A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘relationships

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at the evidence for the massive collision that left exoplanet Kepler 107c an astoundingly dense body.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly tells her readers the secrets of the success of her relationship with her husband, Jose.
  • Centauri Dreams notes what the New Horizons probe has found out, of Ultima Thule and of Pluto, by looking back.
  • The Crux shares the obituaries of scientists from NASA for the Opportunity rover.
  • D-Brief reports that NASA has declared the Opportunity rover’s mission officially complete.
  • Dead Things introduces its readers to Mnyamawamtuka, a titanosaur from Tanzania a hundred million years ago.
  • Drew Ex Machina shares a stunning photo of Tropical Cyclone Gita, taken from the ISS in 2018.
  • Far Outliers notes how the Indian Army helped save the British army’s positions from collapse in the fall of 1914.
  • Joe. My. God. notes a Christian group in the United States trying to encourage a boycott of supposedly leftist candy manufacturers like Hershey’s.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at why covenant marriage failed to become popular.
  • Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns and Money explains the hatred for new Congressperson Ilham Omar.
  • The Planetary Society Blog links to ten interesting podcasts relating to exploration, of Earth and of space.
  • Drew Rowsome interviews Tobias Herzberg about Feygele, his show in the Rhubarb festival at Buddies in Bad Times.
  • Frank Jacobs at Strange Maps looks at the evidence, presented by (among others) Geneviève von Petzinger, suggesting that forty thousand years ago cave artists around the world may have shared a common language of symbols.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that the policies of Putin are contributing to a growing sense of nationalism in Belarus.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • The Crux notes the discovery of a second impact crater in Greenland, hidden under the ice.
  • D-Brief notes new evidence that ancient Celts did, in fact, decapitate their enemies and preserve their heads.
  • Far Outliers notes how Pakhtun soldier Ayub Khan, in 1914-1915, engaged in some cunning espionage for the British Empire on the Western Front.
  • Kashmir Hill at Gizmodo notes how cutting out the big five tech giants for one week–Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft–made it almost impossible for her to carry on her life.
  • Hornet Stories notes that, unsurprisingly, LGBTQ couples are much more likely to have met online that their heterosexual counterparts.
  • At In Media Res, Russell Arben Fox imagines Elizabeth Warren giving a speech that touches sensitively and intelligently on her former beliefs in her Cherokee ancestry.
  • Mónica Belevan at the Island Review writes, directly and allegorically, about the Galapagos Islands and her family and Darwin.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at the economics of the romance novel.
  • Language Hat notes the Mandombe script creating by the Kimbanguist movement in Congo.
  • Harry Stopes at the LRB Blog notes the problem with Greater Manchester Police making homeless people a subject of concern.
  • Ferguson activists, the NYR Daily notes, are being worn down by their protests.
  • Roads and Kingdoms lists some things visitors to the Uzbekistan capital of Tashkent should keep in mind.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel makes a case for supersymmetry being a failed prediction.
  • Towleroad notes the near-complete exclusion of LGBTQ subjects and themes from schools ordered by Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro.
  • Window on Eurasia notes a somewhat alarmist take on Central Asian immigrant neighbourhoods in Moscow.
  • Arnold Zwicky takes a look at the Kurds, their history, and his complicated sympathy for their concerns.

[NEWS] Five LGBTQ links: monogamy study, The Ritz, Toronto police, safe dating, Inkollo

  • A viral study claiming young gay men overwhelmingly prefer monogamy turns out to have used very poor data-gathering techniques. Slate reports.
  • Drew Rowsome takes a look at The Ritz, a 1977 mainstream film that made use of gay culture and bathhouses. How does it read nowadays?
  • The Toronto Police Service has made an application to Pride Toronto to walk, as a contingent, in this year’s parade. This year may not be the best year for that. CBC reports.
  • This safe date app designed for queer men of colour by a Toronto group is timely. It’s just sad that it’s needed. NOW Toronto reports.
  • Hornet Stories links to the online art, at Instagram, of gay comics artist Inkollo.

