March 4, 2010

If you’re one of those people who says things like “I don’t care about skin colour! I don’t care if you’re black, yellow, green, blue, or purple!” …then you are an idiot and you should stop saying that, since I doubt you actually intend to sound condescending and dismissive, or to compare people’s real experiences of racism to the imaginary experiences of imaginary people in weird imaginary skin colours. As of tomorrow you have to stop saying it. But for the rest of today you can still say it, I guess, because today many people in India and the diaspora actually are green, blue, or purple.

It’s Holi, the Hindu festival of colour, and man is it ever beautiful.

Clicking the pics will take you to enlarged versions.
Full photoset of 20 gorgeous shots is here.
Thanks to Reub for the tip.

OKCupid blog – dispatches from the field of online dating

February 17, 2010

The OKCupid blog, you guys (OKC is an online dating site). Off the hook. A really interesting, statistically-supported, and very modern look at human sexual psychology.

Older women are very attractive, put-together, GGG, and overall dateable.
What types of photos are most compelling?.
How race affects success in online dating (ouch)

Man, this blog is fascinating.

Atlantic blogger extraordinaire Ta-Nehisi Coates rebuts OKC’s conclusions about black women being treated as undesirable in online dating.

Raised by a single mom

February 10, 2010

Meg is a med student in NYC whose blog is one of the highlights of the whole wide internet for me, usually because it’s really funny. The other day she wrote a particularly lovely, heartwarming, thought-provoking post about her work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit:

I say things that sound important at my job all the time:

We’ve found the mutation that is causing your child’s lung disease. I’ll need DNA from every living relative so we can see who else might be a carrier. I’m sorry. We still don’t know why your baby can’t breathe on her own.

Those are all important-sounding things. And they are, in fact, important things to the family and to the medical team, and there is a lot of science involved and research and papers and that is the reason I can say those words, and that is the reason people care about them.

But sometimes at my job, without anyone’s permission or direction, without any papers in hand or abbreviations or acronyms or any right except a self-imposed one, I say something that feels very, very important to me. It’s this:

It’s going to be okay. I was raised by a single mom, and I turned out just fine.

Go read the whole post, it’s so great. Then add her blog to your RSS feed and get ready for a great post every week or so.

Moff’s Law

January 9, 2010

On how critical thinking about art and pop culture is often stifled by idiots hollering “Caintchoo jus’ stop all this thinkin’ and jus’ ENJOY it??!!” (OMG U GUYZ REMEMBR WHEN DAT HAPPIND ON MAH BLOOG HEER? DAT SUKED SO HARD!!1!!!)

Well, here comes an excellent rant by an io9 contributor named Mott, responding to some turd who tried to shut down a pretty interesting critical conversation about Avatar. The rant is reproduced under the jump here. It’s the best. I’m excited that this has been written.

Via Racialicious.

Read the rest of this entry »

HP Computers don’t recognize black people

December 21, 2009

Thanks to Marjorie for the tip.

Toenails removed: a distance runner’s gory sacrifice

October 22, 2009

toenail removed

Ultramarathoners are people who run for like 19 hours at a time. I have another word for people who do this, and that word is “TIRED”. But these people exist, and as you might imagine, they have hella sore feet. Their toes pound up against the front of their shoes, and the nails hurt and get all ingrown and skanky and stuff. So… some of them have their toenails surgically pulled off and then the nail beds chemically burned so the nails won’t ever grow back. GAH.

Here’s an awesome/gross photogallery of one woman’s toenail removal. I love her for being so into this; I would have done exactly the same thing. Except without the “removing my toenails” part. Listen, pals. I really love my weekly dodgeball games, but if I ever start talking about surgically improving my gameplay, you guys have my permission to grab my shoulders firmly and shake vigorously.
Via Metafilter.

The Caster Semenya story made me wonder about gender* testing.

September 6, 2009


Caster Semenya is a record-breaking South African sprinter whose times are so crazy good that the opponents she smoked last month claim that her muscular physique and lack of lipstick are indicators that she’s secretly male.

I’ve been following this story with interest, because I think Semenya’s case raises some discussion-worthy equity implications (1, 2, 3, to name a few). And no matter what the ruling is regarding the sport’s determination of her biological sex, the whole issue is being spectacularly mishandled.

Anyway, here’s a fabulous roundup of the history and procedures surrounding gender testing in sports. Turns out sex-verification is more complex than it sounds, and here’s an interactive quiz where you get to examine, test, and then ascribe a sex designation to a fictional, virtual athlete.

* PS, the scientist in me hates using the word “gender” (a sociological term) where I should be using the word “sex” (a biological term). But it doesn’t sound right to say “sex-testing”, that sounds kind of… like… what kind of tests are we doing, exactly, and who’s doing the grading? I’m just saying.

PPS, Whatever. I pretty much conked the scientist in me over the head with a liberal dose of theatre school and a lifetime of snacking on artificial cheez products which are not technically food at all, so her complaints are quite faint.