Sometime between April 27th and May 17th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

  • The Case of the Stolen Source Code: Last week, for about three days, the macOS video transcoding app HandBrake was compromised. One of the two download servers for HandBrake was serving up a special malware-infested version of the app, that, when launched, would essentially give hackers remote control of your computer. // In a case of extraordinarily bad luck, even for a guy that has a lot of bad computer luck, I happened to download HandBrake in that three day window, and my work Mac got pwned. // Long story short, somebody, somewhere, now has quite a bit of source code to several of our apps.
  • JSON Feed: Announcing JSON Feed: We — Manton Reece and Brent Simmons — have noticed that JSON has become the developers’ choice for APIs, and that developers will often go out of their way to avoid XML. JSON is simpler to read and write, and it’s less prone to bugs. So we developed JSON Feed, a format similar to RSS and Atom but in JSON. It reflects the lessons learned from our years of work reading and publishing feeds.
  • Let’s discuss the Linguistic & Pragmatic use of the [“N-word”]: No matter what your intentions, the word WILL mean something different depending on your relative status. Language is circumstancial.
  • The neural network writes the episode list for next season’s Dr. Who: I’ve trained this open-source neural network framework on a variety of datasets, including recipes, Pokemon, knock-knock jokes, pick up lines, and D&D spells. Now I give you: training a neural network on the complete list of Dr. Who episodes.
  • What we really need is an adaptation of the original 1740 The Beauty and the Beast: So were you aware that the The Beauty and the Beast story we all know is a heavily abridged and rewritten version of a much longer novella by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve?  And that a lot of the plot holes existing in the current versions exist because the 1756 rewrite cut out the second half of the novella, which consisted entirely of the elaborate backstory that explains all the weird shit that happened before?  And that the elaborate backstory is presented in a way that’s kind of boring because the novel had only just been invented in 1740 and no one knew how they worked yet, but contains a bazillion awesome ideas that beg for a modern retelling?  And that you are probably not aware that the modern world needs this story like air but the modern world absolutely needs this story like air?

Sometime between April 16th and April 19th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

  • The Heart of Whiteness: Ijeoma Oluo Interviews Rachel Dolezal, the White Woman Who Identifies as Black: Dolezal is simply a white woman who cannot help but center herself in all that she does—including her fight for racial justice. And if racial justice doesn't center her, she will redefine race itself in order to make that happen.
  • Volunteers, Professionals, and Who Gets to Have Fun at Cons: If your fun is dependent using your status as a volunteer as an excuse to not act responsibly, if it requires victims to stay quiet about mistreatment: then it’s not really a fun time for “everyone” is it? It’s not the expectation of professionalism that’s killing the fun at cons, it’s the lack of it.
  • Time to Fix the Missing Stair: It’s time to stop pretending the missing stair doesn’t need to be fixed. Relying on word-of-mouth means that the people who are new, who are just entering, are the ones most at risk of trying to step on it.
  • seriously, the guy has a point: A global investment firm has used a global advertising firm to create a faux work of guerrilla art to subvert and change the meaning of his actual work of guerrilla art. That would piss off any artist.
  • Westboro Wannabes Picket Norwescon: Thank you for proving, by your actions, the value that Norwescon (and all such fan-run conventions) have in this world. Thank you for proving that we can’t be bullied. You gave us all a teachable moment, and we learned something about ourselves.

