Taizong’s hell – The Chinese hell scrolls presented here treat the afterlife as a spectacle, as a display intended for public consumption. Ostensibly based on popular tales such as Tang Emperor Taizong's visit to hell in the first half of the seventh century C.E., they attract their viewers through their dark and yet cartoonish torture scenes, appealing to the same morbid curiosity fed by gothic novels, horror movies and Halloween ghosts in the West. Yet their main function was not entertainment but didactic, propagating a basic message of retribution. Every act of goodness will be rewarded; every act of evil will be justly answered.
Greek Bronze Age ended 100 years earlier than thought, new evidence suggests – Conventional estimates for the collapse of the Aegean civilization may be incorrect by up to a century, according to new radiocarbon analyses. While historical chronologies traditionally place the end of the Greek Bronze Age at around 1025 BCE, this latest research suggests a date 70 to 100 years earlier.
Leefbaar hangt stad vol met Pieten – NOS Nieuws – In Rotterdam zijn honderden Zwarte Piet-poppen opgehangen aan lantaarnpalen. Om hun nek hangt een briefje met de tekst "Wij willen blijven". De pietjes zijn door de stad verspreid door de politieke partij Leefbaar Rotterdam.
Miles Davis Albums From Worst To Best – Stereogum – Ranking a catalog the size of Miles Davis’ is an impossible task. There are so many lavish boxed sets, live releases, compilations issued during his hermit period, etc., that in order to make this article at all manageable, major cuts had to be made before it could even be begun. So here’s how this is going to work: I chose studio albums only. But to truly understand Davis’ catalog, there are a bunch of essential live releases, including Live-Evil, In Concert: Live At Philharmonic Hall, Dark Magus, Agharta, Pangaea, and The Bootleg Series Vol. 1: Live In Europe 1967. So consider the 30 albums below a starting point. There’s so much more.
A Report on Damage Done by One Individual Under Several Names | Laura J. Mixon – Friends, the tl;dr of this very long, comprehensive, analytical report is that up-and-coming John W. Campbell nominee Benjanun Sriduangkaew (who is also rage-blogger Requires Hate, who is also several other internet personalities including Winterfox, pyrofennec, acrackedmoon, and others) (oh yes, the list goes on), is VERY BAD NEWS.
Women Rise in Sci Fi (Again) – The Atlantic – Like the fighters she wrote about, Hurley says that female science-fiction writers are often forgotten. “It’s always Asimov and Hineline,” she says. “You don’t hear about Russ or LeGuin. And there are very particular ways that people talk about it. One of those is by saying ‘well she did it, but it wasn’t really science fiction,’ or ‘her husband has a big impact.’”
Guy writes chilling post about being a stalker – I would love to believe this is fiction (oh god, I so very much want this to be a really bad writing assignment or something) but he even tags the post as "Real Life". I can't. Brittain has absolutely no idea what he's done to this poor woman and casts himself as a downtrodden romantic hero instead of a deeply disturbing stalker. It's a frightening look at the mental hoops a stalker jumps through to rationalize their behavior.
Richard Brittain Violently Assaults Book Reviewer – In an update to the "Guy writes chilling post about being a stalker" story that I truly wish hadn't been real, Richard Brittain was arrested recently for tracking down a woman who panned his book, going to her workplace and beating her over the head with a bottle of wine.
The Complicated Appeal Of Black Metal – While black metal is considered to be by and for the deeply misanthropic — “true” black metal, by definition, is satanic — in the past decade its popularity has grown extensively, crossing over from die-hard “kvltists” to a centrist, mainstream indie-rock audience that would have never otherwise cared about a metal scene.
Confessions of a white Oxbridge male – FT.com – Like the communist rulers in 1989, we white Oxbridge males cannot defend our dominance with arguments. Most of us know we didn’t get here through individual brilliance. Perry is wrong when he says, “Default Man will never admit to, or be fully aware of, the tribal advantages of his identity.” I’m very aware of those advantages. That’s why, although I currently have a decent job at a good newspaper, I feel very little sense of achievement. My dad went to Cambridge. I was born to be a minor establishment functionary. That’s also why I’m not desperate for my children to join the establishment. What would it prove?
Head Nurse: Conclusions.** – Conclusion the first: The first reaction on the part of everydamnbody has been to blame the nurses. From the first inkling that Mr. Duncan's diagnosis was missed to the news that a second nurse was infected, the director of the CDC and the administration of Presbyterian Dallas have pointed to the RNs as the weak links in a chain.
A Month Soon Goes, Storm Jameson | It Doesn’t Have To Be Right… – Storm Jameson was prolific and successful, writing around sixty books between 1919 and 1976 – fiction, criticism, biography and history. None of her books appear to be in print now. At least two of her novels, In the Second Year (1936), set in a fascist Britain, and Then We Shall Hear Singing (1942), about a Nazi invasion of an invented country, qualify as science fiction although I’m not aware of them being claimed by the genre.
