Gravity's Rainbow

botany, shoes, books, and justice

What I’ve Noticed

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Frank Fenner thinks we’ll go the way of the Easter Islanders in the next 100 years.  I disagree that humans will go extinct, but I agree that we’ve waited far too long to address energy and population issues to avoid dramatic and involuntary reduction in our population.  And it’s already happening: resource competition, exacerbated by climate change, is at the root of bloody ethnic clashes in Kyrgyzstan.

Our past greed for sperm oil hurts our current ability to survive the consequences of our greed for another kind of oil.

One response to an honor killing sums up the state of women’s rights in India: “If they wanted to kill their daughter, that’s okay. But they shouldn’t have killed our boy.”

Oogmerk glasses ad

Oogmerk glasses ad, via Flowing Data

Don’t like to be taken advantage of? Learn a little history.

A recent study says that eating organic, local food won’t save the world.  Of course, perhaps we wouldn’t be facing such enormous problems if our food supply didn’t encourage overpopulation.

On the challenges of queerdom:

So, as I wandered the isles, eventually finding everything I needed, I started for the checkout line when all of a sudden I felt the bump in my pants start to hang a tad lower than he should be. I continued walking, a bit slower though, in an attempt to assess this situation. By the time I had decided that this could become a potential issue I realized that my detachable disco stick had completely jumped the tighty whities ship and was now slowly crawling down my left leg a little bit more with every step.

I stopped walking, obviously, right in the middle of the isle. My face clearly expressed concern as I can never find anyone in that store to help me but now, of course, with my leg bent up to stop the AWAL lovelance at my knee, threatening to flop onto the ground and roll away into the gardening section, I had two guys asking me if they can help me find anything. Without actually making eye contact I mumbled “Uh…no, that’s cool, thanks though. I’m just… uh, thinking… um, about some stuff.”

Louisiana’s legislators be doing jack shit to deal with the oil spill, but reminding themselves that they own women’s bodies seems to make them feel better.

Manolo describes the next women’s exercise craze, Catholic Yoga:

‘This position is known as St. Catherine on the Wheel,” you say as you splay your arms and legs into the unnatural pose, “take the awareness of Catherine’s suffering inward, hear her cries of agony, revel in God’s grace.”

To be followed by the St. Lawrence on the Griddle, in which you exhort the students to “feel the burn,” as you turn the room heat up to it’s highest setting.

A huge step towards better designed cities, less pollution, and less fossil fuel energy devoted to transportation: the US government decides that pedestrians’ and cyclists’ needs must be considered to get federal money for infrastructure projects.

Having books around makes your kids more likely to succeed.

Insight into the Israeli flotilla killings:

Why did Israel choose to murder nine peace-seeking foreigners in broad daylight? Although it claims otherwise, this had little to do with “restoring Israel’s deterrence” or capping the peashooters in Gaza. Instead, one must listen to Moshe Yaalon, then chief of staff of the Israeli Defence Forces, who said in 2002 that “The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people”. By massacring the Mavi Marmara’s activists — whose names and religion are still unknown — Israel wants Gazans to know that even the international community cannot save them.

Most colleges handle plagiarism badly: this essay has a more realistic take on the situation:

How, precisely, had working with hundreds of student writers changed me, as a teacher, a writer, a person? I’d seen them in five years’ worth of classes and in the writing clinic where I worked as a consultant. I saw them baffled by what teachers said they wanted (“compare and contrast ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’ and ‘Bartleby the Scrivener’”), which often seemed to mask what they really wanted (“elegantly analyze these stories and compose, in formal prose, a well-supported argument that will not only engage the ambiguities without resolving them but delight and surprise me”). And over and over I saw how the nature of the institution and its agents reduced the complexity of student experience to neat bureaucratic decision trees (“Was the student intoxicated? If no, then refer to disciplinary committee. If yes, then refer to police”). One way to do this: make a moral issue out of a moment in a life, to graft a forking path (and therefore a high road not taken) onto a moment when there’d been no choice at all. Only later would I see such moments for what they were and try to wrest them back from the machine. But when Haley plagiarized, it was safer for me to act as a junior bureaucrat. I saw no other choice.

Sweden gets how to fix gender equality:

“Society is a mirror of the family,” Mr. Westerberg said. “The only way to achieve equality in society is to achieve equality in the home. Getting fathers to share the parental leave is an essential part of that.”

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