ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 Brazil is encouraging people to read by treating books as subway tickets.  Surely someone must be doing this in Terramagne!
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 This project aims to make Legos more inclusive with a holiday-and-magic themed set including minifigs in wheelchairs.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an intersting post about teaching diversity. It's good as far as it goes. But it's missing a piece, and that missing piece lies at the heart of what's wrong with diversity today.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This demifiction belongs to the Berettaflies thread of the Polychrome Heroics series. It takes place on Day 7. Technically, the authorities would prefer that people stay at home while the threat level is at Red, but it's about to turn Orange the next day. Given a peaceful indoor vigil, they'd really rather not plug that safety valve and risk something really dangerous happening instead.

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ysabetwordsmith: (Fly Free)
This is the freebie for today's fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from LJ user my_partner_doug. It belongs to The Ocracies series.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Talk to the lonely people.  

Not like it?  Dude, this has been my primary mode  of socialization since I could walk.  The first thing I do in any group event is look for the people on the fringes.  They're usually my best matches and more interesting than the ones in the middle.  It even worked in Mexico and Russia when we didn't necessarily have more than a partial language overlap.

Anyhow, connection helps keep people alive.  It reduces many types of violence.  It also reduces deaths from suicide and loneliness.  Loneliness is about as deadly as smoking.  Also worth mentioning is that it's not purely physical: people can be surrounded by others, and still feel lonely for lack of intimacy.  

A cool thing here is that intimate relationships don't have to be physical.  Sure it's nice if you have plenty of local-to-you friends who can cuddle with you or help if your car won't start.  But if your area doesn't have many people like you, then you can find friends online instead, which meets the need for connection.  Outside of my family, I don't have more than friendly acquaintainces nearby -- but online I have some very fine 'ohana indeed.

The world is a violent mess right now.  Somebody should do something about that.

Be Somebody.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This study showed how names influence imagination

I've always annoyed people trying to apply these tests, because I stop with, "I don't know anything more about that person.  All you've given me is a name.  That doesn't contain the information you're asking for."  Or a picture.  Or whatever.  Because it could be boy named Sue or a white Irish kid named Javier.

Sometimes when I'm naming characters they just tell me.  Sometimes I go looking for things that match.  I like using ethnic names because it's a chance for wider representation.  I often look up the demographics of a region to find locally common names and ethnic groups.  But every once in a while they do something off-pattern, like sex-swapped names, or the Louisiana woman who started screaming curses in Italian.

Assumptions are bug spots that'll stop you from seeing what's really in front of you.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article does a good job of analyzing what underlies mass shootings. Remember that America has had plentiful guns for a couple of centuries and only recently developed a persistent problem of mass shootings. Also there are other countries with guns that don't have this problem. So if you want to fix it, you have to look at the root causes, which include...

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ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
Level = Epic.  

See, this is another reason we need diversity in entertainment -- it spreads around who can do the best cosplay.  No able-bodied person is ever going to be play Imperator Furiosa as well as someone who shares the same missing limb.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Meatheads Movers are making a difference by offering to help abuse survivors move to escape their abusers -- for free. While it's often impossible to prevent domestic violence, it is  possible to reach out and help the victims.  Concrete actions like this can determine whether or not someone manages to flee.  This is how men can work against the violent, rape-friendly culture of America today.  When you see something in the world that you despise, look for practical things you can do to thwart it.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 My partner Doug tipped me to this lovely video of a blue whale panting at the surface before a dive, recorded live while folks were talking about a marine sanctuary.  Yep, that project is a great big success, to the tune of the largest species known on Earth. \o/
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Disappointed by commercial offerings, more and more women are making clothes for girls that challenge gender stereotypes. Even better, now they're banding together.  :D  I love genderflexy clothes.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's another essay about the Hugo Awards and whether science fiction is devolving into social justice stories. 

Devolving?  Really?  The genre that began with Mary Wallstonecraft  Shelley's scathing condemnation of a protagonist who was everything society lauded and also an imbecilic dick?  The genre where Gene Roddenberry cast his bridge crew with all the colors?  The genre that has, basically, made a profession out of screaming "NOT THAT DOOR!" at society and occasionally giving us a Tomorrowland-esque vision of awesome the future could be if humanity would only pull its head out of its ass?

