Links: Monday, August 25th

August 25, 2014 Links 4

Today’s Links:

  • The Outlander Drinking Game – If you’ve read Outlander, you need to read this. It nails the book perfectly (to a table).

    Whether you’re reading the Outlander series for the first time or re-reading with the new TV show, we invite you to play along with us as we journey through the books’ best tropes and cliches. Grab a book (any of them, though especially the first three) and a drink — perhaps some whiskey the color of Claire’s eyes or just some restorative willowbark tea — and play along. There will be a bonus round for viewers of the Starz show.

    Take a drink every time…

    1. Claire gets a new dress because the one she’s wearing is ruined. Bonus drink if it’s borrowed and her breasts BARELY fit into it.
    2. Claire insists she really did love Frank even though, yeah, OK.
    3. Frank acts like a monster.
    4. Author finds a nice vocabulary word and repeats it conspicuously within 50 pages.
    5. Nipples.
    6. Multi-page internal monologue.

  • More on Women’s Fiction – This book review had some interesting things to say about what defines women’s fiction.

    But my feeling is that this is also called ‘women’s fiction’ because it takes a broad and multi-generational view in order to find resolution, closure and contentment, in other words, a happy ending. I was very struck once by a survey I read about that sought to identify gender difference at the level of fantasy. A group of people were given the start of a story – two trapeze artists in a circus tent are performing a routine when they fail to catch hands and one starts to fall. Apparently there was a distinct difference in the story conclusions they received. The men mostly chose an apocalyptic ending – death, disaster, even the tent going up in flames. The women mostly managed some sort of imaginative contortion to ensure the dropped artist was saved. The book that contained the survey dated from the 80s or 90s, and it may be that cultural attitudes have changed since then and the gender gap is less pronounced, but it was an intriguing finding. I would definitely have saved the trapeze artist in my own imagination, but I don’t always want a happy ending to the novels I read. So it seems to me that the whole idea of ‘women’s’ fiction rests on a narrow cultural view of women that emphasises their nurturing, tender and romantic nature – a nature that is both idealised and scorned in society, but which is definitely catered to commercially.

  • Hear the People Sing: African-American Les Misérables Stars Break Down Broadway Barriers – I’m not a fan of musical theater (like, at all) but any news of filling major roles traditionally played by white performers with black performers sounds like good news.

    Scatliffe, making his Broadway debut as the charismatic Enjolras, did a double take when he was called in for this new production. “When my agents told me that I got the auditions, I had this moment where my mind was going, ‘Are you sure about this?’ because the character isn’t traditionally a black male. It’s usually like a white blond male, so I was like, ‘So is this the direction they want to go? Because it changes things when you do things like that.’ And then they said, ‘It’s color-blind casting.’ And I said, ‘As long as they’re going for it, I’ll go for it.'”

  • How Long Do CDs Last? It Depends, But Definitely Not Forever – The work of archive librarians fascinates me. They not only curate material, they need to make sure it ages as slowly as possible.

    Back in the 1990s, historical societies, museums and symphonies across the country began transferring all kinds of information onto what was thought to be a very durable medium: the compact disc.

    Now, preservationists are worried that a lot of key information stored on CDs — from sound recordings to public records — is going to disappear. Some of those little silver discs are degrading, and researchers at the Library of Congress are trying to figure out why.

    In a basement lab at the library, Fenella France opens up the door to what looks like a large wine cooler. Instead, it’s filled with CDs. France, head of the Preservation, Research and Testing Division here, says the box is a place where, using temperature controls, a CD’s aging process can be sped up.

    “By increasing the relative humidity and temperature, you’re increasing the rate of chemical reaction occurring,” she says. “So we’re trying to induce what might potentially happen down the road. That gives us a feel for how long things are going to [take to] age.”

    France says part of what they are trying to do here is determine the minimal conditions needed for libraries and archives everywhere to preserve CDs.

  • Becoming disabled: A woman photographs her life with MS – I really liked the quick video in this post and what Lay-Dorsey had to say about her disabled body.

    On discovering she had multiple sclerosis, Patricia Lay-Dorsey decided to photograph how her body and her life have altered, and how she feels about it.

    The Detroit-based artist was diagnosed with chronic progressive MS in 1988 when she was 45. At the time she was running marathons for fun and taking 200-mile bicycle tours.

    Lay-Dorsey started taking self-portraits six years ago. She says it has made her think more positively about her body and hopes her work will change attitudes.

  • People with mental disabilities get the worst, and least-recognized, treatment from police. – Contrary to the popular narrative that mentally ill people are dangerously violent and a threat to others, they’re actually at a much higher risk of being the victim of violence than the non-disabled. This is especially true of black people and other POC.

    Such examples of use of force are part of a broader trend of police violence against persons with disabilities. David Perry and Lawrence Carter-Long have compiled a list of recent cases in which disabled individuals — people with diabetes, deafness, cerebral palsy — were wrongly arrested, and even assaulted, by police who interpreted their disabilities as provocations. But among disabled populations, those with psychiatric and intellectual disabilities face the highest risks.

    The statistics are shocking. A 2012 investigation by the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram found that “about half of the estimated 375 to 500 people shot and killed by police each year in this country are mentally ill.” Similar figures were found in a report by the Treatment Advocacy Center and National Sheriff’s Association. In local police departments, the ratios can be even higher: The New Mexico Public Defender Department found that, in 2010 and 2011, suspects shot by police had a mental illness almost 75 percent of the time.

The following two tabs change content below.


An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.

Latest posts by Ridley (see all)

4 Responses to “Links: Monday, August 25th”

  1. Las

    “Author finds a nice vocabulary word and repeats it conspicuously within 50 pages.”

    I needed that laugh. That’s pretty much where I started to dislike the series, when it became obvious to me that her editors were serious fans who loved every word Gabaldon put to paper.

    I almost want to reread now.

  2. cleo

    OMFG – I finally watched the marsupial video (because I am re-writing my resume today and looking for *anything* else to do) and it’s hilarious. And I learned a lot of disgusting facts about marsupials – who knew?

  3. Ridley

    @cleo: All the Ze Frank “True Facts” videos are hilarious. The octopus one slayed me.

    And, yeah. Koalas. If reincarnation were real, very bad people would be reborn as koalas.

  4. Nu

    Love zefrank. Hilarious dude.

    Re: Hear the People Sing, a Black actor as Jean Valjean actually makes a lot more sense to me and more true to the original work, as Hugo was commenting on people’s perceptions of criminality as inherent to the lower class. Given today’s similar perceptions of race, I think the casting could only make the musical more powerful.