It’s been a rough couple of months, so I’m only now getting back to actually trying to blog. Apart from all the photos I have, there’s a considerable backlog in my World Pool box. Here’s a start. Some of it’s a bit depressing (okay, a whole lot depressing) but some of it is actually good news (Kinder Morgan!) and I’ve tried to leaven it as much as possible. Continue reading “From the World Pool: November 4, 2017”
I didn’t post last week, so the world pool is extra deep today. Continue reading “From the world pool: April 14, 2017”
My gosh, what a week. Long list of links to put up.
Let’s start with a picture of a sexy arbutus tree.
A woman her age is supposed to be invisible. But Hillary Clinton, who is 68, refuses to disappear — and there is no shortage of people who despise her for it.
Donald Trump’s conspiracy theories are making his supporters paranoid—and dangerous. I know it’s easy to get caught up in the drama of it all, but this scenario is beginning to look more and more likely. And Sarah Kendzior has called a lot of stuff accurately in this election.
And read this for examples of how supporters are responding: Warnings of conspiracy stoke anger among Trump faithful.
“If she’s in office, I hope we can start a coup. She should be in prison or shot. That’s how I feel about it,” Dan Bowman, a 50-year-old contractor, said of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee. “We’re going to have a revolution and take them out of office if that’s what it takes. There’s going to be a lot of bloodshed. But that’s what it’s going to take. . . . I would do whatever I can for my country.”
…His supporters are heeding the call. “Trump said to watch your precincts. I’m going to go, for sure,” said Steve Webb, a 61-year-old carpenter from Fairfield, Ohio. “I’ll look for . . . well, it’s called racial profiling. Mexicans. Syrians. People who can’t speak American,” he said. “I’m going to go right up behind them. I’ll do everything legally. I want to see if they are accountable. I’m not going to do anything illegal. I’m going to make them a little bit nervous.”
Black Lives Matter
This Baltimore school replaced detention with meditation. The results have been incredible. So simple. And apparently so effective.
Alicia Garza on the beauty and the burden of Black Lives Matter. (via Ashley Ford @iSmashFizzle)
The disturbing reason why we don’t believe young, black women are really doctors. (via @tressiemcphd) No news here, but still a good review of internalized bias.
When Tamika Cross heard a woman screaming for help for her husband, who fell ill on a Delta flight last weekend, she sprang to action. The young black doctor, on her way home from a wedding in Detroit, took off her headphones, put her tray table up and unbuckled her seat belt…. Cross, a fourth-year resident at McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, raised her hand.
“She said to me, ‘oh no sweetie put ur hand down, we are looking for actual physicians or nurses or some type of medical personnel, we don’t have time to talk to you,’ ” Cross wrote in a Facebook post that has gone viral. “I tried to inform her that I was a physician, but I was continually cut off by condescending remarks.”
Sexuality and gender
On nearly every continent, and for all of recorded history, thriving cultures have recognized, revered, and integrated more than two genders. Terms such as “transgender” and “gay” are strictly new constructs that assume three things: that there are only two sexes (male/female), as many as two sexualities (gay/straight), and only two genders (man/woman). Yet hundreds of distinct societies around the globe have their own long-established traditions for third, fourth, fifth, or more genders.
This is fascinating. It’s linked from a page about a documentary called “Two Spirits”.
The Navajo believe that to maintain harmony, there must be a balanced interrelationship between the feminine and the masculine within the individual, in families, in the culture, and in the natural world. Two Spirits reveals how these beliefs are expressed in a natural range of gender diversity. For the first time on film, it examines the Navajo concept of nádleehí, “one who constantly transforms.”
The Fantastic Ursula K. Le Guin. I was sorry to see that Ursula K Le Guin didn’t win the Nobel Prize for literature, as she is my favourite author. But here’s a great article on her. One of the things that I love about her is her beautiful, sly sense of humour. Which is likely why I loved this:
Le Guin dresses well, but casually, favoring T-shirts, and wears little jewelry, though occasionally she puts on earrings fastened with clips or magnets. “You put the stone in front and a tiny magnet behind your earlobe,” she explains. “The trouble is that if you bend down near the stove, for instance, all of a sudden your earrings go wham!—and hit the stove. It’s kind of exciting.”
