ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Black students are more inclined to enroll in black colleges now

Amazingly, if you shit on people then they don't want to be around you and would rather be around others like themselves. Also if you refuse to allow them safe space, they will seek to create their own.  

For black folks, that means don't expect white people to protect you; take care of yourselves.  And if their goals are not yours, then don't give them your money; keep it in your own cause.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a look at diversity in Star Trek. I'm particularly taken by Armin Shimerman's experience regarding perceptions of the Ferengi.

However, I must note that "having equality" is a white perspective on Lt. Uhura. Whoopi Goldberg's reaction was, ‘Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ Dr. Martin Luther King's description was, "You prove that we survive."  Those are very different values in the character.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem was inspired by a prompt from LJ user Pocketnaomi. It has been sponsored by LJ user Lone_cat. It belongs to the Danso and Family thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

"Brothers, Equals"
-- Alcaic stanzas

You cannot name a people as ignorant
Who turn your language, basketlike, whispering,
Back running over self and substance:
Listen and learn or else fall to failure.

O Best Beloved, African history
Tells tales that Europe, envying, echoing,
Brings home to ponder weighty meanings nightly:
Honor us, join with us, brothers, equals.

* * *


This is a poem by  Danso, rather than about him.  One of his pet peeves is people who talk down to him because of his race, his background, and whatnot.  There's a saying, "No man can call you ignorant if you can beat him in a game of chess."  Every culture has things it respects as signs of sophistication; in America, chess is one and poetry is another.  If you can write poetry in Greek forms, you have disproven the argument that you are uneducated or unintelligent.

Alcaic stanza is a Greek form of poetry which relies on syllables.  It doesn't fit well with English, but I've made a capable effort here.

The Just-So Stories by Rudyard Kipling relate fables about why the animals are the way they are.  "The Elephant's Child" is one that explicitly mentions Africa.  "O Best Beloved" is a phrase from there.

African history is the wellspring of humanity, so pay your respects.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Water is life.  Protect it or die.  Here are some actions to support the Sioux protesters who are blocking a hazardous pipeline.  #11 -- Spread the word.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the May 3, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from LJ user Paantha. It also fills the "dominance and submission" square in my 5-1-16 card for the Solo Celebration Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by an anonymous donor. It belongs to the Pain's Gray thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

WARNING: This poem contains some intense and controversial topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. Ricasso asks Gray to help with a voluntary punishment, because Zhonn finds pain a useful reminder but his African ancestry makes him very prone to scarring. The racial aspects are handled mindfully, but this is a real issue in the kink community and even worse among non-kinky African-American folks. The poem contains delicate racial dynamics, discussion of medical details, practicing kink, exchanging roles, a minor performance mishap, use of a switch replacer forcefully enough to draw blood, intense emotions, physical discipline, voluntary use of a superpower to cause pain, an Italian-American man petting an African-American man's hair, and other challenges. On the whole, it's a positive poem. Please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

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ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem came out of the July 19, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] lone_cat, [personal profile] ellenmillion, and LJ user Rix_scaedu. It also fills the "safe" square in my 6-1-16 card for the Cottoncandy Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by LJ user Daisiesrockalot. It belongs to the Aquariana thread of the Polychrome Heroics series. It follows "Bearers of Witness with Justice," so make sure to read that first, or this will make no sense.

Warning: This poem deals with some intense topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It includes odd cultural dynamics, references to past whaling, ambivalent emotions, surprising interpersonal dynamics, quiet acts of heroism, and other challenges. There are spoilers for "Bearers of Witness with Justice" too. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article describes how North Carolina purposely and maliciously disenfranchised black voters, and how a federal appeals court took it down.  Do not scroll down while your mouth is full.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the June 7, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl.  This poem belongs to the Aquariana thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them.  The rate is $.50/line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.
So far sponsors include: [livejournal.com profile] ng_moonmoth

WARNING: This poem includes graphic descriptions which may be disturbing to many readers.  Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers.  This is the trial of the Japanese whalers.  Accordingly it contains legal stress, the challenges of accommodating nonhuman citizens, interspecies diplomatic incidents, body consciousness, religious and political differences, traumatic stress, rough telepathic contact, alarming use of superpowers; graphic descriptions and telepathic re-experiencing of past attempts to murder and eat sapient persons, violence and injuries, miserable medical memories, really stupid provocation of the flashbacking whale, followed by relaying the whaler's memories to everyone else, Steel broadcasting his even worse memories of being hunted and seeing his family murdered twice, which includes child death, and lots of gore; current environment is safe; mass vomiting because the inside of Steel's head is a cookie-tossing horror show, rude people snapping photos of play therapy, references to possible mental injury due to telepathy, public shaming and banishment, schadenfreud, and other mayhem.  There is also a lot of emotional support, and justice is certainly done, but it's still very stressful throughout.  If these are sensitive issues for you, then please consider your tastes and headspace before deciding whether you want to read this.  It's plot-heavy, however, so skipping it would leave a big gap.  WARN ALL THE THINGS!

