Weekly Reader: Vol 3 Issue 32

It’s time once again for news and views that you can peruse. It’s time once again for your regularly scheduled Weekly Reader! Got some hot links, blog posts, or articles from a local paper you’d like to share? Head over to the comments and let us know.

Popular flea collar linked to almost 1,700 pet deaths. The EPA has issued no warning. (from USA Today): “The EPA is in charge of regulating products that contain pesticides. The agency has known about these incidents for years but has not informed the public of the potential risks associated with this product, said Karen McCormack, a retired EPA employee who worked as both a scientist and communications officer.

McCormack said the collars have the most incidents of any pesticide pet product she’s ever seen.”

How Pro-Trump Forces Pushed a Lie About Antifa at the Capitol Riot (from the New York Times): “What happened over the next 12 hours illustrated the speed and the scale of a right-wing disinformation machine primed to seize on a lie that served its political interests and quickly spread it as truth to a receptive audience. The weekslong fiction about a stolen election that President Donald J. Trump pushed to his millions of supporters had set the stage for a new and equally false iteration: that left-wing agitators were responsible for the attack on the Capitol.

In fact, the rioters breaking into the citadel of American democracy that day were acolytes of Mr. Trump, intent on stopping Congress from certifying his electoral defeat. Subsequent arrests and investigations have found no evidence that people who identify with antifa, a loose collective of antifascist activists, were involved in the insurrection.”

Mad About Call-out Culture?: Stop Centering White Cultural Norms & Feelings (from Medium): “t is false to assume that the Call-out Cavalier’s, (I just coined the term,) primary focus is reforming the aggressor. We have all seen how this plays out as if they are reading a script from Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility”. No amount of hiding that “Your actions were racist” pill, in a spoon full of sugar, ever works to make that medicine go down, if the person is not truly ready to listen. The assailant is often way too caught up in their emotions, defensiveness and myopic definition of racism, so regardless of the approach, you are not able to get them to admit any level of wrong doing.”

America’s First Black Physician Sought to Heal a Nation’s Persistent Illness (from Smithsonian Magazine): “James McCune Smith was not just any physician. He was the first African American to earn a medical degree, educated at the University of Glasgow in the 1830s, when no American university would admit him. For this groundbreaking achievement alone, Smith warrants greater appreciation.

But Smith was also one of the nation’s leading abolitionists. In 1859, Frederick Douglass declared, “No man in this country more thoroughly understands the whole struggle between freedom and slavery than does Dr. Smith, and his heart is as broad as his understanding.” A prolific writer, Smith was not only the first African American to publish peer-reviewed articles in medical journals; he also wrote essays and gave lectures refuting pseudoscientific claims of black inferiority and forecast the transformational impact African Americans were destined to make on world culture.”

Before Plymouth Colony and the Pilgrims, There Was Patuxet (from Atlas Obscura): “More than 400 years ago, the coastal community of Patuxet was one of dozens belonging to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, spread across much of what’s now New England.

The Wampanoag called the region home for more than 12,000 years, but most history books have reduced them to a footnote. Today, schoolchildren typically learn only that the tribe helped the Pilgrims survive their first year at Plymouth, established where Patuxet once stood. To show their gratitude, the European arrivals invited the Native Americans to a meal, with Patuxet-born Wampanoag Tisquantum (Squanto), who happened to speak English, serving as translator. Missing entirely from the familiar history, however, are critical details, such as how Tisquantum learned English, and why Patuxet was abandoned before the Pilgrims arrived.”

The Pitfalls and Promise of America’s Founding Myths (from Smithsonian Magazine): “Maintaining a shared sense of nationhood has always been a special challenge for the United States, arguably the world’s first civic nation, defined not by organic ties, but by a shared commitment to a set of ideals. The U.S. came into being not as a nation, but as a contractual agreement, a means to an end for 13 disparate rebel colonies facing a common enemy. Its people lacked a shared history, religion, or ethnicity. They didn’t speak a language uniquely their own. Most hadn’t occupied the continent long enough to imagine it as their mythic homeland. They had no shared story of who they were and what their purpose was. In short, they had none of the foundations of a nation-state.”

A Canard That Will Not Die: ‘Legitimate Rape’ Doesn’t Cause Pregnancy (from The Atlantic): “The thing is, his comments were hardly some kind never-before-heard gaffe. Arguments like his have cropped up again and again on the right over the past quarter century and the idea that trauma is a form of birth control continues to be promulgated by anti-abortion forces that seek to outlaw all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest. The push for a no-exceptions anti-abortion policy has for decades gone hand in hand with efforts to downplay the frequency with which rape- or incest-related pregnancies occur, and even to deny that they happen, at all. In other words, it’s not just Akin singing this tune.”

If I Get Sick With COVID-19, Don’t Tell My Doctor I’m Transgender (from Slate): “For the most part, my experience has been one of inconvenience rather than danger. But what if I was in a crowded ER filled with dying patients and an overworked, traumatized staff? In an emergency, you want to feel as though your medical team will do everything they can to save your life. I don’t have that confidence, because I’ve experienced doctors not treating me equally when my life wasn’t at stake. I know there may be nagging doubts and biases about my gender identity in the back of my doctor’s head. These might mean they spend less of their limited time on my case, or waste time being distracted by irrelevancies about my transition history. At the extreme end, they might send me home out of antipathy or prioritize a more appealing cisgender patient for extraordinary measures such as a ventilator. That’s why, if I fall ill with COVID-19, I won’t volunteer the information that I’m trans. Why risk even a slight possibility that someone might see me as less valuable than the patient in the next bed?”

The yoga world is riddled with anti-vaxxers and QAnon believers (from Wired): “The same conspiracy theories I was tracking at work began appearing in my personal Facebook and Instagram feeds, shared by accounts I followed, by influencers suggested to me, and sometimes by acquaintances.

The researcher in me became curious – I started digging. Instagram and Facebook’s algorithms took me to new corners of the yoga, wellness and holistic health world. In the early days of lockdown, I saw posts about how juices, miracle cures and turmeric could boost my immunity and ward off the virus. As the pandemic intensified, disinformation became darker, from anti-vaxx content and Covid denialism to calls to ‘question established truths’ and wilder conspiracy theories.”

New ‘Rainbow’ Dinosaur May Have Sparkled Like a
(from National Geographic): “A new dinosaur discovered in China had feathers that may have glittered with the colors of the rainbow. Based on its stunningly preserved remains, scientists say the dinosaur’s head and chest seem to have been covered with iridescent feathers akin to those on modern hummingbirds.

The flashy display may have provided a social or sexual cue, like modern peacock tails. The dinosaur also has a bird-like body, including the sorts of feathers required for flight, but it has a crested head that more closely resembles that of a the Velociraptor.”

That’s all for today. But don’t fret. I’ll be back next week with more articles for you to read. Until then, happy reading!

About Silverwynde

I'm a Transformers fan, Pokémon player, Brewers fan and all-out general nerd. I rescue abandoned Golett, collect as many Bumblebee decoys and figures as I can find and I've attended every BotCon--official and non--since 1999. I'm also happily married to a fellow Transfan named Prime and we were both owned by a very intelligent half-Siamese cat, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge on June 16, 2018. We still miss him. But we're now the acting staff of a Maine Coon kitty named Lulu, who pretty much rules the house. Not that we're complaining about that.
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