quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons (Default)
First off, in case you missed it, my last RL update is here in case you're curious as to how I'm doing. ^_^;

Also, one of my cousins recently opened up a jewelry shop on Etsy! I think some of you on my f-list would be interested, so if you'd like to support her (which would be awesome! :D) or just see the kind of work she's doing, feel free to check out her store. ;-)

Because I haven't done a linkdump in a while, it's another REALLY REALLY long one, so it's under a cut. Obviously I don't expect you to read all of it -- or any of it, for that matter -- but I've bolded the ones I recommend the most for your convenience. Enjoy!

Read more... )
quadruplify: ([LoK] Amon - mask)
So...stuff's been happening. On the minus side, seeing my dad's mother for the first time since she was admitted to the nursing home a couple of weeks ago -- rail thin, in a wheelchair, easily confused, hardly talking -- was rough. Cut for somewhat depressing details :( )

On the plus side, though, my birthday yesterday went well (I got two new shirts and an iTunes gift card, and we went out to eat -- it obviously wasn't much, but I don't need a lot of stuff and I don't like making a big deal of my birthday anyway), my psoriasis is slowly clearing up again, Dan Harmon is coming back to Community (which I honestly didn't see coming at all, but OMG YES SO EXCITED!!!!!!!! because now I can totally look forward to season 5 XDDDDDDDDDDDD), and overall my mood has been ever-so-slightly better than it has been. I was really disappointed with The National's new album Trouble Will Find Me -- I tried to like it, but all the songs sound pretty much the same, it seemed as if the band ended up refining their sound so much they sucked all the soul and life out of it, there's no lyrics that stand out or any other hooks to grab the listener's attention like all their other albums, and it's just plain boring -- but I've enjoyed the latest from Boards of Canada, Tomorrow's Harvest, a hell of a lot more, so that offsets the disappointment at least. ^_^;

Also, [livejournal.com profile] edge_chan was interviewed by a big art supply website (exciting!), and even though I don't collect vinyl LPs and hardly care for collecting them at all (unlike some music fans), this ultramarine-colored LP of Young Galaxy's latest album (which is also really good, BTW!) is so cool and I want one. *grabby hands*

[livejournal.com profile] kattidya, I got your birthday card in the mail a couple of days ago. Thank you very much!! :D

All right, on to the links, since they've piled up yet again and it'd be nice for my browser to work faster again:

POLITICS
--Does the NSA really need to spy on us?
--The tangled web of empire (more on the recent NSA spying controversy)
--Who Is Afraid of Big Brother? (a somewhat reasoned defense of PRISM)
--Why the NSA Needs Your Phone Calls
--Washington Is Trapped in Its Own Prism of Data-Mining Self-Defense
--Of Course Apple Avoids Billions in Taxes -- And It Should
--Connecticut Boy Scouts Chapter Defects, Welcomes Gay Members to Serve Openly (this includes adults, unlike the BSA's recent decision -- plus this was the council I was a part of when I was younger, so YAY!!!!!)
--The Impossibility of Being Barack Obama
--How the Obama Administration Talks to Black America
--Don't Hold Your Breath Waiting For Public Opinion to Turn Against Obama (this was published before the NSA scandal broke, but IMHO the article's central thesis is still relevant)
--Here's Why the Government Went Ballistic Over the AP Leak
--The EMPire Strikes Back (on why the "threat" of electromagnetic pulse is practically nonexistent)
--Top 10 warning signs of 'liberal imperialism'
--Fear Factor (a defense of drone strikes in foreign countries)

SCIENCE
--We've Found the Molecule That Causes Itchiness
--The effect that explains why you regret posting in anger
--You Didn't Have Any Lions to Run From, So You Clicked on This
--Butterflies remember a mountain that hasn't existed for millennia
--We're Only Beginning to Understand How Our Brains Make Maps
--5 Reasons Cold Fusion Is Bunk
--Study: Science Can Change the Sexual Orientations of Mice
--No need to eat like a caveman -- just eat your damn veggies!
--Giant fluorescent pink slugs found on mountain
--Amnesia and the Self That Remains When Memory Is Lost
--How many people really went through with the Milgram Experiment?

ENVIRONMENT
--So this is where all our greenhouse gases come from
--How Antarctica Would Look Completely Naked

SPACE/ASTRONOMY
--Can Space Tourism Save Earth?
--Could we find alien civilizations using infrared light?
--When it comes to exoplanets, science fiction lags way behind science
--How will space colonists access the Internet on Mars?
--Opportunity Finds More Hints of Mars Habitability

TECHNOLOGY
--The Video Game Helmet That Can Hack Your Brain (on the growth of brain-computer interfaces and its potential consequences)
--Gorgeous Floating Buildings Around the World

EDUCATION
--An Open Letter to Science Students and Science Teachers (on how much needs to be done to improve science education in the U.S.)
--The 12 Most Controversial Facts in Mathematics, and its sequel 9 More Super-Controversial Math Facts That People Refuse to Believe Are True

SOCIETY
--Masturbation Is at the Root of the Culture Wars (Hugo Schwyzer generally isn't someone worth listening to when it comes to feminist issues, but this is a good article nonetheless)
--If You Think Like an Imposter, You'll Be an Imposter (good advice for everyone to read)
--"You are all going to die": Joss Whedon's Wesleyan commencement speech (on making peace with contradictions, and the need to look at "both sides" of everything)
--When Men Experience Sexism (on finding a middle ground between militant feminists and MRAs)
--The Questions People Get Asked About Their Race
--Charles Ramsey and the Racial Language Barrier
--What Should I Do With My Life?
--Advice For College Grads From Two Sociologists
--What About the Guys Who Do Fit the 'Gay Stereotype'?
--Why Suicide Has Become an Epidemic -- and What We Can Do to Help
--Survivorship Bias (on the pitfalls of ignoring stories of failure)
--Sex After Dementia
--Why Is It So Hard to Understand What's Wrong With Rape Jokes?
--"The wonderful and frightening thing about Tumblr and Twitter..."
--On Horse Racing, "Break Downs," and Our Humanity
--Optimism Is Not Insane

GEOGRAPHY
--22 Maps That Show The Deepest Linguistic Conflicts in America

MEDIA
--Elementary Demonstrates the Right Way to Update a Classic Hero
--The Problem With Celebrating Straight Actors in Gay Roles
--New York PBS station criticizes reality TV with fake subway ads
--The Government Can't Stop Our Heterosexual Love: YA Dystopia From a Gay Perspective
--6 Ways to Survive an 'Internet Drubbing'
--You Won't Finish This Article (no, that's not a challenge)

ART/CREATIVITY
--Belgian Man Made His Own Samurai Armor (and it's very impressive!)
--Short film "Captain T&T": Boy tries to become a superhero in the violence of Trinidad and Tobago
--Sweet Mother of Assassin's Creed III... (I know zilch about this franchise and fandom, but I'd totally wear something like that too :D)
--"So Dark": A short film that proves even noble vampires can be horrifying


quadruplify: Shizuo Heiwajima (from Durarara!!) yelling ([DRRR] Shizuo - angry)
--Sex in Space Could Be Deadly  (D:)
--Many Working-Class Women Are Already Leaning In  (on the growing activism of low-income and working-class women in the U.S.)
--The Political Dead-End of Christianism  (a Catholic philosophical perspective in support of same-sex marriage)
--Why New Zealand is officially, earnestly upset about Argo
--American teacher in Japan under fire for lessons on Japan's history of discrimination
--Babies like people who injure babies not like them  (on how some prejudice actually IS inherent and not just taught; the link also has information about the link between political turmoil and HIV treatment, the recent finding of habitable planets outside of our solar system, and how stereotypes hold women in science back)
--10 Superhero Traits Tech Will Bestow
--Ancient Mars Had Conditions Suitable for Life  (I was skeptical about this at first, but when Phil Plait says it's probably right, chances are it is)
--The Emotional Psychology of a Two-Party System
--Some Theories on Why Men Don't Do As Many Household Tasks
--Why Daylight Saving Time Is Pointless
--We're Screwed: 11,000 Years' Worth of Climate Data Prove It  (DDDDDDDDDDDDDDD:)
--What Teens Get About the Internet That Parents Don't  (a good article to share for parents or other adults in your life who ~don't get it~ XD)
--'Women Own 1% of World Property': The Feminist Myth That Won't Die  (on why it's important to fact-check EVERYTHING)
--How to Resurrect Lost Species
--Feminism needs to include men to obtain equality for all  (some might find this article ventures too far into "but what about teh menz?!" territory for their liking, but the central point about why the word "feminism" has such a negative connotation is legit)


quadruplify: Julian Minci (from Legend of the Galactic Heroes) sticking his tongue out in disgust ([LoGH] Julian - yuck)
--SimCity 5's Multiplayer Blues  (I ended up having a lot more feelings about the new SimCity than I expected. I loved playing SimCity 3000 back when it was a thing, and part of the appeal was that I DIDN'T have to work and cooperate with others to play the game; I could build a city on my own, with whatever vision I liked. I'd be interested in playing this new version, but the offline DIY ethos of the previous games was what made it interesting, so it'll take a while getting used to.

