Links I Love: Volume 9

Hello people, this week I bring you stories on what happens when you give a tree an email address; why we should start eating bugs (hint: the earth is running out of food); a short history of British slavery era (because most people don’t remember this); the secrets of crying babies and car alarms; how to come to terms with your attraction to fat girls; when moving up endangers your health; how sleep deprivation affects the mind and body; why it’s difficult to acknowledge emotional abuse; the unfair requests we make of geniuses and lovers; how not liking things on Facebook changes what you see; the captivity of motherhood; #BeingFemaleInNigeria; reasons why Nigerians [should] detest homosexuality;how misogyny retards the growth of our nation and more.

People Are Writing Thousands of Emails to Trees
The city of Melbourne assigned trees email addresses so citizens could report problems. Instead, people wrote thousands of love letters to their favorite trees.

Eat Bugs To Save The Planet
Unless the media starts reporting more on environmental issues, bugs don’t stand a chance of becoming a common food source. Food is culture after all, and the media shape culture.

The history of British slave ownership has been buried: now its scale can be revealed
… that geographic distance made it possible for slavery to be largely airbrushed out of British history, following the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833. Many of us today have a more vivid image of American slavery than we have of life as it was for British-owned slaves on the plantations of the Caribbean. The word slavery is more likely to conjure up images of Alabama cotton fields and whitewashed plantation houses, of Roots, Gone With The Wind and 12 Years A Slave, than images of Jamaica or Barbados in the 18th century. This is not an accident.

Screaming For Science: The Secrets Of Crying Babies And Car Alarms
The team started by trying to figure out “what makes a scream a scream,” Poeppel says. Answering that question required creating a large database of recorded screams — from movies, from the Internet and from volunteers who agreed to step into a sound booth.
A careful analysis of these screams found that they’re not like any other sound that people make, including other loud, high-pitched vocalizations. The difference is something called the amplitude modulation rate, which is how often the loudness of a sound changes.

How To Come To Terms With Your Attraction to Fat Girls
Openly liking a body type that strays from the socially-constructed norm brings about shame. Even those who are not ashamed of their desires sometimes feel the need to be secretive about it. In the heterosexual landscape, gender studies lecturer Hugo Schwyzer says men are “taught to find ‘hot’ what other men find ‘hot.'” Basically, heterosexual attraction works on a societal level, and women are the building blocks for their male partner’s self-esteem. Fat women are seen as a “downgrade,” which forces many heterosexual men to deny that they’re attracted to fat women at all.

When Upward Mobility Becomes a Health Hazard
The psychological phenomenon known as “John Henryism” posits that when goal-oriented, success-minded people strive ceaselessly in the absence of adequate support and resources, they can—like the mighty 19th-century folk legend who fell dead of an aneurysm after besting a steam-powered drill in a railroad-spike-driving competition—work themselves to death. Or, at least, toward it.

How Sleep Deprivation Decays the Mind and Body
This aligns with my experience; while sleep deprived, I swung from profound bliss and satisfaction, laughing at Renaissance frescos, to deep sadness and rage, grunting like a gorilla one night in a Lucerne hotel room where I chucked empty glass soda bottles at my best friend’s head. the notion that a person can “catch up” on lost sleep is misconstrued. “If you’re getting five hours of sleep Monday through Friday, by Friday, you owe yourself like, 10 or 12 hours of sleep,” he said. “It’s not quite that simple. What that means is that, in order for you to catch up on weekends, you’d have to sleep ridiculous hours. And nobody does. You’d have to sleep the seven, plus an extra 12.”

Admitting I Was Emotionally Abused
This man had worn me down. He’d chiseled away like a fuckin’ Michaelangelo at my confidence and my sense of self-worth. There was nothing left but powder. He had bullied and brow-beaten me until I just did whatever he said. No, worse. I thought through every action and played it through the prism of, What will G think of this? How will he react?

“Be Normal At Dinner:” On Geniuses, Lovers, and The Asks We Make of Both
We know it’s not a fair ask. We know it’s an ask we would never stand to make of ourselves. That doesn’t prevent us from imposing this kind of request on the very people we claim to love the most.
In this way we diminish with entitlement the very people who set us free. And we dare to call that love.

I Quit Liking Things on Facebook For Two Weeks. Here’s How It Changed My View on Humanity
It seemed that there were fewer conversations, more empty platitudes and praise, and a slew of political and religious pageantry. It was tiring and depressing. After swearing off the Facebook Like, though, all of this changed. I became more present and more engaged, because I had to use my words rather than an unnuanced Like function

The Captivity of Motherhood
She concluded flatly that the “college-educated mother with a medium amount of money is the one who reflects all the problems at once.” With a keen intellect, but no maid or nanny to whom she could delegate some of her tasks, she found herself marooned on an island of disappointment, ruminating, “This isn’t what I wanted. What did I want?”

Demon-possession, washing boxers and #BeingFemaleInNigeria
You know how your friend who was a were got married and now is so calm and gives you all this advice telling you to calm down? It’s because she has learnt how to chop shit and clean mouth. It is a necessary part of the Nigerian man-woman dance, so don’t waste anytime thinking you or your relationship are the exception, or that you are above all that. Just get ready to chop shit, whatever your own version of it is.

Top 9 Reasons Why Nigerians Should Detest Homosexuality
For these reasons and more that I cannot possibly think of right now, I am in support of Nigeria carrying on as we always have: blindly. But just to be clear, I am not in support of gay marriages. You will not catch me at their rallies, I will not fly the rainbow flag in solidarity, and I will never, ever tell my children that it is perfectly okay to be gay and that God actually does not mind. 

Misogyny Retards the Growth of our Nation
Women in Ghana are discouraged from reaching their full potential for a myriad of reasons we are yet to make any true sense of. So far, the only justification for holding women back in the spheres of politics, education, spiritual leadership roles and finance is because it is the “natural order” of things…according to misogynists. And make no mistake: Ghana is overrun with misogynist philosophies, doctrines and policies.

The Ban on Plastic Bags vs the Ban on Bag Bans
Everyone uses them but nobody loves them, and they’re easily replaced with other kinds of bags. Which is precisely why they’ve become such a fitting symbol of a striking modern dilemma: They’re a ubiquitous convenience that’s not essential, that no one’s truly enamored of, yet one from which we can’t seem to extricate ourselves. Of all the perils facing the planet, plastic bags seem like an easy one to fix. But we can’t even do that.