Your Happening World (July 28th through August 2nd)

  • Why I’m spending today swapping out the dialect in my novel | Mary Robinette Kowal – My project today is replacing all the dialogue spoken by Antiguan characters in Of Noble Family with dialogue rewritten by Antiguan and Barbudan author Joanne Hillhouse. Let me explain why I’m doing this.
  • Google Groups – An code name is quickly picked for the exploration of Earth 1/4 Billion: Green Door. Like 'tanks', 'Manhattan District' or many other project names, it is designed to give away as little as possible about the project. As usual, the Soviet hear about GD in a few weeks.
  • EPONA – Third stone from taranis – Imagine that you have just landed on a planet twenty-one light years from Earth. You are about to enter a lush world where things are more than just a little different! Evolution has taken exotic paths and a whole new kingdom of life reigns over land, sea and air! You are the leader of a first contact mission on the planet named Epona. The mission you have organized has journeyed here in an interstellar craft that orbits Epona. Your hand-picked crew must provide all the information you will need about Epona from the 21st Century technology available to you. Your objective is to unlock the secret of Epona's remarkable life-forms and discover if there is intelligent life you can communicate with.
  • Markov Chains – Markov chains, named after Andrey Markov, are mathematical systems that hop from one "state" (a situation or set of values) to another. For example, if you made a Markov chain model of a baby's behavior, you might include "playing," "eating", "sleeping," and "crying" as states, which together with other behaviors could form a 'state space': a list of all possible states. In addition, on top of the state space, a Markov chain tells you the probabilitiy of hopping, or "transitioning," from one state to any other state—e.g., the chance that a baby currently playing will fall asleep in the next five minutes without crying first.
  • The Mouth of the WWE « – In a match between a 15-time World Champion and the most dominating real-life wrestler in the world, Paul Heyman is somehow the best pro wrestler in the story line. So forget Cena and Bryan and Orton and Roman Reigns — Paul Heyman is the face of the WWE. How in the world did that happen?

Your Happening World (July 22nd through July 25th)

  • As Reason’s editor defends its racist history, here’s a copy of its holocaust denial “special issue” – For them, FDR was a tyrant and a criminal, an American Hitler, only no one else could see things their way, because the real Hitler was widely believed to be one of the worst figures in history. Therefore, libertarian “historical revisionism” had to convince these Americans that Hitler wasn’t nearly as awful as they believed, which meant that the Holocaust couldn’t have happened — if the goal was to discredit FDR and the New Deal.
  • The Top 200 Ways Bleacher Report Screwed Me Over – In my three years at Bleacher Report, I covered the San Jose Sharks while studying in the Bay Area, and the Twins, Wild, Timberwolves, and Vikings upon returning home to Minnesota. I wrote over 500 articles, generated nearly three million page views, and received $200 for my services.
  • Jim Frenkel at WisCon 38 – Geek Feminism Wiki – In 2014, serial harasser Jim Frenkel attended Wiscon 38 despite complaints about him harassing a Wiscon 37 attendee, and previous reports. The Wiscon 38 organisers reported that they did not have a systemic way to track such issues. They reviewed the situation and provisionally banned Frenkel for several future years, a response that did not satisfy many onlookers.
  • Under the Beret » The Readercon Thing – I’m sure that most people on my friends lists are already aware of the sexual harassment incident at Readercon, but here’s my attempt at a link round-up
  • Readercon: Safety Procedures

Your Happening World (July 14th through July 22nd)