Plus, part of the reason why I've spent most of my life NOT playing video game [or Second Life, for that matter] is because of the interacting with complete strangers that tends to happen. I'm extremely shy and self-conscious, and it's hard enough for me to talk to new people in other contexts as it is -- and people can be REALLY immature when playing video games, which makes me uncomfortable. IDK, I'd much rather start playing with people I already know if I have to.

And then there's the fact that you have to be online in order to play it, which I don't like at all. Considering we've lost Internet access for days on end before, I'd like to be able to play games to pass the time in a situation like that, and with something like SimCity 5 it wouldn't be possible. That is,
if I could play it in the first place without EA fucking it up. Seriously, I think we all know by now how disastrous the rollout this week has been. :PPP)

--Neither Pro-Life Nor Pro-Choice Can Solve the Selective Abortion Crisis
--8 things the U.S. election system could learn from Mexico's
--Mars mission poses greater risk to human life than NASA would allow
--Soon they'll be able to 3D-print you a hybrid car
--Our brains, and how they're not as simple as we think
--No, Our Solar System Is NOT a "Vortex"  (debunking myths made by a popular viral video)
--A Supermassive Ice Age May Have Led to Complex Life on Earth
--Why U.S. Politicians Think Americans Are So Conservative When They're Not  (and yet I still see way too many Tea Partiers on Facebook :/)
--Are popular scientists becoming modern day preachers?
--Astronauts Traveling to Mars Could Be Protected By a Poop Shield
--The Mixed Results of Male Authors Writing Female Characters
--The Benefits of Optimism Are Real
--One of the best places to search for alien life is the last that you'd expect
--"South African Violence" Only Explains the Pistorius Case If He's Not Guilty
--Invasive species? This sushi chef rolls with it  (this is a profile of the sushi restaurant K. and I went to last summer)
--The Birth of a Planet, Observed From Earth
--We Aren't the World   (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED -- on how culture shapes our fundamental beliefs, perception, and ways of thinking more than anyone could have expected, and how dangerous it is that science ignores this fact)
--Why Do People Stay in Abusive Relationships?

And because I haven't done one of these in a while, a meme:

So I took a 'What Harry Potter character are you?' test. Does anyone familiar with the series think this is right? )


quadruplify: Julian Minci (from Legend of the Galactic Heroes) sticking his tongue out in disgust ([LoGH] Julian - yuck)
First of all, thanks a lot to whoever sent me a valentine on [personal profile] tf_valentines! I wasn't expecting it at all, but I appreciate it all the same, and it made my day. XD All right, now on to today's links:

--The Hard Lessons of Oscar Pistorius  (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED -- on how the factors that make certain people wildly successful and accomplished in what they do end up hurting them, and why highly successful people do stupid and horrible things more often than the rest of us)
--How to read like a writer
--Azealia Banks and the Other "F" Word in 2013  (as someone who's frequently heard that word used as a homophobic slur against me and other people, it makes me sick that some people think it no longer has a homophobic meaning just because they say so)
--Toward a Black Jesse James  (on why mass murderers like Christopher Dorner don't deserve to be praised -- "I don't really know how anyone, with any sort of coherence, adopts Christopher Dorner as a symbol in the fight against police brutality, given how he brutalized those two human beings. I cannot understand, except to say that sometimes our own anger, our pain, becomes so blinding that we fail to see the pain of others. This is the seed of inhumanity, and inhumanity is the seed of the very police brutality which we all deplore.")
--California highway dig reveals four new whale species
--What Food Desert Maps Get Wrong About How People Eat  (on how trying to determine where "food deserts" are is more complicated than you'd think)
--Fibonacci Flim-Flam  (on how attempts to make science cool and popular can lead to harmful misinformation)
--Did This New Hampshire Woman Take Part in the Rwandan Genocide?  (on why bringing people to justice is messy, difficult, and leads to bad outcomes)
--Sex on Mars: A Dangerous Love Story
--This Bionic Hand Will Let an Amputee Feel Again
--The Internet's Kevin Bacon Effect: Any Web Page Can Be Accessed From Any Other in Just 19 Clicks
--The Obama Administration's 10-Year Plan to Map the Entire Human Brain
--Do Colors Look the Same For All of Us?
--The 5 Most Frequently Misused Proverbs
--5 Groundbreaking Firsts That Your History Books Lied About
--Male as the Neutral Default
--The Tesla/NY Times fight is a sideshow  (on the complications electric cars still face in order to be taken seriously)
--The Art of Infinite War, Ctd.: The Administration's Drone Campaign
--Why We'll Probably Never Build a Space Elevator  (;_;)
--Sony Files Patent to Make TV Ads Into Video Games  (this is actually pretty scary if you think about it D:)
--What Would Happen If the 2012 DA14 Asteroid Actually Hit Earth?
--It's Time For Hollywood to Make a Same-Sex Romantic Comedy
--Teach For America's hidden curriculum
--Maybe dogs really can talk!
--Coming out to my wife  (on rethinking traditionally-held ideas about marriage, monogamy, and cheating)
--White Girl Privilege and the Problem of Blaming All Men  (a.k.a. why "misandry 4 lyfe" jokes on Tumblr are bad and why you should feel bad for making them)


quadruplify: Lin Bei Fong (from the Legend of Korra) looking shocked and/or surprised ([LoK] Lin - surprised)
Another one so soon? Well, yeah...I have way too many tabs open as usual, as I have to close out most of them before my computer crashes. :/

--Aziz Ansari gets candid about love: "Elusive and sadly ephemeral"  (a really enlightening interview on just how complicated it is to find and build relationships, especially romantic ones, which isn't as pessimistic as Ansari is afraid it is)
--Why finding love is like finding alien intelligence
--12 Rude Revelations About Sex  (I don't know why, but the more I read this the more tempted I was to be celibate for the rest of my life D:)
--The Last Time a Pope Resigned, Mass Media Was Called ... Mass
--Science Confirms the Obvious: Men and Women Aren't That Different
--The Human Race Will Come to an End. What's Next?
--Kids Are Still Drawing 1900s Idea of What Dinosaurs Looked Like
--No, An Asteroid Is NOT Going to Hit Earth in 2106
--The Only Problem With Your Argument Is You  (on the psychological underpinnings of why politics is so contentious, and why gridlock between political parties happens, and explains a LOT about political discourse on the Internet)
--$100 Million to Know Why NFLers Die Young? Here's Why, For Free
--The Art of Infinite War  (Ta-Nehisi Coates absolutely nails it as always :D)
--Former Political Scientist to Congress: Please Defund Political Science
--Don't Forget to Live  (on the ways pushing yourself and striving for success can go over the top)
--Robo-Eye to Enter US Market
--Thriving since 1960, a garden in a bottle: Seedling sealed in its own ecosystem and watered just once in 53 years
--The history of Pad Thai  (includes a recipe)
--The Only Black Guy At the Indie Rock Show  (a black man's experiences involving race and culture in a predominately white scene -- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
--Why You're So Afraid of Change (And What You Can Do About It)  (this connects a lot with the articles "The Human Race Will Come to an End...", "The Only Problem...", and "Don't Forget to Live")
--The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Streaming Blocked Content Overseas  (could be useful if you're trying to watch shows on BBC iPlayer outside the UK)
--Mogwai: A beginner's guide  (to one of my favorite bands ^_^;)
--DuckTales invented a new animated wonderland -- that quickly disappeared


quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons (Default)
We got a lot more snow around here than we thought we were going to get -- about 3 ft/1m of snow, to be exact. Which meant we were snowed in pretty much all day yesterday, and things aren't much better today since all 15 of the town's snowplows just had to get stuck. :P I just feel really bad for everyone who has to break their backs get rid of all the snow from the roads, driveways, parking lots, etc. -- I'm kinda glad I didn't have to do any of that, but I'm also a little guilty about it at the same time. :/ At least we didn't lose power or cable this time around, which helped things a lot.

So in lieu of an update in which Interesting Things™ have Happened™ -- another one of these posts. I'm glad many of you are liking them, though I worry if some of you are getting a bit tired of these by now. ^_^;

--How the Streetlight Effect keeps scientists in the dark
--Political failure modes and the beige dictatorship  (an attempt to explain general malaise, distrust, and cynicism in today's global politics -- lots of attempts toward a kind of political theory are used, and the comments actually do a good job of furthering the discussion)
--Why you're probably not as rational as you think you are -- and what you can do about it
--The Great Filter theory suggests humans have already conquered the threat of extinction
--Why do mirrors reverse left and right, but not top and bottom?
--Why Star Trek phasers don't exist yet  (a.k.a. "If you're wondering why we don't have cool things like jetpacks and laser weapons yet, there are very very good reasons why")
--Could an Explosion Really Knock You Over Like in the Movies?
--How NASA Prevents a Space Plague Outbreak
--University of British Columbia gives all female tenure-stream faculty a 2% raise
--Why science and technology need the social sciences and humanities
--Proving and Quantifying Sexism
--The Study That Could Upend Everything We Thought We Knew About Declining Urban Crime
--Visualizing How Poorly Amtrak's Route Network Serves Most of the U.S.
--And Now Let Us Praise, and Consider the Absurd Luck of, Famous Men  (on how much more "success" hinges on sheer chance than anyone could possibly dream of)
--First ever: UK scientists use 3D printer to print human stem cells
--Revolutionary grilled cheese sandwich replaces bread with more cheese  (at first I was like OMG MUST HAVE, but now I'm not so sure D:)



quadruplify: Matt Berninger (lead singer of The National) with forehead on microphone, eyes closed ([Music] The National - microphone)
I'm only doing another one of these so soon after the last one because my browser has quickly become cluttered with tabs and I need to close them out so my computer doesn't run as slowly. ^_^; I promise I'll have an RL update ready by the end of the week; I'm not feeling quite up to it just yet.

