Linkspam: August 10th, 2016

Interrupting the health insurance discussion for my monthly linkspam.

Scientific Charity Movement – Jeff Kaufman is part of the effective altruism (EA) movement, which seeks the most efficient ways to do charity. In the late 19th century, there was a “scientific charity” movement that also tried to apply scientific methods to determine the best way to do charity. Unfortunately, their “scientific” method involved investigating individuals to see if they were deserving of charity. How horrible and inefficient. I support giving people money unconditionally.

Exits and Entrances – Somebody on FTB wrote a novel! As a skeptical/atheist nonfiction blogger who may one day write a novel, this is relevant to my interests. However, at the moment I am in the middle of the Cormoran Strike series (J. K. Rowling’s pseudonymous mystery novels).

Academic transphobia and The Media: The persistence of the “activists vs science” false dichotomy – Dr. Zucker’s clinic for conversion therapy for trans kids was recently shut down, and many of its defenders use an “activist vs science” narrative.  Siobhan points out that the clinic was wrong on scientific grounds, and that critics come from both within and without academia.  Hi!

The thing about academically-minded social criticism is that it’s not very accessible.  It’s there, but it usually won’t go viral, and is harder to find.  When people say that activists and academics are opposed to each other, that tells me that they like nuance in theory, but in practice can’t be bothered to actually find it and read it.

Consent and Alt-sex cultures – Ozy has some thoughtful discussion of compulsory sexuality in alternative cultures. As an ace who hangs out in gay and atheist spaces, I have feelings about this. Now, this may sound circular, but I think accepting the asexual spectrum is an important step to reducing compulsory sexuality. While compulsory sexuality affects everyone, having a marked group who is particularly affected tends to drive the point home.

Frivolous Friday: Solving Candy Land – If you liked my post about the life lessons of Hanabi, maybe you’d also like Greta’s life lessons from Candy Land.

Argument Clinic: A Theory of Verbal Abuse – Marcus Ranum, new blogger on FTB, talks about how to use insults effectively, or to parry them. I think it’s well-established that I’m not much for insults. But that makes it all the more interesting, as I had never thought about it on my own.

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