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We’re Not Ready for Mars
Even the language and rhetoric of the latest space wave, which Musk is happily at the helm of, is the same. Colonizing. Taking over a “dead” world. Bringing our wonderful gifts of technology and culture to some godforsaken place. The saving of a race, the saving of an entire world, the nationalistic pride, the promise of an unfettered new land, the promise of bounty, the extraction of new resources. I am sorry, this leads nowhere good, and the reason is that there is no spirituality involved. If we enter space without a spiritual reckoning for what we’ve done to the Earth, we will kill space just as we are killing Earth. In fact, our contamination of space is well on its way.
4 days ago by rosscatrow
Boys Aren't Taught To Care About Girls' Suffering
Perhaps some #MeToo’d men and their defenders also believe that their alleged crimes were minor too, if they were crimes at all. At least, they were too minor to warrant anything so severe as an admission of guilt, or an apology, or a proposed commitment to self-betterment — let alone professional or criminal consequences. They’ve pitted their pain from being accused directly against the pain of the women accusing them, and it’s clear whose pain we’re expected to care about more. “I feel sorry for a lot of these men,” wrote Michelle Goldberg in the New York Times, “but I don’t think they feel sorry for women, or think about women’s experience much at all.” Put another way, by writer Heather Havrilesky: “[C]ruel men believe they deserve redemption and eventual exaltation simply because they've suffered. Imagine if women believed that. Imagine if a woman's suffering were even a passing concern.”
5 days ago by rosscatrow
No, I Will Not Debate You
People rarely change their minds in the course of formal public debate. Not the people on stage, and very few of those in the audience. Years of robust debate in my capacity as a commentator and journalist have taught me that you don’t change minds simply by pointing out where someone is wrong. As a dear friend once told me, trying to bring someone over to your side by publicly demonstrating that their ideas are bad and that they should feel bad is like trying to teach a goat how to dance: the goat will not learn to dance, and you will make him angry. The ways people actually change their minds is by reading the mood of those around them and then going away and thinking about it, by being given permission to think what they were already thinking, or by being shamed into realizing how ignoble their assumptions always were.
5 days ago by rosscatrow
The Resegregation of Jefferson County
By the 1970s, white communities changed tactics, this time claiming that they wanted to secede not because they were fighting integration, but because they wanted “local control.” This race-neutral language championed the pursuit of individual rights and, importantly, freedom of association, which provided cover for their efforts to preserve the whiteness of their schools. Local control “was, in a sense, the individualized equivalent of arguing that the Civil War had been fought over states’ rights and not slavery,” Joseph Bagley, a professor at Georgia State University, wrote in a dissertation about the Jefferson County school district. After all, school systems lost local control in the first place because they refused to integrate schools, forcing the courts to usurp their authority and dictate school attendance zones, assignment policy and teacher placement from the federal bench. This form of opposition “became all the more powerful,” Bagley wrote, “by denying its roots.”
6 days ago by rosscatrow
How to Run an Empathy & User Journey Mapping Workshop
This article will teach you two popular design workshop techniques: empathy mapping and user journey mapping. Empathy mapping is a way to characterise your target users in order to make effective design decisions.
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6 days ago by lumengxi
The volunteers facing jail for rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean. A multimedia by journalist and fil…
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11 days ago by jonhew
Suicide hotlines really do save lives. I know because one saved mine
Eventually, I turned it off, all of the obituaries, tweets, and pieces about mental health. But there are some channels that can’t be shut down easily, and it ate at me: not why these two individuals died in this way, which is unknowable, but why anyone does, and what invisible hand pushes some people in crisis closer to the precipice and holds others back.

I thought about what a selfish, abusive parasite depression is. I thought about the ghastly pain that deaths by suicide leave behind.

Most of all I thought about that hotline number offered up in the wake of suicides. I thought about why, for some people, a stranger’s disembodied voice cuts through the internal din of depression in a way that the voices of their most beloved friends and family cannot. I wondered why this phone number saves people, and I marveled at how lucky I was that it once saved me.
12 days ago by rosscatrow
CityLab University: Induced Demand
With 26 lanes at its widest point, the Katy Freeway in the Houston metro is the Mississippi River of car infrastructure. Its current girth, which by some measures makes it the widest freeway in North America, was the result of an expansion project that took place between 2008 and 2011 at a cost of $2.8 billion. The primary reason for this mega-project was to alleviate severe traffic congestion.

And yet, after the freeway was widened, congestion got worse. An analysis by Joe Cortright of City Observatory used data from Houston’s official traffic monitoring agency to find that travel times increased by 30 percent during the morning commute and 55 percent during the evening commute between 2011 and 2014. A local TV station found similar increases.

The Sisyphean saga of the Katy Freeway is a textbook example of a counterintuitive urban transportation phenomenon that has vexed drivers, planners, and politicians since the dawn of the automobile age: induced demand.
15 days ago by rosscatrow
Covering poverty: What to avoid and how to get it right
Together, Bryant and Ordway created this tip sheet to get journalists to think more deeply about how they select and cover stories, who their audience is and how current journalistic practices can limit lower-income individuals’ ability to access the news.

“Most news coverage isn’t created with people experiencing poverty in mind — as part of the audience,” Bryant says. “Impoverished people are often separated from other subject groups that are affected by policies and participation in civic and community life.”

She adds: “When people in economic hardship are included, their socioeconomic status is typically the reason for their inclusion and the central framing of their identity or it’s used inaccurately as a shorthand for things including race, geography, education level or employment status. And finally, the depiction of people experiencing poverty is problematic in ways that are often exploitive, dehumanizing or insulting.”
18 days ago by rosscatrow
Why Did America Give Up on Mass Transit? (Don't Blame Cars.)
What happened? Over the past hundred years the clearest cause is this: Transit providers in the U.S. have continually cut basic local service in a vain effort to improve their finances. But they only succeeded in driving riders and revenue away. When the transit service that cities provide is not attractive, the demand from passengers that might “justify” its improvement will never materialize.

Here’s how this has played out, era by era. A forthcoming companion article will look at how differently things unfolded in other parts of the world—watch this space for a link.
18 days ago by rosscatrow
I’m teaching email security to Democratic campaigns. It’s as bad as 2016.
1492 • Someone — the government or Silicon Valley — needs to step in to help. For the past eight months, I’ve been traveling the country in a sometimes quixotic attempt to train congressional campaigns about email security.
19 days ago by rosscatrow
Why Technology Favors Tyranny
More practically, and more immediately, if we want to prevent the concentration of all wealth and power in the hands of a small elite, we must regulate the ownership of data. In ancient times, land was the most important asset, so politics was a struggle to control land. In the modern era, machines and factories became more important than land, so political struggles focused on controlling these vital means of production. In the 21st century, data will eclipse both land and machinery as the most important asset, so politics will be a struggle to control data’s flow.

Unfortunately, we don’t have much experience in regulating the ownership of data, which is inherently a far more difficult task than regulating land or machines. Data are everywhere and nowhere at the same time, they can move at the speed of light, and you can create as many copies of them as you want. Do the data collected about my DNA, my brain, and my life belong to me, or to the government, or to a corporation, or to the human collective?
21 days ago by rosscatrow

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