Saturday Links, 7/6/13

I love this collage made by Hannah.

I apologize for the lateness of this week’s links! But it was totally worth it–yesterday I had an epic day celebrating the birthday of one of my close friends, involving: laser tag, arcade games, pooling together our arcade tickets so that the birthday girl could win a crayon-shaped lava lamp, dinner and drinks at an Irish pub, and then hanging out and playing board games while wearing fancy dresses in a room at a historic downtown Boston hotel.

It was all-around awesome. I have amazing friends, and sometimes having all-day adventures with them, and getting away from screens and thinking too much, is exactly what I need.

-ModCloth has been taking some great steps toward expanding their plus size range (and making it actually sized like typical plus clothing, unlike their old sizing system, in which a 4x was equivalent to a small 22). One example of the gorgeous stuff they’re putting out is this Edwardian dress, which is coming soon. I can’t even begin to describe how much I love and want it!
-I recently came across Eff Yeah Indigenous Fashion, which showcases indigenous art, fashion, and design from around the world. Most of their posts include links where you can support indigenous artists. For example, one of my recent favorites: PowWow Styles, which is colorful beaded jewelry made by a woman from the Cree/Sioux tribes.
-Eff Yeah Indigenous Fashion also has some good posts on how to appreciate indigenous fashion without appropriating it.
-This pastel jeweled flower crown is pure eye candy.
-Domino Dollhouse has a 40% discount code, listed on their homepage, which expires tomorrow. If you’ve been waiting to get something from them, now is your chance.
-In other DD news, check out this sneak peek of two dresses that will be available soon. I love both of them!

Fat Activism
-Closet Puritan talks about the ways that fat people are often gaslighted.
It isn’t over until the fat babes sing: an ode to musicians of size.
-Awesomeness: fat, happy, and healthy women photographed by Gabriela Hasbun.
-Ragen is starting an exciting fat activism history project (at the bottom of the post)!

Communicating climate science through music:

Climate and Sustainability
United we sweat: building a fossil fuel resistance.
-A lyrical and powerful alphabet for climate change.
-The Boston Globe has a great article about churches and other faith groups divesting from fossil fuels.
-On a related note, a major Norwegian pension fund has dropped tar sands investments.  Woot!
-The GROW (Gather Rise Organize Win) divestment gatherings look really promising.
-Bill McKibben, my #1 climate justice hero, has a new book coming out in September! He’s a brilliant writer, and I can’t wait to read it.
-Sandra Steingraber, another one of my climate justice heroes, writes about the silence of science and the eloquent activism of people of faith.
-Yet another climate hero: Tim DeChristopher on Letterman: “stop and think about what it means to be too late” on climate.
-Beautiful and haunting: artist Chad Wright portrays the American Dream washing into the sea.
Michael Pollan on agriculture’s role in fighting climate change.
Obama’s Lincoln moment?

Everything Else
-An poignant reminder not to judge poor people for their devices: a homeless man and his BlackBerry.
More women are dying from painkiller overdoses: epidemic, or something more complicated?
-A different, and equally important, perspective on the Indian Child Welfare Act (which I talked about in last week’s Friday links): My uterus will not be used to fill your tribal rolls. I really like this comment on the piece as well.
Rachel, Trayvon, and the saddest thing I’ve ever read.
Playing by the rules: white privilege and Rachel Jeantel.
An open letter to new Teach for America recruits.
Entitled students, grades, and obedience: what is education for?
Putting googly eyes on everything is the best thing ever.

Friday Links, 2/1/2013

More pictures from Watkins Glen

Happy February! I’m thinking about doing Fatshion February, even though it’s mainly a Tumblr thing and I don’t have Tumblr. We’ll see.

In other news, check out my guest post at Anytime Yoga! I’m also going to be writing at Glorify once the site launches.

Fat Activism
– Another excellent Fatsronauts 101 from Melissa at Shakesville.
-I feel cold just reading this, but it’s a great story: How joining the Coney Island Polar Bear Club taught me to love my body.
IDEA’s massive yoga no-no.
-Today in fat hatred: a shame-tastic article about “mixed-weight” relationships.
-A great thin privilege checklist.
-I love this fat art.
At the intersection of survivor and fat.
Letting go of the thin fantasy.
“What’s your excuse?” Another meme that I hate.
Stop congratulating me.
Myths of weight loss.

On crossing the line between straight and plus sizes.
-Marianne is looking forward to 40 thanks to these fashion bloggers. Make sure to read the comments for more recommendations!
-This fabric featuring fabulous fatties is adorable.
-This wedding fair photoshoot is pure eye candy.
More eye candy, with flowers and petticoats galore.

Continue reading

Why a “digital Aristotle” is a terrible idea

Quick, unrelated update: I just sent a message to the eBay seller of the awesome tutu in my recent post, asking if they would consider making it in plus sizes.  If you want, send them a message as well! I don’t know whether anything will come of it, but it can’t hurt to try.

Also: the election’s over! Phew. And in addition to the candidates who won, I’m happy about a lot of the state initiatives that passed. Hells yeah gay marriage!

Now, onto the post.

While poking about on YouTube last night, I came across this video about a software that’s being developed with the intention of customizing educational experiences for each kid who uses it, and eventually replacing much of the need for human teachers:

And oy, did it cause me to have ALL THE THOUGHTS (and to be honest, more than a little bit of THE RAGE).

I think the Digital Aristotle software could be a useful idea as a supplement to classroom teaching, but using it as a replacement strikes me as a terrible idea, for many reasons:

1.) School isn’t just about kids interacting with teachers. It’s about kids interacting with other kids, learning how to be social beings, developing empathy. A kid sitting alone in front of a computer screen all day isn’t going to get that, no matter how brilliant the software is.

2.) Computers have a lot of amazing educational potential, but they also have downsides. A major, major one is that they make it easier to multitask, which has a demonstrated negative effect on pretty much any kind of performance.

I’ve seen it in my own life–I know I concentrated far better in high school, when I had only dial-up internet, than I have ever since.

Don’t just take it from me. Read Hamlet’s Blackberry, and The Winter of Our Disconnect. Maybe even The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. The internet has great power to connect people…when used in moderation, with limits and structure. When used in conjunction with face-time, and nature-time, and solitary-reflection-time.  It isn’t a replacement for any of those things.

3.) Relatedly, many educational videos (which seem to be a major component of the Digital Aristotle project) are 4 or 5 minutes long. They may be full of fascinating things, but don’t lend themselves to the kind of concentration that leads to deep understanding. I’ve watched plenty of interesting videos about physics and math, but if you asked me what I’ve learned, I wouldn’t remember most of it. It’s not the same as learning systematically from a real person.  Continue reading