Linkroll Oct 2015

From a friend of a friend, in response to :

“Samhain (pronounced SAH-win or sow-in) was the iteration (one of many) observed by the ppls of Ireland and Britain since before the Roman invasions, the violent imposition of Christianity, and the destruction of European peasant communities by capitalism and the rise of the modern European nation-states. Protective and cleansing bonfires were lit, the veil between the worlds was thinnest so faeries and spirits could more easily come into our world, and the souls of the dead returned to their homes and were invited to the dinners of the living. Divination and mumming and guising were practiced, candles were lit in windows to guide the dead, skulls of cows and other animals were painted and adorned and placed around the home, people painted their faces with ashes from the ritual fires and went door to door reciting verses in exchange for food.

“In 601 AD/CE, after centuries of violent but unsuccessful attempts to Christianize the common peoples of Europe, Pope Gregory the First issued an edict detailing a new strategy for Christian missionaries: rather than outlawing pagan religious practices, the authorities should instead co-opt them. Instead of cutting down sacred tree groves, they were to consecrate them in the name of Christ. Turn pagan gods and goddessss into either saints or manifestations of the Devil, turn the Celtic underworld into the Christian hell, turn faeries and spirits into angels and demons, and turn spiritual holidays into Christian ones, or place Christian holidays on the same dates and then ban any other coinciding spiritual practice. Thus Samhain became supplanted by Halloween (All Hallows Eve) on October 31st, All Saints Day on November 1st, and All Souls Day on November 2nd. But indigenous pagan practices persisted, and as the co-optation strategy reached its limits of effectiveness, the practices of the original pagan holidays of Europe were increasingly outlawed, policed, and punished. They went underground and persisted, despite several attempts by state and church to uproot them. The mass murder of hundreds of thousands of women accused of witchcraft throughout Europe during the Burning Times was in part another attempt to do this. And capitalism being what it is, the commodification of Halloween into what it is today was an inevitable progression from there.

“I wish white people in this country knew more about our deeper history. There’s a reason why we are so culturally and spiritually hungry: our peoples’ cultures were stamped out through rape, murder, theft and ecocide over the course of millennia. Becoming European, and later becoming White, made us a wandering ghost people severed from our roots and even the memory of them, to the point that we’ve come to identify with the very culture and forces that destroyed our cultures to begin with. And because we do not know ourselves, we steal and appropriate from other peoples who we have colonized in turn. We feel that we are missing something, but cannot name it, so we take from peoples who still have some connection to their roots, who still have names and memory for their own ancestral ways. Doing so is colonial violence, and not the answer to our own need for decolonization and healing.

“I can’t say that I know how to move forward, but a basic step has got to be respecting the cultural boundaries of others when they say, “No.” And if you are invited to participate, to do so with the upmost humility and respect. Do not mistake that invitation to your friends’/partners’ Dia de Los Muertos event for an invitation to then do nothing in the service of looking to/confronting/reclaiming your own ancestry and history – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

“May we make the best of our ancestors proud, the worst of them conscience-stricken, and may we struggle to be good ancestors ourselves.”

We may soon be able to use gel as a scaffold to 3D print human organs:

John Oliver talks about how mental illness is only really brought up as a scapegoat for bigoted violence by white men:

A poignant meditation on how sometimes we need to grieve for estranged or ended friendships:

The United States bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital about a month ago. President Obama has since apologized for the bombing. Since this article has come out, it’s also become clear that some of the U.S. operatives may have known that we were about to bomb a hospital and withheld that information from their superiors.

A pretty cool tweet about a gif of a raven:

An interesting post on the relationship between ideological culpability and personal responsibility:

The TPP is awful:

Norwegian Air is hoping to start selling flights to Europe for about $70:

Bees need fungi:
Luckily, sometimes they also farm fungi:
Maybe we need more api-mycologists?

Cool and creepy imageset featureing art by Zdzisław Beksiński:

I always enjoy seeing posts about linguistic diversity across geography. This is a map of swears, along with some gendered and heteronormative slurs:

We might have found a star that hosts some kind of alien civilization (maybe):

A very good analysis of positive and emotional masculinity in Final Fantasy X:

One of the ways that patriarchy shows up in the workplace and in other professional arenas is in speech patterns:

I don’t agree with all of this article, because I think it should go a little further with its argument and tiptoe a little less around the feelings of people who support abusive practice. Beyond that, though, it is well researched and solidly written:

One of the ways that patriarchy creates an inequitable medical environment is that women’s pain is not taken as seriously as men’s pain:

Bradley Cooper is going to start collectively bargaining his wages alongside his female costars to try and do his part to alleviate gendered wage disparity:
Contrast with Jeremy Renner, who is awful:

We should start having conversations around consent much earlier than in college:

New York City is going to be getting an underground park, and it looks pretty cool! Too bad New York will be mostly submerged once Antarctica is melted.

