Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, March 12-18, 2017

Just a little thoughty for you this week.

Grace Bains likes doing things alone and thinks people should stop worrying about it. ScoopWhoop

Ozymandias statue found in the mud. The Guardian

Phil Plait reports about astronomers who found a black hole “eating” a white dwarf. Blastr

Robert Lang, the origami master and physicist. Great Big Story

 

Is the future of AI chatbots that speak in their own language? Cade Metz for Wired.

Clive Thompson: how being bored out of your gourd makes you creative. Wired

Holly Riordan: Anxiety makes you look like an asshole. Thought Catalog

Jenna Birch reports on the German research that has found the cause of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Teen Vogue

Laurie Stras shares radical motets from a 16th century nunnery. The Guardian

March 17th is also St. Gertrude’s Day. She’s the patron saint of cats. Mel Campbell for Junkee.

How the Norse described their history. Oxford University Press

 

I hope that got your mental corn popping.

See you on the weekend for more WorldCon 2016 reportage.

Until then, stay well.

Hugs.

thoughtythursday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Jan 1-7, 2017

It’s quality over quantity this week.

Charles Foran wonders if Canada is the world’s first post-national country. The Guardian

Wab Kinew: there is room in our circle for Joseph Boyden. The Globe and Mail

Matt Ayton asks, why don’t we stand with Turkey like we did with Orlando and Paris? The Independent

William Deresiewicz: how to learn how to think. Farnham Street

Medievalists.net explores the sleeping habits of the Middle Ages.

Jo Marchant digs into this 3,500 year old Mycenae tomb and how it changes what we know about history. The Smithsonian Magazine

George Dvorsky reports on the discovery of a stunning new type of galaxy. Gizmodo

Maddie Stone shares the most detailed view of black holes in the universe. Gizmodo

Lauren Jarvis-Gibson lists eleven things people don’t realize you do because of your anxiety. Thought Catalog

On the Hearty Soul: how complaining rewires your brain to be anxious and depressed.

Daily Health Records lists fifteen things you’ll notice when you’re in the presence of an empath.

Here’s hoping something got your mental corn popping 🙂

On Saturday, I return to WorldCon 2016 reporting.

Be well until then!

thoughtythursday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Dec 25-31, 2016

It’s a right mix of edutainment this week, but I hope it still pops your mental corn!

A Sudbury teen, missing since December 20, is found on Christmas Eve. Sudbury Star

Petula Dvorak: the Hannuka/Christmas convergence couldn’t be more symbolic of the light we need to embrace. The Washington Post

Oliver Burkeman reports on why time management is ruining our lives. I might argue that this would only apply to those for whom the skill does not come naturally. The Guardian

Feeling less than grateful? Some people are just wired that way. Katherine Hobson for NPR.

Emily Hartridge talks about her top four anxiety challenges.

 

Depression is all in your head—and now, doctors know where. Second Nexus

Alan Yu explains how a diet high in fat and sugar affects your memory. NPR

Becca Martin hates to break it to you, but you are the reason your life sucks. Thought Catalog

Madeleine Davies: becoming ugly. Jezebel

Bec Crew reports on a new Alzheimer’s therapy that fully restores memory function. Science Alert

Antonio Regalado: everything you need to know about gene therapy’s most promising year. MIT technology review

Phil Plait shares a fabulous photo of a lunar fogbow. Slate

In England, you can camp in abandoned medieval churches. David Wilson for Atlas Obscura.

I’m all about Immie (Imogen Heap) this week. Lifeline:

 

Canvas:

 

You know where to find me:

 

Neglected space:

 

Coming up on the weekend: I’ll be looking at December’s writing progress and wrapping up 2016.

Be well until then, my lovely people 🙂

thoughtythursday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Dec 11-17, 2016

If your brain’s already gone on holiday, have some thoughty fun with these offerings 🙂

Saw last week that Alan Thicke has passed away, too. It’s been such a sad year for performers and artists 😦 And political unrest. And Syria . . . Take heart. Here are 99 reasons 2016 was a great year. Medium

Christopher Dickey shares the tale of angels of the resistance (and one serial killer) in Nazi-occupied Paris. The Daily Beast

UN Women takes a stand against gender-based violence.

