1. The Low-Frills Genre Fiction of 1981. What amazing covers
5) My son followed this recipe for making NY style pizza at home, and whaddayano? Video
13 hours left to back this:
- Why Spider-man: Into the Spiderverse has the most inventive visuals you’ll see this year.
- Europe’s first underwater restaurant.
- How to actually, truly focus on what you’re doing.
- The Kentucky Derby as Told by the Horses.
- Grocer Designed Embarrassing Plastic Bags to Shame Customers into Bringing Their Own.
- The Queens of Sicily: 1061 to 1266. 18 biographies about 18 powerful women.
- Stun Gun Myths Rewatching VERONICA MARS got me wondering how likely (initial hypothesis: not very) it was that you could render someone unconscious by zapping them. Of course, my hypothesis was [spoiler].
Up here in the northern hemisphere, summer is about to start, so it’s time to repost my annual warning for 2019:
It’s not what you think. Before you take your kids or loved ones into the water, read this article.
5) Forgery Experts Explain 5 Ways To Spot A Fake. Video.
7) How to take awesome food photos by Helen Rosner. (This is a terrific primer on visual composition)
2) A Songwriting Mystery Solved: Math Proves John Lennon Wrote ‘In My Life’. Mathematical analysis applied to musical authorship, which I find damned interesting.
3) Political Moderates Are Lying: How group social dynamics push moderate voters to extremes. (Not a perfect article, but interesting.
With Hurricane Florence hitting the coast of the USA, take a minute to familiarize yourself a few of the most common fake viral photos that people share on social media, so you can recognize them this time around and give them the obscurity they deserve.
7) A ‘beer sommelier’ explains how pouring a beer the wrong way can give you a stomach ache. Video
4. What Makes People the Most Happy: An analysis of the way people answer the question “What made you happy in the last 24 hours?”
I noticed this a couple of weeks ago and I tried to put off a response until my interest in it fell away. It hasn’t. Therefore:
It started with this tweet from Chuck Wendig:
help I fell down a weird rabbit hole of shitty Star Wars fans
oh my god these people
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) May 31, 2018
If you click on that and read the whole thread, skip the rest of this paragraph. But basically, there are a bunch of right wing Star Wars fans who have decided the movie series has to be one of the many fronts in the culture war, and they imagine they have the power to tank a movie’s box office through shitposting.
And then there’s the guys who think that targeted harassment against the women who star in these movies–harassment that causes them to shut down their social media–is some kind of victory for men. Especially if the women are not white women.
It reminds me of something I read a very long time ago and never forgot. It was so long ago that I’ve forgotten the source, but it stuck with me: it’s that the most dangerous people you are likely to meet on the street are young men traveling in groups.
As a writer of thriller/action/violence and such, I’ve spent a fair amount of time searching for good books on the subject. They’re surprisingly rare. (I can recommend (with affiliate links) two good ones, if you’re interested. One. Two.) But you can usually find a worthwhile nugget or two in any book.
The reason young men in groups are especially dangerous, according to this long-forgotten author, is that to the men in the group, the victim almost doesn’t matter. The victim is beside the point. The real reason the men in the group want to do violence is to impress the other members. They want to prove themselves. To push things a little farther.
In the book, the technique the author proposed to head off the confrontation was to look one member of the group in the eye–not the one directly in front of you, but one standing back a little–and say something like “You know this is wrong.” Basically, to shame them into breaking the cycle of competition so they would move on.
It seems to me that part (not all, but part) of what’s going on in these RW hate campaigns is a similar dynamic. It was certainly the case with GooberGate, where young men were competing to be the most outrageous shit head, and for all the notoriety that went with it. The victim didn’t matter to them except as a trophy to show off to their friends. What mattered was attention from others in your group.
And when you’re online, a victim can’t look someone in the eye and shame them. That has to happen in real life, because that online connection will never be as strong as the connection to their group.
For example, check out this article about an incel who left the online incel community. Is it body dimorphism for him to believe he’s too ugly to ever get a girlfriend? He looks like a perfectly normal guy, but maybe he doesn’t feel like one. He says he didn’t approve of violent talk in those incel communities, but he thought they were dark humor.
I’m glad to say that Mr. Former Incel had a chance to meet people in real life who looked him in the eye and made him realize he already knew it was wrong. Instead of chiding other incels who fantasized about violence, he walked away.
There will always be a certain percentage of any particular group of abusers who are psychopaths or sadists. They hurt people because they like it and they can’t be shamed into changing. But the people around them, who see that viciousness as a kind of strength, emulate them so they can feel strong, too. Those followers can be cut away, but it’s not easy. And I have no idea how it can be done in online spaces.