Link Roundup: March 2018

Is Black Panther Alt-Right? (video) – Apparently several people in the alt-right are arguing that the fictional nation of Wakanda is an alt-right paradise.  Shaun deconstructs this in an entertaining way.  Note: I’ve not watched the movie.

The Ace Flag: A History and Celebration – This is mine, I’m plugging my own article.  It’s a little history of the purple-white-gray-black ace flag.  I was around when it was created.

Lawrence Krauss’s History of Sexual Harassment – Rebecca Watson talks about the Buzzfeed article that revealed Lawrence Krauss’ history of sexual harassment.  My reaction to the Buzzfeed article was, “Didn’t we already know that?”  I had recalled from the distant past that there were accusations, and all the skeptical orgs knew about it too.  But Krauss faced no consequences until recently.  Typical.

What Makes Celeste’s Assist Mode Special (video) – After all that talk about difficult video games, and whether they should include “easy modes”, it seems that some game developers have come up with an effective approach to offer players freedom to play how they want to play, while also maintaining a coherent vision of how the game should be played. The key is to offer options, but to clearly communicate (either explicitly or implicitly) the intended way to play. Also, rather than calling it an “easy mode” it’s best to call it something less judgmental, such as “assist mode”.

Interference – Marcus Ranum has some photos of the patterns created by two metal gratings slightly offset from one another.  These are called Moire patterns.  These patterns have real life consequences.  For instance, imagine that we have two crystal structures, with one laid on top of the other.  It’s a phenomenon a lot of physicists deal with.

The Songs that Bind – This article claims, based on analysis of Spotify data, that people’s musical preferences set in at age 13-14.  But as far as I can tell, what the analysis really tells us, is that, on average, songs are most popular among people who were age 13-14 at the time of their release.  I listen to classical music from the 1950s, but it would be incorrect to conclude that my musical preferences “set in” when I was in my negative 30s.  It’s possible that what the analysis really shows, is that each group has a strong consensus on music released in their early teens.  Perhaps when people are older, they continue to discover new music, but no longer follow a consensus.  The analysis is interesting but I’m very skeptical of its conclusions.

Why Some Feminists Hate Calling Women People – Rebecca Watson responds to a YouTube commenter (always a great idea, I know), who complained when she referred to a “menstruating person” rather than a “woman”.  Yeah, if you didn’t know, this complaint is a major red flag for a TERF.

The #MeToo Conversation Erases Trans People – Trav Mamone (of Bi Any Means) talks about how the #MeToo conversation has centered on cis women, and how this impacts trans women and nonbinary people.  I guess it seems intuitively obvious to me that if we get survivors to speak up, most will be women, but some fraction will be men, and this is something we should explicitly welcome.  It goes the same for trans and nonbinary people.  Arguing that trans/nonbinary people are too different from cis women is not only questionable, but also irrelevant.


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    Re “Interference”: Cool patterns, but calling it interference seems rather slack usage.

  2. says

    I prepared this link roundup last week, but if I had written it more recently, I definitely would have mentioned this story: Placing two layers of graphene together, and rotating one of the layers by 1.1 degrees creates a superconductor!

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