Five Good Things – Thursday Longreads Edition

Five things I encountered today that were interesting, educational, beautiful, edifying or that I otherwise found to be…well, good. None of these are promotions and I do not receive any benefit from sharing them. I just like them.

Today instead of the usual assortment of randomness, I have a collection of longer articles I found interesting. Hope you all enjoy!

download (3)1) The Washington Post has a great article and interview with George Lucas about Star Wars, past and present, and how he views his role in the franchise. A little sad, to be honest, but really interesting stuff.

download (4)2) Buzzfeed has an anonymous account from a Mormon who is also a lesbian about her experience growing up queer in the church and why she is staying in the church, and staying out, for as long as she can despite their draconian policies regarding same sex couples. It’s a very moving read.

download (5)3) As I was listening to a friend help her son with his spelling homework yesterday, I was once again struck by what a weird, messy language English is. Aeon magazine helps unravel why this is.

download (6)4) The Atlantic has a great run down of where our gene-editing technology is, and what we might do with it in the future. There’s a ton of potential for its use, both good and bad – as any sci-fi fan knows well enough.

d739b8b7035) The journal Nature offers some ideas for what to do about the fact that there are way more PhD students than there are suitable jobs for them. Unfortunately using a giant donut to lure them off a cliff and reduce their numbers isn’t one of them.

Five Good Things for 11/30/2015

Five things I encountered today that were interesting, educational, beautiful, edifying or that I otherwise found to be…well, good. None of these are promotions and I do not receive any benefit from sharing them. I just like them.

Oh, the cruelty of the Monday after a four day weekend! Although I shouldn’t complain, as many people (particularly those in retail) did not get a four day weekend or even a weekend at all. And mine was delightful and relaxing, although that does make coming back to work all the more jarring. If you’re feeling the same, here are some pleasant diversions to ease you back into the routine.

1 & 2) This weekend I was introduced to two amazing webcomics I just have to share, both by trans artists/writers. The first, The Satrians, is about a family of telepathic aliens who adopts a human child. Humans aren’t telepathic, so in their world the child is disabled. Super cute and using all gender-neutral pronouns (Satrians have no concept of gender) it’s both entertaining and a real interesting perspective on gender and disability. Star Trip is an adventure comic about a girl traveling the galaxy with a shapeshifting companion, which is gender and race inclusive as well as just plain fun.

MV5BMTg2NjI2MTMzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTcwODIwNjE@._V1._CR80,50,1280,1800_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_3) Jemaine Clement (of Flight of the Conchords and What We Do in the Shadows fame) has a new movie, available on Netflix, called People, Places, Things. I watched it last week and really enjoyed it. It’s a small indie romantic comedy about love, family, and divorce, with a very sweet heart. Funny and cute, but not saccharine, it’s a great pick if you’re in the mood for something lighter but not devoid of meaning.

Continue reading “Five Good Things for 11/30/2015”

Five Good Things for 11/19/2015

Five things I encountered today that were interesting, educational, beautiful, edifying or that I otherwise found to be…well, good. None of these are promotions and I do not receive any benefit from sharing them. I just like them.

Last night we went out to an amazing little restaurant called The Tin Angel and splurged. We got a bunch of small plates and an entree each and cocktails. So that’s our eating out budget for the next three months, but it was totally worth it. The highlights were the pork empanada with harissa sauce, the calamari with bread to dip in the juices, and the speck-wrapped shrimp. If you’re in the area, definitely go try The Tin Angel.  But for now, here are some less edible but still wonderful things for your day.

FIGA960H.png1) Like most of America, I will be seeing the final installment of the Hunger Games movies this weekend. I’m really excited for it. Cracked has a great, if poorly titled, article about themes in the movies: “6 Bizarre Messages You Didn’t Notice In ‘The Hunger Games'”. It really should be called “6 Ways Themes in Dystopian Science Fiction Have Changed Over Time and What It Can Tell Us About Our Collective Psyche”. Definitely worth a read if you’re a sci-fi and/or Hunger Games fan.

2) I love this Toys R Us commercial featuring a father and daughter bonding over Star Wars fandom. So cute, and so nice to see a store admit that girls like Star Wars. Like, a lot of us. Hopefully things like this will lead to more Star Wars female characters in toys and on merchandise, which is currently lacking.

Continue reading “Five Good Things for 11/19/2015”

Five Good Things for 11/16/2015

Five things I encountered today that were interesting, educational, beautiful, edifying or that I otherwise found to be…well, good. None of these are promotions and I do not receive any benefit from sharing them. I just like them.

This was a sad weekend for the world. Terror attacks in Lebanon, Iraq, and Paris that killed and injured hundreds, and since then scattered reports of acts of violence again innocent Muslims in other countries. Presidents Hollande’s declaration that France will wage a war of retaliation without pity made my blood run cold, as did the swift politicizing of the tragedy to promote everything from the pro-gun lobby to Islamophobia to banning refugees.

I fear the inevitable escalation by the West which will only made things worse for Muslims here and abroad, as well as for the rest of us. I don’t know what the answer is, but it’s not what we’ve been doing, that’s clear. I hope our leaders can find wisdom instead of vengeance and anger to carry us forward. I’m sorry for the solemn tone on a Monday morning, but there are still good things to be found in the world, big and little.

france+flag1) Although a few men did very awful things on Friday, many more people in Paris and beyond showed their kindness and courage amidst the tragedy. Here are a few stories, and I’m sure even more will be forthcoming.

Continue reading “Five Good Things for 11/16/2015”

Five Good Things for 11/5/2015

Five things I encountered today that were interesting, educational, beautiful, edifying or that I otherwise found to be…well, good. None of these are promotions and I do not receive any benefit from sharing them. I just like them.

4fabb1873570a6b1b4a1976fe1d33d1fToday is grey, rainy, cold, and slow at my job. It’s too early to start the weekend but I’m so over this work week. I’m really feeling Arthur Dent’s famous sentiment. Thankfully, I’ve got some great diversions to get us through this one.

Screen-Shot-2015-05-29-at-10.22.54-AM1) Okay, this is local news but I’m still excited and I think it’s relevant nationally. It looks like Salt Lake City has elected a new mayor, Jackie Biskupski, who is only the second woman to hold the position, and the first openly gay (and first single mother) mayor in our city’s history. Those of you who haven’t spent much time in SLC are probably shocked by this, but despite the often rightfully deserved conservative and bigoted reputation of the state of Utah, SLC actually is very welcoming to the LGBT community. And while I’m excited Jackie is making history here, outsiders will also be surprised to learn how little of a deal her orientation was in the campaign. I think that’s the best part of all – we didn’t elect a lesbian mayor, we elected a mayor who just happens to be a lesbian.

2) I feel totally vindicated by this Aeon Magazine article about how the indecisive often make better decisions that those who choose immediately. I’m notoriously indecisive and I always want more data to be sure I’m picking The Best Thing, whether it’s an entree or an apartment. The few times I have made a spur-of-the-moment decision on a big purchase (my last car and my last computer) I regretted it. So stop getting annoyed with me at restaurants, already!

Continue reading “Five Good Things for 11/5/2015”

Five Good Things for 10/22/2015

Five things I encountered today that were interesting, educational, beautiful, edifying or that I otherwise found to be…well, good. None of these are promotions and I do not receive any benefit from sharing them. I just like them.

Macronaria_scrubbed_enh1) Dinosaurs are cool, especially really gianormous ones. But how on earth did the massive sauropods get enough blood to their brains when their heads were tens of feet above their necks? A new article at Smithsonian Magazine online explains.

2) Do you love smutty romance, but hate that so much of it, particularly the most popular iteration (50 Shades of Grey), contains such damaging tropes and glorifies abusive relationship? Do you want a better reading alternative for your kink? Sure, we all do. The Mary Sue has a great interview with author Jenny Trout, whose work is steaming hot but also empowering, and subverts many of the negative messages so common in the genre. She also gives some great recommendation of her favs. Continue reading “Five Good Things for 10/22/2015”

Five Good Things for 10/19/2015

Five things I encountered today that were interesting, educational, beautiful, edifying or that I otherwise found to be…well, good. None of these are promotions and I do not receive any benefit from sharing them. I just like them.

rtlogo1) Looking for even more Halloween movies to get in the mood? Rotten Tomatoes has a great countdown of the 75 best-reviewed horror movies in history. I like that they include movies from all countries and eras, including silent classics. I’ve got some catching up to do!

2) Koko, the famous gorilla with a firm grasp of sign language, has turned 44 years old. As a present, she was given two kittens as companions. Her love of kittens is legendary, so lets hope these kitties give her many years of friendship. This video of her with them is quite literally the cutest thing ever.

img-thing3) Need a wand to complete your perfect Harry Potter Halloween costume? This Instructable has awesome details on how to make one from scratch using paper, a glue gun, and a few baubles. Cheap and impressive. Much better than spending $70 at Harry Potter World (sorry, Warner Bros). You could probably even put a unicorn hair in there, if you’ve got one.

4) It’s getting cold outside. Perhaps you need to knit up some hedgehog mittens to keep your fingers toasty? Any resemblance to John Watson is purely coincidental.

5) Looking for a webcomic featuring queer and gender non-binary characters and drawing on Celtic mythology? Look no further. Eth’s Skin is clever, beautifully drawn, and trope-destroying. Plus, selkies!