Bharat’s Pocket Scraps – June 16

What I pocketed this week

A weekly list of reads I found share and discussion worthy, obviously limited by my biases and reading time!

Persuasive proof that America is full of racist and selfish people

“Google is a digital truth serum,” Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author of Everybody Lies, told me in a recent interview. “People tell Google things that they don’t tell to possibly anybody else, things they might not tell to family members, friends, anonymous surveys, or doctors.”

So, google searches tells us more about our racist tendencies than we would tell others, ourselves, our pollsters, etc, not surprising, but nice to see some proof :)

via Vox

June 13, 2017 at 12:41PM

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Who are the new jihadis?

“There is something new about the jihadi terrorist violence of the past two decades.:”

Patrick Roy makes the argument (that I find somewhat persuasive) that people committing violence in the name of Islamic causes are violent, disconnected people first who are drawn to ISIS’ call for violence because it appeals to their need to use violence to avenge their disconnection. So, they’re not really fighting for a religious cause, they’re just being, well, men; The perception of disconnection, loss of power and “humiliation” is linked to all kinds of male violence, whether it’s at home, on the street, or in the name of the cause du jour.

via the Guardian

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Increasing Transit Usage Means Understanding Transit Riders

“Report analyzing transit user surveys collected over the course of eight years can provide useful insights for cities like Toronto. What makes a person choose public transit over the convenience of a car?”

The median transit user in these four US cities is apparently an upper middle class woman who takes transit because she likes to. Per this survey, transit users are more educated and ride transit out of choice, also own cars and did  I say they were richer than than median? This goes against a lot of what I’ve observed in Victoria, so would love to see data here. I think there’s a selection bias here given that housing close to transit is affordable only to the more affluent these days, and transit decisions on routing and frequency are made to benefit the upper middle class user, not the working poor, who have to live further away from work in a suburb not well served by transit, and hence have to figure out how to afford a car.

There’s  a deep injustice buried in this data that bears looking into.

via The Torontoist

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Sentinel Species

“Meditation on a life of birding. Every fall, thousands of snow geese descend on Addison, Vermont, stark-white birds with black wing tips falling to the fields and ponds near the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area.”

I have a google new alert for articles about birding, this one I loved.

via The Paris Review

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Russia hacked voting systems in 39 states before the 2016 presidential election

“The Russian campaign hit 39 states — twice as many as originally reported — and in one case hackers tried to delete and alter voter data.”

This article’s detail are just an aside: Main story: I have come to deeply appreciate the artisanal decentralized, paper ballot  manual counting election process we have in Canada, just a lot harder to hack, and it’s not that slow either most of the time. I presume our voter rolls are hackable, so there is vulnerability, but we also have election officers who don’t actively stop people from voting using racist ID checks and other measures, so, here’s to paper ballots, hand counting and an independent election process!

via Vox

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“In our writing exercises an F16 would appear outside an apartment window, a woman baking a cake would get shot in the head by a stray bullet, an olive grove would get sprayed with acid. They weren’t trying their hands at magical realism. They were writing about their family lives”

Mohammed Hanif is one of my favourite writers, and this article is so lyrical in its sadness.

via The Dawn

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When Things Go Missing

“When we lose something, our first reaction, naturally enough, is to want to know where it is. But behind that question about location lurks a question about causality: What happened to it? What agent or force made it disappear?”

A friend once gave us a book on how to find missing objects (the book is currently missing), first piece of advice was to sit down and have a cup of tea. This advice has served me well, that, and look in the Eureka zone (ask me about it later). I don’t read the New Yorker much these days, but this article I couldn’t “lose” :)

via New Yorker

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Mohsin Hamid on the dangers of nostalgia: we need to imagine a brighter future

“Make America great again. Take back control… From politics to culture, we have been gripped by a wave of nostalgia. Mohsin Hamid calls on storytellers to look ahead with hope Make America great again. Take back control… From politics to culture, we have been gripped by a wave of nostalgia.

I am not a nostalgic. I deeply appreciate wonderful moments from the past, but know I can’t get back to them. I’ve changed, the people involved have changed, the world has changed. I guess this is why I love Sci-Fi/Fantasy of the new imagined world(not the conquest/adventure stuff).

via The Guardian

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The Canada most people don’t hear

Last week, Maclean’s columnist Scott Gilmore wrote an article for this magazine called “The Canada Most People Don’t See.

Why do people like Scott Gilmore keep getting space to write their simplistic assimilationist creeds? This article takes Macleans, Gilmore, and the system to task for ignoring the ongoing effects of systemic colonization on First Nations communities, and instead focusing on individual issues in order to call for an end to reserves, land and community for First Nations.

via Macleans

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The new, nearly invisible class markers that separate the American elite from everyone else

Being wealthy has become so passé that rich people are increasingly choosing not to display that wealth—that’s the theory behind a new book exploring the changing consumption habits of rich people in the West.

I did not learn much from this article, just a claim that the affluent now spend more on inconspicuous markers of wealth like education, house service, etc, rather than on gold plated toilet seats. I assume this has always been the case, it’s just that gold is out of fashion these days.

via Quartz

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On the harms of white supremacy to white people, part one.

I want to dig deeply into this question of harms to white people from white supremacy, in order to have more evidence of our collective need to dismantle this violent and oppressive system of white supremacy that we are all currently participating in and complicit with. This is what I am attempting to do in this paper.

My dear friend Annie does wonderful work in so many areas of social and environmental justice. She’s publishing parts of her university work on white supremacy on her blog, look forward to reading parts two and beyond.

via Noisy and Quiet

Featured image courtesy pixabay used under a CC0 Public Domain licence.


    1. Yes, I changed it to avoid google docs, instead, it goes straight to dropbox as a text doc and can be copy-pasted into the wordpress editor. Will post

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