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: U Pass, #ossingtonbae, Hotel X, marijuana, TTC fraud

  • A poster put up by a man who wanted to reconnect with another guy he saw at Ossington station has gone viral. This has the potential to be quite a cute story, I’d say. blogTO reports.
  • The TTC has approved the creation of a new monthly pass program for post-secondary students, subject to approval at different universities and colleges in the city. The Toronto Star reports.
  • Hotel X, at Exhibition Place, is now open for business. Good news that it’s finally open, but bad news that such an ugly tower still mars the area’s skyline. blogTO reports.
  • NOW Toronto’s Samantha Edwards notes the strong possibility that marijuana smoking will be prohibited in condos come legalization. This makes sense: why wouldn’t marijuana smoking be treated like tobacco smoking?
  • Toronto Life reports on a massive fraud case involving TTC workers submitting fraudulent claims for orthotics. As described, I can almost believe that some of the hundreds of workers who fired did not quite know that what they were doing was fraud.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Kambiz at Anthropology.net notes evidence that Neanderthals in Italy used fire to shape digging sticks 170 thousand years ago.
  • Missing persons blog Charley Ross reminds online commentators to be careful and reasonable in their speculations online, if only because these last forever.
  • D-Brief notes a new study of the TRAPPIST-1 system suggesting that its outermost planets, in the circumstellar habitable zone, are so low density that they must have abundant volatiles. Water is the most likely candidate.
  • Hornet Stories introduces readers to the impressive photography of New York City’s Peter Hujar.
  • At In Media Res, Russell Arben Fox meditates on the issues of friendship in the contemporary world.
  • Joe. My. God. shares representative Tammy Duckworth’s mockery of the authoritarian Donald Trump, aka “Cadet Bone Spurs”.
  • JSTOR Daily notes the continuing importance of the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
  • The Map Room Blog notes that someone has made cute maps of seven solar system worlds for children.
  • Marginal Revolution links to an article looking at how some of the schoolgirls abducted in Nigeria by Boko Haram are doing.
  • The NYR Daily engages with “Soul of a Nation”, a touring exhibit of African-American art in the era of Black Power.
  • The Planetary Society Blog reports from the scene of the impending Falcon Heavy launch, sharing photos.
  • Towleroad notes a South African church that not only beats its queer parishoners but fines them, too.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests</u. Western sanctions could hinder the Russian development of its Arctic presence.

[NEWS] Four links on relationships,sexuality: Brooklyn drag, Tom of Finland, bromance, online dating

  • VICE suggests that drag in Brooklyn is having a big creative moment.
  • This interview with the director of the Tom of Finland biopic sounds like he has grasped the issues.
  • LiveScience tells of a formal study suggesting heterosexual guys prefer bromances to straight relationships … huh.
  • Does online dating have the ability to transform society, by making all kinds of unexpected links across boundaries? Technology Review reports.

[LINK] “Meet the 4 Most Desired People in New York (According to OKCupid)”

Logan Hill‘s recent New York Magazine article examining the most popular OkCupid is an interesting read. How do these people–by extension, every user–be so successful? The strategies they describe are interesting.

Hill’s evenhandedness is also appreciated, as the four people are picked from specific gender/sexual orientation demographics (gay male, et cetera).

I found [Lauren Urasek] after a conversation with ­OKCupid­ co-founder Christian Rudder, who famously crunched the site’s user data on the blog ­OKTrends­ and sold a book based on it, Dataclysm, for seven figures. In New York, online dating is practically a municipal utility, connecting millions of strangers. To find out how some people manage to stand apart from the masses, and how it feels to be so desired, I asked Rudder to introduce me to the most popular OKCupid daters in the city in four categories—straight and gay women and straight and gay men.

Rudder analyzed the data from a one-week period in January and used a simple methodology: finding the users who receive the most messages from potential suitors. The four people selected wouldn’t necessarily claim to be the wealthiest, most stunning or successful singles, but, out of 400,000 annual citywide users on the site, they were among the top five in their respective categories and, perhaps less scientifically, were the four who were also willing to be interviewed for a story.