By breaking down the walls of genre, Le Guin handed new tools to twenty-first-century writers working in what Chabon calls the “borderlands,” the place where the fantastic enters literature. A group of writers as unlike as Chabon, Molly Gloss, Kelly Link, Karen Joy Fowler, Junot Díaz, Jonathan Lethem, Victor LaValle, Zadie Smith, and David Mitchell began to explore what’s possible when they combine elements of realism and fantasy. The fantasy and science-fiction scholar Brian Attebery has noted that “every writer I know who talks about Ursula talks about a sense of having been invited or empowered to do something.”
Not a bad legacy, whether you get a Nobel or not.
Just for fun
Feminism AND GENDER ISSUES
This Vote Is Legally Binding. Did you read that awful advice thing from the Men’s Rights Activist called How to Talk to a Woman Wearing Headphones? (Trigger Warning: extraordinary levels of privilege and creepiness.) It spawned quite the internet memes, but this is one particularly brilliant response, from the wonderful Ursula Vernon.
The Disappearing Act. How women in science and academia get erased. “Take one 11th century Italian physician named Trotula who gained both fame and respect in her own lifetime for treating women’s ailments. By the next century, a historian assumed someone so accomplished couldn’t be a woman and changed her pronoun and name to the masculine form. (via @KameronHurley)
Equal Means Equal: A Wake-Up Call to Women WRITER-DIRECTOR-ACTRESS Kamala Lopez is an outspoken proponent of the Equal Rights Amendment. She believes that, more than any other legislation on behalf of women, the ERA could turn the tide on the systemic sexism and biases against women — including the gender pay gap, sexual assault and rape, pregnancy discrimination, domestic violence, female poverty and homelessness, health care and reproductive rights — by its assertion that “civil rights may not be denied on the basis of one’s sex.” Her film Equal Means Equal takes on these weighty issues in a sobering 94-minute wake-up call to American women on the vast inequities they face in the United States, while providing a compelling argument for the urgency of ratifying this constitutional amendment, which was first introduced in 1923 and passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification in 1972.
It’s hard to believe that it’s never passed, isn’t it? Or maybe not so hard to believe.
Watch Helen Mirren shut down the patriarchy in this incredibly sexist 1975 interview. This cheered me up a bit.
The ignorance aimed at Caster Semenya flies in the face of the Olympic spirit. “If this were a simple case of sour grapes it would fade with few caring. But the stakes are far higher. The IAAF is going back to Cas to defend a policy that it accepts discriminates against women. A policy whose explicit aim is to make women slower. That benefits no one.”
The Court That Rules the World This is scary stuff. “A parallel legal universe, open only to corporations and largely invisible to everyone else, helps executives convicted of crimes escape punishment.”
Diversity and Racism
The Legacy of Lynching, on Death Row. “Lynchings, which took the form of hangings, shootings, beatings, and other acts of murder, were often public events, urged on by thousands, but by the nineteen-thirties the behavior of the crowds had begun to draw criticism in the North. ‘The only reason lynchings stopped in the American South was that the spectacle of the crowds cheering these murders was becoming problematic,’ Stevenson told me. ‘Local law enforcement was powerless to stop the mob, even if it wanted to. So people in the North started to say that the federal government needed to send in federal troops to protect black people from these acts of terror. No one in power in the South wanted that—so they moved the lynchings indoors, in the form of executions. They guaranteed swift, sure, certain death after the trial, rather than before the trial.'” (via @eilatan)
Why Do We Judge Parents For Putting Kids At Perceived — But Unreal — Risk? “Additional analyses suggested that it was indeed participants’ judgment of the parent’s immorality that drove up their assessments of risk. The authors sum up their findings like this: ‘People don’t only think that leaving children alone is dangerous and therefore immoral. They also think it is immoral and therefore dangerous.'”
