What I did on my Hullidays

A combination of notes on the lessons and general diary stuff about Hullzapoppin, a dance camp in Hull. I don’t always make these public out of a vague fear of the lindy blogsphere descending on me and telling me what I got wrong, but what the HellHull. Possibly only of interest to dancers, though the rest of you may be interested in the part with the blow up doll, I suppose.

Friday

u6EDiUp the A1 and over the Humber bridge to Hull. A nun walking in the grounds of the Endsleigh Centre welcomed us in and wished us a lovely weekend. We registered and got our wristbands: Intermediate Advanced ones were black, which goes with everything.

We stayed in Westfield House, which was great. It’s a big house in a leafy suburb of Hull. All of the 4 rooms were occupied by lindy hoppers, as it turned out. The landlady made the breakfast room available at all hours, which came in handy for late night toast parties. Unfortunately, the house is on the market, so we may not be able to stay there next year.

We ate in Fudge, which seems to be the subject of some sort of smear campaign on Trip Advisor but which was rather good.

Back to the Endsleigh Centre for the Friday night dance. It was crowded but manageable. I danced with once of the teachers without realising she was a teacher, so don’t technically deserve my Courage Wolf meme, but managed not to totally embarrass myself.

Read on: This one time, at dance camp…

Link blog: lindy, dancing, swing, lindyhop

The Open-Office Trap : The New Yorker
Open offices are horrible. Shame I work in one at the moment.
(tags: office productivity work space)
Goodnight. Sleep Clean. – NYTimes.com
Sleep is for your cerebral fluid to clear away the accumulated junk. Maybe.
(tags: sleep insomnia brain neuroscience)
What is frame?
“My best definition is that its a social convention for how we hold our bodies so our partner knows where we are in space.” I like 619shepard’s comment because it’s less about modelling people as springs and more about how there are conventions which are taught (some of which will involve behaving like a mass on a spring some of the time, to be sure).
(tags: frame dancing lindy lindyhop reddit swing)
Bill Nye tests the benefits of swing dancing – latimes.com
Bill Nye the Science Guy is a swing dancer. He extols the virtues of dancing in a short interview.
(tags: bill-nye science lindy lindyhop dancing swing fitness)
RDFRS: Secular VIP of the Week: God on Facebook
The man who plays God on Facebook. I’ve already Liked the page: it’s funny to see him responding to religious people who get offended, usually with much more grace than they show him.
(tags: god facebook funny comedy)

Link blog: mechanics, lindy, biology, newton

The science and magic of Lindy Hop | Andy Connelly | Science | theguardian.com
“Great partner dancers may not know it but they are masters of space, time and Newton’s laws of motion.” Of course we know it: for example, I’ve decided my “dance name” is “The Oncoming Storm”. (I also suspect I know who the Alistair credited at the end is, as he’s a Cambridge person).
(tags: lindy physics dancing lindyhop guardian newton mechanics)
liv | Against Dawkins
Is the gene centred view (of which Dawkins is a major proponent) the best one?
(tags: genetics genes richard-dawkins selfish-gene biology science genotype phenotype)

Link blog: robin-thicke, nsa, miley-cyrus, gchq

NSA files decoded: Edward Snowden’s surveillance revelations explained | World news | theguardian.com
The Guardian’s summary of the story so far. Nicely presented.
(tags: politics snowden nsa surveillance encryption guardian privacy edward-snowden government gchq)
Attenborrowed
David Attenborough’s commentary on the mating habits of pop stars on MTV. “Spectacular wattles”. Via jwz.
(tags: mtv twerking nature miley-cyrus funny documentary robin-thicke david-attenborough)
The Right Match: A Short Documentary – YouTube
“Drs. Dorry Segev and Sommer Gentry are innovative researchers who connect the complexities of mathematics with the intricacies of organ transplantation.” They came up with using graph theory and integer programming to match up reciprocal kidney donors (that is, where someone wants to donate to their family member but they aren’t compatible, so they swap with another incompatible pair). These guys are also swing dancers, so this came via /r/SwingDancing.
(tags: transplant graph lindyhop swing medicine kidney mathematics science)

Link blog: digits, lindy, processors, etiquette

Swing 101 — Etiquette & Floorcraft | Swungover*
Mr Darcy gives some etiquette tips.
(tags: dancing lindy floorcraft etiquette lindyhop)
The Slow Winter
A lament that the low hanging fruit in processor design has gone, but done in a crazy discursive way with SENTENCES IN CAPS. Fun.
(tags: moores-law hardware funny usenix digits processors)

Link blog: lindy, death, aging, intensive-care

Swing Dance Frame as Non-Newtonian Fluid | Jason Sager
Neat analogy for the way some moves work by resisting impulses (so that they are transferred and provide a net impetus to the follower) but not resisting smooth movement.
(tags: lindy frame fluid lindyhop dance)
https://github.com/mame/quine-relay
A quine (program that produces its own source code as output) which passes through 50 programming languages along the way. Utterly barking, in a good way. Via andrewducker.
(tags: quine programming)
Who By Very Slow Decay | Slate Star Codex
More excellent, harrowing stuff on the standard of end of life care and relatives who won’t let go.
(tags: death poetry medicine intensive-care aging)

Is leading and following in partner dances sexist?

Rebecca Brightly did a couple of posts on connection and sexism in lindy recently. I found it via the discussion on Reddit.

Brightly’s stuff is getting so much comment because it combines thoughts on how to enjoy dancing more (which is good) with an Internet-feminist deontology (which is wrong, as any respectable consequentialist could tell you). She’s now at the Defcon 3 stage of talking about “de-railing”, deleting comments, and closing down threads when people disagree with her premise. So I thought I’d put my response here.

Context: in partnered dances, there are usually two roles: one person leads, another follows. Quite what each role entails is a settled question for some dance cultures and a matter of intense mass debating in some corners of others. Traditionally, the leader is a man and the follower is a woman.

Brightly seems to say that followers should take more initiative while dancing, in part because this will combat sexism. Now read on.

Stuff I agree with:

In lindy, (most of?) the really good leaders can handle the follower initiating movements, and (most of?) the really good follows do so. You can tell this is true because there are so many videos of it on YouTube.

If you’re both into it, this can increase the fun, and is therefore a good thing.

The tradition that the man leads and the woman follows arose out of a sexist (and homophobic) culture.

Having the tradition enforced (whether by teachers or by the disapproval of other dancers) such that people feel they cannot choose to dance the non-traditional role limits fun and is therefore bad.

Stuff I’m not convinced there’s much reason to believe:

Everyone should be taught both roles from beginning of their dancing career (the premise of the Ambidanceterous blog).
Everyone should learn both roles.
(I mean these either for a categorical or hypothetical “should”, Kant fans, with the hypothetical being “if you want to be a good dancer”).

The mere fact that the traditional association between roles and sexes is still common today is a moral wrong that ought to be righted.

Stuff I disagree with:

There’s a moral duty for followers to take the initiative more and for leaders to learn to deal with that. This duty arises because:
1. The idea that follows should not initiate movements is sexist.
2. There’s a moral duty to eliminate anything which could be labelled “sexism”.

I disagree with 1 and 2 jointly and severally.

2 is the Internet-feminist deontology I mentioned. It’s usually either just asserted (as Brightly does) or advanced by deploying the worst argument in the world. As commenter Devonavar says, it’s not clear that there are bad consequences of having non-initiatory followers, so even if it is sexist, it’s not clear we should care, or at least, that we should care more than we care about other stuff, like having fun (we can reasonably assume that some people dance like that because they enjoy it).

1 is correctly challenged by commenter Josephine, who identifies the problem as the enforced association of roles with sexes. At most, the idea that followers should rarely initiate is indirectly sexist while the enforcement continues, but seeing as the enforcement does more harm, why not just work on that directly?

Link blog: google, porn, dance, consent

Ambidancetrous: The Blog — “We don’t want to make people uncomfortable.” (aka, “What about teh menz?!”)
"Ultimately, some of the worry that some straight guys will be uncomfortable dancing with other men (or being led by a woman) may be justified." Het guys: you lost the oppression Olympics, so your comfort and consent about who touches you is less important than our plan to build a utopia through dance. PROBLEMATIC. Well, OK, that bit rubbed me up the wrong way. But seriously, I think an "ambidancetrous" dance scene would be less "problematic" if the expectations (and how they differ from pretty much every other scene) were made clear up front. What I expect would happen then is that if you insisted every lesson was ambidancetrous, you’d never get enough people to make a viable community. Maybe it’d work as an option within an established scene, though.
(tags: lindy consent gender feminism lindyhop dance)
http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2013/march/1361848247/karen-hitchcock/fat-city
A doctor writes about the difficulties of dealing with obesity: dealing with a social problem, and applying epidemiology to individuals. Via Metafilter.
(tags: food fat obesity medicine health)
On the stupidity of asking, “but where’s the evidence we need evidence for things?”
"it’s a mistake to think that if someone thinks maybe you should have some evidence for a particular thing you believe, they are therefore committed to a sweeping philosophical doctrine about needing evidence for absolutely everything."
(tags: evidence philosophy epistemology)
Online Child Porn – What the Papers Aren’t Telling You.
Could Google really block it? (Hint: no)
(tags: google porn filtering internet)
Ukip Activist Marty Caine Provokes Fury by Branding Drummer Lee Rigby’s Family ‘Idiots’ – IBTimes UK
Looks like the old "the EDL are the provisional wing of UKIP" joke is actually true.
(tags: edl lee-rigby islam racism ukip)