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From: Boing Boing - After sexual harassment account, Uber exposé shows aggressive, unrestrained work culture

After a former Uber engineer detailed her account of sexual harassment while working there for about a year, New York Times reporter Mike Isaac dug into the story and got the goods. His exposé describes an amoral Ayn Randian meritocracy filled with aggressive jerks, in which one could absolutely imagine impunity for sexual harassment being an accepted norm.

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From: Boing Boing - Climate change: Apocalypse by 1000 cuts

Not since the Reagan era cold war with Russia has apocalyptic awareness been so forefront in the public’s mind. Disturbing incidents ranging from nuclear football Facebook selfies to alarming North Korean military activity now accrue weekly. Sometimes hourly. What can one do besides scroll through Twitter before bedtime and let the news populate our nightmares?

The distractions and details are addictive: political murders via improv and a spray bottle, daily revelations of Russian infiltration in US elections and government, and today the president is yelling at Sweden. Tomorrow it might be Ireland. Who knows. We watch the global breakup like helpless children realizing that mom and dad are really getting a divorce. Right now, the sitting US president is not even welcome in the British Parliament, but he regularly tweets flattering sentiments to Russia. But there is a larger story that needs telling–and action.

Lost in the noise was the recent breakage of a mile-long stretch of West Antarctica, due to warmer ocean water. It was part of one of the largest glaciers within the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which scientists predict will collapse in the next 100 years. NASA caught the images of the event earlier in the week, but the story broke just as Scott Pruitt was confirmed as head of the Environmental Protection Agency–making it seem as if the Earth did the planetary version of a spit take at the news. Timing aside, it was a big deal.

In the distraction of every new development, tweet, or outrage, it’s hard to get a bird’s eye view of what the hell is going on in the literal world. Luckily, Laurie Penny of The Baffler has done that for us, in a brilliant new article that should be required reading for the human race: The Slow Confiscation of Everything: How to think about climate apocalypse. Referencing the daily outrages, legislative battles, and civil division, she writes:

“Racist laws can eventually be overthrown, and even a cultural backslide toward bigotry and nationalism can be slowly, painfully reversed. We don’t get a do-over on climate change. The vested interests agitating to strip the planet for parts know that, too—and they plan to profit from this particular apocalypse as hard as they can.”

In the piece, she eloquently demonstrates that it is no longer the failure of diplomatic relations that is likely to kill us. It’s the man-made weapon that’s already been unleashed in global warming. That missile has already been launched. The point becomes clear: climate change is no longer an environmental issue. It’s a human rights issue–the right to live, and the right to have our children’s children live, too. It is not liberal alarmist drama. It’s about life as we know it, and we need to adjust accordingly, or we will soon not recognize it at all.

“Climate change is species collapse by a thousand cuts. There will be no definite moment we can say that yes, today we are fucked, and yesterday we were unfucked. Instead the fuckery increases incrementally year on year, until this is the way the world ends: not with a bang, not with a bonfire, but with the slow and savage confiscation of every little thing that made you human, starting with hope.”

Echoing the storyline of her outstanding dystopian novel, Everything Belongs to the Future, she outlines where we are, how we got here, and shows us the (decreasing) options before us. Importantly, government policy choices are part of what determines which path the human race is really on. The voice of the people and their ability to understand this fatally overlooked reality–and then do something about it, is the ray of hope here. But it’s an attitude adjustment that needs to happen soon. We’re looking at incremental, but preventable, human extinction. We’re all drafted for this war, and really, we’re all ultimately on the same side. The challenge is, can we stop the bleeding in time?

“It is hard to outline the contours of a future you have never been allowed to imagine—one that is both different from today but accessible from it, too. The best we have been permitted to hope for is that the status quo be scraped to the edges of the present for as long as it lasts—a vote to run the knife around the empty jar of neoliberal aspiration and hope there’s enough to cover our asses. If people cannot imagine a future for themselves, all they can measure is what they’ve lost. Those who believe in the future are left, as they always were, with the responsibility of creating it, and that begins with an act of faith—not just that the future will be survivable, but that it might, somehow, maybe, be an exciting place to live.”

From: Boing Boing - 10-year-old asks police department for help – with homework – and gets it

Ten-year-old Lena Draper, from Marion, OH, was stumped with her math homework and needed help. And who do you go to when in need? The police of course!

The fifth grader jumped on Facebook and went straight to the Marion police department. “I’m having trouble with my homework. Could you help me?” Here was the problem: (8+29) x 15.

Lt. B.J. Gruber, age 42, came to the rescue. “Do the numbers in parenthesis first.”

Lena didn’t stop there, and asked him to help her with a second problem: (90+27) + (29+15) x 2.

The patient officer did his best to help her again. “Take the answer from the first parenthesis plus the answer from the second parenthesis and multiply that answer times two. Work left to right doing the work inside [the] parenthesis first.”

But, having been a few decades since he last sat in math class, the officer was a little rusty with the order of things. When Lena’s mom posted the Facebook exchange, she found out from a friend that the second answer was wrong – the order of operation was, well, out of order. Gruber admits his best subject was always history, not math.

See the full story here.

From: Boing Boing - Breathtaking botanical illustrations and photographs in a guide to the world of spices

I pretty much sprinkle the same thing on every meal. I am admittedly heavy-handed with the cayenne on my own plate and rarely stray from the variety of basils I grow in the summer or bundles of dried rosemary in winter when cooking for my family. I am much more apt to get creative with spices while baking, to savory up my sweets. Lior Lev Sercarz’s The Spice Companion has got me pretty excited to change things up.

This book is an absolute must read for anyone who likes to cook. In it, Lev Sercarz, celebrated culinary expert and master of spices, walks readers through a collection of spices chosen based on the criteria of: 1) can be found anywhere and 2) are essential in certain parts of the world. He opens with a few short essay-like chapters on his own culinary journey, the history of spices, and overviews on procuring, blending, and storing spices, all written in an inviting tone that makes the reader, no matter how novice in the kitchen or rote in their culinary routine, feel excited and encouraged to experiment with spices. They serve as thoroughly informative, enjoyable appetizers to the main course of the collection: the spices.

“Any dried ingredient that elevates food or drink is a spice,” Lev Sercarz writes. His alphabetically organized curation of spices is gorgeously photographed by Thomas Schauer, who also gives us plenty of food-porn shots spanning the lifecycle of spices (from herbs still growing to well-seasoned meals) throughout the text. The spices themselves are shot both whole and deconstructed, each with its own two-page spread. The first page of each is like a mini spice biography or encyclopedia entry, including a botanical illustration, the characteristics, origin, harvest season, and history. Schauer’s photographic spice portraits tumble across the second page, framed by factoids on traditional usage, recommended dish and spice pairings, recipe ideas, and “quick blend” recipe. There is also a great collection of 15 “Classic Spice Blends” recipes at the back of the book.

The Spice Companion: A Guide to the World of Spices

by Lior Lev Sercarz

Clarkson Potter

2016, 304 pages, 9.3 x 1.3 x 10.3 inches, Hardcover

$24 Buy on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

From: Boing Boing - The Equals perform “Police On My Back”

https://youtu.be/WXJxYNUoJKs

The Clash recorded “Police On My Back” for Sandinista! in 1980, but The Equals (fronted by Eddie Grant) did it on 1967. Here’s the Richard-Lester-meets-the-Keystone-Kops video.

Here’s The Clash’s cover:

https://youtu.be/Sq_HtgGOIfE

Both are great. I like the Clash’s version better.

The Clash also covered Toots & The Maytals “Pressure Drop.”

https://youtu.be/6rb13ksYO0s

https://youtu.be/ZjP8sbdQaq8

Both are great. I like Toots & The Maytals’ version better.

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