White Nonsense Roundup: on Facebook and on Twitter. “White Nonsense Roundup (WNR) was created by white people to address our inherently racist society in our own communities. We believe it is our responsibility to call out white friends, relatives, contacts, speakers, and authors who are contributing to structural racism and harming our friends of color. We are a resource for anti-racist images, links, videos, artwork, essays, and voices. These can be used by anyone for a DIY white nonsense roundup, or by the WNR team to support people of color upon their request.”
How To Talk About Privilege To Someone Who Doesn’t Know What That Is. “The actual privileges we inherit because of our identity don’t define our character, but what does is whether we choose to act to change the system of oppression that affords us those privileges.” (via @nowhitenonesense)
Think Before You Appropriate: The Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage (IPinCH) project is a seven-year international research initiative based at Simon Fraser University, in British Columbia, Canada. The researchers there have created a resource titled: “THINK BEFORE YOU APPROPRIATE” and CARFAC is urging all artists to give it a read.
Think Before You Appropriate provides advice to designers and marketers on why and how to avoid misappropriation, and underlines the mutual benefits of responsible collaborations with Indigenous artists and communities. This is an important tool for all peoples in Canada as we move towards reconciliation and respect for Indigenous cultures and peoples.
Well, this is depressing.
“Our living dinosaurs:” There are far fewer African elephants than we thought, study shows. “The current rate of species decline is 8%, meaning that elephant numbers could halve to 160,000 in nine years if nothing changes, according to the survey — and localized extinction is almost certain.” (via @ChrisBoese)
Art + Design
Artist Turns Old Farm Equipment Into Incredible Animal Sculptures You’ll Ever See. I kind of want one for my yard.
Just for fun
After more horror this week, some still unfolding, this seems more necessary than ever.
“Self care is a neo-liberal scam. Here’s why you should do it anyway.” Laurie Penny: Life-Hacks of the Poor and Aimless:
The problem with self-love as we currently understand it is in our view of love itself, defined, too simply and too often, as an extraordinary feeling that we respond to with hearts and flowers and fantasy, ritual consumption and affectless passion. Modernity would have us mooning after ourselves like heartsick, slightly creepy teenagers, taking selfies and telling ourselves how special and perfect we are. This is not real self-love, no more than a catcaller loves the woman whose backside he’s loudly admiring in the street.
The harder, duller work of self-care is about the everyday, impossible effort of getting up and getting through your life in a world that would prefer you cowed and compliant. A world whose abusive logic wants you to see no structural problems, but only problems with yourself, or with those more marginalized and vulnerable than you are. Real love, the kind that soothes and lasts, is not a feeling, but a verb, an action. It’s about what you do for another person over the course of days and weeks and years, the work put in to care and cathexis. That’s the kind of love we’re terribly bad at giving ourselves, especially on the left.
Black Lives Matter
Death in Black and White: what white America fails to see “You cannot know how we secretly curse the cowardice of whites who know what I write is true, but dare not say it. Neither will your smug insistence that you are different — not like that ocean of unenlightened whites — satisfy us any longer. It makes the killings worse to know that your disapproval of them has spared your reputations and not our lives.”
Dear people “Black Lives Matter” does not have an “only” in front of it, but a “too” at the end. Stop being whiny pissants & grow up. — @MKKare
Structural racism in action. (And the comments prove the point.)
A really, really important read. I Am A Transwoman. I Am In The Closet. I Am Not Coming Out.
In the news
BBC to drop online recipes as part of slimmed-down website “The broadcaster has agreed to archive 11,000 recipes from its website as part of savings intended to stop it competing with newspapers.”
