Bharat’s Pocket Scraps October 13

Catchup edition

Vacationed without my computer last weekend (that’s a rarity), so, two weeks of scraps :)

These Ancient Whale Baleen Artifacts Can Now Tell New Stories

Solazzo’s suggested method is known as peptide mass fingerprinting. It’s an approach that involves breaking proteins down into shorter amino acid chains. If you know what you’re looking for, you can target a specific protein, keeping an eye out for known molecular biomarkers that allow you to identify its source

Kids, chemistry is fun, don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise!

Read These Ancient Whale Baleen Artifacts Can Now Tell New Stories

The motive doesn’t matter: Mass shootings are always terror

There is little difference: When it comes to predicting, intercepting or denouncing mass killings, it makes no difference whether violent-minded people attach themselves to a pre-existing ideology or simply act out their own pathologies.

Yes, this is right, and I would go further. Most infliction of violence, except I guess in a spontaneous fight, or in self-defence, is designed to instil fear (terror). So yes, this focus on terrorism and motives is clearly a political response, not an effective one.

Read The motive doesn’t matter: Mass shootings are always terror

B.C. greenhouse gas emissions stuck at 2007 levels due to gap between road and transit spending

That’s because the province continues to spend more money building roads and bridges than what it puts into transit. As the Real Estate Foundation of B.C. notes in its report, “This spending imbalance is encouraging higher population growth in car-dependent neighbourhoods.”

Getting away from personal auto use is massively important. Electric cars will not solve our sprawl and inefficiency induced waste, only compact neighbourhoods, transit, and walk and bike first planning will. So, let’s fix this gap between auto road, and other spending.

Read B.C. greenhouse gas emissions stuck at 2007 levels due to gap between road and transit spending

TransCanada won’t proceed with Energy East pipeline

TransCanada says it won’t proceed with its Energy East pipeline and Eastern Mainline proposals.

A combination of sinking oil prices, the impending Keystone pipeline, and some timely activism means at least one pipeline will not get built. I do not understand why we insist on building 50 year transportation infrastructure for  a product whose prime users (cars and trucks) are in the process of switching to a cleaner fuel source in the next 20 years.

Read TransCanada won’t proceed with Energy East pipeline

The Absurdity of the Nobel Prizes in Science

They distort the nature of the scientific enterprise, rewrite its history, and overlook many of its most important contributors.

Yes yes yes, my mom used to tell me growing up that I was so brilliant that she expected a Nobel price someday (newsflash, not likely). She even mentioned it last month (I wish I was kidding). Science is an incremental activity, painstakingly built by legions of people. Arbitrarily giving one person a prize for a breakthrough is silly.

Read The Absurdity of the Nobel Prizes in Science

Return of the city-state

The trends that are pinching the nation-state are helping the city-state. In a highly connected, quasi-borderless world, cities are centres of commerce, growth, innovation, technology and finance.

Interesting. I am not totally convinced of this argument, and I read  a counter argument I will post next week. But, who knows (other than fictional Asimov characters), not like history is predictable.

Read Return of the city-state

Why We Never Talk About Black-on-Black Crime: An Answer to White America’s Most Pressing Question

As a matter of fact, if we are going to derail a conversation about black lives to talk about black-on-black crime, there are a few other questions we should answer first: Why is the rate of violence actually higher among poor, urban whites? Why don’t we ever discuss the economic impact of redlining and segregation on rates of violence?

A fact based takedown of one of the most common racism derailers. However, people who ask these questions know what they’re doing, they may not be interested in the facts, so, it’s all futile (or is it?)

Read Why We Never Talk About Black-on-Black Crime: An Answer to White America’s Most Pressing Question

Stop Being Shocked Please

Last week, I saw a lot of shocked men. They were shocked about the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment allegations. They were shocked that fellow liberal men in journalism were colluding with Nazi Milo Yiannopoulos to trash women.

I am happy that Harvey Weinstein has been outed as a serial rapist and overall creep. And, no, I am not shocked, our worlds are full of these people, from the hot shot professor who (a story that was related to me, I wasn’t present) who was getting a grad student drunk and isolating her over the course of an evening, to the bosses who do the shoulder rubs, I could go on. Men (and I identify as one), only we can stop our peers and superiors. It takes more than individual courage, though, it takes systems that aren’t built on power and hierarchy, and this is the most difficult change to bring about. But, I will reiterate, this was a good week, not a bad one. Harvey Weinstein had been abusing women for years. Now, he’s out, and his enablers, and the system should be next. Read somewhere that this should be Hollywood’s catholic church moment, that’s true.

Read Stop Being Shocked Please

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