I read popular physics: The darkest particles

This is an entry in my series where I read physics articles in Scientific American, and pretend that my physics PhD is useful.

A letter

This month, we have an article called “The Darkest Particles“, about sterile neutrinos (sorry, this one’s paywalled). But before I get to the main attraction, I’m excited because we have the first letter from a responding to an article that appeared earlier in this series! Science writing isn’t just about the cutting edge, it’s also about following up with critical discussion and further research. These letters give us a small taste of critical scientific discussion.  Although, many of these letters are written by non-experts, so it’s not quite the same.

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Link roundup: July 2020

Only two links this month, I guess I just didn’t spend as much time collecting them.

Bo Ruberg | Keywords in Play (Podcast, 22 min) – An interview with Bo Ruberg, author of Video Games Have Always Been Queer and The Queer Games Avant-Garde.  She talks about the queer theory perspective on video games, degamification, regamification, speed running, and walking sims.

As I share this podcast, I’m thinking back to my own initial reaction, when I started hearing about queer theory in relation to video games back in 2013.  I initially found it offputting how little relation it had to conventional discussions of queer media, spending very little time on queer characters, and much more time on whatever they considered to be queer themes, the queerness of which is often quite tenuous.  Well, the discussion has grown upon me a bit.  The more I read and talk about queer representation, the more I desire different perspectives on what that even means.

OTF (One True Fandom) | osteophage – Coyote discusses a certain view of fandom, which emphasizes transformative works, especially fanfiction, as uniquely progressive and the most essential expression of fandom.

While I have been a fan of many things, I rarely participate in fandoms because that just seems like an awful lot of commitment to one thing.  Nonetheless, I’m presently part of two fandoms: for the card game Dominion, and for xenharmonic music.  Neither of these lend themselves to fanfiction at all, which suits me just fine.  In my few interactions with more prototypical fandoms, I’ve definitely encountered many of the attitudes Coyote describes, and it’s such a narrow understanding of fanning.

I read popular physics: A planet is born

This is part of my series where I read physics articles in Scientific American, and offer commentary as a former physicist.

I’ve had the June issue around for over a month, but I procrastinated too much and here we are in July. I’ll try to keep it short this time so I can move on to the next one.

The June issue is when COVID-19 really hits Scientific American. The cover says in big letters: “The Coronavirus Pandemic”. I already got the July issue, and the coronavirus is on the cover of that too. But, the cover notwithstanding, there are still physics articles, and that’s my area of expertise. This month’s article is “A Planet is Born“, by Meredith A. MacGregor.  This one isn’t paywalled so you’re free to read it yourself.

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