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Sunday, January 24, 2021

In Our Time, Photosynthesis

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Photosynthesis 

"‘Oxygen is not just a waste product. It's a toxic waste product. We don't think of it as toxic, we may come back to that…

2.4 thousand million years ago, as you said in the introduction, the whole biosphere was working fine without free molecular oxygen. This was dangerous stuff to have around. It's chemically highly reactive. 2.4 thousand million equals billion years ago, this trick was discovered by accident, of taking electrons from water, producing this byproduct. This was a big shock to the system. There's never been an equivalent environmental catastrophe for life that existed before that time... as the production of oxygen, a poison gas actually, which, nevertheless, doing that trick had such immense value. Again, discovered by accident, it wasn't that they wanted to do this. 

I know that you were speaking metaphorically there. This was, had such benefit that they had to learn to live with this poison gas and learning to live with it… The organism, everyone... that had to deal with oxygen as it came along. There are still environments today where oxygen doesn't permeate and there is still anoxic life, without oxygen, that was a relic of this former time-’ 

‘Which is down in the cleft of the ocean.’ 

‘Yeah. And under the, in the, in the rocks in the lithosphere’... 

‘Why is chlorophyll green?’' 

‘That's such a good question. And you know, I have to confess, I don't know the answer. And lots of people have asked that question. why is it green?’' 

‘It’s not green, we see it as green because green is the only thing that isn't absorbed, or green is the only wavelength that isn't absorbed. So nothing really has color. We just perceive it because... of the wavelength of light which is reflected off it, so it's interesting. There's a concept called chlorophyllia, which is about the love of, the love of green things, which I think is a nice, a nice thing to be’... 

‘It absorbs blue light and red light and doesn't absorb light in the middle of the visible spectrum, which is green. I mean, that's true. But that's just sort of stating, not starting an argument here. I mean, Melvin's question, if I may, could be rephrased, why aren't plants black? Right? If they were black, they would be absorbing all this’... 

‘It's interesting that they use red light, mostly. So the spectrum of light that chlorophyll is absorbing which is taking the electrons from water and driving that whole process is red light, which is not energetically particularly strong. Blue light has far more energy in it than red light does. So you would have thought from first principles, and actually chlorophyll does absorb blue light as well as, as John said, but it's not using that wavelength. And the reason is not clear but it may simply be the destructiveness of UV and blue light. You know, it can damage our own retinas and so on as well, there are issues with higher energy wavelengths of light so I think it's it's, it's ended up as red partly because that's the the wavelengths that chlorophyll absorbs. And partly because selection has adapted the wavelengths that chlorophyll absorbs to being the, the gentlest on the plant itself, it’s less likely to do damage if you're absorbing light at that wavelength.’... 

'Probably the very first forms very early on three and a half billion years ago. Those forms did not use water as the electron donor. They used things like hydrogen sulfide, and iron, and the products that they, they produce, they, so if you're using iron as an electron donor, what you're leaving behind is, is rusty iron, which precipitates out of the oceans and forms banded iron formations, which are the major sources of iron ore that we're using today. So, you know, some of the big mineral deposits derive from photosynthesis and our evidence that photosynthesis was happening at that time'... 'You think plants produce oxygen, animals consume oxygen, but that's a complete balance, and so nothing changes. That's why you have that boring billion. It’s only when, you know, if we die and we're buried and we are not then kind of broken back down to co2 and oxygen again, and water again, if we're just buried intact as a fossil fuel in effect, then the oxygen that would have oxidized you is left over in the air. And so the the dynamic over evolutionary time has nothing to do with how much photosynthesis there is. It's to do with how much carbon is buried. So it's a geological process rather than really a biological process'"

Links - 24th January 2021 (Trans Mania)

Satiria - Posts - "I imagine their aims include telling same-sex attracted people that their not transphobic for not accepting lesbians with penises or men with vaginas."
"my friend, that’s literally the dictionary definition of transphobia"
"Being a lesbian who likes vagina is the “literal definition of transphobia” : Editor at Penis News."
"i will, i dunno, buy a car for anyone who can read my tweet and point out where i said that a lesbian who 'likes vagina' is transphobicthe imagination of terfs is ~wild~"
"Pink News issues Fatwa confirming it’s OK to see trans women as women, except for sexual purposes."

