From the world pool: June 18, 2017

We are two days from the summer solstice, and it is thirteen degrees and drizzling. A good day to stay inside and make a world pool post.

Socio-political commentary

US politics

It’s time to bust the myth: Most Trump voters were not working class.

Observers have often used the education gap to conjure images of poor people flocking to Trump, but the truth is, many of the people without college degrees who voted for Trump were from middle- and high-income households. That’s the basic problem with using education to measure the working class.

Sarah Kendzior: My speech at the March for Truth in St Louis

I’m a journalist who covers US politics, but I also got my PhD at Wash U studying former Soviet authoritarian states. I studied countries like Uzbekistan, a country ruled by an egomaniac dictator who abused executive privilege to enhance his personal wealth, who persecuted anyone who opposed him, who deemed the media his enemy, and who had this fashion designer daughter who kept getting involved in state affairs despite her total lack of qualifications and total lack of interest in the well-being of her countrymen…

Yeah, it sounds familiar to me too. And when my knowledge of an authoritarian state like Uzbekistan becomes relevant to understanding the USA, you know we’ve got serious problems.

Media, free speech, info wars

Forget Comey. The Real Story Is Russia’s War on America 

The Art of the Real: Disinformation vs. democracy 

The spectacle of the views of reality-destabilizing trolls being entertained as even quasi-legitimate is enough to weaken a system that operates on a basic presumption of good faith. And in excruciating, inch-by-inch fashion, we’re now seeing that spectacle undermine the instruments of democratic governance itself.

Fighting Words: the “free speech” equivocation

Words have consequences. What was surprising was not how precisely a bloodthirsty criminal can echo the language employed both on racist reddit forums and by milquetoast liberal commentators wondering whether left-wing student activists aren’t the real fascists after all. What was surprising was that anyone at all was surprised. Where did you think this was going to end? When you start telling people that standing up for racism and bigotry makes them brave free speech defenders, they’re going to believe you, and they’re going to act on it. Two men are dead in Portland, and their murderer believes himself a hero. Internet, take a good look at your boy.

Feminist issues

Male Stars Are Too Buff Now

Here are two objective and related truths about the new Baywatch movie: (1) It is bad; and (2) Zac Efron is too swoll. I’ll leave it to New York’s David Edelstein to tackle the first statement in his review, but as for the second, I feel qualified enough to tell you that as Olympic gold medalist swimmer turned lifeguard Matt Brody, Zac Efron’s body displays a muscularity I can only describe as “deeply uncomfortable.” The actor told Men’s Fitness that he wanted to “drop the last bit of body fat” for Baywatch and he seems to have meant that literally. There’s a scene where Efron does an American Ninja Warrior–style course and you see muscles you never knew existed. (How doing a salmon ladder is a requirement for becoming a lifeguard, I do not know.) His muscles look like they have bred with each other and given birth to little baby muscles. He has those ridges underneath his ribs that look like fine pebbled leather, and gutters so deep they could channel a major waterway. His 23 different abs give new meaning to the phrase “between a rock and a hard place.”

This is to say, in part, that Zac Efron does not look like a swimmer. 

The Language of Gender Violence

“We talk about how many women were raped last year, not about how many men raped women. We talk about how many girls in a school district were harassed last year, not about how many boys harassed girls. We talk about how many teenage girls in the state of Vermont got pregnant last year, rather than how many men and boys impregnated teenage girls.

“So you can see how the use of the passive voice has a political effect. [It] shifts the focus off of men and boys and onto girls and women. Even the term ‘violence against women’ is problematic. It’s a passive construction; there’s no active agent in the sentence. It’s a bad thing that happens to women, but when you look at that term ‘violence against women,’ nobody is doing it to them. It just happens to them…Men aren’t even a part of it!”

Indigenous Issues

Reconciliation in Action

Collision between Indigenous hunting and oil development rights set for legal showdown in B.C. court

Racism and Civil Rights

Ijeoma Oluo: White People Will Always Let You Down

People fuck up; it’s natural. And when we deal with topics as fraught as race, people fuck up a lot. But when you are a person of color in a white majority country, the fuck-ups that cut into you are relentless and unavoidable. People talk about building bridges, about finding common ground, and so you find that, and you walk together. And then when it is most important you find yourself standing alone over the water where the bridge has been unfinished and you look over at your friend and they say to you, “Oh no, I won’t go there.” And then you look down, and like in the cartoons, you fall.

Ta-Nehisi Coates: My President Was Black

The election of Donald Trump confirmed everything I knew of my country and none of what I could accept. The idea that America would follow its first black president with Donald Trump accorded with its history. I was shocked at my own shock. I had wanted Obama to be right.

I still want Obama to be right. I still would like to fold myself into the dream. This will not be possible.

Toni Morrison: The work You Do, the Person You Are

LeBron James reminds us that even the rich and famous face racist hatred

People have created fake online accounts for the sole purpose of reminding black people in hundreds of messages a day that they are never really safe. How powerful it must make someone feel to know that by sending an image, they can invoke 300 years of racial terror. How powerful it must feel to know that with a can of spray-paint they can make a rich and famous professional athlete feel unsafe? 

Wealth and Poverty

Grenfell Tower residents say managers ‘brushed away’ fire safety concerns.  On top of the lack of a working building-wide fire alarm, and the questions about the cladding, and the instructions to stay in their flats if there was a fire… there was only one staircase, and they installed gas lines in it.

In March, local councillor Judith Blakeman, who sits on the KCTMO board, raised residents’ fears about the installation by the National Grid of gas pipes in the main stairwells. The landlord assured her they would be boxed in with “fire-rated” protection, but this was not done, Blakeman said. She also said she requested an independent safety adjudication of the building, but this was declined.