--Context: How Do You Play Football?  (on middle school trick plays and how it relates to sociology, of all things)
--Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Gun Violence in America
--How to save a public library: Make it a seed bank
--Why People Choose Cars, Even When Mass Transit Would Serve Them Better
--Why I play violent video games  (on how geek culture breeds sexism and misogyny, and the ways violent video games are nothing more than exercises in wish fulfillment for sad fantasists)
--I am an adult who likes kid stuff. And that's okay.  (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
--How to Cook on Mars
--How Owls Turn Their Heads
--For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of World War II
--The Assault-Weapons Ban Isn't Happening -- Get Over It
--How Netflix is turning viewers into puppets
--21 Signs You're From Connecticut  (a lot of it is hyperbole, of course, but some of it is so true D:)
--11 Reasons to Ditch Your Television  (something I'll probably do if/when I get my own place; I really don't get the appeal of most of the TV shows everyone keeps talking about, so while sometimes I feel like I'm missing out, it's not often. Plus, at least 90% of what I've seen on TV over the past few years has been shit anyway. :P)
--A photo of wolves being needlessly adorable
--Giphy, a search engine for GIFs  (finally!)


quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
--There's No Such Thing as Everlasting Love (According to Science)
--This Pod of Sperm Whales Would Like to Teach You a Lesson About Humanity
--At What Age Will You Stop Using Facebook?
--Rediscovered: "Revolver," long lost Carl Sandburg poem about guns and their evil power
--The Lonely Existence of Mel Feit, Men's Rights Advocate  (interesting and nuanced, and helps advance the discussion on what role men play in feminist movements, even though I couldn't help but go "lol MRAs" at the whole thing)
--The Party of John Calhoun  (on the GOP's latest attempt to divide electoral votes in each state by congressional district, which would rig future elections in their favor and is REALLY FUCKING DISTURBING and something every American needs to know about)
--Why you shouldn't abandon LJ for Tumblr  (a partial explanation of why I needed to take a break from Tumblr, perhaps permanently)
--Steep.it, an online timer for tea steeping
--Foxygen and the Diminishing Returns of '60s Revivalism  (on why it's misguided and dangerous to fetishize the past, especially the 1960s, and helps explain why I prefer new music to retreads of past trends)
--Asteroid-Mining Project Aims for Deep Space Colonies
--Are We Meant to Live on Mars?
--Earth May Have Been Hit By a Cosmic Blast 1200 Years Ago
--It might not get weirder than this  (a first-timer's trip to North Korea)
--The Tough New Obama Isn't So Tough -- And That's Why He's Winning
--Separate and Unequal in the U.S. Military  (on the struggles same-sex couples in the military still face)
--Wait, People Thought Vitaminwater Was Good for You?
--Would More Drivers Use Public Transit If It Mimicked Private Cars?
--Are Some Cities Doomed Never to Catch Up?
--Trickster and tricked: All gurus try to undermine their followers' egos and expectations, so does it matter if the teacher is a real fraud?  (This is partially a review of the movie Kumare, which I've mentioned on here before. It's a really good takedown of modern spiritual movements and their appeal, even if I don't really agree with the author that Kumare was as shallow as he says it is.)
--Could Human Enhancement Turn Soldiers Into Weapons That Violate International Law? Yes
--All the episodes of Avatar: the Last Airbender streaming online. I'm told these are going to be up for a "limited time"; I don't know how long that's going to be, but if you haven't seen this series yet, here's your chance. You have no excuse now. XD


quadruplify: Lin Bei Fong (from the Legend of Korra) looking shocked and/or surprised ([LoK] Lin - surprised)
--Tiny new (?) spider species creates large spider puppets to scare away predators
--24 places that look not normal, but are actually real  (I believe I shared some of these on Tumblr before, but I've never seen some of these before, and here they are, all in one place ~_^)
--AP Credit Will No Longer Be Accepted at Dartmouth  (I really don't know how I feel about this; on one hand, I get where they're coming from after reading this article and realizing it lined up really nicely with my experiences with AP classes in high school, but on the other hand, the issue is a lot more complicated, as the comments to this article prove. The only benefits I got from AP at college was that I was able to skip one of my required classes for my major, and I started off with 5 credits so I could take 3 classes some semesters instead of the usual 4. I really didn't feel like my AP classes prepared me that much for college at all, but a part of me is still glad I took them.)
--Glowing full moon credenza  (I'd like something like this too, even though it must be ridiculously expensive :PPP)
--How Forks Gave Us Overbites and Pots Saved the Toothless
--How Facebook affects your memory
--10 false facts most people think are true
--How Game Theory Explains Washington's Horrible Gridlock
--Kendrick Lamar's Forever War  (on hip-hop and the myth of "noble violence")
--The End of Labor: How to Protect Workers From the Rise of Robots
--Why You Can't Cry in Space
--Violence and Mental Illness in Middletown, Connecticut
--Amateur Astronomers Discover 42 Alien Planets
--Dr. Carin Bondar's "Wild Sex"  (NSFW obviously)
--Should science fiction and fantasy do more than entertain?
--Anonymous and encouraging message posted in university restroom
--Antarctica takes out its frustration on the children of the 1%  (I'm only sharing this for the comments, which [strangely enough] are far better than the article)


quadruplify: Gay pride parade participant, dressed as astronaut, holding sign that reads: "Gay Astronaut Association Members: 1" ([Other] LGBTQ+ - gay astronaut)
Since I've been doing linkdumps around here for the past couple of weeks, and because I'm bored, I figure I might make this a semi-regular thing. Maybe? Basically it's a list of things I've found/read lately, and I thought at least some of you out there might be interested in some of them too. Hope you all enjoy it! ^_^; 

--Sandy Hook controversy: Is it wrong to sympathize with a killer?
--Meanwhile, in Canada, a Narwhal Tusk Smuggling Ring Has Been Busted  (first maple syrup, now this...O_o;)
--Captured in (Actual) Pictures: The Swirling Birth of Planets
--Finding the Positive  (on criticizing what other people do vs. doing something better yourself)
--A Martian Dream: Here's What the Red Planet Would Look LIke With Earth-Like Oceans and Life
--'Channeling spirits' shut down parts of the brain
--Can You Be Gay By Choice?  (the best article I've read yet re: whether or not the "born this way" defense of homosexuality is a good idea)
--The Appeal of "Bad Boys"  (on Nice Guys™, the psychology of what makes people attractive, and how men can attain it without being douches)
--Why It's Dangerous to Say "Only Bad Guys Commit Rape"  (CW: details of incidents of rape)
--America Has a Macho Problem


quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
CURRENT FAVORITES:
The Glitch Mob, "Animus Vox"
Dirty Three, "Moon on the Land"
Dirty Three, "Rain Song"
Miike Snow, "Vase"
Retribution Gospel Choir, "The Stone (Revolution!)"
Shearwater, "Star of the Age"

Hope everyone had a great Easter/Passover! Our Easter weekend was pretty laid-back and not all that eventful; this afternoon we went to my aunt and uncle's house for Easter dinner, which included kielbasa, meat pie, babka bread, artichoke casserole, and a few other things (they also served deep-fried turkey and sweet potato casserole, but I didn't have those). My aunt and uncle also had a couple of their friends over; it's a bit rough whenever these friends come to their events because I'm supposed to act like I care about them even though I never see them anywhere else and I wouldn't hang out with them willingly, but things went pretty smoothly today. We also went to my dad's mom's house this evening to keep her company for a little bit, like we usually do whenever there's a holiday around. And on Friday my parents and I had dinner at Dusitra, the local Thai restaurant. Definitely one of the best meals I've had in a long time. The previous times we've been there, the food was okay but nothing to write home about; however, because the restaurant is under new management now, we decided to try it out again, and this time we certainly didn't regret it.

