In 2010, Plain Dealer reporter Rachel Dissell wrote about thousands of neglected rape kits at the Cleveland Police Department. Working with fellow reporter Leila Atassi, their continued, tenacious coverage led to the creation of a 'rape kit task force' to cover a massive backlog, and eventually, a law mandating timely testing. Since 2011, when the city began sending rape kits to the state’s crime lab, almost all of its 4,000 kits have been tested; of these, over 1,600 contained usable DNA. 350 cases have led to grand jury indictments, and as of this month, over 100 rapists have been convicted, some of multiple rapes. [more inside]
Constellations throughout the ages ☆ Sun replaced with other stars ☆ Moon replaced with other bodies
Australian comic artist Sam Wallman (previously) has released a scary/optimistic new piece that looks at Climate Change.
The AP Stylebook as dropped the distinction between "over" and "more than." Journalists everywhere appear to be outraged. Others think it is no big deal. Dictionaries tend to agree.
On October 8, the LA Times' Letter Editor, Paul Thornton published a piece entitled, "On letters from climate-change deniers" following up on a claim in an earlier article that said, " Simply put, this objection to the president's healthcare law is based on a falsehood, and letters that have an untrue basis (for example, ones that say there's no sign humans have caused climate change) do not get printed." [more inside]
"Unlike most teen dramas, Buffy wasn’t a narrative about finding an identity; it was always about having a lot of them." Kim O'Connor for The Toast on Buffy Summers, growing up, identity, and how saving the world every week is a better model than just getting through high school.
Last week, in a surprise vote, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) elected its first female presiding bishop, Elizabeth Eaton. [more inside]
Home Sweet Home "'I told him I did live my life forward, but sometimes I couldn’t help thinking about the past, and it was rewarding,' he says. 'Nostalgia made me feel that my life had roots and continuity. It made me feel good about myself and my relationships. It provided a texture to my life and gave me strength to move forward.' The colleague remained skeptical, but ultimately Dr. Sedikides prevailed. That lunch in 1999 inspired him to pioneer a field that today includes dozens of researchers around the world using tools developed at his social-psychology laboratory, including a questionnaire called the Southampton Nostalgia Scale. After a decade of study, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be — it’s looking a lot better."
As lexicographers revel in the capabilities of online dictionaries, one person notes the death of print encyclopedias.
Men in Saris: Mumbai's new lavani dancers Lavani is a folk dance, traditionally performed by women for men. The popularity of Bin Baykancha Tamasha (or Performance Without Women) and other female-impersonation groups in Mumbai suggests that the city may slowly be getting comfortable with flamboyant expressions of male sexuality.
The stereotypes about Africa/Africans are too many to list here. They’re mostly negative, myopic depictions that focus on war, famine, abject poverty, disease, and corruption. In other oversimplifications, Africans are written up as model immigrants, overachieving geniuses, or displaced chiefs moonlighting as gas station attendants. Outside of these caricatures, many Africans are going to work and school, voting in their local elections, and spending way too much time on Facebook. And they’re over the ignorance that has collectively miscast them. In response, a swelling movement of young Africans are launching concerted efforts to wrest the image of Africa from entities and interests that don’t promote a balanced understanding of the continent.
A Renaissance in Economics The American President Ronald Reagan once quipped, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” I get the same shivers when someone introduces themselves as an economist.
Why You Won’t Be the Person You Expect to Be (NYT): "When we remember our past selves, they seem quite different. We know how much our personalities and tastes have changed over the years. But when we look ahead, somehow we expect ourselves to stay the same... They called this phenomenon the “end of history illusion,” in which people tend to “underestimate how much they will change in the future.”" (via exp.lore) [more inside]
In February, PBS and AOL launched Makers, a video archive containing personal stories and anecdotes told in the first person by women, many of whom have sparked groundbreaking changes in American culture. [more inside]
The tragedy of climate change: the UK Pig Association is warning that due to droughts causing high pig food prices, a global bacon shortage is now unavoidable.
Vanua Levu, population 130,000, is the second largest island of Fiji. It is also the home of the village of Vunidogoloa, one of the fist villages in the world forced to relocate due to climate change. The entire nation of Kiribati could be next. Recently, a Kiribati man was denied immigration status in New Zealand as a "climate change refugee".
Your change, with thanks — Among the refinements of middle-class Victorian shopping was the giving of change not directly from hand to hand but in paper packets. The envelope, known as a ‘change packet,’ measured some 60 mm (2 ½ in) square and was printed with the legend ‘The change, with thanks’, often in a decorative roundel or other device. [more inside]
"If your science gives you a result you don't like, pass a law saying the result is illegal. Problem solved." [more inside]
"It fits with what we would expect as a result of the rapid change in Arctic habitat." The stuff of science fiction is becoming increasingly the stuff of science fact. And now, it seems, you can crack open a white Coke (if you can stomach the campaign) and watch it all from the comfort of your couch. [more inside]
In January, 16 scientists and/or engineers wrote an opinion piece in the WSJ. This is the response of one of the academics cited in their piece: William Nordhaus. According to the 16 scientists/engineers, Nordhaus recommended no action on climate change for 50 years. But he didn't. The opinion piece has generated controversy among climate scientists as well.