 

Eugene Soltes explores the psychology of white-collar criminals. The Atlantic

Matt Blitz tells the real story behind the myth of Area 51. Popular Mechanics

Annalee Newitz investigates the lost city of Cahokia under the St. Louis suburbs. Ars Technica

Amanda Gefter interviews Donald D. Hoffman: the case against reality. One of my favourite bits: “… we have evolution itself to thank for this magnificent illusion …” The Atlantic

Peter Dockrill: cellular reprogramming has been used to reverse the aging process in animals. Science Alert

Simon Oxenham explains why bees could be the secret to superhuman intelligence. BBC

Peter Brannen examines a possible break in one of evolution’s biggest mysteries. The Atlantic

Chris Jones reports on Sara Seager, the woman who might find us another Earth. The New York Times Magazine

Watch this cool BBC video about how one woman with Parkinson’s regained the ability to write and draw.

 

Robby Berman reports on filmmaker Adam Rosenberg’s hilarious video in which he shares some of his nocturnal musings. It’s called Somniloquist and you have to watch it. Nearly peed myself laughing. Slate

Olga Khazan explains how magic mushrooms help patients with severe anxiety and depression. The Atlantic

Lauren Vinopal lists the 18 best houseplants for cleaning the air, according to NASA. Fatherly

Julia Shaw: I’m a scientist, and I don’t believe in facts. Scientific American

George Dvorsky reports on what the brightest supernova ever seen really was. Gizmodo

Natalie Wolchover: quantum gravity research could reveal the true nature of time. Wired

‘Tis the season, so here’s sommat from Grimfrost on Vikings, Santa, and Christmas 🙂

 

Honest to Paws introduces us to the Akhal-Teke, the most beautiful horse in the world.

Hope your mental corn’s a-poppin’ fit to see you through the holiday frenzy 🙂

Have a good one, everyone!

thoughtythursday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Oct 23-29, 2016

Let’s get that mental corn a-poppin’, shall we?

Terri Windling muses upon the death of the year. Myth & Moor

Shahan Russell writes about the mysterious death of Rasputin, the Siberian monk who brought down the Tsar of Russia. War History Online

The Medievalists present the medieval walking dead. Better that the latest series premiere? You be the judge.

Michael Livingston delves into the medieval origins of Hallowe’en. Tor.com

Debby Banham and Christine Voth explore the diagnosis and treatment of wounds in Old English medical collections. Medievalists

Archaeologists make a baffling Celtic find in France. The Vintage News

Ben Thomas shares his research into four great African empires that astonished the world. Medium

Discover Sanxingdui, the ancient Chinese city that’s older than Rome. The Vintage News

The tragedy of Meagen Pilon and human trafficking in Sudbury. Laura Stradiotto for The Sudbury Star.

Ashton Kutcher’s mission to end human trafficking has rescued 6000 people so far. The Earth Child

“Bitch.” Brave New Voices

 

Anxiety is an invalid excuse. Just Cut the Bullshit

Ephrat Livni: scientists explain how happiness makes us less creative. Quartz

Alan Watts – why your life is not a journey.

 

Andrew Griffin reports on signals from outer space that scientists believe could be messages from aliens. The Independent

Laura Parker digs into bioinspiration, the thrilling new science that could transform medicine. The Guardian

The man once thought to have spread HIV to America has been cleared by science. James Gallagher for the BBC.

Adam Capay’s treatment reflects poorly on corrections and on government. On all of us, really. The Globe and Mail

Remember Jumpy, the dog who does parkour? Well, he’s also the smartest dog in Hollywood. Amy Nicholson for MTV News.

Moar dog shaming?  Oh yeah! I waste so much time

Cosmic guinea pig.

 

The Pentatonix cover Hallelujah.

 

Thoughty Thursday will return, December 8th.

And watch for my two-month next chapter update on December 3rd.

Then, you can find out what I was doing instead of blogging in the month of November 🙂

Be well until then!

thoughtythursday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Oct 16-22, 2016

Let’s get that mental corn a-poppin’!