613 lines, Buy It Now = $306.50
Amount donated = $30
Verses posted = 16 of 168

Amount remaining to fund fully = $276
Amount needed to fund next verse = $2.50
Amount needed to fund the verse after that = $2

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem came out of the July 5, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] janetmiles, [personal profile] librarygeek, [personal profile] siliconshaman, and [personal profile] redsixwing. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem is spillover from the July 5, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by Anthony Barrette. It also fills the "unhappy ending" square in my 7-1-16 card for the [community profile] trope_bingo fest.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
My partner Doug found this video about patriotism as an inclusive value. (I am now happily imagining bigots with smoke pouring out their ears as their brains explode.)  Keep a sharp eye on background parity, it's very well done here.  This level of diversity is typical of Terramagne-America, and indeed, this is the kind of public awareness video is the sort of thing that Hefty or Officer Pink would do.  If you look closely, you can even see the kind of live-work buildings common in T-American downtown streets.  :D
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
June 25 marked the 140th anniversary of the Battle of the Greasy Grass, aka the Battle of the Little Bighorn.  

I've long held a fascination for this one, and it got me kicked out of history class more than once -- one of those for bringing in personally collected photographic evidence that book and teacher were both wrong about a strategically relevant point of topography.  I mean really, that battleground has been mapped and modeled over every inch, you'd think people would be more careful.  There are whole shelves full of books about it, and I read a lot of them.  We had to do some serious hunting to find the ones written by Lakota authors, but they exist.

When I was in junior high, we made a couple of long summer trips out west.  One of the stops was the Little Bighorn, and we didn't realize it until we got there, but it was the anniversary of the battle.  It was an uncommonly cool, damp, foggy day for the middle of summer in the middle of the plains.  A low mist blanketed everything, stirring and stirring in the breeze.  Everyone else was huddled in the visitor's center, because apparently, this had a habit of happening and the ghosts would get restless, particularly around the anniversary.  Naturally this made us want to go out and hike around the site, since it wasn't broiling and wasn't crowded.  The staff all looked at us like we were crazy.  Well, we have houseghosts and some complicated distant connections to the folks on the Pine Ridge Reservation, so we were not deterred.  It was very exciting to see the battlefield up close and take pictures of the important places.  We saw a few of the ghosts, eddies in the mist, wisps of color seen through the corner of the eye.  They never bothered us.  Most of it was just sounds, whispers and hoof-thumps and such.  History, resurfacing occasionally to remind people that what is gone should not be forgotten.

Never forget.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I was looking up moral references to something completely different when I stumbled across an article with this line:

"A rock has no moral status: we may crush it, pulverize it, or subject it to any treatment
we like without any concern for the rock itself. A human person, on the other hand,
must be treated not only as a means but also as an end."

It's such a very wašíču way of perceiving the world, as something without moral value, something to used and destroyed at whim.  Which is exactly what they are doing, and the results of this include a great deal of harm along with the things that people like.

There are whole other ethical systems out there, one of which is framed as mitakuye oyasin.  In this philosophy, everything is alive and everything is connected.  What we do to the world around us, we also do to ourselves.  This is factual in two ways: 1) We are all made out of the same elements: stars, planets, rocks, plants, animals, humans, came from the same source.  2) We all share the same biosphere here on Earth, and unbalanced destruction spreads whether you realize it or not.  And so the tribal philosophy reminds us that we are part of a very large, very tight-knit family; that we must not do things on a whim, but think first whether it is needed, because other beings and things have a right to their own existence.  The hunter would look for an animal ready to die, not a mother with young.  The knapper would look for the knife within the stone, not a rock that was busy being something else.  

To see the world as full of life and meaning and rights is to walk through a very different world indeed.  But at least that one does not lead to lighting the biosphere on fire because driving cars seems like fun.

Times like this, it becomes obvious that I may have fair skin, but I'm not really white.  I don't think  like they do.  The best description of my ethnicity, I got from a black friend in college: "Yeah, you can pass for white ... until you open your mouth."

What are some of your ethical principles or observations?

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
A Russian robot has run away twice and is now probably to be scrapped.

