Links and Notes for the Week of April 22, 2018

* How Shareholder Primacy Hurts Jobs and Wages – Shareholders who are not also stakeholders are parasites, by and large.

* Incel, the misogynist ideology that inspired the deadly Toronto attack, explained – Now that they have Emasculated President Trump as a role model, the incels (of which Men’s Rights Activists, GamerGaters and Three Percenters are notable subsets) are able to overcome some of their cowardice and unleash their daddy issues upon the rest of the world. Just like Trump.

* I Joined the Tea Party to Drain the Swamp. Trump Isn’t Helping. – To the surprise of literally nobody with more than two working brain cells, Trump is like King Midas, except everything he touches turns to shit. See also: the entirety of the Alt-right, of which the Tea Party (and by extension, the KKK) is a subset.

Links and Notes for the Week of April 15, 2018

* The 2018 Pulitzer Prize Winners – Congratulations to everyone on the list.

* Apropos of something or other, What is a Kakistocracy?

* 100 Years of Tax Brackets – Note that there is a direct correlation between rich people dodging taxes and the rise of fascism in any given country. See, for instance, United States of America, particularly during the Trump presidency.

* The Fall of the “Alt-right” Came From Anti-fascism – The alt-right is synonymous with the mainstream right in the United States. Thus Antifa is de facto the most patriotic way to be an American.

* Investigating Pathways to the Alt-Right – or, how racist trash becomes racist trash.

Links and Notes for the Week of April 8, 2018

* White People Anonymous

* How nostalgia for white Christian America drove so many Americans to vote for Trump

* The Demise of the Nation State

* Mud season in Russia: Putin, Rasputin

* Two lists from Tor.com – All the New Fantasy Books Coming Out in April. All the New Science Fiction Books Coming Out in April.

* “Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.” – from this comment (#26, by Frank Wilhoit) on a post over at Crooked Timber.

* An excerpt from William T. Vollmann’s new book No Immediate Danger.

Links and Notes for the Week of March 18, 2018

* Icelandic publisher prints books only during the full moon, and burns all copies that don’t sell immediately.

* Down and Out with Warren Zevon in Los Angeles.

* How To Change Your Facebook Settings To Opt Out of Platform API Sharing. Useful information from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. For those of us still compelled, willingly or otherwise, to use the odious, toxic, and vile Facebook service.

* Socialism as a set of principles. Jacobin Magazine offers ABCs of Socialism (PDF)

* A study of the fearful white men who own most of the guns in the USA.

* Bruce Sterling’s keynote at South by Southwest 2018. Disrupting dystopia indeed.

Links and Notes for the Week of March 11, 2018

A short list this week. I’ve been out enjoying the beautiful weather with my beautiful partner.

* Exactly what it says in the title: (Almost) every Science Fiction and Fantasy and Comic Book Adaptation in the Works.

* I’ve been following the Grand Rapids Whitewater project for several years, and it looks like I might live to see rapids reappear in the middle of Grand Rapids. And I might even be young enough to enjoy them.

* More whacky news from a leader who seems sprung from the same DNA as emasculated president Donald Trump.

* A brief, beautifully done, and heartbreaking documentary on Vietnamese immigrants to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Links and Notes for the Week of March 4, 2018

* I have just become aware of Big Echo, an online journal of “critical sf”. I am still scratching the surface but there is some seriously interesting thought going on here.

* Ta-Nehisi Coates interviews Lupita Nyong’o and Chadwick Boseman about Black Panther and the cultural importance and impact of the movie.

* Donald Trump–who is undoubtedly the most destructive American president since Jefferson Davis–displays the typical Republican trait of caving to monied interests and completely missing the point of school shootings. Violent video games don’t cause school shootings. A sick and sadistic and cowardly culture of gun worship and the fetishizing of violence, perpetuated by the terrorist NRA, is the cause of school shootings. There is no interpretation of NRA rhetoric which does not directly translate to the advocacy of the murder of children. Emasculated president Donald Trump (and by extension, all Republicans) stands in unconditional support of this NRA message.

