Happy Halloween, everyone! Later on today I'll be launching a new little blog project in honor of the season, but first — this week's recommended reading! It turns out I save a ridiculous
number of links over the course of a week — seriously, I had 50+ links in this list before I culled it down to about 22. You can find all the links I've saved on my Pinboard
. But these are, I think, the truly must-reads.
Just Plain Interesting
The History of the Ouija Board
Audio podcast episode that goes into how the ouija board evolved from a family-friendly game to the spooky one it is today.
Your Cat Has No Idea What You Want And Is Kind of Scared of You | Smart News | Smithsonian
Dogs, like humans, are largely social creatures. They're used to getting feedback from the pack. So, if a human says “no” enough times, eventually they get the hint. Cats don't do this. Cats can't do this, writes Nick Stockton for Wired. While it's true that cats don't care what you think, the source of this tension is more than ambivalence. Cats' brains have difficulty even parsing the types of social feedback that comes so naturally to us.
The Boston Globe
Religions have surprisingly diverse approaches to the issue of possible extraterrestrial life, David Weintraub found. Below, a quick survey adapted from his book “Religions and Extraterrestrial Life: How Will We Deal With It?” and interviews with the author.
The Cold Logic of Drunk People
There's a fabulous irony in the idea that drunk people are emotionally steeled rationalists who are willing to do whatever it takes to save lives. But Duke and his research partner, Laurent Bègue, aren't necessarily arguing that drunk people are ace philosophers and logicians; it's more that their findings challenge common assumptions about how people make decisions.
Are mornings for morality? Night owls might disagree
This means that, while morning people will always experience the morning morality effect, evening people can tell us whether homeostatic or circadian processes have a larger effect on morality. If evening people experienced the morning morality effect alongside their peers, that would mean that homeostatic processes are more powerful for self-control. Because the results showed that evening people are more ethical at night, this suggests that circadian processes dominate homeostatic processes.
Wasting Time on the Internet is a College Class
"We're writing an enormous amount, but somehow the culture keeps devaluing that. I think, yes, this is real writing," he said. "If we can claim that writing as poetry, [then] that alienation and guilt can be expunged and the writing can be celebrated. We can look forward to wasting time on the internet instead of deriding it."
Left or right-wing? Brain's disgust response tells all
The team found that these neural signatures of disgust can be used to predict political orientation. "In fact, the responses in the brain are so strong that we can predict with 95 per cent accuracy where you'll fall on the liberal-conservative spectrum by showing you just one picture," says Montague. "This was surprising as there are no other reports where people's response to just one stimulus predicts anything behaviourally interesting."
Politics & Economics
Amazon, Facebook And Our Sick New Economy
Amazon is following a decades-long model for the tech industry. It begins with the rollout of cheap or “free” services – typically based on the efforts of others — offered at minimal cost in order to capture a monopoly share of the market. Once that monopoly is obtained, the tech vendor uses it to extract usurious and typically unanticipated costs. These costs may be borne by its customers, its vendors (a condition more accurately characterized as “monopsony”) or society as a whole.
Americans Don’t Live In Information Cocoons
The problem isn’t the news we consume, it seems, but the values and identities that shape how we interpret that information — most notably, our partisan beliefs. In other words, Democrats and Republicans don’t see the world so differently because they see different news; rather, they see the news differently because they’re Democrats and Republicans in the first place.
How Apple Pay Really Works and Why You Should Begin Using it Immediately
The problems do not lie with that end of the transaction. MasterCard, et al., and the issuing banks do a fantastic job of keeping their systems incredibly secure. The problem is with the merchant. They get to see your number and store it in their systems, which can be handy for returns, but also problematic. The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council has created strict rules governing the storage, use, and transmission of cardholder data, and while merchants may be required to be PCI compliant, that doesn’t necessarily mean they actually are secure, or that there are not other holes the compliance measures have not fully accounted for. The number of large merchants that have announced major credit card breaches just in the past year is sobering reminder of this.
The Economic Impact of School Suspensions
Education levels have an extraordinary impact on future wages, with academic attainment standing in as a rough proxy for future wealth. A female African-American college graduate typically sees an increase of about $657,000 over the course of her lifetime as compared to a female African-American high school graduate, according to the report. Should she fail to graduate from high school, her financial outlook worsens considerably. In 2013, 43 percent of African American women without a high school diploma were living in poverty, compared to 29 percent with a high school diploma and just 9 percent with a bachelor's degree, U.S. Census data show. Helping African-American girls successfully complete high school, then, could stave off a lifetime of poverty for them and their families.
The Great Pumpkin Riot is a White Riot Worth Taking Seriously
The playful levity with which the media, if not the local police, are treating the riot seems as much to do with who was behind the destruction as it does with the seasonal theme. It was white youth who pulled down street signs and flipped over cars, and as a result they were described as "rowdy" and "boisterous." In Ferguson, where property damage and confrontations with cops were no more extreme, the rioters were deemed "violent" and "criminal." Black riots, it seems, get read as somewhat more threatening.