Lauren received 245 messages in that one-week period. While she was surprised to find that she is the most sought-after straight woman, she doesn’t think guys are complicated. “I’m not a stuck-up girl, but I think looks are No. 1 for everyone,” she says. As a makeup artist, Lauren spends her days at photo shoots and knows what makes a good picture. “I believe in a head-to-toe shot to show what you look like,” she says. “But you don’t need to have your ass hanging out!”

She thinks it helps that her profile reflects her idiosyncratic interest in astronomy: She has a moon and a planet tattooed on her knuckles; she quotes a physicist and links out to NASA.gov. “Even if an amazingly attractive girl said something stupid in their profile, she’ll still get messages,” she says. “So I feel like I’m intelligent and people think I look good, so I guess it’s as simple as that?”

It doesn’t hurt that Lauren, after getting out of a four-year relationship with a “pathological liar” who had a drug problem, isn’t necessarily looking for anything serious. So, in OKCupid’s searchable “I’m looking for …” section, she, like most women, selected “long-term dating,” “short-term dating,” and “new friends.” Unlike most women, she also selected “casual sex,” figuring she might as well tell the truth.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 22, 2014 at 3:59 am

[LINK] Two links on online dating for women

Xtra!s Jeremy Feist linked to an interview with the founder of lesbian dating app Dattch, Robyn Exton, wherein she talked about how the network risked being swamped by straight men joining under false pretenses.

Exton says that gay women tend to use Internet dating a lot more than heterosexual women because it’s harder to meet other gay women, but that the experience is never quite right. “It works in the sense that you can chat to other people and maybe go on the odd date but they were all faulted quite seriously in a number of different ways,” she says. “I was interested in programming personally and I’d done the dating stuff before, I’d looked at doing other dating apps and I thought this is it, this is the one.

“When we started it, there was the problem of helping women find other women they fancy or could go on a date with, but the biggest problem was the number of guys who create profiles on lesbian sites,” Exton explained. “They are full of fake profiles and no one’s taking the time to go in and make sure it is a genuine profile. A lot of the previous lesbian sites were just add-ons”.

Exton says that many of the current lesbian dating sites are an extension of sites originally created for gay men and that this doesn’t serve the intended community.

The idea of men making fake profiles to browse a lesbian site might sound spurious but Exton has been surprised at the rate and extent to which this happens. “Daily, we have about five guys registering for an invite and it’s unsubstantiated but the emails have a guy’s name on them. We’ve seen fake Facebook accounts set up to try and get invites. You’ll see they set up an account yesterday, have no friends but they like Dattch and something like ‘Lesbian and bi girlies of London’. It’s amazing. The fact that people will go to that extent to try and check out gay women or convert them or meet up with them.”

Dattch currently verifies profiles manually, so each person is checked out at least to make sure they are female. From here, profiles will be linked to Facebook to see if applicants are women and if their profiles are well established.

I agree with Jeremy Feist that this sort of thing is rather unfair to the people who will actually use the site, who–I imagine–might want to meet people who actually exist, not people who create completely false identities for their own problematic purposes. The whole thing reminded me of Ann Friedman’s article in The New Yorker, “Overwhelmed and Creeped Out”, wherein she complained that effective dating apps and sites for women, created from the perspective of women who might want some control, are only beginning to appear.

From the Web-based heavy hitters like OkCupid, eHarmony, and Plenty of Fish on down to newer apps like Skout, How About We, and MeetMoi, they’re all developed by men. This might not seem like a big deal, until you consider one read on why Grindr has been so successful: the app has a “for us by us” appeal to gay men. But when it comes to heterosexual-dating technology, all-male co-founders represent the wants and needs of only half of their target audience. Sure, they can try to focus-group their way out of the problem, but if an app for “straight” people is to get anywhere close to Grindr’s level of success, women have to not just join out of curiosity. They have to actually use it.

