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Weekend Reads 8/10/19

Video-Game Violence Is Now a Partisan Issue

This framing has obvious political benefits. The National Rifle Association started pointing fingers at games after Sandy Hook, and it redoubled its efforts to use the medium to draw attention away from gun possession and gun control after Parkland. Video-game violence seems to have transformed from an issue of bipartisan and earnest cultural opprobrium—video games are gross and maybe harmful—to a sacrificial lamb slaughtered in the service of preserving gun rights.

Toni Morrison, Prophet of America’s Demons (1931-2019)

That “race” is a pseudo-scientific social construct is besides the point, Morrison would remind us. Of course race is a pseudo-scientific social construct, but that doesn’t mean that real people don’t live with and suffer under the legacies of racism. Playing in the Dark is a helpful rejoinder to every self-satisfied prig who sanctimoniously informs us that they “don’t see color.” Rather, Morrison explains how we can’t help but see color, even if it’s not really there.

They say piracy killed the Amiga. Know what else it's killing? Malware sales. Awww, diddums

By way of example, she laid out the rise and fall of a trojan called AZORult, which harvests passwords, cookies, web browsing histories, and other personal data from infected Windows computers. It is typically used as a second stage – ie: it’s deployed once a computer is already compromised to thoroughly vacuum up information. AZORult could be purchased from its creator, and proved so popular that pirates weighed anchor and sailed off with a cracked version of it.

A hot planet threatens food and water more than realized, IPCC says

The warming lowers the nutritional quality of the food we grow and reduces water supplies at the same time that global population is expected to top 10 billion people by midcentury. At 2 degrees Celsius of warming, the threat of a food crisis multiplies; even at 1.5 degrees C, wildfires are a grave threat.

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