Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tuesday roundup

The refugees of the Vietnam War.

You must read Ta-Nehisi Coates on Baltimore. Here's an excerpt:
When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is "correct" or "wise," any more than a forest fire can be "correct" or "wise." Wisdom isn't the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community.
This piece on the difference between tone policing and abuse and sanctimony is particularly timely in view of the Bruce Jenner interview. I was dismayed at how avidly my Twitter timeline filled up with pronoun policing--it was 'gotcha'ism at the expense of actual analysis.

On a related note, see @katie_speak on Meghan Murphy.

Changing gears... whither Britain.

Moderate your embrace of Snowden and Greenwald.

I don't know that I have enough schadenfreude in me to enjoy watching McDonalds fall on its face so spectacularly.

For what it's worth, IRSN is a technical support organization, not a watchdog, but nevertheless: this is a good read for those preaching the promise of absolute safety by way of Gen IV technology.

I had to look up some stuff about chemical nomenclature today, and loved this post for its great analogies to language learning (and speaking).

Speaking of great analogies, those of you who know about music will appreciate Jennifer Ouellette's essay about love and counterpoint even more than I do:

It’s the perfect metaphor for how two strong, independent and intelligent people can maintain their individuality and yet, together, form a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. In romance, as in music, it is no mean feat to achieve this, but Wimsey’s preference for a strong, equal partner — because of, rather than despite, the challenge — is what makes him a thinking woman’s heartthrob. He likes his music, and his women, polyphonic.
and
As the aseptic Oxford scholar, Miss DeVine cautions her, a marriage between equal intellects is inherently risky: “You can hurt one another so dreadfully.”
and
That, really, is the heart of the matter. Harriet tried to be the meek accompanist in her first, failed relationship, with disastrous results. She is equally uncomfortable in the role of autocratic virtuoso, having bored very quickly of an amorous younger suitor whose intellect and abilities were too far below her own.  
As always, I appreciate great pieces on boundaries. tl;dr=be firm but kind, and don't fall for gaslighting.

I like the response about how hatred is different when it's directed at a behavior vs. a person (i.e., a source of the behavior), but I would also add that the issue is not whether it's "okay to let kids hate." It's a matter of pointing out--cue the 'empty boat' fable--that hatred is a self-destructive emotion. See also this (true) story about a boy and a dog and a hen (and hope that maybe the kid will think twice about eating chicken, given his feelings about them).

This is amazing (definitely expand on the image):

Friday, April 24, 2015

A pretty wonky Friday roundup


A nuanced article about the challenges Europe faces in managing immigration while honoring humanitarian imperatives.

Don't justify the presence of minorities in terms of their contribution to society.

Poland, for all its wartime suffering, could stand to confront its own history.

The Middle East's long history of sectarian conflict is somewhat over-spun. So is the sectarian aspect of the ongoing conflict in Yemen.

I cannot overstate the quality and substance of this piece on proliferation potential (or lack thereof) in the Middle East.

How to interact with child (and other) beggars abroad--specifically, acknowledging their humanity without perpetuating the industry--is a really tough issue. I felt awful, most recently in Cambodia, not about not buying things from the child vendors (because you just shouldn't) but for reflexively turning away this one amputee who was making his rounds on this side street (in Siem Reap) full of outdoor cafes. 

I'm impressed with Playboy's response to Megan Murphy.

On a related note--one of not dictating how women own and otherwise manage their bodies and their sexuality--here's a lovely piece on the symbolism of Katy Perry's breasts. The takeaway: we needn't let our relationship with our bodies be limited or influenced by creepy dudes on the street (or elsewhere).
Guys may get all weird about your body. They’ll blame you for reactions they may have to it, act as if it exists for them, tell you to cover it up or show it off, adorn it or keep it plain. Just do what my daughter’s other pal, Taylor, says to do: Shake it off.

Honoring women's supposed superior emotional intelligence, can also be a trap.
The trouble is, there’s no real evidence that women are any more emotional than men. Women can be and often are more expressive of their emotions, but this is again largely due to cultural stereotypes. Men can be as emotional as women, if not more. Many women receive bombardments of violent threats online from men who are upset about her harmless opinions; this is not indicative of a gender that has greater control over their emotions.
What do men value in a partner? It's not always the same things they want for their daughters.

It's okay to have curly hair again! Unless you're on TV (that article, too, speaks to what characteristics "we" value in women). Speaking of hair... I've already written about its treatment in "Bad Jews," and now the Times is on it.


I'm the first to agree that (some) picky eating is unnecessary, but this seems to be a good context in which to point out that there are ethical reasons for not eating animals. On that note, I was re-referred to this piece by the author of a clickbaity piece in Slate that I won't even link to. I don't have the energy to point out flaws in the argument right now, but I will agree that eating one way or another shouldn't be a source of sanctimony. But it's silly to dismiss the environmental benefits of eating plants by comparing the caloric yield of beef versus broccoli. It's also absurd to dismiss those who think differently as dogmatic or anti-science. Besides, Jane Goodall wants you to eat plants.

Did I mention that you don't need dairy?

Yup, Eastern Europeans live with their parents.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday roundup

Reining in mercenaries.

Telnaes on Trudeau (on Charlie Hebdo).

Counting the Gulf's oil spills.

Afghanistan's wedding-industrial complex.

In China, two men with disabilities have developed a system.

There are much better ways to teach and elicit empathy than to try to temporary and superficially simulate a complicated, longterm (or permanent) situation, such as being a religious minority or being poor.

That's some police overreach on par with the free-range kids case. (No, I'm not pairing with the spate of police violence/brutality cases, because that goes beyond the issue of overreach).

Confessions of an animal experimenter. Pair with Comey's speech, which we can pair with the spate of police violence cases.

Oh the victimhood!

Probably the best take on Ronson.

You know I'm no fan of the "can I be a feminist and still..." framework, especially when what completes the sentence is being dependent on a harmful system that would be mitigated by feminism. That framing contributes to the fallacy that there's a right way to be a woman.

I love this profile of Toni Morrison.

I'm not defending Dr. Oz, but it bears pointing out that his detractors aren't free of corporate influence.

You don't need milk for healthy bones, and you sure as hell don't need to combine your proteins. You do need to try the "oyster" at Equinox.

You probably don't need a PhD.

Don't buy into the anti-organics hype.

When Roombas attack.

Two great reflections on love. I especially appreciate the idea that your partner should inspire you to be a better person and should expand your world (having once resigned myself to the opposite to preserve a relationship... and yet, something inside me revolted). I also love, love how Carolyn breaks down the difference between making your needs clear and being manipulative about them.



Improv teaches you to say "yes, and..." but at the very least, say "yes."


I definitely have a distinct personality in each language.

I agree that it's silly and petty to shame people for internet grammar (unless it's chronic), but not necessarily for these reasons. I blame aggressive autocorrect.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thursday roundup

This kind of thing is why I'm not on Facebook.

What people choose to do with their names is none of anyone else's business. What people choose to do with their bodies--particularly with regard to medical choices--is none of anyone else's business. But not all critique is "women bashing women."
A woman receives constructive criticism about something she’s rightfully publicly accountable for, like products she’s trying to sell or ideas she’s imposing on others (rather than personal choices about her body or lifestyle, which are nobody’s business), and that criticism just so happens to come from a person who is also female.
The complaint is dismissed as nonsensical and invalid with the simple insistence that “women should support each other,” and the fact that this critic is somehow not supporting her fellow woman must make her a “jealous” anti-feminist or just not worth listening to. Dismissing a valid question or criticism based on the complainer’s gender is extremely sexist, defensive and unhelpful — it’s also unfortunately one more way the patriarchy is screwing us by pitting us against each other.
Pair with this wonderful piece on the religion of staying out of people's faces. And pair that with this piece on Bill Maher.

This times a thousand:
In general when confronted with an over-talker — at work, in the neighborhood, etc. — you need to internalize a belief the over-talker is the rude one for cornering you, and that reclaiming your time is fair game. 
 It's really okay preferable to expose your kids to views you may disagree with.


I'm pretty uninterested in disecting the Gwyneth food challenge, but you can read this, about how poverty's not a game you try for a month.
I love this not-quite-defense-of Whole Foods. It really is true that you can find very good deals there.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wednesday roundup

The Kenya attack was so, so tragic.

This woman has been through so much. I'm heartened that the comments are compassionate.


Trout fishing is environmentally harmful.

Should women be allowed to do things?

Traister on Clinton.

