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Interesting Links for 01-06-2014

Original post on Dreamwidth - there are comment count unavailable comments there.

20 out of 20 on 1980s children's TV. The image bottom right on the main page is Sentinel 1 from 'The Space Sentinels'.

I thought he looked a lot like ISAAC of Titan. I'll get my cape and cowl/

I have very vague memories of The Space Sentinels. I must have stumbled across it at some point!

Want to reduce unsightly facial blemishes? Reduce inequality.

So far as I understand, high levels of inequality are bad for health outcomes, economic growth, crime, and social cohesion. But not facial blemishes so far as I know.

Facial blemishes as much as mass murder. Some people are always ready to find an opportunity to promote their favorite panacea. (Though I agree with you about the actual results.)

Individual gun crime is a lot higher in places with high inequality than it is in places with low inequality, because places with low inequality don't cause the same levels of desperation and hopelessness, or the same culture of macho rebellion, which lead to them.

Which doesn't mean that _every_ episode of an idiot with a gun is down to it, or that you'd prevent any given episode by reducing it. But draining the swamp would certainly reduce the problem a lot.

You've pointed me to so much good stuff on Slate Star Codex, I've added it to my own blog list. Thank you.

(Deleted comment)
Thanks for the warning. A quick look didn't reveal anything awful, but I can go back to letting Andrew filter it if necessary.

Edited at 2014-06-01 05:47 pm (UTC)

The thing about trigger warnings is the huge potential for abuse.

My dad is a dean of literature. When he visited me recently he told me that in the last two years he's had an explosion of students comming to his office claiming to be "triggered" by stuff in his professors' classes and that as far as he can tell the vast majority are trying to get out of writing papers.

Examples he cited:

Greek Literature Class - Students claiming to be incest triggered by Oedipus Rex.

Course Entitled "Nabakov's Lolita" - Students claiming to be triggered by child molestation.

Course Entitled "20th Century Authors - Bret Easton Ellis" - Students claiming to be triggered by everything in the fucking world.

Course on Lewis Carrol - Pedophilia triggers.

Course on Grimm's Fairytales - Even more triggers than Brett Easton Ellis.

He went on with about a dozen other samples where it was blazingly obivous that anyone at a college level taking these elective courses should have had some idea that the material is not going to be completely vanilla - particularly in an age where students can easily Google every book in the syllabus.

He also noted that these complaints only seemed to come in right before midterm and final terms papers are due.

I have a friend who is a professor at NYU. This semester she taught a course called "Gothic Horror Films" and had students come in claiming they couldn't do final papers because they were triggered by "Rosemary's Baby", "The Last House On The Left" and "The Exorcist."

In all these cases my dad and my friend were like "What the fuck were these students thinking signing up for these courses if they are so sensitive."

Now, I can understand if a course was titled "Rainbows and Unicorns" and the professor decided to thrown Brony porn into the mix that there should be a warning on that - but, honestly, if you are an adult student trying to pick an elective course do some basic research - and, as my dad said, "anyone who doesn't have a clue that Oedipus might have incest in it probably doesn't belong in a university literature department to begin with."

Edited at 2014-06-01 12:14 pm (UTC)

Sounds like they need a policy on trigger warnings. You could mention content in the syllabus, and tell people that any issues must be flagged well in advance or they will be ignored.

I actually suggested this to my dad. His response was "where do you stop?"

I.e. once you start putting content warnings in the syllabus any warning you don't put in is something someone can bitch about - and have a stronger cases, i.e. "well you gave at trigger warning about incest, why the fuck didn't you give a trigger warning about (random thing.)" You'd get to the point eventually where there would be nothing in the syllabus but trigger warnings.

The truth is you'd be very, very hard pressed to find any work of literature in the 20th century that doesn't trigger something. Hell, just imagine the trigger warning list on The Lord Of The Rings, or Heinlein or Hunter Thompson.

Anyone who wants to study literature is going to run into some things that are incredibly unpleasant for them. And, you can't really study literature if you are going to exempt yourself from the unpleasantness. (Otherwise no fucking way would have let myself get assigned Madame Bovary twice - once in English, once in French.)

In which case a nice clear policy saying "Writing contains unpleasant shit, check the reading list before you sign up." should do it.

Yep. But I don't think that would fly with the trigger warning brigade.

Then you could just give babies a warning that 'life may be triggering', and call it a day.

Trigger warnings are extremely useful is "safe space" communities.

College is not such a community. I wish people understood that.

Yep. Classes are not supposed to be safe. They are supposed to kick your ass and wake you up.

Lots of books would lose a lot of their impact as well with trigger warnings. What makes Less Than Zero work is that it sucks you in at first into thinking "oh, these are just young party people" so, when, two thirds of the way through it suddenly becomes a total horror show it blows you off your feet.

If you were told that there was going to be snuff films, rape, forced gay prostitution, 12 year olds getting gang banged, etc... it wouldn't be anywhere near as haunting and you might miss Bret's overall point.

I don't think trigger warnings are *about* exempting yourself from unpleasantness really. Maybe if you said "I want to watch a film tonight, what's good" then, yes, you choose the un-challenging thing, 'cos you want some *light entertainment*! But if you chose to take a college literature course because you love literature then more likely you just want... some advanced warning. So you can pick your moment to read the book, so you can prepare yourself to face the trigger rather than having it flung at you.

Also my understanding of the US college experience is that people who want to study Really Difficult Mathematics are required to take a bunch of entirely unrelated-to-maths courses to get a degree - and maybe if actually you have *no interest at all* in literature, and would really rather *not* take a class that requires you to read Madame Bovary, when you could instead take something that won't trigger you.

To be fair, Madame Bovary is not triggering to me. It's just boring as all fuck. But you can't put a warning for that of nobody would ever read Finnegan's Wake again.

Most colleges require you to take a course called something like Great Books no matter what your major. In general that means you get Oedipus Rex, Romeo And Juliette, Frankenstein, Long Days Journey Into Night, The Old Man And The Sea and probably a random Norman Mailer or Tom Wolfe book (most likely Bonfire Of The Vanities),a random Dicken's novel and something by a black person (whatever one that professor happens to be into.) You might also get stuck with a random Dostoyevsky if your teacher is mean.

All those books are triggering in one way or another.

I feel that it is somewhat mean to force people to read those things in order to get a maths degree; especially if they are triggered by them.

Once again I am glad to have gone to university in the UK, and not (as some people suggested might be fun) gone to the US.

If you study literature they also force you to take a math class, which I found someone mean. I think the goal is they don't want their graduates to be complete idiots about anything and want to give them at least a little be of know-how about everything.

I like to think I'm not a complete idiot about literature, only most of one ;-p

Same with me and math. I can solve basic equations if given some time. Beyond that, no way.

Note: Rome Girl just showed me the Google results for Lewis Carroll if safe search is turned on and they are very vanilla, so I will concede the point that a trigger warning on a class on him might be valid. I can see how someone might only know the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland and have no clue about Carroll's weirdo hobbies.

19/20. The only cartoon that stopped me from nailing it was "Sport Billy". Not only did I not recognise it from the picture, I've never, ever heard of it before. Not even vague bells. Nothing. At all. Is it just me? Was this cartoon genuinely a thing at some time and I just missed it? Or is it a wildly obscure curveball they've chucked in to trip everyone up?

I've seen about 3 people saying the same thing on Facebook!

The psychological researcher in me is wondering if that was a test!

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