* Since the federal government is a wholly owned subsidiary of the big banks, cities are beginning to explore opening their own banks to fund local and regional investment, without local interests being at the mercy of the whims of parasitic speculators and parasitic shareholders.

* As of the posting of this list, I have 1,317 books entered into LibraryThing. I still have a dozen or so cookbooks to catalog, but for all intents and purposes I am completely caught up.

Links and Notes for the Week of February 25, 2018

* An interesting, fun, and very strange article and comment thread, courtesy of Charles Stross. From the intro: “I am working (for reasons of my own) towards a comprehensive list of plausible techno-thriller plots from 2010 where the MacGuffin is named Satoshi Nakamoto.”

* Homecoming: How Afrofuturism Bridges the Past and the Present is an excellent article.

* Once upon a time I was a fan of Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth books. Then he starting carrying water for Ayn Rand, and the decent-but-not-great quality of his interesting-but-not-innovative stories declined sharply. Now he has distinguished himself as a jackass by publicly insulting the cover artist of his latest book. The internet, of course, is having none of this and is doing an excellent job of roasting Mr. Goodkind. It appears his behavior has cost him spots at a couple of conventions, and will likely make future business with the publishing industry more difficult for him. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

* Since students are protesting their presidentially (45) approved murder at the hands of NRA-backed second-amendment fetishists and other terrorists, members of the mainstream conservative fascist and fascist-adjacent community are sending them death threats and accusing them of being crisis actors, etc. This has not stopped the students from protesting, and indeed seems to be reinforcing their will and message. To that point it is important that students (and enforcers of student-affecting rules) know which rights are in play. The ACLU has helpfully published a page which clarifies students’ rights.

* Voyages in Sentence Space is a wonderfully strange tool which “bridges” the space between two arbitrary sentences with additional sentences along a “gradient” of meaning. From the example:

  1. I went looking for adventure.
  2. I went out on a mission.
  3. I shouted awkwardly.
  4. I stared incredulously.
  5. I feel desperate.
  6. I never returned.
  7. I never returned.

Sentences 1 and 7 are user input. Sentences 2 through 6 are generated to “fill the space” between 1 and 7. Here is an example I generated:

  1. His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god.
  2. His features seized his mistressmaker, and then.
  3. True Bailey leaped through little branches at them.
  4. Send Clayton taking off his shot.
  5. No more pictures stood in things.
  6. It has returned close to none.
  7. And none returned alive, save I.

Interesting and fun in an absurdist, surrealist way. The full article details the thought and technology behind the experiment.

* At the time of the publishing of this post, I have 1,091 books cataloged at LibraryThing.

Links and Notes for the Week of February 18, 2018

* Here’s an interesting idea: Sustainable kelp farming. The kelp is both crop and micro-environment where the farmers can raise oysters and other immobile shellfish. The kelp and other plants provides cover for fish and the combination of multiple plant and animal species helps to restore the larger environment.

* After 45 was elected I significantly ramped up my charitable giving to organizations which work against the kind of oligarchy and fascism which is the party line of the GOP today. These organizations are the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Innocence Project, Doctors Without Borders, Reporters Without Borders, and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council.

* The Global Risks and Risks-Trends Interconnections Map for 2018 has just been posted. The biggest risks are those associated with large-scale involuntary migration–both the causes of (societal instability, climate change, economic collapse, etc) and the results (interstate conflict, food crises, housing, etc.)

* This is a very strange but interesting take on the current state of the world, involving time travel, the many-worlds theory, and something very much like the digital equivalent of Cthulhu.

* Fear of a Black Universe – Black Panther, modern American culture, and Afrofuturism.

