pedestrians, coastlines, and navigation

Part 6 of the 6-part series called "Reactions"

Why pedestrian deaths are at a 30-year high, Sea Stachura

Basically, it boils down to two things: we ride in bigger cars and we’re more distracted. Though there are bigger problems as well, notably, the absolute lack of pedestrian-friendly trails around most cities. I wish the article’d talked more about that, because that’s really where we need the solutions.

Louisiana’s disappearing coast, Elizabeth Kolbert

Living in Baton Rouge, I’ve found myself very concerned by the sinking of Louisiana into the sea. This article goes through the history of the state, through the Mississippi river bucking its banks and depositing silt to form new land, to the settlement of that land by Europeans, and those Europeans’ pride that let them think they could control the land. Nowadays, Louisiana loses miles of coast every few weeks. The solutions that are in place, or being proposed, only serve to exacerbate the problem. I think that in a hundred years we might not have a New Orleans at all. And forget about Plaquemines. Baton Rouge might be beachfront property.

Why bother with What Three Words?, Terence Eden

I’ve used What Three Words before, but didn’t realize that the protocol or data wasn’t open. So I’m glad to read this to know that they don’t use open stuff, which is important to me. The only thing is, I haven’t used or thought about W3W in about…5 years? At least. I honestly didn’t even know they were still around and peddling their solution, as it turns out. This is one of those articles where I didn’t realize it was a problem but now I understand and agree with Eden’s points, so I’m like Okay, cool, I won’t use this thing I wasn’t using anyway.

Mnemonic wordlist, Kevin Marquette

I found this article from the comments of the previous one. It’s an interesting problem, to try and find a list of words that are unique enough, global enough, and tame enough that they can work to memorize things or encode data well for basically anyone. This article was a neat write-up of Marquette’s quest to fit the bill. His final list is availabe here.

The Wake is an unlikely hit in an imaginary language, Ari Shapiro

A quick little review on a book coming out next year in America that sounds very interesting to me. It’s about the Norman conquest and this man in England who is part of the counter-conquest, and it’s in a kind of shadow language of Old and New English. So it sounds great. I’m putting it on order today with the library.

No longer the default, male candidates grapple with identity too, Danielle Kurtzleben

Perhaps for the first time in presidential politics, white men are being asked about the degree to which their race and gender inform both their access to the presidency as well as their agendas and perspectives that they’ll bring to presidential politics, said Kelly Dittmar, assistant professor at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. It just has them answering the same questions that women and candidates of color have always been asked.

Honestly, I’m glad if this is the case. Privelege means the benefit of the doubt: Maybe he didn’t mean what it sounds like he did, he’s a nice guy, the thinking implicitly goes, I know he’s got our best interests at heart. It’s far past time to hold men accountable for what they say, for the whole content of what they say.

But because presidential candidates have almost always been men, masculinity has been baked into presidential campaigns. One obvious way that this plays out is when candidates try to out-tough-guy each other.

This makes sense — gender is a performance for everyone. That’s visible even (especially) now, with Donald Trump — as the article points out later, he’s obsessed with his gender performance.

On top of [more women running alongside men], voters are seeing a wide variety of men run. The current Democratic presidential field is composed of black, Latino and Asian-American men, in addition to a gay candidate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.

This makes me hopeful that we’re coming to a point where we’ll be more evenly represented in government. Diverse viewpoints are vital to a functioning society, and diverse viewpoints only come from diverse decision-makers.

Can you be intersectional in your politics? If you can’t, I think the electorate’s done with you, [Aimee Allison, founder of She the People] said.

God, I hope so. I don’t think we’re there yet though. Maybe we’re working that way.