Here’s a poem for spring.
I heard a thing on the radio about how humans have a terribly designed sinus (among other physiological flaws) that makes us more susceptible than other animals to illness. Ever notice that dogs don’t get colds? Their sinus drains from the bottom, not the top like us humans. A drain on the bottom is exactly where any plumber or engineer (or third grader) could tell you it goes. It’s one of many oddball reminders that evolution doesn’t always deliver perfection. The price we pay for big brains? Mistakes were made according to this dude: Nathan Lents, author of “Human Errors: A Panorama of Our Glitches, from Pointless Bones to Broken Genes.” Fascinating. And this totally explains my perpetually snotty, big-headed four-year-old.
The ever-clever Strong Towns gives us a glossary of housing terminology.
What happens when schools prioritize art over security guards? Here’s one story where a school redistributed funds to build a robust arts education program and saw student behavior improve dramatically. (h/t BB).
And speaking of curriculum, despite some partisan skirmishes here and there, Yale polling finds that hefty majorities of Americans support teaching children about the causes, consequences, and potential solutions to global warming—that includes voters in all 50 states and 3,000+ counties across the nation, including Republican and Democratic strongholds.
The Power. OMG. Read it. I don’t want to give it all away but… it is a speculative fiction world in which women develop power—actual electric power—that lets them physically dominate men. The most poignant character is a man who starts off confident and ambitious and the world slowly but surely teaches him he is vulnerable and can be hurt and taken advantage of and has little power to fight back. I think many women can relate. There is also a great description of domestic violence where a woman wonders why the man hid from his female partner when she attacked him—why didn’t he fight back? Hit her with a frying pan or something? Later that woman finds herself powerless and hiding and thinks, self-loathingly, “I’m hiding. Just like a man.”
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After the book, you might be interested in this interview with the author.
If we lived in the world of the power, I don’t think I would be magically excluded from the way the world operates. I don’t think I can say I would have been the enlightened person. With or without the power, I behave the way the system teaches me to behave.
Iceland. No mosquitoes, no colonial history, almost no murder, and a bunch of men who believe gender equality benefits men too.
This week the Republican, NRA A-rated governor of Vermont signed into law a series of gun control measures that encompass a good deal of the March for Our Lives demand list, including universal background checks, bans on high capacity magazines and bump stocks, and increased funding for mental health. The reasoning behind his change of heart?
“I support the Second Amendment, but I had to ask myself, ‘Are we truly doing everything we can to make our kids and communities safer?’ Because if we’re at a point where our kids are afraid to go to school, and parents are afraid to put them on a bus, or police don’t have the tools they need to protect victims of violence, or families can’t step in to prevent a loved one from taking their own life — then who are we?”
Change is in the air, as they say.
Molly Ringwald, a childhood favorite of mine, revisits her roles in John Hughes’ films through the lens of #MeToo. She captures a lot of the dissonance I feel when watching films from the 80’s and 90’s that I used to love, but now, as a more aware person, make me cringe with the recognition of the casual racism, sexism, and rape culture that I took for normal.
This is a fascinating article about the nascent discipline of forensic architecture, and how it is being used to investigate human rights violations, “combining the spatial and engineering skills of architects, the data-gathering prowess of librarians, the doggedness of investigative journalists and the storytelling finesse of screenwriters.” I’m just waiting for the true crime television series to come out.
I found another commentary on the giant Sinclair Broadcasting Group, this time from Jon Talton of the Seattle Times. He notes that, “deregulation, regulators captured by special interests, and the influence of big money in politics,” brought on the current situation. Talton also offers suggestions on what citizens can do in response, including exercising the fundamental right of voting.
John Abbotts is a former Sightline research consultant who occasionally submits material for Weekend Reading and other posts.