Nothing else all that interesting has been going on lately, so here's another quick linkdump:

--Fan-made Legend of Korra merchandise (YESPLZ 8DDDDDDDDDDDDDDD)

More under the cut... )



quadruplify: Gay pride parade participant, dressed as astronaut, holding sign that reads: "Gay Astronaut Association Members: 1" ([Other] LGBTQ+ - gay astronaut)
I need to go to bed somewhat early tonight, so I'll try to keep this short:

--Now that I've been off Tumblr for a while now, I've started to work my way through the backlog of movies I've been meaning to see for the longest time now. I don't have time to review each one, so I'll just list them:

Movies that were great:
Movies that sucked tremendously:

Guilty pleasures:
If you want me to explain why I classified these movies the way I did, feel free to ask me in the comments.

--I've slowly started taking steps to take on more independence and responsibility and deal with my depression in more proactive ways; I've been driving on a more regular basis, I've been doing my own laundry, and on Sunday I cooked my own dinner. Spinach linguini with cooked bell peppers, celery, and scallions, to be exact. I still needed some guidance, of course, and I charred the vegetables a little bit, but other than that it came out perfectly. XD Obviously many people already do these things on a regular basis and take them for granted, but these are little victories I need to relish however I can. ^_^;

I've also been going to different places in the area we haven't been to before; the weekend before last my dad and I went to Books & Co., a small used bookstore in Hamden, and we were very impressed by it! Sadly, there aren't a lot of indie bookstores in our area, so it was good to find one by chance and support it however we could. Most of the books there are mainstream/literary fiction, and they also sell greeting cards and jewelry made by local artists. Oh yeah, all the books they sell are half off list price, so if you want a good deal....8D I couldn't resist buying a few books while I was there (Assia Djebar's Children of the New World, Yukio Mishima's The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea, N. Scott Momaday's House Made of Dawn, and Ntozake Shange's Betsy Brown), and they served a great chai latte at their café too.

And last weekend we checked out Redscroll Records in Wallingford, which also turned out to be pretty great. It's a small store that focuses on alternative/metal/hardcore/punk (they even sell zines there, which isn't too surprising to me since I know there are people out there who still make them, but still), and lots of vinyl if you're into that sort of thing (my dad ended up finding records he hadn't seen for 30-40 years), but there is something for just about everyone there. (Hey [personal profile] two_grey_rooms, it's better than Cutler's, trust me. XD) I ended up buying Soundtracks by Can and the Zol! EP from BLK JKS, as well as two used DVDs -- The Fall and Fargo, the latter of which I rewatched recently and was just as awesome as I remembered it to be.

--So the first two episodes of The Legend of Korra came out this weekend. And it was AMAZING. And AWESOME. And all those other adjectives I like to overuse when I really, really enjoy something. XD No spoilers, but this GIF just about sums it up:



Ugh why do we have to wait another month for the new episodes to come out D:

Seriously though, if you haven't seen this already, you should, even if you aren't familiar with A:tLA or its fandom. If you missed it when it was online this weekend, leave me a comment and I'll see what I can do. ;-)

(BTW, glad to see Community is back on the air too! Wasn't too impressed with last week's episode, but here's hoping this week's will be better.)

--Some links that I think might be of interest to some of you:
--And finally, a meme I ganked from [livejournal.com profile] iron_valkyrie:

Which kind of bender are you? )


quadruplify: Julian Minci (from Legend of the Galactic Heroes) sticking his tongue out in disgust ([LoGH] Julian - yuck)
1. So I'm sure many of you know about that video about Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony produced by the NGO Invisible Children that went viral a couple of days ago (if you don't know what I'm talking about, look up "Kony 2012" on YouTube). The video has become quite a big deal, generating a lot of buzz and publicity in a remarkably short amount of time; I've seen many people on LJ, Twitter, and Facebook talk about it, so I felt it was necessary to do a post about it, much like the 2009 protests in Iran and last year's "Arab Spring." I would make a big linkdump about it, complete with pertinent quotes, but I've been feeling too lazy and tired to do one up this time, and besides, many people have already beaten me to it:

--[livejournal.com profile] eska_rina has put together a great assortment of links and relevant quotes
--[livejournal.com profile] ontd_political has its big compendium of links here; of particular interest is The Guardian's liveblog of the fallout
--The conveniently titled "Reader's digest to Kony 2012"

I know it may seem like a ton of links to deal with, each attached to rather long reads, but I highly, highly recommend you skim them at the very least. The issues, criticisms, and commentary Invisible Children's campaign has raised can't be neatly summed up in a quick soundbite, and it's very important to read up on the issues before you decide to donate money or engage in activism -- not just on this particular issue, but on everything else as well.

I personally find myself agreeing with the backlash against IC's campaign, and while I think #Kony2012 has good intentions, it has not been thought out very well. The campaign appears to ignore much of the context of the conflict in Uganda, such as how Kony and the LRA became prominent, the circumstances in which (and reasons why) it happened, and the legacy of European colonialism and imperialism that ultimately led such a situation to come about in the first place. The campaign also paints a picture of Uganda that is overly simplistic and reductive; it plays into the common media narrative of Africa being a place of nothing but war, starvation, and poverty, and that only Americans/the West/white people can "save" Africans from this predicament. Not only is this narrative rooted in the same kinds of ideas that led European powers to colonize Africa in the first place, but it's also extremely inaccurate, given that a variety of peoples and cultures exist on the continent, that there are already many organizations on the ground in areas affected by the LRA run by Africans themselves doing the work IC claims to be doing, and that many Africans -- some of whom have been directly affected by Kony's violence -- take issue with the campaign and suggest better ways of going about it. The fact that the campaign's promoters don't appear to be listening to the voices of Africans themselves, especially those of the people they're purporting to stand for, shows how paternalistic it really is, and how it's nothing more than "Kony is evil, he used child soldiers, he must be brought to justice." Obviously Kony is evil and needs to be brought to justice, but if you think about the "nuts and bolts" of how to do it, and the consequences it might bring, then you realize just how good intentions aren't enough.

Obviously these criticisms shouldn't be an excuse to dismiss #Kony2012 as an exercise in feel-good activism targeting American college students; human rights violations are an affront to all of humanity, and we shouldn't stand by and let them happen. But creating change isn't nearly as glamorous as the video makes it out to be, and context (and the nuances, complexities, and frustrations that come with it) matters. If something seems too black-and-white, it probably is. It pays to do your research and come up with your own conclusions, and this is no exception.

*********************************************************************************************

Onto other things:

2. This is the best modern-day retelling of a fairy tale you'll see this week, hands down:



3. I don't post fic recs that often on here, but I found a great LoGH fic worth checking out: Inheritance. Cross-dressing!young!Reuenthal fic that's not crack and is actually pretty well-written? YESPLZ. :D

4. A continuation of the seven-questions meme from the last post, this time from [livejournal.com profile] iron_valkyrie :

Read more... )


quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
I got a Christmas card from [livejournal.com profile] misskalloway the other day, so thank you very much for that! :D

Speaking of Christmas cards, I plan on sending them out on Monday, or Tuesday at the very latest. It's definitely cutting it close, and for those who asked for one, you'll most likely receive them late (especially if you live outside the U.S.), but they will be coming soon, I promise. ;-)

Also, since the first holiday love meme I linked to in my last post filled up, here's part 2, if you haven't gotten a chance to comment on it and want to. Thanks for those of you who have already!

The past couple of weeks I've been working at my mom's workplace as a paper-pusher again; it's as extremely boring as it usually is, but I've been making a decent amount of money that should keep me going for a little bit. Hopefully in 2012 I can get a more stable job, but that'd require me actually making the effort to look. :P Ah well, I think I'll ride out the next couple of weeks and then start putting myself out there after the first of the year. That should work out, no?

Anyway, before I forget I should tell you about this anti-Islamophobia campaign a friend of mine from college has started. It's called "Say Salaam," and it involves people making videos of themselves saying the Arabic greeting "as-salaam alaikum" ("peace be with you") as an expression of solidarity against stereotypes, hate crimes, bullying, and hate against Islam in general. It's a campaign that's very much in the vein of It Gets Better, and while it has its problems much like IGB does, I honestly think it has the potential to become something big (and I'm not just saying this because someone I know is spearheading it XD). Here's the video he posted to kick things off, and you can find more info at [tumblr.com profile] saysalaam. Even if you can't make a video yourself, please spread the word!  I'd love to see this take off.  ^_^;

And after reading it on-and-off for five months, I finally got around to finishing The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle -- it had some really interesting and powerful parts, but all in all it was really, really open-ended, and in a not-all-that-compelling way either.  Good, but not one of Murakami's best.  I've also started on Adam Haslett's Union Atlantic; I've been enjoying it quite a bit, even though it's rather simplistic and maybe a bit clichéd, especially compared to something like Wind-Up.  I'm going to reserve judgment until I finish it, though.

I've also taken a break from reading Homestuck -- probably permanently, from the way things look.  :(  Maybe because I was reading it on-and-off too, but by the time I hit the beginning of Act 5 I pretty much lost my ability to care about what was going on. I mean, I get why it's so popular, it just doesn't seem to be doing anything to me, y'know?  Unless I still haven't gotten to the "good part" yet or whatever.  :/

And then there was all those Legend of Korra leaks a couple of weekends ago.  Yeah, old news is old at this point, but whatever, I'm still excited.  8D

Other than the fact that I've been trying to be more active on Plurk recently ([plurk.com profile] democracies , for those who are interested), that's really about all the notable stuff that's happened with me recently.  Which still isn't much, sadly, but hopefully that'll change with the new year.  I'll leave y'all with some songs I've been obsessed with lately, since I haven't done that in a while:

Gotye, "Somebody That I Used to Know"
The National, "I Need My Girl"  (new songs from The National?  YESPLZ :DDDDDDDDDDDD)
The National, "Rylan"
Sleigh Bells, "Rill Rill"
Tindersticks, "Medicine"
Lana Del Rey, "Born to Die"
Moby, "Extreme Ways"
Friends, "I'm His Girl"  (a.k.a. the current guilty pleasure)

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
The Bad:
1.


2. Ever since I went back down to 100mg of sertraline, my mood has started to destabilize big time; it's been tougher to work up the motivation to do anything lately, even getting out of bed in the morning. Right now I'm OK, though, and I'm sure things will get better in due time. I finally got around to calling the psychiatrist's office today, and he should get back to me tomorrow morning to see what to do next.

3. Missed my radio show again this week. :PPP

4. Students in my Politics of Virtual Realities class have pissed me off yet again. This time, we saw Avatar this week (the James Cameron blue aliens one), and the class discussion about it was absolutely dismissive of its racism and other problematic aspects. And when I tried to bring it up, the professor ended up telling me, "You get a gold star for working up the nerve to disagree with everyone else, but you're still wrong." She said it was a joke. Mmhmm. :/

(For the record, Avatar was mediocre to average at best. Stunning visuals, and Sigourney Weaver was actually pretty awesome, but everything else was hackneyed and predictable and cheesy. I know I'm supposed to ~~~suspend my disbelief~~~ when watching movies like this, but this was ridiculous. It was bearable, though, I'll give it that. Would've been better if Col. Quaritch had a shirtless scene, though. /shameless XD)

5. We've been getting warmer weather around here lately -- temps finally hit 80°F/27°C today. This is not a bad thing, in and of itself, but it's happened really suddenly, the humidity has been a huge shock, and I'm slowly starting to get my seasonal allergies again. Wonderful.

The Good:

1. Some of my African Politics classes were canceled this week because the professor is in Cameroon right now. So there's that, at least.

2. I'm officially done with my Social Movements class! Today I did my final project, which was a group project where we had to come up with talking points, an action plan, and a stump speech for a hypothetical new organization devoted to abolishing the death penalty. And I think we did pretty fucking well, if I do say so myself. :D We still have class next week (the last class), but I don't need to do anything for it, and we have no exams, so it's one less thing I have to worry about.

3. Speaking of Social Movements: our class recently did a compilation of all the big-ass papers we wrote earlier in the semester. My essay is on pages 54-64.

4. I started watching Community recently, and I really really really REALLY REALLY like it! I don't normally go for these kinds of shows, but god-DAMN I love this one! The jokes are absolutely spot on, and it's so funny the outlandishness of the situations don't really matter. Now I'm going to be on the lookout for fic and icons and fandom and all that good stuff. [personal profile] radiovolume and [personal profile] ninasafiri, YOU ARE TOTALLY AT FAULT FOR THIS. 8DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

5. The new episode of Pioneer One is coming out tomorrow/today! Can't wait! ^_^;

*****************************************************************************

And now for the meme:

Previous songs under the cut... )

Today's songs under the cut because there's quite a bit under here. ^_^; )

DAY 20: The last song alphabetically in your iPod/iTunes.
DAY 21: Your favorite song.
DAY 22: A song that someone has sung to you.
DAY 23: A song that you cannot stand to listen to.
DAY 24: A song that you have danced to with your best friend.
DAY 25: A song you could listen to all day without getting tired.

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
1. So I've just been made one of the new maintainers for [livejournal.com profile] durarara, which is very exciting! Even though I'm a total lurker and not exactly the most active guy in the fandom. (OH GOD WHAT THE HELL DID I GET MYSELF INTO DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD:) Anyway, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, or if there are any not-so-funny shenanigans I don't already know about, feel free to PM me, e-mail me (mecteol@gmail.com), or leave a comment in my latest public entry on this journal. I do try to keep tabs on everything as much as possible, so I'll definitely try to respond ASAP. (And while we're at it, here are the rules in case you need a refresher.)

Between that and [livejournal.com profile] drrr_bigbang seriously tempting me, I just might get more involved in the fandom after all. I still haven't finished rewatching the series, and I haven't yet gotten a chance to look at episodes 12.5 and 25 and the light novels, so I should probably get on that when I have the chance.

2. All right, RL update! This past Friday was the Spring Student Symposium, where students talk about the independent work they've done this past year, whether it's thesis work, senior essays, or anything else they've been researching on their own time. It's very cool because you get to talk to your friends about all the interesting stuff they've done, all in a pretty relaxed atmosphere. Some of the presentations I went to included ones on post-apocalyptic fiction, why the Taliban have gotten stronger in Afghanistan over the past few years, factors that affect how long insurgencies last, a sociological analysis of a campus celebrity, Jerry Springer, prospects for Korean reunification, honor killings in Turkey, the English-only movement in the U.S. and why it's completely and utterly stupid, how hard it is to translate fiction, attitudes toward beach littering in Chile, and ecopsychology. If some of them sound boring, trust me, they weren't -- the kinds of larger themes people talked about were fascinating, and I learned a ton. A perfect event for eggheads like me. XDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

(Oh, and there was an impromptu Improv Everywhere-style dance-off in the main area of the science building during the reception at the end of the day. And it was pretty fucking awesome, if I do say so myself! ^_^;)

3. Before I forget, I'd like to mention HELA, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to help Afghan women, primarily through building schools, developing other education programs for women, and building and maintaining wells, among other things. What's really good about this group is that they work with the Afghan government and existing structures and systems in order to make sure these projects can stick around for the long term (something I know [livejournal.com profile] mcollinknight can appreciate). The president of HELA is a senior at my college originally from Afghanistan, and she's also the executive director of the Afghan Youth Initiative. Here's some more info about her, and here's an interview she did on NBC's Today show back in September. Please spread the word; this is a great cause that more people should know about!

4. Last Friday I also went to Playing at War, a one-man play put on by a senior Theatre/History double-major about British theatre -- especially plays put on by British soldiers -- during the American Revolution. The student played William Dunlap, a playwright who wrote the first history of American theatre in 1832; he was also a British Loyalist who wasn't a big fan of Washington and his ilk, and it showed. (Like how he mentioned how the Sons of Liberty wanted to ban theatre because it was a "foreign influence" and "un-American," even to the point of burning one down in New York City after it was known that the controversial Stamp Act had been repealed. Nevermind that the theatre had an important role to play for the people living in the colonies at the time. Sound familiar?) It was a fascinating alternate look at history, especially something that's often ignored, and it was interesting to hear about the British military's appreciation of theatre, which is something you wouldn't expect. I definitely don't regret going. (Especially since I got in for free! :B)

5. I finally got around to finishing Kafka on the Shore, and it was EXCELLENT. I had been meaning to read that one for a while now, and I'm glad I did! Highly recommended. ;-)

6. Has anyone seen the first episode of A Game of Thrones yet? It's gotten a lot of hype lately, but I'm wondering what people thought of it if they saw it, or if they've read the books. I won't have a lot of time in the next few days, so I'm wondering if it's worth it.

Well, that's about it for me right now. How is everyone else doing?
quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
Ugh, this week was a total bust. I hardly got any of my work done -- especially the activist stuff for Social Movements -- I didn't get a chance to do most of the things I wanted to do, I didn't look for any jobs or things like that, I'm still angsting over the summer job I wanted that won't work out, the pictures for my class yearbook all came out horrible, a bunch of other little things I won't mention here, and I've just been lethargic and unmotivated the whole time, doing nothing but sitting at the computer all day. And I go back to college tomorrow. And I have an hour-long exam on Monday morning that I barely studied for. Wonderful. :PPP

I mean, I suppose none of this is really all that bad, since none of my assignments for classes were all that urgent, and some of these other things can be fixed rather easily. Besides, I've decided that it's probably a good idea to wait to get a job until I get my driver's license, because it would be really hard for me to get a job otherwise, considering my parents' work schedules and the piss-poor public transportation around here. Not to mention my mom wants us to go on a family vacation sometime this summer, so there's that too. >_>; Things could always be worse, I suppose, but even though things aren't bad, per se, they're just......blah. Let's just hope life picks up once I get back; after the exam on Monday, I won't have any major assignments due for another month, and I plan on skipping all the schoolwork I can afford to skip, making sure I enjoy and make the most out of the last few weeks of college in the meantime.

The only things of note I did this week was start rewatching A:tLA yet again, and seeing two movies, the Italian movie The Right Distance, which was awesome, and the Korean film A Frozen Flower, which sucked horribly. I've been meaning to write a long-winded rant on A Frozen Flower (yes, I hate it that much), but I'll have to get around to it later. Maybe. ^_^;  (Oh yes, and the latest episode of Pioneer One, which was awesome as always.  :D)

Here are the only two plans I have for summer so far:
--June 4: Okkervil River will be playing at Toad's Place. It's close by, it's on a Saturday night, and I really want to go!
--June 8-12: Trip to California for my cousin's high school graduation. I'm definitely looking forward to this, especially since I love the Bay Area and I've wanted to go back since I visited three years ago. (Yes, this means spending a good portion of my 22nd birthday on an airplane, but it's all good. XD)

Also, [livejournal.com profile] queer_fest has released its list of prompts! Here are some that really caught my attention, and hope someone gets around to fill:

Cool prompts and ramblings on them behind the cut.... )

Finally, so that this post isn't completely pointless, here are some links:

--Ten adverts that shocked the world -- This is why I won't go into advertising, and you shouldn't either.
--Creepy app warns of an end to privacy
--Behind the Scenes: How Do You Get Into Amherst? -- Warning: Likely to be very disheartening and rage-inducing
--How Americans defeated efficiency with consumerism
--More Black Men Now in Prison System than Were Enslaved
--For Lovers and Fighters -- A long but EXCELLENT piece on polyamory, queer and trans* identities, and what love actually is (hint: it has nothing to do with romance) -- *HIGHLY RECOMMENDED*
--[personal profile] fightingarrival: "I have trouble following conversations on Tumblr" -- in which Sucker Punch and female empowerment is discussed, and Sady Doyle from Tiger Beatdown fucks up royally.
--The Male German Bodybuilder That Got Gandhi All Hot and Bothered
--Straight Gamer Calls for "No Homosexuality Option" in Dragon Age 2; Game Maker Responds: Shut It -- I'm only posting this link for the video. (Is it bad that I want to play this game now? XD)
--Information Is Beautiful!
--Color Picker Pen by Jinsu Park -- THIS IS SUCH A COOL INVENTION OMG *_*
--Nature photography by Henrik Just -- HOLY CRAP Y'ALL THIS STUFF IS AMAZING :O
--"Animal portraits" by Alex Castro
--DADT photography by Jeff Sheng
--Strange Maps @ Big Think
--What would've happened if Peanuts was written by Charles Bukowski.
--3eanuts, in which the last panel of Peanuts strips are omitted.

That's about it for me right now -- now time for me to stay up for a few more hours and regret it when I have to get up early in the morning. :B

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
Dear Politics of Virtual Realities class,

A few things y'all need to remember:

1) When talking about transgender people wanting gender-neutral bathrooms, saying things like, "If you're a trans woman, why are you demanding extra things? You're a woman, use the woman's bathroom!" is a really shitty and disrespectful thing to say. As well as referring to trans* people as making a "lifestyle choice."

2) The student who tried to write the e-mail to the whole economics department blasting a certain lecture as racist, sexist, and classist is not some stupid wannabe activist who deserves to be laughed at. Yes, he probably could've worded his rant better, and I'll concede that maybe trying to send the e-mail to all econ majors and minors wasn't the smartest thing to do (not that he could, anyway, since he doesn't have the clearance). But don't blast him for ranting when he "hadn't read the paper" the lecturer wrote and lectured about -- the student did read the paper, and still thought it was racist, sexist, and classist. And the paper (and lecture) is racist, sexist, and classist, and it's only fair that someone is protesting that his tuition money is going to people who espouse those views. And don't go, "But FREE SPEECH!" at me; if this college was truly committed to free speech, it would give people an appropriate public forum (not e-mail) to criticize and debate these views. (At least we can agree that the econ department chair's response was really condescending.)

3) The Tea Party is racist. I don't care if y'all think I'm "generalizing," or that I'm being "extreme," or that I should actually know some Tea Party members personally before I say such things. "But it's impossible that everyone in the Tea Party is racist!" Sorry, but you don't know what racism actually is. Get a fucking clue.

No love,
[personal profile] quadruplify

*************************************************************************************

In case you're wondering, here's the abstract of the paper/lecture in question in point #2:

This paper borrows from the tradition of other social sciences in considering the impact that “culture” (broadly defined as the economic and social environment in which the poor live) plays in determining early, non-marital childbearing. Along with others before us, we hypothesize that the despair and hopelessness that poor, young women may face increases the likelihood that they will choose to give birth at an early age outside of marriage. We derive a formal economic model that incorporates the role a woman’s perception of economic success may play in determining her childbearing and marital outcomes. We operationalize this perception mainly by using the level of income inequality that exists in a woman’s state of residence. We empirically investigate whether low socioeconomic status (SES) women are more responsive to differences in the level of income inequality in terms of their childbearing and marital outcomes. We find low SES women have more teen, non-marital births when they live in higher inequality locations, all else equal, supporting our hypothesis. The mechanism driving this finding is less frequent use of abortion. For women in their early 20s, higher inequality reduces the prevalence of shotgun marriages among low SES women, leading to more (fewer) non-marital (marital) births.


There was that, and there's the fact that I'm behind on two response papers for that class, and I have another response paper to write for African Politics for Friday. This is about all the frustration I can handle right now. :P

Other than that, though, this week has been going fairly well. Lots of cool stuff has happened over the past few days, but I'm going to hold off talking about some of them for a little bit. Hope everyone else is doing good! :D

In the meantime, have a meme....

The "What I've always wanted to tell you" Meme


...and some music:





quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
So I'm sick again.  Wheeeee.  -_-

It's just another headcold, and it started Thursday night, but like most colds I get, this one has really bowled me over, and for the past few days I've been trying hard not to do anything, popping vitamins and cough drops like my life depended on it, being supremely pissed off about being sick, and trying to stay away from people as much as possible so I don't cough on them (not that that's hard to do for me anyway).

This is the worst week to get sick, though -- I have two papers due on Friday, and another due a week from tomorrow.  They're all around the 5-7 page range, so it's not too terrible, but trying to write papers I have no interest in writing while feeling like I'm about to keel over really isn't something I can deal with right now.  :PPP  What does help is that I've canceled my radio show tomorrow morning, one of my Wednesday classes have been canceled, and I don't really plan on going to any of the events this week that sound interesting, which gives me more time to rest and work.  What would really help is if we all got extensions on these papers, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.  :(

I also have two screenings for two of my classes going on at the same time tomorrow night -- which is also at the same time Andrea Gibson will be performing in town, who I really want to see.  At first I was really bummed about not being able to go, but I realized recently that by giving the "oh I have to go to the other screening I have that night!" excuse to both of my professors, I might just be able to get away with it.  One of them I have to see before Wednesday (a relatively short one on former DRC dictator Mobutu), and the other one, The Social Network, I can put off for a bit, so......yeah.  My one social event this week.  ^_^;  (And for those of you not familiar with Gibson's work, here are a couple of examples: "Stay" || "I Do")

There is some good news, though: one of my professors is going to be on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Wednesday!!  :D  She's my Politics of Virtual Realities prof, and she'll be on the show to promote her book One Nation Under Contract, about the outsourcing of jobs typically performed by the government and military to private contractors, and what implications that trend has.  People who've known me long enough may know that I'm not a TDS/Jon Stewart fan at all, but I'll definitely be watching.

And one of my other professors has published a very funny op-ed to the Washington Post today, another one is a well-known and distinguished translator, and the other one is a bit abrasive but otherwise very charismatic and really intelligent.  How I managed to get such awesome professors this time around, I don't know.  XD

Other than that, not much has been going on.  Had an interesting debate with some people at the QSH Thursday night on ways to make the college's queer organization more inclusive, and Climatology Nerd made a surprise visit this weekend!  It's awesome to see him again; right now he's applying for a really competitive teaching fellowship in New York City this summer, and I hope he gets it!

That's about it, I suppose.  Now I'll have to go back to being sick, trying to do work, and other fun stuff.  >_>  Though I'll leave y'all with this little bit of I Can't Believe Something Like This Exists™.  (And why did Harry Belafonte agree to take part?)  O_o;

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
So as many of you probably know already, Egypt has recently erupted with a slew of anti-government protests that has left president Hosni Mubarak and his party's grip on power tenuous at best, and could mean big changes to the political makeup and stability of the region as a result (not to mention U.S. foreign policy and America's place in the world).  Inspired by the protests in Tunisia, the protesters managed to gain enough power to nearly topple their government in the space of four days, which is really fucking remarkable -- and considering what this may mean, it's a Big Fucking Deal™ (even if Joe Biden himself wouldn't use that term to describe this situation, sadly enough).

