05
Mar, 2013

Wealth Inequality in America

Infographics on the distribution of wealth in America, highlighting both the inequality and the difference between our perception of inequality and the actual numbers. The reality is often not what we think it is.

References:

via Upworthy:

This pretty much speaks for itself. At 1:05, I get a rude awakening. At 1:41, he starts talking about you. At 2:24, he says a “bad” word. At 3:50, he kind of breaks my brain. At 4:50, he lets you know how broke you really are. At 5:20, he rubs it in. And at 5:50, he points out that reality isn’t close to what we think it is.

12
Feb, 2013


Now you have proof that soulmates are a real thing just in time for Valentine’s Day! Illustrator Emanuele Colombo based this delightful animation on Drake Martinet‘s infographic “Love Visualized” (below). Martinet designed the infographic subtitled “Proof That We Are Soulmates” as a proposal to his girlfriend.

03
Jan, 2013

Benjamin Kyle is the only American citizen officially listed as missing despite his whereabouts being known. In 2004, Kyle was left for dead behind a Burger King in Richmond Hill, Georgia and was diagnosed with having dissociative amnesia. As of January 2013, he has yet to been identified.

When I first came across Benjamin Kyle’s story, it reminded me of the science fiction TV series John Doe about a man who wakes up with no memory of who he is, but he knows everything else (such as: how many dimples are on a golf ball, the population of Morocco, and many other such obscure  facts). Unfortunately, Benjamin Kyle’s predicament isn’t nearly as cool. It’s heartbreaking.

findingbenjaman.com

Benjamin Kyle on Wikipedia

FindingBenjaman on Facebook

@findingbenjaman on Twitter

[via UpWorthy]

23
Dec, 2012

By the end of this talk, there will be 864 more hours of video on YouTube and 2.5 million more photos on Facebook and Instagram. So how do we sort through the deluge? At the TEDSalon in London, Markham Nolan shares the investigative techniques he and his team use to verify information in real-time, to let you know if that Statue of Liberty image has been doctored or if that video leaked from Syria is legitimate.

Using Google Maps, Mr. Nolan also tracks down the validity of a youtube clip that  features lightning striking in someone’s yard. I posted that original video on this blog a while back. Check out: Damn Nature, You Scary! Fireball Caught on Video.

15
Dec, 2012

From Talking Philosophy:

In the United States, race has been forged into a matter of great concern—at least for some people. One of the not uncommonly expressed concerns is whether or not someone is black. In the past, this was often a concern that a black person might be attempting to pass as white. As might be imagined, this was mostly a matter of concern to certain white people. In more recent years a twist has been added to the matter of discerning a person’s blackness. To be specific, one matter that concerns some people is whether or not a person is authentically black as opposed, presumably, to being inauthentically black. In such cases, the racial classification of the person is generally not in dispute. That is, s/he is identified as being black. The concern is, rather, over whether or not the person is properly black. As such, this adds another normative level to the judgment being made.

One recent incident that raised this matter occurred on the ESPN program “First Take.” While this is a sports program, the conversation turned to race when Rob Parker asked if Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is “a brother or is he a cornball brother?” This, on the face of it, seems to be in inquiry into whether or not Griffin is “properly black” or not. When asked what he meant, Parker replied “well, he’s black, he kind of does his thing. But he’s not really down with the cause, he’s not one of us. He’s kind of black. But he’s not really the guy you’d really want to hang out with because he’s off to do something else.”

While Parker does not clearly lay out detailed standards for being authentically black, he did expand on his remarks in a way that suggested what he meant by “being down with the cause.” Parker noted that Griffin has a white fiancée and that there are rumors that he is a Republican.

Parker’s concern over Griffin having a white fiancée is not uncommon. While whites have often been dismayed by attempts to “mix the races” (and it was not until 1967 that the Supreme Court ruled against laws restricting marriage based on race), blacks sometimes criticize other blacks for having relationships with non-blacks. Interestingly and disturbingly, the reasons advanced against “race mixing” often mirror those advanced by racist whites (such as preserving the race). As such, this sort of criticism of Griffin seems to be racist. Naturally, there have been attempts to defend opposition to “race mixing” as being non-racist, but that seems to be a rather challenging (but perhaps not impossible) goal.

