Headline Muse, 8/27

While for some, it seems almost a game
And for others, a new way to shame
It can give you the blues
As you look through the News
And discover just “what’s in a name?”

Headline: Who is still calling Chelsea Manning ‘he?’

Some news organizations—including The New York Times and the Associated Press—that were initially reluctant to accommodate Manning’s request or were weighing their options, are now using the female pronoun. Meanwhile, conservative media outlets have predictably been resistant not only to using the name and pronoun preferred by Manning, but to the entire concept of transgender identity.
Below, a rundown of how news organizations are handling the issue: (Who have we missed? Let us know in the comments.)

Y’know what? Don’t even look at the comments. Just don’t.

Oh, and if you have not yet read this, please do.

(unrelated note: Classes have started again, so priorities must change. Writing verses isn’t what’s time-consuming; rather, finding things to write about is what takes time. And it’s more important for me to read my students’ stuff right now than a dozen news sources. So I’ll be less of a predator and more of a filter-feeder for a bit, at least until I find out how much work my new prep is. Or longer, of course.

Feel free to send ideas; some of you already do, and I try to do my best to answer the Cuttlesignal.)

Headline Muse, 10/8

There are microbes in water that spoil it
You can’t drink till you treat it or boil it
But the still greater cost
Is in lives that are lost
So it’s worth re-designing the toilet

Headline: Hi-tech toilets save lives–and mean big business

In 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, awarding $3.2m in grants to promising entrants.

The conditions were tough. Designs had to be hygienic, sustainable, cheap to operate, and capable of working “off-grid” – without connections to water, electricity, or sewerage networks.

They have given out their awards. Worth reading about.

I do hope they are investing not just in the hardware, but also in local-level cultural change; there is not only a lack of equipment, but the presence of tradition, that acts as an impediment to change.

Headline Muse, 9/27

It’s a robot—not woman, nor man
And it’s doing the best that it can
Like its pictures, that showed
Where the water once flowed,
Making up an alluvial fan

Headline: Streams Of Water Once Flowed On Mars: NASA Says Photos Prove It

NASA’s Curiosity rover has found definitive proof that water once ran across the surface of Mars, the agency announced today. NASA scientists say new photos from the rover show rocks that were smoothed and rounded by water. The rocks are in a large canyon and nearby channels that were cut by flowing water, making up an alluvial fan.

“You had water transporting these gravels to the downslope of the fan,” NASA researchers say. The gravel then formed into a conglomerate rock, which was in turn likely covered before being exposed again.

No, no, no. They are missing the big picture.

I am alive at a point in history when humans have sent a fucking robot to fucking Mars, where it is doing experiments and taking pictures and answering questions that weren’t even questions until at most just a couple of generations ago. It was just over a century ago that the notion of canals on Mars was cutting edge science.

Everything about this is wonderful. Everything about this is cool. Everything about this is the future. Everything about this is making the science fiction of my childhood obsolete in the best possible way.

Again, I am forced to wonder, what will be next? Will this eventually be seen as the space equivalent of the Model T? Or the Mars equivalent of Apollo 11? Is this the beginning of much more, or a high-water mark not to be matched in our lifetime?

The choice, really, is ours.

Headline Muse, 9/23

It was not a great week. Or, it was.
We’re succeeding—creating a buzz!
Inconsistent? You bet!
But that’s all that you’ll get:
It’s Reince Priebus; that’s what the man does

Headlines (a twofer!):
Priebus on Romney: ‘Not the best week’
Priebus: ‘In Retrospect,’ Last Week ‘Good Week’ for Romney Campaign

That last one, yes, was the inspiration for my last post. Which means you get another limerick, too, cos I added one in the comments there:

In the race for Republican seats
Party spin and the truth rarely meets
So they have to make do
With fake bullshit (sham poo)
Which Reince, in a lather, repeats

Headline Muse, 9/1

Though the fact-check was not in his plan
Ryan bragged about how fast he ran
Not a real big surprise
Just one more of his lies:
It’s Paul Ryan, the marathon man

Headline: Fact Check: Paul Ryan Exaggerates Marathon Claim

What’s really funny is how passionate runners are about this. Across sources, from runners’ websites to papers to NPR, runners are steaming mad that Paul Ryan has… “misremembered” his best marathon time.

I have never entered, let alone completed, a marathon. If I had, I would likely be one of the many who knew my time to the second. Like everyone… but those who lie about their times. But really… what the hell, it’s only one more lie.

Headline Muse, 8/29

Never mind that real people are hurt
Here’s a chance to have fun slinging dirt
So let’s cheer for our school
Though the message is cruel
With a brand-new Ohio State shirt!

Headline: Ohio State mocks Sandusky scandal with tasteless T-shirt

the popular women’s interests blog Jezebel has unearthed a photo of a red-and-white T-shirt that reads “I’d rather shower at Penn State than cheer for the Wolverines.”

The worst part? Not the fact that the Buckeye fans were turning all of Jerry Sandusky’s child abuse into a joke … but that they aren’t the only ones.

Similar shirts have popped up at Iowa and LSU.

Get it? It’s funny, cos it’s about child rape! Which is not quite as bad as cheering for Michigan!

For the record, Ohio State University officials had nothing to do with the shirt, and they find it “unacceptable and appalling”.

Somewhere, some undergrad is as proud as a peacock about the design, and about the fact that at it was copied at at least 2 other schools.