Fiction

I’m still enjoying the ride as I near the half-way point of Ship of Destiny. The somewhat large cast, and a spilt narrative perspective, makes for loooong stretches without my favorite characters, though. And I do see the need to bring new, previously underserved characters into the spotlight, which necessitates putting previous POV characters on a bus (or chained up on a remote island, as it were. I do wonder what has befallen Kyle Haven…).

The Magicians is really quite an enjoyable show. I’m trying to get back to where I left the third season, and the sardonic realism of this ‘Narnia for Millennials’ is quite entertaining.

I just saw Captain Marvel tonight. Damn me, but that was a good one. Cinematically sound, with good pacing, believable characters and an interesting mystery. And sooo many mythology gags and call-forwards. Wanna know how Fury lost his eye? Watch this movie. Oh, and super badass action woman who takes no shit from the men around her? Sign me up! Putting this one on my daughter’s Must See list, in a few years’ time.

Nonfiction

My RSS feeds have been on fire this week — so many stories that have caught my eye.

Andrew Gelman is continuing his quest to dissuade against defending mistakes in scientific research, so as not to lose the ‘scoop’. Instead, figure out the source of the mistake - poor theory, noisy data, poor coupling between theory and data — so you know how to overcome this mistake in the future.

Ashes Ashes, a podcast I haven’t (yet) listened to, but been linked the transcript of one episode, has a discussion on the loneliness epidemic in the western world today. With terms such as ‘emotonal refugees’, this is quite interesting. I must admit, beoming more active in my Tae Kwon Do club has made a world of difference in my life.

What caught my eye, was the discussion of the artificiality of the selves we construct on social media, and how alienating to our inner selves this can become.

This ties in with my university-assigned reading. In *In Defense of the Enlightenment’, Todorov tells of Rosseau warning against this very alienation of self if we allow the idea of others’ perception of ourselves dominate our actions. Thus, increasingly, rendering them increasingly conformist and inconsequential, in our hunger for external affirmation.

From Inside Higher Ed, Barbara Fister writes about the shady nature of academic publishing, in the context of the University of California not paying Elsevier for access anymore. As Barbara notes: Somehow, these companies earn massive profits while academics provide content for free, and, more troublingly, soon the data flow of scholarly production may be a source of income.

If you’re not paying, you’re the product being sold.

In another podcast transcript, I paid close attention to ways into a data science career. I do not know I want to go full-on data analysis post-university; but as a methodology this approach fascinates me.

On the topic of AIs and machine learning, [Awful AI(https://github.com/daviddao/awful-ai) tracks all the ways AI is used today to affect society neagtively in insidious ways

On John Scalzi’s blog, Mallory O’Meara has a Big Idea piece on her book The Lady from the Black Lagoon, concerning Miliicent Patrick, a female special effects artist (among other things) from the 50s. Things did not go easy for her, nor for O’Meara, 50 years later. Sexism and discrimination are still alive today; to think otherwise is folly.

John Warner writes on Inside Higher Ed about embracing the flail. Overcoming an uncertain process is crucial, he argues, to maximize learning and ensuring the possibility of future growth. This is heartening, as I currently feel very much like I am flailing wildly re: my exam assignments in Comparative Educational Studies.

To end on a depressive note: Casey Newton writes about the secret lives of Facebook moderators. Dammit. Now I hate people again.