Men are slightly overrepresented among dating-service users, according to a 2010 Duke University study, and when it comes to apps, men tend to be more willing to use location-based dating features. On either platform, they’re far more likely to use the services aggressively. A Northwestern University study found that men viewed more than three times as many profiles as women and were about forty per cent more likely than women to send a message or chat after viewing a profile. “The most desirable partners, especially the most desirable women, are likely to find the process of sifting through so many first-contact e-mails aversive, perhaps causing them to disengage from the process altogether,” the researchers write. They call this “the deluge problem.”

Both Web entrepreneurs and armchair sociologists will tell you that women are different. Despite our commitment to baseline feminist ideals, most of us don’t like to be relationship aggressors. We prefer to meet someone in person, not just browse pics of his pecs. We respond to emotional cues and pheromones and all sorts of subtle factors. But what if that isn’t entirely true? What if women are just as open to spontaneously meeting a man for a drink—and maybe more? After all, in a survey of a hundred thousand OkCupid users, over half the women said they’ve had casual sex. Women may initiate contact less frequently, but they are comfortable reaching out first if they see a profile that appeals to them. Maybe the real failure is that no one has built an app that women want to use.

[. . .]

So what do women want? If you look at the precious few dating sites and apps with female founders, a pattern emerges: women want authenticity, privacy, a more controlled environment, and a quick path to a safe, easy offline meeting. Coffee Meets Bagel, which is both an app and a Web site founded by three sisters, sends you a match and then sets a deadline by which you have to either “like” or “pass.” If you get a mutual “like,” you’re instantly connected to your match via text message (without the other person seeing your real phone number). You can choose to be shown only friends-of-friends through Coffee Meets Bagel by connecting the service to your Facebook account, or you can choose to keep it private and anonymous.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 12, 2013 at 3:31 am

[FORUM] How do you interact with people on social networking sites?

Torontoist writer David Topping’s suggestion, after reading an article featuring a chart demonstrating that going on a trip to IKEA is worth a handjob at market prices, Toronto-area eye weekly is losing track of the big picture and becoming the forum for a collection of people writing personal essays, rings true to me. Certainly I confirmed that opinion after I read Chander Levack’s front page article in the latest eye weekly, “Why I Committed Facebook Suicide: killing yourself to live,” wherein Levack describes how Facebook became just too much for her (“I had 1,223 friends on Facebook, status updates everyone “liked” and the sneaking suspicion I was losing my real self to my more perfect profile. This week, I said goodbye to all that”).

Levack’s article baffles me, frankly.

You see, on Facebook I have 1,223 friends (two recently deleted and five hidden), who are constantly inviting me to ’60s dance parties, Toronto public space meetings and indie-rock concerts in abandoned factories. People “like” me — at least they say they do. They instantly respond to my thoughts and feelings about the world: a link to a Nirvana B-side, a quip about Kensington Market veganism, ruminations on what I’ll eat for dinner (though it will mostly likely be frozen peas). On the internet, I’m popular.

Recently, though, I’ve noticed that logging on makes me break into a cold sweat, as if I could never measure up to the persona I’ve created. The nagging red notifications rack up as I post covert messages to be deconstructed, stymied by the responsibility of portraying myself the way I want to be seen. I want to be “liked,” and so I post Kids In The Hall sketches at three in the morning. But if you ignore me I will crumble, unsure of my place in the world wide web.

I spoke to a psychologist, who said that even Howard Stern suffers from social anxiety disorder, but my reliance on Facebook has nothing to do with how I function in the real world. It’s just that I prefer the website’s controlled amicability to the tenuous nature of real relationships. At my lowest points (the headache and signature eye burn that proves that you have Facebooked too hard and too long, frittering away time examining the photos of your third cousin’s boyfriend’s Birthright trip), I flirt with the idea of suicide. Not real suicide, which contrary to the M*A*S*H* theme song, is not painless, but the idea of permanently deleting my profile. Facebook suicide.

It gets better. Does she have any idea what she wants out of Facebook, I wonder?

