Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 27-June 2, 2018

Your informal writerly learnings are short and sweet this week. Trade wars and Harvey Weinstein on trial and the Rosanne debacle really took it out of me.

K.M. Weiland: how the truth your character believes defines your theme. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sharon Bially says, purpose is the missing link between your characters’ motives and depth. Writer Unboxed

Bryn Greenwood helps you find your empathy through Florida Man (or Florida Woman). Writer Unboxed

Becca Puglisi helps you create character empathy in your first few pages. Writers Helping Writers

Kristen Lamb explains how and why we writers are our own worst enemies. It’s called self-sabotage.

Jami Gold asks, how do you deal with writer burnout?

Oren Ashkenazi gives us five tips for creating an engaging space battle. Mythcreants

And that’s it for Tipsday.

Be well until Thoughty Thursday comes around.

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Feb 11-17, 2018

Happy Friday Eve! Here’s a little something to get the mental corn popping.

Sad stuff first …

Kyle Edwards: the Gerald Stanley verdict is a terrifying blow to reconciliation. McLean’s

Rachel Giese wonders why Colton Boushie’s mother has had to work so hard to prove her son’s humanity? Chatelaine

Tage Rai: the myth that mental illness causes mass shootings. Behavioral Scientist

Max Fisher and Josh Keller examine the reason there are so many mass shootings in the US. The New York Times

Sean Illing interviews Steven Pinker for Vox: the case for optimism.

Katherine Ellen Foley explains why we cringe when someone else embarrasses themselves. It’s all about empathy. Quartzy

Chuck Wendig offers some quick thoughts on managing anxiety. Terribleminds

Emily Hartridge gives us an update on her anxiety and how she deals.

 

SciShow Psych: myths about schizophrenia.

 

SciShow Psych: dissociative identity disorder.

 

How Tim Lomas discovered there are (at least) 14 different kinds of love by analysing the world’s languages. The Conversation

Mireia Movellán Luis profiles the rise and fall of the mighty Minoans. National Geographic

SciShow: thunder snow. We have that up here 😉

 

Katherine Zuckerman thinks that if birds left tracks in the sky, they’d look like these amazing photos by Xavi Bou. National Gerographic

Check out this collection of leaf insects—love the ones that look like little flowers! Daily Motion

The BBC News reports on the fall of a 1,000-year-old tree in Wales.

Zoey Peresman reviews Kate Bush’s The Kick inside on its 40th anniversary. Stereo Gum

Be well until the weekend!

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, May 14-20, 2017

A little bit of this and a little bit of that, all to get your mental corn popping 🙂

SOS Safety Magazine lists four signs of a person with high-functioning depression. This is me.

How stress changes the brain and body (with helpful TED-Ed video). Mindful

ASAP Science shares seven ways to reduce your stress right now.

 

Wendi looks at the dark side of empathic people. Parhlo

Jesse Menayan shares what he and the Casper research team discovered about how couples affect each other’s sleep. Yeah, it’s a big ole advertisement, but the research is interesting and sleep is important. Medium

Dom Galeon: our brains might be 100 times more powerful than we thought. Futurism

Heidi Priebe profiles the personal hells of each Myers-Briggs personality type. My personal hell? Learning how everything I’ve said or done has hurt someone else, intentional or otherwise. Yup. Writhing already. Thought Catalog

A wee clip from Michael Moore on Finland’s school system.

 

Simon Parkin: teaching robots right from wrong. 1843 Magazine

Etan Vlessing covers the creation of A World without Canada, a dystopian series narrated by Dan Ackroyd and featuring Robert J. Sawyer. The Hollywood Reporter

Richard O. Prum writes of duck sex and the patriarchy. Though it’s hard to tell from the title, this is an amazing article. The New Yorker

Gaze in awe at these colourized photos of Russian women snipers, who terrorized the Nazis in WWII. Julian Robinson for Mail Online.

Alex Tizon tells the heart wrenching story of his family’s slave. The Atlantic

Chris Jones shares footage of how narwhales use their tusks. IFLS

Skandinavian folk on nyckelharpa, by Myrkur:

 

And your kawaii for the week: Ozzy, the desk weasel.

 

See you Saturday for my wrap up post about Writing the Other. Tasty, tasty!

Be well until then, my friends.

thoughtythursday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, March 5-11, 2017

Time to get that mental corn popping!

Some lovely pieces for #InternationalWomensDay

Today I rise. Films for Action

Jina Moore shares 16 stories that will expand your mind on IWD. Buzzfeed

Australian school boys share the stories of their female friends: why feminism is important to me.

