Categories
Misc

On the Beating of Children

[…]

The story illustrates the level of violence we accept amongst children in otherwise non-violent societies, but it gets even worse: differing speeds of development lead to huge differences in size and strength, meaning bullying is often like getting picked on by a Shaq-like giant.

[…]

Yes, in the developed world “corporal punishment” (literally “bodily punishment”, an eloquently Latinized euphemism for “beatings”) is on the decline, but if a 19th-century person told you that though wife-beating was still legal, it was on the decline, you’d look at them at least a little bit askance.

Corporal punishment, while permitted for children, is never allowed for adults, even for convicted murderers. It’s legal to beat a child for talking out of turn, but not for adults who have repeatedly, viciously, murdered people (*).

Countries that do beat people for talking out of turn are universally regarded as brutal dictatorships, just so long as those beaten include grown-ups.

[…]

Children are expected to never resort to violence. If on the playground they’re hit, they should not hit back, but find an authority figure instead. Generally, this authority will do nothing meaningful, and the only result will be the status penalty of being labeled a tattle-tale, resulting in an even more vulnerable personal position.

[…]

Meanwhile, if a reasonable adult simply feels threatened, such as from having popcorn thrown at them (**), they can shoot someone to death.

[…]

The value of truth as a virtue and liars as dishonorable is universally held, except when speaking to children.

[…]

Source

Very insightful article, and many of what they touch on is true in a western society.

(*) Singapore is an exception.

(**) Probably only in the US.

Categories
Misc

Bakfiets

Wish this was an option in Singapore — sadly, driving a bike here is needlessly dangerous. But likely a viable mode of transportation when we move back to Europe.

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Misc

Cost of Cars

Categories
Misc

Changing from a car-centric Paris to a cycling city

Also: (free) sparkling water dispenser. Genius!

I’ve not been in Paris since 2015, I believe. Feel like I should probably pop-by again and see if it really changed that much. I remember it to be mostly one big traffic jam with all the 2 and 3 wheeled motorcyclists racing in between.

It would be interesting to see if other major cities in Europe follow suit.

I’m actually quite looking forward to the biking future: riding (e-)bikes, a proper last-mile method (i.e. combing rental bikes or e-scooters with public high-speed railway).

Brussels definitely had a change of heart (for the better), but it’ll take 10+ years to properly realise all these projects. Is it too little, too late?

Bike Highways are becoming a thing in a few cities in Belgium (but not in Wallonia; and sadly, the one in Vilvoorde will take 4+ years to build). But I’m excited to see what this will become once all this is finalised.

Would love to see Singapore work on something similar.

For a very brief moment, we had rental bikes in Singapore that were hugely popular. That is, until the gahmen decided to regulate rental bikes because of stupid wild parkers; a lot of these companies either pulled out of Singapore or went bankrupt.

And we had e-scooters, that were banned pretty much overnight (or well, “only allowed on biking lances” — however, Singapore probably only has 5, or some absurd low number, biking lanes across the entire island; so it was an effective ban).

Since then, the desire of car ownership only went up (there is technically a cap — which is good, but leaves little alternative for families that need a car for things that are impractical with ride hailing). Speaking of, ride hailing companies are doing tremendously (prices nearly doubled in the past 2-3 years with the lack of competition).

I see an increase in (amateur) bikers, but it’s insanely dangerous as there’s no dedicated lanes except for a couple of PCN.

So dear Singapore, please please please build a city that does not revolve around cars (the plans are there, but all new development seem to still have all roads on top, with little to no cycling lanes).

Make it easier to use (e-)bikes, (e-)skateboards, unicycles and what not!

Categories
Misc

3M PFOS

Several layers of corruption. Bring forth the criminal charges and put these people in prison.

[…]

Last year she found out her 65-year-old mother had 1,100 micrograms of PFOS per liter of blood—a concentration more typically found in industrial wastewater. Her 68-year-old father had about 800. Her 19-year-old daughter tested at 300. D’Hollander’s own level had come down to about 100, which she attributes to not eating eggs and to breastfeeding, a theory backed up by studies showing mothers pass on high amounts of the chemical through their milk. She and her mother both have malfunctioning thyroids, a condition now associated with PFOS, and doctors have told them that at some point the drugs they take for the condition will stop working. Other health problems associated with high PFOS levels include high cholesterol, diabetes, hormone and immune disorders, and even diminished vaccine efficacy.

[…]

One sample showed 257,000 micrograms per liter, according to a 3M-commissioned study submitted to the Flemish waste management agency. For context, Minnesota’s current safe limit is 0.015 micrograms per liter.

[…]

After more than a decade of fighting, Flemish officials were eager to go ahead with the Oosterweel. They needed 3M’s help. In November 2018, Lantis and 3M signed their secret pact allowing the most dangerous of the toxic dirt (with 70 to 1,000 micrograms of PFOS per kilo) to be dumped on 3M’s site. Lantis argued Flemish regulations allowed it to move the soil without treating it as toxic waste as long as it served a function, in this case a security wall. Lantis estimated it would cost €63 million to move all that soil. 3M’s cost would be €75,000.

[…]

The Province of Antwerp planned to move roughly 4 million cubic meters of soil from the tunnel-highway project to a nature reserve far south.

[…]

Alongside health anxieties, farmers in the area have lost business. Koen Doggen grows organic vegetables that he sells to consumers through a subscription service. He says tests last summer showed his soil had more than twice the level of PFOS at which the government says sanitization is required. “I considered quitting,” he says. “I didn’t know if I wanted to work on contaminated soil. I breathe it in daily in the summer and wash it off my skin every evening. I wondered how I could ever sell this product again now that Zwijndrecht has become PFOS land, like it’s Chernobyl.”

[…]

High concentrations of PFBSA had made it into fish in the estuary of the western side of the Scheldt leading into the North Sea, according to a study paid for by residents of Zwijndrecht late last year. Flounder in the estuary had 24 micrograms of PFOS, seven times above safe limits for people who eat fish once a week.

[…]

Last autumn, 3M’s chief medical officer, Oyebode Taiwo, flew to Antwerp from the US to defend the company in Parliament. He argued that blood tests showing high PFOS levels weren’t proof the chemical caused the health problems that individuals were experiencing. “It could be due to reverse causation, meaning that it’s not the exposure that is causing the health outcome, but it is the health outcome that is causing the exposure to build up,” he said.

In other words, he argued certain people with specific health conditions are more prone to build up PFAS chemicals in their blood. Scientifically, the idea is dubious. Legally, it’s absurd, says Berezofsky. She points to the “eggshell skull” rule accepted in US law. “If I walk down the street and I hit somebody over the head, a normal person with a normal skull may just feel a bump. Somebody who has a skull made of an eggshell might die,” she says. “I’m still responsible. The fact that they have an eggshell skull does not relieve me of the liability of what I did.”

[…]

Source: Bloomberg