Chad Felix Greene on Twitter - "my argument: "maybe your preference for women with vaginas over women with penises is, to some degree, influenced by our cissexist society."
"*raises hand Um.Didn't we all decide that sexual orientation is an inborn quality and out of a person's control? Since when is it a choice?"
"I mean I get confused because this is the logic my old cultic pastor used to pray the gay away"
"Well ask the parents who are refusing to accept the biological gender their babies are born with. They're opting for brainwashing."
"Progthink: "Reality is whatever I say it is, whenever I think it comports with my current political desires.""
From 2017. Of course the trans activists have gone even more bonkers since

The NUS bans drag as fancy dress - except it doesn't - "Maryam Namazie - who was raised in a Muslim family but is now an atheist and secularist - pulled out of a talk at an Irish university after it was suggested that a discussion on apostasy would “upset” Muslim students. And as someone facetiously, but correctly, pointed out on Twitter, many Islamist preachers are themselves homophobic (and, one presumes, biphobic). Is it Islamophobic to oppose them?... I do want to reiterate how hard these debates are, and how common sense and a belief in people’s basic good faith can get lost in the urge to codify every human interaction... [Banning cross dressing] is an astonishingly conservative motion to be passed by a society which is otherwise so much at pains to stress the variety and fluidity of gender - for example, the conference has also resolved to “refrain from the use of ‘sisters’ and any other binary terms throughout the campaign”.This is because “the definition of Women for the NUS Women’s Campaign is ‘all who self-define as women, including (if they wish) those with complex gender identities which include “woman”, and those who experience oppression as women.’ This contains people whose preferred pronouns are not ‘She’ or ‘her’ (e.g ‘they’) and that they do not identify with the term ‘sister’.”The conference organisers add that “the use of the term ‘sisters’ is exclusionary of some women” and that “misgendering someone is an act of violence”.On this particular motion, we all know what the elephant in the room is here - or rather, the rugby player in the tutu. I’m sure some people do feel offended, or unwelcome, when great big hairy blokes charge around the college bar in stuffed bras singing songs about the Pope and a donkey and that one where the chorus is MY BELL END SHE GOT... Essentially, what this motion implies is incredibly reactionary: all straight cisgender people must wear gender-appropriate clothes in their leisure time. Anything else is offensive to minorities... one of the beautiful things about clothing as a system of signification - as a language, essentially - is how unstable and contextual it is. I appreciate this is a real bummer when you are trying to write a law, or a conference motion, but drawing the line between cross-dressing and, er, straight-dressing is hugely complicated. How about men wearing sarongs? What if they are from a country where men traditionally wear sarongs? The motion also assumes that you can differentiate between someone cross-dressing for the “right” reasons and the wrong ones. Good luck with that.  Cross-dressing is always an exploration of queer identity - because it makes obvious the fact that gender is a performance. The motion suggests that as long as the cross-dressing is not done for "shock value", it is OK. But the whole point of cross-dressing is shock value... seemingly progressive positions can reflect an underlying conservativism"

Christian Mother Sues School District For Allegedly Planning To Terminate Her Custody Of Transgender Son. She Loses. - "An Oregon mother who sued the local school district and some of its employees, charging they interfered with her parental rights and created “a plan” to prevent her daughter, who believes she is a transgender boy, from returning to the mother’s home so that the mother’s custody could be terminated, has lost her case in court.Greta Leontiev, a special education teacher in the Gresham-Barlow School District, filed the suit in 2017. In the suit, Leontiev, who was divorced from her daughter’s father and had remarried, claimed a teacher convinced Leontiev’s daughter to leave her mother’s home and live with her... Leontiev filed a complaint with the Corbett School District Superintendent, alleging that her child was a runaway who had been harbored by a teacher and a member of the school board, thus violating Oregon educator ethics codes. A case worker who interviewed Leontiev and her husband concluded, “There is enough evidence gathered via this assessment that indicates that (the daughter) has not been emotionally abused by his parents.”"

J.K. Rowling on Twitter - "If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.
The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women - ie, to male violence - ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences - is a nonsense."
"If sex wasn't real, there would be no such thing as transitioning."
So much for rights not being like cake/pie - more for one doesn't mean less for others

Ryan Drummond - "Watching JK Rowling get torn to shreds by the monster she helped to create gives me an overwhelming sense of schadenfreude.You really can't appease these people. One way or the other, driven by their own insecurities and absolute lust for the false God of equality, they'll find a means of tearing down anyone.Dysgenia in action."

