Your Happening World (June 15th through June 16th)

Blog fodder for June 15th through June 16th:

  • Activists warn of trans suicide risk in England as surgery delayed | Gay Star News – Activists have claimed the time for trans people to get male to female gender reassignment surgery has skyrocketed in England from seven months to three years.
  • David Brothers: Quitting the Big Two – Changing those habits takes effort, which leads me directly to why it isn’t difficult to stay away from the Big Two these days: I succeeded at changing my thinking. Wednesdays aren’t new comics days any more. I don’t read comics news sites when I can help it. I discover new comics via word of mouth or Tumblr. I unplugged in a way that let me maintain my decision instead of waffling and crumbling.
  • BBC News – Study: Deforestation leaves fish undersized and underfed – Deforestation is reducing the amount of leaf litter falling into rivers and lakes, resulting in less food being available to fish, a study suggests.
  • Hauntology: The Past Inside The Present – This postcard haunts and is haunted. In 1989, its utopian promise haunted a reality that was unable to make good on it, and in turn the postcard was haunted by the increasingly dystopian qualities of reality. In 2009 this haunting-problem now haunts the present as an example of the Marxist hauntology Derrida wrote about. The problems of our imagined Utopias and Dystopias haven’t gone away – the postcard is a ghost of the GDR, exploding like a spectre the neat symbolic binaries we put our faith in by being both nice and nasty, wrong and right, innocent and guilty, present and absent. It’s also the ghost of childhood, of innocence personal or ideological, imploring us to know its killer, manifesting to us so as to haunt and correct injustice in the same way that ghosts traditionally do. It’s a poignant lie about reality and reality is a poignant inadequacy compared to it.
  • German tank problem – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – In the statistical theory of estimation, the problem of estimating the maximum of a discrete uniform distribution from sampling without replacement is known in English as the German tank problem, due to its application in World War II to the estimation of the number of German tanks.

Your Happening World (June 12th through June 15th)

Blog fodder for June 12th through June 15th:

  • The Netherlands: Victory for Transgender Rights | Human Rights Watch – The law on transgender rights that the Dutch Senate approved on December 18, 2013, is an important step toward equality, Human Rights Watch said today. The new law will allow transgender people to change the gender marker in their official identity papers to their preferred gender. It does away with previous requirements for taking hormones and surgery, including irreversible sterilization, though it is a step short of complete personal autonomy for the decision.
  • On Telling the Truth – People of Color in European Art History – I’m sick and tired of suffering in silence. I’m sick of “keeping things civil”, and I’m tired of giving the benefit of the doubt to people who mean me nothing but ill. There is real violence happening to myself and other bloggers for more reasons than that people do not like what we have to say…people take exception to who we are, how we speak, what we look like, who we call friend, and who we call family. No one is obligated to justify their existence.
  • Holland’s World Cup win over Spain wasn’t the return of Total Football – Louis van Gaal has created something new – Telegraph – The 3-4-3 that Van Gaal played on Friday night was essentially a reactive formation designed to combat Spain’s dominant midfield. The wing-backs did not venture too far forward, and with midfielders Nigel De Jong and Jonathan de Guzman essentially screening the back three, Holland reverted to a 5-2-3, or even a 7-3, without the ball. And seeing as this was Spain, they were quite often without the ball.
  • Maliki’s most solemn hour — The Arabist – Just days ago, ISIS pushed forward from its safehouses and camps in the Nineveh Governorate, which it had won control over in the past months, to take over the city of Mosul. It has attacked several other cities in northern Iraq as well, and disrupted the siege that federal forces in Iraq brought against it and its allies in Al Anbar Governorate this Spring. Mosul was living under a state of siege with the government resorting to an air bridge due to the danger ISIS ambushes posed to highway traffic. The group has for over a year now been following a strategic campaign it dubbed "Soldier's Harvest": the aim has been to retake the territories lost by al Qaeda-aligned jihadists during the final years of the U.S. Occupation by terrorizing the local authorities into quitting the fight. ISIS would then fill the resulting vacuum caused by their retreat. "This started in rural sections of Iraq such as the desert regions of Anbar and the Hamrin Mountains that stretch across Diyala and Salahadd
  • Portugal indebted to Angola after economic reversal of fortune – "Portugal is in a tricky situation. It needs Angolan money and must also watch out for Portuguese residents in Angola," Filipe explains. About 100,000 Portuguese nationals currently live in the former colony. Much as with Brazil in the past, many young Portuguese, dogged by unemployment at home, see their future in Angola.

