Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday roundup

Tunisia's remarkable truth and reconciliation process.

The story of the Carl Vinson debacle.

George Takei urges us to remember internment.

About that Agreed Framework.

Beware of respectable-looking kleptocracies.

Some women play at self-oppression, but it's less fun to live it. See also.

Reproductive rights are an economic issue.

C'mon, people.
Does Germany have an arrogance problem?

This thread on electronics, absolescence, and the human/environmental cost.

Look at pictures of the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

Don't get too excited about fusion reactors.

If science is to have spokespeople, there needs to be more than one.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Saturday roundup

Strength and education do not immunize one from abuse.

Gotta love the all-male panel.

On the artificial distinctions we make:
And yet, the process of constructing norms — however imperfect — is, by and large, how human beings have chosen to deal with the fact that states continue to settle disputes with violence. As our technological capacity to wreak destruction has grown from machine guns to poison gas to nuclear weapons, more than a few people have observed that our species’ tendency to resort to violence may be our undoing. Eliminating war, though, seems unlikely. And so, falling short of that lofty goal, we try to prohibit the worst weapons — those that cause unnecessary or gruesome suffering and, most important, those that do not discriminate among combatants and noncombatants. If our lines are imperfect, we know they are better than no lines at all. If our restrictions are too narrow, we believe that others will come along who will try to broaden them.
Prince Harry's greatest act of public service.

FFS, women can show up however we like and still be women.

Want to do your part to help the planet? Cut back on meat.

Every pig deserves a life like this one.

Airline workers, no longer taught to deescalate, more commonly choose to handle customer service issues with security solutions.

This absolute-zero-to-absolute-hot infographic is phenomenal.

On words.
So great was the hue and cry that a competing dictionary, the American Heritage Dictionary, was created to wrest the language out of the debasing hands of the longhaired pinkos at Merriam.
How the moon determines when Easter is. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Friday roundup

Fantastic column on spicergate.

In the former Soviet Union, there was misinformation everywhere but people knew what was going on.
This was self-consciously an attempt to create a valid and verifiable news source. The Chronicle demanded that its contributors be “careful and accurate” with any information they passed along and even ran regular corrections to previous items (pioneering a practice some Western media organizations only adopted years later). As the scholar of Soviet dissidence Peter Reddaway, writing in 1972, put it, “the Chronicle’s aim is openness, non-secretiveness, freedom of information and expression. All these notions are subsumed in the one Russian word, glasnost.”
Superbugs, brought to you by the pork industry.

Sunday's assault was not United's first rodeo. Here are some collected responses to the incident.

I love this, from the man who gave us lithium-ion batteries.
When I asked him about his late-life success, he said: “Some of us are turtles; we crawl and struggle along, and we haven’t maybe figured it out by the time we’re 30. But the turtles have to keep on walking.” This crawl through life can be advantageous, he pointed out, particularly if you meander around through different fields, picking up clues as you go along. Dr. Goodenough started in physics and hopped sideways into chemistry and materials science, while also keeping his eye on the social and political trends that could drive a green economy. “You have to draw on a fair amount of experience in order to be able to put ideas together,” he said.
Don't read that awful NY Post piece from the man who'll no longer date "hot women." It is unfortunately not satire but two excellent pieces of satire have emerged in response.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Setting an example

We've been commiserating about the impact of safetrack on out commutes, even those who drive and have seen a spike in traffic as those who would normally metro opt to drive instead. I've been cycling as much as I can, weather permitting, which is about 60 percent of the time, and generally I love it. I even love that safetrack has pushed me to bike on 'questionable' days (when my transit system is functioning, I'm very much a fair-weather biker). Some days are easier than others, and some parts of the ride are tough every day. Like the Hill. That Hill kicks my ass every time.

I was noting as much to a friend in the new/temporary office, and stopped myself before I added, 'but it's for the best; I need to be beach-ready by May.' I'm at least ten years older than this woman, and--not that she cares or is influenced by what I say--I didn't want to set a bad example. I didn't want to put it out there that anyone--especially someone at my level of fitness--wasn't ever beach-ready.

It's true that I'm hitting the beach two weekends in a row (and again a few weeks later). And it's true that I've put on weight (mostly by virtue of going to restaurants because I was dating a dude), and I'd be lying if it told you I didn't care at all. I gained enough weight that I can see it on my face, and in how my clothes fit. I'm not going to pretend I'm entirely unbothered. But I'm not going to casually muse, in front of young women, about being bothered; I'm not going to normalizing lamenting one's weight as if it's something that people do. I'm going to normalize feeling powerful in the powerful body that gets my ass up that hill in the morning.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Monday roundup

You've all read about the chemical weapons attack in Syria. I'm not linking to the interview with the man who lost his whole family. I can't do it. But you can read about the dilemmas doctors face.

On another horrific war note: a Sudanese boy separated from his family.

I love this quote from an article about the travel ban.
“In any other country, when the president wants something, he gets it,” Mr. Hakky added. “The fact that a lowly judge somewhere can basically stop the most powerful man on earth with a simple ruling is gratifying, and it shows what this country’s all about.”

Farmed salmon is really unsustainable.

I had a lot of reactions to this piece about Ariel Levy, which I mostly agree with, as shattered as we all were by Thanksgiving in Mongolia (I also agree with the overall message here, but I think it misses the point of the TNR piece). The idea that feminism sold Levy a bill of goods is harmful and counterproductive. (And yes, I'm annoyed by faux female empowerment ads, too; they're almost as annoying as ads with women cleaning).

Dude-bros shouldn't be trusted with startups.

I might have rioted had David Farenthold not won the Pulitzer Prize.'

Small breakups can hurt.

Of all the Pepsi ad hot takes, this was my favorite.

This man thought he had worms but they were bean sprouts.

The patient was called and gently but firmly informed of the diagnosis. Given the nature of the identified specimen, the information was presented in a nonjudgmental, respectful manner so as not to offend the sensibilities or sensitivities of the patient. The patient was informed that no treatment was necessary at this time and his anxieties and fears were allayed.
I also had a lot of reactions to this piece about immigrants and food. Including this part not about food:
James Baldwin wrote that American media is “designed not to trouble, but to reassure.” American movies and TV shows help sustain a fantasy of innocence that masks our country’s violence. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie referred to America’s “addiction to comfort”; Junot D√≠az to our commitment to “narratives of consolation.” The soothing myth of American exceptionalism depends on maintaining its comfort and innocence, however false. 

And this part definitely about food.
The relationship between Americanness and consumption was a complicated one.
I’d hungrily devoured what I had believed to be American normalcy, but I was still being seen as American adjacent. Maybe there was no such thing as American normalcy; or maybe the normalcy was in itself a performance.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Saturday roundup--immigration edition

A powerful photoessay of stranded refugees in Niger.

Call your elected representatives and complain about the TSA, ICE, and CBP.

So I, needless to say, grew up among immigrants. Even once my family 'joined' the middle class--it was still a very immigrant-based middle class--the people McPherson describes here were very much part of my world.
That involved a lot of paperwork but not a lot of lines, and I am very glad to live in subsidized housing with a number of people who really run the gamut. One of them is the great-grandson of Leo Tolstoy. Another fled Bulgaria as the Communists were taking over, eventually came to the United States, speaks several languages, and worked for the Library of Congress. There are refugees from one regime or another, from all parts of the world. They come in all colors. Some were trained as lawyers, some have doctoral degrees, some were teachers. There are journalists and writers.
Now, immigrants are serving as much-needed EMTs in Maine. But some immigration officials have tried to deport neurosurgeons.

Yeah, I grew up during the Cold War and I've gotten 'are you a spy' cracks since childhood. They get old.

Being good at one thing--if you are even good at that one thing--doesn't make you good at everything else, and being good at business certainly doesn't make you good at government.

Yes, some women's issues are centered in the genitals that some of us have, and we mustn't dismiss those, but this is a solid argument for getting the movement out of the genitalia.

Dairy is as cruel as meat.

This takedown of Piers Morgan is delightful.