Sunday Linkdump: Life is easier when one of us is dead

The Orbital Antares/Cygnus launching at Wallops Island on Sept.18. Photo by husband. Click image for full set.

It’s baaaaaaaaaaack.

  • “The New York Times, if Every Word Was Removed Except ‘Cyber'”. It used to be about sex. Now it’s about war.
  • “Why Today’s Inventors Need to Read More Science Fiction”. Actually, how about why everyone needs to read more science fiction?

    On the deepest levels, your consciousness doesn’t make a distinction between experiences you’ve had and the experiences of characters in stories you’ve heard. This is why fiction is so powerful and why human beings seem to need to tell, collect, and understand stories. Fiction allows you to live more lives in the space-time of one lifetime than you would normally be able to. It allows you to benefit from the outcome of simulations without being exposed to the dangers or time constraints that you would be forced to undergo if you had to live every experience that informs your reality by yourself. In a post-industrial society of tool using primates, like ours, technology is one of the defining factors, and so science fiction, with its tendency to emphasize technology, is a way of running exponentially iterative design processes to conceive and create new technologies.

  • So there was that time when an accident with a B-52 almost threw us into a nuclear conflict by accident and it turns out that “almost” is really goddamn almost.
  • “The Liquid Self”. Ephemeral social media has the potential to liberate us from the more static selves imposed by traditional social media profiles.

    Dominate social media has thus far taken a stand, a radical one in my opinion, for a version of identity that is highly categorized and omnipresent, one that forces an ideal of a singular, stable identity that we will continuously have to confront. It is a philosophy that doesn’t capture the real messiness and fluidity of the self, fails to celebrate growth, and is particularly bad for those most socially-vulnerable. I wonder how we can build social media that doesn’t always intensify our own relationship to ourselves by way of identity boxes. I think temporary social media will provide new ways of understanding the social media profile, one that isn’t comprised of life hacked into frozen, quantifiable pieces but instead something more fluid, changing, and alive.

  • Don’t do these things with professors. Just don’t. Don’t ever.
  • Writing cultures outside your own in SFF. Which can be tricky. So tread carefully.

    [N]ot discouraging you from writing what you want to write (I’d be the last one in a position to do so!); but it’s good to ask yourself why you’re writing what you’re writing; to be aware of the consequences; and to promote writings by people from the actual culture in addition to your own—because they have voices of their own, but more trouble getting heard.

  • “Fuck You. I’m Gen Y, and I Don’t Feel Special or Entitled, Just Poor”.

    You have no idea about student debt, underemployment, life-long renting. “Stop feeling special” is some shitty advice. I don’t feel special or entitled, just poor. The only thing that makes me special is I have more ballooning debt than you.

  • Digital libraries and the sensory experience of particular kinds of space.

    Those nostalgic for books with paper and bindings frequently reference the familiar musty smell of a book, the weight of the text in somatictheir hands, the sound of flipping pages. A traditional library, similarly, has a quite distinct sensory profile. Scents of Freshly vacuumed carpets mix with slowly disintegrating paper and the hushed sounds buzzing fluorescent bulbs. The lightly dusted, thickly bound books align row after row, adorned with laminated white stickers with small black letters and numbers, guiding readers to textual treasures organized by genre, topic, author, and title. These sensory stimuli may evoke calm, excitement, comfort, all of these things together. Indeed, being in a library has a feel. To fear the loss of this somatic experience, this “feel” is a legitimate concern. With a new kind of library, and a new medium for text, a particular sensory experience will, in time, be lost forever.

  • The boundaries between fandom and creators have always been weird and are getting weirder in lots of weird ways that people don’t quite understand and everything is just kind of really weird. And surprise, surprise, some people are being serious goddamn jerks about the weirdness.

    A reader disliking a book or having a problem with aspects of it and saying so in public is not bullying. A columnist talking about the potential pitfalls of authors coming into reader conversations and citing an example is not bullying. Concern for the degree of coziness that some blogs have with the industry is also not bullying. And it’s also not bullying to object to authors participating in discussions of their work when they haven’t been specifically invited to do so.

    It’s also not silencing or attacking and it absolutely is not justification for namecalling on social media. Some of that namecalling has included gendered insults and sexual assault threats. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by this development and yet I am.

I killed my baby with a bullet, one last shot right into her head
And I’m falling falling falling down

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