things i read #1

Sometimes I read something really good online and I just wanna save it somewhere. This is that stuff. Split into categories for easier browsing! (Category names intentionally vague/sometimes inaccurate.)

Tech Culture

The Internet’s Original Sin, Ethan Zuckerman for The Atlantic: So this article is all about why so many websites are funded by ads, but it touches on a bunch of things I’ve thought about including: social media content as free labor, Facebook’s real names policy, surveillance online, the cultural value of big data, Ted Nelson’s Xanadu, etc.

It’s Not You, It’s The System, Janani Balasubramanian for Model View Culture: “Perhaps it’s difficult for designers with race and class privilege in particular to see this because if a system is working for you, then the immediate next inference becomes that it’s just not working for other people because of a few simple and fixable design flaws. That is simply not the case. Poverty and racism are working as they were designed. You can’t fix them because they’re not broken.” Yes exactly.

Feminist Sexual Health App Screet is Getting a Queer Reboot, interview with Creatrix Tiara on Autostraddle: 1. Screet sounds really cool?? 2. Feminist/app developer Creatrix Tiara had a lot of really insightful things to say about the pitfalls of startup culture, and many of them rang true for me as someone who is just entering that culture.

Data

How To Tell Someone’s Age When All You Know Is Her Name, Nate Silver & Alison McCann for FiveThirtyEight: What a delightful use of my somewhat-begrudgingly-acquired statistics knowledge!

Explaining public-key cryptography to non-geeks, by Panayotis Vryonis for Medium: A whopper of a title but I promise it’s very interesting.

Feminism/Theory

ILU-486 by Amanda Ching: A short story about a guerrilla contraception network that develops in an alternate future (…let’s hope) in which the Personhood Act has outlawed contraception and abortion. I read it all in one go.

Against Students, Sarah Ahmed for The New Inquiry: “The real purpose of [safe spaces] is to enable conversations about difficult issues to happen. So often those conversations do not happen because the difficulties people wish to talk about end up being re-enacted within discussion spaces, which is how they are not talked about…We have safe spaces so we can talk about racism, not so we can avoid talking about racism!” Very very relevant to the activism that has been happening on OU’s campus during the past semester. Safe spaces are not segregation. Basic respect is not censorship. Etc. I will post more about that activism in the future but for now–please read this.

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