Bharat’s Pocket Scraps – June 23

The Dutch Have Solutions to Rising Seas. The World Is Watching.

ROTTERDAM, the Netherlands — The wind over the canal stirred up whitecaps and rattled cafe umbrellas. Rowers strained toward a finish line and spectators hugged the shore. Henk Ovink, hawkish, wiry, head shaved, watched from a V.I.P. deck, one eye on the boats, the other, as usual, on his phone.

Dikes against climate change! Also, a good example of what the NY Times, The Guardian and others are doing to get past the confines of the print format.

Read The Dutch Have Solutions to Rising Seas. The World Is Watching

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A Sociology of the Smartphone

It isn’t particularly helpful to ask whether this new everyday life is “better” or “worse”; I very much doubt we’d have permitted the smartphone to supplant so many other objects and rituals in our lives if we didn’t, on balance, perceive some concrete advantage in doing so.

I have moderate/severe smartphone dependence, and need to actively put it away at times. But, perhaps it’s because the phone is so ubiquitous in my life that I only see its negatives these days?

Read A Sociology of the Smartphone

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A Scientist Didn’t Disclose Important Data—and Let Everyone Believe a Popular Weedkiller Causes Cancer

Does a common herbicide cause cancer? Over the past several years, that question has stirred up no shortage of controversy, with international health agencies offering conflicting information.

Read A Scientist Didn’t Disclose Important Data—and Let Everyone Believe a Popular Weedkiller Causes Cancer

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Monsanto Spin Doctors Target Cancer Scientist In Flawed Reuters Story

In a well-orchestrated and highly coordinated media coup, Monsanto Co. and friends this week dropped a bombshell on opponents who are seeking to prove that the company’s beloved Roundup herbicide causes cancer.

Read Monsanto Spin Doctors Target Cancer Scientist In Flawed Reuters Story

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So, in these back to back stories that are the opposite sides, does it come down to who you trust and who you believe? It shouldn’t, but the effects of low-level chronic exposure are very hard to study and report on in the absence of billions of profits and lawsuits. Throw those in and you have a mess that even people like me immersed in the field find difficult to sort. For the record, do I believe glyphosates cause/contribute to cancer? No, based on current evidence, but I did also find the original reuters article quite one sided.

Shawn Carter: For Father’s Day, I’m Taking On the Exploitative Bail Industry

This Father’s Day, I’m supporting those same organizations to bail out fathers who can’t afford the due process our democracy promises. As a father with a growing family, it’s the least I can do, but philanthropy is not a long fix, we have to get rid of these inhumane practices altogether.

Read Shawn Carter: For Father’s Day, I’m Taking On the Exploitative Bail Industry

Jay Z (or Jay Zed in Canada, or Jay-Z as of this week) speaks on the US’ racist bail system. Can millionaire African Americans affect structural change in the US? Stay tuned.

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In the Okanagan Valley, We’re Not Letting Canada Drive By Indigenous Truth

For many Syilx people in unceded Okanagan territory, Canada 150 is not a celebration of national unity. It is a reminder of a short but painfully violent period within a much, much longer history of living in reciprocity with the land.

Indeed. Canada 150 is an ongoing reminder of colonization as much as it is a celebration of settler Canadians.

Read In the Okanagan Valley, We’re Not Letting Canada Drive By Indigenous Truth

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The Lone Star Tick That Gives People Meat Allergies May Be Spreading

First comes the unscratchable itching, and the angry blossoming of hives. Then stomach cramping, and—for the unluckiest few—difficulty breathing, passing out, and even death.

I can’t wait for the first speculative fiction that uses this super interesting biological phenomenon in a vegan villain plot.

Read The Lone Star Tick That Gives People Meat Allergies May Be Spreading

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How genetics is settling the Aryan migration debate

The thorniest, most fought-over question in Indian history is slowly but surely getting answered: did Indo-European language speakers, who called themselves Aryans, stream into India sometime around 2,000 BC – 1,500 BC when the Indus Valley civilisation came to an end, bringing with them Sanskrit

I grew up being told that as a brahmin, my roots are “Aryan” and not “Dravidian”, I would love to get my genome sequenced at some point in time (when it’s more affordable) to understand my history better and hopefully reclaim some of my roots. Just read the comments, you’ll see why this is a raging controversy in India.

Read How genetics is settling the Aryan migration debate

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Philadelphia’s new, inclusive gay pride flag is making gay white men angry

The city of Philadelphia recently learned that the rainbow flag, a symbol of LGBTQ pride, isn’t quite as unifying as it may seem. For Pride Month, Philly added two colors — black and brown — to the existing pride flag, and hoisted it outside City Hall.

Intersectionality continues to be an issue with pride and gay white men

Read Philadelphia’s new, inclusive gay pride flag is making gay white men angry

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How did bird babysitting co-ops evolve?

Washington University in St. Louis The common understanding of evolution is that it is a battle for survival: one must either “scrunch or be scrunched,” as Nicodemus Boffin, the Dickens’ character, famously says.

Bird babysitting co-ops is fine clickbait, well done science PR team at WUSTL!

Read How did bird babysitting co-ops evolve?

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Use this IFTTT recipe to make links posting easy

Arundhati Roy’s Fascinating Mess

Being an activist and an artist is trickier than it sounds. On the night she won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy had a strange and frightening dream. She was a fish being ripped from the water by a bony emerald hand.

Great review and Roy profile by Parul Sehgal. I have this book on hold at the library.

Read Arundhati Roy’s Fascinating Mess

The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson review – an elegant retelling of Shakespeare

This Winter’s Tale ‘cover version’, set in wealthy London and the deep south, kicks off a new series of Shakespeare for the 21st century Next year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare – following, so the story goes, “a merry meeting” with Ben Jonson du

What I’m reading ATM, no big fan of Shakespeare, but if anyone can make me read Shakespeare, it’s Jeanette Winterson, and this book is really keeping me up at night, beautifully written!

Read The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson review – an elegant retelling of Shakespeare

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Feature image courtesy pixabay used under a CC0 public domain licence.

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