Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Round Up!: Cool Games and Terrible Ideas

You may have noticed I've been posting more lately.  There is a reason for this.  Over the past year or so, people have been telling me with increasing frequency that they use my Facebook wall as a news source.  While that is flattering, it occurs to me that other people might benefit from looking at stuff I post, as well as from additional explanation.  I don't make any claims to neutrality.  I am a liberal and I will always be a liberal, but I think it's important to note that liberal doesn't mean what the stereotype reads any more than conservative means what the popular imagination says it means.  Neither side is comprised of idiots, and both are surrounded by a ton of people who don't identify either way or don't have an interest in finding out how they might identify were they so inclined.  That's an important thing to understand.

I wanted to start writing more about certain articles because they often require more examination than the original phrasing offers or just because I sometimes disagree with them, and the nature of that disagreement is important. While I will continue unpacking as many articles in depth as possible, I do need to like, make a living and go to grad school, so each Friday, I'll post a round up of articles I though were interesting throughout the week.  If you ever come across something you think should be in a round up, please feel free to email it to me!

Without further ado, here's this week's roundup!
  • My book, Rapunzel's Daughters, is Now Available on Kindle!  I have a story about an absinthe swilling Tinkerbell in there and I edited the whole shebang along with Rose and Bill.  Check it out!
  • Electric Box  My friend Ben linked me to this game last night and now basically I'm going to be busy until January.  
  • Time to Get Your Clark Kent On?  A great article from the Christian Left (...yes really) about the decline in local news coverage that has accompanied the downslide of print media and opened the door for a dramatic drop in accountability.  The author calls for bloggers of the world to unite, and get involved meaningfully with covering local government...checking sources, going to meetings, interviewing people, and providing the accountability where the mainstream media has fallen short.  
  • South Sudan Declares Independence  This sweet article puts a great personal spin on the exciting South Sudanese victory with a profile of a former child soldier who finally got to put on the "victory suit" he bought two years previously.  It's great to see South Sudan emerging from the brutal genocide in Sudan.  Hooray!
  • Dogs and Smurfs  Max Barry explains gender dynamics and feminism through the lens of childrens' books and entertainment.  I know that sounds pretty awesome, but in practice, it's awesome^bazillion. Here's a sample: "Male is default. That’s what you learn from a world of boy dogs and Smurf stories. My daughter has no problem with this. She reads these books the way they were intended: not about boys, exactly, but about people who happen to be boys. After years of such books, my daughter can happily identify with these characters.  And this is great. It’s the reason she will grow into a woman who can happily read a novel about men, or watch a movie in which men do all the most interesting things, without feeling like she can’t relate. She will process these stories as being primarily not about males but about human beings.  Except it’s not happening the other way."  See?  Get goin'.
  • What We Could Lose if the Webb Telescope is Killed  On the heels of the end of the shuttle program, there are more attempts on NASA's funding, particularly around the super-high-tech James Webb Telescope.  Through the use of infared technology, the Webb Telescope will be able to look back in time, possibly to before stars existed.  How amazing is that?
  • Srebrenica, 16 Years On  July 11th was the 16 year anniversary of the massacre at Srebrenica in Bosnia.  Bodies were moved to disguise the genocidal act, but they have slowly been recovered.  On Monday, 613 of them were given a proper burial. 
  • Shame on them  The Economist points the shame finger at the Republicans for playing chicken with the debt ceiling.  I'd feel sad for the Republicans except they're earning that shit.  I do not think that "debt ceiling" means what they think it means.  
  • 50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice  Geoffrey K. Pullum over at the Chronicle of Higher Education is not a fan of Strunk and White.  "Its advice ranges from limp platitudes to inconsistent nonsense. Its enormous influence has not improved American students' grasp of English grammar; it has significantly degraded it."  Those are words 40 through 84 of 2440.  He is not kidding.  WHEN LINGUISTS ATTACK!
  • Half of Americans Getting Government Aid Swear They've Never Used It  Cornell University (my awesome grandma's alma mater!) has a new paper out demonstrating that a lot of people getting assistance from the government don't really know it's from the government.  This is something Democrats and people concerned with the social safety net should be talking about non freaking stop these days.  [NB: I think this headline is more "scandaloso!" than is necessary; it's not like these folks are hiding the aid, they just don't know that stuff like Pell grants are government aid.  That said, some of the folks who are on food stamps and don't know they're government help should probably tune in a bit.]
  • Green Jobs Reach 2.7 Million: the "Clean Economy" Starts Delivering On Its Promise of High Paying Jobs, Brookings Finds  Shockingly, when your economy has been oil-bound since ever, attempts at freeing yourself from it pay off.  Green jobs are way up and they're good jobs.  
  • The Women of the Harry Potter Universe  Canonball has an awesome write up about feminism in the Harry Potter series and why the women who inhabit it are so exciting.  
  • Worcester Sharks Schedule Out; Josie's Schedule Now Booked  The AHL has now released its schedule, and the primary concern for me is of course the Worcester Sharks.  Sharks opening night is October 15th, a week after my Habs open the NHL season versus the Leafs in Toronto on October 6th.  Is it hockey season yet?  The NHL schedule is available here.
Let's end with some music, shall we?  I've watched the video for Britney's "I Wanna Go" about ninety seven times and it still makes me laugh my ass off...there are robot paparazzi, "Crossroads 2: Cross Harder," the line "I love dreams.  And seashells." and a Thriller reference at the end.  Enjoy!

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