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Jun 10 2011

Los Links 6/10

Not as linkolicious as usual, I’m afraid – the Muse is a harsh mistress, and work has been hell.  But we’ve got some good stuff here.

This week’s Controversy on teh Internetz came courtesy of a truly awful WSJ editorial that made me want to go have a good wash afterward. Basically, the complainer (I refuse to dignify the spouter of such drivel with the august word “author”) spent far too many words bitching about how awful it was that young adult fiction explored dark and dangerous subjects.  One comes away with the sense that the complainer prefers all fiction to do nothing more than spoonfeed bland platitudes and pollyanna pablum into the mouths of everyone.

I couldn’t really jump into the #YASaves fray, because young adult fiction never saved me.  I’m one of the fortunate few who enjoyed a nearly idyllic childhood, and my YA reading was devoted to such sillyness as Sweet Valley High (look, I didn’t mean to, it just happened), Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, and suchlike other things.  Although, come to think of it, a Sweet Valley High novel that dealt with the aftermath of death by cocaine did give me reinforcement when it came to deciding drugs were not for me…

Anyway, several excellent bloggers took care of the situation admirably, and I encourage you to read their posts.

Almost Diamonds: Living in the Dark.  In which myths are exploded and a righteous spanking is administered.  I wish we lived in a world that didn’t give Stephanie Szvan so much to get pissed off about.  Since we do, I’m very glad she’s so damned good at turning her rage into hard-hitting blog posts.

Gayle Forman: wall street depravity.  Time for the silent majority to tell the loudmouth minority trying to dictate what’s worthy of reading to STFU.

Kyle Cassidy: if you can’t be witty, then at least be bombastic – The Wall Street Journal Nonsense about YA Literature.  The demolition is complete.  Also, cool metaphors!

WSJ Speakeasy:  Why the Best Kids Books Are Written in Blood.  Sherman Alexie, ladies and gentlemen.  Money quote:  “I write in blood because I remember what it felt like to bleed.”  Read the whole thing.

Science

Clastic Detritus: Friday Field Photo #146: Deep-Sea Landscapes in the Desert.  The ocean. On land. Do I really have to explain how cool that is?

Uncovered Earth: Of Puddles and Probabilities. Lottery tickets, creationists, and a quick lesson in the way odds work.

Highly Allochthonous: If you’re waiting for an earthquake warning, you’re doing it wrong.  Instead of suing scientists who don’t predict the unpredictable, people in earthquake-prone areas should see to, y’know, maybe just possibly preparing for the inevitable instead. Also, don’t miss Chris’s new Geotweeps Discuss site. Too much fun!

Looking for Detachment: Megabreccia II: More Photos and Megabreccia III, the Continuing Saga.  I’d tell you a little something about how awesome these posts are, but I’m still busy wiping the drool off. ZOMG delicious!

Earthly Musings: Hawaiian Geology at Haleakala Crater. And dessert. Yum!

The Atlantic: Chile’s Puyehue Volcano Erupts. And the postprandial cognac.  Some of the most spectacular volcano photography I’ve ever seen.

Eruptions: Spectacular images and video of the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle eruption in Chile.  In which Erik explains, and volcanoes are suspected of being willfully inconvenient.

Mammoth: Cubit’s Gap.  Cut one little hole in a levee and watch the river build…

Science House: The Public and Science: A Blind Date.   Improv, science communication, and Alan Alda.  This is made of win.

Freakonomics: Launching Into Unethical Behavior: Lessons from the Challenger Disaster.  The most devastating statement, and how considering business rather than ethics angles can lead to horrifying consequences – even for the ethical among us.

Measure of Doubt: “Stand back everyone, I’ve been trained for situations like this…” And here you thought algebra could never be of any ordinary practical use.

Neurotic Physiology: Does all that coffee really make you hear Bing Crosby sing?  In which Sci wields the Smack-o-Matic upon a study so bad even this layperson’s jaw dropped.

Not Exactly Rocket Science: The Renaissance man: how to become a scientist over and over again.  I loved this for many reasons. The fact it celebrates the creative power of failure is only one.

Grist: No joke: This is the biggest battery breakthrough ever.  If this pans out, electric cars won’t be a ginormous pain in the arse when it comes to recharging.  Truly amazing stuff.

State of the Planet: Making Room for Rivers: A Different Approach to Flood Control.  This seems like a good and necessary idea.  Also, opens your eyes to what artificial creatures we’ve forced rivers to become.

Atheism and Religion

Butterflies and Wheels: Oh is that so.  Here is the money quote for the next time someone howls about their religious freedom being infringed because they’re not allowed to lead a sectarian prayer at a public event: “My religious belief is that god is a non-existent imaginary agent. I don’t get to say that at public school graduation ceremonies or Congress’s morning prayer. Since other people do get to say that god is a real, non-imaginary agent, the state is interfering with my rights to express my religious beliefs.

“It is also, of course, interfering with the religious beliefs of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Wiccans, Scientologists, Crefto Dollarians, and so on.”

Also don’t miss Right here in River City, in which we learn that Catholic laundries tormented Seattle women. 

Xtra: Rainbows banned at Mississauga Catholic school.   How the Catholic church hates on gay students, and adds insult to injury by not letting them donate the funds they raise to LGBT charities.

The Hibernia Times: Atheism Is the True Embrace of Reality.  Paula Kirby’s journey from near-nunnery to out atheism, delivered without compromise.

Writing

Harvard Business Review: Publishing’s 169 Years of Disruption, Told in Six Freakouts. Read this and relax. Reading will survive. It’s just the incidentals that change.

Scientific American: All About Stories: how to tell them, how they’re changing, and what they have to do with science.  Writing about science?  Read this.

A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing:  Guest Post by Raymond Benson.  In which we learn that success may not come overnight, and get much good advice.

Women’s Issues

PLOS Blogs: Women as natural capital.  I’m okay with using hard-headed practicality to get people to do the right thing.  Especially if it means less female infanticide.

The Washington Post: SlutWalks and the future of feminism.   Feminism fired up and ready to go.  Quite a few money quotes in this one.  And it has made me determined to be a badass.

Politics

Alternet: The Worst Thing About Weinergate? The Total Obliteration of Sexual Privacy by Ideologues Like Andrew Breitbart.  At least I’ll be safe from the prurient prudes if I ever run for office, considering I haven’t got a sex life…  Oh, and for those who are wondering, I don’t give a rat’s ass if Rep. Weiner wants to flirt.  Really don’t.

Society and Culture

Temple of the Future: Red Smoke, No Fire.  How dare A.C. Grayling open a university!  In which snark is employed and protesters smacked.