Sometime between March 31st and April 2nd, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

  • Rosie’s Phenomenal Precision Insult Machine!: Don't reach for those old, tired gendered, ableist, or otherwise lazy and harmful insults. Trust the machine to help you find the perfect, targeted insult for your specific needs! (Does not contain gendered- genital-based insults, sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, dis-ableism, body-shaming, slut-shaming. May contain peanuts.)
  • Joss Whedon’s obsession is not feminism: The problem is that at some point in his career, Joss became so intent on the masochistic fantasy of being hated by strong women for being a nerd that he spent a decade writing stories about violating those women to ensure they would hate him.
  • Of dwarves and gender: So one day a dwarf is talking to a human and finally realizes that when humans say woman, they generally mean “person who is theoretically capable of childbirth” because for whatever reason, humans assign social expectations based genital differences.
  • On Wm. Golding’s Lord of the Flies: Basically all the good Golding scholars agree that Lord of the Flies is intended as a condemnation specifically of western positivism and superiority, not a condemnation of human nature.  Golding believed that good societies were possible, but that he was not living in one.
  • What’s Wrong With Using The Word “Gypsy?”: TL;DR: It's racist. Here is a list of myths and realities about the Romani/Roma people.

Obviously, a list like this one is subject to a lot of debate due to everyone’s personal taste. Still, it’s not a bad list of works. Herewith, in true blog-meme style, the list, with those that I’ve read in bold. 35 out of 100. Not bad, but could be better!

(Note: Though this list is numbered 1-100, it should be read as being 100-1. That is, the #100 spot on this list is the #1 spot on the original list. Just a side effect of the HTML list that I don’t feel like trying to hack around.)

  1. The Word For World Is Forest by Ursula K. LeGuin
  2. Sorcerer’s Son by Phyllis Eisenstein
  3. Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
  4. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
  5. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
  6. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  7. The Company by K.J. Parker
  8. An Evil Guest by Gene Wolfe
  9. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
  10. Danny, The Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
  11. Camp Concentration by Thomas Disch
  12. Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner
  13. Song of Kali by Dan Simmons
  14. Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
  15. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller
  16. Sphere by Michael Crichton
  17. Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin
  18. The Alteration by Kingsley Amis
  19. The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
  20. The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
  21. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  22. Griffin’s Egg by Michael Swanwick
  23. Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
  24. Free Live Free by Gene Wolfe
  25. Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
  26. Ringworld by Larry Niven
  27. Schismatrix by Bruce Sterling
  28. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
  29. Maske: Thaery by Jack Vance
  30. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  31. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  32. Flow My Tears The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick
  33. The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov
  34. The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
  35. The High Crusade by Poul Anderson
  36. A Song for Lya by George R.R. Martin
  37. At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft
  38. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  39. Wildlife by James Patrick Kelly
  40. The Book of Knights by Yves Maynard
  41. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (Well, I made it up to book six or seven, then decided to wait until he was dead or the series was finished, since there was no end in sight. Now he’s dead, and I’m just waiting for the last book to appear in paperback before starting over.)
  42. Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman
  43. Nightwings by Robert Silverberg
  44. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  45. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
  46. Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
  47. The Book of the Short Sun by Gene Wolfe
  48. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
  49. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
  50. The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
  51. The Wizard Knight by Gene Wolfe
  52. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  53. The Demon Princes by Jack Vance
  54. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  55. The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson
  56. Alastor by Jack Vance
  57. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
  58. Flatland by Edwin Abbott
  59. Farmer in the Sky by Robert Heinlein
  60. A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick
  61. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  62. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  63. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
  64. Lyonesse by Jack Vance
  65. Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein
  66. True Names by Vernor Vinge
  67. Ubik by Philip K. Dick
  68. The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons
  69. Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert Heinlein
  70. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  71. A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge
  72. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
  73. More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
  74. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  75. 1984 by George Orwell
  76. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
  77. The Cadwal Chronicles by Jack Vance
  78. Lost Horizon by James Hilton
  79. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  80. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  81. The Fifth Head of Cerebus by Gene Wolfe
  82. A Song of Ice And Fire by George R.R. Martin
  83. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
  84. The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay
  85. The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  86. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
  87. All My Sins Remembered by Joe Haldeman
  88. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  89. Planet of Adventure by Jack Vance
  90. Dune by Frank Herbert
  91. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  92. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
  93. The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
  94. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  95. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  96. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
  97. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin
  98. The Dying Earth by Jack Vance
  99. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
  100. The Book of the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe