Link Roundup: October 2020

School of Life: A Very Bad YouTube Channel | Big Joel (video, 25 min) – Just a funny take down of a ridiculous self-help channel.  I was surprised to learn that School of Life is made by Alain De Botton, who I mostly remember from his 2012 TED talk about “Atheism 2.0”.  At the time, his talk certainly struck a chord with a lot of atheists who were unhappy with the state of the atheist movement.  But whenever I heard details about his specific suggestions, they were completely full of shit.  He just had no idea what he was talking about, and worse, he erased the efforts of other atheists who had similar criticisms and who were actually involved in the communities they wanted to change.  I hated this guy, and now I feel vindicated.

The Dunning-Kruger effect: Misunderstood, misrepresented, overused, and… nonexistent? | Skepchick – Ever since researching and writing about the Dunning-Kruger effect, I’ve been convinced that it’s not very good psychology, and even worse as pop psychology.  So I’m glad to see this independent (and more thorough) review.

While on this subject, I was reminded of my research into perceptions of penis size, where I learned that (non-Asian) men systematically overestimate their penis size (“penis Lake Wobegon” I called it).  Following Dunning-Kruger logic, we must conclude that having a smaller penis deprives one of the ability to accurately self-assess one’s penis size.

Science & Religion Aren’t Compatible (But only in America) | Skepchick – Rebecca Watson discusses a study demonstrating the point in the title.  If anyone has paper access I’m curious what it says about the UK and Canada.

In Search of a Flat Earth | Folding Ideas (video, 76 min) – I see that video essays are quickly approaching movie length.  Dan Olson disproves a conspiracy theory with some beautiful footage, not that it matters to the doomsday cult.

Link Roundup: September 2020

OpenAI’s latest breakthrough is astonishingly powerful, but still fighting its flaws | The Verge – GPT-3 is a new language AI with astounding power.  GPT-3 first grabbed my attention when I saw someone use it to produce a response to philosophers talking about GPT-3.  Sure, some cherry-picking is involved, but the result is more cogent than the average internet commenter.  To temper (or amplify) the hype, I suggest looking at this massive compilation of GPT-3 results, including experiments that failed.  Among other things, GPT-3 is apparently terrible at making cat puns.

Although not created by GPT-3, I also thought these image completions were incredible.

Beethoven Sucks At Music | 12tone (Video, 14 min)
Music Theory and White Supremacy | Adam Neely (Video, 44 min) – Now this is the music youtube content that I am here for.  12tone explains some of the history that led Beethoven and other classical composers to be canonized.  Adam Neely discusses how “music theory” as it is commonly understood, is really the theory of 18th century European music.  The framing of 18th century European music as the objective measure by which all music must be judged is structural white supremacy.  I have a passing interest in music theory, and it’s difficult to learn in the best of times, but I find it doubly frustrating because it fails to describe any of the music I listen to.  I feel like these videos have named the problem.

If you liked these videos, you might also appreciate the paper that Neely’s video is based on: “Music Theory and the White Racial Frame“.

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Link Roundup: August 2020

Last month, I relaunched the Ace Journal Club.  We discussed a psychology paper, and next month we’re discussing a gender studies text.  Not of interest to most readers, but it’s a thing that is happening.  I also started a series about split attraction models on The Asexual Agenda.

Also, in case you missed it, Crip Dyke was at the Portland protests!  You can start here and go forward.  Or if you read just one thing, you can read about the worst night.  Summarized in five words: Tear gas, lots of it.

‘Mum’s day off is it?’: what adopting as a same-sex couple taught us | The Guardian – This article is less about same-sex parenting, and more about the disproportionate labor that mothers perform.  When a kid has two fathers, they’re often presumed to be straight men supporting their wives, and they get praised for doing ordinary parenting.  File this under “Are the straights okay?”

The Women’s-Only Spaces Myth | Reprobate Spreadsheet – HJ examines the history of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, infamous for excluding trans women.  The leadership believed they were protecting attendees from sexual violence, but in fact most attendees did not agree with the decision, and the leadership was guilty of covering up sexual violence perpetrated by cis women.

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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.

Link roundup: June 2020

Welcome to my monthly link roundup, where I share and comment links to interesting articles I’ve found in the last month.  Additionally, I will share links to my own writing that appeared elsewhere.

My writing

Carnival of Aces: Quarantine – This is a blogging carnival I hosted last month, which prompted ace writers to talk about their experiences during the pandemic.  While this was an event for ace bloggers, not all the articles have to do with asexuality.  There’s a pretty wide range of personal experiences here, if you’re interested.

græ tells painfully familiar stories– I did something unusual and wrote a lyrical analysis of Moses Sumney’s album græ.

Ace Day was Incompetently Organized – I engage in activist drama.  Probably not of interest to most people.

Interesting articles

How South Korea’s Nightclub Outbreak Is Shining an Unwelcome Spotlight on the LGBTQ Community | Time – In South Korea there was an outbreak associated with a gay nightclub.  This causes problems with their contact tracing strategy because people didn’t want to publicly out themselves.  It sounds devastating.  By the way, this story is from early May, but I haven’t really seen any updates in English news so I don’t know what happened.

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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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