rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Guardian: Medieval porpoise 'grave' on Channel island puzzles archaeologists

I love everything about this story:

Archaeologists digging at an island religious retreat have unearthed the remains of a porpoise that, mystifyingly, appears to have been carefully buried in its own medieval grave.

MAYBE THE PORPOISE WAS A MONK, HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THAT.

... and now I eagerly await the medieval monk were-porpoise shifter romance.

For a different kind of wonderful:

The Fader: This Artist Is Filling London With Murals Of Extraordinary Black Women

The art is gorgeous, but what I really love is that he's portraying his female friends, people who aren't famous but are ordinary/extraordinary people - a youth worker, a psychotherapist, and so on. And I love the shots of the murals with the real women posed next to them.

US politics

Sep. 20th, 2017 09:33 am
cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)
[personal profile] cesy
Hope not Hate is coming to the US, to counter the rise of international hate groups. American friends, you can sign up here.

In which the Bittern is pissed

Sep. 19th, 2017 02:16 pm
twistedchick: (bittern OFQ)
[personal profile] twistedchick
This so-called article is a piece of crap. It purports to provide the results of a study and conflates the numbers in the study with society as a whole in ignorant ways.

For example, second paragraph:

Just ask college students. A fifth of undergrads now say it’s acceptable to use physical force to silence a speaker who makes “offensive and hurtful statements.”


A fifth of undergrads? No. A fifth of the 1500 undergrad students they surveyed. That's 300 or so.


Villasenor conducted a nationwide survey of 1,500 undergraduate students at four-year colleges.


Nationwide? There are far more than 1,500 four-year colleges (for those of you not American, the word includes universities). How were the colleges chosen? How were the students chosen? How many were chosen at each university? How many overall were from the same discipline? There's no way to know. We don't even know if he chose accredited schools, or those pay-for-a-degree places. Did they ask at Ivy League schools, the majority of whose students come from well-off families? Did they ask at places like City College of New York, where the tuition is much lower and people who are there are from a variety of backgrounds, not wealthy? Ag and tech colleges, out in the countryside, or only urban colleges?

Further down it says the margin of error is 2-6 percent, "depending on the group." Oh, really? Which group is 2% and which is 6%? We aren't told. It appears we are to be grateful that a margin of error was even mentioned.

The whole thing is supposed to be about undergrads' understanding of First Amendment-protected free speech. Since we are not told the exact wording of the questions asked, it's impossible to know if the responses were appropriate to them, or if the questions were leading the students to a specific response.

And then there's this:

Let’s say a public university hosts a “very controversial speaker,” one “known for making offensive and hurtful statements.” Would it be acceptable for a student group to disrupt the speech “by loudly and repeatedly shouting so that the audience cannot hear the speaker”?

Astonishingly, half said that snuffing out upsetting speech — rather than, presumably, rebutting or even ignoring it — would be appropriate. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to find this response acceptable (62 percent to 39 percent), and men were more likely than women (57 percent to 47 percent). Even so, sizable shares of all groups agreed.

It gets even worse.

Respondents were also asked if it would be acceptable for a student group to use violence to prevent that same controversial speaker from talking. Here, 19 percent said yes....


Let's look more closely, ignoring the editorializing sentence for the moment. Half of who? Half of 1500 people is 750 people, scattered across the US. And then again -- 19% of who? Everyone? Women? Men? Democrats? Republicans? We aren't told.

Meanwhile, the entire other side of this survey is ignored. By stressing the minority and ignoring the majority, the minority's views are inflated and made more important. Let me turn this around for you: more than 80% of undergrads say that violence is not acceptable in dealing with an unwanted speaker. Try turning around all the other numbers, and the story falls apart. Instead of "students" substitute "students surveyed", and it also falls to pieces. Who cares what 1500 people out of 200 million think? If we don't know why those 1500 were specifically chosen, why should we care?

I have worked with surveys, written surveys, conducted and analyzed surveys. It is possible to have a statistically perfect survey with 1500 people surveyed, but only if the respondents are very carefully selected to avoid bias. There is no way to tell if that was done with the evidence given in this story. For all we know, those respondents could have been selected from the same departments or majors at all the colleges. The colleges could have been technical schools or enormous state universities or religion-affiliated schools. There is no way to know. Why does this matter? Liberal arts, political science and pre-law students are more likely to have read about the First Amendment than optics majors or engineers, for instance. I'm not saying the optics majors or engineers would be more conservative or liberal -- but they are less likely to have discussed free speech in a class. Improper choice of respondents can provide very slanted results -- for example, the survey that said Dewey would win over Truman was conducted by telephone, and the calls went to houses on the corners of two streets; this meant that people who were wealthier (because corner houses pay higher taxes, based on road frontage) were questioned, while their less wealthy neighbors (who voted for Truman) were ignored.