Of course, even if being suspicious of “race mixing” is at least a bit racist, it could still be argued that being authentically black requires that a person only have relationships with other black people. That is, that being involved with a non-black would somehow make a person less properly black. Presumably this could apply to other races, so that a white person who dates outside of her race is not properly white and so on for the other races. That is, to be a proper member of the race, one must only be involved with one’s own race. This, of course, requires working out an account of race so that people can date properly if they wish to be authentic. After all, if having a relationship with a person of another race causes one to be inauthentic, then presumably it would follow that dating someone of mixed race could lead to a partial inauthenticity. There is also the obvious problem that “race mixing” has already occurred on a rather large scale and hence those concerned with racial authenticity will need to sort out the matter of mixed-race people, such as President Obama and myself (I’m a colonial blend of English, French, Mohawk and “other”).

Link to the rest at Talking Philosophy.

Authenticity derives from having the courage to remain true to oneself by maintaining a code of ethics consistent with your words and beliefs. Authenticity can be observed and critiqued by others but it does not emanate from outside of you. People can vouch for your integrity but no one can give you authenticity. It can only come from within. You define yourself.

The conversation continues in the HuffPost Live video below:

13
Dec, 2012

Rebecca Eisenberg at UpWorthy:

When Anita Sarkeesian announced plans to do a video series exploring the portrayal of women in video games, she became the victim of a massive online attack choreographed by members of the gaming community who cast her as the “villain” in their online “game” to ruin her life. It did not go well for them. But for Anita, things ended up going very well indeed.

You definitely want to watch the whole thing, but here are some highlights: at 1:00 she talks about why she loves video games, at 2:02 just try to imagine yourself in her shoes, at 3:45 she sticks the people attacking her under a microscope, and at 8:15 she doesn’t just win the game, she absolutely destroys it.

 

Check out Anita Sarkeesian’s website Feminist Frequency.

05
Sep, 2012

wilwheaton:

unwinona:

And then I debated whether or not to put it on Tumblr…but I decided it was important.  Because in my own way, I can (unfortunately) point out exactly what is wrong with men when they don’t realize how hard it is to be a woman.  How we do not have equal opportunities and freedoms in everyday life.  How most men, even good caring men, have no clue what we go through on a daily basis just trying to live our lives.

So here goes.

I often ride the Metro when I commute from North Hollywood to Long Beach in order to save money.  I bring a book, pointedly wear a ring on my ring finger to imply I’m married (I’m not) and keep to myself.

Without fail, I am aggressively approached by men on at least half of these commutes.  The most common approach is to walk up to where I am sitting with body language that practically screams LEAVE ME ALONE and sit down next to me or as close to me as possible, when the train is not crowded and there are many empty rows.  Sometimes an overly friendly arm is draped over the railing behind me, or they attempt to lean in close to talk to me as if we are old friends.  Without fail, the man or boy in question will lean to close and ask me

What are you reading?

Is that a good book?

What’s that book about?


This serves the double purpose of getting my attention and trapping me in a conversation.  If I stop reading the book I enjoy to talk to you, random stranger, you hit on me or just stay way too close to me.  If I tell you to leave me alone, you get mad at me.  Because I somehow, as a woman, owe you conversation.

Tonight when I boarded the train in Long Beach at 10:30pm, it started up right away.  I was not on the train more than three minutes before three boys who looked eighteen sat in the row behind me and leaned over the seats into my personal space, close enough to breathe on me.  The one with his arm draped over onto the back of my seat asked me—surprise— “what are you reading?”  I went through my usual routine.  I told them loudly and firmly that I wanted to be left alone to read my book.  They got angry.  I was told “Why are you going to be like that?  I just wanted to talk!”  His friends start laughing at me and they don’t move, telling me come on! and why are you gonna be like that? until I tell them to leave me the fuck alone, stand up, and move to the front of the car near the three other people on the train, a couple and a business man in a suit.  They spend the next two stops shouting at me from the back of the car, alternating between trying to sound flirtatious and making fun of me, shouting “I bet she’s reading Stephanie Meyer!  I bet she’s reading Twilight or some shit!  You reading Twilight or some shit?”

They exit the train at the next stop, and I’m relieved.  The train is going out of service at the next station, so we all exit to board a new train to Los Angeles.  As we board, the business man steps aside to let me go through the door first and asks me if those guys were bothering me.  I say yes, that it happens all the time, and he tells he’ll beat them up for me if they come back.  He is a nice person who talks to me like I’m a human being instead of a walking pair of tits, and I make a mental note:  This is how a real man talks to a woman on a train.

