Friday, May 23, 2014

Batch of links - Relatively current events

- I’ve talked before about algae being used to make biofuel. But did you know it can now be used to make crude oil – in less than 1 hour?

- Snapchat had to settle charges because its photos don’t actually disappear, which makes you wonder what the point of the app is.

- Well sh*t, it turns our swearing is good for you.

- Baby boomers are redefining grandparenting. And on that topic, am I the only one who’s offended that Hillary Clinton’s capacity to be President someday was questioned because she would be a grandmother? I mean, we’ve had Presidents with grandkids before, and this has never been an issue. No one ever asked a male head of state about his grandkids! Juggling kids and a career isn’t enough, now we have to worry about grandkids, too?

- Eight things every white person should know about white privilege. (And on a somewhat related note: Disney princesses reimagined as different ethnicities.)

- I talk about abortion often, because as a French Canadian, it’s not even fathomable to me to have what I consider a basic right threatened or revoked. But in the States, it seems that if we’re not careful, that’s the direction in which we’re headed. Of course, there are many safety nets that should be set up to help prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place – perhaps the universal health care system in Canada plays into that. I just read an article with the staggering statistic that nearly 1 in 3 pregnancies in Detroit ends in abortion these days (triple the rate in the rest of Michigan), mostly because of poverty. I believe that people should be better educated about sex, of course, but they should also have access to inexpensive contraceptives, because the alternative can only make the abortion rate increase. So it seems obvious to me that the way to reduce the number of abortions is not by creating anti-abortion laws.

In fact, the GOP’s anti-abortion laws are backfiring and actually causing more abortions after 20 weeks (which is another thing the GOP opposes). Texas is often in the news because of this, but the problem is also present in the northern part of the country, where there is now a 1,200-mile abortion-free zone! And just like Texas, Louisiana is forcing some clinics to close by requiring doctors to have admitting privileges in nearby hospitals. South Carolina even tried to expand stand-your-ground laws to fetuses, for God’s sake! Luckily, the North Dakota law banning abortion as early as 6 weeks (or, really, 4 weeks since ovulation) has been overturned.

- And again, to end on a high note: San Antonio’s mayor, Julián Castro, has been nominated as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by the Obama administration today. I very much like him as mayor, as I feel he’s done a lot of good for the city (involving the community in deciding San Antonio’s future, helping youth access higher education, revitalizing downtown, remaining accessible to his constituents, etc.). So we’ll miss him, but I think he will do a lot of good in Washington, and would probably be an awesome vice-presidential nominee in 2016.

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