From Around the Web: 20 March 2017

A few links of interest from around the web:

This is Not a Food Blog: Victoria Sponge Trifle Edition

We’re approaching one of the best times of the year for baking, when many fruits start to come into season.  Victoria sponge is one of my old standby recipes, and it’s a great use for the boxes of strawberries I buy too many of this time of year.

The cake is a bit finicky to cut, so I decided to deconstruct it into a trifle.  Though it could be argued that the layered presentation of a Victoria sponge is a deconstructed trifle in itself? I baked only one layer of the sponge, as my trifle dish is, well, a trifle small.  Turned out quite nicely.

Victoria Sponge Trifle

Victoria Sponge Trifle

From Around the Web: 13 March 2017

A few links of interest from around the web:

  • From The New York Review of Books, Masha Gessen explores the role Russia is playing in the Trump administration and in our conception of it: “For more than six months now, Russia has served as a crutch for the American imagination. It is used to explain how Trump could have happened to us, and it is also called upon to give us hope. When the Russian conspiracy behind Trump is finally fully exposed, our national nightmare will be over.”
  • In “definitions depend on which field you’re in” news, the latest episode of Planetary Radio asks “Hope for Pluto—Should We Re-Redefine Planets?
  • And on the topic of Pluto, check out The Future Fire‘s interview with Toeken, who illustrated my story “Over the New Horizon.”

Redbud in Bloom

redbud tree bloomingSpring sprung up a bit early around here.  The altheas came out first in mid-February, which seemed too early.  A desert willow that I feared had died last year came out a couple weeks ago, too.

Here’s an attempt at a picture of the redbud tree nearby, behind which is an elm that has been gracing us with quite a bit of pollen of late.

My attempts at gardening with annuals always seems to fail–far too many critters around here end up eating what I plant.  Ah, well.  Maybe I should say I’m growing the odd assortment of small birds, muscovies, and squirrels?

From Around the Web: 9 March 2017

A few links of interest from around the web:

  • Check out Geoff Ryman’s “100 African Writers of SFF” write-up at Strange Horizons.
  • Skyboat Media is raising funds to produce an audiobook version of Lightspeed’s QUEERS DESTROY SCIENCE FICTION!
  • Here in the Lone Star State, State Representative Ana Hernandez filed HB1947, which would provide high school graduated with two years of free community college.  As a former community college student and, later, instructor, I’m heartened by this.  And as a Texan, I’m glad to see a bill filed of late that has nothing to do with threatening reproductive rights….


Alternative Facts and Wrongful Births

Another assault on reproductive rights here in the Lone Star State shouldn’t surprise any of us.  What’s disturbing is that the tactic used to used to wage this fight appears to be pulled right from the “alternative facts” playbook.

The Texas State Senate Health and Human Services Committee recently passed SB25 out of committee, which would essentially allow doctors to withhold information about fetal abnormalities from parents, overturning current “wrongful birth” legislation  This bill was promoted by the anti-abortion lieutenant governor, who, according to The Texas Observer, “told lawmakers to ‘protect the unborn'” through such legislation.

That said, this withholding of information is right in line with the sort of science denial that threatens clean air, vaccination rates, endangered species, and any number of other inconveniences to right-wing idealism.  By allowing doctors to withhold test results that indicate fetal abnormalities, law makers are essentially allowing anti-abortion practitioners to present “alternative facts” to parents-to-be who need to be informed about the implications of their situation, regardless of what those parents decide to do in response to that information.

Lt. Gov. Patrick’s purported wish to “protect the unborn” coupled with bill sponsor Sen. Brandon Creighton’s stated purpose to uphold “the sanctity of life” would do the opposite for affected children and their families.   Without time to prepare emotionally and financially, families will be devastated by the fallout from the lack of necessary information.

It’s a devastation that those in power will turn their focus away from.