 

Courtney Shea: why sports psychologist Dr. Peter Jensen works like he’s a smoker. The Globe and Mail

A Danish psychologist says “positive thinking” has turned happiness into a duty and a burden. Olivia Goldhill for Quartz.

Jen Schwartz says the secret to happiness is to simplify. Outside

The Usual Routine: why empaths act strange around inauthentic people.

Artists have structurally different brains. Melissa Hogenboom for the BBC.

Susan Storm profiles the INTJ personality. Psychology Junkie

Olivia Goldhill: Blaise Pascal understood that people are best convinced by their own data. Quartz

Rutger Bregman makes the case for universal basic income. The Guardian

The Medievalist think these ten Medieval women are worth knowing about.

Explore Canada’s great women on Canada’s History.

Paul Dalby writes about Maria Lindsay Cobham, Canada’s pirate queen. Canada’s History

Nanaboozhoo and the Wiindigo: An Ojibwe History from Colonization to the Present. Bezhigobinesikwe Elaine Fleming for Tribal College: Journal of American Indian Higher Education.

A rabbit hole in a farmer’s field leads to “mystery caves.BBC

Farah Halime profiles the millennial who might be the new Einstein. Ozy

Katherine Hobson: what going to Mars will do to our minds. Five Thirty Eight

Mark Malloy reports on scientists who have discovered how to upload knowledge into your mind. The Telegraph

Ryan F. Mandelbaum reports on the observation of time crystals. Gizmodo

Dana Dovey: scientists identify the first sign of Alzheimer’s Disease. MSN

Patton Oswalt explains why pop culture gets grieving wrong. Ari Shapiro for NPR.

The second sight among Scots Irish. McCain’s Corner

George Dvorsky shares the first footage of one of the most reclusive whales in the world. Gizmodo

It’s been a long day, and you’ve earned this video of Sir Patrick Stewart greeting his new foster dog. William Hughes for the A.V. Club.

Hope you got your fill of thoughty.

Until next I blog, be well.

thoughtythursday2016

WorldCon 2016: Humans and robots

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

Panellists: Kevin Roche, G. David Nordley, Brenda Cooper (moderator), Walt Boyes, Jerry Pournelle

humansandrobots

Joined in progress …

KR: They have built and programmed competent bartending robots.

GDN: There’s an S-curve with any technological development. If you picture the letter S and start from the bottom of the letter, robotics is at the first upsweeping curve.

WB: Google is the largest robotics company in the world. Boston Robotics sells services in robotic hours.

JP: With regard to artificial intelligence (AI), every time we started something that looked like AI, people said nope, that ain’t it. Unemployment is higher than the statistics report. In the near future, over half of jobs will be replaced by robots or other automation. The unemployable won’t be visible. They won’t be looking. We’ve not lost jobs to overseas corporations, or not as many as we think. We’ve lost jobs to automation. The “useless” class is on the rise. Look at it this way, an employer saves an employee’s annual salary and spends maybe 10% of it to maintain a robot doing the same work. They’d need one human to service 20 robots.

BC: How do you assign value to human work?

WB: In 1900, the second industrial revolution saw farm workers move to the cities and the factories. The real issue is a philosophical one. We’ve been assigning value to people by the work that they do. A corporate lawyer has, subjectively, greater value than a garbage man. What happens when automation and artificial intelligence replaces both?

KR: When workers are underpaid, the social contract bears the cost. Increasing the minimum wage and increased automation are exposing the dirty little secret. People need to be valued differently. Teachers and artists, in particular, can’t be replaced.

GDN: The top level docs of our society assign value to every citizen. The big question is how do we realize that? The recession has meant fewer tax dollars dedicated to the arts and infrastructure. We have to have the social conversation.

JP: Will advances in artificial intelligence implement Asimov’s three laws? Drones don’t use the three laws. IBM created an AI that beat a human at go [the game]. They took two machines, programmed them with the rules of the game, and let them play each other. After ten million games, they could functionally beat anyone. If you ask a robot to stop humans from killing each other, what’s to stop the robot from coming up with the solution to kill all humans? We have to proceed carefully.

KR: Watson won Jeopardy. Its job is to parse huge amounts of information and look for patterns. It’s humans who decided to test the system by putting it on the show.

GDN: Right now, computers are still, by and large, working on bookkeeping tasks. As we get to the point where we have to consider the three laws, we have to be cautious.

