Surely, A Metaphor (for what’s happening to our planet)

Weather websites are issuing air quality alerts because of the smoke coming from forest fires in the northeast, and yet people in cottage country just a few hours north of Toronto have smokepits going all day, presumably so they won’t be bothered by mosquitoes.

Never mind that said smokepits fill the whole neighbourhood with toxic smoke, worse by far than that coming from the forementioned forest fires.

Never mind that there are non-toxic (and non-trespassive) alternatives like zapper racquets and protective clothing.

A confrontation with a neighbour about this ended in a not-quite death threat: it took less than sixty seconds for the man to go from “Mind your own business!” (I am: when your smoke crosses over onto my property, it becomes my business.) to “Fuck off, bitch! Why don’t you smash your head with rocks, then jump in the lake and drown?!”  (Seriously.  That’s what he said.  He was practically foaming at the mouth.)

Canada hasn’t met any of the emissions targets it’s set.  Not one.  (No surprise.  Given Mr. Mind-your-own-business. Who apparently has no understanding of, and/or no interest in, cause and effect.)

So, like South Koreans, who also live with unbreathable air, due to China, I’ll be getting some smoke masks and nose filters.  Sigh.



The replacement of journalism

“The replacement of journalism by rumor aggregators …”  (Zendegi, Greg Egan).  Yes.  That.  Precisely.


Truth and Negotiation

“Caitlin knew she was not a good negotiator, not like Annelise or Rachel.  Sicence didn’t negotiate truth; it tried to discover and prove it.” The Eleventh Gate, Nancy Kress

Ah.  The less regard for truth, the greater one’s negotiation skills.  Explains politics.  The state of the world.


Who should pay for housework?

“In strict economic terms, the almighty free market theoretically considers the work of women in the home to be without value, to be worthless.  It is recognized nowhere in the free market economic model” (The High Road, Terry Fallis).

Also true for the work of men in (and around) the home.

But I would not want to have to pay (via my tax dollars) other women for doing their housework.  Just as I would not want to pay men for their incessant puttering around (my god, one of my retired neighbours has, so far, built five little sheds on his property; it’s bad enough that I’ve had to hear every single cut made by his power saw, every single screw inserted with his power drill … you want me to PAY him for it as well?

The problem is that women do so much more of the work, especially if they have kids.  So the solution is for the household members to come up an equitable arrangement.  Or for the man to pay the woman to be cook and maid and childcare worker and the woman to pay the man for car repair and lawn services.  Or whatever.


“None of the Above” Ballot Idea


Proposes “None of the Above” Be Added to Ballot

Thirty Percent of the Votes Would Trigger New Election



Excellent idea.  from Jack McDevitt’s The Long Sunset


James White’s Sector General series

James White’s Sector General series should be required reading for ANYONE assigned to first contact missions.  Note in the first paragraph below (from Alien Emergencies), the inclusion of specialists in communications, philosophy, and psychology.  Note the exclusion of specialists in any of the hard sciences.  And the military.  (Note also, the more effective way.)

“The Cultural contact people were the elite of the Monitor Corps, a small group of specialists in e-t communications, philosophy and psychology. Although small, the group was not, regrettably, overworked …

“… During the past twenty years,” O’Mara went on, “they have initiated First Contact procedure on three occasions, all of which resulted in the species concerned joining the Federation.  I will not bore you with the details of the number of survey operations mounted and the ships, personnel and materiel involved, or shock you with the cost of it all.  I mention the Cultural Contact group’s three successes simply to make the point that within the same time period this hospital became fully operational and also initiated First contacts, which resulted in seven new species joining the Federation.  This was accomplished not by a slow, patient buildup and widening of communications until the exchange of complex philosophical and sociological concepts became possible, but by giving medical assistance to a sick alien.”

I can’t recommend White’s work enough.  Finally, an intelligent approach to alien life.  (Because yes, pretty much every novel I’ve read, and every movie I’ve seen, to date, has been embarrassing for its UNintelligent approach to alien.  Why haven’t we discovered intelligent life out there?  Because we’re too stupid to visit.)


Everything turned into entertainment

“Look at the world around you, David.  What do you see?  An endless theme part, with everything turned into entertainment.  Science, politics, education–they’re so many fairground rides.  Sadly, people are happy to buy their tickets and climb aboard.”  The Millennium People, J. G. Ballard



Read mention in a Lionel Shriver novel (The Motion of the Body through Space) about “white readers [the main, white, character read for audiobooks] pretending to talk like [members of] marginalized communities is ‘mimicry’ and … cultural appropriation” (p31).

But I can’t help thinking that if she were not to use an accent other than her own for those characters (members of marginalized communities), she’d be accused of ignoring said members’ reality, denying/ignoring the way they speak, accused of colonializing, homogenizing …


The Sexual Politics of Meat – Carol J. Adams

Highly recommended.  The title says it all.

Among a whole lot of ‘worth mentioning’ bits, I’ll mention the reference to Irving Fisher’s study (p.43) involving meat-eating athletes, vegetarian athletes, and vegetarian non-athletes. Vegetarians, whether athletes or not, had the greatest endurance (as measured by three strength tests). “Even the maximum record of the flesh-eaters was barely more than have the average for the flesh-abstainers.”

And the book got me thinking again about why men suddenly do the cooking when it involves a barbecue. I’d thought simply it was because one barbecues outdoors: women=indoors; men=outdoors. But now, I’m seeing too it’s fire. Danger! And, of course, meat. Status. A perfect trinity.


Invisible Women, Caroline Criado Perez

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men is a must-read.

(And although she soft-pedals this, surely the persistent failure to consider women is evidence of what they think of us: we’re unimportant, we’re not worth consideration. Or perhaps it’s simply evidence of their persistent failure to consider anyone but themselves. Either way …)