Also, by not including any context relative to current events, there is no way to know if the small percentage who thought violence was acceptable was the same as during the Vietnam War, for instance, or Desert Storm. I guarantee you, it was not the same percentage as during the Revolutionary War, when those who spoke against any prevailing view to an audience who disagreed would have been lucky to have been ridden out of town on a rail, if not tarred and feathered. (Feel free to do the research if you wish; be sure you have a strong stomach for the details of what happens when boiling tar is applied to skin.)

What it all comes down to is this: this story is written poorly by someone who does not understand how statistics should be used, and was not properly edited. It was published in order to scare people, although the publisher may not have realized its propaganda value. By not including the whole story, and by allowing editorializing in the middle of it, it slants the results.

This would not have been published during the time when Kay Graham was publisher. Editor Ben Bradlee would not have let this story pass. He would have told the reporter to rewrite it, clean it up, and get more depth into it.

And the reason I am writing this is that this is not the only paper that misleads with statistics, and you need to be aware of this, and of what to look for when someone is quoting a study, badly, misleadingly, in a way that bids fair to be used for propaganda. Be cautious and critical when you see numbers and statistics, and look for whether the writing is made personal/editorialized. It matters.

Graham-Cassidy

Sep. 19th, 2017 10:45 am
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Via [tumblr.com profile] vassraptor and [tumblr.com profile] realsocialskills:

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network: ACA repeal is back – and so are we

Explanation, script and guide to contacting your representatives.

(no subject)

Sep. 19th, 2017 04:24 am
harpers_child: melaka fray reading from "Tales of the Slayers". (Default)
[personal profile] harpers_child
3 card pull. Shuffled a couple times and took the top 3.

the sorcerer, the shadow of the past, the fixer

that's a jumble and not helpful. Odd for this deck.

Took bottom 3 cards off the deck.

the lady of sorrows, the challenge, the leaving

There's the brick to the face I'm used to.
Letting Go. Go For It. Moving Forward.

Whelp. Now I know the thing I've been thinking about is correct. It's painful so I'm not talking about it. One of those things that suck super hard.

(no subject)

Sep. 17th, 2017 11:23 pm
gramarye1971: Fakir looking up from a library book (Princess Tutu: Fakir)
[personal profile] gramarye1971
Still around and reading, just a bit quiet. Finishing my Remix Revival fic tapped out quite a bit of my creativity. And I keep starting and deleting entire screeds about the current state of North Korean politics and nuclear brinksmanship because I am a rank amateur when compared with the good folks in the disarmament business who can look at a missile for five seconds and say things like ah, yes, that's a second-generation Iranian-produced Scud-D model, only painted black and with extra fins added to it for no good reason that we can determine. I hate feeling only half-informed, if that.

At this point I am crossing off days until my folks swing down from the Frigid North to visit in mid-October, and to my planned Japan trip in mid-November. If anything else creative or similarly productive gets done during the interim, I'm not sure whether it'll be in spite of or because of my own efforts.

But still around and reading, as mentioned.

Top of the Lake

Sep. 17th, 2017 12:00 pm
marina: (Default)
[personal profile] marina
I have been writing a post about Top of the Lake for literally like 4 years. FOUR YEARS. I keep writing drafts and never finishing them, because it all just feels so enormous and too much and I need like an entire day to get all my thoughts in order.

But, it's happening today friends. IT'S HAPPENING TODAY. SO HELP ME, THERE WILL BE A POST. It will be cobbled together from different drafts I've started over the years, but IT WILL EXIST.

So, below are my thoughts, which were written a few years ago, before I'd seen Mad Max: Fury Road, before Jessica Jones, before Wonder Woman.

Anyway, this post is still not even a fraction of the thoughts I have in my head about this show, BUT. We are doing this. THIS POST IS GETTING POSTED.

*

Well, there's now not one, but two versions of Broadchurch (both starring David Tennant!) and I still haven't gotten around to the show that, to me, is the far more subversive, far more interesting, far richer and more beautiful original version of what has now become a multi-season franchise.

