Links For April 17, 2014

Coming Out In Basketball: How Brittney Griner Found ‘A Place Of Peace’

Griner brings a defiant gender nonconformity to the court — and to the culture that surrounds it. Her distinctive fashion sense impresses even hard-core sports writers who don’t generally care about such things. “She dresses like a 1920s male dandy,” Zirin marvels. “And it’s pretty amazing to see. I don’t know anybody who pulls off argyle socks quite like Brittney Griner.”

Sheik and The Ocarina of Time: Queering Up Hyrule

Is Sheik the red-eyed antithesis of the gender binary, as fluid and as free as the water in the Zora Kingdom? Hell yes. Sheik’s gender is time-traveling bard. Sheik’s gender is shoulder muscles. Sheik’s gender is my hair’s falling across my eyes but I’m too busy playing the harp and fighting blood spirits to worry about that right now.

Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”: Explaining the hit using music theory.

She stays around the tonic, reinforces the tonic, and the vocal melody establishes the key so clearly that there is no doubt: Katy’s voice is “home”; the rest of the song is oscillating around her. Even when the tonic note would clash with the chord (as it does over the V chord, on “feel like I’m living a”) she hammers it home. Her voice is the sun and the song is in orbit around it. The “feeling of suspension” I mentioned is an effect of this. The insistence of the tonic in the melody keeps your ears’ eyes fixed on the destination, but the song never arrives there. Weightlessness is achieved. Great work, songwriters!

Tilda Swinton Is Not Quite of This World

Swinton gave a speech a year ago at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (“My favorite playground as a child. Medieval armor: my fantasy spacewear”), at the opening of a Bowie exhibition, invoking his album Aladdin Sane. “The image of that gingery, bony, pinky whitey person on the cover with the liquid-mercury collarbone was—for one particular young moonage daydreamer—the image of planetary kin, of a close imaginary cousin and companion of choice … How clear it now is—how undeniable—that the freak becomes the great unifier,” she said. “The alien is the best company after all for so many more than the few.”

Computers used to teach other computers to play Pac-Man, StarCraft

Well-trained computer algorithms were then given the chance to tutor some noobs using a variety of teaching styles, all of them put on a strict budget of interventions. One approach is to just give all your advice early, when the player is just beginning to understand the task.... The most sophisticated algorithm tried to re-capitulate the inner state of its student, guessing when the student was going to make a mistake instead of requiring the student to announce its intended move before a correction could be issued.

Open Access Maps at The New York Public Library

The Lionel Pincus & Princess Firyal Map Division is very proud to announce the release of more than 20,000 cartographic works as high resolution downloads. We believe these maps have no known US copyright restrictions.

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