Lucas Lynch - "Daniel Radcliffe speaking over the voice of J. K. Rowling about what really makes a woman - peak wokeness, 2020 vintage. "

Helen Joyce on Twitter - "I don’t know how close @jk_rowling is to Watson and Radcliffe. But it must hurt being insulted and betrayed by two young people whose careers she made. I hope she knows she’s better off without such false friends, & that the people who support her now are worth a thousand of them"

Alexandra Phillips on Twitter - "Here’s a man, telling a woman (and the woman he should thank for making millions) that she is not allowed to make a comment on what being a woman is and he knows better than her about who can and cannot be called a woman."
"Minority" voices only matter when they support the liberal narrative

J.K. Rowling Followed Up Her Anti-Trans Tweets With A Full Anti-Trans Essay - ""The fear, ignorance, and callous cruelty underneath JK Rowling’s words are the same sentiments that lead to the murder and systemic destruction of black trans lives... Rowling tweeted her support for Maya Forstater, a woman who was fired for saying transgender women should not be legally recognized. Rowling's latest statement comes after major backlash over the weekend, when she tweeted a link to an article mocking the line "people who menstruate," which many pointed out was an anti-trans comment since many women don't menstruate (and some men do). In her expanded statement on Wednesday, Rowling also revealed that she had been a victim of sexual assault and domestic abuse. She said this experience made her even more focused on biology, "out of solidarity with the huge numbers of women who have histories like mine, who’ve been slurred as bigots for having concerns around single-sex spaces."... Rowling spoke out against the criticism she's received. She said she won't stop talking about her anti-trans comments because she believes she is helping women."It would be so much easier to tweet the approved hashtags – because of course trans rights are human rights and of course trans lives matter – scoop up the woke cookies and bask in a virtue-signalling afterglow. There’s joy, relief and safety in conformity," she wrote."
Biology is now hate speech!

JK Rowling isn’t transphobic⁠⁠—you’re just sensitive - "Ironically, it’s largely a brigade of non-trans people who are offended on the behalf of trans people rather than trans people being outraged. As a trans woman who knows exactly what transphobia feels and looks like, I closely analyzed every word of Rowling’s Twitter rant and could not find a shred of hatred. Biological sex is a scientific reality, and erasing it actually invalidates the existence of trans people. If I was not born biologically male, why would I have transitioned in the first place? Medical transition hinges on the fact that the trans individual is unhappy with their biological sex and seeks to alter the aspects of it that science can alter... The overwhelming majority of trans people I have met recognize the reality of biological sex (that’s kind of the entire point…). It’s the hyper-woke white knights that claim to fight for trans people while simultaneously making us look like science-deniers that take issue with Rowling’s take... As a trans woman, there are many parallels in my lived experience and issues I may face that mirror biological women, but I will not deny that there are also differences. I do not understand the struggle of growing up as a biological female, entering puberty, dealing with menstruation, pregnancy, or any of the other realities that biological females exclusively experience. That’s simply a fact, and stating it is not hateful or bigoted. I do not feel invalidated by acknowledging the differences between trans women and biological women because I am secure within myself and my life. Sorry, not sorry."

Benjamin Elijah Lucas ♿️ on Twitter - "JK Rowling's TERF-y antics have lead many fans to consider covering up their Harry Potter tatoos."
"While brave, this is not enough. We cannot rest until all former HP fans have forgotten every last sentance from those horrible books."

Germany: Heidi Klum drag queen show sparks backlash - "over 20,000 people had signed a petition calling for Klum to be removed from the show and "to replace her with a queer person.""Finally a queer show is being produced for German television, but the front figure is anything but queer — basically handing the cake to the straight white woman while we are, once again, left with the crumbs," the petition states. Drag performers Ryan Stecken and Margo Schlönzke, who launched the petition, note that Klum has been a supporter of the LGBTQ community, but charge that she lacks the knowledge needed to lead the show.They also are worried that with Klum at the helm, ProSieben is trying to target a "heteronormative audience" and that the show will no longer be about educating the public about drag in the way that "RuPaul's Drag Race" has done... Although Klum has been under fire, she's gotten the backing of one of Germany's most famous drag queens — Olivia Jones... Jones also noted that Klum gave drag queens a platform on "Germany's Next Top Model" and advocated for Germany to get its own drag queen-centric show. "Finally German drag queens can show everyone that they don't have to hide behind their American colleagues and that we have an unbelievably diverse scene""
Better to have no show at all, since the lack of star power means fewer people won't watch it!

Shocking New Study Suggests Disagreeing With Gay, Trans People Not Same As Hating Them | The Babylon Bee - "The study followed thousands of self-identified Christians who support traditional marriage and gender definitions, and found that while they disagree with the current cultural narrative on gender and sex, the majority of them do not harbor hatred for gay and transgender people, with most treating them just like they treat most other people in their daily lives... At publishing time, a federal judge in California had issued multiple warrants for Barna Group executives."

Konstantin Kisin on Twitter - "White Trans Lives Matter.
Go ahead, disagree with me, bigot."

Facebook - "I need feminism because over 90% of CEOs are men."
"How do you know they are men? Are you referring to them as men based on your own preconceived notion of what a man is?"
"They are men because they look and act like men. What kind of question is that?"
"isn‘t it transphobic to assume that just because someone looks like a man. he‘s a man?"
"Go fuck yourself"
"Transphobia is not okay"

“I Have Power!”: Trans Twitch Moderator Who Identifies as a Deer Threatens to Censor Critics - "A transgender Twitch “Safety Advisory Council” member who identifies as a deer (yes, really) bragged on a live stream about having the “power” to censor critics, asserting, “some people should be afraid of me.”... transgender streamer “Steph” Loehr, AKA FerociouslySteph, who was born a man and apparently had his genitals removed, was announced as a new member of Twitch’s “Safety Advisory Council,” giving Loehr the power to influence Terms of Service and potentially ban individual users... In the clip, Loehr states, “I have power, they can’t take it away from me and honestly there are some people that should be afraid of me and that they are because I represent moderation and diversity and I’m gonna come for people if you’re a really shitty person – I’m gonna stand up against you period and Twitch is endorsing me to do that.”“This is pretty much like all the authoritarians who want to control your speech, thoughts and administer punishments to you if you disagree with them,” remarked YouTuber Count Dankula. “This one, as soon as she got the power, her mask didn’t slip, she ripped it off and frisbee’d it over the horizon.” After Loehr was appointed to Twitch’s safety council, the mainstream media immediately rushed to his defense, claiming that questioning his neutrality represented a “harassment campaign.”... Loehr’s ascension to becoming a Twitch moderator was almost certainly helped along the way by the ADL."

Moral Maze, Racial Justice

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Racial Justice

"‘Let's agree for a start that there are certainly aspects of British society like any society which are racist, but you're making a different point, you're saying it's systematically racist. Now, how can that be when there are so much black and minority ethnic success in the country? For example, 35% of NHS consultants are British Asians. They’re only 7% of the population. British minority ethnic, black minority ethnic representation on screen is 23% compared to 40% of population and black kids are outperforming just about white kids at school. This is not a systematically, this is not evidence of a systematically racist society, surely?’ 

‘I've very much think it is, because when you even dive in these stats and the reasoning behind them and why they're being pitched in this way is very reductive of the actual situation at hand. So, for instance, when you're looking at the curriculum, you can say that black students are performing highly in many different areas.

But again, when we think about the, the idea of curriculum and black British history, and also Asian history, minorities’ histories that is embedded within the curriculum, it's stretched to a point you have to attend university, or you have to do a master's degree to learn about our fight within this country to deserve the same kind of rights and equality. And now what I see is a big glaring issue is the fact that we don't have a colonial history.

I feel a Hirschman wrote an article the other day regarding the fact that when she was learning history in school, which is about I would say, 20 odd years in the past in comparison to myself when I was in primary school and secondary school, she learned about the Tudors, the Kings and Queens of England and that kind of British history and then there’s a convenient skip all the way to World War One. When it came to black history month we would learn about African slave trade. But through the lens of America’…

‘I actually think that the message that is being sent is sending a really disempowering and demoralizing message to a young generation of young black British people, but people of ethnic minority heritage in general who are living in a society that has genuinely made leaps and bounds when it comes to race relations in this country… the gentleman mentioned in regards to kind of the curriculum.

Well, first and foremost, I don't think, you know, curriculum, the curriculum should be instrumentalized to put forward a political agenda. But at the end of the day, the fact that we're even having a conversation, which is used to massively reorder and expand the history curriculum in this country is indicative of a society that is genuinely willing and open to listening to the grievances and concerns of a minority population.’... 

‘The disproportionate suffering in black community in relation to COVID-19.’ 

‘So this is the problem of the kind of blanket systemic racism argument that the the kind of attempt to paint this one dimensional picture misses the complexities of the issue at play. So there's quite a few reasons. Many people are still investigating why ethnic minority have disproportionately been affected by it. But there are actually some reasons that we can draw on now. Actually, working class people in general have actually been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and ethnic minority for many of the more recent immigrants of the UK in the past four years are more likely to be in the working class population. And there's also issues to do with diet. There's also issue to do with the fact that more ethnic minorities are doing front facing roles and how to work and during the day’… 

‘In answering the question, you're simply confirming the premise of the question, which is yes, of course, the reasons why parts of the minority community be most effected is because they are poorer, lower paid, more likely to do jobs that other people don't want to do, even though many of them will have been here two, three generations. Isn't that evidence of the fact that there is still a significant problem here?’ 

‘Well, again, so a problem is not the same as it being evidence of systemic racism. That's a very different thing. So there are a whole range of contributing factors to that, in terms of the fact that, as you've mentioned, and as I mentioned, most ethnic minority people, not all but most of them came through immigration in the postwar years. It takes time to build up intergenerational wealth and move up the social ladder. This is not, you know, it'd be absurd to think that people that some people actually I think it's something like a third of ethnic minority actually have come in the last 20 years, you automatically have the same wealth and higher class as the people that have been here.’... 

‘There isn't actually any clear indication that, you know, there are stories told about black history that contribute to a wider discourse, which frames black people as making a significant and positive contribution to British history. Now, that is the issue, not the issue of what is listed within the curriculum. The issue actually is, is how are black people positioned within that curriculum? And how is their contribution to British heritage framed? Because when we're talking about black British history, one of the things that becomes the seminal focal cornerstone of the black experience is slavery.’...

‘You're talking about the way in which, in your view black children are not sufficiently reflected, or their lives of experiences and backgrounds aren’t reflected in the curriculum… but let me flip it the other way. How important do you think it is for black British children to study for example, Shakespeare.’ 

‘I would say it's hugely important, but it isn't any more important than studying, you know, suffragette movements by black people, you know, thinking about different discourses around black people. I think the most important thing is we want to have you know, my my whole idea around education is that it prepares people to take their place within society and to reside within that society. One of the more important aspects is to have this kind of toolkit, I guess, where you have knowledge that you can engage with different types of people from different types of backgrounds. Now, while there's nothing wrong with black children learning about Shakespeare, I equally think it is as important to learn about other, other canons of history, black or indigenous, and that isn't within our education system currently’... 

‘It is the case that at different times, majority populations express more or less prejudice against minority populations. And that differs a lot of time. So for example, 15, 20 years ago, you'd have found that most of the racial prejudice in the UK was against black people. And now you find it against Muslims and that the levels against black people would appear attitudinally to have gone down very greatly. On the other hand, if you ask black people themselves, we did a benchmark Report for the Human Rights Commission 64% of black people are still saying they're experiencing prejudice or discrimination. It's and so you know, clearly, it's not the case this has gone away, it might have changed its appearance or it might have been directed towards other groups for a while. People are not suddenly much more egalitarian and fair minded. So some groups, they'll be very openly prejudiced against them.’... 

‘[He thought Britain’s] a systematically racist country, due in his view to the legacy of colonialism’... 

‘But when I put to him that we were on a massively successful trajectory. We've got, you know, maybe four, 9 in 10 people now wouldn't see racism as an issue for the United Kingdom, that somehow that was brushed under the carpet and wasn't really that important. But that said, there was an acknowledgement on his path that we were still in the foothills of that, that battle, and there had been some progress. I think that he was very keen to belittle what progress there had been.’ 

‘Well, he did more than that. He actually said we, I think almost in terms that we weren't even moving forward’... 

‘I found it very interesting when discussing the curriculum, they kept coming back to this business, that the curriculum effectively excludes black experience. And, first of all, I don't think that's true. But what I picked up from that was a deep sense of, really a sense of isolationism, on their part, and they're not alone in this. And it's this belief that in order for a society not to be racist, it has to, it has to educate its minority ethnic children in their own history, the history of where they came from. And this is a terrible disempowering thing. And this was why I asked Dr. *something*, whether it was so important in his view, that black British kids learned about Shakespeare because in my view, the single most important thing is not to confirm ethnic minority children in any understanding of where they've come from, it is to make sure that they can take part as equal citizens in this society by being taught about this society and feeling a part of this society. And that's why I think this emphasis on colonialism not being taught properly in school, which I think is basically incorrect anyway. But that's why I think, conceptually, it is so very dangerous.’

Amazing mumbo jumbo: 'We are over-represented in positions of power, but we're really oppressed because our history isn't taught because it's insignificant historically'
Of course, the fact that men do dirty and dangerous jobs women don't want to do isn't evidence of systemic sexism
It's amazing that he wants to put black people in the curriculum just for the sake of it regardless of whether it's objectively justified. If Shakespeare is just as important as black suffragettes...
The disconnect between 'racial prejudice' and perceived prejudice or discrimination suggests that at least one side isn't representing reality accurately
Grievance mongers are unable to acknowledge progress, since that will lose them their power

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