  • 1974 -1986: A Spotlight Chronology (work in progress/draft) | Bits of Books, Mostly Biographies – What is perhaps most notable in placing a series of press reports on abuse scandals over any period of time is that there’s a lot of shock and outrage and not much action from anyone in a position of duty, responsibility or power to do anything except to apparently express more shock and outrage, this time on our behalf, before swiftly moving on. Something the collection of press reports at SpotlightOnAbuse ably demonstrate and which forms the spine of this chronology.
  • BBC – Blogs – Adam Curtis – WHAT THE FLUCK! – That at the same time as the police pursue the dodgy private investigators, like AIS, who are bugging and hacking their way into thousands of peoples' lives, the very same police – along with the security services, GCHQ and the NSA – are doing exactly the same to millions of other people. The only difference is that it's legal – because the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act of 2000, and other laws, allow them to do it.
  • How to find the missing Buk system |
  • i believe you | it’s not your fault – Can we use our collective life experience to be a safe haven for kids who need it? Can we tell stories and answer questions and offer solidarity and resources and maybe break some cycles before they begin? Can we do it with humor and transparency, and without coming across like dorky, hand-wringing moms? After all, so many of us are still those kids. So many of us will always be those kids. Well, we can try. … We’re just people who’ve been through stuff, and we’re here. Ask us anything. It’s not your fault. We believe you.
  • Rick Remender, Alleged Statutory Rape, and Jet Black – If your discomfort with the whole Captain America #22 issue is simply the fact that sex had happened between two consenting adults in the presence of alcohol, this isn’t for you. You’re free and completely entitled to hate that and view it with great disdain but my attitude and problem with the fandom is not because of people finding issue with that overused plot device to get two people to finally be comfortable enough to do it but because of people making claims that Jet Black is 14 years old (when she’s not) and thus stating that despite her even saying she’s beyond those years to dare accuse Remender writing a statutory rape scene and faulting Sam Wilson as a rapist. If you had any of these thoughts, this is for you. Before you continue your crusade, please at least let me provide you with some facts.
  • The End of Fan-Run Conventions? | Cheryl’s Mewsings – My point is, however, that there is no upside to running fan conventions anymore. There is no satisfaction in a job well done. The only probable outcome is that you will spend the weeks after the convention dealing with angry and disappointed attendees, and avoiding social media because you don’t want to have to read the awful things that are being said about you.

Your Happening World (July 10th through July 13th)

Your Happening World (July 4th through July 9th)

  • Jack Halberstam’s Flying Circus: on postmodernism and the scapegoating of trans women – The argument turns on the fallacy that trans women are being insufficiently radical, and that our fight for dignity is really just a cynical play for respectability and power. It is a very Foucauldian argument, in that sense. We just need to allow ourselves to be more transgressive (in terms defined hazily by Halberstam), otherwise our personal behaviour is complicit with oppression, and thus wrong. This is how we can make sense of Halberstam’s valedictory prescription to “move on, to confuse the enemy, to become illegible, invisible, anonymous.” His whole point is, ironically, to discipline what he sees as the defective personal behaviour of those he disagrees with.
  • Shaking off the northern bias in temperature reconstructions – Road to Paris – ICSU – These northern-biased reconstructions – which are based on studies of tree rings, coral, ice cores, subfossil pollen, boreholes and lake sediments – have played a decisive role in our ability to separate out natural from human-caused global warming. But what about the other half of the planet?
  • After a Police Dog Bit His Leg, This Protester Was Jailed Thanks to a Cop’s Testilying | VICE United States – The expensive consequences of New York City’s heavy-handed approach to policing protest have been on display lately. In December, the city finally settled most of the lawsuits stemming from its mass arrest of protesters during the 2004 Republican National Convention. Earlier this month, falsely arrested Occupy Wall Street protesters announced the largest settlement yet between participants and the powers that be, with the city poised to shell out nearly $600,000 in damages. NYC already paid $350,000 last year to settle a suit over its destruction of media equipment and Occupy’s library during the 2011 eviction of Zuccotti Park, $82,500 this past December to settle an Occupier’s suit claiming that police beat him up across the span of three arrests, and $50,000 the month before to settle a suit by people arrested on suspicion that they might later attend a protest.
  • The 20 most hipster neighbourhoods in the world | Skyscanner – On the ‘other’ side of the IJ, the big bit of water behind Centraal station that no-one notices because they head in the other direction when they arrive, has been growing in coolness for a few years now. Previously a bit of a wasteland, now the disused warehouses host creative start-ups, festivals, restaurants and, once a month, mega flea market IJ Hallen,
  • Octavia Butler Roundtable Index « The Hooded Utilitarian – This is the index for our Octavia Butler Roundtable. Posts are listed in chronological order.