I haven't been able to write about Top of the Lake until now because my talents do not lie in talking about the things I find overwhelmingly amazing. I had to wait such a long time for the edges to fade, for this show to settle in my head and become digestible (this is after multiple viewings, because of course I rewatched parts of it ad nauseum) and analyzable and describable.

The non spoilery version is this: Robin (Elizabeth Moss) is a detective who comes back to her small town in New Zealand to visit with her gravely ill mother. At the same time a 12 year old girl in the town is discovered to be pregnant. Robin is called in, because of her big city specialist training, to help interview the girl - however the girl claims she remembers nothing, and Robin ends up leading the investigation into what happened. To unravel this mystery Robin will have to face old friends and enemies, the local gang, police corruption and the secrets of her own family.

If you, like me, are utterly bored by detective stories and mysteries, let me attempt another pitch: Top of the Lake is probably the greatest story I've ever seen about a heroine who is flawed and competent and human, who's allowed to unravel, whose power is never undermined even when she's as low as she's ever going to get, even when the odds are insurmountable. Robin is a heroine you root for when, like Buffy, she has nothing left but herself, her body, her wits. She's someone you root for while you recognize her blind spots, her privileges, her biases. Robin is someone who always, always comes through. Stripped down to the bone she rises, like Lazarus, unstoppable in her passion, her moral duty to do right by the marginalized, her incredible strength.

The amazing thing about Top of the Lake is that it's about a girl who loses everything, but never loses herself. It's about trauma, it's about survival, it's about revenge, it's about justice, it's about compassion and love and forgiveness, it's about asking the ugly questions about ourselves and being uncomfortable and trying as hard as you can to be the best person you can be. It's about trying to make sure no one has to suffer the way you've suffered.

And of course - Jane Campion is an amazing director, and stepping into her world for 7 episodes was like suddenly finding myself in an alternative universe where complex, challenging visual stories are told for me, as a woman. Where the male gaze is not even a distant memory.

Here's one last way of putting it: Robin and Leslie Knope (of Parks and Rec) are two extremes on the same continuum. Leslie is Robin in a light-hearted, brightly lit comedy - Robin is Leslie in a graphic, gritty detective story. Robin is the grown up version of Veronica Mars. The settings, the moods, the tropes are different but the women are the same - beacons of resilience, fortitude, open-eyed optimism, competence, who are the heroes rather than the victims of their narratives.

spoilers )

*

And now an addendum written by today!me:

Top of the Lake is the spiritual mother of so many modern shows, and I'm so happy (SO SO HAPPY) that I get to place it a broader than ever tapestry of women heroes of all kinds.

(no subject)

Sep. 17th, 2017 08:11 am
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
[personal profile] alexseanchai
[personal profile] analise010 is doing a one-card draw, or more cards for the price of a coffee.

Long day!

Sep. 17th, 2017 02:46 am
azurelunatic: Polyamory infinite hearts, in a polymer-like grid (polymer)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Breakfast with partner and metamour Leopard Girl.

Seanan McGuire event in Silverdale. We brought tribute, and were briefly Seanan's favorite. (Diet Dr Pepper and candy corn. Seanan is a being of predictable tastes.)

Mini muffin tin quest!

Partner made a note they should chat with our mutual friend in London about stuff. Hooray, viable communities.

Dinner for the extended polycule, with many dishes thanks to Trader Joe's. (Rice, orange chicken with extra zesty sauce but no carrots since we ran out, BBQ pork buns, pot stickers, spring rolls, and green beans. The rice and green beans weren't pre-packaged, and I do a little customization to the chicken by adding orange peel and scallions. The gyoza and bao steam over the rice, and the spring rolls could bake with the chicken. The green beans start frozen and get gently fried with seasonings. Usually it's butter and Montreal steak seasoning, but Stray Puppy Girl is very lactose intolerant, and Leopard Girl dislikes red pepper. So I went for sesame oil, garlic, onion, pepper, salt, ginger, a packet of soy sauce that needed using, and the excess teriyaki sauce from the other night. It turned out well. To my immense gratification, my partner really likes all the iterations of the green beans that I have made so far. Generally they disappear immediately.)

Club night. Without going into excessive detail, one of the groups near the people I was with were having a hilarious time, and kept setting each other off giggling. That prompted our group to giggle. The glee was infectious.

Everyone is spending the night. We hauled the camping pads out of the alleged guest room (it is currently not in a state for guests as my textiles have exploded all over it) and they're set up next to the futon in case it turns from cozy to crowded in the middle of the night. Things are well set up for breakfast, and there should be cheesecake at some point (thus the mini muffin tins).
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