Life as an Extreme Sport

Vigilante Justice and Gender

This is via the LATimes: Like a character from a graphic novel, he dresses in black, has unusually blond hair — and kills bus drivers who sexually assault women. In a place like Ciudad Juarez, known for its years of brutal killings of women, the story has inexorable appeal. But how much of it is true? Authorities are taking the reports seriously enough to investigate and have posted undercover cops on buses. Women’s advocates say they wouldn’t be surprised if someone finally had taken long-denied justice into his own hands. Two bus drivers were slain in the last week, and over the weekend an electronic message claiming responsibility was sent to several news outlets. “You think because they are women they are weak, and maybe they are,” the message says. “But only to a certain point…. We can no longer remain quiet over these acts that fill us with rage.

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In Shocking News, People Can Care About More Than One Thing at a Time!

So, I was scolded this afternoon for daring to tweet about Rehtaeh Parsons’ father’s response to her suicide shortly after news broke about the Boston marathon bombing. Apparently the Internet can only care about one thing at a time, and the most important thing was the bombing and all other news, national as well as international, should stop. Of course, tomorrow there will be another bombing somewhere else – probably not America, but does that matter? There will be another murder spree, somewhere; after all, doesn’t the FBI believe there are something like 30-odd serial killers working in America at any given time? There will be another massive traffic accident, there will be another mass casualty event, another epidemic, another something new and breaking, because in the era of 24 hour news, something is always new, something is always breaking. So at what point, then, is it okay to make

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First the Fake Geek Girl, Now the Philly LadyNerd

Apparently not content to let the fake geek girl meme go unchallenged, Technically Philly lowers the bar today and offers us an infographic on what a Philly LadyNerd looks like. This is apparently in response to “what your average Philly geek dude might look like.” Pay attention to the language: Technically Philly wants to show you what the average Philly geek looks like. What do we have? We have a thin white man and woman, each wearing skinny jeans and other fashion accessories that are currently tied to a Brooklyn hipster aesthetic: Etsy, plaid shirts on guys, bright colour-blocks for gals. Hair makes the presumption of normative straight white hair; “soft” bangs for the gal, “no style” mess for the guy. The various accessories are all high end, have particular cultural markers that indicate a specific class and association – the white iphone, the hip places to eat, the music.

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Novel Therapies Should Be Tortoises, Not Hares

I knew there were going to be a lot of hard things about losing Mom to cancer: holidays and birthdays and events like my sister graduating from medical school. This was almost a given, in those panicked moments after hearing the diagnosis and knowing what it meant, that it was a matter of when and not if. I didn’t realize quite how pervasive it was going to be, though, or that it would create such a strange position to be in every time I read about a new treatment for lung cancer, or I read through clinicaltrials.gov for work and see something being tested, or hear about new drug approvals. Each time, I have that brief flash: this existed five years ago. This may have saved Mom. Early on in treatment, a couple of colleagues pulled me aside and I got one of those lectures. The one that offered whatever

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Is Apple/Siri anti-choice, or are we seeing behind the curtain of politics & search engines?

There’s been a big fuss this last week over whether or not Apple is showing anti-choice sentiments via Siri’s answers for abortion providers, crisis pregnancy centers, and so forth. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you already are familiar with the debate. Apple has released a statement saying that no, not so much, not anti-choice, just limited programming. Do I buy this? Yes. Why? Well, a few reasons. First, and probably foremost, the fun and funny answers that Siri gives are things that are largely connected to geek culture, or flippant responses to basic questions. And as the push to celebrate female geeks in the last year should already tell you, women are still making inroads in being a visible part of geek culture, which is still very male-oriented. Plus, if Siri had a tongue-in-cheek response to an abortion question, well, can you imagine? (Say, offering a coat hanger signed

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