New Statesman | Attention, #NaNoWriMo Fans: No One Cares How Your F***ing Novel Is Going – Because one of the most boring things in the world is watching a person write. They do not move. Their google searches are tedious; they google synonyms for words they just made up. If you ask a novelist how they wrote their book, it’s always “I researched a bit and then I didn’t get out of my pyjamas for properly ages.” That’s it. There was probably an exiting moment when a blob of apricot jam fell off a bit of their crumpet and they had to suck it out of the lapel of their dressing gown to avoid having to wash it properly. That’s it.
Five Ways To Respond To A Negative Review: A Helpful Guide! « terribleminds: chuck wendig – Go punch a punching bag. Write in your bedside Twilight Sparkle diary. Go fire off an email to an author or artist friend and be all like AHHH DID YOU SEE THIS REVIEW (and if that author is truly a friend that author will say, yeah, yeah, that sucks, the reviewer sucks, but hey don’t get cuckoo bananapants, maybe go have a drink, go for a run, eat a cupcake, something, anything, calm thyself because this shit happens all the time).
The Liberal Democrat approach to campaigning: the history and debunking some myths – Most notably, far too many accounts of British political campaigning are written without noticing how dramatic 1997 was, not just in terms of a Labour landslide, but also in terms of the impact of constituency campaign tactics. Fail to understand what happened in 1997 and why and you not only fail to understand British political campaigning but also, closer to home, fail to understand the roots of more recent events involving Chris Rennard.
The Argument That Saved Paris by Ian Buruma | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books – This much is known: Nordling did meet von Choltitz several times, mainly to arrange the release of French political prisoners, and to negotiate a truce (threatened by the Communist resistance as much as by German zealots). We also know that von Choltitz, however aristocratic in his comportment, had been a very ruthless character, responsible for the destruction of the center of Rotterdam in May 1940. Worse that that, in 1942 his regiment flattened Sevastopol, and von Choltitz faithfully carried out orders to “liquidate” the Jewish population. He was a perfect illustration of the complicity on the eastern front of German army officers with the Nazi genocide, a shameful fact that has only recently been acknowledged in Germany.
Killer whales living with bottlenose dolphins demonstrate cross-species vocal learning – Now, University of San Diego graduate student Whitney Musser and Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute senior research scientist Dr. Ann Bowles have found that killer whales (Orcinus orca) can engage in cross-species vocal learning: when socialized with bottlenose dolphins, they shifted the types of sounds they made to more closely match their social partners. The results, published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, suggest that vocal imitation may facilitate social interactions in cetaceans. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-10-killer-whales-bottlenose-dolphins-cross-species.html#jCp
Dust – Lightspeed Magazine – Very late at night, when the buzz of drill dozers has died out, I can hear her breathing. I know that sounds crazy. I don’t care.
SSLv3 goes to the dogs; POODLE kills off protocol – Over the past week, rumours were circulating about a new vulnerability in SSLv3. No details were widely available until today and now we have POODLE, the 'Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption' attack. The attack, specifically against the SSLv3 protocol, allows an attacker to obtain the plaintext of certain parts of an SSL connection, such as the cookie. Similar to BEAST, but more practical to carry out, POODLE could well signal the end of SSLv3 support.
The Daily Targum :: Neither man nor woman: life as a non-binary student – On the bottom of my column, I use the pronoun “they.” This isn’t a typo, despite what many writers at The Guardian and Telegraph assumed as they reported on my Trigger Warning activism. Indeed, I do not identify as a man, the gender I was assigned at birth. I identify as a non-binary student.
The First Female Gamers – Could it really have been so unthinkable to Gygax that a woman would purchase Dungeons & Dragons? His game went on to wild, unprecedented popularity, and women constituted no small part of its long-term audience. To appreciate the situation in 1974, we must understand the market Dungeons & Dragons entered, and the curious consumer group it targeted: gamers.
Retired NSA Technical Director Explains Snowden Docs – Well, they participate in the parallel reconstruction. So, in other words, when you can't use the data, you have to go out and do a parallel construction, means you use what you would normally consider to be investigative techniques, go find the data. You have a little hint, though. NSA is telling you where the data is, it makes you look really good. If you have it quickly. So then you can justify, taking it into court and use that in court. And so I call that perjury. In fact, I call this a 'Planned Program Perjury Policy' run by the Department of Justice of the United States. And, it's not just affecting our democracy, it's subverting our entire court system. It's not only subverting ours, it's subverting everybody's in the world that has a relationship with the FBI or the DEA. So this is infecting entire democracies, all of the world.