Abortion: Not Easy, Not Sorry
The president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Ilyse Hogue, says she believes that for most women, abortion is a "small chapter in the long book of their lives." What's most important, she says, isn't the actual procedure. It isn't the YouTube video that shows how simple first-trimester abortions are, but what happens afterward: the lives women go on to live. The education, the work, the love and relationships—the marriage you wanted, the children you could raise well. That's the untold story of abortion, she tells me.
When no gender fits: A quest to be seen as just a person
For Kelsey, identifying as agender wasn’t an immediate realization but a gradual awakening, a recognition that what applied to other girls didn’t seem to apply to Kelsey. People would say Kelsey was pretty, and it made Kelsey squirm — not because Kelsey felt unattractive but because other people’s definitions of pretty, or handsome for that matter, didn’t work. Dresses and makeup only made Kelsey feel uglier, but boy clothes weren’t right either. It wasn’t about being a tomboy. It wasn’t a personality trait. It wasn’t even about the clothes, although those were an immediate shorthand for Kelsey’s discomfort. It was something different and deeper.
Meet the College Women Who Are Starting a Revolution Against Campus Sexual Assault
That she has become the poster girl for the anti-rape movement is an accident of a viral world—she doesn’t have a background in activism, and she is not really at the center of this crusade. To find the godmothers, you have to travel to Los Angeles, where Annie Clark, 25, and Andrea Pino, 22, two political-science majors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, are hard at work in a one-bedroom in Silver Lake, rented off Craigslist, that has become an anti-assault Death Star. Both of them were violently raped as students, and in responding to both cases, UNC seemed to be lax verging on cruel—Clark claims an administrator even said to her, “Rape is like football. If you look back on the game, and you’re the quarterback … is there anything you would have done differently?” Working with a network of activists, they’ve helped survivors learn about their Title IX rights and file complaints about violations across the country. Today, 78 American colleges, including Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Amherst, Swarthmore, Brandeis, Emerson, and a slew of West Coast schools from UC Berkeley to USC to UCLA, are under investigation by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
Today’s NFL is marked by players who are the first in their family to attend college, many of whom still carry the constrictions and burdens their youth environments placed upon them. NFL franchises approach a talent pool of players who lack essential life skills with an optimistic hope that the structure of a professional organization will help them transcend the environment from which they came, but without the practical wisdom to help these players actualize their off-field potential. The focus is cold and misplaced: it’s how can we anticipate their inevitable criminal behavior, not how can we foster in them a perspective that eliminates the need for spin and cover up.
The Truth Behind America's Most Famous Gay-Hate Murder
John Stoltenberg is a gay-rights activist who lived with the feminist writer Andrea Dworkin until her death in 2005. He’s a long-time supporter of The Laramie Project, but has also blogged positively about The Book of Matt. “Keeping Matthew as the poster boy of gay-hate crime and ignoring the full tragedy of his story has been the agenda of many gay-movement leaders,” he says. “Ignoring the tragedies of Matthew’s life prior to his murder will do nothing to help other young men in our community who are sold for sex, ravaged by drugs, and generally exploited. They will remain invisible and lost.”
Viewpoint: Why are so few WW1 heroines remembered?
Pride of place was given to nurses. During the war, they had worked close to the front lines undoubtedly displayed heroic qualities. They had braved shells and infectious diseases to care for the sick and wounded. But importantly, their association with a traditional feminine maternal and nurturing role did not jar in a post-war world eager for a return to the status quo. Women were called upon to repopulate the nation through their roles as mothers and to accept a secondary status in favour of returning men in the workplace.
With Ferguson, it's not what you think
It's really the story of regular, taxpaying, law-abiding, lawn-mowing, pumpkin-carving, churchgoing Midwestern folks where the only gunshots you hear are from kids playing Xbox. And they're wondering why the first killing in town all year was a cop firing 11 shots in a residential neighborhood into a kid with no record of serious crimes. While the new leaks reveal Wilson's claims that he was "defending himself," this doesn't add up for residents.
Meet The First Openly Transgender NCAA Athlete
People talk about that as if men are super-human, as if just because you were born with a penis, that means that you can defeat every single female. And that’s not true. This world values men. We value men. We value male bodies. We don’t value women … People need to stop placing limits on how strong people can or should be, and what their bodies should look like.
I'm a Black Journalist. I'm Quitting Because I'm Tired of Newsroom Racism.
Since that first media job as a TV producer, I have held editor positions at a range of startups and other online outlets. I started to recognize a pattern after one job when a white coworker openly dismissed an idea to write about a black artist on the rise: “Nobody even knows who she is.” Actually, I said, a lot of people know who she is. “Mostly just black people, though,” she countered. I argued that “a lot of black people” set the tone and establish pop cultural relevance in this country. My coworker was stunned. She looked at me with an expression of both disbelief and betrayal.
Prisoners Transform through Knitting Behind Bars
Richy Horton, 38, served almost four years at the Pre-Release Unit and reluctantly joined KBB about 6 months before he was released. “I was like, I’m not going to that thing,” Horton says. “And then I went, and you were actually speaking to real people. People can’t really understand [that in prison] you’re completely separated from anything normal or real in the world. You’re always told what to do and when to do it, so to have people come in and treat you like a human being means so much. They came in and they were like my mom.”