Not only are there a bunch of fake Katie Bouman @instagram accounts now, but they're spreading the lie about her colleague writing most of the code and commenters are just eating it up anyway thinking they're replying to the real deal. They even made a fake account for the guy. pic.twitter.com/Uqo2GhKOhc— Gene Park (@GenePark) April 12, 2019
And Minivet writes: There is probably an effectively infinite number of distinguishable new levels of lawless cruelty coming from this administration, but this "dumping immigrants in sanctuary cities" proposal seems one worthy of note.
It suppose it says something that even the current deeply complicit ICE leadership apparently first thought it was a joke, and pushed back when they kept hearing it. (No, Mr. President, I said to turn the heat up on the frog one notch at a time!)
Heebie's take on Minivet's link: I always think back to that thing about Steven Miller's favorite book. He is literally genocide-level racist. He does not want to merely loot others wealth or subjugate them. He wants them to suffer and die. (I'm not finding the book in the first three search links, but it's some mid-century thing about Europe being flooded by outsiders and the race war that ensues.)
This is easily the most fun article about climate change I've read in a long time. The reporter goes to Miami Beach and meets real estate agents, and pretends to want to buy an apartment:
I asked how the flooding was.
"There are pump stations everywhere, and the roads were raised," he said. "So that's all been fixed."
"Fixed," I said. "Wow. Amazing."
I asked how the hurricanes were.
He said that because the hurricanes came from the tropics, from the south and this was the west side of Miami Beach, they were not that bad in this neighborhood. "Oh, right," I said, as if that made any sense.
I asked him if he liked it here. "I love it," he said. "It is one of the most thriving cities in the country, it's growing rapidly." He pointed to a row of buildings in a neighborhood called Edgewater that were all just three years old. "That skyline was all built in the last three years."
Wow, I said, just in the last three years . . . "They're not worried about sea level rise?"
"It's definitely something the city is trying to combat. They are fighting it, by raising everything. But so far, it hasn't been an issue."
I couldn't wait to steal this line, slightly altered. "I am afraid of dying, sure, but so far, it hasn't been an issue."
(via one of you, elsewhere)
Last weekend, I was chatting with someone from Philadelphia, who was telling me that the city has stopped recycling. The city had been selling the recycling to China, and so when that ended, they learned it would cost $14-15 million to keep recycling, and so the program is on hold until they figure out what to do. My friends, in the meantime, have deepened their efforts towards a zero-waste lifestyle.
I did the extremely hypocritical thing where I nodded as though I was in the same place, while knowing perfectly well that our lifestyle is fairly grotesque in comparison. A whole lot of it is anchor-mentality: in Heebieville, efforts to go green are roughly where I remember them being in the 90s. We have small, poorly attended sustainability festivals. It is not incorporated in any way into domains that are not focused on environmentalism. (That's not entirely true - the public schools stopped using styrofoam trays a few years ago, and started composting. Green waste gets collected curbside, although not compost. Baby steps.)
Clearly, any individual effort I could make is dwarfed by the lack of scale. Clearly, recycling is a small little ritual that helps us feel virtuous. Clearly this entire conversation is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. And yet, I'd like to have a better understanding of how I should be recycling or reducing or reusing my own personal deck chairs, as the ship sinks.
Nick S writes: This essay by NBA player Kyle Korver about white privilege is extremely well written.
There's an elephant in the room that I've been thinking about a lot over these last few weeks. It's the fact that, demographically, if we're being honest: I have more in common with the fans in the crowd at your average NBA game than I have with the players on the court.
And after the events in Salt Lake City last month, and as we've been discussing them since, I've really started to recognize the role those demographics play in my privilege. It's like -- I may be Thabo's friend, or Ekpe's teammate, or Russ's colleague; I may work with those guys. And I absolutely 100% stand with them.
But I look like the other guy.
And whether I like it or not? I'm beginning to understand how that means something.
Heebie's take: Ok, the author, Kyle Korver, is an unusually clear, intelligent thinker. What I mean is, remember LB's separate axes for how smart you are and how dumb you are? This guy is really, really not dumb at all. This link describes his path through a series of events that led him to recognize the pervasiveness of racism in the United States. He did start from a not-smart place, and it was pretty recent:
Anyway -- on the morning I found out that Thabo had been arrested, want to know what my first thought was? About my friend and teammate? My first thought was: What was Thabo doing out at a club on a back-to-back??
Yeah. Not, How's he doing? Not, What happened during the arrest?? Not, Something seems off with this story. Nothing like that. Before I knew the full story, and before I'd even had the chance to talk to Thabo..... I sort of blamed Thabo.
I thought, Well, if I'd been in Thabo's shoes, out at a club late at night, the police wouldn't have arrested me. Not unless I was doing something wrong.
It's not like it was a conscious thought. It was pure reflex -- the first thing to pop into my head.
And I was worried about him, no doubt.
But still. Cringe.
It is honest in a way that almost seems innocent.
The reason I say this guy is unusually clear-headed and intelligent is that he was able, along the way, to identify that there was an undercurrent of his own reactions that was making him uncomfortable. Instead of spinning out a rationalization or whatever - (the way 95% of all Serious Thinkers would) - he probes and pokes at his reaction until he sees a full picture of his role in the racism of America. That is really impressive, in the emotional intelligence sense.
