Weekly Reader: Vol 3 Issue 33

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.

Panda Express staff forced to strip at team-building seminar that seemed like a ‘cult initiation ritual,’ lawsuit says (from the Washington Post): “The cashier, whom The Post is not naming as a victim of alleged sexual assault, was less than three years into her job at a Panda Express location in Santa Clarita, Calif., when she learned about the training run by Alive Seminars, the lawsuit said. Her manager told her that she would be considered for a promotion at the fast-food chain only if she signed up for the class.

So she did, using her own free time to attend the seminar and borrowing hundreds of dollars from relatives to pay for the training out of her own pocket, Ramirez told The Post. At the time, she earned an hourly wage of $11.35.

But on the first day of this session — which had been exclusively attended by Panda Express employees — she allegedly found herself stripped of her cellphone, trapped in a room with blacked-out windows, and loudly berated by a seminar leader who told her and others that they amount to “nothing.””

This little-known Native American society was once as powerful as the Aztecs and Incas (from National Geographic): “Located on the Oklahoma and Arkansas border, the Spiro Mounds were part of a city complex populated from 800 to 1450 A.D. At its peak, it supported a population of some 10,000 people. The Mississippian political, trade, and religious confederation incorporated more than 60 different tribes and stretched from the Gulf Coast of Florida to the Great Lakes and from the Rockies to the Virginia coast.”

Some children’s hospitals see a surge in rare Covid-19 complication MIS-C (from CNN): “Katharine Dunn got really worried about her son Nolan even as his doctors told her she shouldn’t — the 13-year-old’s fever was “just a virus.”

He didn’t have a sore throat or cough. His Covid-19 tests came back negative, twice.

Then what had been a low-grade fever crept up to 104.4.”

Bird-Friendly Coffees Really Are For The Birds (from Forbes): “Today, most coffee sold is sun-grown under little or no shade because sun makes coffee bushes grow faster and produce more coffee. This loss of tropical forest biodiversity to a row monoculture harms resident rainforest birds along with their migratory cousins so they all are disappearing along with their rainforest homes. This simple connection between habitat loss, pesticides and fertilizer pollution to intensive coffee farming methods was the impetus for Smithsonian conservation scientists to create the strictest agricultural certification criteria for coffee: their Bird-Friendly certification requires that coffee is organic and that it meets strict requirements for both mature canopy cover and the type of forest in which the coffee is grown. Bird-Friendly coffees are guaranteed to support bird habitat, in addition to fair and stable prices for coffee producers, healthy environments for local communities, and equal access to markets for Bird-Friendly coffee producers.

Growing support for certified Bird-Friendly coffee is starting to make a difference: Today, more than 37,000 acres of certified Bird-Friendly coffee farms in 11 countries produce 34 million pounds of coffee.”

The pandemic forced a massive remote-work experiment. Now comes the hard part (from CNN): “No matter what the approach, workers and employers can expect to hit a few bumps in the road as they navigate the next phase of this grand work experiment.

“Many companies succeeded working remotely in 2020 largely because everyone was doing it — there was no built-in preference for office workers or stigma against remote workers,” said Andrew Hewitt, senior analyst at market research firm Forrester. “Hybrid is going to make managing this difference harder.””

Climate Activist Spends 589 Days And Counting Picking Up Litter In Calif. Park (from NPR): “After spending 589 consecutive days picking up litter at one of Los Angeles County’s most popular hiking spots, 20-year-old Edgar McGregor says the park is clean of municipal waste. But his job is far from over.

The climate activist, who says he has autism, made the trip to Eaton Canyon — part of the Angeles National Forest in southern California — throughout the pandemic and in extreme weather, picking up litter left behind by visitors and posting his progress on social media.

He announced on Friday that there was no more trash to be found, but that he plans to return several times a week for maintenance while also turning his attention to new parks.”

Climate Change Will Accelerate Earth’s Sixth Mass Extinction (from Smithsonian Magazine): “Finnegan’s group used the fossil histories of six groups of marine animals—bivalves, gastropods, sea urchins, sharks, mammals and stony corals—to determine which kinds of animals were inherently more likely to disappear, or the intrinsic risk of extinction. Similar groups of species tend to have similar patterns of extinction, Finnegan notes, which makes fossil studies such as this one possible. They team also analyzed the geographic locations where such extinctions were more likely to occur.

The researchers then overlaid their map of intrinsic extinctions with data on today’s human impacts and climate change to determine probable hotspots of species loss. They found that coastal species will be especially at risk near the tropics, including the Indo-Pacific, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.”

What crocodile mummies can tell us about everyday life in ancient Egypt (from Berkeley News): “Lucarelli says the mummies were likely used as votive offerings to the crocodile gods, given as a way to gain good favor with the giant, deadly reptiles.

The main crocodile god was called Sobek, but there were many crocodile deities in antiquity. In Tebtunis, there was a temple to Sobek marking the center of town.”

A 300-Year-Old Tale Of One Woman’s Quest To Stop A Deadly Virus (from NPR): “What these women knew was this: Take a bit of pus from a smallpox patient and use a needle to scratch a tiny amount just beneath the skin so it gets into the blood of a healthy person. That person would get a mild form of smallpox and become immune to the more serious version.

Yerlioglu says the practice is strikingly absent from Ottoman medical texts written by men, but accounts that do survive make clear that it was a well-known practice. “Women were sharing this knowledge, this know-how, among themselves,” he says.

The technique was known as engrafting, variolation or, simply, inoculation. It is thought to have originated in China centuries earlier, and it was also practiced in India and Africa.”

Stop Trying to Out-Science Transphobes (from Slate): “Science isn’t going to win this one. When the argument turns to strangers trying to affirm or deny my identity on the basis of biological particulars, I head for the hills like the dinosaurs in Fantasia running from the T. rex. That’s because trans rights are not a scientific issue. They are a human rights issue. There is certainly a lot we could say—and that I would honestly love to know!—about human sexual variation, the effects of hormone replacement therapy, why hoped-for bodily changes are so emotionally fulfilling, and more. Some of these things might be wonderful topics for biology classes; imagine if every high schooler in America were educated to understand that human sex itself comes with a lot of variation. (Thinking back to my younger, closeted self, that would have helped!) But, in terms of deciding how I, as a trans person, am going to move through the world, all the information about hormones and biology affects three people, at most: my doctor, my partner, and myself. That’s all.”

‘Trapped’: Women Working as Fishery Observers Allege Sex Harassment, Assault at Sea (from Vice): “Four women, including Kim, who worked on the front lines of fisheries monitoring in Canada, say they were dropped into a hellish grind of sexual harassment, assault, intimidation, threats, and horrifying animal abuse while they watched helplessly. In one case VICE World News has learned of, a woman was raped at the hands of a crew member while docked far from home, unable to leave the boat.

Two of the former observers spoke with VICE World News on the condition they not be named, out of fear of their former colleagues and bosses.

Three of the women said the private company that put them there, Archipelago Marine Research, failed to protect them. The company said in a written response to VICE World News that it does not take such reports lightly.”

That’s all for today. But I’ll be back next week with more news and views that you’ll want to peruse. So until then, have a great rest of your week, stay safe and 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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