Hear a flea urinate on cotton [Recommentunde - 8 Dec 2019]

it's the latest edition of

The Recommentunde Newsletter

For the week that began December 8 2019

Image of yours truly shot at a wedding in Prague summer 2019. Photo by Keith Martine though on Instagram I credited Joey Butterscotch because trolling Keith is fun.

Good day humans and synthetic intelligences,

I’m trying this out on a Monday! I spent most of the past week dealing with a cold or the flu or a flu-ish cold which is very annoying because I didn’t have that scheduled in my Google Calendar at all! I also feel cheated because I got a flu shot earlier this season, and yes I know it’s no guarantee of avoiding the bug, but still… I wanted to feel smug and prepared and special and rub it in the faces of anti-vaxxers, and now I can’t. I just feel whatever the opposite of invincible is. Vincible? Normal? Human?

There’s a lot of link love to share below, but I warn you the opening set is tough. The New York Times decided to go in on the issue of online sexual exploitation of children. I remember back in the 1990s when fears about children online felt overblown and hyperbolic, an irrational fear among The Olds about this new technology threatening their power, but I must admit to feeling shaken by this reporting. The data suggest we really have created a monstrous mix of profitability and unaccountability when it comes to online communities and exposing our children to harm. It reminds me of the monstrous mix of profitability and unaccountability when it comes to gun violence and our children.

So I front-loaded this issue with that set of alarming pieces, and then I work hard to earn back a modicum of optimism so stick with me this week, people. It gets to a better place, I promise. We get to a better place, I hope.

And now, for your regularly-scheduled content.

TECHNOLOGY

Video Games and Online Chats Are ‘Hunting Grounds’ for Sexual Predators | The New York Times

“Any young person who converses online with strangers is at risk.” This is a monster feature with additional parts one and two. Parent's I understand if you decide to shut off your home wi-fi after this.

How to Protect Your Children From Online Sexual Predators - The New York Times

Actionable followup to the terrifying feature above.

DEMOCRACY

Kamala Harris Bid to Make History Faced Hurdles of Racism, Sexism | Rolling Stone

Many have written about the end of Harris’s campaign, but none as well as Jamil Smith.

History Won’t Be Coming to Save Us | GEN

“What chance does real history have when every avenue to teach it and disseminate it has been obliterated?”

The Chinese Roots of Italy’s Far-Right Rage | The New York Times

“When there are no jobs, the left doesn’t have an alternative to the capitalist system. The right has an effective emotional short-term response, showing that it has the ability to use the state apparatus to impose law and order.”


BLANK SPACE

there is nothing here.
it is on purpose.
please breathe.


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CLIMATE

How to Compost Even If You Live in an Apartment with Zero Outdoor Space | Bon Appétit

RACE

1969 SWAT raid on Black Panthers set tone for police race problems | Los Angeles Times

“SWAT evolved as a way to control people, places and things. It started with us. Now it’s everywhere.”


How Latinos revived a once-dying Pennsylvania city | The Boston Globe

Thanks to Robert for sending in this hopeful story

Sam Harris Has a Problem | Arc Digital

Something I just found from a few months ago that bears reading because Sam Harris is way too famous for someone who adds not-much to the world.

Can Biology Class Reduce Racism? | The New York Times

As increasing numbers of white Americans believe genetics explain racial disparities (thanks Sam Harris!), “grade-school biology classes may offer the only opportunity to dispel unfounded genetic explanations for racial inequality on a mass scale.”

TREATS

SIGNING OFF

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Peace and Love.