This week’s Facebook drama — new “privacy” controls that will effectively make even private information public to corporations — draws criticism, yet the website will prevail. I have more faith in Facebook than any other institution in society, because unlike religion and the government, your friends will never let you down.

Clicking through profiles in a somnambulistic haze, I came to realize that I couldn’t see the point of interacting with people in real life anymore, because I already knew everything about them. Better yet, it was what they wanted me to know, mediated by friendly wall-to-wall contact. My Facebook profile was cooler than me anyway.

And the best part is her concluding paragraph.

I logged out of the site and looked at my blue-and-white burial ground, feeling resolved to spend more time communicating with my friends. Had I just killed myself to live? I’m not sure yet. Follow me on Twitter and I’ll let you know how it’s going.

No to Facebook, yes to Twitter? You can find her at @clevack, if you want. I don’t, since I’m terribly afraid that any conversation with her would implode.

Where to begin?

Let’s start with a personal census. Here on Livejournal I’ve 264 friends on Livejournal of which 245 are mutually reciprocated. This friends list overlaps substantially with my 262 Facebook friends. Both of these lists overlap nearly entirely with the list 49 contacts I’ve named on Flickr. My three YouTube contacts are all on Livejournal and Facebook. E-mail’s a huge sprawling thing I won’t tackle here. As for the wider blogosphere, while I’ve RSS feeds to three dozen blogs and interact to one degree or another with most of them, there’s only a relatively weak overlap with my Facebook friends and I’ve no idea at how who’s interacting with A Bit More Detail, never mind Demography Matters or another upcoming project I’ll announce shortly. (Stay tuned!)

Levack seems to have taken Facebook way too seriously. I care about other people, and Internet-based communications and platforms make it relatively easy for me to do this. I can’t claim to be an expert, but I’ve tended to use Livejournal and Facebook primarily as a way to create and sustain relationships with people here in Toronto, and secondarily to sustain existing relationships with people who aren’t in my immediate territorially sphere. After that, I use it to remain in contact with people I like based on their web presence, because these people I’ve never met have interesting things to say, I like remaining abreast of what’s going on in their lives, and the possibility always exists of making these virtual friendships real ones should geography permit. That last is what gave me my first anchors in Toronto. It’s large, it’s sprawling, it’s complex, but by prioritizing and planning things I’ve managed to make it all work for me while avoiding timesinks. I’m not sure how Levack managed to let Facebook overwhelm her to the point that she was uninterested in actually interacting with other people, but I suspect that kind of overindulgence is more the fault of the user than the platform. Why else would she be more likely to trust Facebook over governments and business while shying away from the platform?

This brings me to my [FORUM] question of the day. How do you use social networking platforms on the Internet, new or old? Do you find it easy to use them, do you fear being controlled by them? Are there things you’d like to do more with them or things that you really need to cut back upon?


Written by Randy McDonald

December 20, 2009 at 10:24 am

[LINK] “The TTC As An Arbiter of Morality and Good Taste”

I mostly agree with Steve Munro’s reaction to the TTC’s decision not to accept advertisements from Ashley Madison, an online hookup site geared specifically for married people wanting to have affairs (“Life is short. Have an affair.”).

Whether the TTC likes it or not, adultery is legal as is the provision of a “dating service” to hook up would-be partners. This would not be the first such service to advertise on the TTC. LavaLife ran ads in subway cars, and there are dating service posters in some subway stations. Somehow, I doubt that everyone using these services tells their spouse/partner what they are doing.

Subway ads are running right now for the movie “It’s Complicated” whose plot involves a love triangle between a woman, her ex, and her new boyfriend. The posters include a tasteful view of Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin in bed. I don’t know whether their characters are married at the point in the film where this scene occurs, but that’s hardly the point. If the TTC is going to start censoring ads based on behaviour that is legal, they will have to be consistent.

I wish that Ashley Madison wouldn’t place those ads but I can’t think of any reason why they shouldn’t. The publicity that the site got from this contretemps probably compensates for the lack of streetcar ads, anyway.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 14, 2009 at 7:06 pm

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