Friday, April 22, 2016

Weekend Reading: A Sort of Grim Edition

First, an update on my poor snail: While I was in Portland, it stopped spitting out grey stuff and started moving around again. I was so excited! Today, it is giving me another scare by floating around the tank. The information I can find online says that this does NOT mean it is dead. As far as I can tell from the online info, the only way to tell your snail is dead is if it starts smelling bad.

I think this one might be dead, though. It doesn't smell bad, but neither did the first two (smaller) snails we tried in the aquarium, and those eventually just disappeared from the shells.

I think the sniff test has a high false negative rate, is what I'm saying. I'll wait and see what happens.

Anyway, on to some links:

Here's another water poisoning story to remind you that not everyone in this country actually can count on safe drinking water. This one was discovered by a Navajo graduate student, who was studying the impact of the old uranium mines near his home.

This story about an Oklahoma woman's hard life and premature death is really sad. Consider it an anecdote to go with the data about declining life expectancy for white women... but as far as I understand, the data aren't yet clear on whether this is a representative story of that decline.

I'm really drawn to the idea of a minimum income, to make life less crushingly hard when it doesn't work out for you. There is a large trial of this approach just getting underway in Kenya.

Are you feeling sorry for Andrew Jackson for getting booted off the $20 bill? Don't.

If you think ads are killing the web pages you try to read, you're right. Our system for paying for the content we read online is completely broken. I wish we could scrap the entire thing and try again. Maybe bundle paying for what we read into our internet access fees and/or the price of devices. Or something. The ad-based system is good for no one but the middlemen selling ads.

Why don't women go to hackathons? NASA is studying that, and making progress on improving participation rates. That article made me stop and think about why I have never once considered attending a hackathon. I think the answer is that I exhaust all of my energy and patience for fighting for space and respect in male dominated spaces with my main work. The idea of doing that "for fun" just does not appeal.

Men are ruder than women. Really, there's data on that now. There was a lot of light-hearted cursing from the women on my Twitter feed in response to this study. But the cursing part interests me the least. And for the rest of it- I'd rather work to make men less rude than work to make it OK for women to be more rude.

These were sort of grim links, so let's end with some fun: Modern Solo Adventures. I can't even fathom the amount of time it would take to put these together, but they are very entertaining!

Happy weekend, everyone!


  1. Even if Jackson had been a exemplary person by modern standards (and he most certainly was not), he was never a good choice for inclusion on our money, and would not have wanted to be so included. Whoever put him on the $20 clearly didn't know the first thing about Jackson's fervent opposition to the idea of a national bank. Being on federal currency would have been an affront to him.

    That's not why we should replace him, though. We should replace him because he doesn't represent our values, not because of his.

    I do think that it might have been fitting to replace him with, say, Wilma Mankiller.

  2. I was thinking of you and your poor snail on our walks this week, as we watched the rain snails creeping along.

    Did you ever find any more information on snail biology?

    @TragicSandwich: Wilma Mankiller! Yes! I did a report on her when I was in school

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