Weekend Reads 6/16/18

How Tolkien created Middle-earth

Today, Tolkien might have come to represent the old guard of fantasy – the “locker room” that the late Ursula K LeGuin once derided. Yet fierce passion for his work endures, and even his harshest critics will concede that few creators have succeeded in building a paracosm that touches the depth of Middle-earth.

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Always the Wrong Choice

The United States' largest Protestant denomination has become a slow-motion train wreck. Following the denomination's near-failure last summer to condemn white supremacy, and reeling from a decade of membership decline, the one bright light for the Southern Baptists in the era of #MeToo was that no prominent leaders had been named as sexual predators.

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Weekend Reads 6/9/18

The Hidden Queer History Behind “A League of Their Own”

Players had to attend charm school and wear lipstick on the field. Their uniforms had skirts instead of pants — not great for sliding, but deemed appropriately feminine by league owner Philip K. Wrigley. All of this was chronicled in “A League of Their Own.” But there was one thing the movie left out: the reason for these requirements.

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Weekend Reads 5/26/18

Google Removes 'Don't Be Evil' Clause From Its Code of Conduct

When Google was reorganized under a new parent company, Alphabet, in 2015, Alphabet assumed a slightly adjusted version of the motto, “do the right thing.” However, Google retained its original “don’t be evil” language until the past several weeks.

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Weekend Reads 5/19/18

Why you hear “Laurel” or “Yanny” in that viral audio clip, explained

“There’s just enough ambiguity in this fairly low-quality recording that [some] people are hearing it one way and some people are hearing it another,” Brad Story, the associate department head of speech, language, and hearing sciences at Arizona State University, told me.

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Weekend Reads 5/12/18

The incredibly frustrating reason there’s no Lyme disease vaccine

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, a vaccine called LYMErix was sold to prevent between 76 and 92 percent of infections. Hundreds of thousands of people got it — until vaccine fear knocked it off the market.

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Why Can't We Just Be Nice?

A new code of conduct for an open-source software project has sparked controversy and led to the resignation of one programmer. Rafael Avila de Espindola has announced he will no longer contribute to the compiler infrastructure tool set known as the LLVM Project.

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