A brown pitbull enjoying ear rubs

Biodiversity, disparate political opinions, and liberated house plants

It’s warm enough now for me to start putting houseplants outside. The season for doing this safely is rather narrow in my region — just a couple months where I can trust it won’t really freeze overnight. (Probably.)

Normally I’m champing at the bit to get things outside. I always have mealybugs, and sometimes aphids. But I think I’ve got more insect/arachnid life inside my house in general. I’ve been seeing a lot more spiders in particular. Everything mostly sticks to the plants, and it means fewer pests without necessarily more work on my behalf to remove them.

Still, I should get some stuff outside. They fare the winter indoors much better when they’ve had summer sun and water from my stream bolstering their strength for a couple months. At least my bird of paradise deserves more sunlight; I might try to get my bigundo African milk tree euphorbia out there too.

Tbh the Big Guys mostly wanna go out, and I’m kinda not keen on lifting them, heh.


Spotify announced that “Stargirl” from Lana del Rey and The Weeknd hit a billion streams, which is a first for any interlude. This is notable to me because it was basically the first song I latched onto from the album many years ago. I remember telling my friends it was my fav off the album and playing it for them, and the reaction was, “…Okay?” I feel so validated now.

I always like interstitials from albums — they tend to be more emotional, sometimes orchestral, and more to my taste. They’re just never long enough. Not sure if it’s possible to capture what tends to be so delicious about these interludes if you add a couple more minutes onto them, but I must believe it is.


I’m really looking forward to Bruce Timm’s next Batman tv show. (EW) Like many 90s kids, I love(d) Batman the Animated Series. He’s doing a bit of something different with the new one: a darker Harley Quinn, a less-Bruce Batman, a classic Catwoman costume, and making a few characters nonwhite.

The Harley change is most interesting, probably. But I note that they’ve made Gordon a Black man now. This follows a trend where movies/tv make cops Black people. It always feels off-tune to me.

There are certainly plenty of nonwhite American cops, but our police force come directly from a history of finding enslaved people who escaped. (The Harvard Gazette) The same article says that “Black men are 5.9 times as likely to be incarcerated as white men and Hispanic men are 3.1 times as likely,” and “Black and Latinx people were less likely to have their cases resolved through pretrial probation ­— a way to dismiss charges if the accused meet certain conditions — and receive much longer sentences than their white counterparts.”

Point being, the system is oriented toward white supremacy; it feels perverse to make Black folks the fictional face of fictional police. But movies/tv do it again and again. It seems like people want to be able to say “THESE ones are the good guys” without actually taking any responsibility for unpacking issues at the heart of American policing. I always ask myself, why does cop media get to benefit from the aesthetics of policing/detective noir/etc without any of the responsibility?

This is a bigger issue about anything in the genre. I’ve written police-genre stuff that is plenty flawed in its own ways. I just feel very attached to Bruce Timm Batman, so this one has me especially reflective now, with my changed and grown perspective.

Of course the cartoon may surprise me. BtAS was always more complicated than its contemporary peers.


M Gould Hawke, an âpihtawikosisân (Métis-Cree) writer, wrote an interesting post about how anarchists have never been unified on a stance irt Israel and Palestine. This blog directly quotes many anarchists throughout the last century-ish.

The more I study anarchism, the more I see how anarchist individuals are just that: extremely individual. There is far less sectarianism than you might expect in major political orientations.

Hence, whenever I think, “If ABC has anarchist leanings, and DEF does too, then they surely agree on XYZ” — that is quite likely to be wrong. Individualism has strong meanings when associated with anarchy. Trying to find an article to cite with this thought was basically impossible, because I found hundreds of articles about individualism irt anarchy and they all had different things to say.

I guess I should have seen that coming, haha.


Lawyers, Guns, & Money noted that we don’t seem to have learned anything from COVID in relation to work conditions. If bird flu becomes a major concern in the USA, dairy workers will be the initial vector, and we’re not testing/tracking them. (The Guardian)

I’m not getting into bird flu much today though. I’m thinking more about the conjunction between changing climate and disease.

Smithsonian Mag posted an article about how declining biodiversity feeds into disease.

Researchers aimed to avoid a human-centric approach to their analysis, considering also how plants and animals would be at risk from pathogens. Their conclusions showed that four of the examined factors—climate change, chemical pollution, the introduction of non-native species to new areas and biodiversity loss—all increased the likelihood of spreading disease, with the latter having the most significant impact.

Disease and mortality were nearly nine times higher in areas of the world where human activity has decreased biodiversity, compared to the levels expected by Earth’s natural variation in biodiversity, per the Washington Post.

Scientists hypothesize this finding could be explained by the “dilution effect”: the idea that pathogens and parasites evolve to thrive in the most common species, so the loss of rarer creatures makes infection more likely.

I predict we’re going to hear more about biodiversity specifically in the coming years. Climate change is quite politicized as a subject; activists must look for other ways to motivate change without touching inflamed nerves as quickly.

I say this because I’m starting to see more articles about biodiversity in general. Chris Armstrong at Crooked Timber just noted that legislating irt biodiversity loss has failed so far. (As usual, don’t bother reading the comments.) AJE highlighted struggles over Jilobi Forest as a “biodiversity hotspot” specifically. The Guardian has been looking at limited biodiversity in England and Wales’s national parks. And so on.

Tangentially related: It’s worth noting that USDA hardiness zones changed in the last couple years. The biodiversity increases possible in your own back yard might surprise you compared to, say, a decade ago. It’s kind of exciting for gardeners (my area is warmer in the winter, hence needing fewer cold hardy plants) if not for the environment.


Fights for labor rights around the globe continue. Employees of Vatican Museums are demanding better treatment, (The Guardian) and I wish the best for them.

Apple retail employees are also looking at striking in Maryland. (Quartz)


Solar maximum hasn’t caused as many obvious infrastructural problems as it seemed it might. But you know who is getting hit? Farmers relying on precision GPS. (Engadget)

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