The business man and the couple exit our new Blue Line train an exit or so later, and I think my night is ending on a good note.  A seemingly normal man enters the train with his bicycle.  At this point I am three rows from the front of the car, another man was sitting near the back of the car, and the rest of the car is empty.  Bicycle Man walks halfway down the row, and settles into the seat directly opposite me.  Perfect, I think.  Twice in one night.

It’s not the first time I’ve been bothered multiple times.  As such, I’m still amped from the teenagers on the first train.  So when this man leans across the aisle into my personal space and asks me, yes, what are you reading, I assertively but calmly tell him to please leave me alone, I am reading.  The man stands up, moving to the front and muttering angrily over his shoulder that it isn’t his fault I’m pretty.

Yes.  Exactly that.  I am the bad person in this situation because somehow this is all my fault.  I started this by being attractive.  I am making a mental note to bitch about this to my friends later.  I go so far as to write it down so I know I’m remembering it properly.

It is at this exact moment I realize Bicycle Man is not taking it well.  The seemingly annoying but normal man a moment before is now talking to himself, becoming agitated.  In my years of being bothered by total strangers, I have learned how to hold a book and seem to be reading while taking in everything around me.  He is glaring at me, and says out loud in an angry baby talk voice “PLEASELEAVEMEALONEI’MREADING.  PLEASE LEAVE ME ALOOOONE.”

Then he’s up out of his seat and things go from bad to worse.  He begins pacing back and forth in front of his bike, alternating between screaming something about his mother being dead and calling me a slut, a hoe, a bitch.  I am frozen in place.  There is one other person in the car, and I’m not sure if trying to change seats will draw more attention to me or less. I trust my instincts and show no fear, doing my best to appear to be calmly reading my book, never once looking up to acknowledge the abuse he’s hurling at me.  There are four stops left until we reach the main downtown station where there are lights and security officers.  Those four stops are virtually abandoned, and I have no guarantee that leaving to wait for another train won’t motivate him to leave the train as well, leaving us potentially alone at a metro station platform just outside of Compton.  I’m frozen in place, trying to plan what I’m going to do if he decides to take all this rage directly to me.  I’m ready to kick him, scream, make enough noise that he panics and flees.

At this point he’s punching the walls and doors of the train, screaming at me.  He stares me full in the face and screams

SUCK MY DICK, BITCH

YOU BITCH

YOU STUPID BITCH

YOU GODDAMN HO

IF I HAD A GUN I’D SHOOT YOU

I WOULD FUCKING KILL YOU BITCH

This went on for two stops.  No one came to see what was happening.  The man in the last row was as frozen as I was.  I’m not angry he didn’t come to my defense.  He was smaller, older, and frailer-looking than I was.  Again, I was worried if I got up, I would be turning my back on him to walk down the aisle.  In the state he was in, I had no guarantee it wouldn’t get physical, and I had more physical strength with my back to the window and feet in kicking position where I was.  If he had chosen to assault me, I would only be making it easier for him by standing up and putting myself directly in his path.  On and on, over and over, he screamed at me, screamed at his dead mother, screamed at me again.

The moment we reached the downtown station, I was out the door and down the stairs.  I still had to catch a connecting train to North Hollywood, and made sure there was no sign of Bicycle Man before I entered the car.  That’s when I finally starting shaking, and almost threw up.  By the time I exited the Red Line and reached my car I could barely breathe and my heart was pounding out of my chest.  Even now, in my own home, my hands are still shaking and for some reason the stress has made my back muscles feel cold and numb.  From all the tension, I can only assume.  I can’t eat anything, I still feel like I’m going to vomit, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t cried so much, so hard I still have the headache.

So when people (men) want to talk about “legitimate” forms of assault, tell girls they should be nice to strangers and give men the benefit of a doubt, tell them to consider it a compliment, tell them to ignore the bad behavior of men, I want them to be forced to feel, for even one minute, what it feels like to have so much verbal hatred and physical intimidation thrown at them for nothing more than being female and not wanting to share.

I just wanted to read my book.

It’s not my fault I’m pretty.

This is why I loudly and angrily berate men who are shitty to women.

This is why I stand up for women’s rights.

This is why, as a 40 year-old man, I’m starting to realize that I’m more of a feminist than I thought I was.