Your Happening World (June 11th through June 12th)

Blog fodder for June 11th through June 12th:

  • Brussels Brontë Blog: Football and the Brussels Brontë Story… – But not only were the Jenkinses responsible for introducing the two literary geniuses to Brussels, the same family was also largely responsible for the introduction of the British sport of football to Brussels. (For these two feats alone, perhaps the Jenkinses merit some day an honorary plaque or a street named after them in their adopted city?!)
  • Stuck in Condoland | Toronto Life
  • Your Fave Is Problematic — Dan Savage
  • RealClearDefense – Why Are We So Afraid of Small Carriers? – This leaves us in an awkward situation, where the Navy sails a fleet of flat-decked aircraft carrying warships that will soon fly one of the most advanced tactical fighter jets in the future, and that are comparable in size and capability to the largest “aircraft carriers” that any other navy has to offer. And yet for bureaucratic and public relations reasons, we can’t call these warships “aircraft carriers,” even though they perform many of the missions that aircraft carriers execute, and in time of war would be expected to shoulder much of the burden placed on the larger carrier fleet.
  • Anorak | The Judges of Miss World, 1970: Bombs, Blacks And The Angry Brigade – The Miss World contest of 1970, of course, isn’t famous for its motley crew of judges but for the feminist protest that took place in the middle of the show. While the judges were putting women in order of beauty, Bob Hope the London-born compere, came on stage to go through a comedy routine. All of a sudden about fifty women and a few men started throwing flour bombs, stink bombs, ink bombs and leaflets at the stage wile yelling “we are liberationists!”, “We’re not beautiful, we’re not ugly, we’re angry” and “ban this disgraceful cattle market!”. The worldwide live television audience couldn’t fail to notice what was happening. Bob Hope certainly noticed and he quickly tried to flee the stage as the missiles flew by. Julia Morley, the wife of the organiser Eric Morley, grabbed hold of his ankle in a desperate attempt to stop him leaving. It only took a few minutes for the police to restore order but ‘Women’s Lib’ had in one fell swoop established itself as part of the seventies.

Blog fodder for June 7th through June 10th

Blog fodder for June 7th through June 10th:

Blog fodder for June 5th through June 7th

Blog fodder for June 5th through June 7th:

Bookmarks for June 5th

Blog fodder for June 5th:

An alphabet link soup

Let’s swipe an idea from Branko, who after all got it himself from Scalzi and see what sites pop up for each lettre of the alphabet (save for ÆØÅ of course) if I use Opera’s autocomplete (other browsers are available):

A: Acesweekly, David Lloyd’s (off off V for Vendetta and Night Raven fame) new digital comics weekly.

B: the BBC radio player, tuned to radio 4, for my inner fogey.

C: Tom Spurgeon’s Comics Reporter, essential reading to keep up with Yank comics.

D: David Willis’ do-over webcomic.

E: Every Day Is Like Wednesday; more comics blogging.

F: The Guardian‘s football subsite.

G: Girls with Slingshots, comedy soap opera strip by Danielle Corsetto.

H: the Hooded Utilitarian, completely wrong comics group blog.

I: not much here, just where I went to the Saturday before last.

J: James Nicoll’s Livejournal. Come for the science fiction snark, stay for the cats and hare raising, live threatening accidents.

K: another comics blogger heard from.

L: what I use to catalog my books.

M: Metafilter, natch.

N: Making Light

O: Oglaf, not really safe for work.

P: legendary 2000AD writer/editor Pat Mills’ blog.

Q: Jeph Jacques Questionable Content.

R: Requires Hate, which puts the boot into everything that really is bad in science fiction and fantasy, like racist and sexist kind of bad, rather than just awful writing. Is everything people who make the toen argument dislike.

S: oh look, financial analysises of football clubs. That’s interesting.

T: The Comics Journal.

U: Unfogged, a smartypants smart aleck group blog.

V: Voetbal International, not that I visited this site much.

W: Tim O’Neil’s rather good if too infrequently updated blog.

X: XKCD, of course.

Y: yes of course it’s Youtube, but what particular video would this link to? Turns out it’s a metal dude singing to his cat. As you do.

Z: Zelo Street, an UK political/newsmedia blog that does daily battle with tabloid nonsense.

Interesting, wasn’t it?

Some random comics links

It shows the essential childishness of much of the American comics industry that a major “newssite” feel the need to censor Guido Crepax’s art, putting those silly little black bars over every side boob visible (but not the heroine’s arse, I see. Hmmm.)

Alan David Doane, one of the web’s earliest comics reviewers/bloggers is quitting comics cold turkey:

The best advice I can give you is, if you find yourself in a similar place as me, unable to enjoy comics and outraged, disgusted or made crazy by the industry and the community, take a breath. Step away. Do something else. Do anything else. You might find it feels better than you could ever have guessed. For me, I am starting to feel free from something that was really becoming bad for me. I feel like I can breathe a little better. It’s a start.

