Weekend Reading 24

Our Weekend Reading series (brought to you by our Patreon backers) continues with a curated selection of articles—and a few other things—from around the Internet that interested us this week! We’re currently on an every-other-week schedule.

Jenny

I don’t think it will surprise anyone who follows this podcast to know that I do not go to a church where there are a lot of hand raisers. Most Anglicanism isn’t terribly suited for it, to be perfectly honest. It doesn’t fit with most of our hymns, and a fair amount of the singing happens during the eucharist anyway. However there are still a few people I know who try. They really really try to raise their hands in worship, and I commend their efforts, because the Anglican service does not make it easy. A comedian named Tim Hawkins has done us all the great service of categorizing the different kinds of hand-raising in church, and it’s a riot.

On a bit of a more sombre note, a speculative fiction writer’s name was immortalized in the game Silent Hill, and for Kotaku writer Gita Jackson, this is one of the ways in which she chooses to remember her now-deceased friend.

My friend Kit Reed died on Sunday. She was a prolific, award-winning writer of speculative fiction. Her cluttered yellow house is now empty. I will no longer stop by for tea or make dumplings in her kitchen for Thanksgiving. Kit insisted on no memorials, finding even the prospect of friends meeting for a drink after her death too depressing. There is only one place I can go to mourn her: a street in Silent Hill.

I love it when nature inspires modern science directly. This little eel-like robot smells out pollution in water. It’s really cool to watch it move!

If you’re standing on the shores of Lake Geneva and spot something strange swimming through the water, it’s probably not Nessie’s cousin. If it’s swishing back and forth and has a funny yellow antenna, it’s probably Envirobot. Modeled after lamprey eels, Envirobot is a long, sensor-laden robot capable of swimming along the surface to collect samples and data for environmental scientists.

Peter

The Christian Century has a nice, contemplative article about the way God can change hearts and mind toward His purpose and show us who our neighbors are.

Impatience with the slow, persistent Word that changes hearts and minds has a tendency to turn Christians into badly tuned flutes and ill-made gongs—Paul’s symbols for the absence of love.

Gamers With Jobs has a very thoughtful and inspiring piece about one teacher’s relationship with gaming and how it’s being used by them to do good. After talking to our many guests this summer, it’s cool to see people doing similar things in the digital gaming sphere in addition to the tabletop one.

What seemed like another one of these bad decisions in my life actually turned out to be maybe one of the best things that could have happened to me. Because one day it all came together – just by listening to a podcast. I found out about a thing called game-based learning. The deeper I dug into this new thing, the more excited I got. game-based Learning takes a look at what games are best at: motivating players to learn and develop new knowledge and skills.

Games bring to learning what traditional schooling often critically misses. Practically everything that is demanded of education in the digital age can be found within gaming contexts, whether it’s new skills – like collaboration, communication, critical thinking or creativity – or financial, technological or social literacy. Games feed on community knowledge and tinkering, they offer a space to be creative and the opportunity to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

Finally, you have got to check this out. Sophisticated sci-fi style consctructor nanomachines are looking more and more plausible every day, as this video will demonstrate. I also like the nod to how this can be used with 3D printing. Some very interesting manufacturing techniques are being developed out there.

Grant

There’s a brutal, haunting new art exhibit at the University of Kansas called simply “What Were You Wearing?” It aims to expose the myth that how people dress is somehow a driver of sexual assaults, and tell the stories of people who were assaulted. It’s not an easy exhibit to view, nor even to read about. If you can, you should do it anyways.

“Participants can come into the gallery and see themselves reflected in not only the outfits, but also in the stories,” she said. “To be able to create that moment in this space where they say, ‘Wow I have this outfit hanging in my closet,’ or ‘I wore this this week.’ By doing this we could hopefully reveal the myth that if we just avoid that outfit then we’ll never be harmed or that somehow we can eliminate sexual violence by simply changing our clothes.”

I rarely bring this up, because it’s a bit self-serving, but I’m an Eagle Scout. My old Boy Scout handbooks are a fantastic gaming resource (and my father’s BSA Handbook from the post-WW2 era is even more fascinating.) As such, I’m glad to see T.R. Knight promote these as a gaming resource in his recent “On My Shelf: Military Manuals and Scout Handbooks” blog post:

You might think these books are only useful for historical campaigns, but that is not the case. I am currently referencing my 1940 edition of The Bluejacket’s Manual for my Spelljammer using D&D 5e campaign I am working on. The Naval organization, tactics, and gunnery sections are assisting with my understanding of space combat in Spelljammer. The combat tactics manual I have used for modern espionage campaigns.

Finally, an older article but fascinating nonetheless: “When 1980’s Satanic Panic Targeted Procter & Gamble“. This Atlas Obscura article describes Procter & Gamble’s long fight with Satanic Panic conspiracy theorists who thought their logo was demonic:

It seemed no matter what P&G did, the rumor would not die. Then again, it’s hard to kill a rumor when you have opponents actively working to promote it. In a 1991 retrospective by The Washington Post, Paul Martin, a former Minnesotan, recounted a meeting with the Peters family in 1985: “These three brothers from the Zion Christian Life Center—Dan, Steve and Jim Peters—came to speak to my boys to tell them to burn their rock music albums … They showed a slide of the Procter & Gamble symbol and said it was the same as the Church of Satan in Minnesota.”

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