- Save BBC recipe archive petition signed by more than 100,000 people
- Someone has set up a free search engine for the BBC recipes:
- A girl called Jack: “I have pledged to upload the contents of both of my cookbooks as a free resource to help people to cook on a budget in the wake of the news that the BBC will be removing recipes from its website.”
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.
Just for fun
Syria’s Landmarks Restored in Miniature “In Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp a group of Syrian artists is working with basic tools and materials sourced from around the camp. They are using local stone, polystyrene and discarded wood, to build models and sculptures of iconic sites including Palmyra and the Krak des Chevaliers castle in Homs.” (via Tumblr)
How to tell the difference between real solidarity and ally theatre. “Listen. Solidarity is action. That’s it. What we DO in solidarity is all that counts. How people with privilege listen to what marginalized groups ask of them and do that is all that counts.”
The woman who gave two fingers to looking like a Disney Princess at the Oscars. “I don’t do frocks and absolutely don’t do heels, I have a bad back. I look ridiculous in a beautiful gown….This is Marks & Spencer with Swarovski at the back. I had a bit of a shoe malfunction and the glitter fell off. I just like feeling comfortable and as far as I’m concerned I’m really dressed up.” And another article in which she says more on why she did it, as well as showing a photo of the back of the jacket:
The Online Emily Dickinson Archive Makes Thousands of the Poet’s Manuscripts Freely Available. “Possibly due to the lack of scholarly interest before Johnson’s collection, Dickinson’s trove of manuscript drafts has remained scattered across several archives, sending researchers hoofing it to several institutions to view the poet’s handiwork. As of today, that will no longer be necessary with the inauguration of the online Emily Dickinson Archive, Emily Dickinson Archive, ‘an open-access website for the manuscripts of Emily Dickinson’ that brings together thousands of manuscripts held by Harvard, Amherst, the Boston Public Library, the Library of Congress, and four other collections.” (via @ChrisBoese)
“Real” writers don’t work. A response to the proud statement of Stephen Hull, editor of Huffington Post UK, that they do not pay their writers.
Quote of the week
I was driving north up the coast of California, back to my home in the Bay Area. It was 12 days after Sandra Bland was pulled over and arrested by a police officer in Waller County after failing to signal a lane change. Nine days after she was found dead in her jail cell, a plastic bag wrapped around her neck. It was five days after a police officer pulled over Samuel DuBose for having his front license plate in the glove compartment. Five days after he was shot point blank in the head, safety belt fastened, his hands up. As I drove, I idly brainstormed a new protocol to follow if I were stopped by the police.
If stopped by the police, I thought to myself, I would set my phone to record audio and put it on the passenger seat. I would send a tweet that I was being stopped and had every intention of complying with the police officer. I would turn on Periscope and livestream the stop, crowdsourcing witnesses. I would text my family and tell them that I was not feeling angry or suicidal, that I was looking forward to seeing them soon. There would not be time to do all of these things, but maybe if I prepared in advance I could pull off one or two of them. What all of these plans had in common were that none of them were meant to secure my safety, but rather to ensure that my death looked suspicious enough to question.
I was figuring out how to enter evidence into the inquiry of my own death.
Just for fun
Wintergatan Marble Machine: Rube Goldberg musical instrument that runs on 2,000 steel ball-bearings
A day at the spa. I wish OUR golden was this relaxed in the bath. And that we had a bath like this for him, with a raisable pedastal. It would be a lot easier. And less messy for both of us.
A short list this week.
Europe shouldn’t worry about migrants, by Laurie Penny. “It should worry about creeping fascism. The greatest threat to our “way of life” is not migration. It is that we will swallow the lie that some human lives matter less than others.”
Mike Monteiro: Dear design student: 8 reasons to turn down that startup job
The $1 pocket microscope. I think I’ve blogged this before, but who cares?
Rules for Anchorites, by Cat Valante. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be past writing about Persephone. If it will ever stop being the myth of my life. I don’t really want to–the thing about katabasis (fancy Greek word for descending to the underworld and returning. It’s such an important thing it gets it own word, and my name is Cat, and it’s short for everything) is that it never stops. It’s a process. And if you don’t hit that black stair every year or so things wither up. The whole idea of that story is how a person is a world, and the cycle keeps moving, and it’s never, ever over. You have to go into the earth, you have to come back up again.”
