Shared Links for Apr 6th

  • Sing a dirge for the unused adipic acid – An essay on the unpleasantries of being lab safety officer, and the sentimental attachment that scientists have to their expired reagents. (tagged: science chemistry lab safety )
  • Does carbon-eating cement deserve the hype? – A process for manufacturing cement which sequesters CO2 (instead of releasing it) has been recently hyped. Chemistry looks dodgy though, and the company (Calera) is not forthcoming with details, or even a gross inputs/outputs for their miracle black box. Caveat emptor. (tagged: carbon climate technology cement )
  • Self Irrigating Planter Resources – A nice little gathering of pointers to information on DIY self-watering planters. Still trying to figure out how one might be able to use tires to make one of these…. (tagged: gardening technology food sustainability urban )
  • The Case Against Breast-Feeding – Backlash against the relatively new social imperative (in the west) that women must breastfeed to be good mothers. I think the real issues are that we haven't structured our society and its expectations to meaningfully accommodate having children and equitable peer spousal relationships. I agree there's something broken, but I don't think it's breastfeeding. And I feel like it's another example of the Newtonian hangover… we're so used to being able to figure things out authoritatively, a la Newton, that we almost don't know how to deal with planning around and purturbing complex systems like the climate, or ecologies, or economies, or agricultural systems, or genomes, or nutrition… which we depend on, but don't understand fully (and because of their chaotic nature, may never understand fully. We're used to Apollonian systems, but actually we live in a Dionysian world. (tagged: science food children health breastfeeding society )
  • Collapse Of The Ice Bridge Supporting Wilkins Ice Shelf Appears Imminent – This ice shelf is 3x the area of Rhode Island. It's already floating, so it won't have any effect on sea level as it separates, but that's a lot of ice. Wish we had better time series for this kind of observation. Really need the best long term Earth monitoring system we can build. (tagged: environment climate antarctica ice )
  • The strengths of the academic enterprise – A great essay by Dijkstra on the nature of academia, and the problems of cooperation between entities with dramatically different time horizons. Who knew he was interested in things other than graph theory? (tagged: academia science sustainability education technology )

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Zane Selvans

A former space explorer, now marooned on a beautiful, dying world.

2 thoughts on “Shared Links for Apr 6th”

  1. OK, I didn't read the whole article, but I know what the woman's problem is who feels shackled by breastfeeding – (at least) one too many children! She claimed nirvana from nursing her first two for a whole year, why didn't she stop there? I only had one child, mainly because that is more than this earth needs, but also because 3 years of constant, uninterrupted mothering and 6 years (still counting, but getting pretty far between) of breastfeeding was all I could hack. I'm a huge believer in the benefits of breastfeeding, and even she admits at least a slim margin of benefit. Do the world a favor, and only have the number of children you can parent whole-heartedly. Yes, many of us who believe that directly from the breast is best find our spousal relationships and ideals of equality a bit stressed for a while, but this is temporary, if not illusory, and equality is a sticky beast – in our family it involved cycles – mom stays home and ties to baby for 3 years, dad stays home or works part time around school being main parent for 3 years and counting. Not so elegant a rundown as the Apollonian vs. Dionysian (which I love).

  2. I talked to my sister (who is a La Leche League organizer) about this article, and she had her own litany of reasons why this article is broken. She pointed out that co-sleeping made night-time parenting a non-issue for their family, and that the LLL breastfeeding source book is probably a much more exhaustive literature review than what the Atlantic author did (albeit obviously a review with a bias… just like it sounds like the Atlantic author had). She also pointed out that in a lot of places (like Fresno anyway) new mothers are given basically no support or incentive to even attempt breastfeeding by the medical establishment. They can’t even possibly have the problem this upper middle class New Yorker is having. She admitted that the equitable division of parental/spousal labor, and American housewife isolation are serious problems, but again, I think this is much much more indicative of our having structured society in a broken way, than of something being wrong (or even sub-optimal) with breastfeeding.

    Wow. Six years? He’s going to remember that, which might be interesting socially. Our mom stopped around 4 I think – or at least, there were 4 years between us, and there wasn’t any overlap. I don’t really have any memories of it (but I do remember when my sister was born). And her dad (a doctor) disowned her temporarily for it. Ah, society.

    I wish I could take the credit for the Apollonian vs. Dionysian, but it’s really Michael Pollan’s trope. Imitation, flattery, etc.

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