Elizabeth Bear's plotting the narrative lecture from Viable Paradise.
On the shape of stories. (Grokked from Mrs. Tadd I think)
Note to self, must go back and read both of those and take notes.
The top ten short story titles submitted to Clarkesworld. (Grokked from CC Findley)
HAWKMAN! "Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving, and revolving at 900 miles an hour…" Stephen Hawking covers the Monty Python Galaxy Song. "And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space 'cause there's bugger all down here on Earth."
The myth of the Golden Ratio is bullshit. An interesting take, which is also bullshit. This is the design equivalent of fantasy geeks arguing if Tolkien wrote the LotRs in response to the horrors of WWI, or if Frodo's journey is a mirror of the Christ story. And it fails for exactly the same reasons (these are filters from which the LotRs can be viewed, and they popup in the zeitgeist of the human experience, but it wasn't written with those things consciously in mind). Note how the author admits that the Golden Ratio keeps showing up everywhere, but not with mathematical precision. That is, the numbers don't actually come out to the irrational number that the Golden Ratio stands for. This is because nobody divides their canvas by the Golden Ratio, or sets up their floor plan by it (because they're more worried about the roof falling in) or any of the other arts. But it's all close. Why? Because artists don't use rulers, asshole. When you're setting text and you center a line of type, you're probably satisfied with it, right? As a designer I can tell you that while I use the centering function (especially when I'm in a rush), for most applications I center by eye (especially for headlines and poster type). Why? Because artists don't use rulers, asshole. Okay, I'm being smarmy, but in truth visual art/communication is all done by how it looks to the eye (see previous discussions about what you "see" isn't exactly what's there). Also, if you're a master at the art you realize that the flat canvas is not how people see your art, it's all distorted to them (look at a statue meant to be displayed above the crowd's eye-level, then look at it straight on, yea, the proportions are out of whack). You can define music as numbers (because everything can be defined by numbers), but most music composed that way sucks. Now, I've never swallowed the whole "it's the perfect form of beauty" argument that some add to it (let me tell you about column widths in the ancient world… note, they all don't have the same proportions but differed as the concept of beauty differed over the ages), but to obliterate the whole theory because not everything that is beautiful comes out to the exact number is a straw man argument that makes the author feel superior and makes him look like a smart guy to people who really don't know what they're talking about. So, while overlaying the Golden Ratio over everything won't show an exact match, why are most things that are pleasing to our eye round about the same proportions? Because our brains are pattern recognition machines, and because the Golden Ratio is pleasing to our brains, so it keeps showing up. (Grokked from BoingBoing)
"These adjuncts are among the finest, longest-serving instructors in many universities, and it’s well known that their lasting contributions can transform the lives of their students… It’s also no secret that they are getting a raw deal. Overworked and underpaid, they often struggle to get by…" Yes, this. Also, full-time faculty, if you really want to help your positions (because guess whom isn't getting hired because the institution can just hire a few adjuncts for a savings of over 50%), you'd fight like hell to get the adjuncts into the union (and unions, you'd be wise to do so as well). Yea, I don't see that happening anytime soon. (Grokked from Dan)
"According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 16 million Americans had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. Of that number, many struggle with whether and how to talk about their depression in the workplace." I spent almost 4 years in a deep depression at a former job. While it was caused by external pressures, it left a lasting imprint on my brain so that I now deal with occasional bouts of it. The drugs help me get through that and get to the end quicker. And every time I realize, "Why did I do that? I must be depressed again…" it makes me nauseated. Especially because 1) I thought I was getting good at seeing the oncoming storm and 2) I let it happen to me and 3) Depression is a fucking liar.
Jim Hines testifies. (while I read Jim's blog, this was grokked from Janiece)
"Some of these stress inducing thoughts are what Clinical Psychologists call Cognitive Distortions. These stress inducing thinking errors can exacerbate any stress we are under and it is important to identify and challenge them." A checklist of faulty thinking that will come in handy in the coming year and a half. Also, as full disclosure, yep, I recognize a lot of those from my own depression based mind. (Grokked from Catherine Shaffer)
A deconstruction of the whole "Obama's plan to nuke Charleston" comment that Ricky Santorum wasn't able to say, "that's just crazy talk." And instead he said he tried to pivot and reiterate that Obama is a "tyrant." (Grokked from the Slactivist)
"Any time right-wing conservatives declare that they are trying to restore or reclaim something, we should all be very afraid. Usually, this means the country… is about to be treated to another round of backward time travel, to the supposedly idyllic environs of the 1950s, wherein women, and gays, and blacks knew their respective places and stayed in them." (Grokked from the Slactivist)
Libertarians, they're all for freedom when it's their interests on the line, but often take a "screw you" attitude for anyone not in their group. An article on asking Rand Paul why he doesn't support gay marriage.
Most anti-abortionists are also strong anti-contraceptive people as well. Unless you're poor and on Medicaid, then they'll want to force you on it (if you're female). Oh, and they also want to check you for drugs and alcohol. (Grokked from the Slactivist)