Monday Miscellany: Vivaldi, Fourier, TUESDAY

I failed at posting this properly on Monday. Mostly because I was so busy having fun at Skepticon. Can you blame me? (Answer: yes, but you should click these links anyways)

1. Facts So Romantic is exactly my kind of column. Romance is good research tailor to your interests, y’all. Or flowers. Whatever floats your boat. Anyways, FSR is here making the Fourier transform seem positively dreamy.

2. Signaling and the stress of ‘whistling Vivaldi’:

Social psychologist Claude Steele revolutionized our understanding of the daily context and cognitive effects of stereotypes and bias. The title of his book alludes to a story his friend, NY Times writer, Brent Staples once shared. An African American man, Staples, recounts how his physical presence terrified whites as he moved about Chicago as a free citizen and graduate student. To counter the negative effects of white fear he took to whistling a classical music piece by Italian composer Vivaldi. It was a signal to the victimless victims of his blackness that he was safe. Dangerous black men do not listen to classical music, or so the hope goes. The incongruence between Staples’ musical choices and the stereotype of him as a predator were meant to disrupt the implicit, unexamined racist assumptions of him. It seems trite perhaps, an attempt to make whites feel at ease unless we recall the potential consequences of white dis-ease for black lives.

3. I’m lucky enough to know Erik in Real Life(tm) and this piece about UnderArmor, Northwestern football, and what it means that we glorify injury is amazing.

[…] we’d much rather see “service” and “country” written across the backs of our players’ blood-stained uniforms than “chronic traumatic encephalopathy,” the neurodegenerative condition that is responsible for what most people know as “the concussion scandal” sweeping the NFL. Because just like real warriors, we want our football players to keep fighting when they get blood spattered on them, or have a concussion, or, like legendary quarterback Brett Favre, can’t remember their daughters’ soccer games. What we don’t want them to do is kill themselves, like four NFL players or ex-players did in an eight-month span last year. You could be retired Chargers icon Junior Seau, or a young, active player like Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, who shot himself outside the team’s practice facility after murdering his girlfriend in front of his 3-month old daughter. It doesn’t matter. No one’s immune to the mysterious but all too common “something” that football can do to you. Of course, our real warriors also kill themselves—at a rate a recent estimate placed at around 22 veteran suicides every day. It turns out that it’s much easier to fight through some blood on the outside of your jersey, or uniform, or flag, than it is to fight through what can go on inside your head.

4. Now that we’re married, can we go back to being queer?

5. Language and how it can give you more ways to divide and clarify your understanding.

6. On consent in romantic relationships:

There’s a lot of fuzzy usage around the word consent. I would like to propose a tightening of the definition, because if we are not clear about what consent is, we cannot possibly succeed in communicating about it. Consent is about me: my body, my mind, and my choices. My consent is required to access the things that I own. You do not need my consent to act, because I do not own your body, your mind, or your choices. However, if your behavior crosses into my personal space, then you need my consent. If my romantic partner goes out and sleeps with a dozen random hookups, he may have broken an agreement, but he has not violated my consent. If he then has sex with me without telling me about his actions, he has violated my consent because he has deprived me of the ability to make an informed choice.

7. People with really great memories are actually not so great at sifting through misinformation. Hunh.

8.This one isn’t a link. I just had a wonderful time at Skepticon 6 and I am just starting to come down from the ridiculous happiness of seeing dearly loved people. I twirled and made silly faces and tabled and was recognized by some of you dear readers. (This still leaves me speechless and flabbergasted) and wow, waking up in Chicago was a bit of a letdown today. So many thanks to the wonderful people who made that happen.


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