Four More Solutions to Twitter Harassment

GuardianStatues

The CEO of Twitter, Dick Costolo, made headlines last week when he admitted in a leaked memo that his service has a serious harassment problem which they've done a terrible job of dealing with:We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we've sucked at it for years. It's no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day. I'm frankly ashamed of how poorly we've … [Read more...]

Is Terrorism Courageous?

The religious fanatics who murdered twelve people at Charlie Hebdo's offices last week were tracked down by the French police after a two-day manhunt, ending in a shootout at a print shop in the town of Dammartin-en-Goële where both of them were killed. One of their accomplices was also killed by police after taking hostages at a kosher supermarket.Despite my earlier fears, Charlie Hebdo doesn't plan to shut its doors, and in fact their next issue (featuring Mohammed on the cover) will have … [Read more...]

Photo Sunday: Stone Wall, Winter

StoneWallWinter

High walls imply defensiveness, and thus implicit hostility; they announce the owner's intent to keep others out regardless of their intentions. A low wall, like this one, says something different and more hopeful. Being only a symbolic barrier, it implies a society where people are friendly and peaceable - where common courtesy and the rule of law suffice to convince people to respect others.Image credit: mike138, released under CC BY-ND 2.0 license … [Read more...]

“Choose Faith in Spite of the Facts”

As Lewis Black once said, "He smiles so much, I don't think he has a central nervous system."

I usually don't think it's worth beating up on the purveyors of popular evangelical feel-goodism, for the same reason I don't get in boxing matches with life-size Jell-O sculptures. But I had to make an exception for this tweet from human tooth-whitening strip Joel Osteen:The facts may tell you one thing. But, God is not limited by the facts. Choose faith in spite of the facts.— Joel Osteen (@JoelOsteen) November 26, 2014Osteen is most famous for his surgically implanted smile … [Read more...]

SF/F Saturday: The Years of Rice and Salt

I've been getting into alternate history novels lately - The Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove, Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp - and one of the better ones I've read is Kim Stanley Robinson's 2002 book The Years of Rice and Salt. I've read Robinson's Mars trilogy, which I thought was interesting but lacked a strong central concept to drive the plot, but this book is an accomplishment.The classic strategy of alternate history is to pick some important historical event, assume … [Read more...]

Season of the Tempter

DarkForest

On a dreaming night not long ago, I was walking by myself along a lonely road, in search of reflection and solitude. The nearest homes were only a far-off and fuzzy glow, a fleeting scent of woodsmoke through the bare and tangled arms of dark trees. It was a chilly, blustery night, and the snap of frost hung in the air like a premonition of winter. Shredded clouds scudded across the tarnished moon like a rake pushing dry leaves.I had been walking for the better part of an hour in silence, … [Read more...]

#Gamergate: The New Face of Misogynist Terrorism

Gargoyle

Last month, in "The Mabus Problem", I mentioned the violent threats against feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian. The threat campaign hasn't let up, and as she continues to speak out, it's gotten even worse. Last month, there was a bomb threat against an awards ceremony that planned to honor her. Sarkeesian didn't blink at the threat, and the event went on as planned (with some extra police protection). But now, for the first time, she's had to cancel a talk.The talk in question was going … [Read more...]

Announcing: City of Light

CityOfLightCover

Welcome, and news!Today I'm very pleased to announce the publication of the third book in my Caliel series, CITY OF LIGHT. It's the sequel to BROKEN RING from earlier this year, continuing the epic story of a world where mortals rebelled against the gods and won. Here's the synopsis:The world of Caliel is on the brink of war.In the lands of the god Vraxor, family turns against family and friend turns against friend, as the dark god's priesthood is riven by dissension and schism, … [Read more...]

Summer Twilight: A Humanist Sermon

Fireflies

On a night earlier this summer, a humid blue twilight in July, I stepped out of my home to run an errand. It was sweltering and heavy after the day's heat, but it must have been the perfect temperature for fireflies. There were hundreds of them, swarming in the air and the grass, glimmering and flashing like motes of gold in the gathering dusk.Through some means I can't imagine, it seemed as if they had agreed to synchronize, so that no two of them lit up at the same time. As soon as one … [Read more...]

The Mabus Problem: Fighting Anonymous Harassment on Social Media

Gargoyle

I'm not much of a video gamer (I spend my free time writing!), but I've been following the work of Anita Sarkeesian, a media critic whose non-profit group Feminist Frequency critiques sexism in popular culture, with a special focus on video games. Her series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games points out lazy, sexist clichés that game designers resort to repeatedly: damsels in distress, women in refrigerators, scenes of sexual violence just to make the game world darker and "grittier", and so … [Read more...]


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