Pocket Lint #4: edgewise

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When mainstream media is the lunatic fringe
“Mainstream media cruelty is actually more dangerous, for it sanctions behavior that, were it blogged by an unknown, would likely be written off as the irrelevant ramblings of a sociopath. Instead, the prestige of old media gives bigoted ranting respectability. Even in the digital age, old media defines and shapes the culture, repositioning the lunatic fringe as the voice of reason.”

Davos to Detention: Why I hate coming home to America
“The last four times I’ve traveled abroad (to Turkey, Kuwait, Lebanon and Switzerland), Homeland Security has detained me upon arrival.  It’s as frustrating as it is ironic, because although in Arabic my name, Ahmed, means, “blessed,” each time I land at JFK airport, I can’t help but feel somewhat cursed.”

It is expensive to be poor
“If you can’t afford the first month’s rent and security deposit you need in order to rent an apartment, you may get stuck in an overpriced residential motel. If you don’t have a kitchen or even a refrigerator and microwave, you will find yourself falling back on convenience store food, which—in addition to its nutritional deficits—is also alarmingly overpriced. If you need a loan, as most poor people eventually do, you will end up paying an interest rate many times more than what a more affluent borrower would be charged. To be poor—especially with children to support and care for—is a perpetual high-wire act.”

How long have I got left?
Before my cancer was diagnosed, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. After the diagnosis, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. But now I knew it acutely.

Readme files in game mods: a feminist perspective

Unfinishable games
Let’s stop pretending that “done” is an aspirational state.

List of animals with fraudulent diplomas. Related: Sir Nils Olav, via @mildlydiverting

The Bloodbath of B-R5RB
The tale of the largest and most destructive battle in gaming history.

Downworthy, a browser plugin to moderate hyperbolic headlines

Tumblr of the week: Dimly-lit Meals For One

Free game of the week: Chancery Lane – analogue board-game Mornington Crescent

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Pocket Lint #2

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The problem with “do what you love”
“According to this way of thinking, labor is not something one does for compensation, but an act of self-love. If profit doesn’t happen to follow, it is because the worker’s passion and determination were insufficient. Its real achievement is making workers believe their labor serves the self and not the marketplace.”

The Names They Gave Me
“Thank you for my name, mama.”

Drowning in money
“Instead of a steady flow sustained around the year by trees in the hills, by sensitive farming methods, by rivers allowed to find their own course and their own level, to filter and hold back their waters through bends and braiding and obstructions, we get a cycle of flood and drought. We get filthy water and empty aquifers and huge insurance premiums and ruined carpets. And all of it at public expense.”

Before and after
The slow and gradual process of gender transition, and how different that reality is from the crisp, sharply delineated “before and after” photos that are the common image.

The Naked Twine Game Jam
46 Twine games made over a weekend without using CSS modifications or Javascript.

Gun Home: the ultimate Gone Home DLC

Turning normal experiences of motherhood into depression
“Dr Spock told a generation of women that they didn’t need to learn how to look after their babies, that it was instinctive and that they knew more than they thought they did. He was completely wrong. ”

What Google knows about you
“We know Google collects the data. But what they do with the data we don’t exactly know. They might be using it for the best or the worst. Pessimists will think the latter, optimists will think Google will use it to build new great stuff for us which will make our lives better. Probably both are right.”

25 things a great character needs
Helpful advice for writers, especially number 17

Tumblr of the week: Cute animals, bad dates

Free game of the week: Catlateral Damage, a first person cat simulator

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Pocket Lint: interesting links, by email if you’d like

Pocket Lint is an idea I’ve been kicking around for a while, inspired by Roo’s Letter and the weekly ritual of going through all my saved links in Pocket and clearing them out on a Friday. And by the fact that lots of the links I’d normally tweet during UK hours are now happening during Australian ones, and some folks I used to provide that service for might like it if it came back in some form. So this will be a hopefully-weekly pick of the best of my saved links, featuring interesting things on the loose themes of journalism, games, social justice, news and internet culture. As an experiment, I’m also turning it into a regular email: you can sign up here or using the form below if you’re interested. I promise not to spam you.

Why we should give free money to everyone
“Studies from all over the world drive home the exact same point: free money helps. Proven correlations exist between free money and a decrease in crime, lower inequality, less malnutrition, lower infant mortality and teenage pregnancy rates, less truancy, better school completion rates, higher economic growth and emancipation rates.”

A tale of two trolls
Two people were convicted of sending threatening tweets to Caroline Criado-Perez this week; Helen Lewis looks at what their different stories and circumstances say about online abuse more broadly.

How Buzzfeed mastered social sharing
Long Wired feature on the rise of Buzzfeed and its analytical approach to making things go viral

Headlines Against Humanity
Spot the fake clickbait headlines. Harder than you’d think.

The myth of the free market in American healthcare
“If everyone in the U.S. was on Medicare, the savings would move the federal budget from deficit to surplus.”

Reading and hypothesis
On story, backstory, narrators (reliable or otherwise) and interactive fiction, and how they relate to Gone Home. Spoilers ahoy.

Kids Won’t Listen
Why teenage girls are sick of articles about teenage girls written by grown-up men.

Not-games of the year
“There have been plenty of great Game of the Year lists over the last month or so, and I don’t feel like I need to add to them, a week into the new year. Instead I’m going to write about things that weren’t games, but which felt like they could inspire them; the experiences I had and things I saw that I want to think hard about this year.”

“I want all games to have more needless buttons.”

Despite the castration, it’s been a good year A 2004 look at Christmas circulars from sketch writer and journalist Simon Hoggart, who died this week.

Room of 1000 Snakes (Requires Unity web player.)

Tumblr of the week: Movie Code Free game of the week: Looming (because I’ve been playing it this week, not because it’s new)

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