A lot has happened since last week. As a heads up, the first portion of this post is about misogyny and the UCSB shootings last weekend. If you’d rather not read about it, skip below the comic!
Last weekend, a man murdered 6 people and injured 13 more. Misogyny is largely being credited (not much in mainstream media, however) as the primary driver behind his violence. The killer left behind several youtube videos and more than a hundred pages of a violent manifesto. His parents had reached out to his therapist, and the police met with him, but nothing came of the meeting. Part of this is because they based their judgment of him on their face-to-face interaction, rather than on his digital droppings of his thoughts and opinions, perhaps a misprioritization in our current world.
As I’ve written before, there is a real risk in defining people based solely on what they post on social media. But when so much of someone’s thoughts and feelings are revealed online, their narrative becomes more transparent. This man’s narrative was one of violent, extremist misogyny.
Here’s what was important this week…
A discovery was made at the South Pole BICEP2 research lab that, if accurate, confirms the theory of cosmic inflation. Cosmic inflation explains the big bang, as an article in Symmetry Magazine details: “Almost 14 billion years ago, the universe we inhabit burst into existence in an extraordinary event that initiated the big bang. In the first fleeting fraction of a second, the universe expanded exponentially, stretching far beyond the view of today’s best telescopes. All this, of course, has just been theory.”Cosmic inflation and the big bang are neatly explained in more detail in this PHD comic.
My favorite part of the discovery is a video released by Stanford of one of the scientists in the BICEP2 project going to visit one of the lead theorists of cosmic inflation to tell him that his 30 years of work had just been confirmed. Much more footage was taken, but they edited the video for emotional impact–and it worked (I teared up). Such a video turned out to be an easy way to make the discovery go much more viral and affect many more people than it otherwise might have. Wired details how the scientists involved manage to keep their discovery quiet until the announcement.
Here’s what was important this week…
Are women being infantilized or endangered in the Olympics?
Also, the Olympic medal count gets more interesting depending on whether you look at it in terms of total medals, number of gold medals, or medals per capita.
In world news, protests in Ukraine that have been going on for a few months have escalated as the government ramps up its violent response. Just today (overnight for us in the US time zone) a deal was signed between the government and the protestors. Hopefully it will hold. That article (CNN) provides a good overview of the violence, but essentially the protests started as the government aligned itself with Russia, while many citizens wished for more of an EU alignment. Photos (some graphic) of the violence were collected yesterday by In Focus, and the New Yorker is wondering if this protest is the final straw: Will Ukraine Break Apart?Like many of the protests in recent years, the protests have been named somewhat with the square in which they’re occurring. Tahrir, Zucotti, Gezi, and now the Ukrainian protests, combining the word for “square” and the crux of the protests, european integration, to make euromaidan. You can watch four simultaneous live feeds of the park if you like. (The current president of Ukraine also ran for president in 2004 and was “elected” but forced to concede to his opponent after accusations of electoral fraud. One of those protesting the election results also happened to be the sign language interpreter for the state run news channel.)