Link Roundup: May 2023

FYI, my last post about AI art got a lot of comments on Pillowfort, if you’re interested in that conversation.  And, I have another post queued up, so look forward to that.

Free Stuff is Good, Actually | Unlearning Economics (video, 1:24 hours) – An economist runs down the evidence in favor of social spending such as education, healthcare, and universal basic income.  It really is a free lunch, so there’s no excuse not to take it.

I don’t have much to add except that, in the US individual market prior to Obamacare, the adverse selection death spiral ran its full course for some populations.  People like my husband would not have been able to purchase individual health insurance at any price because of adverse selection.  People complained about how insurance companies loved Obamacare, and yes I expect that insurance companies do not like adverse selection, and I happen to agree with the insurance companies on that one.  Restore the mandate to buy health insurance.

Games and Online Harrassment Hotline, Take This Heads Explain Why the Industry Needs Another Culture Shift | IGN – The author speaks with Anita Sarkeesian and Eve Crevoshay about current work trying to improve company culture, going beyond standard DEI initiatives.  Employees’ fear of doing something wrong, and companies’ fear of liability appear to be major obstacles.  It’s also interesting that when they made a Games and Online Harassment Hotline, they got a lot of calls from the people who had caused harm and didn’t know what to do about it.

Sexism certainly comes in all sizes.  There are acute examples of sexism and abuse that need to be handled by firing people–but workplaces can also have a chilly climate arising from a hundred small behaviors.  I think when people only hear about the acute examples of abuse in the news, they end up being very defensive even about little things–and that makes it difficult to improve workplace culture before the crises occur.

Daylight, the Gay Banking Startup, Is Sued by Employees | Intelligencer – Speaking of acute examples of abuse, it’s a startup hell story.  I need queer folks to understand that the anodyne professional environment in many workplaces is not just heterosexist bullshit, it’s an attempt (not always successful) to reduce workplace harassment and accommodate people from varied backgrounds.  You can’t do an introduction circle encouraging people to share traumatic experiences, especially not in a workplace environment–huge red flag for not understanding trauma.  Queer culture must include consent culture, or else it will be full of abuse that ultimately hurts queer people.

The [Queer] Politics of Eurovision | verilybitchie (video, 41 min) – I’m just an ignorant American what doesn’t know about European reality television, but what shocked me most was learning that Eurovision believes itself to be apolitical.  Isn’t the political nature of a musical olympics rather transparent?  This video shows a microcosm of European politics and homonationalism.

Asexually Reading “The Great Sex Rescue” | Tell Me Why The World is Weird – Conservative Christians have some teachings about sex that can be very dangerous to women, basically setting them up for marital rape or other coercive situations.  This goes especially for asexual and queer women.  Perfect Number is an ex-Evangelical Christian ace, and this article is the preface to her reading of the book, “The Great Sex Rescue: The Lies You’ve Been Taught and How to Recover What God Intended”.  I’m looking forward to the rest of this series.

the entire history of the youtube algorithm, i guess | Answer In Progress (video, 47 min) – This video gives a pretty good explanation of how the YouTube algorithm works, for non-experts.  I know “the algorithm” is the indecipherable deity of the internet.  But the YouTube algorithm is trying to get people to watch and enjoy videos, and Google has enough resources to do that task well.  So if the YouTube algorithm seems very mysterious and fickle, it’s because it’s rising to match the inscrutability of people.

The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling | Contrapoints (video, 1:55 hours) – Personally I’m already sick of hearing about JK Rowling, and would like to conserve my energy so I can deal with the rest of her miserable life as a TERF mouthpiece.  And yet, Natalie Wynn continues to produce great video essays even on exhausting topics. The history of Anita Bryant, former orange juice promoter and #1 homophobe of the 1970s, provides some valuable context for understanding our current situation. I also love hearing Natalie—who had a reputation for “deradicalizing” alt-right folks—give some real talk about the limitations and drawbacks of deradicalization.


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