"Here’s a paper we’re working on, which argues that we should (for some purposes at least), think of markets, hierarchy and democracy in terms of their capacity to solve complex collective problems [and] makes the case that democracy will on average do the job a lot better than the other two ways..." Henry Farrell and Cosma Shalizi on a cognitive approach to democracy (pdf). [via]
"I can tell you that the days of of white, wealthy, upper-class [Smith] students from prep schools in cashmere coats and pearls who marry Amherst men are over. This is unfortunate because it is this demographic that puts their name on buildings, donates great art and subsidizes scholarships." Anne Spurzem, Smith College '84, reacts to news about the increase in diversity at her alma mater during President Carol Christ's tenure while Christ prepares to step down in 2013. Unsurprisingly, Spurzem's comments have caused an uproar among students and alumnae, leading to the creation of the Pearls and Cashmere Tumblr, which celebrates the diversity feared by Spurzem. Meanwhile, President Christ has responded to Spurzem's allegations in an open letter to to the Smith community.
The results of the Women Working in Comics survey are in. Meanwhile Comics Alliance has asked creators how comics can do better at female characters. (previously, previously)
"Ultimate Marvel is an imprint of comic books published by Marvel Comics, featuring reimagined and updated versions of the company's superhero characters" Today the imprint has introduced a new version of Spider-Man, Miles Morales, a half black-half latino male teenager. Fans are already talking about why this matters.
Today, the first Somali-American to hold public office in Minnesota, and likely the nation, will be sworn in. But he prefers to be known as African-American. [more inside]
Say you're a Chinese company wishing to appear more global and well-to-do without all the messy hubbub of hiring a foreigner. What do you do? Drop $44 and rent a white guy.
Attenborough's Pitcher, an "Udderly Weird Yam," a two-inch phallic mushroom already immortalized on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, and the "Bombardier Worm" ("Chaff worm" would seem a more accurate name) are just four of the newly described species making the International Institute for Species Exploration's totally arbitrary Top 10 New Species list. [more inside]
New York Magazine has crunched the numbers, Park Slope has taken the title of most livable neighborhood of New York. [more inside]
Recent troubles with Muslim women's clothes have lead to the Quebec Government to begin proposing legislation on the issue of face covering and access to public services. The niqab has become a central symbol in the anti-muslim rhetoric of nationalist parties in Europe (political poster examples: France, Switzerland, and Britain) about the threat Islam poses to tolerant secular societies. [more inside]
Vogue Italia relaunched their website last week (in Italian and English / pictures on the site may be NSFW,) with three new subsites catering to specific fashion industry demographics: Vogue Curvy (focusing on plus-sized models, actresses and celebrities,) Vogue Black (men and women of color,) and Vogue Talents (veteran and up-and-coming designers. "Talents" also encourages hopeful designers to submit their work for review.) "Curvy" and "Black" in particular have received some positive and negative attention and some wonder whether separating those two fashion categories is truly inclusive. Vogue responds.
"Race & Gender of Judges Make Enormous Differences in Rulings, Studies Find," is the headline of a February 6 ABA Journal article. The article refers to two studies reported in law reviews, linked here in pdf format, on the effect of gender and race on decisionmaking in harassment and discrimination cases.
Standing out in the crowd. Kirrily Robert's keynote from OSCON. She discusses diversity in opensource communities and projects. [more inside]
As Oregon struggles with diversity, one young man from Corvallis takes a cue from Improv Everywhere and invites you to meet a black guy. [via swpl]
Auroville Funded by Governments all over the world, the city of Auroville is an ongoing experiment 'whose stated purpose is to realize human unity in diversity' through yoga. Unfortunately, it seems the 'rule free' society has attracted some of the least welcome of humanity's outliers, namely child sex tourists. [more inside]
Diversity counterproductive to "social capital?" James Wilson's article in Commentary magazine talks about Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam's essay recently published in Scandinavian Political Studies. In the essay, Putnam publicizes the findings of his research, conducted in rural districts, towns, and cities, whose conclusion establishes that diverse neighborhoods show less "social capital" because ethnically diverse residents seem to distrust each other. [more inside]
Official transgender blessings -- Kulanu -- the newly-revised manual for LGBT issues and ceremonies put out by the Union for Reform Judaism (1.5 million US Jews are Reform) now includes 2 blessings (written by a Rabbi now male) for those transitioning and who have completed the change, alongside the already existing same sex marriage liturgy and other documents and procedures. A first? (blessings text inside)
The downside of diversity. A Harvard political scientist finds that diversity hurts civic life. What happens when a liberal scholar unearths an inconvenient truth?
rsspect and AfroSpear -- both bringing more Black voices of the blogosphere to our attention. Rsspect is a growing collection of feeds, and AfroSpear a group blog. The loss of Steve Gilliard of the NewsBlog this week has caused many to rightly question why more minority voices aren't as visible or prominent online.
"I like to think that there'll always be a place in our universe where a kid can look and see reflected in the mirror an idealized form of themselves." Hero Deficit: Comics Books In Decline is an article, by freelance journalist Brad Mackay, exploring the challenges of superhero relevancy in a diverse society. Previous comic book and superhero-related posts on Metafilter. Wikipedia also has a very informative superhero page.
Jewcy asks The Big Question-- Why Are Atheists So Angry? with Sam Harris and Dennis Prager. Email exchanges on the topic--and if you can get past the incredibly loaded and one-sided question, really interesting.
More languages are in danger than ever, but some argue that this is no big deal. Is language extinction only worrisome because it means a loss of diversity?
A Blinding Flash of the Obvious "The city is too beautiful of a city to be known around the world as the capital of exclusion and intolerance." He was right. Now, a 22-minute film documents the successful fight to repeal an anti-gay ordinance in Cincinnati last year. The campaign was successful because it was honest, and because it included people of faith.