Ed: I'm in the rare, (but welcome!) situation of a bit of a queue of posts, so I'm bundling here.
1. LW writes: The Economist writes about a promising candidate for Guatemala's presidency, pretty clear background:
Unlike in El Salvador, where a stalemate led to the creation of two post-war parties that have held each other (imperfectly) accountable, in Guatemala the left-wing guerrillas were beaten decisively. The parties that emerged from the war are numerous and weak, producing gridlock in congress. No party has won more than 5% of the vote in all of the past three presidential elections.
The establishment views cicig as an unelected foreign agency that is taking over the state, and Ms Aldana as its tool. Mr Morales, a former comedian who has surrounded himself with ex-army officers, refused to renew its mandate, which expires in September. The Trump administration did not object loudly.
Acting against corruption there has been unimaginably awful in the past-- here's what happened when someone tried to make public an accidentally discovered archive ten years ago.
Here's the lede:
Chinese officials pressured a Montreal-based human rights research institute affiliated with Concordia University to cancel a conference featuring a prominent exiled Uighur leader, says one of the organizers of the event.
Kyle Matthews, executive director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) at Concordia University, said he received an email from the Chinese consul general in Montreal on Monday, asking him for an urgent meeting to discuss a planned conference on the Uighur minority in China.
Lurid Keyaki writes: At least four recent suspicious fires that are either genuine terrorist acts or set up to look a whole lot like them: St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, Tennessee. We can also talk about Morris Dees being booted from the SPLC: I found this article annoying as hell but will grudgingly admit that I learned things from it. I'm assuming that effective organized resistance to the Trump-era wave of white terrorism is not going to be led by white people. No take from me otherwise; too much to say, too little time to say it, I'll comment though.
Heebie's take: Jesus Christ. I'm of the opinion that if it's opportunistic and not being set by a white person, it's still a by-product of era of having an explicitly white supremacist president.
Last night at dinner, Hawaii was telling everyone what she'd learned about the Freedom Summer and the Ku Klux Klan at school. (Pokey kept calling them the Komplex Klan.) It's ironic how much easier a conversation it is to have now that Trump is in office. This was the introductory conversation with Rascal, roughly: "A long time ago, there were a lot of rules so that white people could go to the best schools and have all the nicest things, and a lot of white people didn't like people with black and brown people. The official rules are over, but there are still invisible rules that make things unfair. (Examples, elaboration, etc.) Nowadays, some white people still don't like brown and black people, some white people think everyone should be equal, and some are confused and in the middle. In this family, we think everyone should be treated fairly."
Whereas with Hawaii, five years ago, we would have had to add, "Most white people think that racism is all over and everything is better, but it's really not. They think this because..." This would have been necessary to anticipate what she'll hear in the schools around MLK day, etc. But now, at least, I am absolutely sure that the vast majority of the teachers will not imply that it's all better and over. Which is a more accurate narrative. At least.
On Morris Dees: ugh, I'll save my two cents for the comments.
J, Robot writes: This article provides a helpful overview of a battle I had previously followed on C/ourtney M/ilan's Twitter. I used to read a lot of romance, and can confirm that people of color rarely appeared even as background characters.
Heebie's take: (to all of you who recommended Jane the Virgin, I can't thank you enough. I'm absorbed in just the right way and adore all the characters.) Anyway, when Jane Gloriana Villanueva was ten years old, she already knew she wanted to be a writer, and her genre of choice is romance novels, which is giving me more affection for the genre than I'd have at most moments in time.
From the link:
"Can I say nipples in here?" Rai continued. The audience giggled. "Many, many years ago, when I first started writing, someone said to me: 'Oh, this is the first book where the heroine had brown nipples, like on the page,' and I was like: 'What? That's crazy!' She was a long-time romance reader. I thought about it. I'm pretty sure nipples come in all shades, but they're always, like, pink on the page, or berries, or some kind of pink fruit."
(Obligatory: I don't even have nipples!)
Anyway, Jane the Virgin is such a wonderfully female-centered and Latinx-centered show. I don't want to say more, for fear of spoilers, but to all of you who recommended it: how could you let me walk into that heartbreaking moment unaware?! Argh. I'm in Season 3; no spoilers please and thank you.
I enjoyed this interview about food fraud:
If there's no cardboard in your Parmesan, there might be strawberry leaves in your oregano. And if there's any coconut in your coconut water, consider yourself lucky. Welcome to the wide world of food fraud, which brings in more money than narcotics, according to food detective Chris Elliott.
I'd heard of fake fish and fake olive oil. But they also cover coconuts, oregano, and others. Fake coconut makes total sense:
Coconut is one of the great examples that I use because it's a booming product. There's been a big surge in the amount of sales and often I will ask people, "Where do you think all of the coconuts suddenly came from?" If you plant a coconut palm, it's at least eight years before that coconut palm produces a coconut, so where do they all come from? Often the case is it's actually not coconuts you're buying. In a lot of cases we've looked at, the coconut water is water with sugar added to it [...]."
And fake oregano is pretty surprising. Who's spending the time to adulterate something that costs $2 a jar?
Having said that, I'm skeptical of the claim that food fraud exceeds (illegal) narcotics in profits.