From the world pool: April 20, 2018

small frilly mushrooms in moss

Have a nice fungus. 

Socio-political commentary

US politics

Department Of Homeland Security Compiling Database Of Journalists And ‘Media Influencers’

Two Decades of War Have Eroded the Morale of America’s Troops

Canadian politics

‘They’re Not Getting How the Constitution Works’: Why Trudeau, Notley Can’t Steamroll B.C. on Kinder Morgan Pipeline 

Feminist issues

Life coach Tony Robbins says women use #MeToo movement to make themselves ‘significant’

The millionaire self-help guru was caught on tape describing #MeToo as an excuse for women to use “victimhood” for their own means.

…During his speech, an audience member named Nanine McCool, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, is given a microphone to ask Robbins a question. She starts off by saying, “I think you misunderstand the #MeToo movement…” before Robbins cuts her off.

When Ms McCool gets the floor back almost a full two minutes later, she explains that she feels Robbins has mischaracterised an entire movement by claiming that women are using it for their own personal gains.

Robbins then goes on to use Ms McCool to make his point. He walks her backwards through the aisle of the stadium by pushing against her fist, asking her why she’s resisting his push in order to make his point. Pushing against someone else doesn’t make you more safe, he explains.

This… I can’t even find words for a guy that thinks this way. He’s been trying to walk back his own comments, but I doubt he’s convincing anyone. An interview with Nanine McCool about it here.

The Silence: the Legacy of Childhood Trauma

I wish I had told you the truth then, but I was too scared in those days to say anything. Too scared, too committed to my mask. I responded with some evasive bullshit. And that was it. I signed your books. You thought I was going to say something, and when I didn’t you looked disappointed. But more than that you looked abandoned. I could have said anything but instead I turned to the next person in line and smiled. Out of the corner of my eye I watched you pick up your backpack, slowly put away your books, and leave. When the signing was over I couldn’t get the fuck away from Amherst, from you and your question, fast enough. I ran the way I’ve always run. Like death itself was chasing me. For a couple of days afterward I fretted; I worried that I’d given myself away. But then the old oblivion reflex took over. I pushed it all down. Buried it all. Like always.

Racism and Civil Rights

A Most American Terrorist: The Making of Dylann Roof This is the article that just won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

I had come to Charleston intending to write about them, the nine people who were gone. But from gavel to gavel, as I listened to the testimony of the survivors and family members, often the only thing I could focus on, and what would keep me up most nights while I was there, was the magnitude of Dylann Roof’s silence, his refusal to even look up, to ever explain why he did what he had done. Over and over again, without even bothering to open his mouth, Roof reminded us that he did not have to answer to anyone. He did not have to dignify our questions with a response or explain anything at all to the people whose relatives he had maimed and murdered. Roof was safeguarded by his knowledge that white American terrorism is never waterboarded for answers, it is never twisted out for meaning, we never identify its “handlers,” and we could not force him to do a thing. He remained inscrutable. He remained in control, just the way he wanted to be.

What We Get Wrong About Closing the Racial Wealth Gap (pdf) By William Darity Jr., Darrick Hamilton, Mark Paul, Alan Aja, Anne Price, Antonio Moore, and Caterina Chiopris; Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity

From Starbucks to Hashtags: We Need to Talk About Why White Americans Call the Police on Black People

That Starbucks manager didn’t call the police in hopes that they’d politely ask two black customers to buy a latte or leave, just as the angry woman in front of my apartment wasn’t threatening to call the cops just to get her boyfriend to listen to her. The intent of these actions is to remind black people that the ultimate consequence of discomforting white people—let alone angering them—could be death.


Open as in dangerous /(Keynote at the the 2018 Creative Commons Global Summit)

Justice and Prisons

The Secret Story of Corruption Behind Meek Mill’s Incarceration

 “The probation system has never been about helping people move on with their lives after committing a crime,” wrote journalist Michael Thomsen in a 2015 essay for Al-Jazeera America proposing the elimination of criminal probation. “Instead, it has enabled the government to dig deeper into peoples’ private lives in search of punishable flaws.”

Detective Guevara’s Witnesses

Chicago Police Detective Reynaldo Guevara is accused of framing at least 51 people for murder. When a group of mothers, aunts and sisters found that no officials — not the state’s attorney’s office, not the mayor’s office — wanted to take up their cause, the women went in search of justice themselves.

And the good news: Roberto Almodovar is getting out of prison


Gulf Stream current at its weakest in 1,600 years, studies show

Well, isn’t that cheery. This one’s a bit happier:

‘So many people giving a damn’ – the War in the Woods 25 years later

Christine Lowther of Tofino… was arrested at a 1992 logging blockade and continued to support the Friends of Clayoquot Sound through the hectic summer the next year.

“It was so many people giving a damn,” she says of the protests that became a watershed moment for the environmental movement.

The War in the Woods also signalled the start of a better understanding of Indigenous rights and territory, Lowther says. It’s another reason she supports the current fight against the pipeline.

“It’s time for us to give back. We did then, and we are again now.”


Billion-Dollar Blessings: How Jerry Falwell Jr. transformed Liberty University, one of the religious right’s most powerful institutions, into a wildly lucrative online empire.


Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum and Virtual Auschwitz

Science and Tech

Visiting physician sheds new light on Lyme disease

Art + Design + Writing

Laurie Swim: textile art

Quote of the week

The reason Canadians are so nice is because at birth a ritual is performed to extract all of their hate and place it in their geese.


I’m sorry, I have to make fun of this

Millennials are taking over the workforce

It’s been a long time since I’ve read such a non-article.

In 2017, 56 million millennials were working or looking for a job — outnumbering 53 million Gen Xers, who made up 33 percent of the labor force and 41 million Baby Boomers, who accounted for 25 percent of the total. Gen X (those born from 1961 to 1981) was down from its peak of 54 million workers in 2008, a decline that simply reflects a drop in the overall number of Gen X adults, according to the study. And while Baby Boomers made up the majority of the labor force in the 1980s, their numbers are declining as more and more of those born between 1946 and 1964 retire.


Just cool

Small Pilgrim Places

Italian Pastry Chef Creates Miniature Worlds With Desserts

Just for fun

When algorithms surprise us

Something about this story just tickled me immensely. I think this was my favourite:

Solving the Kobayashi Maru test: Another algorithm was supposed to minimize the difference between its own answers and the correct answers. It found where the answers were stored and deleted them, so it would get a perfect score.

Avocado Art Is Here, and Instagram Is Officially Obsessed

This is what the world map sounds like on the piano

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