the baby adopted by a UK family. Didn’t even allow the woman’s family or friends to take care of the kid for her. This is insane.

“But it’s worse to leave a patient without medical care because doctors are afraid of violating the law.”

“In a landmark study, one researcher found that women make the same number of jokes as men — when they’re children. But around age 6, something changes; the number of jokes girls make decreases, and it never evens out again.”

Medical myths and malpractice April 5, 2013

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“She, too, was raised in an evangelical home, and she, too, is now the black sheep in her family. She tells me that one escort was raised Mennonite, and that another escort actually years before founded a Students for Life chapter in her high school. Our conversation reminds me of what my supervisor told me when I told her during training that I had grown up pro-life: ‘We get that a lot.’

“At 15, I was a good student and determined to apply to college. But after I had my daughter, my high school guidance counselor refused to see me and help me with my applications. She never expected me to graduate. Most people, even within my family, assumed I wouldn’t amount to anything and would be dependent on government assistance for the rest of my life.”

Non-consensual vaginal surgery performed on women starting in the mid-1960s by a deeply creepy doctor who thought it would make them more sexual. Unsurprisingly, it just screwed them up. And he was somehow allowed to get away with it for more than 20 years.

“…the Christian modesty of girls must be, in a special way, safeguarded, for it is supremely unbecoming that they flaunt themselves and display themselves before the eyes of all.” That’s an argument from the ’30s against women competing in the same sporting arenas as men. And here’s one from the ’40s, guess what it’s about: “On the medical evidence made available, the bishops very strongly disapproved of the use of these appliances, more particularly in the case of unmarried persons.

“The Virginia General Assembly has joined the state house in approving an amendment proposed by Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell to forbid any insurance plan in the state exchange from offering abortion coverage, even if the coverage is paid for out-of-pocket and with separate funds.” The party of small government, ladies and gentlemen!

“The idea that men are naturally more interested in sex than women is ubiquitous that it’s difficult to imagine that people ever believed differently. And yet for most of Western history, from ancient Greece to beginning of the nineteenth century, women were assumed to be the sex-crazed porn fiends of their day.

Doctors and comics and podcasts! December 13, 2011

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Two of the missing old-school Doctor Who episodes have been found! It’s like an early Christmas present.

A four-part discussion with Terry Pratchett and Dr. Jacqueline Simpson on folklore.

Daily Show writer Jo Miller talks to Darbi Worley and TDS co-creator Lizz Winnstead talk about being a “comedy writer and known possessor of a vagina.” This came out shortly after the infamous Jezebel article, and I’m surprised it didn’t make the rounds at the time. It goes into more detail about the inner workings of TDS, in general and as they relate to gender and sexism, than pretty much anything else I’ve seen since. And it’s certainly the longest discussion from people who can bring the authority of their own experiences to the table.

Video of Kaoru Mori doing sketches, including Emma and Amiru (Otoyomegatari). I marvel at this woman’s ability to pick up a marker and just go. No sketching, no guidelines, just perfectly proportioned curves with every stroke. Watching the characters take shape is just beautiful.

A massive collection of vintage comics! From the 1900s through about the ’40s (so beware occasional racist caricatures). I recognized a few from various anthologies I’ve bought; the rest are new, ranging from banal to gorgeous to clever to just plain weird.

Some highlights: Betsy Bouncer and Her Doll is brutally bizarre. Lucy And Sophie Say Goodbye has only one joke, but could just as easily have been titled Lucy And Sophie Make Out. Dear Little Katy is unnervingly chibi-esque slapstick. There’s only a tiny slice of Flapper Fanny; the cute sisterly dynamics make me want a whole lot more.

“Pretty Girl” strips: Betty, Carrie.

Ella Cinders, a charming jazz-era soap opera that starts as a modernized (for its day) Cinderella story and takes on a life of its own. I tore through the entirety of what was there, full of the sort of ups-and-downs and melodrama that Little Orphan Annie perfected; the strip continued for several decades after.

I’m still reading through these, and will link more good ones as I find them!