You should tip well because your servers deserve to not live in poverty, but restaurant law should also be reformed so that they actually pay their staff well:
See also:

Chivalry, the medieval concept, is very different from chivalry, the patriarchical condescension toward women:

Marvel and Netflix’s Daredevil is something that I very much enjoyed, but its feminism game could have been better:

Amazon’s pricecutting for books and ebooks may have the effect of stagnating the cultural development of the countries where it has an established hold:

Systemic oppression by the police plays out in a number of ways, but exposure to police is a big one:

Playboy is no longer going to be printing nudes:
Another interesting take:

Harper’s government created a law in which one’s citizenship could conceivably be stripped as part of legal punishment. I really hope that the new Liberal government in Canada overturns this ASAP:

A moving company has decided that helping to remedy domestic abuse is part of their business model:

A cool advance in one company’s approach to electric cars:

Chicago’s police are terrible and have illegally detained over 7000 people:

Captain America has always been political, and in the beginning was an actual patriot (as opposed to a nationalist):

Some people have decided to boycott the new Star Wars because it’s not centering white men:
Even though it’s organized by trolls and is just ‘trolling’ for a reaction, the effect is indistinguishable from sincere bigotry:
Also, the new Star Wars may just be bad. It probably won’t be, but Star Wars’ batting average isn’t good:

One person’s projection for what things are likely to happen in the new Liberal Canadian government:

A chemical that is nearly-ubiquitous in sunscreen is probably the direct cause of the coral reefs’ deaths:

An in-depth look at systemic racism in video games, as centered on game design’s difficulty in rendering Black hair:

Guns continue to be awful:

Vincent Price was probably bisexual. While it is really not our business which celebrity has sex with whom, representation is also important:

The tradition of threatening male adolescents who want to date female adolescents who are in your care is really condescending to everyone involved, and it should stop:

A great list of webcomics with Black leads: Note: This is not actually the list, but is the post with a link to the most recently updated version of the list.

Some great pictures from early-20th-century Ellis Island:

A roundtable for how to promote online diversity and prevent harassment:

Organic molecules were probably in our solar system when it was still a nebula: I find this especially interesting as a potential counterpoint to the theory of panspermia.

We’re finally leaving the ‘No Child Left Behind’ era!

Crows learn from death:

Universities were built on racial inequality, and that legacy remains:

Quantum computing holds interesting potentials for cybersecurity:

Academic writing should be more accessible. In addition to the points raised within this article, I wonder whether its inaccessibility is part of the ‘higher education crisis’ today: is a for-profit company that is not dedicated to transparency or to the advancement of academic interests:

We need a better vocabulary of consolation and of grief:

The odds against coincidentally all-male panels are high:

The FBI is backwardsedly discouraging scrutiny on the grounds that it might be driving up crime rates:

SXSW doesn’t understand harassment and it played into GamerGate’s agenda:
See also:
At least they might be taking a full day to talk about harassment:
(Also, Gamergate has never stopped: As one of my other friends pointed out, it has also been around longer than the official “GamerGate” movement, but I think that there is also something about the movement that congealed and organized something that had previously been disparate.)

We need to take police officers out of schools. They are not helping anything except the school-to-prison pipeline, as the officer who threw a black girl for not putting away her cell phone and for not responding to his ‘authority’ demonstrates:

Sonic and light-based tractor beams exist now:

Pictures of old Finnish people with things on their heads:

A new design for ion engines could prove very helpful in enabling long-distance space travel:

A very interesting take on immersion in haunted houses:

Hawai’i may not be legally U.S. territory:

On some of the ways that U.S. is currently set up to redistribute wealth upward, and on the commensurate need to add structures to aid in the redistribution of wealth downward: It reminds me of one of my Anarchist friends, who once said that the primary purpose of government, to him, was to guard against capitalism. I think about that a lot, and this is one of the places where it’s plainly necessary.

A new design attempt for a fusion reactor:

There’s a new kind of concrete that could help mitigate the possibility of flooding on roads: There would still need to be something to deal with all the non-water substances that pass through the concrete. Some friends and I speculated that a layer of bacteria or of fungi might be useful for that.

An interesting examination of how certain speech patterns are privileged and others marginalized in U.S. culture:

Lujendra Ojha, a U of Arizona alumn, talks about his discovery of water on Mars:

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