[Before I go any further, I need to make a disclaimer: I've tried to follow this as closely as I could seeing as it is history in the making (especially since things really got interesting today), but this isn't Iran in 2009 when I had a ton of time on my hands -- I had an exam today, I need to pack to go home tomorrow and I haven't done that yet, I'm pressed for time, my computer is being unreasonably slow, and I'm perpetually exhausted.  So this is going to be pretty limited, and I haven't read all the articles just yet, but I'll plan on it this weekend when I get more time.  (And if you must know: I think I did good on my exam, and I got an A+ on my journal entries, so other than current events and my rushing around to get things done, life is good right now.  XD)]

Anyway, here's the linkdump:

EGYPT
Al Jazeera's main page on the Egypt crisis  (includes live video)
Al Jazeera: "Analysis: Upheaval in Egypt"
Al Jazeera: "Profile: Hosni Mubarak"
Hossam el-Hamalawy: "We Don't Expect Any Help From America, Just to Leave Us Alone"
Mondoweiss: "Egypt is burning and most Western pundits have no idea why"
New York Times Liveblog
New York Times: "Mubarak Vows Cabinet Shift by Defends Deploying Army As Revolt Sweeps Egypt"
New York Times: "Al Jazeera Covers Protests Despite Hurdles"
NPR Liveblog
NPR: "Egypt President Asks Cabinet to Resign Amidst Protests"
Guardian Liveblog
BBC: "Mubarak Sacks Cabinet and Defends Security Role"
BBC: "Analysis: Why Egypt Matters"
BBC: "As it happened: Egypt unrest on Friday"
BBC: "Egypt's security and armed forces: The deciding factor"
BBC: "Obama's caution on Egypt is winning him no friends"  (and yet, at this stage, there really isn't much else he can do)
Washington Post main article on the Egypt crisis
Washington Post: "U.S. to review aid to Egypt"
David Frum: "John Kerry Calls For Elections in Egypt"
Foreign Policy: "The New Arab World Order"
Foreign Policy: "Washington eyes a fateful day in Egypt"
The Atlantic: "After Tunisia: Obama's Impossible Dilemma in Egypt"
zuky: "Third World Protest as US Spectator Sport"  (definitely a punch to the gut, but something worth reading anyway)
Huffington Post: "Graph Visualizes Egypt's Internet Blackout"
Enduring America liveblog
Wikipedia article

In terms of Twitters to follow, @SultanAlQassemi and @bencnn are probably the two best English-language ones to follow; you could also follow mine if you wish, as I'll try to retweet some of the best bits of info I can get.  I've also been reblogging Egypt-related stuff on Tumblr, though they also have their own stream of Egypt-related posts[livejournal.com profile] ontd_political put together a live post as well (though it seems to be inactive right now), as well as a news round-up from earlier in the day.  As always, Andrew Sullivan's blog is linking some of the best commentary, but since apparently Sullivan himself is on leave it might not be as good of a source for that as when he covered the situation in Iran.

ELSEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Al Jazeera's main page on Tunisia
Tunisia -- Ben Ali allies dropped from cabinet
New York Times: "Seizing a Moment, Al Jazeera Galvanizes Arab Frustration"
Washington Post: "As Protests Swell From Yemen to Egypt, Middle East Faces Uncertainty"
Iranian.com: "Tunis Not Tehran: Why Tunisians succeeded by Iranians faltered"
The National (UAE): "Thousands protest in Jordan for third week"
New York Times: "Protests Unsettle Jordan While Most Other Neighbors Stay Calm"
New York Times: "Waves of Unrest Spread to Yemen, Shaking a Region"
Washington Post: "Inspired by Tunisia and Egypt, Yemenis join in anti-government protests"
Wikipedia articles: Tunisia // Yemen // Algeria // Arab world in general

I'll try to add more links within the next 24 hours or so, so check back to this page for updates.  Also, if you have any other interesting links about current events in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East, please feel free to share them (especially if they're from non-mainstream media sources).  You're also free to share and link to this page as often as you wish, if you want to boost the signal.  ;-)


quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
Before I begin this entry, I just wanted to say a few words about the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, AZ yesterday. This is an absolutely unspeakable tragedy, and I'm sure I'd be in agreement with many Americans when I say that this has really disturbed me in a lot of ways -- and yet, I can't say I'm all that surprised it happened, given that Sarah Palin's PAC created a graphic that put a gun's crosshairs on Giffords' district and used "don't retreat, reload" rhetoric when describing her and some of her colleagues. That, and other such speech and commentary from various people on the right, have contributed to a political climate in which it somehow becomes acceptable to attack and kill politicians, public servants, and public figures just because they don't share your opinions and beliefs. No matter how directly connected recent vitriol and violent rhetoric from the right-wing was to this act of terrorism, it all still helped contribute to a political climate where such an event can occur, and where the idea that a public official or figure is not actually a human being with a family and a set of friends and a life like us, but is merely a thing that represents an (entirely fictional) enemy and a number of a district that "needs" to be won, has become prevalent. And today, six people are dead because of this climate and these ideas, including staffer Gabe Zimmerman, federal judge John Roll, and Christina Taylor Greene, a nine-year-old girl who was on her school's student council.

Of course, the right-wing in this country is so steeped in ideological purity and self-righteousness that they won't apologize and own up for their words, and take responsibility for the fact that they had a hand in this because their words actually mean something. Which means I'm very afraid that the next time this happens, it won't merely be an attempted assassination.

Anyway, my thoughts go out to Congresswoman Giffords, her friends and family, and and the friends and families of all those who were killed or injured in Tucson today; I wish all the best for them. (And here are comments from Keith Olbermann and Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, both of which are more eloquent than I ever could be [even though I'm not a fan of Olbermann's false equivalency and hypocrisy here].)

UPDATE: Giffords is apparently "doing well," given the circumstances.

*************************************************************************

I'd also like to mention what's going on in Southern Sudan right now: the current vote on whether or not to secede from the rest of Sudan (New York Times article; Al-Jazeera article).  My thoughts are also going out to the people of Southern Sudan right now, in the hopes that no matter the outcome of the referendum, that the process is as peaceful and free of irregularities as possible.

*************************************************************************

This has been a rather......interesting first week of 2011, and of J-term. Though I gotta say, I haven't been following my main New Year's quasi-goal/"resolution" so far -- I mean, I've been trying, but it's still a problem. Many people call this time of year "Yay-Term," but I haven't been feeling many "yays" about it so far. :(

My class is on Korean language, literature, and film, and despite the fact that I find a lot of what we're talking about so far to be very interesting, I'm having a hard time being all that enthusiastic about the class in general. For one thing, it's hard to do a good introduction to those subjects when the class is only four weeks long and it meets three times a week for 2-3 hours each time. Plus, it meets in the afternoon, which means that given my sleeping habits, I'll have a hard time getting up early enough to be sufficiently awake for class. :PPP It's also apparent that most of the people there are upperclassmen who are only taking this class because the classes they wanted to get into got filled up too quickly (sophomores and freshmen get first dibs on J-term classes), and even though the professor is extremely intelligent and knowledgeable (she grew up and spent a good portion of her life in South Korea [even though she's not Korean herself], and has done a lot of research on Korean literature), it's quite obvious she doesn't have much experience in the classroom, given she's often disorganized and not the most engaging lecturer. Lastly, we didn't do all that much this past week; there's only so much you can do with teaching the Korean alphabet and other random bits of information about the language and how it works in that amount of time, and considering we're not actually learning the language in this course, it was hard to take what we were doing all that seriously (especially since I already know the Korean alphabet, from when I took an informal Korean class run by students back in freshman and sophomore years). And now the work is going to pick up a little, which will take a while getting used to. Still, I'm sticking with it because it's a fascinating topic I know little about, and other than the things I just mentioned I've been enjoying it so far. (I kinda want to write about some of the things we've learned in class thus far -- and what I've learned through research done on my own as a result of that [mostly through Wikipedia, lol XD] -- but I don't really have the time or energy right now. Let's just say that now I really want to learn Korean -- in addition to all the other languages I want to learn -- and more about its history and culture as well. Great. ^_^;)

Speaking of languages, I had my first Persian workshop last week as well. It was originally supposed to be on Monday, but our teacher, a freshman who I'm 99% sure is from Iran, apparently didn't know that anyone had actually signed up for the class because the people in charge of J-term workshops never got around to notifying her that fact, which led to all of us sitting around for a half-hour on Monday evening twiddling our thumbs. Yay. :PPP So she rescheduled the first meeting for Thursday evening, and that went pretty well. There's only so much we can learn in weekly one-hour classes (unless we decide to go twice a week or something), but there's only six of us in the workshop (including a political science professor!), so that helps. The only problem I have with it so far is that we're not learning the Persian alphabet; our teacher told us that it would take too much time to learn because it's quite complicated, which is fair enough -- except that she's also given us textbooks to use so that we can reinforce what we've learned in class and teach ourselves Persian on our own time, which would be great if those textbooks actually had some romanizations instead of making you read Persian script from the get-go. So yeah, learning the Persian alphabet is kind of a necessity if any of us wants to stick with it, in addition to making sure you're pronouncing the words correctly. There is an audio CD that goes with the textbook that the teacher didn't get for us because of a lack of funds, but it costs $50; fortunately, one of the other students has the CD, so I'm hoping he'll rip it for us so that we don't have to spend the money. XD In any case, I've really been liking the workshop so far, and I can't wait for class tomorrow!

