This Week in Links 14

Since we record a new show every two weeks, on off weeks we do a link roundup of things we've read and want to share. Here's what's on tap this week.

  • Over at The Hairpin, Anne Helen Petersen writes about what it means that the American Girl company is retiring Molly (the doll I owned, and my favorite): I know Molly’s just a doll. But those of us who’ve owned or coveted American Girl dolls know better: she’s a message, an attitude, a way of being in the world. You might not have endured World War II deprivation, but you were attracted, for whatever reason, to its dynamics. Maybe it was the simplicity, maybe it was the unity. Maybe it was because Molly’s personality somehow seemed to matter more than what she owned or didn’t. The doll was a commodity, but Molly’s narrative so conveniently made you forget it.
  • A Linguist Explains the Rules of Summoning Benedict Cumberbatch: This is everything.
  • Zak Snyder has cast The Fast and the Furious' Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and now Becca's mad at him because that means she has to see his dumb movie.
  • A scientist in England has created a climate simulation of Tolkien's Middle Earth, because science is awesome. Apparently Mordor's climate is a lot like west Texas, which means they grow real good beef in Mordor.
  • Let Captain Picard serenade you with a Christmas classic.
  • Friend of the show Ramón Ramirez posted a great longread about the Angola Rodeo, a Louisiana event in which prisoners at a maximum security prison compete in rodeo eventsThink to track and field day in grade school: Rodeo Sunday is an opportunity to play outside.
  • Please enjoy these maps of famous houses from literature. Whither Hogwarts?
  • Slate has a great series covering American events in the tone foreign cultures are usually described in, and they tackled ThanksgivingVirtually the only break from the eating comes when Americans gather around the television to watch a special presentation of football, the country’s most popular sport. If the brutal violence of the game seems at odds with the holiday’s emphasis on thanks and good will, no one seems to mind.
  • Kate Middleton met Idris Elba and she reacted basically the same way you would.
  • And finally, a tribute to Paul Walker.