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 12/01/2015

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.

I am in denial about it being the first of December. Partially because I’m still in denial about it being 2015, much less nearly 2016. But there’s no denying the holiday season is in full swing now. May your December be merry and bright… or at least a booze and sugar-fueled approximation thereof.

1) SyFy has posted the first episode of their upcoming science ficton series set in actual space, for free online. The Expanse is set in the future, when the Asteroid Belt has been colonized and an investigation into the mysterious disappearance of a young heiress sets off a series of events that will “change humanity”. I have not watched this yet, but it’s great they’ve posted it for free, the trailer looks good and it’s nice to see a hard sci-fi show making a debut on the once-eponymous channel. Let me know what you think!

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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.

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Five Good Things for 11/18/2015

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.

I can’t believe we’re nearly halfway through the week. I feel like I’ve spent most of it so far being anxious about one thing or another. Hopefully the second half of this week will be calmer. Here are some things to take your mind off whatever is stressing you out this week.

albert-einstein-messenger-portrait1) The Atlantic has a great history of science article on how Einstein’s Theory of Relativity came to be accepted. The story  also goes to the broader point of how bias in science can stall progress for decades. Scientists are just as vulnerable as anyone else to bias, and if you’re working off the wrong set of assumptions, you’re gonna get the wrong answer. Which, I think, is something we could all do to remember.

ArmedAndSexyLeia-OfficialPix2) “Can We Talk About Why We Really Love Princess Leia?” is a great little essay on the true strength and allure of Leia Organa. Despite in some ways falling into a very traditional mythological role in the original trilogy, she’s really a subversive figure, and even more so in the Expanded Universe. I hope some of our new lady characters in the upcoming films can carry on her legacy.

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Five Good Things for 11/11/2015

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.

I know I’ve been sparse with the regular content this week, but I hope to have a few things up later. Work’s been crazy but at least I’m off today so I can stop writing boring technical papers and start writing fun blog posts. Man, I need to find something to do that doesn’t involve sitting in front of a computer.

Women_Vets_Served1) Today is Veteran’s Day, which is why I’m not at work. For most of us, it’s just a day off work (if that), but I think it’s important to at least take a sec to remember the people who fought in wars on our behalf and who keep us safe in peacetime. However you feel about the military or about any particular war, I think we can all agree that those who have served deserve respect and help they don’t often get. I’d like to bring attention to our woman veterans, particularly, who face unique challenges and often don’t have support services tailored to their needs. There have always been woman veterans but today there are more women than ever who are dealing with the aftermath of combat. A great program that help woman veterans is Final Salute, and I encourage you to visit their website, learn about the issues woman veterans face, and donate.

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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!

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Five Good Things for 11/4/2015

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.

Well, the warm season is officially over where I live. We had an unusually mild fall, with nearly every day in the high sixties or seventies, but as of five minutes ago, the extended summer is officially over. I picked the last of the tomatoes just in time for tonight’s frost and I don’t expect to see 60 again until spring. How’s the fall weather treating you all?

79971) Possibly the best movie of 2015, Pixar’s Inside Out, came out on DVD/BluRay yesterday. It’s sweet, funny, and if you have a child or ever were a child, pretty much guaranteed to make you cry. I can’t think of another movie that really deal with the complex emotions of any person so well, much less one that focused on those of a tween girl in such an empowering way. A good movie and an important one. And if you’re wondering how the five basic emotions portrayed in the movie might combine to form more complex feelings, Vox has this handy chart!

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