It’s the future: Non-browning apples

Today I learned about polyphenol oxidase, an enzyme apparently responsible for the browning of lettuce and apples upon exposure to oxygen.

Then I learned about a set of Golden Delicious apples that have been genetically modified to reduce their production of polyphenol oxidase, allowing them to go three weeks in exposure without browning–an industry standard previously met with additives.

Carter reduced the enzyme polyphenol oxidase to prevent browning when apples are sliced, bitten or bruised. The apples match the industry norm of not browning for three weeks after slicing but without using flavor-altering, chemical additives that the rest of the fresh-sliced apple industry uses.

Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Fuji varieties have been approved by the USDA and Canada. An Arctic Gala could be approved in 2018. Only Goldens and Granny Smiths have been planted long enough to produce fruit in commercial quantities by next fall.

Read about the summary here or the full post here.

It’s the future! Do me next!

-Shiv

Julie Bindel is not a woman

Content Warning: Virulent TERFy trans-antagonism

I imagine I would be rightly discredited if I spent my entire career honing in on Julie Bindel and publishing defamatory essays justifying my frankly bizarre obsession with whether or not Bindel counts as “a woman.” Yet antagonizing trans folk is still so politically palatable that you can do exactly that and still achieve success. On no other topic can I imagine it is possible to have columns on both The otherwise-queer-friendly Guardian and the misogynistic half-fake conservative rag The Daily Mail.

Yes, that’s right, an essay comparing trans women to serial killers and rapists was published on The Guardian, a supposedly progressive news site. Somehow Bindel has mastered the art of making transphobia look simultaneously progressive and reactionary. It’s Schrodinger’s Bigotry, if you will.

Nonetheless, there are vast tracts of Bindel’s career dedicated to obfuscation and false equivalency. In her wake virtually no productive conversation on trans issues will prevail, because she kicks up enough dust that all you can do is cough. And the Working Class Movement Library in Salford, UK, decided this was who they wanted to represent their “LGBT” History month.

I’m not going to try and appeal to Bindel or her supporters–their “feminism” is little more than a gangrenous limb that refuses to fall off. Nor is this post meant to be a direct response to Bindel’s work–a quick search for “criticisms of Julie Bindel” produces hundreds of posts responding to Bindel’s nonsense.

Instead, I’m going to issue a very straightforward question for the WCML:

Do you have the integrity to be honest and rename your event the AFAB, Lesbian Separatist, Cisgender Supremacist History month? Because not even lesbian separatists want anything to do with Bindel’s particularly virulent strain of bile-spewing done in the name of “feminism.” Certainly bi folk and trans folk–you know, the “B” and “T” in your initialism–do not in general support their own defamation through bigoted talking piece Julie Bindel. So why on Earth is Bindel your “LGBT” speaker if she represents a highly specific, extremely hostile iteration of lesbian separatism that aggressively alienates the other letters?

Oh, right. “Freeze peach.” Just not for the B and T, apparently.

I’m starting to feel at this point that the only argument anti-rights advocates can muster on this topic is that it isn’t literally illegal for them to state their position. Somehow it doesn’t occur to anyone that this is the flimsiest, saddest defence one can imagine for a position. But Julie Bindel will carry on doing the patriarchy’s work and calling it feminism, and there’ll be no shortage of venues simply handwaving away criticism as “sensitivity.” More dust, less talk, and a lot of trans people struggling to cope with the stress knowing that the wrong conservative crusader could pick up these ideas and try to legislate us out of existence.

-Shiv

 

Jason Kenney is literally just making shit up this time

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Progressive Conservative leadership hopeful Jason “I don’t get caught up in the details” Kenney went to Twitter to express outrage about the provincial government’s tax plan and how it was ruining the economy because it made taxation high.

The problem with Kenney’s claim? Well, one of those pesky details he can’t be bothered with is that the New Democratic Party have a tax scheme that is still lower for all tax sectors than the Progressive Conservative posterboy Ralph Klein’s.

One wonders how taxes are “ruining” the performance of the Province which still has the lowest taxation rate in the country, even taking into account our new carbon tax.

Oh, and that “ruined economy”? Still the strongest in the country.

Can’t let pesky facts get in the way of our sabre-rattling, though. Governments don’t need details! And neither do pundits! That’s why all the papers say the province will fall apart, any second now!

-Shiv

Alberta political roundup

Trinity Christian, the private school that was caught cooking its books by the NDP, have had an administrator appointed to manage their finances while the RCMP conducts its investigation concerning allegations of fraud.

Professional douchebag Fred Henry, a Bishop in Calgary infamous for typical Roman Catholic Church douchebaggery, has resigned from his post. He accused the NDP of breathing “pure secularism” …and meant it as a bad thing.

Progressive Conservative supporters continue to cite the NDP’s progressive income taxation and vice taxation as primary reasons to oppose the NDP. Except both policies were also on the PC agenda. Oops.

The Progressive Conservatives have announced no findings of wrongdoing within their own party following the allegations of harassment by former moderate leadership candidate Sandra Jansen. Never mind that they investigated themselves. Move along folks, nothing to see here.

Brian Jean still has no idea how he’s going to “Unite the Right,” but it’ll be good, he pinky-swears.

-Shiv

Only in Canada: “Albertan takes Zamboni through Tim Hortons drive-thru”

Shit Albertans do:

Many Canadians have faced this predicament: “should I stop for Tim Hortons on my way home from work?” Sometimes, the quick warm-up is all you need to start the rest of your day.

But when most people consider the detour to Tim Hortons, they aren’t driving a Zamboni.

Jesse Myshak was at work in his shop in Stony Plain on Tuesday with his new ice-surfacing machine, which he bought to flood his rink in his backyard. He was working on it in the shop, and it was ready to be put to work at home.

There was only one problem — home was a couple kilometres away.

Luckily, there was a solution. “I figured I’d just drive it home,” Myshak told CBC News. After deciding to make the trek, the ball started rolling. “Guys at work were kind of laughing after I was driving home, [they said] to drive through Timmies and get a coffee,” Myshak said.

And that’s exactly what he did.

Myshak, on top of the uncovered Zamboni, moved at the speed of a crawl down the streets of Stony Plain, much to the delight of passersby. But the level of Canadiana increased tenfold when he crept his way into the Tim Hortons drive-thru.

“People started running out of the Tim Hortons,” he said, adding they were taking photos and videos of his unusual method of transportation.

He ordered a hot chocolate, and when he inched his way to the window, the Canadiana level went off the charts. “The lady in front of me actually bought the hot chocolate for me,” Myshak said. “The staff told me it was the most Canadian thing they’ve ever seen, so they all had a good chuckle.”

And, the cherry on top — the Zamboni was perfect height to receive his hot chocolate out the window.

Canuckistan.

-Shiv

SANTA MUST BE REAL: Canadian fascist loses libel appeal

Ezra Levant of Rebel Media infamy has been found guilty of libel a few times. He’s basically Canada’s Milo Yiannopoulos, who tends to spend one half of his time with spit-flecked howling into microphones about free speech and the other half filing lawsuits against his critics. Were Mr. Levant a foreigner, I’m guessing he’d be denied entry into the country for his activities. His website hosts a proto-fascist, he has helped the Wildrose curate Albertan political performance artist Bernard the Roughneck, and held a number of anti carbon tax rallies which degenerated into misogynistic, homophobic hysterics. In short, he’s the eye of a shit hurricane.

Between 2008 and 2014 Levant has been bouncing back and forth over the defamation of a lawyer. In 2014 he was ruled against and ordered to pay $80,000 in damages for his many unsubstantiated claims. He went on to appeal.

Now, not only did Levant lose his appeal two days ago, but he has been ordered to pay the expenses of the second trial too–$160,000 in total.

It’s an xmas miracle. Thanks Santa. Couldn’t have given me a better gift.

For the second time this week: Eat shit, fascists.

-Shiv

North Carolinian Republicans: Haha, jk, we weren’t repealing HB2

Covering this presents a challenge, dear readers, because I cannot possibly scrape deep enough into the lexicon of my loathing to adequately capture my response. If you could connect to my brain directly, it would simply be white hot pain manifesting behind your eyeballs with a backdrop of millions of fingernails dragged across millions of blackboards amplified through a megaphone.

What makes this different is that it isn’t merely the standard legislative process being used to beat queer and trans people into oblivion. This is a special kind of psychopathy, the kind that could only be treated with the judicious application of an aluminum baseball bat.

To recap, Governor Roy Cooper campaigned on a promise to repeal HB2, citing the law’s punitive nature against trans folk simply for existing as well as the implications for discrimination against cisgender gay folks. Despite the fact that North Carolina seems to have voted for Cooper at least in part on his promise to do this (despite the dirty dealing and breathless histrionics we could only expect of a party so unprincipled they couldn’t find the backbone to do anything about Cheetolini), North Carolinian Republicans have decided that they know better than their own electorate.

In an apparent deal to see HB2 repealed, Cooper coordinated with the city Charlotte to see its nondiscrimination ordinances, which included protections for trans folk, repealed. Shortly after Charlotte foolishly expected honour from the same party that just foisted a god damn serial rapist into the White House, a special session was called to repeal HB2.

Except that HB2 wasn’t fucking repealed. 

The bill they’ve filed (SB4) does repeal HB2, including its restrictions mandating what bathrooms transgender people may use. However, it also creates a “Six-Month Cooling-Off Period,” in which no municipality in the state may pass any laws related to employment or public accommodations, specifically noting “access to restrooms, showers, or changing facilities.”

Meaning even if HB2 is finally put to death like the savage fucking mistake that it is, its consequences would persist for another six months. Then, North Carolinian Democrats, having said “wait a second, that’s not part of the deal,” torpedoed SB4. Meaning HB2 is still alive, if in spastic death throes.

Then these same fucking twits tried to set up Cooper for not adhering to his campaign promises!

So twice before the election Roy Cooper kills a repeal/Repeal Deal. Now after being against a repeal deal, after the election he was for it. Now he is against it again because the repeal simply has teeth, to make sure our “long national Nightmare is over.”

It is clear Coopers only motivation here is political, first last and always. And the people of North Carolina who support repeal should know Cooper sold them down the river with a wink and a nod, to radical leftists who were waiting for the repeal and start this destructive fight all over.

YOU CHRONICALLY DISHONEST SACK OF SHIT. COOPER SUPPORTED A FULL REPEAL, NOT THE BULLSHIT YOU’RE TRYING TO PULL NOW.

It gets better.

The Senate–holy fuck, don’t you love the Senate?–proposed an amendment to the bill that would EXTEND the motherfucking moratorium until the end of 2017.

I’m a writer, and I don’t have words. I would not permit these Republicans to lick the mud off my boots. Duplicitous, cowardly sacks of shit who have no qualms turning queer and trans people into political football for your asinine political fucking theatre. Fuck. Every. Single. One of you.

It’s time the football kicked back.

-Shiv

This post also appears on Modern Liberals.

9 dead in German market square attack

9 confirmed dead so far in an attack on a Berlin market square along with approximately 50 injuries.

A lorry ran off road and into a Christmas festival on Monday night in Breitscheidplatz, Berlin, Germany. BBC reported the death toll at nine, while Reuters reports up to 50 additional injuries.

Police are still investigating to confirm the driver’s motivation. The driver is still alive and was arrested near the scene.

Kindly refrain from speculating at this point.

-Shiv

Only in Canada: “Car-licking moose prompts warning in southern Alberta”

The world’s falling apart. But sometimes, for the sake of our sanity, we just need shit like this.

Watch out for moose who like to lick vehicles.

That’s a warning from the Alberta government for people visiting Peter Lougheed Provincial Park about 130 kilometres west of Calgary.

Alberta Parks says moose are on the trails at Chester Lake and Burstall Pass and are coming into the trailhead parking lots to lick salt off the sides of vehicles.

The government advises people to sound their horn to try to get the salt-lickers away from their vehicles.

It also warns to not try to push a moose away from the vehicle.

In Canada, a female moose weighs an average of 750 to 926 pounds and a male moose averages between 992 and 1,102 pounds.

Alberta Parks issued the warning Tuesday and ask people report any aggressive moose encounters to them.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

-Shiv

Quoting Jordan Peterson is “muckraking” now

I don’t know if Jordan Peterson is a Christian or not, but by George has he ever mastered their breathless cries of “perseeecuuuutiiiooooon.”

The Varsity noted that Dr. Peterson’s Patreon is now pulling in a few pennies shy of $8,200/month, at least as of December 5th. Shortly after they asked him to elaborate on his Patreon goals, he shot back a rather nasty response:

An hour after the initial statement was sent to The Varsity, Peterson expressed frustration at this newspaper’s pursuit of this article. “Here’s an idea, why don’t you do a story on the fact that my YouTube channel, prior to this political firestorm, had already attracted a million viewers? That means I brought advanced psychology knowledge to a million people – free,” he said in the email.

He continued: “But you can’t do that, because you are so blinded by your damnable ideology that you muckrake instead. Why do good, when you can advance your ideological presumptions, and find someone to hate?”

Dr. Peterson’s irony has presumably been surgically removed.

He references, of course, the fact that The Varsity has been a breath of No, Both Sides Don’t Do It fresh air. Perhaps he doesn’t appreciate that the editor has correctly identified that Peterson’s free speech vs. ess jay double yoos is a false equivalency.

Those who came to the rally advocating for social justice engaged in a range of protest activities, which included blasting white noise over the sound of rally speakers. While the tactics this group employed are not beyond scrutiny — in a free society, almost nothing is — it is essential to recognize that the cause of this group is legitimate in a way that the cause of those propagating hate speech will never be. Those who would have The Varsity present the former’s cause on equal footing with the latter’s will be disappointed.

How to be PERSECUUUUTIIOOOOOOON’d like Jordan Peterson in six easy steps, according to Glad Hand:

Fuck, Peterson, if this is your idea of persecution, then hand me a nail and a cross. I’ll crucify myself for eight grand a month.

-Shiv

(Silver lining: As long as Dr. Peterson is still a professor, his combined yearly income puts him in the new tax brackets that were recently increased.)