Weekend Reading – Sextupled

Our Weekend Reading series (brought to you by our Patreon backers) continues with a curated selection of fascinating articles—and a few other things—from around the Internet.

 

Grant

It’s been making the rounds, but if you haven’t read the late Alex Tizon’s tremendously powerful article “My Family’s Slave” in The Atlantic, take the time to do so. It’s as powerful as everyone says.

NPR‘s Nina Martyris wrote an excellent article last month: “‘Paradise Lost’: How The Apple Became The Forbidden Fruit“. It’s perhaps more about language and puns and the changing meaning of words than Genesis 3, but still an enlightening read.

“Jerome had several options,” says Appelbaum, a professor of English literature at Sweden’s Uppsala University. “But he hit upon the idea of translating peri as malus, which in Latin has two very different meanings. As an adjective, malus means bad or evil. As a noun it seems to mean an apple, in our own sense of the word, coming from the very common tree now known officially as the Malus pumila. So Jerome came up with a very good pun.”

Cecilia D’Anastasio had a very interesting article in Kotaku last December: “Dungeons & Dragons’ Gradual Shift Away From Monster Boobs“. It’s very mildly NSFW—after all, it does show a few images from various editions’ Monster Manuals—but it’s an interesting study of inclusiveness & respectfulness, and features plenty of commentary from D&D Lead Designer Mike Mearls.

By the 4th edition of D&D, the nymph is absent from the Monster Manual. By 5th, it’s clear that she’s gone for good. In an e-mail, Mearls said that nymphs were simply unpopular monsters among Dungeon Masters. 5th edition was designed after crowdsourced playtesting, and over 175,000 responses from early testers confirmed that gamers prefer elder brains and beholders, apparently, to monster boobs.

“When we considered the audience, we tried to think of how men and women would react, and make sure the reaction we elicited was in keeping with the monster’s character and the design intent,” Mearls said.

Finally: Want an article about the perfect, unobtainable macguffin? This fascinating 2015 New York Times article on “red mercury” by C. J. Chivers is your bag: “The Doomsday Scam“. (Subtitle: “For decades, aspiring bomb makers — including ISIS — have desperately tried to get their hands on a lethal substance called red mercury. There’s a reason that they never have.”)

As declining security fueled worries of illicit trafficking, red mercury embedded itself in the lexicon of the freewheeling black-market arms bazaar. Aided by credulous news reports, it became an arms trafficker’s marvelous elixir, a substance that could do almost anything a shady client might need: guide missiles, shield objects from radar, equip a rogue underdog state or terrorist group with weapons rivaling those of a superpower. It was priced accordingly, at hundreds of thousands of dollars a kilogram. With time, the asking price would soar.

 

Jenny

A recent devotional on Our Daily Bread, Clothed by God by Amy Boucher Pye, ties in quite well to our most recent episode.

In a vision given to Zechariah, we see Joshua, a high priest, covered in rags that represent sin and wrongdoing (Zech. 3:3). But the Lord makes him clean, removing his filthy clothes and covering him in rich garments (3:5). The new turban and robe signify that the Lord has taken his sins from him.

I am hardly known for my love of Star Wars. I recognize that the movies are important, but I’m a Trekkie at heart. However I have enjoyed playing the Fantasy Flight RPG, Star Wars: Age of Rebellion, in the past. In fact, I’m actually looking more into an upcoming sourcebook for it called Fully Operational, which details more types of engineering classes. I really like the looks of the most recent preview, Go Boom!

The battlefields of the galaxy are no place for the weak-willed. Warriors of countless species charge into war against the Empire oftentimes armed with with little more than a blaster, a grenade, and a stone-carved resolve. Fully Operational, the Engineer’s sourcebook for your games of Star Wars™: Age of Rebellion, provides players and gamemasters with a trove of information about Engineers, those brave Rebels who provide an additional level of support for the cause with their technical skills and talents.

And finally, for your weekly dose of cuteness, here’s a Tumblr post about a kitten saved by a member of the Canadian armed forces.

 

Peter

Game Church has an interesting article about morality, humility, and selflessness in the new game Prey that just came out.

After the game’s events, there’s an addendum where all of your choices and decisions are addressed. I never got a back-pat for cleaning up people’s garbage (not that I honestly expected that), but as the game judged me for how I cared for the living, I realized (even though I served these people empathetically) I was really only in it for the rewards and the sense of gratification that it brought me.

Richard Beck provides a very interesting bit of food for thought on the Problem of Evil in Thursday’s blog post.

Imagine the Bible gave us the theodicy we all want, The Explanation we’ve all been asking for.

Then imagine how The Explanation would be used.

And finally, take a look at this very cool Hot Wheels race video that’s been circulating. Someone clearly put a lot of work into this, and it’s amazing how exciting and humorous they made a bunch of toy cars racing!

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