Elements of Typographic Style

May. 24th, 2017 09:00 am
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Posted by mark

Here’s a reader favorite from 2003. – MF

For a long while I’ve been looking for an expert who could guide me through the complex world of typography. I didn’t need another artsy typographical design book. I wanted a reliable friend who could introduce me to the philosophy of type and then also practically guide me through the jungle of fonts to ones that work best. Mr. Bringhurst is that guru. Under his apprentice I understood for the first time how to architecturally shape a page with text, as if I were building a house. I figured out when to kern, or not. Now I find myself drawn back to his study every time I need to craft a book, a webpage, or format a report. The wisdom and experience in this book is astounding. It’s for anyone who makes words visible. That’s all of us. The book is regularly updated. Blessings on Bringhurst.

-- KK

The Elements of Typographic Style: Version 4.0

Robert Bringhurst

2013, 382 pages

International Amazon link

Available from Amazon

Sample Excerpts:

Too little kerning is preferable to too much, and inconsistent kerning is worse than none.

Choose faces that will survive, and if possible, prosper, under the final printing conditions.

Bembo and Centaur, Spectrum and Palatino, are subtle and beautiful alphabets, but if you are setting 8 pt text with a laser printer on plain paper at 300 dpi, the refined forms of these faces will be rubbed into the coarse digital mud of the imaging process. If the final output will be 14 pt text set directly to film at 3000 dpi, then printed by good offset lithography on the best coated paper, every nuance may be crystal clear, but the result will still lack the character and texture of the letterpress medium for which these faces were designed.

Some for the most innocent looking faces are actually the most difficult to render by digital means. Optima, for example — an unserifed and apparently uncomplicated face — is constructed entirely of subtle tapers and curves that can be adequately rendered only at the highest resolutions.

Faces with blunt and substantial serifs, open counters, gentle modelling and minimal pretensions to aristocratic grace stand the best chance of surviving the indignities of low resolution. Amasis, Caecilia, Lucida, Stone and Utopia, for example, while they prosper at high resolutions, are faces that will also survive under cruder conditions lethal to Centaur, Spectrum, Linotype Didot or almost any version of Bodoni.

Start with a single typographic family

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Posted by Arshu John

On 4 May 2017, Mukul Rohatgi, the attorney general of India, told the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that the ancient Sanskrit phrase, “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”—the world is one family—was “reflected in the Indian tradition of openness and diversity; coexistence and cooperation.” Rohatgi was leading the Indian delegation at India’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR)—a process by which the UN takes stock of the human-rights record of its 193 member states. With broad strokes, Rohatgi painted a picture celebrating the Indian government’s ostensible commitment towards the “promotion and protection of human rights in all parts of the world.” A closer inspection of his rhetoric, however, reveals stark contradictions between the situation that Rohatgi presented, and both, the reality of the human-rights compliance in India, as well as statements that he has previously made as the highest law officer of the country.

That day, India, led by Rohatgi, presented its third UPR report before the UNHRC. The review, which the UNHRC initiated in 2008, takes place once every four years. It is conducted by the UPR Working Group, which consists of all 47 countries that comprise the UNHRC, although any UN member state can participate during the review. The review is based on a report submitted by a national government, declaring the efforts it has made to meet its human-rights obligations along with reports that are submitted by other organisations and stakeholders. These include reports by human-rights treaty bodies—which monitor the implementation of international human-rights agreements—the country’s national human-rights institution, and civil-society organisations. (Disclosure: The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, where both of us are presently working as programme officers, was a member of a civil-society coalition called the Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN, which submitted a report on India’s human-rights record to the UNHRC.)

These reports and the questions raised in advance by members of the UNHRC set the stage for Rohatgi’s presentation of India’s human-rights record. He presented India’s commitment to and fulfilment of its human-rights obligations on a plethora of issues. These included, among others, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, and the repeated instances of custodial violence and sexual assault. Rohatgi’s speech was doublespeak: his claims before the UNHRC contradicted his submissions in India, and the omission of the human-rights violations in the country was conspicuous. Below is a list of five claims that Rohatgi made, and the inconsistencies or inaccuracies from which they suffer.

Free speech and civil society

Rohatgi began his submissions by attributing India’s continuing “endeavours towards observance of human rights” to, among other reasons, its “free and vibrant media” and “vocal civil society.” Yet, both national and state governments have been guilty of silencing those voices.

