Bharat’s Pocket Scraps Sep 1

What I found interesting this week.

Asian and North American floods have been on my mind. While climate change can contribute to weather weirding, flood damage is exacerbated primarily by our insistence on ignoring how and where water flows, and building to ignore water, not to work with it. Also, I finished Damnificados, so good. I really approve of using magic realism to tell stories of the oppressed that allow for a more equal resistance and happy(ish) endings. Second such book I’ve read in a month after Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West where magic realism “helps” the common people, not the establishment. Imagine what game of thrones would be like if peasants riding dragons overthrow the rulers and establish a cooperative-based economy. I’d watch that. I gave up on the show four episodes in on account of all y’all are terrible people and hope the zombies get all of you. Anyway, scraps here.

I’ve studied the history of Confederate memorials. Here’s what to do about them.

The pursuit of white cultural unity through Confederate commemoration went hand-in-hand with the promotion of white supremacy. The Confederate monuments themselves were sometimes explicitly linked to the cause of white supremacy by the notables who spoke at their dedication.

Yes indeed, this is going to be a big struggle.

Read I’ve studied the history of Confederate memorials. Here’s what to do about them.

How Indian Kids Raised Without Personal Space Became Adults Who Don’t Care About Privacy

The plain truth is this: Indians do not care about privacy. This isn’t an accusation, it’s a fact.

Okay, 1.2+ billion people are all the same? C’mon lazy author! Also, after this article was written, the Indian supreme court (the same one that re-criminalized “unnatural” sex) upheld the privacy right, so I guess that’s a start. Overall, the author is generally accurate, privacy is not considered important. This is not because “Indians do not care about privacy”, it’s because these community values are selectively imposed to keep power structures in place, whether they are heteropatriarchy, or class/caste, or hierarchical family structures, or school administration, or work.

Read How Indian Kids Raised Without Personal Space Became Adults Who Don’t Care About Privacy

How Rebecca Solnit Became the Voice of the Resistance

Solnit the oddball essayist was suddenly and unexpectedly a progressive icon, a wise female elder. Her writings on the environment, gender, human rights and violence against women, all of which went back decades, scattered among her many other subjects, seemed suddenly and remarkably prescient.

I wondered why Solnit was suddenly all over my wall, well, here’s parts of your answer.

Read How Rebecca Solnit Became the Voice of the Resistance

These Women Entrepreneurs Created A Fake Male Cofounder To Dodge Startup Sexism

That’s when Gazin and Dwyer introduced a third cofounder: Keith Mann, an aptly named fictional character who could communicate with outsiders over email.“It was like night and day,” says Dwyer. “It would take me days to get a response, but Keith could not only get a response and a status update, but also be asked if he wanted anything else or if there was anything else that Keith needed help with.”

Predictably sad. The internet is a great place for these controlled experiments. I’m always reminded of those resume studies where white sounding names on identical resumes get much better call backs.

Read These Women Entrepreneurs Created A Fake Male Cofounder To Dodge Startup Sexism

Criminalising marital rape may destabilise institution of marriage, Centre tells HC

Marital rape cannot be made a criminal offence as it could become a phenomenon that may destabilise the institution of marriage and an easy tool for harassing the husbands, the Union government on Tuesday submitted before the Delhi High Court.

Oh Hindu conservative government, must you say and do the same things as all other conservatives? And how wrong are you, and how odious is stability based on violence and coercion?

Read Criminalising marital rape may destabilise institution of marriage, Centre tells HC

Will the Earth Ever Fill Up?

For the next generation of demographers to come up with a new, higher limit, though, we’ll need to do more than create: We’ll need to cooperate.

Malthus was an idiot, but I am not fully on-board the techno-utopia spaceship either. This is a classic example, though the last sentence I liked.

Read Will the Earth Ever Fill Up?

Cure Yourself of Tree Blindness

Just naming trees might sound a bit like a parlor trick to impress your friends. But it’s also a way to start paying attention. Then you notice more interesting things. Trees put on one of nature’s great sex shows. Each spring they break their winter dormancy with a burst of genitalia, also known as flowers.

Yes, I suffer from tree-visual impairment, which is on the same scale as bird-hearing impairment (which I have at least tried to fix). As I’ve said before, it’s like being among strangers all the time, (oh hey Arbutus, I can recognize you anywhere). You’d think that trees are easy to identify, they just sit there, unlike birds. But, this has not helped me. It’s like that time I tried to hit a golf ball, my reasoning was that if I could hit a tennis/squash/cricket ball moving fast and unpredictably, how hard would it be to hit a stationary object? Turns out, different skill. I think this article is going to help.

Read Cure Yourself of Tree Blindness

How Snobbery Helped Take The Spice Out Of European Cooking

Serving richly spiced stews was no longer a status symbol for Europe’s wealthiest families — even the middle classes could afford to spice up their grub. “So the elite recoiled from the increasing popularity of spices,” Ray says. “They moved on to an aesthetic theory of taste.

Ha ha! I hear this all the time, how great ingredients need very little seasoning, and how Indian food’s spiciness hides the use of mediocre ingredients. Statement 1 is sometimes true, sometimes results in a tasteless piece of chicken, statement 2 is sometimes true, but there’s no reason to not spice appropriately to bring out the best in an ingredient.

Read How Snobbery Helped Take The Spice Out Of European Cooking

This Labor Day, remember workers deserve free speech rights, too

Union advocates should wrest the free-speech issue from conservatives, because we have the far better case: Every interaction between the government and a union is a matter of political speech. Unions and their allies should challenge unequal restrictions on free speech and assembly as the violations of workers’ constitutional rights that they are.

An american-centric labor (See what I did there?!) day read for you. I think about free speech a lot, and the concept just does not apply to work settings, there is no such thing, so don’t bother (I am a bit cynical about this), the power differential is too high, the economic consequences for most people are too severe.

Read This Labor Day, remember workers deserve free speech rights, too

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