The Tree Church http://treechurch.co.nz/
Just for fun
Get Cracking, by B Fister (via @satifice): “Don’t bother me! If I don’t polish the shiny faster than others I’ll be outshone and I can’t let that happen. —This seems entirely connected to the ways technology – that magical time-saving, tree-saving, empowering thing – has turned into a vast shopping and advertising desire-machine that has ballooned the amount of shiny surfaces we have to polish, the amount of stuff we create, the increasing demand to attract attention to our stuff so that it can be consumed. And it takes the joy out of everything.”
Africa, Uncolonized: a Detailed Look at an Alternate Continent. Fascinating for anyone interested in maps and what they show.
Just for fun
Best sentence of the week, from Why I Didn’t See the David (and other methodologies of heartbreak: “You can try to pretend you don’t want something, but you can’t actually stop wanting it without spraining an obscure internal ligament.”
“TOMORROW’S THOUGHTS TODAY is a London-based think tank exploring the consequences of fantastic, speculative and imaginary urbanisms. Borrowing from the techniques of fiction, film and futures we deploy design speculations as an imaginative tools to help us explore the implications and consequences of emerging trends, technologies and ecological conditions. We travel far and wide, collecting weak signals and unearthing trends to be exaggerated into possible futures. We imagine alternative worlds as a means to understand our own world in new ways. TTT is developing the ‘think tank’ as a legitimate model for an architectural practice, a practice not built on buildings as endpoints but on speculations and research as products in themselves. This site is organized as an open sketchbook of our current themes and design projects an ever-expanding repository of our collective research.”
“The Unknown Fields Division is a nomadic design studio that ventures out on annual expeditions to the ends of the earth exploring unreal and forgotten landscapes, alien terrains and obsolete ecologies. Join the Division as each year we navigate a different global cross section and map the complex and contradictory realities of the present as a site of strange and extraordinary futures.”
The forks model of disability (builds on the spoons model)
“Worse than the storm”: Inside a secret Red Cross disaster
And speaking of bias: Harvard students attempt to take 1964 Louisiana Literacy test, fail
Where the middle class is going: To those that have shall be given. “…labour markets are hollowing out, polarising into high- and low-skill occupations, with very little employment in the middle. … The typical worker has fallen behind even more than a straightforward look at the respective shares of labour and capital suggests. … Technology has created a growing reservoir of less-skilled labour while simultaneously expanding the range of tasks that can be automated. Most workers are therefore being forced into competition both against each other and against machines. No wonder their share of the economic pie has got smaller, in developing economies as well as in the rich world.”
After recent discussions on women and catcalling (note trigger warnings for these):
The science fiction and fantasy community, which I lurk around the edges of online, is currently dealing with revelations concerning the identity of a generally respected writer who has turned out to also be a appallingly destructive internet troll. There are many online discussions of this, I’m just going to link to this report—a little digging will find the rest if you are interested: A Report on Damage Done by One Individual Under Several Names. Trigger warnings also apply here.
More from the unconscious bias category: Shooting range posters depict the innocent targets of gun violence. As Paola Antonelli @curiousoctopus pointed out: “Great, but all white?”
It’s time to make daylight savings time year round. (via @dynamicsymmetry) I agree! I can get up in the dark, but I hate running out of light in late afternoon.
Just for fun
Note the “puppy love” letter.
Halloween follow-up: one of the things that happens every Halloween is that some really inappropriate costumes turn up, whether home-made or as consumer products. One of this year’s entries generated this response: Women with actual PhDs review ‘sexy PhD costume’ on Amazon. (Amazon reviews truly are a source of some wonderful satire.)
It’s back. Which is a good thing, since I never got round to watching it the first time.