Link roundup: November 2017

It’s my monthly feature where I share links I’ve collected over the past month, and offer brief commentary.

The Trans Reveal – I recently found this blog that reviews queer webcomics and of course I’m all over that.  This article discusses various ways that webcomics can reveal that a character is trans, and what the pitfalls of each approach are.

Exodus: Why Americans are Leaving Religion—and Why They’re Unlikely to Come Back – This is an old article summarizing results from a survey of religiously unaffiliated USians.  What I found most interesting: 1) the main reason for their growth appears to be increased retention rates, 2) 58% of them say religion is bad for the world, and 18% say religion is personally important to them, 3) The people who say religion is bad for the world are more likely to be white, male, and have more education.

I found this article via Aged Reasoner–although the speculation in that post is mistaken, as I point out in the comments.

Why we really really really like repetition in music (video) – Vox talks about how we seem to find repetition inherently enjoyable in music, but not, say, stage plays.  Something that I have great difficulty understanding is how music worked before recordings existed.  It seems like music should have been more repetitive in those days, to make up for the fact that you couldn’t just repeat the recording as desired.

Vox incidentally mentions the speech to song illusion, which is the most compelling auditory illusion I have ever heard. Listen to this video, and then listen to it again. What has been heard cannot be unheard.


How to Debunk Misinformation – You may have heard about studies that show debunking things is ineffective.  Rebecca Watson shares a more recent study suggests that debunking things is more effective if you offer more detailed explanations why the thing is wrong, or if you include them in the process of figuring out why it’s wrong.  I’m glad to hear this.

Cold Case Christianity For Kids, mother and daughter team review – Chapter 1 – I’d like to highlight this series, where Dr. Sarah reads a Christian apologetics book with her daughter, and shares their reactions.  It’s fun.

Inside the Sexual Misconduct Allegations Rocking NeoGAF’s Last 48 Hours – In case you aren’t yet sick of hearing stories of people accused of sexual misconduct, here is another, associated with NeoGAF, a gaming forum.  Well, it’s less exhausting to read about when I am not familiar with the associated community, and never intend to interact with it.

My Milkshake Duck Scares All the Women from the Yard (video) – Sarkeesian discusses possible responses when we discover that the creator of some media we like is a terrible person.  The three options discussed are: 1) keep the author separate from their work, 2) continue enjoying their past work but stop pursuing their future work, and 3) avoid their work altogether.  In practice I follow a mix of strategies depending on how disgusted I am with the creator and how much I liked their past work.  It’s good to be self-reflective about it though.

Inside North Korea’s Bubble in Japan (video) – It’s about an oppressed minority group in Japan that identifies with North Korea, and has schools celebrating North Korean heritage.  It’s one of those ethical quandaries that I’m grateful I have no power over.  My initial thought is that schools teaching North Korean propaganda is probably worse than schools teaching Creationism.

Oh, so this is the second Vox video I’m linking in this link roundup, and third video.  Well, Vox’s YouTube channel is good!  Not everything on YouTube is ashes and misogyny.  The key is to mark yourself “Not interested” in any recommended video with a whiff of awful.


  1. anothersara says

    Hmmm, I wonder if the repetition effect is also part of how mantra meditation works (mantra meditation is when one repeats a phrase over and over again so that it alters one’s frame of mind – it’s often described as trying to become one with the mantra by going beyond the meaning of the words and merging with the sounds). It’s been observed that mantra meditation works even with nonsense phrases.

    I also use a mix of strategies with Milkshake Ducks depending on the situation. I think I am more likely to take the ‘Death of the Author’ approach when the ‘author’ is literally dead. I don’t know if you’ve read or remember this sequence in Something Positive.

  2. says

    @Brian Pansky,
    Yeah, if you hover your mouse over a video, and click on the three vertically arranged dots, there are some options.

    I once read a study on the speech to song illusion, which played a recording to choral singers and asked them to sing it back. While they interpreted it as speech, they perceived the range of pitch to be narrower than it really was. So it seems to me that it might be possible to experimentally test whether mantras work similarly.

    I have not read Something Positive. Hmm… the arc seems to be based on Orson Scott Card.

  3. Queenie says

    There’s a pretty interesting Japanese movie called Go, which is about a Zainichi Korean kid (that is, his family is North Korean but he was born and raised in Japan) who decides to stop going to a North Korean high school and go to a regular Japanese one (while trying to pass as Japanese):

  4. tomocar says

    RE: “Exodus” on PRRI, besides what you said, I think there is an (unintentional or intentional) bias when they say, for example, that 39% of young adults is a higher percentage than any other group, when they break down all Christians into 5 sub-groups that in fact add up to 50%. So let’s not delude ourselves – Christians still have us outnumbered, and still (across all age groups) make up a vast majority of the US population. BTW:WTF – why do you suppose they differentiate between white Christians and black Christians?
    Still, it is great that us “uns/nones” are a rapidly growing percentage of the population.Been one myself since I was 12 in 1958, back when we were what, 6% or so?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *