solnit

Rebecca Solnit on Jeffrey Epstein: "In patriarchy, no one can hear you scream"

In a characteristically brilliant essay, historian, activist and writer Rebecca Solnit connects the dots between the sexual abuses of Jeffrey Epstein, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Brett Kavanaugh, Harvey Weinstein, and the unnamed 16-year-old boy whose admitted rape was excused because the judge said that This young man comes from a good family who put him into an excellent school where he was doing extremely well: in each case, there was an elaborate scheme to silence and discredit the survivors of sexual violence, abetted by networks of (mostly) men who treat the disclosure of sexual assaults as a worse offense than committing the assaults themselves. Read the rest

San Francisco: Kronos Quartet's Kronos Festival 2019, May 30 - June 1

San Francisco: It's time again for the always-outstanding annual Kronos Festival, several days of fantastic global and experimental music curated by the seminal avant/classical/global Kronos Quartet. Every Kronos Festival I've attended has turned me on to a spectrum of new sounds, artists, scenes, and regions. From KQED:

At SFJAZZ on June 1, singer-composer Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté of Malian group Trio Da Kali performs her new Fifty for the Future piece inspired by tegere tulon, the impromptu hand-clapping songs and dances Malian girls create in the countryside. Ethnomusicologist Lucy Duran, who specializes in African music, will give a pre-show talk contextualizing Diabaté's performance.

On May 30, the quartet will also premiere a Fifty for the Future piece by Stanford professor Mark Applebaum, whose playful compositions have been known to include junk-as-instruments, non-musical players such as florists and even a piece for three conductors and no musicians. Plus, there's a new work Fifty for the Future work by Missy Mazzoli, a boundary-pushing rising star of the classical world and the Chicago Symphony's current composer-in-residence.

Also on May 30, Kronos Quartet pays homage to the work of left-wing historian Howard Zinn. Ethio-jazz singer-songwriter Meklit, cultural critic Rebecca Solnit, folk musician Lee Knight and poet/actor Michael Wayne Turner III will accompany the musicians with readings from works by Zinn and Martin Luther King, Jr. (Zinn's A People's History of the United States highlights how abolitionists, labor organizers, feminists, civil rights leaders and other dissenters shaped American history.) Meklit performs with Kronos once again on June 1.

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2008 was the earliest use of the word "mansplain"

Rebecca Solnit's 2008 essay "Men who explain things" popularized the concept and the general awareness of this gentlemanly practice, but the word itself was not used therein. Instead, "Mansplain" was apparently first uttered on Livejournal a few weeks later by phosfate, a now-vanished psuedonymous user. This is revealed in Merriam-Webster's new official definition, crediting Know your Meme for the discovery. [via Kottke]

The splain of mansplain isn't new. It's been used to mean "explain" in texts showing informal speech or—as when Ricky Ricardo admonished his beloved in I Love Lucy—in imperfect English for at least a century. Since the advent and consequent blossoming of mansplain, splain has been attached to other morphemes to create words modeled on mansplain. Mother Jones put the word leftsplaining into the headline of an article by none other than Rebecca Solnit (about how people on the political left should stop expounding on the failings of lefties to fellow lefties). A politician under the mistaken impression that potlucks are a unique Iowa tradition was accused of potluck-splaining when he tried to illuminate non-Iowans on how the communal meals work.

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How to write pulp fiction that celebrates humanity's essential goodness

My latest Locus column is "Be the First One to Not Do Something that No One Else Has Ever Not Thought of Doing Before," and it's about science fiction's addiction to certain harmful fallacies, like the idea that you can sideline the actual capabilities and constraints of computers in order to advance the plot of a thriller. Read the rest

Rebecca Solnit on how Trump's quest for more adulation made him "the most mocked man in the world"

It's early days in the Trump trainwreck, but Rebecca Solnit's astonishing, beautiful, visceral essay "The Loneliness of Donald Trump" may well end up being the defining moment of the Trump presidency, in which Solnit uses the incisive wit that gave us the term "mansplaining" to explain Trump. Read the rest

How we got rid of silverfish

For years we've had silverfish darting around our guest bathroom. I bought some silverfish traps (little cardboard boxes with sticky goo to ensnare them) and they helped, but didn't stop them.

A few weeks ago I read that lavender oil is a good silverfish repellent. It's only $5.59 for a small bottle on Amazon, so I decided to give it a try. I wetted the end of a Q-Tip with the oil and ran it around the perimeter of the bathroom floor, adding a little extra to a seam between the floor and the wall. It smelled nice and we have not seen a single silverfish since. I'm going to wait and see how long it takes for them to come back, and then create a maintenance schedule.

Image: ACC1/Flickr Read the rest

How to make a simple pipe mousetrap

Chris Notap likes to make humane mousetraps. He's a recreational trapper, I guess. This is the fifth one in his series of homemade traps.

