Friday, November 06, 2015

Batch of links

- Montreal’s second annual vegan festival is tomorrow!

- I’m so sure that you’ve heard the WHO say that bacon and processed meats cause cancer that I’m not even going to link to that report. However, I will link to an article that explains clearly why you shouldn’t panic. On a related note, have fun with the website Spurrious Correlations.

- If you’re still reading, you should know that the article I actually found alarming that day was Human DNA found in hot dogs. Additionally, 10% of vegetarian hot dog sausages were found to contain meat. I feel so violated that we can’t even trust labels! Luckily, there are still brands out there that have integrity, including Applegate and Hebrew National. And on another related note, many probiotics taken for celiac disease contain gluten.

- There was a great column in Time last month, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, titled (in print) Amercian students – and politicians – need to stop waging war on reason. (A local university students wrote an article on the same topic and called it How dare you be offended.) This follows a good article in The Atlantic, The Coddling of the American Mind, about how trigger warnings can actually hurt mental health on campus. I think this reminds us of the importance of knowing where to draw the line between being respectful of others without actually censoring works of art or failing to give students a complete education. (All this isn’t to say that trigger warnings are bad per se, and of course students need safe spaces, but the articles above are good examples of when it’s being taken too far.)

- I enjoyed reading this September article about Ottawa’s war on data. I’ve always been one to hang on to data, and it’s flabbergasting to me that a government, especially branches of the government specifically tasked with record-keeping, would drop the ball. Thankfully, the new Canadian Prime Minister has restored the long-form census! He’s also put together an impressive cabinet. I know Justin Trudeau has big shoes to fill, but he’s off to a very good start.

- I remember reading not that long ago an article where the author was basically berating people who were not excited about the premiere of Fear the Walking Dead and ridiculing them for having, what, too much good TV to watch? Well, yes. That’s exactly right. I am one of those people. I can barely keep up with shows I am currently watching, not to mention the ones on which I catch up after the season airs and the ones that will start airing soon and the ones for which I haven’t found time yet. As James Poniewozik said in Time magazine in June, the paradox of television’s new golden age is that you don’t have time to watch it. And this is just sticking to the top-tier shows (including imports and miniseries), because whenever I see an ad for a second-tier sitcom, I wonder who even has time. My favorite quote of the article? “TiVo recently announced the $5,000 Mega, a DVR with room to record three years of shows. It’s less a machine than a conceptual-art commentary on the futility of existence.”

- I read the following statement in an article about same-sex parents in San Antonio: “In 2013 (the latest data released), 22 percent of same-sex couples in San Antonio reported they’re raising a child—the largest percentage of any city in Texas and the third highest (tied with Memphis and Detroit) in the nation.” I was very surprised by this, because I would have thought that more “gay-friendly” cities such as Austin (locally) or San Francisco (nationally) would have had higher numbers. It turns out that those cities are often too expensive for families, so couples tend to move to more family-friendly cities in general to raise kids, regardless of their sexual orientation. Add to that the fact that San Antonio has a big military presence (and they repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell before the federal government legalized same-sex marriage last summer, which, according to the article, is a big factor) and the fact that people tend to “come out” later in the southern part of the country and, therefore, are more likely to have children from a first marriage, and there you have it.

- Finally, another Kickstarter project I’m considering backing: a documentary about Dr. Maya Angelou. Can you believe there hasn’t been one yet?

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