Friday, March 22, 2019

Weekend Reading: The Waiting to Hear What Mueller Said Edition

So, Mueller's handed in his report. And now we all wait.

In the meantime, how about some other things to read?

This tweet captures everything I want to say about the Mueller report right now:

On to other things...

Because I was so sad at the end of last week, I didn't post about some great news I got at the start of last week: Tattoo, by Michelle Rene, is an Foreword INDIES finalist!

I confess I click on this story about a young man caught tagging once and charged for many other incidents because of the San Diego connection... but read it. I found it really thought-provoking.

I love this post about a tiny museum in Switzerland and I kind of want to make one of my own!

This thread is a lot of fun:


Have a good weekend, everyone.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Weekend Reading: Heartbroken Edition

I decided my rollerblade today was non-negotiable. I'd had a difficult week at work, and was feeling a bit frayed. And then a terrorist attacked a city in the country that feels like my second home.  I had to start my day today by telling my 11 year old about the attack, because I suspected someone at school would ask her about it and want to know if her New Zealand family are from Christchurch (they are not - our family and close friends are primarily in Wellington and Auckland). And as shattered as I was by this attack, I know that I am feeling a fraction of what Muslim people are feeling today.

So I needed to ground myself and get out of my head and remind myself why this world is worth fighting to improve. Luckily for me, the weather has turned warmer here and it was a beautiful day and my rollerblade helped a lot.

Some things I want to share about the terrorist attack and related topics:

More people were murdered in the terrorist attack in Christchurch yesterday than in all of New Zealand in an entire average year.

Right-wing terrorism has gone global. We need to address this problem as a global terrorism problem, not a local hate problem. We heard in the early hours after the attack that the suspected gunman was not on any terrorism watchlists. But he also was apparently active on social media posting hate-filled things and frequenting the places that other mass shooters inspired by hate have frequented. So why wasn't he on a watchlist? We need to start taking this threat more seriously.

I think this post about the Republican party's problem with white identity politics is good. I don't know what the solution is, either.

Here's an article I'm hoping to find time to read this weekend: Adam Serwer on white nationalism's American roots.

In somewhat related topics: Elizabeth F. Cohen on the unintended consequences of our past immigration policies is really worth your time.

I did not read David Frum's immigration article. I share Noah Smith's opinion on that:

In somewhat more hopeful topics: The photos from the Climate Stikes around the world are inspiring.

I found this article about the app-rentable scooters and helmets really good. The real solution may be taking space back from cars to make riding bikes and scooters safe... but in the meantime, we need to find ways to make things safer.

This article about Inuit parenting was fascinating.

In recommended listening:

I happened to have listened to Sean Illing's interview with Deeyah Khan, who made recent documentaries on Jihadism and White Nationalism, this week. It is a really good interview and definitely worth your time.

I also really enjoyed the interview on The Weeds podcast with Pete Buttigieg. I still think he is a long, longshot for President, but he has some interesting ideas and argues for them well. I might donate some money to him to get him on the debate stage!

I've shared this poem before, but in case you need it today: Good Bones, by Maggie Smith, gives me a lot of comfort on days like today.

And here's a yawning bunny to start off your weekend:

Friday, March 08, 2019

Weekend Reading: The Mostly about Climate Change Edition

Well, today we answered the question of "will Cloud go for a rollerblade if it is sunny but not quite 60 degrees?" and the answer is YES. It was chilly at the start but a very nice rollerblade in the end.

In self-promo links: If you're on NetGalley, you can download The Dodo Knight for review now!

In other links:

David Roberts (whose podcast I recommended in my last post) argues that Democrats should call Republican's bluff on the Green New Deal vote in the Senate. I tend to agree with him.

Speaking of my last post, Nicoleandmaggie and I are chatting in the comments, and I think we're in agreement that the most useful individual action on climate right now is to push for policy changes. So here's an interesting old thread from another respected journalist on the climate change beat that has really influenced how I'm thinking about how to get meaningful action on climate:

In particular:

From a different thread of his: We're not going to get real Federal action on the climate until 2021, at the earliest. But there is action in the states, and if you're in a state that isn't taking much action, spending some of your political advocating energy on this could really help:

UPDATE: Grace at Bad Mom, Good Mom also wrote about climate change and energy this week. She has lots of good links, too, as well as her own well-informed opinions in the post. Go check that out!

In hyper-local (to me) local progress news: my mayor apparently meant what he said in his recent State of the City address, and now San Diego has removed parking requirements for multi-family buildings in transit zones. (I have been very moderately active on advocating for higher density near transit and may get a bit more active - advocating for your community to get more transit, bike, and walking friendly is another good local advocacy option that can help address climate change.)

In other topics: Here's an explainer on the new study that shows states with stronger gun laws have fewer mass shootings.

Lux Alptraum argues we can learn to see through "deepfake" videos.

We deserve this burn:

I love this poem:


Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

The Damage We Do, The Choices We Make

I think I've mentioned before that my husband bought a kayak. Most weekends, he gets out on Mission Bay for a paddle. I am jealous that he gets so much time on the water. He offered to trade off weekends, but I prefer not to paddle alone and so given how our weekends are arranged these days, he's going to get more paddle time than me.

Anyway, he came back from his paddle last weekend and told me that he'd actually seen dolphins in Mission Bay! It is not all that unusual to see dolphins in the ocean, but I'd never heard of them coming into the bay. He thought maybe the fact that there were almost no motor boats out had something to do with it. It had looked like it might rain that morning. Mr. Snarky decided to try for his paddle, but perhaps the folks who like to take their motor boats or jet skis out for fun decided to skip it.

At the time, I just agreed that this might be the reason, felt intense jealousy that Mr. Snarky got to kayak near dolphins, and then went back to whatever chore I was working on. But the more I think about it, the more profoundly sad the story makes me. Think of all the wildlife we routinely chase out of places with our noise. What would our world look like if we got rid of as many noisy motors as we possibly could? How many more animals would we see? And how much more peaceful would our world seem?

I'm not necessarily advocating for going back to wind and people power (although maybe we should try to do that more). Electric motors can be quiet. I wonder how much noise reduction it would take to make dolphin sightings in Mission Bay less rare?


By coincidence, I'm also re-reading Douglas Adams' Last Chance to See. In fact, I'm reading it aloud to Pumpkin, because there is a section on kākāpōs and she loves kākāpōs. The chapter on the kākāpōs was a relatively happy one to read, because we know that their situation has improved since the book was written. They are currently in the middle of a really good breeding season, in fact. (Here's a recent article about them.)

The chapter on the Northern White Rhino was less cheerful: I had to report that those animals are now functionally extinct, because the last male (who lived at our local Safari Park) has died. There are last ditch efforts to save the species with preserved sperm and eggs from the remaining females, but the chances seem slim.

And now we've gotten to the chapter on the baiji dolphins of the Yangtze river. They are presumed to be functionally extinct, as well - although there may have been a recent sighting. Noise on the river is one of the reasons given for their demise.


And then, against my better judgment, I listened to David Roberts (the Vox reporter on the environment/climate change beat, whose stories I always find informative and useful) interview David Wallace-Wells, who wrote a book about how our climate situation is worse than we think.

The interview is not hopeful, but it is not hopeless, either. It is a clear-eyed look at where we are actually heading on climate (spoiler: we're going to warm by two degrees, and we'll probably warm by more, and that is going to have far-reaching effects), but it also makes a really persuasive argument that we hold the power to limit the damage, both by acting decisively now on carbon usage and by making choices about how to respond to the wider changes the changing climate will bring.

It is probably the thing I've listened to or read recently that has most changed how I think about an issue. I can't sell it as an uplifting listen, but I urge you to listen to it anyway, and think about what world we want for our kids (and their kids), and what we're going to do to respond to the world our past choices have made for us.

One of the points Wallace-Wells makes is that we've focused too much on ocean levels and not enough on the other ways a changing climate is going to disrupt things. We're getting better at recognizing things like last year's catastrophic wildfires as related to climate change. We need to get better still, and we need to find the courage and imagination to fight for some actions that seem impossible to achieve.


The thread that runs through my three stories tonight is this: We have taken actions that have damaged our world. The consequences of that damage stretch beyond us, but they impact us in ways big and small. But we can always make different choices. We can change things. It may seem too hard to contemplate, but making the changes is actually the easier route than living with the damage we're doing with our current choices, if only we could see that.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Weekend Reading: The I Don't Like Winter Edition

I know all of you people who live in places where it gets actually cold will laugh at me, but it has been quite cold for San Diego lately - our high today was in the 50s! - and I am tired of it and want my mid-60s back.

I think this is the sign that I am well and truly a San Diegan. When I start complaining if the temperature is over 78, then I will be one of the people who amused me when I first moved here: Unhappy with anything outside of the 68 - 78 degree range for temperature.

I did not get to rollerblade today, not because it was too cold, but because I had to pick up Petunia and her Lego team for our last practice before the Lego League Expo. I missed my rollerblade, but this also nicely sidesteps the question of whether or not I would actually go rollerblading when the temperature is below 60 degrees.

ANYHOW... on to the links.

In self-promotional links:

I wrote up the second part of our NZ vacation.

The Lilies of Dawn is on sale for $0.99 at Kobo right now. This may only be in the US - I am not sure.

In addition, you can get Tattoo and Both Sides of My Skin for 40% off with the promo code 40FEB, but this may be limited to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

All Annorlunda ebooks are always sold DRM-free, so you can buy from Kobo and read on any ereader.

In other links.. I don't have a lot, partly because I've been really busy and partly because I was reading Exit West for my book club. I recommend it highly.

This is a good explanation of Hoda Muthana's case. Although she is perhaps not the most sympathetic person, I think we should be really careful about rendering a person stateless and the fact that the vagaries of citizenship laws around the world makes it relatively easy to render someone stateless should give us pause.

Finally, an answer to the question of why do zebras have stripes?

The Elizabeth & Clarke brand of women's clothing looks interesting... has anyone tried it?

In recommended listening... I found Ezra Klein's conversation with philosopher Kate Manne really interesting.

I'm really enjoying Maggie Smith's daily goals. In response to a question someone posted, she said she's writing them for herself, using social media as a way to remind herself of her goals as she's going through a divorce (along the same lines as my "make social media work for you" philosophy!) and it is a happy accident that so many other people are finding them useful.



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