Links for August 24 1026

* FOUND: The World’s Oldest Sewing Needle

And it wasn’t made by Homo sapiens.

* San Francisco BART Tackles Urine Problem With Bacteria-Eating Mist

“Out-of-place peeing is a problem in pretty much every city, but San Francisco has been hit particularly hard—last year, they introduced a urine-repellant paint that splashes the offending liquid onto the perpetrators shoes. BART elevators are such targets that crews are also replacing the wood and linoleum floors with epoxy-sealed ones for easier cleaning, says SFGate.”

* Why doing everything right won’t save you: The myth of respectability

“When violence is visited upon Black bodies, many rely on respectability to determine whether or not the victim deserved some punishment. After acts of institutional violence, we wonder about what the victim was wearing or doing just like we do at sexual assault trials. When people of color die or are assaulted, too many folks search through their histories for evidence that they deserved it. This work represents respectability at its ugliest, investment in the idea that social acceptability is not granted to everyone. It’s something some people have to earn every moment of every day.”

* Giving up alcohol opened my eyes to the infuriating truth about why women drink

“What’s a girl to do when a bunch of dudes have just told her, in front of an audience, that she’s wrong about what it’s like to be herself? I could talk to them, one by one, and tell them how it felt. I could tell the panel organizers this is why you never have just one of us up there. I could buy myself a superhero costume and devote the rest of my life to vengeance on mansplainers everywhere.

Instead, I round up some girlfriends and we spend hundreds of dollars in a hipster bar, drinking rye Manhattans and eating tapas and talking about the latest crappy, non-gender-blind things that have happened to us in meetings and on business trips and at performance review time. They toast me for taking one for the team.”

* Inside the World’s Only Surviving Tattoo Shop For Medieval Pilgrims

“Just inside the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City, you can duck down the second side street to the left, as I did, finding respite from the beating sun and leaving the bustle of the crowded main square. A tiny shop, almost dwarfed by its prominent sign, lies across a quiet cobblestone road. If you didn’t know anything about the incredible, centuries-long history of the family who runs this particular shop, the sign’s tagline might cause you to do a double-take: “Tattoo With Heritage Since 1300” it reads.”

* White Conspiracy, Black History

“Whether by coincidence or not, many of the political conspiracies that white people fear in America today have already happened — and continue to happen — to black people.”



Why I like Pokemon Go

1. My family plays it. The adults play it, the kids play it when they can borrow a phone. It is a household activity. No-one else in my house knits; only M is SUPER into playing Overwatch; only Cavorter is REALLY into sodas; and so forth. We all have our niche passions. But Pokemon Go is something we share.

2. Since the kids were little, they have loved Pokemon. Our household has So. Many. Plushie. Pokemon. Oh dear sweet crickets, we have so many Pokemon. When the kids were much younger they said they were not watching anymore of the Pokemon movies or cartoons, because watching Pokemon in danger was just too sad and scary. We have Plussel and Minan ornaments on our Christmas tree each year.

3. This is gaming. This is gaming, and these are gamers, and anyone who sneers at Pokemon Go for not being game enough is wrong, and sneering at Pokemon Go players is petty, unkind, and completely wrong. I *love* it when people and causes I dislike (Gamergate, specifically,) are so manifestly and definitively on the losing side of a cultural moment.

4. When I travel without my family, I take a plushie Munchlax and Snorelax with me. I send pictures of Munchles and Snorels to the kids, giving a Pokemon-eye-view of where I am. I’ve been doing it for YEARS. It’s a family tradition that says “I love you even though we are far apart.”

5. I love going to places with lured Pokestops and seeing the vast cross-section of humanity out playing the game. I love seeing the families, the couples, the friends. People walk their dogs, so there’s almost always a nice dog to say hi to. I love the people my age or older who have been gamers their whole lives, raising gamer kids. I love the slightly befuddled but willing grandparents being pulled along by children. I love hearing the languages spoken at Pokestops, I love the fact the immigration and assimilation with U.S. culture now includes knowing what a Pikachu is.



Links for August 18 2016

Oops, forgot to post links yesterday!

* New Thoughts on Making Rope in the Paleolithic

“Paleolithic hunter-gatherers may have used mammoth ivory tools to weave rope out of plant fibers.”