Shut.  The fuck.  Up.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here is a hawt video of a Hispanic pr0n star demonstrating how to use condoms safely and effectively.  (Hey, you want to learn a topic, ask an expert!)  Gorgeous, full-view imagery of a guy having a good time with his body and his personal safety supplies.  :D  Now if we all had access to stuff like this, it would absolutely hold the attention of the sexual folks, entertaining as well as educating.  (Ace students may prefer a different demo using a banana just in case they ever need to explain to a friend.)  Obviously that video is NSFW for most folks.

This is one reason why Terramagne-America has a healthier view of sexuality, with consequently lower rates of teen pregnancy and other problems related to not knowing how to handle a crotch safely.  The good high schools have sex ed that looks kind of like this, and the banana option for people who don't want explicit demonstrations.  Once you are old enough for legal consent, you better know what you're doing; age-appropriate materials are available for younger classes.  Similar content is very widely available online -- especially in the darknet.  One of its more thriving uses is spreading accurate sexual information, along with the regular supply of pr0n, to places that don't want people to have that data.  So hey, you can educate your kids, or Kraken can do it for you.

Yes,  I have supervillains who are better at sex ed than most high schools.  LOL
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's another good post about trigger warnings and why they are valuable.

When you include notes about content, and your policies, that helps people make more informed and mindful decisions about their lives.  When you include tools -- you may ask for an alternate assignment, here is the quiet room, this is a handout of coping skills because this class handles historic atrocities, if you are having lots of trouble please visit in my office so we can discuss it, etc. -- that teaches people how to handle challenges in effective ways that build resilience.  There are rocks, but you can climb over them.  Here is a rope.

When you do not include notes, you deny people the chance to select the classes that are the best fit for them and to cope with materials presented in progress.  There are rocks and people are dropped on their heads.  If you sustain a concussion it is because you are a pussy, not because the rocks are sharp.

When you include notes but not tools, and allow people to dodge material without compensating in any way, that  is coddling.  The rocks are taken out of the way.  Now nobody can learn how to climb rocks in a relatively safe environment.

The complaints about trigger warnings basically say: "It is okay to hurt people.  It is not okay if you want people NOT to hurt you.  Just get used to being hurt, you pussy."  Because really?  If you have triggers, there is no getting away from them.  The world whacks them all the time.  Especially if they are about sex or violence or both.  And pressuring people to remain silent about being hurt just gets more people hurt, which is also not okay.

When you put content notes or trigger warnings on a class, story, or other material it says: "I am choosing to deal with controversial topics.  I want to understand what happens in the world and hopefully that will help make it a better place.  I want to make it as accessible as possible so that more people can deal with these topics in a safe way."  You don't go into shop class and NOT have safety goggles, I hope.  If you're talking about things like rape or mass murder, and especially about some crackpot thinking those are jolly good ideas, then folks need to know that appropriate safety measures are in place.

Seriously, look around: If there are women, about a quarter of them have experienced sexual violence personally and the rest have at least fended off smarmy approaches. Probably at least one or two of the men are survivors too.  If there are Jews, they will be sensitive about the Holocaust and probably Israeli politics.  If there are black people, they will be sensitive about slavery and racism.  If there are poor people, they will probably be touchy about some money issues.  And if the group is a monoculture, that's likely to cause problems on its own and is not an ideal learning environment.  Explaining the parameters for handling challenges is just part of running a smooth class or other activity.  It is not fun for anybody if somebody has a panic attack because they got blindsided.  It is not effective if people blank out because the material is ghastly and no coping methods are available.

Of course, not everyone is equally good at listing triggers, and it does take time.  So if that's expected at college, you have to allow the extra time and make sure there's a backup person for teachers who aren't good at it.  (Inaccurate warnings are worse than useless.)  If you're doing it as a writer, you can just ask your audience to tell you if they think more warnings are advisable.


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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