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2017-08-01 Instapaper Highlights

Giving the iPad a full-time job

The iPhone changed my life in countless ways, but its greatest long-term effect has been the dulling of my introspective and creative faculties.


Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men Of Touch

American men, in an attempt to avoid any possible hint of committing unwanted sexual touch, are foregoing gentle platonic touch in their lives.


While babies and toddlers are held, cuddled, and encouraged to practice gentle touch during their first years of their lives, that contact often drops off for boys when they cease to be toddlers. Boys are encouraged to “shake it off” and “be tough” when they are hurt. Along with the introduction of this “get tough” narrative, boys find that their options for gentle platonic touch simply fade away. Mothers and fathers often back off from holding or cuddling their young boys. Boys who seek physical holding as comfort when hurt are stigmatized as cry babies.


By the time they are approaching puberty, many boys have learned to touch only in aggressive ways through rough housing or team sports. And if they do seek gentle touch in their lives, it is expected to take place in the exclusive and highly sexualized context of dating. This puts massive amounts of pressure on young girls; young girls who are unlikely to be able to shoulder such a burden. Because of the lack of alternative outlets for touch, the touch depravation faced by young boys who are unable to find a girlfriend is overwhelming. And what about boys who are gay? In a nutshell, we leave children in their early teens to undo a lifetime of touch aversion and physical isolation. The emotional impact of coming of age in our touch-averse, homophobic culture is terribly damaging. It’s no wonder our young people face a epidemic of sexual abuse, unwanted pregnancy, rape, drug and alcohol abuse.


As much as gay men have faced the brunt of homophobic violence, straight men have been banished to a desert of physical isolation by these same homophobic fanatics who police lesbians and gays in our society.


When we collectively normalize gay life and relationships, my son, whatever his sexual orientation turns out to be, will be free to express platonic affection for others, be they men or women, in any way he sees fit. The rabid homophobes who have preached hate in America for far too long will finally be silenced, and men will be free to reach out and touch each other without fear of being labeled as somehow less of a man.


This site is “taking the edge off rant mode” by making readers pass a quiz before commenting

The team at NRKbeta attributes the civil tenor of its comments to a feature it introduced last month. On some stories, potential commenters are now required to answer three basic multiple-choice questions about the article before they’re allowed to post a comment. (For instance, in the digital surveillance story: “What does DGF stand for?”)


The goal is to ensure that the commenters have actually read the story before they discuss it.


Why Blue States Should Exit Red America

Go ahead, keep on voting against your own economic interests to satisfy your need to control other people’s bodies, sex lives, and recreational habits. We’ll be creating cities and states that will defend gay marriage, a woman’s right to choose, and sensible gun control against your intrusive federal judiciary.


‘Get Out’ Sprung From An Effort To Master Fear, Says Director Jordan Peele

Peele wanted the audience, regardless of race, to see the subtle racism through Chris’ eyes. “It was very important to me to just get the entire audience in touch in some way with the fears inherent [in] being black in this country,” Peele says. “Part of being black in this country, and I presume being any minority, is constantly being told that … we’re seeing racism where there just isn’t racism.”


Winamp’s woes: How the greatest MP3 player undid itself

While Nullsoft seemed to play second fiddle to Spinner, all the companies in AOL’s own “Interactive Properties” group (including ICQ, MapQuest, and others) collectively played second fiddle to AOL’s traditional bread-and-butter moneymaker: “the Service.” According to AOL’s own June 30, 2000 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, its legacy Internet access service had 23.2 million users, compared to Winamp with its 25 million users. At the time, the Service made a huge amount of money, and AOL wanted to promote it heavily to a crowd with limited use for it.


[Alien intelligence: the extraordinary minds of octopuses and other cephalopods](

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/28/alien-intelligence-the-extraordinary-minds-of-octopuses-and-other-cephalopods)

Godfrey-Smith charts his path through philosophical problems as guided by cephalopods – in one case quite literally, when he recounts an octopus taking his collaborator by hand on a 10-minute tour to its den, “as if he were being led across the sea floor by a very small eight-legged child”.


Octopuses are pretty good at sophisticated kinds of learning, but how good it’s hard to say, in part because they’re so hard to experiment on. You get a small amount of animals in the lab and some of them refuse to do anything you want them to do – they’re just too unruly.


It’s perhaps the biggest paradox presented by an animal that has no shortage of contradictions: “A really big brain and a really short life.” From an evolutionary perspective, Godfrey-Smith explains, it does not give a good return on investment. “It’s a bit like spending a vast amount of money to do a PhD, and then you’ve got two years to make use of it … the accounting is really weird.”


Back to the smartphone experience of 2006

It’s fascinating to have this kind of throwback experience and be reminded of the sheer magnitude of the iPhone’s impact right thereafter and from that point onward. I had to spend a couple of days with a previous concept of smartphone to fully realise the amount of details, user interface and user interaction paradigms we take for granted today.


The Story Behind the World’s Most Famous Desktop Background

But the artist duo Goldin+Senneby, who spent months researching the photograph for a 2006 work, said that the Microsoft branding team “wanted an image with ‘more grounding’ than the images of skies they had used in Windows 95. Also, the green grass and the blue sky fit perfectly with the two main colors in the branding scheme.”


Hold thy tongue (and loosen thy pen)

We focus so much on our notebooks as traps for capturing those rare, beautiful ideas that visit us, but notebooks are also amazing cages for detaining what is inside of us that wants so desperately to escape. To write down your rawest thoughts in a notebook is like putting a wild, unknown beast into a holding cell for further observation. Here, you can safely discover what the beast is and figure out what to do with it. Sometimes the beast needs indefinite incarceration, sometimes it needs rehabilitation, sometimes it’s ready for release into the wild, and sometimes it just needs to be put down. But to let it escape at whim is rarely a good idea.


“Hold thy tongue. Loosen thy pen”


2017-08-02 Instapaper Highlights

What’s the Problem with Men?

Masculinity has historically been all about the three P’s: protector, provider, procreation. The more you protect, the more you provide, the more you fuck, the more of a man you are.


And the fact that this form of masculinity came at a cost — both to the men in terms of their own health and mortality, and to society in terms of violence and patriarchal dominance — was discounted. Who cares if men die, suffer, and lose their minds at startling rates? It’s simply the price we pay for protection and prosperity (and babies).


But this version of masculinity evolved for a particularly socially-beneficial reason — to protect us from invaders and protect the town and kill bears and stuff. We needed men to fuck a lot because something like half of your kids didn’t survive into puberty. We needed them to provide because you never knew when the next horrible winter was around the corner. And the fact that this form of masculinity came at a cost — both to the men in terms of their own health and mortality, and to society in terms of violence and patriarchal dominance — was discounted. Who cares if men die, suffer, and lose their minds at startling rates? It’s simply the price we pay for protection and prosperity (and babies).


Traditional masculinity is no longer necessary for a healthy and functioning society. We’re not living under constant threat of invasion. Nor are we being attacked by wild animals on the regular. Babies survive and, in fact, it’s more important these days to consciously plan one’s family than to just go sticking it everywhere you can. And much of the work that’s necessary for today’s economy is just as easily done by women as it is by men. The costs of traditional masculinity, both on men and on society itself, are likely not worth the benefits anymore.


Again, for most of civilization, young men were the ones responsible for protecting society. By the time they were adults, they needed to be battle-hardened and physically strong — the survival of the community often depended on it. As a result, brutal, physical violence among men (through organized sport) was celebrated (and still is today, although this is beginning to change). And men who weren’t able to make the cut were shamed for their physical weakness, for their emotional displays and vulnerable demands for affection. Men were meant to be ruthlessly competitive, and emotionlessly self-contained.


Well, this may not surprise you, but repressing emotions fucks people up. And shaming people for weakness and vulnerability can result in all sorts of mental health problems, not to mention encourage them to lash out in anti-social ways (i.e., shoot up a school, or ram a car into a crowd of people, sign up to be a militant in some crazy religious organization — sound familiar?)


Men take on more dangerous jobs and are less likely to report any injury suffered at work. Men work far longer hours, take fewer vacations and sick days, and suffer worse symptoms of chronic stress and fatigue. Men even die on the job at a startling rate. In short, most men treat themselves as nothing more than a walking paycheck.


Men are so emotionally incompetent without women, getting married is literally the healthiest thing a man can do in his life. One research summary of emotional suppression went as far to say: “emotional restrictiveness is the leading cause to why men die earlier [than women.]”


Married men live longer and score higher on pretty much every quality-of-life metric there is, including happiness and life expectancy. Marriage is apparently so important for men’s emotional stability that some sociologists go as far as to state that simply being married can raise a man’s life expectancy by almost a decade.


Let me state that more clearly: Not dealing with your emotional baggage can literally kill you or make you go crazy.


We unfairly objectify women in society for their beauty and sex appeal. Similarly, we unfairly objectify men for their professional success and aggression.


What’s the Problem with Feminism?

Is this really the cause of your generation? Safe spaces and trigger warnings and microaggressions? That’s the trench you’re willing to die in?” Previous generations of feminists were willing to die in the trenches of getting women the right to vote, to go to college, to have an equal education, for protection from domestic violence, and workplace discrimination, and equal pay, and fair divorce laws.


Previous generations of feminists were the change they desired. They got out and protested and voted. They went to the schools and got the degrees and took the jobs. Yet, today, tribal feminists are more interested in enforcing thoughts and perceptions about women, rather than actually becoming the women they wish others to see.


The way you destroy stereotypes is by being the contradiction of the stereotype. The way you change minds is you demonstrate how people are wrong through your actions. Women now make up almost 60% of college graduates, yet they still only constitute 20% of STEM professions (which make much more money, it so happens). You want more women in math and science? Be a woman who pursues math and science. You want more women as CEOs and winning at business? Start a business. You want more women in politics? Run for office. These are the real activists. This is where real progress happens.


Yes, women still face stereotypes and poor treatments in these industries. But this is the trench today’s feminists should be fighting in. This is where they should be making their push — and not by talking about it online, but by actually being there.


Thus, today feminism has a measurement problem. It’s easy to measure whether boys and girls are receiving the same funding in schools. It’s easy to see whether a man and woman are being paid appropriately for the same work. You just pull out your calculator and go to work. But how do you measure social justice?

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