Video-Game Violence Is Now a Partisan Issue

Scholar and essayist Ian Bogost traces the history of video game scapegoating, noting that while the panic used to be bi-partisan, and then-senator Hilary Clinton targeted video games in 2005, now it’s mostly GOP voices who blame video games for violent actions such as mass shootings. (Incidentally, the Va Tech shooter preferred Sonic the Hedgehog, and the Sandy Hook shooter liked Dance Dance Revolution.) In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court…

Medieval illustration of two people in curtained, barrel-like baths.

Addressing Our Biases: Medieval Bathing

Did medieval people bathe? If you already believe that the middle ages was “The Dark Ages” (a bit of very successful propaganda created by Protestant intellectuals in order to distance their own accomplishments from the Catholic roots of the Renaissance) then you are likely to perpetuate the myth that everything about life “back in the day” was nasty and alien, rather than seeing all of human culture — especially our…

Because Internet: the new linguistics of informal English

I’m planning to begin my online Shakespeare class with commentary on how it’s a good thing that language changes, so that students will (I hope) see the effort they will need to put into understanding English from 400 years ago as part of the process of engaging with a living language, the same process that inspires each generation to change the language to suit their needs. Large-scale analysis of internet…

So Why Do People Shrug? Researchers Say ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

While contemplating what sort of body language I could give to a robot character I’m designing in Blender 3D, I started wondering about the shrug. I remember reading that kissing seems to have developed from the behavior of giving young offspring pre-chewed food, and sticking your tongue out at someone echoes what babies do when they don’t like what’s in their mouth. Raising your hand in greeting shows you aren’t carrying a weapon. But what’s a shrug?

Viral App FaceApp Now Owns Access To More Than 150 Million People’s Faces And Names

Viral app FaceApp has been giving people the power to change their facial expressions, looks, and now age for several years. But at the same time, people have been giving FaceApp the power to use their pictures — and names — for any purpose it wishes, for as long as it desires. To make FaceApp actually work, you have to give it permissions to access your photos – ALL of…