WB: We have to expand out definition of robotics. We have the internet of things with programmable thermostats and refrigerators we can access through our phones. Though still imperfect, we have self-driving cars. We need to figure out how to program morality.

GDN: Human beings don’t consistently make the same moral choices. Fuzzy logic and data sets would be required. Positronic brains would have to deal with potentialities.

KR: We don’t have an algorithmic equivalent for empathy.

And that was time.

Next week, we’re going to explore the steampunk explosion 🙂

Until then, be well, be kind, and be awesome!

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!

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Jan 10-16, 2016

It was a terrible week, in some respects. First, we learned of the death of David Bowie, and only a few days later, of Alan Rickman. Both at the age of 69, and both of cancer. *shakes fist impotently at the powers that be*

Here are a few posts commemorating both men:

 

The Guardian offers some tips on how to be happy in the New Year.

How to exercise your empathic muscles. The Elephant Journal.

Physician, heal thyself! Why silence is the enemy for doctors who have depression. The New York Times.

IFLS shares Stephen Hawking’s advice for people who suffer from depression.

Thirty nine: a documentary by Tara Henley on CBC’s The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright.

Childhood trauma can result in adult illness. Aeon.

Feministing reports: lesbian families produce an abuse rate of 0%. Then a kind commenter shared this: lesbian mothers’ children. Food for thought, people. Who’s producing these studies and for what reason?

Doug Saunders explains how gun ownership became a ‘right’ in the United States, and why it’s not. The Globe and Mail.

Bonus: Tori Amos’s cover of the Beatles’ “Happiness is a warm gun.”

 

We had another two earthquakes in the Sudbury area last week. I didn’t feel them, but that makes quite a few in the last couple of years. Is this some kind of message? The Northern Life.

Hootsuite’s CEO got clever and came up with this $25 standing desk solution. Vancouver is Awesome.

Check out this beautiful, underground kingdom. Bright Side.

A 600 million year old mutation is responsible for . . . us (!) The Washington Post.

Scientists believe they’ve found the first fossil bed from the dinosaur extinction. IFLS.

Mapping the ocean floors with gravity. Phil Plait for Slate.

Ice crystals cause this optical phenomenon and ‘draw’ a map of a city in the sky. Slate.

Open Culture brings back the animated Bayeux Tapestry. It’s really something special.

Please, cuddle the cat! It’ll make you feel better.

 

Quite the thoughty week, if I do say so myself 😉

See you on Saturday for more CanCon 2015 reportage.

Thoughty Thursday

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 5-11, 2015

Anna Lovind shares the life-changing lessons chronic pain has taught her.

After an incident in which she received unwanted sexual attention, Elyse Anders posted this rant. The response to her rant was insane, so she elaborated further. MofoNation.

Why many rape victims don’t fight or yell. James W. Hopper, PhD, explains what happens when the fight or flight response short circuits. The Washington Post.

Emily Hart(ridge) on depression and anxiety:

Why one black man won’t discuss race with white people. Those People.

Africans tweet pictures of their real lives to combat “poverty porn.” Plaid Zebra. #TheAfricaMediaNeverShowsYou

Pulitzer prize-winning photojournalist Paul Watson quit The Toronto Star because they refused to publish his story. The subtlety of censorship in Canada. The Huffington Post.

Our economy grew, but our income did not keep pace. The Huffington Post.

In this article from The Globe and Mail, David Helfand reports that businesses say they want workers with a liberal arts background, with strong communication skills, and who are agile in their willingness to learn and adapt. Industry in general and the government are pushing young people into the trades. In both cases (in my experience, anyway) graduates from both programs are wandering, jobless, for years, with crippling debt-loads. There aren’t enough jobs for everyone and that is our biggest problem. Are we just waking up to this now?

When did we decide kids shouldn’t suffer? Renegade Mothering.

Dear parents: please raise boys who will respect my girls. The Huffington Post.

Empathy is a choice. The New York Times.

Creativity can be learned. Canva. I find that keeping a journal of random and weird associations was what helped me most, pre-interwebz. Now, I get all the thoughty, all the time! In these posts I share the things that set off that random pinball machine in my head. I hope they do that for you, too!

Lifehack offers 11 illustrations of the difference between busy and productive people.

Would you pass this grade eight examination from 1912? Boredom Therapy.

Who owns the moon? Vsauce.

Nikola Tesla predicted the ascendance of women through technology. Brainpickings.

IFLS lists ten things you may not know about Tesla.