* Supreme Court Says Police May Use Evidence Found After Illegal Stops

“Justice Thomas’s opinion drew a fiery dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who said that “it is no secret that people of color are disproportionate victims of this type of scrutiny.””

* Discovery of vast treasure trove of fine textiles shows importance of fashion to Bronze Age Britons

“Archaeologists from the University of Cambridge’s archaeological unit have so far unearthed more than 100 fragments of textile, unspun processed fibre and textile yarn at the site. Some of the yarn is of superfine quality – with some threads being just 100 microns (1/10 of a millimetre) in diameter, while some of the fabrics themselves are so finely woven that they have 28 threads per centimetre, fine even by modern standards. It’s likely that some of the fragments of textile are from items of clothing.”

* Life-Hacks of the Poor and Aimless

“Can all this positive thinking be actively harmful? Carl Cederström and André Spicer, authors of The Wellness Syndrome, certainly think so, arguing that obsessive ritualization of self-care comes at the expense of collective engagement, collapsing every social problem into a personal quest for the good life. “Wellness,” they declare, “has become an ideology.””

* I Know Why Poor Whites Chant Trump, Trump, Trump

“There is an unavoidable question about places like Benton County, a question many liberals have tried to answer for years now: Why do poor whites vote along the same party lines as their wealthy neighbors across the road? Isn’t that against their best interests?

Ask a Republican, and they’ll probably say conservatives are united by shared positions on moral issues: family values, religious freedom, the right to life, the sanctity of marriage, and, of course, guns.

Ask a Democrat the same question, and they might mention white privilege, but they’re more likely to describe conservatives as racist, sexist, homophobic gun nuts who believe Christianity should be the national religion.

But what if those easy answers are two sides of the same political coin, a coin that keeps getting hurled back and forth between the two parties without ever shedding light on the real, more complicated truth?

I’m just a poor white trash motherfucker. No one cares about me.

What if he’s right?”

And, after that, a unicorn chaser —

Kyle “Paul Atreides” McLachlan explains Dune with a single tweet

Go, go look at it, it’s adorable. 😀



I finished the hat!

I finished knitting the hat for the Ravellenic Games!

Here’s the Finish Line for the Hat Dash! I’m in there if you scroll!

Here are all the photos!

The pattern is Vodograi, by Pelykh Natalie. The yarn is Three Irish Girls Springvale Sock in the Red Ledger colorway, which despite the picture is the Black Widow colorway, not the Iron Man.

I am so pleased!



A quick word of support

I’ve been knitting for a week, so here’s just a quick and non-comprehensive list of things I support:

* Gabby Douglas. People giving her shit for anything she has or has not done during this Olympics are assholes.

* Black Lives Matter, Milwaukee. The point is not whether THIS police shooting of a black man was or was not justified, the point is that the Milwaukee police do not give a shit about whether it was justified or not. The point is that Wisconsin is one of the worst places in the nation for black people to live, and Milwaukee one of the worst cities. I support Black Lives Matter.

* Hilary Clinton.

* The three women of color catching Pokemon at Como Conservatory last night, discussing their old Atari rigs back in the day. Women, and women of color, have been a part of gaming forever.

* Uncanny Magazine. Here’s the Kickstarter.

* All the non-NBC Olympic coverage, especially the Australian commentators.



After all, why am I doing this?

This hat I am knitting for the Ravellenic Games, y’all.

This. Hat.

It has some very complicated cabling, and I have had to rip out whole rows twice now.

Last night J asked me if it mattered, if I needed to rip the rows back and fix it.

Well, I said, it depends why I’m knitting a thing.

If I just wanted a hat, I would knit another 8-Trick Pocket Hat by Techknitter. I love this hat and it is incredibly straightforward, and I’ve knit three already. If I need a hat, I will knit that hat.

The entire purpose of knitting this hat, I said, is to have a beautifully intricate cabled hat.

Ah, she said. Yes.

So, I continued, if I bugger up the cabling, I have removed the entire purpose of knitting the blasted thing in the first place. Sure, I could leave the mis-cables, but then why would I continue knitting it?

Right, she said. Good luck with that.

So this morning I will finish ripping out the row I goofed up, and do it again.

Onwards and upwards.



Links for August 10 2016

I have spent this entire week so far knitting and watching the Olympics.

Here, have a reading list:

60 Essential Science Fiction & Fantasy Reads