Link roundup: May 2020

Success!  I created a link roundup without COVID-19.  Well, the last one is tangentially related, but not really.

In defense of Carole Baskin | Overthinking TV – I heard about this Tiger King documentary on Netflix, but rather than watching it, I found it much more enjoyable to just read the Wikipedia summary and listen to commentators like Quinton (video).  I was really surprised when the commentators noted that the guy who hired a hitman was the sympathetic character, and his victim was unsympathetic.  That really didn’t come across in the Wikipedia summary.  Anyway, this article explains some relevant cognitive biases.

Benedetti’s Puzzle | Adam Neely (video) – Adam Neely talks about comma pumps, an aspect of music theory that I only learned when I became obsessed with xenharmonic music.  There’s also a more technical introduction on the Xenharmonic Alliance.  Depending on your tuning system, different comma pumps are available.

BiNet USA Falls Apart | Tris Mamone on Splice Today – In the drama category, we have a bisexual organization trying to claim copyright on the bisexual flag.  Several days later, BiNet USA released a statement that sure strings some words together, but I can’t tell if they’re backing off or not.  I had also collected some links on my pillowfort.

What Can We Learn From Female World Leaders? | Rebecca Watson – Rebecca points out the problems with putting female world leaders on pedestals, and praising their womanly virtues.

Link Roundup: April 2020

I tried to make so that not all my links were COVID-19-related… so I have one thing.  Yeah, the problem with virus links is not just that we’re tired of them, it’s that they get out of date too quickly for a monthly link roundup.

Why Avatar has the Most Ironic Soundtrack of All Time | Sideways (video) – Avatar was a thing, I guess it must have had a soundtrack?  Apparently the director wanted the aliens to have totally alien music, blending all sorts of traditions, like nothing we’ve ever heard before.  So the composer consulted with an ethnomusicologist, and they made what was requested.  But the director rejected it over and over, and the movie got a bland soundtrack that I for one cannot remember.  The guy who made this video though, he’s just so unreasonably optimistic about this rejected soundtrack.  Does he think that if they made a soundtrack unlike anything anyone’s heard and put it in a blockbuster film, people would like it?  It was a fool’s quest from the start.  Gosh, I’m sure I would like it, but I also like pop songs where the vocals are a half-step out of key.

For those who don’t like video, the story is also in an article written by the ethnomusicologist.

The rest are coronavirus.

I Can’t Stop Watching Contagion | Folding Ideas (video) – Content warning: anxiety-inducing.  Dan Olson talks about a 2011 film about a pandemic, sort of like how I wrote earlier about Doomsday Book, but he does it better.

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Link Roundup: March 2020

This month’s link roundup is late, and to be honest I hadn’t collected any links until the past week.  And yep, it’s all COVID-19 related.  I see that Skepchick also collected a bunch of links on COVID-19, so I’d check that out too.

Between Panic and Indifference | Red Beard – Red Beard lives near Seattle, right by one of the outbreaks of COVID-19, and gives a personal account of what it’s like.  This article is dated to March 5th, and was a preview of what a lot of us are starting to go through, or will go through.

Why I’m Just So Worried About Our Students | Skepchick – Isis discusses problems faced by university students in the face of school closures.

The Fed’s $1.5 trillion intervention, explained | The Week – My reaction to the federal $1.5 trillion injection was “How much even is that?  Is it like a million?”  I checked xkcd’s money chart and–holy shit!  My husband shared this article, which is a bit too technical for me to understand.  But the key points, if I understand correctly: a) this is a no-brainer to prevent collapse, b) yes it unfairly favors the rich and wealthy, c) but that’s the tool that the Federal Reserve has available to it, d) a fairer way to rescue the economy it would have needed to come from the Trump administration and Congress.

In personal news, I have a job and am now moneyed.  I don’t even know what to do with all this money.  Charity recommendations welcome in the comments.

Link roundup: February 2020

Just a few links this month.  Enjoy.

[On the word “pedophile”] | Osteophage – Coyote discusses how the word “pedophile” refers specifically to the internal state or intent of perpetrators.  This runs counter to my usual philosophy about sexual violence: it’s the action and consequences that matter, not the perpetrator’s motivations.  Focusing on motivations is a bad idea because it gives people a way to excuse sexual violence by making unverifiable and irrelevant claims about perpetrators’ motivations AND it raises the potentially derailing question of whether sexual inclinations alone can be morally wrong.

If you’re wondering what words to use instead, the gold standard among researchers and activist organizations is child sexual abuse or CSA.  A perpetrator of CSA could be called a child sexual abuser.  A couple years ago I wrote a guide to sexual violence terminology, which was mostly based on researchers and activists, and I have to say that “pedophile” wasn’t even on my radar because nobody uses it.

Do not try to understand me | Pervert Justice – Crip Dyke talks about how trying to understand trans experiences can be a hangup for cis people, and isn’t really necessary to begin with.  I have to say, that being an ace activist/commentator, at least trying to understand the full range of ace experiences is part of the role.  But there are just so many different experiences, some quite far off from my own, that it’s foolhardy for even a dedicated activist to try to understand it all.  It’s more important to understand concerns and goals than personal experiences.

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Link Roundup: January 2020

I’m back from break, and I bring you links.

Christmas With The Kranks Is A Movie About Cults | Jack Saint (video) – Christmas with the Kranks is a Christmas comedy about a couple that decides to take a vacation on Christmas, but then the village gets wind of them and turns against them.  I’m pretty sure the movie is just taking the side of the creepy village, but Jack Saint ignores this interpretation for humorous effect, and explains a different reading.  I was thinking about this when PZ showed a real letter he received citing him for Christmas violations.

Music for Grocery Stores | Tris Mamone – Tris proposes that we should play more ambient music in public spaces.  I enjoyed this because it felt like a synthesis of two things I have written about: the ethical question of music in public spaces, and the appeal of drone music.  I think there’s a case to be made here–ambient music is the one thing in my library that my husband can stand despite having no appreciation for it.  Although, one thing that has developed out of my interest in ambient music is an ability to actively dislike some of the stuff, so even if everyone else shrugged off the mild piano of Music For Airports, I have to say it might offend my own sensibilities!

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Link Roundup: December 2019


Freethoughtblogs has re-opened applications for new bloggers!  Join us!  Applications have technically been open all along, but we had a huge backlog, which we are now clearing out.  The following blogs were just added last week: Andreas Avester, From The Ashes of Faith, Impossible Me.

“An Asexual World”: Asexuality in Death Stranding – I wrote an article about some bad asexual representation in a video game.  Cowritten with Queenie, an expert in Japanese culture.

Blogs & Articles

How Using Tumblr is Undermining Your Community – Oh good, Coyote finally made a list of structural problems with Tumblr.  Tumblr has a reputation (in my view an accurate one) for being a home for many queer and SJ-oriented communities, but that does not mean that Tumblr itself is a force for good.  Tumblr has held our communities back, and people don’t even realize how bad it is because they’re swimming in it.

The good guy/bad guy myth – The article discusses a popular pattern in fiction, where one side represents moral good, and the other evil, and argues that this is a historically recent trend.  Based on the examples, it sounds like there are three parts to this trend: morality as a primary subject matter, characters and sides that embody moral values, and black and white morality.  The article takes a negative view on these trends, but I’m not so sure.  IMO, morality is an excellent subject matter for fiction, and using characters to embody values is a fine technique so long as we realize real people aren’t like that.

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Link roundup: November 2019

A few plugs:

There is a video of me talking about the Ace Community Survey.  Also cat and dog persons.

I wrote about my approach to putting asexuality on my resume.

And now the links:

Why I Can’t Trust You With The Term “Purity Culture” – Coyote explains purity culture, which is the Christian culture surrounding chastity, and virginity before marriage.  And then explains how “purity culture” is now being (mis)used on Tumblr, to refer to… something to do with supposed problems around social justice discourse?  It’s rather confusing, honestly.  Anyway, if you’ve ever talked about Christian purity culture, Coyote has some insightful commentary that really lays out what you’ve been talking about, even if you hadn’t realized it.

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