Grand juries, non-binary gender, giraffes

A Letter

In an extended response to Kathy Sierra’s departure from Twitter, Adria Richards outlines her own experience when the hate mob went after her. Notable to both Richards’ and Sierra’s stories is the fact that far from being random, the assaults against them were organized and focused towards several ends: instilling fear, of course, but also spreading misinformation designed to damage the victim’s reputation. Which suggests that one way we can defend against these now all-too-common attacks is to vigorously support the women who are subject to them by championing their work.

NPR reports on when the tech industry was dominated by women. Women computer science majors dropped from a high of 40% in the 80s to just around 17% now. Once again, the pipeline isn’t the problem.

Meredith Graves writes in Pitchfork about the language of male violence and our tendency to excuse much of that language as schoolhouse play when it is—and should be criticized as—abuse. In a lengthy and lucid piece in The Atlantic about how social media is becoming untenable for women, Catherine Buni and Soraya Chemaly report that Facebook routinely uses the category “controversial humor” to refrain from removing violent, graphic content aimed at women. Because rape threats are such a gag.

In Atlanta, a grand jury refuses to indict cops who threw a stun grenade into a playpen, disfiguring a toddler in a botched gun raid. This follows on another grand jury, in Ohio, that refused to indict for the shooting of John Crawford at a Walmart. Remember that a grand jury’s job is solely to determine if there is enough evidence for charges to be brought, not to determine guilt or innocence.

The sprinter Dutee Chand ran afoul of the International Association of Athletics Federations rules for having above-average testosterone levels. In order to complete, she’s told she must take hormone suppressing drugs or have surgery to limit her body’s normal functions. Other women, when faced with similar limitations, not only agreed to hormone therapy, but also underwent cosmetic surgery to make their bodies more closely conform to what we imagine a woman should look like.

The Times, in what has become a common dismissal, writes that protestors in Ferguson this weekend marched “under an array of banners.” Put another way: inequality, falling wages, institutionalized racism and misogyny, and militarization at our borders and in our streets are interconnected problems that cannot be addressed independently.

The BBC captures extraordinary photographs of a langur monkey acting as a midwife, perhaps the first time this behavior has been documented in a non-human species. Natalie Angier writes about giraffes.