Ursula Franklin, home pregnancy tests, desalination

A Letter

An interview with the late Ursula Franklin. “There is no technology for justice. There is only justice.”

Fifty years after the University of Texas Tower shooting, Pamela Colloff profiles one of the survivors. “Absent were the protocols that would later come to define school shootings: the grief counselors, the candlelight vigils, the nationwide soul-searching. Whitman’s crime—decades before Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Newtown became shorthand for on-campus depravity—was unprecedented, and there was no language for it yet.” Meanwhile, Texas passes a law to allow concealed carry on campus, and a black woman college professor wonders about her rights.

A black Bernie delegate explains why the Bernie-or-bust crowd has it all wrong. “Also, what’s clear is that politicians respond to constituents. If our voices are louder and we’re demonstrating and organizing, they respond to that—yes, the ultimate accountability is at the ballot box, but it’s not the only one. When we show up to listen and organize in a sustained way—in a way that threatens them getting reelected or their legacy—they tend to listen. These things work. If in a unified way, they can rattle those in power.”

The woman designer behind the first home pregnancy test was rebuffed, then had to fight off an effort by men who attempted to usurp her work; she succeeded. “She slid her prototype into line with the others. Its clear plastic walls showed off the minimalistic lab equipment inside. Then, with a glance at her boss, she took her seat at the table, challenging him to throw her out. He didn’t.”

Study confirms (to no one’s surprise) that in order to seem competent, women—unlike men—must also be seen as nice. “Competent but less-affable female engineers were evaluated by their colleagues as less confident in their professional roles. These female engineers were, in turn, less influential within the organization. In sum, women’s professional performance is not evaluated independently from their personal warmth.”

How to respond when a man grabs your ass. Note the excellent advice in the comments for dealing with fragile male egos.

Jackpot watch: Anthrax awakens and sickens more than a dozen people as a reindeer—dead and frozen nearly a century ago—thaws along with the permafrost. “Last month, parts of Siberia near where the anthrax outbreak is occurring were as much as 18 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) warmer than normal, averaged over the entire month. That’s like New York City suddenly adopting the climate of Tucson, Arizona, for the whole month of July. To say the Arctic climate is off the charts this year is an understatement.” Meanwhile, Alaska’s highways are literally melting.

An Israeli effort to deal with water shortages results in extraordinary achievements in desalination technology. “I open the tap and drink cup after cup of what was the Mediterranean Sea forty minutes ago. It tastes cold, clear, and miraculous.” Maybe there’s hope for us yet.