Where Should We Bury the Dead Racist Literary Giants? – The Awl – At the same time, focusing on race in Lovecraft can also lead to a greater appreciation of his work, and a better understanding of its horror. Joshi may think he's protecting Lovecraft's legacy by minimizing the role of race in his stories, but the truth is that, to the extent that Lovecraft is still meaningful, it's in large part because of his portrait of his own racism. Lovecraft isn't a great artist despite being a racist, as Joshi would have it. Nor is he a lousy artist because he's a racist, as Older says. He's a great artist and he's a racist: Lovecraft's world is one in which racism poisons everything, in which the fear of anyone who isn't white is so overwhelming that it fills the seas and the skies and everything in between with gibbering demons and cosmic despair. The bleak, clotted hatred with which he renders that world is precisely what makes his work valuable.
Marvel & Jack Kirby Family Settle Long-Running Legal Dispute – Page 5 – So what happened wasn't that the Kirby family sued Marvel just because they one day decided to up and want more money. They didn't even sue. What they did was file for termination of copyright assignment — the very thing that the law allows creators to do. They didn't do this against the wishes of Kirby himself — Kirby had been all for doing it, ever since the law had been changed. But they had to wait a certain amount of time, and Kirby didn't live long enough to see it happen. But he was always on board with it.
The Radical Ellen Willis | Dissent Magazine – Maybe we’re oblivious, or maybe just stretched thin, but not enough people are talking about this. The late cultural critic Ellen Willis did—and years before the worst of it hit. With a clarity of thought and the kind of fury that pangs and never scabs over, she diagnosed, snarled, and illuminated what she considered a central plague of her day: the way our economy limits our creative expressions. As she put it in her essay “Intellectual Work in the Culture of Austerity”: “On the crudest level, the lives of American intellectuals and artists are defined by one basic problem: how to reconcile intellectual or creative autonomy with making a living.”
Black and Blue. – Free Online Library – The violence perpetrated by the P.G. cops is a curious development. Usually, police brutality is framed as a racial issue: Rodney King suffering at the hands of a racist white Los Angeles Police Department or more recently, an unarmed Timothy Thomas, gunned down by a white Cincinnati cop. But in more and more communities, the police doing the brutalizing are African Americans, supervised by African-American police chiefs, and answerable to African-American mayors and city councils. In the case of P.G. County, the brutality is cast against the backdrop of black America's power base, the largest concentration of the black middle class in the country.
kankedort: On Diversity: Two Sadnesses and a Refusal – don't refuse the issues. I accept them fully. But I refuse the sense of scarcity and shrinkage. I refuse a world this small. I refuse to believe that there are only so many seats at the table, that I have to fight for scraps against all other possible representatives of diversity. You guys, I refuse this EVEN IF IT'S TRUE. Daniel José Older and Saladin Ahmed, who were mentioned in the Nation piece, are my friends. I'm thrilled for them. Is it possible to recognize that there is a problem with women of color being ignored, and still be thrilled for them? I intend to believe the answer is yes.
Marooned Off Vesta: Confusion and understanding: one post about The Stone Boatmen – Though I try always to extend sympathy at least, it is difficult for me to approach any new work of sf with anything other than suspicion. But very early on in my first reading of Sarah Tolmie's The Stone Boatmen — I am no longer able to say when or where, exactly — I decided to trust: to have faith in the work, and in Tolmie's ability and above all responsibility in pursuit of it. Or — can this really be characterized as a decision? Perhaps better to say that I found myself trusting her, that something palpable but not quite locatable in or between her words made such trust not only possible but natural, even unavoidable. Tolmie does not betray this trust.
Timothy Snyder’s Lies | Jacobin – In Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands, Hitler and Stalin are one and the same. And the partisans — Jewish fighters included — only encouraged German crimes.
Whirling Nerdish: Asthma and THE MIRROR EMPIRE – I’m particularly interested in how Hurley handles this character because all my life, I was told by movies and TV that people with asthma were nerds. They were geeks, dweebs, losers. Pathetic little wastes that fly into a wheezing, gasping fit when things get difficult while, meanwhile, the HERO goes and kicks the bad guys ass and handles his shit.
Public Domain Super Heroes – Public Domain Super Heroes is a collaborative website about comic book, comic strip, film, literary, pulp, mythological, television, animation, folk stories, etc… Characters in the public domain fitting in genres such as the masked vigilante, caped crusader, villains, scientists, magicians, robots, jungle lord, and their supporting characters.
Pioneer winners — Butler: Thirteen Ways of Looking at the British Boom – “There certainly seems to be something of a boom. To a certain extent these things are always artefacts―there’s no objective criteria by which one can judge ‘boom-ness’ (boomitude? boomosity?―so the fact that everyone’s talking about it is to a certain extent definitional of the fact that something’s going on”