Oscar Wilde & Other Atrocities

Fate is not a factor

Posts tagged things they never taught me

265,804 notes

craftastrophies:

moniquill:

grilledcheezus:

snorlaxatives:

how people use to imagine the future:

image

how people now imagine the future:

image

this actually says so much about society

holy shit

Ok, this is a topic on which I have a lot of feels – I am deeply into old sci-fi and how the genre has shifted and changed. I LOVE shit like http://blog.modernmechanix.com/ and http://www.davidszondy.com/future/futurepast.htm This is a startlingly simplified view.

Some of the earliest sci-fi had scary and/or dystopian elements; The Time Machine chronicles the ultimate fall of human society and the extinction of humanity and the destruction of the planet. Frankenstein is about scary scary science and the dangers of ‘playing god’ (also fundamental fears about parenting but that’s a whole other level of analysis). War of the Worlds. Brave New World. Sci-fi has always been a mixed bag of ‘shit, the future is going to be fucking terrible because human beings are terrible and Science has gone too far!’

WWI and WWII changed the way the world worked and understood itself. Superweapons. Pandemics. Invasion. Fear of totalitarian governments and social apathy and eugenics and genocide, because these things -happened-. The world -knew about them-.

But there was a rash of utopian pulp sci-fi in the middle of the 20th century kicked off by the 1926 publication of Amazing Stories and cresting during the 1940’s-50’s Golden Age of Science Fiction, where America was convinced that everything was going to continue being as awesome as the post WWII boom forever. This is your Isaac Azimov/Buckminster Fuller/Jacque Fresco ‘domes and flying cars and robot butlers and shiny skyscrapers and perfectly planned cities’ era. Everything would be mass produced, and made of aluminum and plastic, and nuclear powered, and insulated with asbestos. We would all live in Monsanto’s House of Tomorrow. Everything would be irradiated to sterility and covered in DDT to prevent bugs and it would be -awesome-.

That’s what picture A is from.

But then we had a cultural revolution and oppressed people no longer being quietly tolerant of oppression (not that they ever were, but organized mass social movements etc made possible by increased facility of communication) , and there was the looming threat of nuclear war, and the awareness of globalization, and we started being aware of the impact of the 1950’s prefab suburb culture re: ecological devastation. American ideology shifted; war was tragic, not glorious. Technology was suspect, not universally awesome. The future might be very fucking bleak, because nuclear war and biological weaponry and economic devastation and ecological devastation.

That’s what picture B is from.

Thing is? Either picture A or picture B could be from any era of sci-fi, really. Because it’s always been a tug-of-war between utopia and dystopia, wherein things will be frickin’ awesome in the future OR we’re all maniacs who blew it up, damn us all to hell.

Also lbr, this could be two pictures of different cities in the same imaginary country. Or two different suburbs in the same city. The first one is the tourism brochure from the city council, and the second one is where the actual citydwellers live. You know, the poor ones, that no one wants to talk about in brochures.

Really there are some real life cities that look this different in promotional materials vs real people’s experience.

That first picture looks a bit more sinister now, huh?

(Source: snorlaxatives, via cortue)

Filed under things they never taught me

12,450 notes

I fear we are witnessing the “death of expertise”: a Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laymen, students and teachers, knowers and wonderers – in other words, between those of any achievement in an area and those with none at all.

Tom Nichols (via azspot)

GOOD.

'Expertise' as used here almost always requires the acceptance and approval of the Powers That Be - automatically excluding anyone who has knowledge that comes from experience (look, ‘expert’ and ‘experience’ have the same root for a reason), who can’t afford/has no access to traditional institutions through which ‘expertise’ is conferred, whose expertise conflicts with the agenda of those Powers, etc., etc.

The glory of Google and Wikipedia and everything like them is their ability to democratize knowledge. Furthermore, that is precisely what teachers want: to help people learn stuff, whether they normally would or not, whether it’s taught in schools or has been thrown aside for three months of test prep, whether it’s the area someone specializes in or is simply curious about… There’s no reason whatsoever that knowledge has to come from a ‘professional’ rather than some other source; that doesn’t make the knowledge any less potent, or any less true. 

There is no division between “students and teachers, knowers and wonderers”. I am a teacher; I am also a student, always, because no matter your knowledge, you can always learn more. ‘Knowers’ v. ‘wonderers’? Really? How do you think people come to know things in the first place? I’m definitely an ‘expert’ on a number of things—an institutionally certified expert, even!—but I still wonder about all those things. Besides, who determines what is ‘knowing’? Plenty of those things I have expertise in are *not* institutionally certified, and that makes my expertise not one whit less.

For instance: I know a shitload more about recovering from traumatic brain events than my neurologist. He knows all about how these things happen in the first place, all the ins and outs and mechanisms; however, when it comes to practical advice for what’s necessary to not continue to fuck yourself up in the weeks afterward, he learns a hell of a lot from me. He’s an MD/PhD, he’s about as ‘expert’ as you can get; but that’s nothing in the face of actual experience. In fact, the main reason I knew he was an infinitely better doctor than the other neurologists I’d seen is because he acknowledged how little he knew about the experience of, say, having your life force drained from you by anti-seizure medication. Despite his honest-to-Dog genius, he does not pretend to all-encompassing expertise, or treat his fount of knowledge as the only valid source - which makes him smarter and more ‘expert’ than anyone who thinks they know it all. 

And everyone knows that the only difference between professionals and laymen is that one gets paid for their achievements and the other doesn’t. It’s such a pathetic example, really: ‘laymen’ is a word created to distinguish the people who were not endorsed by the institutional Powers That Be in religious life; the Jesus Christ of the Bible was a layman, and as such was anathema to the institution. Now, we’ve all seen how much we should blindly trust and accept what the Church/etc. tells us, right?

Finally, that bit about “achievement in an area” is utterly nonsensical. Is ‘achievement’ supposed to stand in for ‘experience’—which, as already noted, is never accepted as institutionally valid in conferring ‘expertise’? Does ‘achievement’ mean an official document a la a diploma? How many of the world’s political leaders have degrees in management, policy, diplomacy, etc.? Have they ‘achieved’ less than those who have studied those topics in a fucking ivory tower? To reverse the question, there’s that old saw about how those who can’t do, teach. Now, I think that’s bullshit, because teaching is a fucking skill, and plenty of people who have incredible achievement in an area can’t go into a classroom and convey any of that in a useful way. By the same token, when those people *are* good teachers, do we keep them out of the classroom because their ‘expertise’ comes from experience rather than academic success? Never. 

This whole thing is bullshit. All those signal words—expertise, professional, layman, student, teacher, knower, wonderer, achievement—are deliberately misused, ignorant of their actual definitions and meanings, to make a faux-profound statement that has no purpose other than to bitch about how the Powers That Be are no longer as all-important in conferring expertise as they used to be.

You can be an expert without paying for it. That really pisses this person off.

(via aka14kgold)

"I worry that in an information-driven age of technological marvels, nobody will treat me like I’m a wizard-priest anymore."

(via blue-author)

I think this is becoming a sort of under-the-table war. And I’m not really exaggerating. For example, recently various academic groups and journals have been banning their members and editors from having blogs:

Academic blogging grew from the desire to compensate for people being unable to access academic scholarship,” Saideman told the Guardian. He said academic blogging has become a part of a professor’s job and that it is part of a movement to share scholarship with broader groups of people, including translating it into other languages.

One of his many critiques of the ISA’s proposal is that it further reduces the plurality of voices in scholarship, potentially affecting the number of minorities and women heard in academic discussions. If you’re telling people that the only way to be on editorial teams is by reducing your voice elsewhere, then that’s logically going to reduce the amount of voices out there,” Saideman said.

(via medievalpoc)

I’m a scientist. I’m not sure how other disciplines work, but for science, this ease-of-learning is the greatest thing ever.

I mean, it does have the slight downside that a lot of people don’t know the difference between peer-reviewed scientific research and something an angry layman made up on their blog, but that’s a teething problem. The laypeople of my generation know a lot more about reliable sources than the previous generation, and the next will know even more. I don’t think that random googling and home workshopping will ever compensate fully for actual scientific training, largely because there’s no regulation. But that’s not the point.

Science works by taking a lot of different people who are interested in the truth and having them all work on similar sorts of things and interpret the facts as best they can. Everyone is, of course, biased. Everyone wants their preferred truth to ‘win’, everyone makes accidental assumptions that support what they want to be true, even in the most evidence-based practices. But the whole point of science is that because the evidence is what’s important, these biases balance out within the community. If an experimenter misses a detail, somebody else picks up on it. If an experiment gives unusual results, this is noticed when other people repeat it. Science works only because there is a huge amount of variety in the way scientists think, in what they think about, and in what they personally believe.

