Bharat’s Pocket Scraps July 21

Rising from the ashes, a Buffalo suburb ends its dependence on coal

First in a series on communities overcoming obstacles to become cleaner and greener. Sixteen months ago, the coal-fired Huntley Generating Station, which sits on the banks of the Niagara River, stopped producing power for first time since World War I.

A somewhat positive story on what it will take for fossil towns to transition. In reading, it appears the two big things to do are 1. build a broad cooperative coalition 2. Get funding from higher levels of government. So much for “free markets will find a way to solve the climate crisis”.

Read Rising from the ashes, a Buffalo suburb ends its dependence on coal

The best way to reduce your personal carbon emissions: don’t be rich

One of the perennial debates around global warming has to do with the role of individual choices.

Tired of all those articles around personal choices and climate change? Well guess what, your wealth pretty much determines your impact on the planet. So, try and work on systemic change in addition to trying to live a life of mindful consumption.

Read The best way to reduce your personal carbon emissions: don’t be rich

 Excommunicate Me from the Church of Social Justice

There is a particularly aggressive strand of social justice activism weaving in and out of my Seattle community that has troubled me, silenced my loved ones, and turned away potential allies. I believe in justice. I believe in liberation.

My Facebook has been filled with shares of this article, and I do sympathize a bit, it is hard to organize in the presence of non-nuanced interpretations of the operation of justice. My understanding of the history of organizing victories creating lasting system change is that they required broad coalitions and a tolerance of difference. But, I am well placed to tolerate the various microagressions being an able-bodied cisgendered male with enough markers of education and a certain class to override at least some of my person of colour barriers. Clearly, balance is needed between the needs of coalitions to organize broadly while not repeating the non-intersectional organizing mistakes of the past (white feminists, environmentalists, etc). Difficult!

Read Excommunicate Me from the Church of Social Justice

The Short, Unhappy Life of a Libertarian Paradise

People outside the council chambers were paying attention, and they didn’t care for what they were seeing—the city that was supposed to run like a business was actually scaring companies…

Ha ha ha!!

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Noida razes shanties of those who vandalised apartments

Five days after a “mob” “vandalised” property at the Mahagun Moderne residential society in Sector 78, the Noida Authority on Monday razed over three dozen shanties in the area where most of the agitators lived.

Heartbreaking story of all-too familiar collective punishment. The background : A dispute between a domestic worker living in this unauthorized dwelling and their rich employers, which resulted in a group of people entering and allegedly vandalizing  property and scaring the occupants (note, original article pretty much dispenses with any notions of due process by deciding all this happened, hence my quotes around mob and vandalised). Of course, this means collective punishment for the entire community that lived there. Read comments if you want to understand how deep and open, class divides run in India. Also, Ms. Sethi’s quotes in the New York Times article I linked to (background) are a dead giveaway on the attitudes.

Read Noida razes shanties of those who vandalised apartments

20,000 dBs Under the Sea

This episode was written and produced by Kevin Edds. 71% of the Earth is covered by water. And most of us imagine it to be a serene, almost silent world. But why should we have all the fun up here? Discover what sound is like just below the surface and all the way down to the ocean’s depths.

Amazing podcast, feel very sorry for my cetacean brethren.

Read 20,000 dBs Under the Sea

Switzerland puzzles over citizenship test after lifelong resident fails

25-year-old Funda Yilmaz was turned down for Swiss citizenship despite living all her life in the country and fluently speaking the language 25-year-old Funda Yilmaz was turned down for Swiss citizenship despite living all her life in the country and fluently speaking the language Shoul

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19 voters quash Muslim-run cemetery in Saint-Apollinaire, Que.

Residents of Saint-Apollinaire, Que., voted against a proposed Muslim-run cemetery in their town Sunday. The referendum saw 36 people vote on whether a zoning change would be allowed so that a new cemetery could exist in a wooded area on the outskirts of the town.

Read 19 voters quash Muslim-run cemetery in Saint-Apollinaire, Que.

Two examples for you of small town racism and the tyranny of the majority, and why I am such a big skeptic of referendum based direct democracy.

Epigenetics between the generations

We are more than the sum of our genes. Epigenetic mechanisms modulated by environmental cues such as diet, disease or our lifestyle take a major role in regulating the DNA by switching genes on and off.

So cool, and so many ramifications.

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How to Hear Like a Champion Birder

Identifying a bird song is a much more difficult problem than identifying a human song,” Stephenson explained. “Human songs have so many constants—they’re often in the same key, with similar pitch changes, timing between notes, and rhythms.” They don’t vary when played on different sound systems. “Birds are infinitely more variable both in terms of structure, pitch, every parameter you can think of.”.

Thanks Sarah for sending this along, my move to North America meant the multitude of bird calls I heard became unintelligible. From my perspective, connecting with a place meant knowing your bird friends by what they declaimed in song. So, I’ve been slowly reconnecting with the calls of North American songbirds (hi there white-crowned sparrow, you’re everywhere!). BirdGenie (the bird Babelfish!) I will download and check out!

Read How to Hear Like a Champion Birder

Confederate, a Civil War dystopia from the Game of Thrones creators, is already controversial

The Game of Thrones showrunners are no strangers to controversy, but with the recent announcement of their next project, Confederate, they may now be actively courting it. As per HBO’s July 19 press release, David Benioff and D.B.

Hey GoT “showrunners” (when did this term get popular?) How about an alternate history in which the African Americans took advantage of White American infighting (throw in fantasy/sci-fi elements as needed) to win the civil war, wouldn’t that be a more imaginative change? Would I would watch that?! (I don’t watch GoT on account of I wish the white walkers would just assimilate this entire dreadful lot already).

Read Confederate, a Civil War dystopia from the Game of Thrones creators, is already controversial

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