Someone assigned email addresses to trees and people started writing to them. The Atlantic.

Fuck that. A guided meditation for today’s world:

Why Japanese bathrooms are awesome. Distractify.

This guy’s wife left him alone with the dog. He got bored. Click through to see what happened. BoredPanda.

And that’s a wrap.

On Saturday, I’ll have more Ad Astra reportage. We’ll be starting day three! Finally!

Thoughty Thursday

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, May 31-June 6, 2015

A little bit of interesting and a little bit of controversial this week.

Listen to the wisdom of trees. OM Times Magazine. I’ve done this. Yes, I’m paganish.

What it means to have the heart of an empath. The Elephant Journal.

How the highly sensitive person may be accessing clairsentience. OM Times Magazine.

We need to address the gap in medicare for patients with mental illness. The Globe and Mail.

This raised a few eyebrows among some of my friends who do not identify as feminist. I understand their position and defend their right to hold it, but I still think this rant from Mark Ruffalo is pretty awesome (no offence, ladies).

In that vein, here’s the trailer for Suffragette. This. Looks. AWESOME!

Jon Stewart makes a brilliant point about Caitlin Jenner that no one is talking about. News.Mic.

Former Prime Minister, Paul Martin, believes that indigenous thought belongs in the classroom. The Globe and Mail.

Truth and reconciliation may be progressing, but there are still issues that remain unaddressed in northern Ontario. CBC.

Residential school survivors and their descendants share their stories. The Globe and Mail.

Truth and reconciliation is not an aboriginal problem, but a Canadian one. CBC’s the Current.

Buffy Ste. Marie speaks out on the need for a new deal for Canada’s First Nations. CBC.

Science fiction author, Veronica Sicoe, wrote this lovely post on our failure to find developed, space-faring civilizations: Blowing up the Kardashev Scale.

Crazy facts about Japan. OMG facts.

Newfoundland’s fairy traditions. Canadian Living.

Want a cheap mansion? It’s haunted . . . CTV News.

For your musical enlightenment: Five new albums to try out on Spotify. The Guardian.

Your edutainment is served. You’re welcome 🙂

See you Saturday for more Ad Astra, and maybe I’ll have some good news on the home destruction front.

Oh, BTW, what do you think of the site revamp? Yeah, I finally did that shit.

Thoughty Thursday

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, March 1-7, 2015

How gardening, and specifically the microbes in soil, can make you happy. Gardening Know-How.

How healthy gut flora (bacteria) can also have an antidepressant effect. Scientific American.

Empathy might lead to social anxiety. Spirit Science and Metaphysics.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) affect your health. Includes an informative self-test. NPR.

More about your ACE score and a resilience quiz (as a bonus). ACES too high news.

And a supporting article from IFLS: childhood trauma affects the brain.

Surrender doesn’t mean defeat. OM Times shares the seven habits of surrendered people. It’s related to resilience.

How physicians and psychiatrists are medicating women rather than treating the underlying issues. Some of us don’t need prescriptions. Or we don’t need the prescriptions they think we do . . . The New York Times.

For the other side of the story, Emily Landau states that she has been helped immeasurably by prescription medications and that she doesn’t believe they’ve affected her adversely. CBC.

Eleven things introverts want you to know. Elephant Journal.

Last week, I shared the Desiderata text. For those of you who were curious, here’s the version set to music by Les Crane:

 

Stop procrastination by asking one question and considering the answer for three minutes. Inc.

Most consistently successful creative people say ‘NO.’ Business Insider.

The strange world of felt presences links Shackleton, sleep paralysis, and hearing voices. The Guardian.

Did the human alliance with dogs drive the Neanderthals to extinction? National Geographic.

New human fossil offers more detail for our family tree. National Geographic.

Here’s what scientists think methane-based life might look like (if they find it on Titan). From Quarks to Quasars.

Ancient Mars may have had an ocean. The New York Times.

Scientists have discovered another earth-like planet. Higher Perspective.

More on what’s coming up for Neil deGrasse Tyson. The Wall Street Journal.

Cats see things that are invisible to humans. Higher Perspective.

I’ve shared posts or videos about the rabbit island and the fox village in the past, now The Atlantic features some great pictures from a Japanese cat island.

I love crows and ravens and so this story about crows gifting the girl who’s fed them since she was four made me #furiouslyhappy.

This video shares an important message about equality and diversity.

 

It was a thoughty week!

Hope you find something to exercise your grey matter.

Until Saturday, be resilient 😉

Thoughty Thursday