The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly talks about her favourite things in New York City.
Centauri Dreams features an essay by Nick Nielsen arguing in favour of manned spaceflight.
The Dragon’s Gaze notes the unusual chemical composition of the debris disk of HD 34700.
The Dragon’s Tales notes Finland’s interest in a guaranteed minimum income.
Language Log notes the complexities of Wenzhou dialect.
Languages of the World shares an old post on the Roma and their language.
Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that prison rape in the United States is a real thing.
pollotenchegglooks at birth rate trends in Ukraine over 2013-2015.
Savage Minds notes the difficulties of life as an anthropologist.
Torontoist notes a dance festival in Seaton Village.
Towleroad notes the Illinois ban on gay conversion therapy.
Transit Toronto looks at the TTC’s service in the time of the Canadian National Exhibition.
Window on Eurasia looks at a Ukrainian nationalist criticism of Ukrainian policy after independence, and suggests that fear of a Russian nationalist backlash might lead to a Russian annexation of Donbas.
blogTO notes that Union Station’s old GO concourse is going to be under construction for the next two years.
The Dragon’s Gaze links to papers on hunting for large-scale artifacts like Dyson spheres, searches for signatures of self-destructive civilizations, and speculation on how to discover Kardashev III civilizations.
Languages of the World reports on Google’s ability to translate Russian sentences.
Language Log reports on one woman who can correlate the languages she reads in and the content to her health.
Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the importance of Confederate memorials.
Marginal Revolution discusses the stagnation of the economy of Japan.
Savage Minds reports on an anthropology conference in Papua New Guinea.
Transit Toronto describes how this summer’s adaptation of transit to the Pan Am/Parapan games is fading out.
The Volokh Conspiracy notes how a ridiculous lawsuit intended to make Yelp pay contributors was dismissed.
The Way The Future Blogs reports that Frederik Pohl’s Gateway series is being adapted to television.
Why I Love Toronto reports on local Toronto-area craftsmakers.
Window on Eurasia notes that Russia’s economic decline is leading to dropping numbers of Muslim pilgrims, and looks at the relationship between Russia and the Donbas republics.
New York‘s Jesse Singal has an extended NSFW interview with Jane Ward, author of the upcoming book Not Gay: Sex between Straight White Men. In this book, Ward seems to make the argument that self-identified straight man who have gay sex are not necessarily in the closet, whether about being gay or bisexual, but that they actually are straight. They just don’t think of what they’re doing as sexual, necessarily. Further into the interview, Ward makes some unsettling observations, suggesting that sexuality can be based on repulsion as much as attraction.
I’ll be keeping my eyes out for this book.
There does seem to be this idea that women can do it without being seen as gay, while with men, either there’s some explanation that can explain it, or they’re gay and just don’t realize or won’t acknowledge it.
Right, and it’s not just sort of conventional wisdom or conservative ideology that teaches that. I think there’s been a lot of sexological and psychological research suggesting that men’s sexuality is more rigid than women’s and that women are inherently more sexually fluid. And what I argue in the book is that even that research is situated within some long-held beliefs about the fundamental difference between men and women that are not accurate from a feminist perspective. It’s interesting, because if you look at this belief that women’s sexuality is more receptive — it’s more fluid, it’s triggered by external stimuli, that women have the capacity to be sort of aroused by anything and everything — it really just reinforces what we want to believe about women, which is that women are always sexually available people.
With men, on the other hand, the idea that they have this hardwired heterosexual impulse to spread their seed and that that’s relatively inflexible, also kind of reinforces the party line about heteronormativity and also frankly, patriarchy. So one selling point for me in the book was to think about, Why are we telling this really different story about women’s sexuality?
You take readers on sort of a 20th-century American tour of heterosexual dabbling in homosexual behavior, and there was never a lack of evidence that such dabbling took place. You write about homosexual activity within biker gangs, for example — one Hell’s Angel, enthusiastically describing having gay sex for cash, memorably told Hunter S. Thompson, “Shit, man, the day they call me queer is when I let one of these faggos suck on me for less than a tenner.” This stuff was sort of always going in all sorts of different situations and cultural contexts, right?
Right, exactly, but what’s interesting about all of those accounts is that because we’re so committed to this narrative that men’s sexuality is bound by biology and can only be shifted somehow by the most extreme circumstances, the authors of those various accounts always seem to come to the conclusion that it was the very unique and particular circumstances of that context that account for why heterosexual men would act homosexually.
So if it was in prisons it was like, Well, this would only happen in prison because there are no women available, and that’s how we would explain this. And people who looked at the military would say, This would only happen in the military, but no one who was looking at prisons or the military was also looking at what was happening in bathrooms or bars or living rooms or in biker gangs or all of the other contexts where, frankly, those constraints aren’t in place. And yet despite lacking any pressing reason to do so, men are still manufacturing reasons to touch each other’s anuses. So that was one of the guiding questions through the book: What happens when we pull all of this evidence together? What might we glean about straight men’s sexuality?
The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper considering habitable exoplanets around nearby red dwarf stars, defends the potential existence of exoplanets at Kapteyn’s Star, and looks at the Epsilon Eridani system.
The Dragon’s Tales notes that a second Scottish referendum on independence is possible, according to Alex Salmond.
Joe. My. God. notes that Mormons are unhappy with the Scouts’ gay-friendly shift.
Language Hat considers the history of family name usage in Russia.
Languages of the World examines intwo posts the argument that primitive peoples have simple languages.
Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the strategies of Spanish populist group Podemos.
Peter Watts considers the peculiar thing of people lacking large chunks of the brain who nonetheless seem normal.
Diane Duane, at Out of Ambit, is quite unhappy with an impending forced upgrade to Windows 10.
Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes how labour-saving technologies improved the lives of women.
The Planetary Society Blog considers proposals to explore small solar system bodies.
The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer considers what would happen if Bernie Sanders won the nomination of the Democratic Party.
The Russian Demographics Blog links to statistics on the population of Abu Dhabi.
Window on Eurasia notes the depopulation of South Ossetia and looks at the Russian Orthodox Church’s hostility to Ukraine’s Uniate Catholics.
Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes that although Labour apparently did a good job of convincing potential voters it was right, it did a worse job of getting them to vote.
The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly looks forward to her impending visit to Maine.
Centauri Dreams features an essay by Michael A.G. Michaud looking at modern SETI.
Crooked Timber finds that even the style of the New York intellectuals of the mid-20th century is lacking.
The Dragon’s Gaze notes that a search for superjovians around two nearby brown dwarfs has failed.
The Dragon’s Tales considers the flowing nitrogen ice of Pluto.
Geocurrents compares Chile’s Aysén region to the Pacific Northwest.
Joe. My. God. shares the new Janet Jackson single, “No Sleeep”.
Language Log looks at misleading similarities between Chinese and Japanese words as written.
Lawyers, Guns and Money argues that the low-wage southern economy dates back to slavery.
Marginal Revolution is critical of rent control in Stockholm and observes the negative long-term consequences of serfdom in the former Russian Empire.
The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes how Jamaica is tearing down illegal electrical connections.
Savage Minds considers death in the era of Facebook.
Towleroad looks at how the Taipei city government is petitioning the Taiwanese high court to institute same-sex marriage.
The Volokh Conspiracy argues restrictive zoning hurts the poor.
Window on Eurasia looks at how Tatarstan bargains with Moscow, looks at Crimean deprivation and quiet resistance, considers Kazakh immigration to Kazakhstan, and argues Russian nationalist radicals might undermine Russia itself.