A fully-loaded What I’ve Been Reading this week. The good kind of fully-loaded. Not like Herbie.

  • Alyssa Rosenberg of ThinkProgress writes about why Homeland deserved to clean up at the Emmys. She says that the show isn’t an aspirational fantasy; it’s about the messiness of real people and their relationships. That’s a rarity, even on cable television.
  • When you think hi-tech, you think environmentally-friendly, right? Think again. Microsoft’s data centres in Quincy, Washington are using huge amounts of energy, and in some cases, they may even be wasting energy on purpose.
  • Facebook’s recent privacy scare has ruffled a few feathers on the Internet. Some users claim that private messages are being made public on their Timelines, but Facebook denies any such security issue. Omar El Akkad of The Globe and Mail points out that regardless of who’s right, this imbroglio shows that Facebook users are becoming more conservative with their personal info. That spells trouble for Facebook, whose business model relies on delivering targeted advertising to users based on their personal information.
  • Lauren Nostro of Complex Music delves into the stories behind No Doubt’s singles. This is a pretty interesting read for any fan of the band. (I’ll try to get a review of their new album up some time next week.)
  • Lauren O’Neil of CBC News reports on an Austrian supermarket chain that has come under fire for selling plastic-wrapped peeled bananas. Are people really lazy enough not to peel their own bananas? Apparently so.
  • Paul Farhi of The Washington Post reports on an interesting debate: the pairing of Caucasian men and Asian women in television advertisements. Supporters say that it’s progressive to depict interracial couples as something completely normal. Detractors point out that Caucasian women are almost never paired with Asian men, concluding that Asian women are included in ads for their “exotic” appeal. I lean toward the former interpretation, but I do find ads that purposely play up Asian women’s “exoticness” to be a bit troublesome.
  • Shamus Young of The Escapist writes about the depiction of women in video games, claiming that criticism focusing on the tropes that secondary female characters fulfill is missing the point. He thinks the root cause of the problem is that there simply aren’t enough female protagonists that play to the “female power fantasy,” and as a result, whatever few female characters exist are left to play a role in the male power fantasy. My thoughts on power fantasies are sufficiently complex to form the basis of an entire blog post, but let me just say that there’s a difference between power fantasy as designer’s intention and power fantasy as player’s experience. Young’s thoughts on this particular matter lean more toward the former notion of power fantasy, which I find much less problematic than the latter. To put it more succinctly, I think he might be on to something here.
  • Ultra Vires, the student newspaper of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law has penned a satirical letter to The Globe and Mail’s most hated columnist, Margaret Wente. She probably deserves it.

As always, feel free to leave your yummy brain juice in the comments.

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