The other big thing that happened this week was the Night Kite Revival poetry slam on Thursday evening. I first heard about it just last Monday; I wasn't at all familiar with the poets in the group, though I was thinking of going anyway because a.) I'm really starting to love slam poetry, and b.) some student poets, including a couple I know personally, were going to be performing as well, and I wasn't going to pass up a chance to see them. Then I noticed that they were bringing in Taylor Mali as a special guest. And I was like, "HOLY SHIT OMG YES I'M SO GOING NOW :DDDDDDDDDDDDDDD" For those of you who don't know, he's the one who wrote "What Teachers Make" and a whole host of other awesome poems; I was familiar with his work for some time, so I definitely didn't want to miss this. And lemme tell ya, I had an excellent time! Mali and the student poets were absolutely brilliant; even though Mali didn't perform "What Teachers Make" (probably because it's so ubiquitous by now, and because it comes from a poetry collection from 2002 that he really doesn't like anymore), he and the students were magnetic, charismatic, impressive, thought-provoking, and all-around awesome. I admit I wasn't as taken by the Night Kite poets -- Buddy Wakefield, Anis Mojgani, and Derrick Brown -- but they were still absolutely hilarious; they had a wonderful dynamic on stage, and it was great when they made it so that you couldn't always tell when their poems began and ended. I'm pretty sure I laughed more times that one night than I have in quite a while, so that's gotta count for something. Here, here's some photos of the event -- human pyramids, shirtless poets, bagpipes, and off-the-wall-ness galore. Probably one of the best events I've gone to here in my four years of college, if not the best event. 8D

If you're interested, here are some videos of some of the poets performing:

Taylor Mali, "Miracle Workers"
Taylor Mali, "Like Lily Like Wilson"
Taylor Mali, "The The Impotence of Proofreading"
Taylor Mali, "Depression Too Is a Type of Fire"
Buddy Wakefield, "Hurling Crowbirds at Mockingbars"
Anis Mojgani, "Come Closer"
Anis Mojgani, "Shake the Dust"
Derrick Brown, "Cotton In the Air"
Derrick Brown, "Meat Loaf"

Other than all that, the radio show, gaming club, and anime club went rather well, and I spent most of the rest of the week being lazy and not knowing what to do with myself, completely unmotivated to do any work or anything else I've been wanting to do this J-term. :/ Hopefully, next week will be better for that. In the meantime, I shall go to dinner and then try to do all the work I've been putting off this weekend -- if only I can gather the energy and clarity of mind to do so. :3

In My Past Life I Was...




quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
1. [livejournal.com profile] demoneyeskyo87 and [livejournal.com profile] misskalloway, I got your Christmas cards in the mail recently. Thanks so much! :D

1a. And [livejournal.com profile] misskalloway, thank you so so so much for the huge box of CDs you sent me this weekend! It was unexpected, I admit, but I really appreciate it! Now I just need to get a chance to listen to some of them -- I already have quite the backlog of music I've been meaning to listen to, just like my books. ^_^;

1b. Speaking of Christmas cards, I finally got around to sending mine out yesterday and today. I was writing them up at 3 in the morning, so apologies in advance if they're not 100% coherent or if you have trouble reading my handwriting. (And I think two of the envelopes are upside-down. Sorry about that. XD) There's a chance most of them will arrive late, but I hope you enjoy them all the same!

2. Not much else has been going on lately -- I worked at my mom's office yesterday, and I might go again later this week (probably Thursday) or sometime next week to finish the job that needs to get done. Filing is extremely boring work, and I think I threw my back doing it too (I'm fine now), but I need the money. :P And I missed the lunar eclipse last night too -- it was too cloudy outside, and even if I could see it, it wasn't visible inside the house, which meant having to go outside in the bitter cold and wind. No thanks. -_- Though I at least got to speak with K. again this past weekend; that was good, at least. :D

3. Despite everything, I'm definitely happy that Don't Ask Don't Tell will be ending very soon. A lot of people in the queer community have found it very problematic, however, for reasons expressed here and here -- namely, that this new legislation does nothing to deal with the problems of American imperialism, the military-industrial complex, and the rights of transgender people, all of which serve to oppress and risk the lives of LGB and other marginalized people, moreso those living outside the U.S. While I'm sympathetic to those arguments, and I agree with them to a certain extent, I'm still celebrating the repeal of DADT anyway. It's still a big step toward stopping discrimination against LGB people, as well as improving how they are seen and treated in the U.S., and even if you're "against equality" and assimilation it still moves toward the ultimate goal of having queer people be seen as, well, people, and it's important not to lose sight of that. And it also gets us a little bit closer to having imperialism, the military-industrial complex, and trans rights being thought about more critically for once -- while that's still a long way away, it's still a step. And I know small steps are frustrating after a while -- why can't we have big change instead? -- but if you actually stopped to consider the political environment we're in right now, it's either small steps or no steps.

(Plus, a lot of criticism of DADT repeal from the left, I feel, tends to come from a strong anti-military standpoint, and that I can't accept. The size, scope, influence, power, and violence of this particular military needs to be criticized and changed, but the existence of militaries in general is and will always be an unfortunate necessity, even if it always is good to work toward reducing war as much as possible.)

4. And now for something completely different: I got my grades today! A- in GIS, B+ in the ES senior seminar, and B in geology. They weren't as good as I was hoping for (except for GIS, considering that was my toughest class), but I'm still happy with how they turned out all things considered, and I'm never truly unhappy as long as my grades stay above a B-. ^_^; Right now I'm pulling a 3.58 GPA, and my goal is graduate with at least a 3.6, which I think I can do. XD

5. Finally got around to reading Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez; it takes place in a world where gods and goddesses from all religious traditions and mythologies actually exist, interact with human beings on a regular basis, and still have followers (though following a god nowadays tends to come in the form of business contracts made through websites very similar to dating/matchmaking sites), and a Court of Divine Affairs exists to prevent divine shenanigans and deities smiting people left and right. The story itself is about a young couple who starts to follow Luka, a raccoon god of luck and good fortune they nickname "Lucky" who asks to move in with them as his only asking price. It's an interesting premise, and the story itself is very enjoyable and fun, but I found Martinez's writing style hard to swallow. He has a very annoying tendency to tell and not show; I don't see any reason why he'd deliberately do this except a.) to write like some sort of comic Hemingway and rely on understatement for his comedy (which occasionally works, but falls flat most of the time because the build-up you need to make it work just isn't there), or b.) to appeal to younger readers (except his simple writing style may actually be an insult to the intelligence of most younger readers). It almost seems as if he's relying on the absurdity of the situations in the story to carry the humor, when at least half of writing good comedy in novels is the language you use to describe those situations. Plus, he misses out on a lot of good worldbuilding; I absolutely love the premise of the story, and as such I was fascinated and wanted to learn more about the universe it inhabits, but Martinez instead focuses on the ~WACKY HIJINKS!!!~ of the characters. There's nothing wrong with doing only enough worldbuilding to service the plot, but I still don't feel as if the world Divine Misfortune inhabits is all that fully realized, and there's very little opportunity for the reader to engage in it. The premise and world of the story just shine through the dullness of the writing, but only just. In the hands of a Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett this can be a brilliant, witty, engrossing, and even poignant story; as it is, it's an enjoyable, pleasantly inoffensive, easily forgettable comedy of errors that has little reread value.

6. I've been obsessed with this song lately, it's so good! <3 The Delgados!

7. So I've decided to let my LiveJournal paid account expire -- bye-bye extra icon space and ability to edit comments, considering those were the only two features I was actually using (and the Statistics feature, though I got into such a habit of obsessively checking it that it's probably for the best). I decided to do this because over the past year I've become very unhappy and disenchanted with how LJ runs things -- I'm well aware every company with a bottom line to uphold screws up more than occasionally, but LJ's screw-ups have been so frequent and so directly affecting its users that I've become very uncomfortable with supporting them financially with anything more than ad revenue. I don't like that some of my icons have been deactivated, but I'll figure something out with that.

Since I have this Dreamwidth account laying around, and since it's easy to crosspost from DW to LJ, I've decided I might as well start using it. I know DW isn't nearly as active as LJ is, but I realized that if I wanted to see it be more active and make the most out of it, I had to take it upon myself to do what I can to be a more active user. Plus, DW has a lot of cool features that LJ doesn't have, and the features DW doesn't have but LJ does tend to be rather useless ones I can do without. And even though a 1-year paid account on DW costs more ($35 as opposed to $20), it gives you 100 icons spaces instead of 35, and considering I'm becoming quite the icon fan (and a fan of supporting new services with great potential) I think that'll be more than adequate for my needs. ^_^;

So I'm going to start posting from DW from now on, and I'm considering getting a paid account here instead of LJ. I don't plan on turning into one of those annoying "DREAMWIDTH BEAUTIFUL!! LIVEJOURNAL EVIL!!!" folks anytime soon (believe me, stay away from [community profile] lj_refugees if you know what's good for you), and rest assured I'll still be using LJ as much as I did before. This just means I'll be crossposting most of my entries on DW onto LJ, and you guys have a choice of where to comment on my entries if you so wish. 8D We'll see how this works out.

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