Another of my best and easiest homemade humane mouse traps! The 5th in a series! Easy to build, easy to bait, easy to release and best of all, it's humane and there's no springs or levers to wind up or load! The mouse or vole cannot escape or chew his way out of this mouse trap. Mice are not harmed in any way during capture. As a matter of fact, the mouse or vole remains very calm since there is no snapping latches to scare him! Mice can be released calmly and easily without fear of getting bitten even by the most "fearful of mice" person!! Simple operation makes this diy homemade vole mouse trap fun and easy to build and adjust for easy trapping and best of all easy release. Just use a dab of peanut butter to bait the trap. It's the best do it yourself homemade humane live release vole mouse trap you'll find! A few common items is all you'll need. I'll be building a humane squirrel trap next so you can capture and release squirrels easily too so subscribe and don't miss my upcoming "diy humane squirrel trap". Thanks for watching. I also have a "diy humane rat trap" coming soon too!

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California townspeople initiated a citizen’s arrest of obnoxious "air horn guy"

For the last six weeks, residents of El Segundo, California have been startled from sleep in the early hours of the morning by the ear-splitting blast of an air horn. On Sunday morning at 4 am, police officers caught the gentleman who was blowing the horn. His name is John W. Nuggent and he admitted doing it because he wanted to annoy a specific person.

From The El Segundo Police Department Facebook page:

On November 13, 2016 at around 4:00 AM, El Segundo Officers heard an extremely loud air-horn being actuated (similar to a train horn) on the west side of town. There have been numerous reports of similar occurrences over the past several weeks involving a blue 4-door compact vehicle driven by a male white adult (see attached picture captured from a residential surveillance video).

Shortly after hearing the loud horn, El Segundo Officers initiated a traffic-stop in the area of Grand Avenue and Main Street on a 4-door blue 2006 Chevrolet Aveo. The vehicle was driven by John W. Nuggent and officers found air-horn equipment inside his vehicle.

Several El Segundo residents, who were alleged victims of the air horn noise, responded to the scene and initiated a citizen’s arrest on Nuggent. He was subsequently transported to El Segundo jail for booking and his vehicle was impounded.

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Rebecca Solnit's open letter to Trump: You should really visit New York some time

Rebecca Solnit (previously), one of my favorite writers, has published an open letter to Donald Trump, "New York City Is a Book Conservatives Should Read," which celebrates the city's teeming, messy, multicultural vigor -- something she delves into deeply with Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas, a book about the "innumerable unbound experiences of New York City [with] twenty-six imaginative maps and informative essays" (just ordered mine). Read the rest

Homemade wasp killing machine

This fellow cobbled together an AC motor and some weed-eater filament, and attached it to a long pole. He then used it to get rid of a bunch of wasps that had taken residence near the top of his house. Those clunking sounds are from wasps flying into the spinning filament.

And here's a guy who set up a shop-vac and sucked out hundreds of yellowjackets living inside the walls of his house:

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Politicians aren't all the same, even if they all do terrible things

In "A Letter to My Allies on the Left," Rebecca Solnit -- one of my literary and political heroes -- asks the left to give up the practice of reflexively dismissing the good that politicians do, because those politicians also do terrible things. Read the rest

Rich people don't move when their taxes go up

In Millionaire Migration and the Taxation of the Elite: Evidence from Administrative Data, Stanford sociologist Cristobal Young builds on his substantial research on "millionaire migration," to show that only a small minority of millionaires move when local taxes go up -- far too few to represent a net loss to the tax coffers. Read the rest

Revealed: the amazing cover for Walkaway, my first adult novel since 2009

Next April, Tor Books will publish Walkaway, the first novel I've written specifically for adults since 2009; it's scheduled to be their lead title for the season and they've hired the brilliant designer Will Staehle (Yiddish Policeman's Union, Darker Shade of Magic) for the cover, which Tor has just revealed. Read the rest

Chelsea Clinton's husband shuts down vulture fund after losing 90% of his investors' money

Chelsea Clinton's husband Marc Mezvinsky is a Goldman Sachs alumnus; in 2014, he founded Hellenic Opportunity, a hedge fund that raised $25M to bet on distressed assets from Greece's collapsed economy, wagering that the country's investors would force it to make deeper cuts to finance payments on the debts. Read the rest

A cashless society as a tool for censorship and social control

The Atlantic had the excellent idea of commissioning Sarah Jeong, one of the most astute technology commentators on the Internet (previously), to write a series of articles about the social implications of technological change: first up is an excellent, thoughtful, thorough story on the ways that the "cashless society" is being designed to force all transactions through a small number of bottlenecks that states can use to control behavior and censor unpopular political views. Read the rest

As criminal justice reform looms, private prison companies get into immigration detention, halfway houses, electronic monitoring, mental health

Nixon's War on Drugs, Reagan's three strikes rules, and Clinton's "superpredator" crime bill turned America into history's greatest imprisoner, a carceral state where a racially biased justice system was made worse with every passing day, thanks to the campaign contributions and lobbying by the private prison industry, led by Corrections Corporation of America. Read the rest

After we make peace with robots doing all the work, will our lives have meaning?

Philosopher John Danaher's new paper "Will life be worth living in a world without work? Technological Unemployment and the Meaning of Life" assumes that after the robots take all our jobs, and after the economic justice of figuring out how to share the productivity games can be equitably shared among the robot-owning investor class and the robot-displaced 99%, there will still be a burning question: what will give our life meaning? Read the rest

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