Carol Mulligan explores the lore of the pour. The Sudbury Star

What are dreams? Drake Baer shares five of humanity’s best explanations for dreams. Science of Us

Anna Lovind: the shameless introvert.

Suzanne Lucas to employers: please stop punishing your employees for being introverted. Inc.

UpWorthy recommends Marzi’s cartoons to help others relate to intorversion and anxiety.

The Born Again Minimalist examines the gaslighting of the millennial generation.

Transgender rights bill passes key commons vote and heads to committee. The Globe and Mail

Too sweet, or too shrill? The double bind for women. Shankar Vedantam hosts the Hidden Brain podcast for NPR.

The transformative power of Moko. Michelle Duff for Broadly/Vice.

Cath Pound considers the great women artists that history forgot. BBC

Artist Toby Allen, who suffers from anxiety, illustrates mental illnesses as monsters. Bored Panda

Regina activists place warning labels on indigenous Hallowe’en costumes. CBC

I’m just going to leave this here. To the new culture cops, everything is appropriation. Cathy Young for the Washington Post.

Avaneesh Pandey: self-awareness may be a side effect of the brain trying to maximize entropy. International Business Times

Ben Paynter shares news about how the world is slowly winning the fight against Malaria. Fast Company

Sarah Knapton reports on how tool-making monkeys are prompting scientists to reconsider human evolution. The Telegraph

Bec Crew: scientists accidentally discover the process that turns CO2 into ethanol. This could change the world. Science Alert

Ross Pomeroy explains why Bill Nye changed his mind about GMOs. Real Clear Science

The mystery of the Bermuda Triangle may finally be solved . . . by meteorology. Cory Charlton for The New York Post.

Loren Grush explains how the ExoMars spacecraft will make its way to the surface of Mars. The Verge

Catch Space.com’s coverage of the landing and other astro-news.

Maddie Stone: Pluto’s skies look more Earth-like than we’d imagined. Gizmodo

A spiral galaxy defies the cosmic flow. In an expanding universe, it’s actually getting closer to us. Also: how big is Proxima Centauri’s planet? Later in the week, we learn that the Schiaparelli lander (crash) site can be seen from orbit. Phil Plait for Slate.

Can the multiverse explain the course of human history? Andrew Crummey for Aeon.

Puppers! Buzzfeed

Alex and Jumpy, the parkour dog 🙂

 

Just a reminder, this is your penultimate thoughty Thursday prior to my #NaNoWriMo break.

I’ll see you next Thursday, but after that, you won’t get your weekly dose of thoughty until December.

Respect your priorities.

Be well.

All my (virtual) love.

Mel

Thoughty Thursday

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Oct 2-8, 2016

Thoughty Thursday’s all over the map!

The Vintage News reports that Amelia Earhart’s remains may have been found on an island.

Gabriel Samuels reports on a piece of engraved wood that suggests a Persian taught math in Japan 1,000 years ago. The Independent

Medievalists.net compiled this comprehensive list of online resources for researching the Black Death.

Medievalists.net shared this entertaining piece on Viking nicknames. My favourite? Eystein Foul-Fart 🙂

And, for the hat trick, Medievalists.net explains why cats were hated in medieval Europe.

An oldie from Barbara G. Walker of Church and State (2008!): local wise women who carried on ancient traditions were exterminated by Christianity.

Margaret Rhodes invites us to obsess over this infographic about the history of alternative music. Wired

Jonathan Jones looks at the legacy of painter Artemesia Gentileschi. The Guardian

Azeen Ghorayshi reports that transgender children as young as three are getting the help they need. Buzzfeed

Katrina Schwartz wonders why we’re so obsessed with teaching kids cursive handwriting. Mind/Shift

America is obsessed with happiness and it’s making everyone miserable. Ruth Whippman for Vox.

What it’s like to have “high-functioning” anxiety. The Mighty

 

Baby Boomers may be more susceptible to treatment-resistant depression. Anna Gorman for CNN.

Myke Cole writes about PTSD. This is from a few years ago (2013) but it’s still relevant.

Dominik Parisien shares his experience with Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. Uncanny

Justin Gammill lists ten things to keep in mind when loving a highly creative person. I heart intelligence

Paul Stamits talks about how fantastic fungi can save the world.

 

Bees are demonstrating problem-solving and transmission of knowledge. Daily Science

Scientists declare the dawn of the human-influenced epoch. Damian Carrington for The Guardian.

AI and deep machine learning are changing your life. Roger Parloff for Fortune.

What Emma Thompson learned from spending a week in the arctic. Time

Beware of dog, indeed. Upshout

Adieu until Saturday.

Be well until then 🙂

Thoughty Thursday

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Sept 4-10, 2016

Just a wee bit of thoughty, this week.

A timeless icon, Olivia de Havilland turns one hundred. The Daily Mail

Emma Garman reviews the life of Jane Morris, the Pre-Raphealite muse. The Paris Review

If you read last week’s curation, you’ll know that I don’t personally subscribe to the pursuit of happiness ideal. Like Matt Inman (The Oatmeal), I’ve learned that contentment is a much better place to be. Also, to feel anything at all, other than rage, after a depressive episode, is, like, awesome. I don’t need to, or want to, be bouncing-off-the-walls happy. One extreme in emotion usually heralds its opposite.

Still, I read and share all these posts and articles on happiness. What’s up with that? If you take the word happiness out of the equation, these are all really good tips to live a good, meaningful life. That’s what leads to contentment. So there you are: Mellie’s philosophy.

Joseph Mercola lists 22 things happy people do differently. Epoch Times

Emily Hartridge: Q&A on anxiety.

 

Artificial intelligence could help diagnose mental disorders. Joseph Frankel for The Atlantic.

The impossible propulsion drive is heading to space. David Hambling for Popular Mechanics.

Juno reveals Jupiter, the surprising and weird king of planets. Phil Plait for Slate.

Tom Metcalfe looks at seven potential means of interstellar travel. Fodder for the SF author? You betcha! LiveScience

Brain training with the Oculus Rift is helping paraplegics regain sensation and muscle control. Amazing (and hopeful) stuff.

 

Hope that was enough to get the mental corn a-poppin’ 😉

Thoughty Thursday

The Canadian Writers’ Summit 2016: Achieving your dream: the shadow side

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that needs correction or clarification, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com

Panellists: Suzanne Alyssa Andrew, Carrie Snyder, Maria Meindl, Heidi Reimer, Sarah Henstra (Moderator)

theshadowside

SH: Everyone talks about the struggle that precedes publication, but what about what happens afterward?

[Panellists introduced.]

What’s been your experience with the shadow side?

HR: I’ve been thinking about this because I achieved my creative goals and felt things nobody I knew had ever mentioned. I finished my novel and I felt depressed rather than elated. My spouse is an actor and he’s experienced in the art of letting go. In his world, it’s a recognized thing that all actors experience. It’s not in mine. When I won the Chatelaine contest, I was elated, and then terrified. I looked up their distribution and readership on line. That amount of exposure made me feel vulnerable. I physically recoiled. Something intensely private was about to become public. I talked to friends about my distress.

MM: I feel like I’ve confronted the connection between success and darkness in my life. My grandmother was Mona Gould. By the time I was a child in the 60’s, her poem, “This was My Brother at Dieppe” was everywhere. When her success faded, she turned to alcohol and became bitter. What I learned from that experience is that success is harmful. It can destroy you. When she died, I received boxes of her materials. It took me five years to sort through it. She started promoting her work at the age of eleven. Her poem was sponsored by an arms manufacturer, but she was a pacifist. She didn’t feel she could object. Now I understand that it’s not success that’s destructive, but the lack of a forum and the means to use it.

CS: I always wanted to be a writer. As I was driving in from Waterloo, I tried to figure out what that seven-year-old girl’s impulse was. I focused everything on becoming an author. I published by first book at the age of twenty-nine. It was written when I was twenty-six. It was another eight years before I published my second novel. In 2012, The Juliet Stories came out and was nominated for a Governor General’s Award. It was a huge moment for me. I embraced the high and I rode it. I wasn’t prepared for not winning, though. I mean, I knew I wasn’t going to but knowing it and experiencing it are two different things. They informed us ahead of the public announcement and I sat with the secret for a week. I felt ashamed. I was afraid of disappointing my kids and everyone else who’d been so supportive of me and my book. I didn’t know how to cope with it. I am so grateful for my blog because I was able to get my experience out there. I almost changed careers. I had my acceptance to McMaster’s midwifery program in one hand and the offer for The Girl Runner in the other. I thought I’d made a mistake in pursuing my dream. Now I’m making a living as a writer. It’s wonderful and it’s amazingly difficult at the same time. It’s hard to be here and to be vulnerable in front of you.

SAA: Everything you’ve all said resonates. I’ve just published my first novel and I, too, have always wanted to be a writer. I went on a book tour and it was the first time my family had heard me read my work. I play bass in a band. It’s a group, a community. We share. In literary circles, I find there’s a lack of transparency, especially about publishing in Canada. I think the reality’s worse than any of us realize. There’s a lot of pressure to market your own book. I invested in promotion. I’m a freelance writer. I don’t regret making that investment. At the time I figured, I’ll worry about it later. Well, it’s later and I’m feeling the financial impact. I have second book paralysis, knowing how hard it was promoting my first. Musicians are open and honest about the challenges. They offer each other advice and strategies. Authors in Canada don’t talk about these issues. We’re worried about seeming ungrateful. It’s very isolating. We need to be more vocal as a community.

SH: Can any of you comment further on shame and vulnerability?

CS: You’re novel is something you’ve worked on for years. It will be judged. There will be reviews. I’m a private person. I work through things in writing. It doesn’t feel right to be so exposed. To create anything of value, you have to go there, though. I was terrified of being changed by success. I can deal with rejection, but I have no experience in dealing with success.

SAA: It’s about being a creative person in the public sphere. You can get so involved in the persona you adopt for the media that you can start to feel schizophrenic. We don’t express our real feelings on social media. Everyone else seems more successful, happier. You compare yourself to others and find yourself wanting. There’s another reality to the one presented on Facebook.

HR: When I was published for the first time (I wrote an essay about the experience) I suffered anxiety and panic attacks. If it’s not discussed openely, everyone thinks it’s only them. I have a novel on submission. I received a rejection and felt relief. I know what to do with rejection. A ‘yes’ involves a whole other world. I was happy to stay in my identity as a rejected writer. You have to redefine yourself in light of success.

SH: Is this a question of gender? We’re all women on this panel.

MM: There’s a line between the inner and outer worlds of the author. There’s a free-floating shame still attached to being a woman and a woman writer in particular. Hélène Cixous once asked, “write? With what right?” We’ve internalized this social message. It’s about taking charge of the narrative. Take hold of the narrative. Be heard. It’s a gendered issue.

CS: Are there any men authors in the audience?

Aud: Yes. When the questions was asked, all the women were nodding and the men were shaking their heads. We don’t talk about the shadow side.

MM: The word authorship, etymologically, it means leadership, mastery. As a woman, I didn’t feel welcomed into that world.

SH: Many authors speak of their novels as their ‘book babies.’ There’s a stigma to post-partum depression. You’re not allowed to feel down after having a human baby. Have you found anything that helps?

SAA: Being someone who had this dream, I had high expectations. Being in a band dialled those expectations back. Check your expectations. Talk about it with other authors. What does success mean to you?

CS: Create a safe, private space in which to create. Don’t get down on yourself if you can’t create while you’re doing publicity. It’s not what I thought the job was. I have to remember why I write. I have to turn off all of my expectations. I’m still a writer, even if I never get published again. I wanted to make a living as a writer. I have. But there are worse things than not making a living as a writer.

HR: I did a releasing ritual. I needed to get all of that stuff out. Society says you should be happy. I felt loss. I had to write it out. I had to acknowledge the feelings and affirm what I wanted.