But the problem that nobody will talk about in science is this: there’s not that much variety. Because in school, we were given a bunch of facts about the world to memorise, and we were told (wrongly) that memorising those was “science”. Some of us loved doing that. Most people hated it. those that loved it kept doing it, and many of us became scientists. but here’s the thing — there’s no reason whatsoever to believe that people who like memorising stuff about the world will necessarily make the best scientists. This process filters out people who think differently, and then we look back and say ‘well they didn’t do well in science and they gave it up so clearly they don’t have the mind for it’. Of course they gave it up. We forced them out by lying about what science was.

My point here is that some people don’t have the attention span to read a bunch of scientific articles. Some people don’t have the right linguistic aptitude for it — or, come to think of it, the money for it, since many of these things are behind a paywall and only members of scientific and educational institutions can browse them freely. Some people don’t care about how photosynthesis works unless it relates directly to what they’re doing at the time. Without so much open access to information, these people would be filtered out of the scientific community. But with things like the internet, they’re not. Some of them might decide to become scientists if they self-teach the basics, because the basics aren’t ridiculously boring for them that way. Many won’t, but they’ll still be more knowledgable about the world, still participate in forum discussions, still advise scientist friends and blog for science students. And this is a problem because… what? Us textbooky people can’t pretend to be smarter than everyone else any more? Somebody who failed year 11 chemistry might have the audacity to correct our physics calculations based on what they learned from google scholar?

I’m having a little trouble seeing that as a bad thing.

(via derinthemadscientist)

(via ifeelbetterer)

Filed under boom things they never taught me

27,395 notes

You are being lied to about pirates

medievalpoc:

k-ingsfoil:

spoopyfag:

keyboardwarriorprincess:

takethespearandpuncturetheflesh:

incisiveredneck:

Once they had a ship, the pirates elected their captains, and made all their decisions collectively. They shared their bounty out in what Rediker calls “one of the most egalitarian plans for the disposition of resources to be found anywhere in the 18th century.”

They even took in escaped African slaves and lived with them as equals. The pirates showed “quite clearly – and subversively – that ships did not have to be run in the brutal and oppressive ways of the merchant service and the Royal navy.” This is why they were popular, despite being unproductive thieves.

Oops, turns out piracy is pretty much always a term like terrorist that gets slapped on whatever we don’t like despite being a general reaction to the status quo. And nothing’s really changed.

And when african pirates were captured by the British they were forced into the slave trade.

Horrible Histories taught me about pirates https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zwn5K89dE5c

They were generally democratic, disciplined, communal - they even had pensions! If you wanted out of the pirate life, you would be taken to a destination of your choice (anywhere in the world) and given a lump sum to help you with your new life.

interesting

Honor among thieves.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU YES i’ve spent like two years studying piracy (back when i had time to devote to reading and research) and yes pirates are actually all very interesting and democratic and great

Reblogging since someone recently sent me an ask on this topic (although now it appears to be lost somewhere in my inbox).

(via isthatwhatyoucalllearning)

Filed under a pirate's life for me things they never taught me I'd love some more sources though?

108,779 notes

jessica-messica:

zagreussits:

How to wear a knife strapped to your thigh with a garter like a fucking lady while managing not to slice yourself open because you were fool enough to carry an unsheathed weapon next to a squishy part of your body that moves when you walk.

  1. Get a garter from somewhere; this one is a sock garter from Sock Dreams, which means it’s made to stay the fuck up there.
  2. Get a fucking sheath for those sharp, pointy things and put them in the sheath. There’ll be a velcro loop at the top so that they won’t slide out if you hold the sheath upside down.
  3. Put the garter through the loop at the top meant for whatever you’re using to attach it to yourself. Attach it to yourself, adjusting for ease of grabbing. You don’t want to put it on your inner thigh because that is awkward as hell to get out. The only way you’d be able to get it out in a timely manner is if you attached the sheath upside down, at which point you’d need two garters to keep the sheath from tilting inward toward your other thigh.
  4. Oh no, now the sheath is hanging loosely and is going to make a weird pattern against your clothing. Tuck that shit into your stockings if you’re wearing them, or use another garter if you’re not.
  5. Pull your pencil skirt back down over the knife sheath. Adjust accordingly due to tightness of skirt and shape of sheath. Make sure you can get at it as quick as you want.
  6. People look at you really strangely if this is the knife you pull out when you want to cut your apple up.

Vital Information for your Everyday Life.

(via mr-foofyboots)

Filed under things they never taught me