March 5th, 2009


What Social Safety Net?

The economy is melting down, but not all of it is melting at the same rate. One of the hotspots centers on African-American women, destroying much of the wealth they have managed to gather.

Few safety nets for women of color
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 2 (IPS) - As hundreds of activists from around the world descend on the United Nations Monday for a major two-week meeting on women's rights and equality, the economic crisis here in the host country is continuing to have an especially heavy toll on women of colour. African American women were disproportionately impacted by the subprime and housing crisis in the United States that triggered the longer-term global meltdown, and they continue to be marginalised in the ever more precarious U.S. job market.

Nobody works harder than black women, but they are not succeeding very well in this capitalist system. If one thing doesn't drag them down, it's something else. I don't think that's right. And it sure isn't staying "their problem," because the waves of foreclosure are affecting the whole country. Racism was a significant contributor to this mess, it turns out, if you look at the percentages of who got subprime loans. The numbers strongly imply that a lot of people got loans at usurious rates less because of their credit and more because of their color. So you can list this as one of the extremely negative effects of the extremely stupid custom of racism.

Otzi Goes Online!

Those of you who are writers or ancient-history buffs will enjoy this:

Otzi the prehistoric iceman goes online allowing users to virtually tour his body
A Stone Age warrior frozen in an icy tomb for 5,300 years can now be viewed in astonishing detail thanks to a new website. The Iceman photoscan project took 150,000 high definition images of the perfectly preserved mummy from 12 different angles, which the researchers loaded onto the new website. This allows users to zoom into details that are just millimetres wide from the comfort of their living room. They can also view the mummy in 3D and see its distinctive tattoos in both white and UV light.

I love the way people are using the web more and more to make scientific data available to everyone. The noosphere expands!

Half a Loaf Is Better Than None

I saw this article today about civil unions in Illinois:

Civil Unions Bill Advances In Illinois
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A bill giving gay couples the right to form civil unions in Illinois squeaked through a legislative committee Wednesday.

The measure would not legalize same-sex marriages, but it would grant gay couples many of the benefits of marriage. They would have the right to visit their partners in hospitals, make medical decisions and more.