SH: How do you not miss the moment because you’re rushing on to the next fifty things you have to do? You have to celebrate your successes. Ania Szado says you also have to honour your losses.

MM: When my book came out, my Rabbi did a blessing over the book. It was a wonderful thing, on the Sabbath, so, no selling, no pressure. We were just honouring a life event.

SH: Do you want to say something about your definition of success?

MM: The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much others define success for us. We also internalize those definitions and move the bar.

CS: My ‘word of the year’ was success. It terrified me. To everyone else, it looks like success. To me, it doesn’t feel like success. It has a lot to do with what we expect.

SAA: Amy Winehouse’s definition of success was to sing. That’s it. When she got big, she imploded.

Q: What issues turn you on to writing?

CS: I write because I have something to say. Later, the issues grow out of what I’ve written.

SAA: Despite all the challenges of writing, we all have something to say. The joy of writing is in expressing something, of speaking to your readers.

Q: How do you relate to your readers and how is that relationship affected by the shadow side?

MM: I used to be more involved in small press publication. A man bought my book for a dollar and then returned later to tell me that he was moved. It was a wonderful feeling.

SAA: I started out on fire about online marketing. Eventually, I felt like I was speaking into the void. It wasn’t until I went on tour that I felt it was real. I could talk to people. Writers are rarefied outside Toronto.

CS: I was at a writers’ festival in BC and a woman gave me an envelope. In her letter she asked me how I had known her so intimately? She felt like I had written for her, to her. It was humbling.

SH: When I launched Mad Miss Mimic last year, a girl bought the book, sat down, and didn’t stop reading all night. My favourite thing is when parents send me pictures of their kids reading the books. It’s old school. One reader can change your world.

Q: What kind of support do you look for?

SAA: I get the best support from other writers. I have a wonderful agent, Samantha Haywood, and she held my hand through the process.

Q: What strategy do you use to deal with criticism?

CS: I bounce back really quickly now. I’m as polite as possible in person. Privately, I allow myself 24 hours of bleakness, and then I get over it.

SAA: A lot of critique says more about the critic than the writer.

Q: Do you get requests for information from aspiring writers?

CS: Yes. I have advice on my blog. I’ll respond to individual requests for advice from friends.

HR: Take me out for lunch and I’ll tell you whatever you want to know.

Q: How do you deal with family stuff?

HR: I write what I write and when it goes out into the world, I panic. The Chatelaine article reveals some personal information about my relationship with my dad. I had to tell him when I heard that it would be published. I was worried, but it was good. It’s best to deal with it directly.

And that was time.

Next week, I’m going to post another book review.  It’s a five-star so you can look forward to that 🙂

Be well until next I post, my friends.

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 3-9, 2016

With all the shootings of African Americans and police this week, I must admit to despair. Others have posted much more eloquently than I. Here is one post that spoke to me.

Justin C. Cohen offers some advice for white people in the wake of the police murder of a black person.

David Wong explains why anxiety is the plague of the modern world. Cracked.

You must die to live. Science and non-duality.

This is a bit distressing. Chanty Binx speaks up after three years of harassment and a bizarre privacy breach. We Hunted the Mammoth.

Shahida Arabi shares twenty tactics highly manipulative narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths use to silence you. Thought Catalog.

Zack Beauchamp writes: Canada is the least xenophobic country in the western world. Vox.

But we have out problems:

How Karoli Kuns became a Hillary supporter after reading the candidate’s emails. Blue Nation Review.

Mike Wall covers Juno’s move into obit around Jupiter for Space.com. And Phil Plait covers the event for Slate.

This is the last thing Japan’s Black Hole satellite saw before it died. Ria Mizra for Gizmodo.

Maddie Stone reports that the prospects for alien life on Titan keep getting better. Gizmodo.

Why do you hate the sound of your own voice? ASAP Thought.

 

Dr. Seuss’s secret artwork is displayed at Vancouver gallery. CBC.

Animals transition to freedom as Argentina transforms zoo into a refuge. AP.

A woman uses an ancient Viking song to call cattle. LifeBuzz.

Lindsey Stirling: The Arena

 

See you Saturday!

Thoughty Thursday