Through colonial laws, such as the provisions on sedition and criminal defamation in the Indian Penal Code, the governments have acted to stifle political dissent and curb speech that do not align with its views. There are several instances of both central and state governments using these laws—which are vaguely worded and provide a sweeping ambit—in this manner from the year preceding the review itself. According to a report published on the news website The Hoot, 11 cases of sedition and 27 cases of defamation were filed in the first quarter of 2016. These include the arrests of student leaders of the Jawaharlal Nehru University in February 2016 for allegedly seditious speeches—for which a chargesheet is yet to be filed—during a protest against the execution of Mohammad Afzal, who was convicted for his alleged role in the terrorist attack against the Parliament in December 2001. In September 2016, Khurram Parvez, a Kashmiri human-rights activist was prevented from attending an UNHRC meeting and then arrested from Srinagar under the Public Safety Act. (He was released 76 days later, after the state’s high court quashed his detention as illegal and an abuse of power.)

The government’s use of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) is a strong indicator of its clamp down on civil society organisations. According to its website, the FCRA regulates the inflow of foreign contributions to an individual, association or company and prohibits the acceptance of such a contribution if it is “detrimental to national interest.” Using its discretionary powers to freeze resources, the central government has prevented or hindered the work of civil-society organisations, especially those that are headed by individuals who have previously challenged the government or the ruling party. A few examples of the organisations that the government has pulled up include the non-governmental organisations Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace, both of which work with survivors of the Gujarat riots of 2002 and are headed by Teesta Setalvad, a lawyer and activist who is a vocal critic of the Modi government; and Lawyers Collective, a legal-activism organisation headed by senior advocates Indira Jaising and Anand Grover.

In fact, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of assembly and association, in his report, which was submitted to the central government in April 2016, heavily criticised India’s FCRA laws for contravening international law and the country’s human-rights obligations. The report stated that the provisions under the FCRA, which restrict foreign funding on grounds such as “economic interest of the State” and “public interest,” created an “unacceptable risk that the law could be used to silence any association involved in advocating political, economic, social, environmental or cultural priorities which differ from those espoused by the government of the day.” More than ten countries at the UPR recommended that India should amend its FCRA provisions to allow civil society organisations to function independently. By denying access to foreign funds for non-governmental organisations, the government thwarts the efforts by the civil society to hold it accountable and work for the marginalised and disadvantaged people of the country.

Secularism and protection of minority communities

Rohatgi reiterated the government’s motto—“Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” (All Together and Development for All)—at the UPR. The attorney-general also unequivocally stated that “India is a secular state with no state religion” and that “safeguarding the rights of minorities forms an essential core of our polity.”

However, recent incidents of violence and vigilantism affirm a rather different reality. This was reinforced by the fact that as many as 13 different countries intervened to question Rohatgi on this issue of protection of minorities. In 2015, Mohammad Akhlaq, a 50-year-old Muslim man, was beaten to death by a mob in Dadri, in Uttar Pradesh, over the suspicion that he had stored beef in his house. Since then, there have been numerous instances of self-styled cow-protection activists attacking people, especially Muslims and Dalits. This includes an incident in July 2016, when four Dalit men were violently beaten in Una, a town in Gujarat, for skinning a dead cow. Both the Dadri and Una incidents were condemned widely across the country, but did not reduce the increasing prevalence of these type of attacks. The threats to minority communities are not limited to the emergence of the cow-protection movement in India. In March 2016, a mob allegedly attacked a church in Raipur, in Chhattisgarh, fearing religious conversion and shouting slogans of “Jai Shree Rama!” On 5 May 2017, the day after Rohatgi’s speech, around 1,000 dominant-caste Thakurs in Shabbirpur village in Uttar Pradesh, assisted by police officers, allegedly attacked a Dalit neighbourhood in the village and set 25 houses on fire.

To add weight to his claims at the UPR, Rohatgi also added that “some of India’s most famous institutions of academic excellence are minority institutions.” Back home, he has argued otherwise. In 2016, Rohatgi withdrew an appeal against an Allahabad High Court decision, which held that the Aligarh Muslim University is a non-minority institution. The appeal had been filed by the previous government led by the Congress party. In April 2016, he stated before the Supreme Court that “the previous stand was wrong” and that he was “distancing” himself from AMU. He said that he “changed my mind two months ago” and submitted before the court that “AMU is not a minority university.”

Torture and custodial violence

In India’s previous UPR in 2012, the most frequent recommendation made to India was for it to ratify the Convention against Torture. Since then, the National Crime Records Bureau recorded more than 300 cases of deaths in police custody. In 2015, the NCRB data noted 97 custodial deaths, including six caused to due to physical assault by police. More than two-thirds of these deaths occurred when the police acted on its own, without judicial custody. The NCRB data, however, records only 94 instances of human-rights violations by the police in 2015. Of these, 12 were dismissed as false cases. Among the remaining 82 cases, charge sheets were filed against only 34 of these complaints. Not a single case resulted in a conviction.

This did not prevent Rohatgi from claiming that the “the concept of torture is completely alien to our culture and it has no place in the governance of the nation.” Less than a month before the UPR, Rohatgi defended an army officer in Kashmir who had tied Farooq Dar, a civilian, to a military jeep’s bonnet, as a human shield. Rohatgi stated that the officer “did a smart thing and defused a nasty situation,” and that “the army should be applauded.” On 22 May 2017, Major Nitin Leetul Gogoi, the major who made the decision to use a human shield, was awarded with a Chief of Army Staff’s commendation card for “sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations.”

The absurdity of Rohatgi’s statement before the UNHRC was not lost on the international community either. Thirty-six countries raised the issue of torture during India’s UPR session, urging the government to ratify the UN Convention against Torture by enacting the Prevention of Torture Bill that has been pending before the parliament since 2010.

Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act

Till July 2016, the Indian armed forces could operate with an impunity conferred upon them by the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, or AFSPA. Among other provisions permitting an excessive use of force, the act allows all armed forces personnel the authority to shoot to kill based on the mere suspicion that it is necessary to do so in order to maintain public order. The act was in operation in Jammu and Kashmir and six north-eastern states. In 2012, the families of the victims of alleged fake encounters conducted by the armed forces in Manipur filed a petition before the Supreme Court, seeking an investigation into 1,528 cases of these allegedly fake encounters. Four years later, the court passed an interim order in the petition that effectively removed the impunity granted under the act.

In Geneva, the human-rights violations arising out of the operation of the act continued as a matter of discussion from the previous UPR as well as in the questions raised in the present one. Rohatgi sought to dispel the concerns about the operation of the act referring to the Supreme Court’s July 2016 order, stating that it had upheld its constitutionality and “laid down strict guidelines.” He added that the guidelines prevented the use of “excessive force” and stipulated that the act did not confer “blanket immunity for perpetrators of unjustified deaths or offences.” Rohatgi sought to justify the continuing operation of the act stating that the question of its repeal was “a matter of on-going vibrant political debate in my country.”

At one end of the spectrum of this debate, seeking additional protection for the armed forces under the law, is the attorney general himself. On 12 April 2017, Rohatgi, while arguing a curative petition—the last available option for reviewing a Supreme Court order—against the July order, stated that the army’s actions “cannot be dissected later on like an ordinary murder appeal” and that the “actions taken by the Army during operations cannot be put to judicial scrutiny.” On 27 April 2017, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition.

Violence against women

Rohatgi spoke of the Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Act 2017 and the government’s initiatives such as the “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” campaign, which aims to prevent sex-selective abortions and promote education of girls, as an indicator of India’s progress in women empowerment. He also stated that India had “enacted a range of laws to address sexual assault and other gender based crimes.” However, his speech failed to acknowledge that on the issue sexual assault and violence against women, vast gaps remain between the legal framework and ground realities. His failure to adequately address these concerns was glaring, considering it was one of the issues most frequently raised by other nations during India’s UPR.

A 2014 study titled, Crime Victimisation and Safety Perception, conducted by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative—an international non-governmental organisation working towards the realisation of human-rights in the commonwealth countries—in Delhi and Mumbai, revealed that of the 125 cases of sexual harassment recorded in the study, only 11 were reported to the police, and not a single FIR was registered. This is despite the provision of section 166A of the Indian Penal Code, which mandates that the non-registration of crimes against women is a punishable offence.

Eleven countries recommended that the government move to criminalise marital rape, which continues to not be a crime in the country. According to Dilaasa, a crisis counselling centre designed specifically to respond to the needs of women facing violence within their homes and families in Mumbai, 60 percent of married women that approached them report sexual violence, with forced sex being its most common form.

