Texas Might Spend up to $20 Billion to Protect Houston From Hurricanes. Rice University Says It Can Do It for a Fraction of That.

Texas, United States (TexasTribune) – For about a decade, two of Texas’ top universities have pushed dueling plans to protect the Houston-Galveston region from hurricanes. A concept championed by Texas A&M University at Galveston appears to be winning out as the federal and state governments pursue a plan similar to one proposed by A&M oceanographer Bill Merrell in early 2009, months after Hurricane Ike smashed ashore at Galveston Island. But that project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas General Land Office, which calls for the installation of beachfront…

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Eight Thoughts On Marianne Williamson

United States (CJ) – The other day the reliably disgusting Samantha Bee tweeted an invitation to Democratic presidential hopeful Marianne Williamson to come “drop out” of the race on her show, which Williamson playfully declined from the green room of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Establishment narrative managers like Bee have been smearing Williamson with steadily increasing urgency lately, which is always a great way to pique the interest of people like me. I’m not seeing much written about  Williamson besides snarky smear articles and “Hurr hurr I hyper-meta-ironically think the magic crystal lady is awesome” joke pieces, so with the next round of…

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At a New York City Garden, Students Grow Their Community Roots and Critical Consciousness

New York, United States (Conversation) – Iris, a high school student in New York City, took a course aimed at preparing public school students for college. As part of the course, she visited the Park Slope Food Coop, among the oldest member-owned businesses in the United States. Members work monthly shifts in return for access to affordable, ethically sourced food and goods. Students enrolled in the course — called Community Roots — investigated the larger social, political and historical issues of food and place while gardening and learning about food-related…

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What School Segregation Looks Like in the US Today, in 4 Charts

United States (Conversation) – Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris, a senator from California, has spoken about how she benefited from attending Berkeley’s desegregated schools. “There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me,” Harris said in the first Democratic debate to candidate Joe Biden. “So I will tell you that on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats. We have to take it…

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Can Capitalism Save Itself by Becoming More Socially Responsible?

United States (Conversation)  – Capitalism’s days may be numbered – at least judging by recent polls. A majority of millennials reject the economic system, while 55% of women aged 18 to 54 say they prefer socialism. More Democrats now have a positive view of socialism than capitalism. One problem interpreting numbers like these is that there are many definitions of capitalism and socialism. More to the point, people seem to be thinking of a specific form of capitalism that deems the sole purpose of companies is to increase stock prices…

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As Mexico Appeases Trump, Migrants Bear the Brunt

United States (Conversation) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s politics of control and fear toward Mexico and other Latin American countries has resulted in serious consequences. In an effort to avoid a tariff of five percent that would rise gradually to 25 percent on all Mexican exports to the United States, Mexico agreed on the following measures to stop so-called illegal migration through its territory: 1) Secure the northern and southern borders with 21,500 soldiers from the newly established National Guard; 2) Strengthen efforts to deter, detain and deport “irregular migrants”;…

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The Long History of Gender Violence in Australia, and Why It Matters Today

Australia (Conversation) – In 2015, the Australian federal government proclaimed that violence against women had become a national crisis. Despite widespread social and economic advances in the status of women since the 1970s, including growing awareness and action around gender violence, its prevalence remains alarming. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that a third of all women in Australia have been assaulted physically and a fifth of all women have been assaulted sexually. In 2016, nearly a fifth of adult women also reported they had been sexually harassed in the…

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Mansplaining: New Solutions to a Tiresome Old Problem

World Wide (Conversation) – In 2008, author Rebecca Solnit’s now famous essay, Men Explain Things to Me, set off a firestorm. Though Solnit didn’t use the term “mansplaining,” the essay is credited with birthing the term that’s now part of regular parlance. Women (and other underrepresented groups such as people of colour and non-binary people) had finally found a way to articulate that phenomenon they routinely experienced, particularly at work. Men feel the need to explain something to a woman, even if the woman hasn’t asked for an explanation and…

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The Greening of Pot: Can Power-Hungry Cannabis Sector Turn Over a New Leaf?

North America (CK) – If you pass the goats grazing on the hillside, you’ve missed it. Up a long country driveway at a ranch-style farm house in Ancaster, Ontario, there’s no sign telling visitors they’ve arrived at Canada’s largest licensed producer of organic cannabis. Just a badminton net. “We’re trying to give it a Google-type feel,” says co-founder and VP of government affairs and social responsibility Ian Wilms on a tour of the grounds. “Employees keep asking if we’re going to start goat yoga soon.” Wilms, a former IBM exec and…

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The Question You Should Never Ask Women – Period

World Wide (Conversation) – Are you ever around women who seem frustrated, upset or irritated? Have you ever asked one of them if she was on her period or perhaps been tempted to inquire? Take it from me: Don’t. Presuming that female reproductive organs make women behave irrationally is rude and sexist. It also evokes the same unscientific beliefs that have always held women back. I’m a sociologist who researches the perils women experience on a daily basis simply for existing. In studying the systemic nature of sexism, I’ve learned…

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