Quickies: Caterpillars and Wasabi, Whitesplaining About Slavery, and Erotica on E-readers
- Just a Couple of Reminders What Life Was Like Before Vaccines – Polio insurance plans used to exist. Just consider that. Followup: a list of celebrities who don’t know anything about science.
- Why You Should Thank A Caterpillar For Your Mustard And Wasabi – “Turns out, the flavors of these condiments are the result of millions of years of plants and caterpillars duking it out to survive. In a paper published this month in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a group of scientists explore how exactly caterpillars drove plants to make chemicals that humans find tasty.” Thanks, caterpillars!
- I used to lead tours at a plantation. You won’t believe the questions I got about slavery. – “Still, I’d often meet visitors who had earnest but deep misunderstandings about the nature of American slavery. These folks were usually, but not always, a little older, and almost invariably white. I was often asked if the slaves there got paid, or (less often) whether they had signed up to work there. You could tell from the questions — and, not less importantly, from the body language — that the people asking were genuinely ignorant of this part of the country’s history.”
- The U.S. Now Has A ‘Girls Count’ Law. But Don’t Boys Count, Too? – In short, not having proper birth documentation disadvantages girls more than boys later in life, and by focusing on the girls, the boys will benefit too (whereas focusing only on boys might not have the same effect for girls).
- Change Doesn’t Usually Come This Fast – “So why has gay marriage been different? Some of it is generational; older voters have gradually been replaced in the electorate by younger ones who are more likely to support gay marriage. However, many people have also changed their minds.” Nate Silver on the support for same sex marriage.
- How 4 Gay Black Women Fought Back Against Sexual Harassment — And Landed In Jail – An interview with the New Jersey 4 and talk of their upcoming documentary.
- Gay vampires and bisexual cowboys: why erotica has e-readers to thank – “Fifteen years ago, Tina Engler started writing books about sex. She was rejected by every publisher she submitted to. They all echoed the same refrain: women don’t want to read about sex.”