A discernible pattern is emerging from India’s previous two reviews before the UNHRC, of a defensive approach. This was evident in the previous edition of the UPR in 2012, when India sent Goolam Vahanvati, the former attorney general, to present its report. Since then, the government’s position seems to be shifting towards denial, by not acknowledging the existing human-rights crises in India. Moreover, India’s decision to send its attorney general, which seems indicative of a  defensive position, belies the notion of the UPR as an exercise in dialogue and constructive political engagement. It was telling that two days before presenting India’s report before the UNHRC, Rohatgi stated before the Supreme Court that “one cannot have an absolute right over his or her body.” Indeed, after hearing Rohatgi at the UPR, one is tempted to live in the country that he described. But for that country to be India, the government needs to take its human-rights obligations as sincerely as Rohatgi claimed it does before the UNHRC.

The post Fact Check: Mukul Rohatgi’s Speech on India’s Human-Rights Record Before the UN Human Rights Council appeared first on The Caravan.

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Posted by Catherine Rockwood

The contents of Juan Martinez’s remarkable debut story collection, Best Worst American, vary widely in length but their ambition and craft remain consistent. While certainly fascinated by the United States as a subject, these works are also deeply responsive to the literature and landscapes of South America, and draw on international currents of magic realism and slipstream. Some are very funny, but you don’t derive laughs from a Martinez story without a concomitant invitation to think about what you’re laughing at. The laughter of this collection is both heartfelt and rueful, empathetic and dispassionate.

For instance, in the very short story “Forsaken, the Crew Awaited News from the People Below,” the bewilderment of the mysteriously shrinking crew is comical, but their situation is probably not. A few of them are in the process of surviving an obscure lower-deck disaster on their ship. The nature of the disaster is never identified, its victims are never recovered or even declared dead. But, once it’s over, the ship is turned posthaste into a tourist stop. For a fee, Martinez tells us, you can have your picture taken there, with one ear pressed to a communication device that may still speak to those entombed—or existing in a permanent state of bewilderment—below.

Most, when photographed, lean into the device, ears against the auricular. “Hello?” they say in jest. If the crew and authorities are still down there, and the device is functioning from their end, that’s all they hear: Hello, hello, hello. Hello, anybody there? Hello? (p. 184)

It’s a joke, it’s not a joke; it’s a tragic and alarming predicament, except maybe it’s only weird or frustrating or sad. The mood of many entries in Best Worst American can be described as peri-apocalyptic, or apocalyptic-ish. The collection veers from recent hyper-serious dystopian trends in genre fiction (one story is wryly titled “After the End of the World: A Capsule Review”), and works throughout to destabilize the idea of a definitive End-Times scenario. It turns its attention rather to the forms of solace, companionship, and entertainment we eke out around termini of many kinds. In “Errands,” Rosalie—aged, at a guess, between eight and twelve—inhabits a future shaped by what appears to be a cataclysmic global corporate takeover. She’s lost her parents in a synthetic forest, but it’s OK: she still talks to them sometimes. Best of all, she has her own apartment, and the benign attention of two neighboring women she runs errands for. Maybe she’ll marry one of them someday. For now, though, at home in her own space, she enjoys “a lonely sort of happiness, or a happy sort of loneliness” (p. 119). Anything we’d recognize as “nature” doesn’t really seem to exist anymore—trees are planted streetlights, “suicidal and nutritious” birds migrate “from nowhere to nowhere” (p. 113). But that’s not bothering Rosalie much. She knows what her human-made consolations are, and accesses them unapologetically. This might be the end of the world as we know it, but it’s hardly the end of the world … The story “Domokun in Fremont” focuses on a different kind of rupture, and a similar kind of pragmatic resourcefulness in its young female protagonist. Seven-year-old Iberia Sampang is catastrophically lost in Las Vegas with her two younger siblings. Her only source of moral support is a stuffed Domokun toy. The children have wandered from the anti-abortion protest their father is running, smack into the Babylonian welter of Fremont Street: “Ground Zero for sin,” they’ve been told (p. 40). The reader is immediately worried about them for all sorts of reasons, not least the fact that their family clearly believes the seventh seal is about to be cracked at any minute. But Iberia and her irrepressible stuffie prove equal to the task of finding help in unlikely places and even, it may be, of recruiting badly down-at-heels supernatural guides. By the end of the story—with the children restored to a safe pickup location—we feel relatively confident that Iberia will not lose herself in the quasi-infernal world she’s being raised in by her religiously conservative parents. She may even, someday, be able to find a path through the manufactured disorientations of the world at large. “[Iberia] watches her dad’s signs … swaying against the lights and the giant television screen. No one else seems to be watching them … She sits, her siblings with her, feeling very safe and very uneasy” (p. 45).

