As discussed previously, this is my weekly Twitter roundup. Note that tweets of articles generally include header images from the articles, which are not included here unless they happen to be available under a free license. Most are not. But I now add most of my commentary here, where I’m not restricted by the message length.

diagrams showing the division of the day and of the week

I also don’t generally attach pictures to posts with quotations.

9:04 – Mon 22 March 2021

Amazon Is Expanding Its Dystopian ‘Games’ for Warehouse Workers from VICE Motherboard

Completing tasks gives out digital rewards that allows them to “buy virtual narwhals, dinosaurs, and other electronic pets,” the outlet reported.

I can’t help thinking that Amazon is trying to look like a fictional evil corporation from a 1920s novel. After all, resolving labor disputes with pictures of narwhals (while spending a pile of money on busting unions) isn’t a plan that arises when you want people to accept the use of your company, and they’re not so big that they can afford to not care.

And look, if anybody needs a picture of a narwhal, I think I might be able to hook you up without requiring that you prove that you’re a more macho worker than anybody else…

12:05 – Mon 22 March 2021

Why is it that the screen Chinese is nearly always the villain of the piece, and so cruel a villain–murderous, treacherous, a snake in the grass. We are not like that.

Anna May Wong

9:01 – Tue 23 March 2021

The Caribbean’s foremost literary festival has released its 2021 longlist; Trinidad & Tobago writers dominate from Global Voices

…judges said it “reads like the work of a novelist in command of her material and focused on using a mythic ‘then’ to speak to now.”

I don’t have much time to read modern fiction, these days. But if I ever get away from my public domain/Free Culture biases, I keep hearing great things about Caribbean literature and would rather read that than yet another “chosen one” high fantasy book.

12:03 – Tue 23 March 2021

…people fought and died and bled for our right to vote. We have to start adjusting to new forms that make it easier because the greatest exercise of patriotism, the greatest exercise of the franchise, is to actually vote…

Kamala Harris

9:03 – Wed 24 March 2021

Republicans Want to Criminalize Protest from Common Dreams

The bill…makes it a misdemeanor to taunt a police officer, with words or gestures, “that would have a direct tendency to provoke a violent response from the perspective of a reasonable and prudent person.”

To be fair, this isn’t new. It has just been more overt since the Dakota Access Pipeline protests spooked Republican donors. Members of the Nixon administration have been open about the fact that the War on Drugs was meant to stop the movement against the Vietnam War. They keep trying to ban burning the American flag. And while both parties have used the idea, Republicans have been the most aggressive with free speech zones as a way of ensuring that protests aren’t heard.

That doesn’t make these recent bills less dangerous, just…less shocking.

12:01 – Wed 24 March 2021

I hope that my uniquely American journey can help pave the way for others, especially women, to step into their own immense power.

Mazie Hirono

9:02 – Thu 25 March 2021

Only Two NYPD Officers Face Serious Discipline From a Watchdog’s Investigations Into Abuse of Black Lives Matter Protesters from ProPublica

About 75 cases were closed before a full investigation could be completed.

It should go without saying, but there’s no scenario where this is acceptable.

12:04 – Thu 25 March 2021

I believe accurately remembering — and honoring — our whole past is the first step in governing in a way that effectively represents the whole America.

Tammy Duckworth

9:05 – Fri 26 March 2021

Jesus, Paul and the border debate — why cherry-picking Bible passages misses the immigrant experience in ancient Rome from The Conversation

At the time when Jesus tells his disciples about the necessity of “welcoming the stranger,” this was the righteous response to the political tragedy of a fellow human being.

I realize that people like to float their crackpot theories for what caused the Western Roman Empire to fall, but when you look at who attacked and what government they lived under, it’s hard not to shake the impression that the central problem was not extending citizenship rights to non-Italians. It’s especially hard to shake that feeling after realizing that the Eastern/medieval Roman Empire was diverse and inclusive, and survived for another thousand years.

12:02 – Fri 26 March 2021

You are your intelligence.

Kalpana Chawla

This may be cheating my “public domain sources only” criteria. Chalwa was an astronaut until her untimely death in the Challenger explosion. Given that her name isn’t well-known, I’m going to guess that this was said in the course of carrying out her duties, and therefore should be in the public domain as a government work would be. If not, though, it’s short enough that even I am willing to declare “Fair Use” to get the woman’s name out there.


Because it accidentally became a tradition early on in the life of the blog, here are any additional articles that didn’t fit into the week, but too weird or important to not mention.

The story of the Iranian new year, Nowruz, and why its themes of renewal and healing matter from The Conversation

Seeb (apple) is the symbol of beauty, seer (garlic) is the symbol of health and medicine, somagh (sumac) represents sunrise, sabzeh (green grass) represents healing and rebirth of the Earth, serkeh (vinegar) symbolizes patience, senjed (olives) signals love and, finally, samanu (pastry paste) is about the power and strength of forgiveness.

Earlier in the week, I referred to Norwuz as the best holiday that most of the world ignores. After all, solstices and equinoxes make excellent holidays to begin with. Renewal is far more representative of Spring than most Spring holidays. And while the particular symbols don’t necessarily cross cultural boundaries, the idea of assembling these sorts of symbols is a pleasant variety of ritual that doesn’t take over the house.

Note that I’ve also linked to Racism is behind anti-Asian American violence, even when it’s not a hate crime from The Conversation multiple times, this week, including in the blog post about representation of Asian women in media. I would also recommend ‘Sex addiction’ isn’t a justification for killing, or really an addiction — it reflects a person’s own moral misgivings about sex from the same outlet.

Credits: Header image is Circular diagrams showing the division of the day and of the week from a manuscript drafted during the Carolingian Dynasty.