“I was treated like I was a nuisance,” she said. “I raised 19 complaints on behalf of individual residents. Every single time we were told that the board had satisfied itself that the fire safety was fine.”

More here.

Canada’s richest 1% got a lot richer since the 1980s. The middle class has not.

Living in a poor neighborhood changes everything about your life.

Justice and Prisons

Memories of a Murder  This is an absolutely fascinating—and frightening—read.

DNA evidence exonerated six convicted killers. So why do some of them recall the crime so clearly? Taylor confessed to the woman’s murder in 1989 and for two decades believed that she was guilty. She served more than nineteen years for the crime before she was pardoned. She was one of six people accused of the murder, five of whom took pleas; two had internalized their guilt so deeply that, even after being freed, they still had vivid memories of committing the crime. In no other case in the United States have false memories of guilt endured so long. The situation is a study in the malleability of memory: an implausible notion, doubted at first, grows into a firmly held belief that reshapes one’s autobiography and sense of identity.


Accessibility v. Accommodation

The problem, of course, is that we as a society approach disability as something to be accommodated. We create spaces that are inaccessible, and then we say, “Should someone with a disability need to enter here, we will make special accommodations so they can.” Because that’s the deal with accommodations: they are always special.

And when you are asking underpaid, overworked, annoyed (wouldn’t you be?) federal employees to do something special, they’re going to get bitchy a high percentage of the time. Quinn, the author of the piece, joked about needing to wear her parking pass around her neck to prove she has a disability—to prove she deserves accommodation. But what this incident proves is that our society’s approach to disability is wrong from the get-go.

Accommodation is not accessibility. If a space is accessible, that space is always, 100% of the time, welcoming to people with disabilities. People with disabilities do not have to ask for anything. They do not have to prove they have disabilities. They do not have to interact with gatekeepers.

This is What Accessibility Looks Like

Accessibility is for Everybody


Remember that kid who invented a way to clean up ocean plastic? He’s back, and it’s happening

Climate change in BC: here’s how 2050 could look.

‘It’s heartbreaking’: volunteers overwhelmed by marine debris in Clayoquot Sound: Clayoquot Cleanup estimates it will easily double the 200 to 300 tonnes of debris first forecast

Grand Canyon at risk as Arizona officials ask Trump to end uranium mining ban

Science and Technology

The end of online ads is probably coming, but it’s not what you think

Just as many photo apps now enable facial recognition, soon they’ll also recognize other things in your images, from settings to objects. This means that before you even post your photos to social media publicly, your smartphone will know what you’re looking at and be able to match you with relevant ads. …In the not-too-distant future, companies clamouring to sell us their wares won’t even need ads — or rather, we won’t notice them, because everything we interact with using our smartphone cameras will be selling us something, and often times, available for purchase with one simple tap or click.

A Year of Google & Apple Maps

ScienceOpen: To help support the fight against #climatechange, we made this #openaccess collection of more than 7000 papers!


High Fructose Corn Syrup Has Been Quietly, Deceitfully Renamed

High fructose corn syrup is a killer. Since humans started consuming it, obesity rates have more than tripled and diabetes incidence has increased more than seven fold. Even when used in moderation it is a major cause of heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay, and more. So what does the FDA do about this silent killer? It allows food producers to change the name of the infamous sweeter in order to trick consumers into thinking they are not eating high fructose corn syrup.


My night in a 200-year-old jail that’s listed on Airbnb  Misery tourism: the height of privilege.

The worst of New Brunswick’s criminals were hanged through that trap door from the time the jail opened until the mid-20th century. A new linoleum floor covers the door now — but just knowing it was there was enough. The jail was filled with these reminders of the past. Steele’s plan is to preserve and share them. He wants to turn the Dorchester jail into a bed and breakfast and has listed it on the online hospitality site Airbnb. Steele says he’s received hundreds of inquiries. 

Why do millennials keep leaking government secrets?  Is it me or is this a really weird article? Apparently, as I understand this writer, millennials are whistleblowers because they have no loyalty, on account of their boomer bosses screwing them over, and are as victims of such treatment particularly well-suited to doing so. This manages to insult both millennials (who apparently are not doing it for the greater good so much as to stick it to The Man) and their predecessors. Um, labour history, much?


A Heart That Watches and Receives: “Please don’t give up on the truth.” A commencement address by author and historian Hampton Sides.

We see that serious journalism has been all but replaced by the infoscape, the blogosphere, the social network, the Twitterverse. That stories have become merely content, news organizations have become merely platforms, the long narrative has been pecked to death by tiny newsfeeds crawling across the bottom of the screen. We see that the democratization of information, combined with the shrinking of our attention spans and our fast-twitching fingers, has led to a Tower of Babel that threatens to make all of us not only unintelligible to each other, but also, often, insufferable.

Just cool

He who dances on wood

Watch a Snail Get Gently Zapped In The Face by a DIY Electric Fence: a creative exercise in humane snail-deterrent

Bird caught in amber 100 million years ago is best ever found

Princess Buttercup Became the Warrior General Who Trained Wonder Woman, All Dreams Are Now Viable

Langley school mural combines thousands of student faces

Just for fun

‘We got caught by that monster’: Rescue workers save couple from Irish rhododendron forest

Baby goats in sweaters

Slug fun. Hey, we’ve got the BEST slugs.

The Book of Jeremy Corybyn

And it came to pass, in the land of Britain, that the High Priestess went unto the people and said, Behold, I bring ye tidings of great joy. For on the eighth day of the sixth month there shall be a general election.

And the people said, Not another one.

And finally, from Twitter:

WIFE: the cat just got back from the vet


W: He’s very sensitive about his appearance, so please dont laugh at him

M: how bad could it be

Comments are closed.

Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: