Open Thread and Link Farm, Happy Times Edition

  1. Who Was Elijah McClain? What to Know About His Death After a Police Encounter – The New York Times (And an alternate link.)
    The three police officers claimed that all their body cameras fell off (what a coincidence!). They also claimed that five foot six inch, 140 pound Elijah McClain had “incredible, crazy strength,” and all three of them had to get on top of him.
  2. Opinion | America Didn’t Give Up on Covid-19. Republicans Did. – The New York Times (And an alternate link.)
    “Covid-19 is like climate change: It isn’t the kind of menace the party wants to acknowledge. It’s not that the right is averse to fearmongering. But it doesn’t want you to fear impersonal threats that require an effective policy response…”
  3. The origin of “African American” | Arts & Culture | Yale Alumni Magazine
    The author found the term “African American” used in 1782. There’s debate over if the writer was actually African-American, as they claimed to be.
  4. What the AI Behind AlphaGo Can Teach Us About Being Human | WIRED
    A story about the first computer AI to beat a champion human Go player.
  5. The forgotten history of how automakers invented the crime of “jaywalking” – Vox
    Includes a gorgeous vintage anti-jaywalking editorial cartoon.
  6. The Princess Bride Letters
    In the novel The Princess Bride, there’s a missing scene, with an address to write if you’d like to get the missing scene mailed to you. I always intended to do that, and never did. But here’s the response(s) I would have received had I mailed them.
  7. It Can Happen Here | by Cass R. Sunstein | The New York Review of Books
    A discussion of a few books about life for ordinary Germans under Hitler. “Decades afterward, memoirists referred to their ‘happy times’ in the Hitler Youth, focusing not on ideology but on hiking trips, camaraderie, and summer camps.”
  8. The (First) Time Nazis Marched in Portland
    In 1936 – “As the cruiser arrived, Portlanders lined the waterfront, not to protest the already-publicized human rights atrocities underway in Germany, but to wave hankies and exchange “heil Hitler” salutes with the Emden crew…”
  9. I Am the Dad Who Installed Lava in the Rumpus Room Floor – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
  10. Addressing The Claims In JK Rowling’s Justification For Transphobia
    Lengthy and thorough.
  11. Anti-trans group admits bathroom predator myth is made up
  12. A faster response could have prevented most U.S. Covid-19 deaths – STAT
  13. West Side Story, but 12 minutes long and Cher plays every character – YouTube
    I’m honestly impressed that, at the point in her career where Cher could do virtually anything and get it on TV, she chose this.
  14. Free Speech and Marginalized People – Liberal Currents
    “. Suppression of speech is not directed most intensely at controversial speech. It’s directed at speech by people who are controversial—that is, at marginalized people who lack power, and who are therefore easily silenced and ignored.”
  15. » 30 Rock Landed on Us
    A short essay about how 30 Rock approached race.
  16. My Family Saw a Police Car Hit a Kid on Halloween. Then I Learned How NYPD Impunity Works. — ProPublica
    Although this story is less tragic, like the Elijah McClain story, it shows how freely police lie, and how little fear of consequence many police have.
  17. New research explores how conservative media misinformation may have intensified coronavirus – The Washington Post.
    The three studies are suggestive, but of course correlation is not causation.
  18. Spray Their Names Aims to Paint Murals That Honor Lives Lost and Amplify Marginalized Voices – 303 Magazine
    Both images in this link farm came from this article. The first image is a mural of Breonna Taylor painted by Detour, Hiero Veiga and Just. The second image is a mural of Elijah McClain painted by Detour and Hiero Veiga. Both photos are by Brittany Werges.

This entry posted in Link farms. Bookmark the permalink. 

11 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, Happy Times Edition

  1. 1
    Petar says:

    AlphaGo is a computer program, with two main components, working together. One is based on machine learning, the other on tree searches. The latter is not A.I. by any means. Suggesting the former is A.I. will get you at least corrected, probably insulted, and possibly buttonholed and yelled at by both A.I. people and machine learning people. (At least, that was the case in the 90s, it may have changed since)

    What can the the A.I. behind it teach about humans? About as much as the monkeys with typewriters who wrote Hamlet can teach us about Imperial Rome politics.

  2. 2
    Petar says:

    (The text editor ate my edit)

    To clarify :

    It is not A.I.
    It does not play Go like a human.
    It can make people contemplate ways of playing that humans usually do not even consider.

    None of the above teach us anything about being human. But interacting with such programs can spur us to think about the way we think.

  3. 3
    RonF says:

    Your citation of Yale Alumni Magazine made me mindful of an essay I just read. There is a movement afoot to get Yale University to change it’s name. Turns out that there is excellent documentation to support the claim that Elihu Yale was a notorious slave master in India when working for the East India Company. Even for the time he was noted to be quite brutal towards his slaves, hanging and branding them at the slightest pretext. That and financial malfeasance led to his eventual removal from his post in disgrace. The university’s administration is resistant – for now.

  4. 4
    Chris says:

    I was surprised by how positively Wesley Morris saw 30 Rock’s treatment of race–I know the review was written in 2013, but even when that show was on I found its racial jokes alternatingly brilliant and tone-deaf, often within the same episode. For every joke that was poignant and cutting, there was another that was literally just “This person isn’t white LOL” and that was the whole joke.

    That said, I am totally opposed to NBC removing the episode “Believe in the Stars,” which guest-stars freaking Oprah and contains some of the funniest moments of the entire series. The “blackface” aspect of that episode is one scene, is clearly critical of the practice, and could be removed from the episode without much trouble without tossing out the whole episode. (The other episode with Jenna in blackface has less justification for it, but it’s also a great episode and she only appears in blackface in one scene, though it’s one that would be harder to edit around.) But of course I’m not the final arbiter of these things and at the end of the day I’m complaining about TV, not anything real that affects me.

    I also thought the Morris’s aside about Scandal was misguided; that show didn’t ignore race, it just handled it in a completely incoherent way. Olivia Pope is portrayed as a black female empowerment fantasy while spending nearly the whole show caught in a love triangle with two of the most abusive and entitled white male fascists I have ever had the displeasure of seeing on my television screen, and while at times the show made great points about race and gender–it’s Shonda Rhimes, how could it not–the fact that these men were never once labeled “abusive” by a single character on the show was incredibly frustrating.

  5. 5
    RonF says:

    Here’s one of those articles about trying to get Yale to change it’s name.

  6. 6
    nobody.really says:

    Why not rename Yale after its most famous alumni?

  7. 7
    Harlequin says:

    I have a family member who receives the Princeton Alumni Weekly. A number of years ago they changed the front of the magazine to simply say PAW (very clever, as their mascot is the tiger). There were a number of angry letters to the editor–after all, if the front didn’t say PRINCETON Alumni Weekly, how were the visitors who saw the magazine to know that they should be impressed with the person who received it?

    Also…hi everyone! I’ve found that the level of crisis happening right now about–oh, everything–has severely limited my bandwidth to think about political topics so I’ve been here less, but I’m happy to see many of the regulars still around and posting. My coping mechanism has been reading: I set my Goodreads goal for the year based on how many books I read last year (while unemployed–can’t remember if I said, but I moved cross-country and switched jobs out of academia into tech, and there was a 4-month gap between jobs) and yet I hit that goal in the first week of June. Mostly rereads. At the moment I’m doing the Vorkosigan books; the earlier ones are much better than I remember, which makes me wonder just how much the later ones are gonna knock my socks off.

  8. 8
    Ampersand says:

    Hi, Harlequin! Nice to see you.

    If you’re inclined, you could check out Alas, a Discord – I think that might be more your speed right now. It tends to be… well, not apolitical, but less political than the blog.

    I’ve never read any of the Vorkosigan books. Would “Falling Free” be a good one to begin with?

  9. 9
    hf says:

    “Falling free” is not a Vorkosigan book, and while it shares the same canon/verse, there’s no real need to read it. Still, I recall it being decent. Just don’t expect any connection to what comes next.

  10. 10
    Harlequin says:

    Cool! I joined up. :)

    Yeah, I wouldn’t start with Falling Free. There are two places people generally start–either with Shards of Honor or with The Warrior’s Apprentice. Shards of Honor and Barrayar are about Aral Vorkosigan and Cordelia Naismith, how they meet and fall in love in the middle of a war and then navigate political turmoil, more or less, although it’s a political adventure MilSF story with romantic subplot more than a romance. Then The Warrior’s Apprentice starts when their son Miles is 17, and most of the rest of the books have him as a protagonist, with Aral and Cordelia continuing to play important roles. I’m not as fond of the duology about Aral and Cordelia, though it’s still good; but some of my friends like them better than the Miles books. I’d probably start with The Warrior’s Apprentice myself.

  11. 11
    Petar says:

    My wife is a huge fan. I really like some of the books, but for most of them, I am simply not the target audience. The early ones are leaning heavily into romance, and the military background is not particularly well researched. The later ones are back to being romance, and the last one is simply fan service.

    But in the middle, there is some brilliant political commentary, mixed with very solid adventure and humor. Basically, the further the narrative stays from any real military action and personel, the easier it is for me to suspend disbelief.

    As for Falling Free, it is not a Vorkosigan book, but it provides background for one of my favorite Vorkosigan books, Diplomatic Immunity. I would suggest that if you want to really experience the series, and if you have the time, follow the King of Heart’s advice: “Begin at the beginning, go on till you come to the end. Then stop.”

    Well, maybe disregard the last two words, if you like it enough.

    But without the first few books, you will not be able to appreciate the nuances on the later ones. You have to understand what makes Cetagandians tick, how Barrayar became what it is, and how Komar ended up where it is.

    And how Miles can exist, at all, in his home society. If you start from the middle, you may think very little of the world building.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *