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:
- This is not a timely link, but I do think it's a timeless one: In a Mass Knife Fight to the Death Between Every American President, Who Would Win and Why? Perfect holiday dinner conversation fodder.
- The Washington Post has a really interesting look at black American Sign Language, and the ways it differs from white ASL.
- Marybeth Seitz-Brown at Slate makes a great point about uptalk: your vocal intonations aren't the problem, it's that you're a woman talking: But linguists have never been able to show anything intrinsically good or bad, authoritative or unconfident, desirable or grating about any kind of pitch, inflection, or vocal quality. Instead, we ascribe those qualities to speech based on who's articulating it.
- The story of how the NORAD Santa tracker came to be could not be any more charming or heartwarming.
- A guy started asking celebrities on Twitter about their stance on the Oxford comma (an issue that sharply divides us here at TWiL HQ), and got a lot of surprising, funny, and charming answers.
- Erin Ryan at Jezebel makes some excellent points about harassment targeted at women versus corporations like Sony: And for years, people in positions of power have told me (and others who have it much worse than me) that this isn't a big deal, that we should ignore it. That it's not real.
Now that people in power are the ones being threatened on the internet, we're talking about online threats a little differently.
- I object to the characterization of the writer's sister-in-law as lonely. She is clearly the funniest, most interesting person in her family.
- Christopher Nolan walks TIME through some of the books on Murph's bookshelf in Interstellar, and their relationship to the plot and characters.
- I Don't Know What to Do About Good White People: Over the past two weeks, I've seen good white people congratulate themselves for deleting racist friends or debating family members or performing small acts of kindness to Black people. Sometimes I think I'd prefer racist trolling to this grade of self-aggrandizement. A racist troll is easy to dismiss. He does not think decency is enough.
- A couple Christmas things: Magneto was right; Tom Hiddleston sings Christmas carols while holding a dog (this is not a drill, I repeat, this is not a drill).