* Some words: vocation, avocation, invocation, convocation, evocation, devocation

* And speaking of the SPLC, they have just added “Male Supremacy” to their list of extremist ideologies. This is a good move, and long overdue. In the linked article they point out the strong crossover between Male Supremacy and White Supremacy. This is the mindset which brought us the presidency of Donald Trump, NRA-backed school shootings, mainstream Christian groups like the KKK, and scores of other sub-ideologies which represent the frantic flailings of dying moments of history. I look forward to the day when every white supremacist and every proponent of toxic masculinity is in the ground. And overwhelmingly those will be the same people.

Links and Notes for the Week of February 11, 2018

* My partner and I have been spending our Sunday afternoons studying, writing and watching The Mind of a Chef, which is all kinds of distracting and wonderful and a purveyor of the worst kind of wanderlust. Anthony Bourdain is the executive producer and narrator of each episode. Like all of his shows, he makes even the most exotic and high-concept meals accessible (in concept, if not financially) to even the most casual non-foodie viewers.

* I spend a lot of time reading news of the literary world. To keep things organized, I use Feedly, which I picked up after Google shut down its Reader service. This is a partial list of the lit news resources I read: Book Riot, NPR Books, Brain Pickings, Electric Literature, Literary Hub, Locus Online, Publisher’s Lunch, The Millions, New York Review of Books, Tor.com, Words Without Borders, Aerogramme Writers’ Studio.

* Some words: suppose, oppose, impose, depose, compose, transpose

* Metafilter has posted a good catch-all thread discussing a recently published study from the Southern Poverty Law Center: The Alt-Right is Killing People. The post, and many of the comments, provide additional links to stories which add context and nuance to the points discussed. As always with Metafilter, the comments are worth reading.

* I’ve been following The Edge for oh, about fifteen years now. It looks like they may be closing up shop, as they just asked their last question: “What is the last question?” The link goes to the (hundreds of) answers.

* The squealing cowards who oppose gun control have the blood of 32 more people on their hands. The NRA is a terrorist organization and they pull the strings of their lickspittles in the GOP. The emasculated orange coward-in-chief has, of course, done what all Republicans do and is blaming the victims. For a continually up-to-date score of the Republican-sanctioned violence in this country, see the Gun Violence Archive.

* As of the date of publishing this post, I have 631 books catalogued in LibraryThing.

Links and Notes for the Week of February 4, 2018

* This is how you give an acceptance speech: Ursula Vernon, upon receiving the 2017 Hugo Award for best novelette.

* Some words:
** “gigil” (Tagalog) – the trembling or gritting of the teeth in response to a situation that overwhelms your self-control. The powerful urge to bite or squeeze something cute.
** “Kummerspeck” (German) – lit. “Sorrow fat” or “Sorrow bacon” – the weight gained through stress eating.

* Over at Metafilter (user name: JohnFromGR) there is an excellent catch-all post covering the latest bullshit from the alt-right/neo-nazi contingent of genre fiction and fandom (Sad Puppies, Rabid Puppies, Happy Frogs, GamerGaters, MRAs, etc.).

* Though I have been aware of it for quite some time, I have never used Patreon. That all changed after I attended ConFusion and spoke with a number of writers who fund their writing through Patreon. Since then I have added my support to the efforts and good works of Kameron Hurley (on Patreon) and Apex Publishing (on Patreon). I really like this mode of providing support. It is a good balance to the per-project model of Kickstarter and similar services. Another way to look at it might be to say that it has the same highs and lows as Kickstarter, just smoothed out over a much larger time frame. In any event, a few dollars a month to support great writing in return for the opportunity to read that great writing, is money well spent.

* I have been following the Calvert Journal for a while now. Back in 2016 they ran an article about teens in Transnistria, which introduced me to the concept of states which are minimally recognized as such by other countries. Transnistria has been one such since the collapse of the Soviet Union. They, along with Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Artsakh, created the Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations (Twitter feed). I find places like this interesting because they exist on the edges and in the interstices of power, and thus may be fertile ground for new ideas of politics, sovereignty, autonomy and empire. If they survive.

* In your copious free time, you can amuse yourself with Monster Breeder. Capture monsters. Breed them. Make new monsters!