National Geographic interviewed geneticist Adam Rutherford, author of A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes. "In many ways, genetics makes a mockery of race," he notes. Read the rest
Corie J Weaver writes to tell us that Dreaming Robot (previously is kickstarting its latest science fiction anthology for kids, The Young Explorer's Adventure Guide, "the fourth collection of science fiction stories for middle grade readers, with a focus on diversity and representation." Read the rest
danah boyd writes, "Yesterday, a group of us at Data & Society put out six essays on 'media, technology, politics.' Taken together, these pieces address different facets of the current public conversation surrounding propaganda, hate speech, and the US election. Although we only allude to specifics, we have been witnessing mis/disinformation campaigns for quite some time as different networks seek to manipulate both old and new media, shape political discourse, and undermine trust in institutions and information intermediaries. In short, we are concerned about the rise of a new form of propaganda that is networked, decentralized, and internet-savvy. We are also concerned about the ongoing development of harassment techniques and gaslighting, the vulnerability of old and new media to propagate fear and disinformation, and the various ways in which well-intended interventions get misappropriated. We believe that we're watching a systematic attack on democracy, equality, and freedom. There is no silver bullet to address the issues we're seeing. Instead, a healthy response is going to require engagement by many different constituencies. We see our role in this as to help inform and ground the conversation. These essays are our first attempt to address the interwoven issues we're seeing. Read the rest
Disney just announced that Doc McStuffins, an animated show starring an African-American girl who fixes broken toys and wants to be a doctor, is renewed for its fifth season. Described as “Cheers for preschoolers,” its fans took to Twitter this summer wanting to know the show’s fate. The social media campaign was led by W. Kamau Bell, a self-described socio-political comedian and dad who hosts CNN’s United Shades of America. Bell tweeted today, "Doc McStuffins is one of the most important shows in the history of television.” Reports Variety:
Since the series debuted in 2012, it has won much admiration, particularly because it is difficult to find a female African-American protagonist who aspires to be a doctor in many mainstream cartoons. A group of African-American female physicians, inspired by the program, formed the Artemis Medical Society, an organization which has a membership of over 4700 women physicians of color from around the world. First Lady Michelle Obama guest-starred as herself in an episode.
“Doc McStuffins” won a Peabody Award in 2015 and NAACP Image Awards in 2015 and 2016 in the “Outstanding Children’s Program” category. Disney says the series averages 16 million views on the Disney Junior app, VOD and Hulu, and reaches 150 million viewers worldwide each quarter, and in the past year was ordered over 20 million times via set-top-box VOD.Read the rest
This month's Mother Jones examines a shocking statistic: "According to the Albert Shanker Institute, which is funded in part by the American Federation of Teachers, the number of black educators has declined sharply in some of the largest urban school districts in the nation. In Philadelphia, the number of black teachers declined by 18.5 percent between 2001 and 2012. In Chicago, the black teacher population dropped by nearly 40 percent. And in New Orleans, there was a 62 percent drop in the number of black teachers." Read the rest
Project Include -- a "group effort to accelerate diversity and inclusion solutions in the tech industry" -- has announced that it will no longer work with the Y Combinator accelerator because of its ties to Peter Thiel, the billionaire Facebook investor who has backed Donald Trump and donated $1.25M to his campaign. Read the rest
Kirkwood, Atlanta, looks like a standard-issue gentrified urban neighborhood, a mix of yuppies and old-timers. Josh Green moved there and found a community ambivalent about the changes in its fortunes. But the story of his neighbor's family illustrates it better than house prices or property tax records ever could.
Read the rest
Last autumn I saw Anita helping her brother and went across the street. She could barely look at the massive two-story Craftsman, purchased by a young surgeon and her husband, that had replaced her childhood home, though Al had tried to console her: It’s just like the grave site, he said. Something died; we buried it. And something new is coming up. Complicating matters, a couple of Anita’s older siblings were so incensed that she didn’t renovate the property and keep it in the family, she told me, they hadn’t spoken to her since Anna’s funeral. But renovations would have been too expensive, and Anna had given her blessing to have the home sold, encouraging Anita to take the proceeds and move back to some quieter place.
Science fiction titan Nalo Hopkinson appears in this week's Geek Guide to the Galaxy podcast, talking about race, diversity, and sf. Read the rest
“A sneezing monkey, a walking fish and a jewel-like snake are just some of a biological treasure trove of over 200 new species discovered in the Eastern Himalayas in recent years,” reports the World Wildlife Foundation today.