Quickies

Quickies: Poor Women Priced Out of Contraception, Passive Racism, and the Emotional Cost of Being Feminist in Public

  • VA Refuses to Recognize Veteran’s Wife and Child – “The Department of Veterans Affairs has ordered an Iraq war veteran to pay back federal benefits she earned for her wife and child, claiming that she was issued them by mistake, since her home state of Texas does not recognize her marriage.”
  • Google wants to rank websites based on facts not links – “The software works by tapping into the Knowledge Vault, the vast store of facts that Google has pulled off the internet. Facts the web unanimously agrees on are considered a reasonable proxy for truth. Web pages that contain contradictory information are bumped down the rankings.”
  • Poor Women Have The Highest Rates Of Unintended Pregnancy And The Lowest Rates Of Abortion – “According to the paper, women living in poverty are five times more likely than more affluent women to experience an unplanned birth. The researchers note that ‘since unintended childbearing is associated with higher rates of poverty, less family stability, and worse outcomes for children, these gaps further entrench inequality.’ “
  • Complicit in racism; Whites are unwittingly enabling police brutality and misconduct – “Is white racism a kind of toxic cloud that drifts over our country, invisible to many or most white-skinned citizens but terrifyingly visible to the black and brown-skinned? We may believe — with good reason — that we are not racists; but does our passivity or indifference to the racism of others make us their enablers? It is stunning to learn that hundreds of millions of dollars are paid out annually in court settlements to victims of police brutality or misconduct — and these millions are paid by taxpayers. In effect, unwittingly, yet not altogether innocently, we are all supporting police brutality and misconduct.” (The article is by Joyce Carol Oates.) From Buzz Parsec.
  • Cop-Bashing, Gay-Hating Westboro Church Begged Feds for Protection – “Fred Phelps, the world’s loathsome preacher, loved to talk smack about cops—until he needed them to keep him safe.”
  • A Toxic Stew: Risks To Women Of Public Feminism – “It’s bad enough that tired old stereotypes about feminism still circulate. The fact is that feminism aims for equality of all women with men; as a social-justice movement, it’s not about man-hating or man-blaming. The perpetuation of those misrepresentations — or being called ‘an angry female’ and ‘a humorless feminist’ as I have experienced in the comments section when writing here at NPR — is tiresome.”

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Mary

Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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3 Comments

  1. Mary,

    If google can actually rank websites based on facts, instead of popularity it will be a good thing. It will be a huge boost to facted based science, and history websites, and a strike agianst psuidosceince cranks, and far right loons.

    1. Agreed, but I’m skeptical that this is feasible using only neutral data-mining algorithms. The proposed method, by looking for “facts” as defined by things which have unanimous agreement, seems like it would be as likely to identify as “non-fact”, e.g., actual climate science as it would the ravings of climate change denialists, because both have a high degree of non-unanimity. (Ununanimity? Animity?) At the end of the day I think you are still going to need an intelligent reasoner capable of evaluating claims on the basis of their evidence and reasoning to reliably separate fact from error or nonsense — I don’t think simply “polling the crowd” will work. But I’d be very interested to discover I’m wrong!

  2. He’s a guy with a history of running scams out of his church. He became a civil rights lawyer.

    Then he started touring the country with his extended family full time with “protests.” He does not advocate for any policy. He does not encourage people to not be gay anymore. His position is the most offensive position possible, and he expresses it to people when they are least able to control their tempers. And he does so without ever explicitly making personal attacks. Seriously, try to get one of them to tell you you’re going to hell. They’ll imply the heck out of it, but they won’t explicitly direct it at you.

    Their law firm and their protests are their family business. Maybe they also believe the shit they say. I don’t really care. As long as we continue to identify them as a church and not a family of lawyers that have a strong financial incentive to piss people off they’ll continue to make money doing this and they’ll keep showing up at funerals.

    I’d hoped this would have ended when Fred Phelps died. But it looks like it’s up to us to make it stop. Please, please, please stop supporting the WBC!

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