“Very safe and very uneasy” is a good way to sum up the state-of-being of many of Martinez’s characters. Self-possessed, optimistic girls like Rosalie and Iberia can filter out things in their environment that might make wobblier grownups lie down on the pavement and weep. Still, even Rosalies and Iberias have nervous moments. Grownups should be uneasy if they’re in (or reading) Best Worst American, because the action of a Martinez story involves dealing with weird peripheral phenomena, and some are scary as hell. Like—it’s always possible that you, yes, you, might just disappear. But until that happens you’re … safe?

Throughout the collection, Martinez takes up the matter of imminent loss, of sudden irrevocable absence. Sometimes disappearances are given an absurdist treatment, sometimes narrated straight on, and sometimes they are examined for the intimations of freedom they contain. To disappear from one story is, after all, to engage the possibility of becoming present in a different story, maybe your own this time. Martinez holds the doors of these works open for his characters, inviting them to come and go, and many prefer the latter. Not even ghosts stick around for long in Best Worst American and, good Lord, we all know what ghosts are supposed to do: haunt. Recur. Refuse to leave. But in Martinez’s telling they exit in pursuit of their own afterlives, even when you want them to stay. As the narrator of “The Spooky Japanese Girl is There for You” says, of a vanished supernatural visitor: “She’s gone, you miss her, but ghosts move on: They can’t hang around all day” (p. 148).

It’s hilarious, it’s also serious. Here, and elsewhere, Martinez suggests that a defining measure of our own maturity and intentional kindness is the ability to accept someone’s decision to leave us. To respect their choice even if we don’t—as in the case of a ghost!—have full access to their reasons. In my favorite story in the collection, “Well Tended,” the male teenage narrator’s tale of a summer spent caring for an apartment full of gossipy, sentient plants depends, for its beautiful weird build, on the image of a woman’s departure. “You,” he thinks of her, understanding the need to forget her soon, believing wholly in her separate life: “you with your red hair and brown shoulders out in Tampa or Pensacola, driving down I-95 with the palms and the scrub and the lakes all whipping past your driver’s-side window like they’ve got somewhere they need to be right away …” (p. 61). This driver in motion, in a world in motion, is the plants’ owner. She has abandoned them to the narrator’s keeping, and abandoned him to the decent, unrequited crush he is in the business of working through. Will she come back? No. But she and her plants have taught him something about desirable, autonomous Others, and how to flourish in contact with them. The lesson is predicated on both disappearance and a near-religious faith in the separate true existence of every living thing.

By the end of the book, Martinez has turned the theme of sudden absence into a gateway to everything from childhood fears of alien abduction (“Souvenirs from Ganymede,” originally published as creative nonfiction), to the tricky emotional work involved in letting go of former lovers and idealized unattainable beloveds. When he is working in a mode closer to horror, it also provides access to the routine pall of fear in a country where violent kidnappings are part of regular life. He explores this mood and set of conditions in a stunning story set in Colombia, “The Coca-Cola Executive in the Zapatoca Outhouse.” He brings that horror to America in the collection’s first entry, “Roadblock”: an affectionate, razor-sharp tale of family dysfunction, sanctuary, and pyrokinesis.

Martinez is originally from Colombia, and there’s something that presses hard on the author’s art in one protagonist’s description of day-to-day existence in that country. “In Colombia you went your way and lived your life—played your golf, raised your family—until something terrible happened to you or to someone you knew” (p. 89). Very safe and very uneasy. An author as skillful, playful, generous, and unsparing as Martinez can get to a lot of fascinating places from that departure-point. His mode of travel is sometimes frightening but, believe me, you want to go with him.

Frescos Cantina? Opening on 31st Ave

May. 24th, 2017 03:57 am
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Posted by /u/Br1zzzle

Anybody know when this place is opening? Looked pretty functional walking by today. Had a TV going and looked ready to go. They put up a sign recently within the last few days as well. This is down past 14th street (more near the next street 12th) on 31st Ave.

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We Refreshed Our Website

May. 23rd, 2017 09:02 pm
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Posted by mark

If you read Cool Tools via RSS (which is the way Kevin and I read blogs) then you probably don’t realize we updated our website design today. We took your feedback seriously and tried our best to simplify the design and make it more legible.

I’m sure we got some things wrong. If you find a mistake or have suggestions about our current iteration, please let us know in the comments.

Thanks for reading Cool Tools and being part of the community.

If I’ve still got your attention, I’d like to remind you that Cool Tools runs reviews written by our readers. Please recommend a tool you love.