Critical thinking is at the core of science, but, in lieu of the Gawker take-down of Food Babe, I'd prefer to direct you to Keith Kloor's. I also want to take this opportunity to readdress the "food choice is a privilege" issue: it is and it isn't. Sometimes eating well, costs less.

Don't be creepy.

Mind the hype about the Ronson book; not all shaming is equivalent.

There's good to be had in being rejected.

I loved this piece on quote drift, as well as the quote that inspired it:
You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked “female”.
Pair with the "idea" that women who eschew certain norms are "mentally ill."

Women are less casual about sex not because they're not interested; it's because we have low expectations.

What do you do with an element like lawrencium?

In Italy, you never know what you'll dig up.

This roundup was brought to you by... the nightmare being over (start around minute 20, or 30 for our part).

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday roundup

Brought to you by the fact that I had to turn on my laptop to work.

Stay angry about how universities handle sexual assault. Also, watch Sam Bee's clip about state laws.

SNL really nails CNN.

Nestle bottles and sells California's scarce water.
Guess what! Plant-based eating is good for the planet.

Have you got paprika in your snot?

Human males are well endowed as primates go.

Yup: if there's anything worse than kids, it's parents.

I love this (by Alana Massey); pair it with my earlier posts on calling women crazy, etc.
The “Cool Girl” is, of course, remarkably dull in her interests because they center almost exclusively on the man with whom she is so inexplicably enraptured. But the “Cool Girl” has no Chill. She likes him far too much and lets it show. Chill is different — it is agreeable because it is emotionally vacant. Chill is what Cool would look like with a lobotomy and no hobbies. And for a large subset of the population, Chill is one of the most desirable qualities in a romantic prospect.
Art without gluten.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Saturday ramble

I've been thinking about something all week, but I haven't had a chance to ramble to you about it until now. I've been thinking about it in terms of my disappointing post-speed-dating date, and in the aftermath of having run into someone that I once thought I wanted to date. I've been thinking about it in terms of being so different from my mother.

Huge Saturday roundup


NPR scientists vs.  Fox News "scientists."

I hope you didn't buy into the nonsense exposed here.

Food workers shouldn't have to live in dreadful conditions. Prisoners shouldn't be subject to predatory vendors. We don't need to further stigmatize depression and mental illness.

There are points when people with Alzheimer's can and then can't cover up their symptoms.

It's great that god put this guy in the right place at the right time but I'd love to see god get him a home.

Don't drink the RoundUp.

A new take on the the-Pope-is-Catholic meme.

Embrace your cat-person status (and your cat(s)). Especially when it's wielded as a threat by some these guys. And don't even get me started on these guys.

That middle link touches on the concept of centering. Who decides what's standard, expected, etc. (and then upholds that standard so that those who want something different, are accused of selfishness at worst and asking too much at best). Who's centered in David Brooks' reality? See also the bullshit that is #whitegirlsrock and Facebook's decency (double) standards.

Everyone has an opinion on every woman's appearance. See also--people judging Giuliana Rancic for being "too" thin--and, despite the warning to vegetarians to look away--this piece on marked and unmarked choices, and the disdain for and dismissal of women who appear to care about their appearance. And this is part of what Annie Lowrey describes here:
It is pervasive. It is persistent. And it is so, so exhausting, all those subtle hints that you are a little different and that your behavior is being interpreted a little differently. On top of that, it does have profound consequences, if made through a million tiny cuts.
This, of course, isn't limited to women; it's what I've ranted about on these pages in terms of talking about ethnicity.
Roxane Gay on why she writes

I've got to hand it to her, Alexandra Petri had the best take on Trevor Noah. These two are also worth a read.

This isn't the first time Jon Ronson's been called out for spin.

Token women aren't what matter to women voters.

Awe is good for you.

In a relationship, it's wise to figure out how your upbringing informs your financial attitudes.

Back in the day, Texans knew that anti-government rants were mere rhetorical hypocrisy.

I didn't know Benjamin Disraeli went by Dizzy.

I don't know, I don't see this kind of thing as tautological. But I like this turn-or-phrase:
The hated-­upon must resist lines of inquiry, like “Haters are inclined to hate, but perhaps I have contributed to this situation somehow by frustrating that natural impulse in all human beings, that of empathy, however submerged that impulse is in this deadened, modern world.” To do otherwise would be to acknowledge your own monstrosity..
Did you have a vegan Pesach?

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