Women as Background Decoration: Part 2 - Tropes vs Women in Video Games (feministfrequency)

This is the second episode exploring the Women as Background Decoration trope in video games. In this installment we expand our discussion to examine how sexualized female bodies often occupy a dual role as both sexual playthings and the perpetual victims of male violence.

That hugest of clumps of soil loaded me with a body, had me toiling through a life, eased me with old age, rests me with death; therefore that I found it good to live is the very reason why I find it good to die. If today a master swordsmith were smelting metal, and the metal should jump up and say “I insist on being made into an Excalibur”, the swordsmith would surely think it metal with a curse on it. If now having once happened on the shape of a man, I were so say “I’ll be a man, nothing but a man” he that fashions and transforms us would surely think me a baleful sort of man. Now if once and for all I think of heaven and earth as a vast foundry, and the fashioner and transformer as the master smith, wherever I am going why should I object? I’ll fall into a sound sleep and wake up fresh.

Zhuāngzǐ – The Inner Chapters (translated by A.C. Graham)

What FEZ does with 2D/3D, Miegakurve tries with 3D/4D. Here is a more accurate description:

Miegakure is a puzzle-platforming game that lets you explore and interact with a four-dimensional world. The fourth dimension in this game is not time, it works just like the first three: it is a mathematical generalization (x, y, z… and w?) You see three dimensions at a time and at the press of a button one of the dimensions is exchanged with the fourth dimension, allowing for 4D movement.


Fez is a two-dimensional platform game set in a three-dimensional world. The player-character Gomez lives a peaceful, two-dimensional life until one day when he watches the breakup of a giant golden hexahedron tear the dimensional fabric. He receives a red fez hat with the revelation that his world has three dimensions before the game appears to glitch, reset, and reboot. Subsequently, the player can rotate the viewable 2D world 90 degrees left or right about four sides of a cube, revealing four 2D views of a 3D space.

This is one of my absolute favourite games. (They have their own tag now: #games)

Is our genome full of junk DNA? (Aeon Magazine)

At the most fundamental level […] our genome is not a blueprint for making humans at all. Instead, it is a set of genes that seek to replicate themselves, making and using humans as their agents. Our genome does of course contain a human blueprint – but building us is just one of the things our genome does, just one of the strategies used by the genes to stay alive. In their selfish desire to leave offspring, our genes have evolved to form a society where they work together efficiently, dividing the labour to ensure that each makes it into the next generation.

This article goes very well with this one: Die, selfish gene, die

This Is Your Brain on Silence (Nautilus)

Imke Kirste wasn’t trying to study silence at all. In 2013, she was examining the effects of sounds in the brains of adult mice. Her experiment exposed four groups of mice to various auditory stimuli: music, baby mouse calls, white noise, and silence. She expected that baby mouse calls, as a form of communication, might prompt the development of new brain cells. Like Bernardi, she thought of silence as a control that wouldn’t produce an effect.

As it turned out, even though all the sounds had short-term neurological effects, not one of them had a lasting impact. Yet to her great surprise, Kirste found that two hours of silence per day prompted cell development in the hippocampus, the brain region related to the formation of memory, involving the senses. This was deeply puzzling: The total absence of input was having a more pronounced effect than any sort of input tested.

To know what is Heaven’s doing and what is man’s is the utmost in knowledge. Whoever knows what Heaven does lives the life generated by Heaven. Whoever knows what man does uses what his wits know about to nurture what they do not know about. To last out the years assigned you by Heaven and not be cut off in mid-course, this is perfection of knowledge.

Zhuāngzǐ – The Inner Chapters (translated by A.C. Graham)

Graham’s note:

The Taoist does not take the heart, the organ of thought, as his teacher or authority; the only instructor he recognises is the ultimate Ancestor who generates all things, whose guidance is discovered in reverting to pure spontaneity. Its profoundest lesson is reconciliation with death, by a surrender without protest to process of living and dying as mere episodes in the endless transformations of heaven and earth.

Humans Need Not Apply (CGP Grey)

It’s easy to be cynical of the endless, and idiotic, predictions of futures that never are. So that’s why it’s important to emphasize again this stuff isn’t science fiction. The robots are here right now. There is a terrifying amount of working automation in labs and wear houses that is proof of concept.

We have been through economic revolutions before, but the robot revolution is different.

Horses aren’t unemployed now because they got lazy as a species, they’re unemployable. There’s little work a horse can do that do that pays for its housing and hay.

And many bright, perfectly capable humans will find themselves the new horse: unemployable through no fault of their own.

(Source: kottke.org)