May 1, 2014 / From the Editor, Uncategorized
Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from …
November 28, 2014
Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from across the web. Here’s what’s catching our eye this week.
The indie web movement and owning your identinty online:
Google and Facebook don’t just run your email and your social network. So often, they’re a core part of your online identity. They help you log in to countless other services across the net. This is a handy thing. You don’t have to remember as many usernames and passwords, but it’s also dangerous. You’re putting all your eggs in one basket. What if your Google account gets hacked or suspended? Not only would you lose your email address and potentially everything tied to it, but you’d lose access all those other internet services too. And then there are the privacy issues — you can’t control how the data these companies gather about you is used.
Charles Taylor on God in the Secular Age, a post by Matthew Rose at First Things:
Why was it once virtually impossible not to believe in God, while today many of us find this not only easy, but inescapable?” The question is Charles Taylor’s, and his nine-hundred-page answer has arguably been the academic event of the decade. Seven years after its publication, A Secular Age has done more than reignite the debate over secularization and its religious roots. It offers to change the very terms in which Christians profess belief. One of the world’s leading philosophers, Taylor is known for the expansive breadth of his interests in a discipline whose research programs have shriveled in scope. He has written commandingly on German romanticism, ethics, hermeneutics, and the philosophies of mind and action, and has done so in a relaxed style that draws smoothly on literature and history.
The strange trend of computer novelists:
It’s November and aspiring writers are plugging away at their novels for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, an annual event that encourages people to churn out a 50,000-word book on deadline. But a hundred or so people are taking a very different approach to the challenge, writing computer programs that will write their texts for them. It’s called NaNoGenMo, for National Novel Generation Month, and the results are a strange, often funny look at what automatic text generation can do.
What the film Hunger Games says about racism:
A few days ago, Imran Siddiquee wrote in The Atlantic about “the topics dystopian films won’t touch”—namely, racism and sexism. Using films like The Giver, The Hunger Games, and Divergent, Siddiquee argues that today’s dystopian films are missing the opportunity to comment on the issues that really do face us today. I started writing this post yesterday, but as my Twitter feed scrolls past with #Ferguson, I’m more aware than ever that there are some vital critiques in Siddiquee’s argument, particularly about how casting choices in films like The Hunger Games do affect viewers both individually and socially. He never uses these terms exactly, but what he means, I believe, is that what we see on screen shapes how we imagine the world to be—and how we imagine the world can be. Can, for instance, an actor or actress who isn’t white (other than Denzel Washington or Will Smith) save the day in a tale of darkness?
Why a Texas A&M bonfire tradition that once killed twelve students has been reignited:
A blaze erupts in the eastern sky — daybreak comes hard and fast in Texas. A dozen pickup trucks are parked on the dirt of a clearing. A grove of post oak and cedar spreads in three directions. Beyond the woods is a ranch. In a chicken coop over there, something serious must be going down because the roosters are absolutely shrieking, like berserk warriors on the brink of an atrocity. In the beds of the pickups, blanketed forms shift. People are sleeping in there, have been since last night. They’re undergraduates from Texas A&M University, and between the sudden sunlight and the animal racket, they begrudgingly arise. They pull on coveralls and sharpen ax blades and pinch black plugs of dip into their gums. Soon the trees in this grove, a pocket of dusty vegetation 30 miles northwest of College Station, will be mostly gone, transfigured into a four-story tower, then torched. The back of one guy’s T-shirt says: “Build the Hell Out of Bonfire.”</p><p>If you’ve heard of this pyrotechnic Texas A&M tradition — at one time the most notorious ritual in all of college football — chances are it’s because you remember how its timber immensity, almost complete but not quite, buckled during a work shift in the wee hours of Nov. 18, 1999, and came crashing down in a terrifying cascade. Fifty-eight students, most between the ages of 17 and 21, were crawling all over the stack at the time, engaged in various duties. Twelve of them died, 27 were injured, their bodies crushed and twisted. Suddenly, for the worst of reasons, people around the country were aware of this Aggie tradition, which had evolved into such an institution that it had become a proper noun: Bonfire.
Some of the greatest catches in football history:
My short list of greatest catches is determined by the following formula: “degree of difficulty” plus “impact in the moment” multiplied by “the stakes of the game itself.” So Lynn Swann’s Super Bowl tip catch is way up there. Same for Santonio Holmes’s Super Bowl–winning catch, Franco Harris’s Immaculate Reception and the Tyree FML Helmet Catch. And the truth is, Tyree’s catch is probably your answer. He caught it off his helmet, fended off Rodney Harrison, somehow kept the ball from hitting the ground and single-handedly swung a Super Bowl. Oh, and he never caught another pass. So that’s a worthy candidate.
A poetry competition is the most popular radio show on Radio Cymru, the BBC’s Welsh-language radio service:
Imagine that the most popular show on your NPR radio station was a poetry competition, with local teams fighting to win a national trophy. Each poet’s given a subject and a meter, then invited to leave for twenty minutes to compose his or her offering. In the interval, the judge entertains the packed hall with anecdotes about poetry and examples of the participants’ past work from memory. The emphasis is on enjoyment and the laughter is often raucous. This is a description of the most-listened-to show now on Radio Cymru, the BBC’s Welsh-language radio service. The meters in which the poets are expected to compete make a villanelle look like free verse.
I had been in Indiana just two weeks, and had only met two classmates–one nice, the other a spitting image of Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Titanic” character, at an age where that was all you needed to be popular, and, simultaneously, have a license to be a real jackass to all of the girls that did not look Kate Winslet. If you wanted to meet anyone on a Friday night, they were at the football field. Since entertainment was hard to find on the outskirts of Indianapolis and the weather was nice, each Friday night was like a carnival with a football game situated right in the middle.
David A. Garner