Bharat’s Pocketscraps NUMTOTS edition

Greyhound, pollution and more

All right, back with the scraps! Do google NUMTOTS :)

Is public transportation a human right? How to fill Greyhound’s gap

Many have been left wondering how they will make it to important medical appointments, visit family and friends, or get to work in the wake of Greyhound Canada’s plans to axe service west of Sudbury, Ont. Service will end on the vast majority of routes on Oct.

Our governments’ pretense that somehow, the “market” will magically solve complex problems leads to crises like the one British-owned Greyhound precipitated by quitting the rural transportation game in Canada. The Canadian Federal government has no plan or intention to do anything about this public health crisis (#NotBitumenNotMyProblem), which means the provincial governments have to act. Many ideas, options and models exist, this CCPA report, for example. They all need government funding though, like all other transportation options. Roads, urban transit, bike lanes, sidewalks are not free either.

Read Is public transportation a human right? How to fill Greyhound’s gap

The town that refused to let austerity kill its buses

Sit on the 210 for just a few minutes and strangers start to tell you things. They tell you crap jokes. They tell you how they were once ace footballers. About their heart problems. If you’re busy, they fill each other in on their just-completed trips to the GP or Aldi.

On a related good news story note, one town in England keeps its buses running with (most likely unsustainable) volunteer inputs.

Read The town that refused to let austerity kill its buses

Canadians have eaten five tons of GMO salmon

AquAdvantage salmon, which hit the market just this year, has drawn the interest of environmentalists because it requires much less feed than conventional salmon. It’s also raised in tanks on land, which reduces many of the problems with fish farming.

I’ve been wrestling with the idea of manufactured alternatives to meat/dairy, because consumption is killing our wildlife and habitats. Would I consume this salmon if it comes with a ban on ocean-based fish farms on the west coast, a severe restriction on wild salmon harvests (except for traditional First Nations consumption/sale) and other ways to get wild salmon back to sustainability? Or is this a false dichotomy? Same goes for milk products. I can’t bear to give them up right now, but the animal welfare and environmental impacts are horrendous and in that case, I would drink an actual artificial milk (no, current alternatives such as soy milk, almond milk, etc are flavoured water).

Read Canadians have eaten five tons of GMO salmon.

Many of my childhood friends are dead. Is masculinity to blame?

I grew up in Kamloops, a small blue-collar city in British Columbia about 350km north-west of Vancouver. Kamloops wasn’t the middle of nowhere, but at the time it felt pretty close. <snip> According to Statistics Canada, suicide is one of the top three leading causes of death for Canadian men aged 15 to 44. On average, across the country, 50 men a week take their own life, and the suicide rate is three times higher for men than women.

This made many of my friends’ feeds when it came out, sad, and so much to talk about.

Read Many of my childhood friends are dead. Is masculinity to blame?

The US is rapidly losing nuclear power. That’s profoundly concerning for climate change.

Is nuclear power going to help the United States decarbonize its energy supply and fight climate change? Probably not.

I’ve written about nuclear power previously,  (TLDR: Expensive to build, but cheap to maintain and important to keep them open for as long as possible). It’s hard to decarbonize quickly without a contribution from nuclear power, and it sure looks like that’s not going to happen. Here’s to hoping other renewables pick up faster than predicted.

Read The US is rapidly losing nuclear power. That’s profoundly concerning for climate change.

Pollution from Canadian refineries an ‘embarrassment’ compared with U.S.

The Imperial Oil refinery in Sarnia, Ont., and the Marathon Petroleum refinery in Detroit, Mich., have much in common: geography, climate and production levels. What separates them is a 90-minute drive, a national border and starkly different emission levels for some key pollutants.

Canada, talks a lot, achieves little, pollution edition

Read Pollution from Canadian refineries an ‘embarrassment’ compared with U.S.

Mother forced to choose: Leave daughter in Canada or take her to Sudan where she faces genital mutilation

Aiesha Ali, 50, fled Sudan in 2013 because of fears she would be arrested, tortured or even killed for her humanitarian work helping women victimized by the country’s ongoing civil war.

Canada, talks a lot, achieves little, family separation edition

Read Mother forced to choose: Leave daughter in Canada or take her to Sudan where she faces genital mutilation

Ontario Unplugs EV and Home Charging Incentives

The Ontario Electric Vehicle Incentive Program gave new car buyers in that province the biggest financial incentives to buy electric in the country, and among the largest in the world. That program has now been cancelled. The announcement from the Ministry of Transportation came late yesterday.

So, I would rather use public money to fund affordable transit and electrification of transit infrastructure, and bike lanes and sidewalks, rather than to give rich people money to buy electric cars. But, it looks like Ford is removing electric vehicle incentives to fund gasoline-powered vehicles. So, this is the worst of all worlds.

Read Ontario Unplugs EV and Home Charging Incentives

Please Admit You Don’t Like Poor People So We Can Move On

In actuality, research has found that increases in visible poverty result in an increase in wealth inequality. The Haves, in this case, are less charitable, less generous and less emotionally drawn to help when they can see just how little the Have-Nots have.

Growing up around visible poverty, everything in this article rings very true.

Read Please Admit You Don’t Like Poor People So We Can Move On

I leave you with…

More Recycling Won’t Solve Plastic Pollution

The only thing worse than being lied to is not knowing you’re being lied to. It’s true that plastic pollution is a huge problem, of planetary proportions. And it’s true we could all do more to reduce our plastic footprint.

Enough scolding individuals about personal responsibility, we need systemic solutions!

Read More Recycling Won’t Solve Plastic Pollution

I leave you with…

Sex Robots Could Save Your Relationship

When we imagine a future full of sex robots, we also need to get beyond the fembot trope from Ex Machina and Westworld. “What I would predict is that people are going to quickly imagine themselves beyond just humanoid sexbots like you see in the movies,” McArthur says. He recounted a conversation with a friend who has a dental fetish. “She suddenly realized she could have a robot that looked like a toothbrush and was enraptured.”

Annalee Newitz takes us on a whirlwind tour of sex, relationships, digisexuality and more. I really enjoy her writing even if I sometimes disagree, fun!

Read Sex Robots Could Save Your Relationship

 

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