-- MF

Is the Great Barrier Reef dead?

May. 23rd, 2017 08:21 pm
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Posted by Jason Kottke

Due to the unprecedented bleaching events over the past few years, the Great Barrier Reef has been eulogized extensively in the media. But it’s not actually dead. Yet. In this video for Vox, Joss Fong explains how corals form, bleach, and die and how our response to climate change might be the only thing that can save the Great Barrier Reef and the world’s other coral reefs from death.

Tags: global warming   Joss Fong   science   video

Making the Exciting Mail Run: Tuesday

May. 23rd, 2017 08:56 pm
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Posted by carla

It’s a furlong round-trip to the mailbox. I like to think in furlongs because race horses. So I trundle down the hill and across the swale and open the box, and lo! Inside rests a package. Happy day! Even though I ordered and paid for it. But it still feels like a visit from Santa.

grassy tree-covered lane

What’s inside the package? This is my big daily decision: open it here, or exercise iron self-discipline and wait until I return to the house.

Oh who am I kidding, what self-discipline? Anyway I already know because I am my own Santa. Yay, athlete’s foot cream! \o/

I wonder what enchantments tomorrow will bring? Nasal spray? Cheap mail order reading glasses? One of those long grabbers so I don’t have to bend over to pick things up? A world of delights at my fingertips.

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Posted by Pavani Yalamanchili

Shebani Rao’s delightful illustrations add joy to your life in unexpected ways. See, for example, her coloring book visualizing the upbeat tunes and lyrics of Chance the Rapper’s Grammy-nominated Coloring Book,[...]

The post Illustrator Shebani Rao Shares ‘Eight Things Only ’90s Desi-American Kids Will Understand’ appeared first on The Aerogram.


May. 23rd, 2017 06:48 pm
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Posted by Mary Anne Mohanraj

A brief diversity thought — when I set up the SLF workshop, I didn’t put in an explicit diversity statement, mostly due to oversight on my part. But I’ve been pleased to note that with the workshop half-full, we already have good representation from women and POC.

I don’t know if that’s pure chance, or influenced by my running the workshop, or due to it being in a relatively urban area, or affected by our offering student rates and need-based aid. Or maybe some other factors I’m not thinking of.

It’s sometimes not so easy, creating a diverse arts space (see various essays in WisCon Chronicles 9, which I edited, addressing that issue), and I’m glad it’s shaking out this way fairly naturally. It’s only thirteen people, so it’s not a huge signifier one way or the other. But still.

Going forward, I plan to add a diversity statement, encouraging applications from people from marginalized groups (class, disability, age, etc.).

My WisCon 41 Schedule

May. 23rd, 2017 06:22 pm
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Posted by Tempest

I’ll be at WisCon this weekend, just as I am every year. EVERY YEAR. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you want to find me, here’s my schedule:

Stop, Collaborate and Listen | Fri, 4:00–5:15 pm Conference 2

Amal El-Mohtar has a history of collaborating with likeminded souls, from editing a poetry zine to performing with a troupe of writer/musicians to co-writing fiction and beyond. How is it possible to discover fellow travelers and co conspirators across space and time(zones)? What are the benefits of such long distance collaborations, and how do different kinds of collaborative projects come together?

Julia Starkey, K. Tempest Bradford, Amal El-Mohtar, C. S. E. Cooney , Max Gladstone

Social Media in 2017 | Sat, 10:30–11:45 pm University C

LiveJournal is now hosted in Russia and doesn’t support HTTPS. Facebook is infected with fake news and trolls (not to mention giving us only random access to what friends have to say). Twitter keeps adding features we don’t want and allowing trolls to flourish. What’s worth using? Is there any way to change the social media landscape?

Rachel Kronick, K. Tempest Bradford, Emma Humphries, Sunny Moraine

How Lazy Writing Recreates Oppression | Sun, 10:00–11:15 am Capitol A

Themes of colonialism and racial oppression are extremely popular in the genre of science fiction. Authors of sci-fi often use the tropes of the genre to explore real issues in the world, however, colonialism and oppression is only alluded to in the fictional elements and not in the elements of the story based in the real world. Practices like color-blind casting are not only lazy but uphold white-default characterizations, stereotypes of marginalized people, and damage the spirit of real diversity and inclusion. On this panel, we will discuss stories like Doctor Strange, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Doctor Who and Star Wars, and how these stories fall short and recreate oppression in their stories through lazy writing, as well as what writers need to be aware of when writing.

Mark Oshiro, K. Tempest Bradford, Nicasio Reed

Reading: Looking for Trouble | Sun, 1:00–2:15 pm Michelangelos

I will be reading from my story The Copper Scarab, which will be just out in Clockwork Cairo!

K. Tempest Bradford, Eileen Gunn, Pat Murphy, Nisi Shawl

Steven Universe and Consent | Sun, 2:30–3:45 pm Caucus

Rebecca Sugar, creator of Steven Universe, said the following at San Diego Comic-Con: “It’s very important to me that we speak to kids about consent. That we speak to kids about identity. There’s so much I have to say about this. I want to feel like I exist and I want everyone else who wants to feel that way to feel that way too.” Let’s talk about how the show deals with issues of consent, especially in regards to its use of SF ideas like mind-sharing, body-swapping, and fusion. What can we learn from SU about how to (or how NOT to) discuss consent in SF texts? What history is there of discussing consent explicitly in SF, and how does SU  connect to it or fail to connect to it? And, going back to Sugar’s comments: how does consent relate directly to identity on SU?

Ty Blauersouth, K. Tempest Bradford, Seth Frost, thingswithwings, JP Fairfield, Jo Vanderhooft

Decentering Whiteness in Fandom | Sun, 10:00–11:15 pm University C

A more in-depth look at how whiteness is always the focus in fandom, fan works in particular. How POC characters are forgotten, written out, killed off by fandom so their white faves who do no more than glance at each other can be together in fanon bliss. How do we de-center the narratives built around minor white characters and problematic faves versus existing POC characters? A hard topic and not for those who think this doesn’t happen.

Tanya D., K. Tempest Bradford, Mark Oshiro


A.M. Matte

May. 23rd, 2017 05:53 pm
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Posted by admin

Award-winning writer A.M. Matte was first published at the age of 11, and was a produced playwright by the age of 12. Recent publications include short stories in literary magazines Virages and Ancrages and collections Where Pigeons Roost and other stories and Ce que l’on divulgue. A.M. Matte is currently working on a play, a novel and a musical, with the support of grants from the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. www.ammatte.ca

Jude-Marie Green

May. 23rd, 2017 05:50 pm
[syndicated profile] luna_station_mag_feed

Posted by admin

Jude-Marie Green is a writer of genre (science fiction & fantasy, plus the occasional horror) fiction.  She lives in Southern California amid palm trees, orange trees, avocado trees, roses, and birds.  Lots of birds.

She is a fan of long standing.  Her first convention was in 1977 at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott.  She attends many conventions, including NorWesCon in Seattle where she is frequently a panelist and professional author as part of the Fairwood Writers Workshop.

A few years ago a friend challenged her to write a short story.  She thought, “I can do that!”  Twenty six revisions later, that story still hasn’t sold, but she is a much better writer.  And has sold many other stories to online and print publications.

[syndicated profile] kottke_org_feed

Posted by Jason Kottke

Flat-Earthers aside, people have known that the Earth is round since at least the 3rd century BC. This quick video explores a few of the ways we know the world is spherical, some of them quite simple to recreate as experiments. See also Top 10 Ways to Know the Earth is Not Flat.

(5) Seeing Farther from Higher

Standing in a flat plateau, you look ahead of you towards the horizon. You strain your eyes, then take out your favorite binoculars and stare through them, as far as your eyes (with the help of the binocular lenses) can see.

Then, you climb up the closest tree — the higher the better, just be careful not to drop those binoculars and break their lenses. You then look again, strain your eyes, stare through the binoculars out to the horizon.

The higher up you are the farther you will see. Usually, we tend to relate this to Earthly obstacles, like the fact we have houses or other trees obstructing our vision on the ground, and climbing upwards we have a clear view, but that’s not the true reason. Even if you would have a completely clear plateau with no obstacles between you and the horizon, you would see much farther from greater height than you would on the ground.

This phenomena is caused by the curvature of the Earth as well, and would not happen if the Earth was flat.

Tags: Earth   pseudoscience   science   video
[syndicated profile] astoriapost_feed

Posted by admin

May 23, By Jason Cohen

A new 5-story apartment building with a rooftop lounge and party room will open above the former C-Town supermarket this fall in Astoria.

The building, called “Astor Broadway,” is located on the corner of Broadway and 29th Street.

The complex will consist of 64 studio-one-and-two bedroom apartments, a laundry room, a furnished courtyard, a fitness center, recreation areas, terraces on the top three floors and 32 underground parking spaces, according to Citi Habitats, the leasing agent for the building

“It’s not a generic building that you see throughout New York City,” said Dave Maundrell, who works at Citi Habitats and is in charge of leasing the building. “The sense of style and the cool hip place invites people to come home.”

Maundrell said construction is expected to wrap up by the end of summer. People will be able to start applying for the apartments in July or August, Maundrell added, although he noted that rental prices have yet to be set.

A Food Emporium will replace the former C-Town on the first floor, which closed in 2015. The new store will be run by the same family that operated the C-Town. There are also two other retail spaces available on the first floor, which Citi Habitat looking to find retail tenants.


Safety deposit boxes in Astoria?

May. 23rd, 2017 03:32 pm
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Posted by /u/astoria3jane

I'm trying to find somewhere in the neighborhood that offers a safety deposit box for not too much money, and I'm hoping to get some advice on that from the hive mind. I'm a Chase customer, so I started there, but the 30th Ave branch has none available and the Ditmars branch has a 4-page waiting list. Astoria Bank on 30th Ave can give me one for $40/year if I open up a checking account and put $250 in it. I'd rather not if I don't have to, though... so I was curious to know if anyone else knows of a place that has them or has any tips. Thank you!

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[syndicated profile] kottke_org_feed

Posted by Jason Kottke

New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu recently gave a speech about why the city chose to remove four Confederate monuments. Here’s a snippet from the transcript…it’s worth reading or watching in full.

The historic record is clear: the Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and P.G.T. Beauregard statues were not erected just to honor these men, but as part of the movement which became known as The Cult of the Lost Cause. This ‘cult’ had one goal — through monuments and through other means — to rewrite history to hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity.

First erected over 166 years after the founding of our city and 19 years after the end of the Civil War, the monuments that we took down were meant to rebrand the history of our city and the ideals of a defeated Confederacy.

It is self-evident that these men did not fight for the United States of America, They fought against it. They may have been warriors, but in this cause they were not patriots.

These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for.

After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city.

The presence of the monuments became something that was impossible for Landrieu and the city to ignore for any longer:

Another friend asked me to consider these four monuments from the perspective of an African American mother or father trying to explain to their fifth grade daughter who Robert E. Lee is and why he stands atop of our beautiful city. Can you do it?

Can you look into that young girl’s eyes and convince her that Robert E. Lee is there to encourage her? Do you think she will feel inspired and hopeful by that story? Do these monuments help her see a future with limitless potential? Have you ever thought that if her potential is limited, yours and mine are too?

Tags: Civil War   Mitch Landrieu   New Orleans   racism   war

The Noose Tightens in Brazil

May. 23rd, 2017 02:32 pm
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Posted by Sean Keeley

Brazilian President Michel Temer is still standing his ground after last week’s bombshell bribery revelation, but the pressure is mounting, and the momentum for his economic reform drive is stalling. FT

Blindsided by a scandal in which an executive of Brazilian meatpacker, JBS, secretly taped a conversation that showed the president allegedly endorsed bribe paying, Mr Temer is burnishing his reformist credentials amid growing calls for his impeachment.

“Brazil will not go off the rails,” he said during an address in which he rejected the allegations and claimed the tape had been doctored. “We are completing the reforms to modernise the Brazilian state. My government is going in the right direction.” […]

In a signal that he is digging in for a protracted fight, Mr Temer told newspaper Folha de S. Paulo that he would not resign even if he was indicted.

But if Mr Temer was forced to resign or was impeached, congress would choose a stopgap president to serve out the rest of the current term, which ends in 2018. Many are calling for snap elections but this would require difficult constitutional changes.

To lose one President to a corruption scandal may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose two in a row begins to look like carelessness.

The leadership crisis is both an internal problem for Brazil—where important reforms to its destructive pension system may well fail thanks to the latest Presidential scandal—as well as an international issue. As Venezuela edges toward a total breakdown with the potential of civil unrest and even civil war, a strong and calm Brazilian presence on the scene could help resolve things while keeping the U.S. in the background. That would be good for everyone. But a divided Brazil, turning inward and dealing with yet another outbreak of scandal, cannot play that role.

On the other hand, if the Lava Jato (Car Wash) scandal has shown us anything, it is that the political class in Brazil is rotten to the core, and that more and more Brazilians are sick of it. Inconvenient as it may be, it’s important that Brazil continue to hammer away at the corruption of its government, parties, and state-aligned companies.


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