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Behind the Music, er, Blog

Time for more of that silly meta stuff I do on Sundays. I changed a few things this week. Some of them aren’t really visible. I had a bit of a snafu with the Facebook linkage because, long story short, I realized the Facebook app I made for it was still in developer mode, and had to put it into production mode, and this was a little harder (rather, more confusing) than I expected.

Link Roundup: April 16, 2016

Psst, hey kid. Wanna see some links? They’re free. Uhhh * [KFC Australia's unfortunate NSFW promo was posted to its Twitter account for an hour]( -- Yeah, I don't even know how to categorize this one. The responses are gold, though. Social Justice * [Why nerds are so sexist]( -- Nothing really Earth-shattering here, but a good read, and a decent primer if you're not familiar with the issues involved.

How Men and Women Talk

Time to tackle another construct: the different ways men and women communicate with one another. As is typical when I write about issues of social constructs that involve power disparities, privilege, and oppression, my words are aimed primarily at guys like myself: straight white men. I would not presume to explain these issues to women–they are already well aware. Getting right to the point: there is a major difference in how men and women communicate and conduct themselves in mixed-gender venues, almost regardless of context.

Perfect Criminals, Perfect Victims

Sometimes I wonder if I stray too far from the core purpose of this blog which is, after all, examining the “resilient constructs” we encounter in our lives. But this is a topic that, I think, drives at the heart of what this blog is about. The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world. There are a number of reasons for this, but the simple explanation is that, as a culture, we have a more punitive view of human behavior.

The Panama Papers: Tax Evasion Made Legal

Tax evasion: what was once a mark of shame has endured so long it’s become boring. Commonplace. Business as usual. The Panama Papers have opened the latest chapter in this story. Detailing the dealings of Panamanian financial services firm Mossack Fonseca, the Papers don’t describe anything particularly unusual or novel, and that’s the real tragedy. This is¬†normal. It’s normal for people with massive amounts of wealth to hide it in tiny little countries around the world just so they can avoid giving up a slice of it that they wouldn’t even miss.

Autism: Beyond Awareness

April is National Autism Awareness Month. If you aren’t autistic and aren’t close to anyone who is, you might think this is a good time for autistic people–a chance for children and adults who aren’t often in the limelight to get some attention and advocacy. If only it were so simple. This is only the second time I’ve written about autism here. My previous post–and especially the links quoted/cited there–is a good place to start with regard to reconsidering autism advocacy in general.

Brotherhood of Kings: The United Nations of the Ancient World

From our vantage point in a world with electricity, transoceanic flights, and pocket-sized, Internet-connected computers, it’s easy to imagine the ancient humans who had none of these things as dull, unremarkable–primitive. The more I study the ancient world, however, the more impressed I am by what was built so long ago, with none of the technology or knowledge we take for granted today. _Brotherhood of Kings: How International Relations Shaped the Near East_ is a fascinating explanation of ancient diplomacy.

Back in the USA

I’m back from Scotland, now, and I suppose it’s a good time for a postmortem. My mistake was in not having a better agenda for last week’s posts. I should have thought through specific topics I wanted to address on each day. The Brexit and Islam posts are probably the only ones that really work to any degree. The one with the photos was fun, but not likely something I will do again unless I’m going to take the time to caption things and create an actual narrative around the images.

Link Roundup: April 9, 2016

Once again, I’m going to be traveling when this goes up, but hey. Also, since I haven’t been online much this week, there won’t be a lot of links. Take what you can get! Tech * [Steam hacker says more vulnerabilities will be found, but not by him]( -- A teenage university student finds multiple backdoors in Valve's game distribution platform and online store, and Valve doesn't even see fit to acknowledge him, so he's calling it quits.

Islam in Scotland

As of this writing, there are over 75,000 Muslims in Scotland, representing 1.4% of the population. They are a small but very visible minority, especially in the major cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. In fact, I’ve spent the past week staying next door to the Edinburgh Central Mosque, which is a lovely building in its own right, and obviously Muslims are a common sight all around it. Islam has been in the news this week for a particularly sad occasion: the murder of one Muslim by another, over religious differences.