Your Happening World (July 3rd through July 4th)

Your Happening World (July 1st through July 3rd)

Your Happening World (June 27th through July 1st)

Your Happening World (June 27th)

  • The Transformers and the Middle Ages – Having been a boy of a certain age in the 1980s, I was one of the many, many fans of the cartoon show The Transformers (confession – I still watch the show on occasion, and have a collection of the toys in a box in my basement). Now, as the fourth live-action Transformers film hits the screens, I want to take you back to when the Autobots and Decepticons went medieval!
  • Sibilant Fricative: Ian Watson, Mana (Lucky’s Harvest, 1993; The Fallen Moon, 1994) – I’ve been holding back writing about Watson’s two Mana books, for reasons to do with that mode of debilitation called ‘but where to start?’ Given my peculiar academic background, and the topic of my PhD, excuse me if I open with a completely left field comparison to Robert Browning. A critic once described Pauline, Paracelsus and Sordello as like ‘three dragons, guarding the entrance to the gold of Browning’s mid-career poetry’. You see what he means: however much you enjoy ‘My Last Duchess’ and ‘Andrea Del Sarto’, you know that you can’t get a proper sense of Browning’s work without tackling the three brontosaur-sized texts with which he commenced his career.
  • Britain’s Nuke-Proof Underground City – The Daily Beast – As the world held its breath during the Cold War, England built a top-secret underground city to save its government in case of nuclear attack. For half a century, "Burlington" lay ready.
  • Is Ann Leckie the Next Big Thing in Science Fiction? | Riverfront Times – The Nebula, Arthur C. Clarke and Hugo awards are the Triple Crown of science-fiction writing. If Ancillary Justice claims the Hugo, it will become the first novel to win all three. After years toiling in obscurity, Leckie's given up trying to wrap her mind around how quickly she and her gun-slinging, galaxy-traversing heroine, Breq, have climbed to critical and popular adoration.
  • Trinity: The Black Fantasy. – But who could blame Harmony? What black woman wouldn’t envy Storm? Storm had no need of relaxers or sunny Saturdays spent beneath the searing metal of her grandmother’s pressing comb. She never sat patiently while a beautician sewed blonde ringlets to her head to hide her tightly woven brown cornrows from view. Her hair was naturally straight. Her hair was naturally light. She was born conforming to the majority of our society’s beauty norms. She was born not looking like all the other little black girls. And because of that, she was lauded as beautiful. Because of how not black she appeared to be.

Your Happening World (June 22nd through June 24th)

Blog fodder for June 22nd through June 24th:

  • The War Nerd: Like it or not, what’s happening in Iraq right now is part of a rational process | PandoDaily – I just wish Americans would stop assuming every place is like us. Let me tell you, for a Sunni Kurd to say, “I have Shia friends, I have Christian friends” is about as brave and radical as it gets, short of suicide, in the Middle East. I never heard any of my Saudi students say anything remotely like it. Well, how could they? By law, Shi’ism and Christianity are banned in the Kingdom. So they didn’t have the opportunity, even if they’d had the mindset (which they didn’t).
  • Genre needs a lot more cruel and nasty reviews | Damien G. Walter – We need writers and reviewers like Priest who have the expertise and willingness to reflect back the problems in modern genre fiction. Because the problems are very real. Violence of the flattened, meaningless kind Priest pinpoints in Barricade is endemic in the genre.
  • Editor’s blog: I am sexist • – This is a realisation that has slowly dawned on me over the last few years. Without really meaning to do so, I have been going around saying and doing things that demean women and casually downplay the importance of issues of gender discrimination all my life. It's a horrible thing to recognise about yourself, gradually or not. I try to be a generous and caring person and I am pretty sensitive, so the idea that I have been ignorantly treating half of the people I know and love in this way makes me feel awful.
  • Tony Blair, dread creature of the forbidden swamp | Idiot Joy Showland – Tony Blair rises every couple of months, like a bubble of swamp gas. First there’s an uneasy buried rumbling, then small tremors shake the surface, and then suddenly he bursts through, a gassy eruption stinking of farts and sulphur. It doesn’t matter how many rounds you fire into his shambling frame; he just won’t die. Whenever something unpleasant happens in the Middle East, whenever some huge corporation is discovered to be starving people to death or poisoning them through calculated negligence, whenever the chaos of the international order reaches a starts to wobble into another death-spiral, a damp wind blows through a graveyard somewhere in England and Tony Blair emerges from his tomb.
  • WW2 Drawings