It’s sad to see what should be a hobby, a passion, so poison somebody that they feel the need to purge themselves so drastically, but I’ve been there myself. In 2000 I just stopped buying and even reading comics, completely gotten sick of them. One month I was spending most of my disposable income (and more) on them, the next one I didn’t. I just stopped caring. That’s the risk of having so much of your own identity wrapped up with what is basically still a disposable commodity. Mind, I never entirely gave up on comics, kept my collection, occasionally even bought a new one if I came across something interesting, then got sucked back in thanks to various blogs, but no longer to the extend I was before. There’s no such thing as Club Comix and you shouldn’t try to become a member because it’ll break your heart.

Finally, Darryl Ayo is unhappy with Benjamin Marra’s appropriation of Black history for his revenge fantasy comics:

It is very self-serving and I’ll go as far to say callous about playing in the sandbox of people whose degradation and oppression you do not share. Not writing about black characters or exploring the pain of black people but rather exoticizing the struggle, the pain, the humiliations, the inhumanity of the road to freedom.

three five things make a linkpost

This was made just for me:

The Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilization (DARMC) makes freely available on the internet the best available materials for a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) approach to mapping and spatial analysis of the Roman and medieval worlds. DARMC allows innovative spatial and temporal analyses of all aspects of the civilizations of western Eurasia in the first 1500 years of our era, as well as the generation of original maps illustrating differing aspects of ancient and medieval civilization. A work in progress with no claim to definitiveness, it has been built in less than three years by a dedicated team of Harvard undergraduates, graduate students, research scholars and one professor, with some valuable contributions from younger and more senior scholars at other institutions. For more details on who we are, please see the People page.

DARMC’s coverage begins under the Roman empire and extends nearly a thousand years toward the present by encompassing the medieval world. Although the initial post-Roman focus has been on medieval Europe, Byzantium and the Crusades have not been neglected, and we have begun to include the essential third leg of the tripod of medieval civilization, the Islamic world.

“If you’re going to do a piece of work in three days, you have to have everything properly prepared.” Michael Moorcock on how to write a novel in three days. Patrick Nielsen Hayden comments that a lot of aspiring writers could learn from this, to just get going and write rather than fiddle until everything’s perfect.

Way to make me feel old Amanda — Nirvana’s Nevermind twenty years old this year. This wasn’t the life changing record to me that it was for other people, but if there’s any album that marks the spot where the nineties begun and the eighties ended, this was it.

The Justice League goes to Hogwarts and a duller idea I cannot imagine. If this ever happened it would be the perfect spiritual heir to those stupid X-Men/Star Trek crossovers Marvel put out in the nineties.

Speaking of rather pointless Marvel titles, the latest installment of Nobody’s Favorites is another one. I actually have this series, bought out of back issue bins on the “this looks interesting and different and is only fifty cents” theory. Never read it.

Light linkblogging

Learning to Read Adam Roberts and On Learning to Read Adam Roberts
How do you solve a problem like Adam Roberts, a writer every book of which I’ve read I’ve disagreed with and/or disliked? Whom, despite this, I still keep coming back to every few years or so. Bad writers you can dismiss, writers that you dislike you can dismiss, even writers you like and enjoy you can often set aside more easily than a writer that irritates you, like a piece of sand in an oyster.

Vuijlsteke brainstorms the right colours to use in a health check for some server or something
For now he’s settling on a scheme with five colours between dark green and dark red. Myself, I’ve more and more realised anything but three colours (safe, unknown/undecided and danger Will Robinson danger) is overkill and confusing especially to higher management. Really high management (or “overhead”) only needs two: “need to deal with this to be finally rid of this project” and “let the little people worry about this when we’re gone”.

Remember when Iron Maiden got a number one hit?
The discussion is a bit unfair on “Bring your Daughter …to the Slaughter” which is a better live than single track but interesting in seeing people’s opinions about who’s actually listening to metal. The consensus seem to confirm my own hunch that it was both the boys you wouldn’t trust in woodshop with a sharp knife and the more nerdy dreaming types with Tolkien posters and D&D habits as well as people like, well, Ben.

Somebody else fed up with the Holland Uber Alles message of much current advertising
Not to mention in current politics cultural commentary, popular culture… Holland is a decent enough country to live in, if it were not for a large part of the people living in it and their absymal tastes in everything. Dutch culture does not have to be inferior to anywhere else, but by and large we’ve mostly seem to haven given up competing with the big boys and retreated to celebrating our own mediocrity. As long as it drapes itself in orange and clogs and windmills any old shit can sell as shinola.

The Comics Journal has been redesigned and under new management
It keeps its worst aspect though: having to register to be able to comment. I hate sites that do that, especially when if you really feel the need to filter your readers, use OpenID and let people register with e.g. their Livejournal accounts rather than setting up your own crappy registring process. Tor.com does this as well and my comments nine out of ten times still get eaten. Doesn’t endear me to the fsckers.