Future Shock (2, 3, 4, 5) is a glimpse at society on the precipice of the information age, in this 1972 documentary based on the Alvin Toffler classic about the world gone mad, due to technology and computers. Narrated by Orson Welles. [more inside]
Climate Wizard enables you to access leading climate change information and visualize the impacts anywhere on Earth. This web-based program allows you to choose a state or country and both assess how climate has changed over time and project what future changes are predicted to occur in a given area.
The Professor is Dead. Long Live Netflix! As Netflix rebrands itself as a cable TV alternative rather than a by-mail video rental service, it's killing off its user community and anonymizing reviews. Top reviewer The Professor is philosophical about the change (see main link), others less so.
How to feed 9 billion people: The global food supply is starting to get tight, with increasing sensitivity to droughts and floods causing price spikes and food shortages. The UK commissioned a report to examine how to feed a planet with a population that is set to increase to 9 billion by 2050. [more inside]
What species of food is 2000 years old, has evolved copious adaptive variations, and still tastes delicious as ever? [more inside]
Right Wing astroturfing A non-scientific analysis of the patterns in forum board discussions on a variety of topics. The gist: discussions of issues in which there's money at stake (like climate change, public health and corporate tax avoidance) are often characterised by amazing levels of abuse and disruption by rightwing libertarians who are pro-corporate, anti-tax, anti-regulation. Discussions of issues in which there's little money at stake tend to be a lot more civilised than debates about issues where companies stand to lose or gain billions.
Now in its fourth year, CNN Heroes highlights and rewards "Everyday People Changing the World." This year's Hero of the Year (chosen by public poll) is Anuradha Koirala, whose group Maiti Nepal has rescued more than 12,000 women and girls from sex slavery along the India / Nepal border since 1993. [more inside]
"Tired of arguing with climate change deniers in 140 character quips, [programmer Nigel Leck] wrote a script to do it for him. Chatbot @AI_AGW scans Twitter every five minutes searching for hundreds of phrases that fit the usual denier argument paradigm. Then it serves them up some science." (via by way of via)
Being a Manifesto Based on Talking About Comics with the Young People of Today, Sometimes in the Classroom, Usually Not, Occasionally Sober.
After nearly a decade in dark blue, the entertainment review aggregator site Metacritic.com launched its first major redesign last week, abandoning its old data- and list-heavy format for graphics, features and a more professional white background. The site invited users to comment on the changes on its blog, where they are being almost universally panned. [more inside]
Forget Shorter Showers. Why personal change does not equal political change.
How to Save a Dying Ocean - "New England fishermen have mixed feelings about a programme designed to allow overfished species to recover. Mark Schrope reports on how catch shares have scientists fishing for answers." (via) [more inside]
A new report from the Climate Action Network Canada- Réseau action climat Canada details a “troubling catalogue of actions” by the federal government to muzzle its own climate scientists and weaken the research capacity of Canada’s climate science community.
MEMORANDUM FOR SELECTED UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS: As a general matter, pursuit of these priorities should not focus federal resources in your States on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana. For example, prosecution of individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law, or those caregivers in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state law who provide such individuals with marijuana, is unlikely to be an efficient use of limited federal resources. (SLUSDOJM)
What global warming looks like - Some amazing time lapse sequences of glacier retreat and a spectacular ice-shelf collapse: [more inside]
Most people have heard about how rising CO2 levels are resulting in a changing global climate. Fewer have heard about the other consequence of rising CO2 levels- when the CO2 is absorbed into the oceans, it disassociates into carbonic acid. This alters the pH of our world's oceans, and it's called "Ocean Acidification". This changing ocean chemistry has many important and devastating consequences. [more inside]
Tomorrow, Obama will extend federal employee benefits to same-sex partners. But is it too little, too late to mend the growing rift between Obama and gay rights advocates, especially after last week's controversial DOMA brief (discussed previously)?
potholer54 is a youtuber who in his own words; I've been a journalist for 20 years, 14 years as a science correspondent. My degree is in geology, but while working for a science magazine and several science programs I had to tackle a number of different fields, from quantum physics to microbiology. He has a series called Climate Change that you might find interesting. [more inside]
The End of Christian America. The percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 points in the past two decades. How that statistic explains who we are now—and what, as a nation, we are about to become.
A Farm For The Future. Wildlife filmmaker Rebecca Hosking, previously in the public eye campaigning for the banning of plastic bags in the UK, is moving back to the family farm to take over from her father. This "deeply hopeful but realistic film" describes her investigation of the steps she could take to change it from a traditional beef pasture farm to a truly sustainable permaculture environment. [more inside]
Simon Johnson on Bill Moyers  (and, prolifically, making the public media rounds on npr ) tackling the bailout of the American Oligarchs, a.k.a. banksters... [more inside]
Obama's Justice Department has endorsed its predecessor's claims that the details of the extraordinary rendition program are "state secrets."
Everyone and his or her uncle has griped about the mediocre official inaugural poems heralding recent new U.S. presidencies. Meanwhile, poets Arielle Greenberg & Rachel Zucker have put together a blog, STARTING TODAY, commissioning a poem a day from many of those they consider the best contemporary poets writing today, documenting in verse life under the new ruling paradigm.
Wired: Obama Sides With Bush in Spy Case. "The Obama administration fell in line with the Bush administration Thursday when it urged a federal judge to set aside a ruling in a closely watched spy case weighing whether a U.S. president may bypass Congress and establish a program of eavesdropping on Americans without warrants."
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