Things I’m Verbing: Science deserts, ghosts versus bad houses and the evils of SEO

Wow, I sure just read that Jezebel piece about an SEO marketing team exploiting the personal essay industrial complex by creating a fake female identity who was successful enough to be invited to appear on television. Who doesn’t love proof of a system casually hating women across the board in the morning? I was planning on linking the New Yorker’s “Humans of New York and the Cavalier Consumption of Others” anyway, but if you’re conscious of paywalls, there’s always this.

  • So much more entertaining: Slate not only dug into the fantastic blog McMansion Hell, but writer Colin Dickey drew the comparison between the architectural atrocities of our suburbs and a long, rich tradition of haunted houses. I’m so pleased this exists!
  • Is Donald Trump Funny Anymore?” Saturday Night Live and the Washington Post wrestle with when to stop laughing.
  • It’s Nobel Prize week, and writing for the New York Times, Gabriel Popkin makes a strong case that the most pressing fields in science deserve consideration — because right now, there’s no Nobel for studying climate change.
  • This has been a big story in Chicago for a while: A Whole Foods finally opened in Englewood, a South Side neighborhood better known in the media for violence and tragedy. Ostensibly, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s goal is to bring dignity to residents and eliminate food deserts, but as the Chicago Tribune reports, it’s not as simple as bringing in one store.
  • I was going to choose an article about gearing up for the vice presidential debate tonight, but honestly, why not have something joyous in your life instead? Open Culture is a reliably great addition to my day — have a link about learning to swing dance from the original greats of the 1930s and ’40s.

Things I’m Verbing: Down with ninjas, up with opera and right this way for swing

Sometimes I get down on myself for feeling drawn to the arts — isn’t there More Important Stuff going on in the world? I should stop doing that: Not only are the arts wonderful and important, but they’re as perfect a lens as any to examine the world and how we interact with each other. Plus not only that, but noodling around through arts links led me to Making Your Life as an Artist, a free ebook by choreographer Andrew Simonet about managing your time, your money and the worth of your work. Freelancers of all stripes, take note.


  • Arthur Chu is done with stupid Asian stereotypes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and everywhere else, frankly. “Not Your Asian Ninja” begins as an indictment of the second season of Daredevil, but it certainly doesn’t stop there. Short version: Nobody has any excuses for the lazy characterization and world-building that are still acceptable for Asian characters in media.
  • Unmissable: “Tabletop Gaming Has a White Male Terrorism Problem.” It didn’t start with GamerGate — not even close.
  • On Hamilton and the U.S. prison system: “Tonight, in the midst of our shared creative endeavor, they saw themselves smack in the center of the narrative of creation, possibility, pursuit and achievement.”
  • Lighter, but really lovely (and certainly true to my experience): Animation student and beginning Lindy hopper Emei Burrell drew a series of comics about learning to swing dance and falling into the community.
  • And speaking of being a beginner, ever wanted to see what the start of a staggering opera career looks like? Luciano Pavarotti performed in Moscow in 1964, and while you can see the talent and the skill, you can also see how much he’s going to grow as a presence. Useful for all of us, and a darn pleasure to hear.