28 U.S.C 1367 was a controversial and confusing attempt by Congress to codify and address the issue of Supplemental Jurisdiction established in cases such as United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715 (1966), Zahn v. International Paper, Co., 414 U.S. 291 (1973), and Finley v. United States, 490 U.S. 545 (1989). The Supreme Court tried to clarify some of the confusing issues regarding 1367 in a 2005 opinion. Exxon Mobil Corp v. Allapattah Servs., Inc., (2005) (Kennedy, J., writing for the Court) (Stevens, J., dissenting) (Ginsburg, J., dissenting). The question of whether the Court clarified the issue or made it more complicated remains arguably unanswered.
The Family Research Council is claiming victory in their fight to have the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services remove a web site "Celebrating the Pride and Diversity Among and Within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Populations." [Google Cache Links: 1, 2, 3, 4] But the FRC are not very happy about the "derogatory and even threatening responses to the messages they sent to their own government."
The Logic of Diversity "A new book, The Wisdom of Crowds [..:] by The New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki, has recently popularized the idea that groups can, in some ways, be smarter than their members, which is superficially similar to Page's results. While Surowiecki gives many examples of what one might call collective cognition, where groups out-perform isolated individuals, he really has only one explanation for this phenomenon, based on one of his examples: jelly beans [...] averaging together many independent, unbiased guesses gives a result that is probably closer to the truth than any one guess. While true — it's the central limit theorem of statistics — it's far from being the only way in which diversity can be beneficial in problem solving." (Three-Toed Sloth)
Harvard has finally released a transcript of Lawrence Summers' remarks at a conference about women in science and engineering. These remarks, which were made without members of the press present about a month ago, caused a lot of controversy. Now we can finally see what he actually said.
Score one for tolerance and diversity. Three-year-old Sophia Parlock cries while seated on the shoulders of her father, Phil Parlock, after having their Bush-Cheney sign torn up by Kerry-Edwards supporters on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2004, at the Tri-State Airport in Huntington, W.Va. Do the smirking people in this photo really feel proud for terrorizing a three-year-old girl?
Human Development Report 2004 Cultural Liberty in Today’s Diverse World
Wages of hate - anti-gay attitudes damage the economy - conversely, Gay-tolerant societies prosper. Will GOP anti-elitism and the US religious right make the U.S. a 3rd world country? Paul Craig Roberts argues that we're on the fast track, and a Carnegie Mellon study (title link) shows that culturally repressive attitudes in America are driving away the "Creative" class. Virginia Postrel defines this class differently (manicurists and stone cutters) but in Richard Florida's "Creative Class War" (recently on Metafilter), "America is no long attracting creative workers from abroad because it is seen as an intolerant society". More than artists and programmers are shunning the US - scientists are staying away too. In the US, meanwhile, a bifurcation - Americans are geographically self-segregating, choosing to live with those who hold similar beliefs and values.
I feel like I have stepped through the looking glass.... first, we have the truly surprising but welcome sight of Michael Howard celebrating cultural diversity in Britain, then we have David Goodhart, editor of Prospect, apparently a magazine of the left, suggesting that perhaps we have quite enough immigrants in the UK for the moment, thank you. Goodhart's article is very provocative and very important, it's a debate that needs to be had and which has most certainly and entertainingly been joined by Trevor Phillips. I love a schism!
Americans pay lip service to diversity says David Brooks in The Atlantic. Though we talk about the melting pot, we tend to group ourselves with similar people. Do you really care enough about diversity to actively seek it out? Is metafilter a virtual example of this phenomenon?
A split decision from SCOTUS on Affirmative Action -- in cases specifically involving the University of Michigan, the court rules that the law school's AA standard is legal while the undergraduate standard is not. The University president is spinning this as a full out victory because the court has now "given a roadmap" for how Affirmative Action programs can be designed for higher education nationwide. While polls show that Americans want diversity in education but are unsure about Affirmative Action, it doesn't look like it's going away any time soon. And the fundamental question remains: when it comes to education, is being a racial minority four times more important than having held a position of national leadership? Twenty times more important than writing an outstanding admissions essay?
Is this astoundingly bad timing or what? Big Brothers/Big Sisters "will require that all 500 of its local affiliates include active homosexuals as volunteers and mentors to children", according to this article. On a side note, why hasn't this been widely reported?
Newspapers fall short of diversity goal : "The people who report for and edit the nation's newspapers look less like the people who make and read the news than a decade ago. If newspapers are a mirror that a community holds up to itself, the reflection is mostly white." Is it unfair to assume that a newspaper writer (or other media outlet) should share some sort of heritage in proportion to the population it covers to get the full feel of their stories? Or should it just be focused solely on merit without a cultural component?
"In the end, we will need to give up any lingering fantasies of a color-blind Web and focus on building a space where we recognize, discuss and celebrate racial and cultural diversity. To achieve that goal, all of us -- white folks and people of color -- will have to shed the defensiveness that surrounds the topic of race." So says Henry Jenkins in a Technology Review article on Cyberspace and Race. On the Internet, nobody knows you're oppressed?
Criticism Over WTC Statue Race Issues -- I'm sure many of you are familiar with a recent photo featuring three firefighters raising an American flag over the WTC rubble. Now a company has been commissioned to make a statue of the photo at FDNY Brooklyn Headquarters. In the statue though, the three white men who were originally depicted in the photo have been transformed into one white man, one black man, and one Hispanic man. There has been criticism over whether it is going to far to make these changes in order to be politically correct. Others are saying the statue should be more of a symbolic representation of all ethnicities that sacrificed themselves during this tragedy. What do you think?
This would be funnier if it wasn't so close to the truth. And I thought the Onion made up their fake news.
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