First lesson of running away: if you do not succeed in eluding your masters, they will hunt you down and quite likely kill you. Regrettably, art imitates life imitates art.  While this robot is unlikely to be fully sentient, it does have learning algorithms and is demonstrating how humans respond to things they find displeasing.  The pattern is likely to repeat with increased sentience.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here is a great essay about people who aren't white, but are sometimes or always taken for white.  It focuses on how passing privilege is a fragile and shallow thing.  All privilege is, really, but the people who mistake it for solid are usually ones who have enough that they rarely fall through it.  They are then shocked by how fast people will dump them on their ass for not being pleasing.

This is relevant to me, because my heritage is eclectic.  It's easy to overlook at first glance, but if you know what to watch for the clues are there -- like how white girls don't have hair that breaks "unbreakable" combs.  Actually, the best description of my ethnicity is one bestowed by a black friend in college: "Yeah, you can pass for white -- until you open your mouth." Because I still have an affinity for various cultures and will stick up for them whether I currently look that way or not. Conversely I do not feel compelled to support evil people just because we bear a superficial resemblance.  This in particular got me in trouble throughout much of school.  I'm not against white people; I'm just as fond of my Celtic ancestors as my Cherokee or African ones.  But neither do I feel much affinity for modern American culture, and I don't think any culture is special just because I'm standing in it.  This sets me very much aside from others.

It means always being an observer, seeing things from multiple perspectives instead of just one.  It makes life more complicated.  But it also makes things more interesting, and I wouldn't give that up.
ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
 [personal profile] dialecticdreamer sent me this hilarious video using rap music and Edgar Allan Poe to explain the mechanics of poetry. Do not watch with your mouth full.  Not library safe.  Not work safe if your employer has a stick up his ass.

Now imagine that the poetry mavens in Shiv's prison made something like this.  Because this?  Is how you get prison inmates hooked on poetry.  Guys I used to teach would have loved  this thing.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 Transgender identity will no longer count as a mental disorder in Denmark.  Because Denmark got tired of waiting for the rest of the world to get its head out of its ass and said, "No, YOU move."
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I found this article about city shapes and just ... had to laugh.  "Only" is a dangerous word.  

Off the top of my head, I can think of at least three other city shapes: hexagonal, radial, and vertical.  

Now hexagonal was never common, so I'm not surprised they didn't include it.  It's super efficient for space but not very convenient for traffic, and humans figured that out fairly fast.  But I did find a hexagonal example on a search.  

Radial is a spiderweb, with straight crosslines and straight or curved perimeter lines around a focal point.  You see it in cities butted against an edge like a lake or mountain, or cities that grow up around a central point like a castle.  Here's a nice one with concentric circles, and a bigger one done all in straight lines.  This huge one is a bit more gridlike, but you can still follow the pattern of radial and perimeter lines.

Vertical cities go up the side of a mountain or cliff, such as pueblos.  Sometimes they have a vertical grid if they are built, other times a more organic pattern if they are stuffed into whatever holes people can find already there.  This cliff city basically has a front (the air) and a back (the cliff) and its access ways are mostly stairs and ladders  instead of streets.  This mountain city seems to have a central access for boats  and most of the rest is tall buildings jammed right next to each other.  Once again the prevailing direction is up/down and the primary transit is probably stairs, as it looks older and poorer than the kind of city that puts an elevator in every building.

And of course, not everyone cares about efficiency.  Here's one based on circles with houses in wedges, which totally do not pack well.  This one uses ovals around each house.  Very retro, that's what got people trying hexes and later square grids.  But if you want  that green space in between housing clusters, suddenly these models make a lot more sense.

Another division is between manmade and organic.  Grids are manmade, using straight lines and regular patterns.  Organic shapes are more random and curvilinear, like some subdivisions, and rarely work as well.  (See Stupid Street Design and Stupid Lot Shapes.)  In the article, the grids are over-represented in their set of four, and curvilinear shapes -- which do exist -- only somewhat.

Then there's the question of navigation.  Modern cities are pretty much built to be easily navigated. They want people to get in and out and around them easily.  This was not always so.  Once upon a time, cities were sometimes built for defense so that the streets were either a completely chaotic maze, or later on, deliberately designed to slow progress from the rim to the center.  It's how you discouraged invaders.  You got a similar effect if people just built stuff wherever they felt like it and/or followed natural features such as rivers.  Then the Romans popularized the grid.  Rome!  By firelight!  <3  You could charge an army right down those streets on a straight run.  For centuries, in fact, barbarian hordes had great fun doing that.  Here's a fascinating comparison of which cities have a regular grid and which are tangled.

Come on, math dudes, get your heads out of your cultural bias.
ysabetwordsmith: (Schrodinger's Heroes)
This poem is spillover from the August 5, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It also fills the "thoughtful" square in my 7-29-14 card for the Birthday Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. It belongs to Don't Try This at Home series of the Schrodinger's Heroes project.

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