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   I think it is uncontroversial to say that we are hardwired to be social animals.  Yet, why do we design our cities and spaces to make interaction and social contact less affable and easy to access?

 

“Urban loneliness is a virtual pandemic. Even though there have never been as many cities across the world as there are right now with such high populations, urban loneliness carries with it huge social, medical and financial consequences. Why are cities the new capitals of isolation? 

“Ideas contributor Tom Jokinen believes the design of urban centres may actually be the cause of urban isolation. Yet they may also contain the ingredients for a more integrated social landscape. 

It’s hard to believe that anyone could be lonely in the city, surrounded by millions of people. But urban loneliness is real, and it’s at the centre of a health epidemic.

According to Dr. Vivek Murthy, former United States Surgeon General under President Obama, loneliness can lead to increased risks for heart disease, anxiety, depression and dementia: in stark terms it is the same as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day.”

 

“Yet the idea of solitude and isolation is central to the culture of the city. Think of the paintings of Edward Hopper depicting nighthawks at the diner. His realist paintings are actually about something more abstract: what it’s like to be alone in a city of millions. Eye contact is never made in a Hopper painting — and the people in his paintings look like the last survivors of some urban catastrophe — one that’s been a long time coming.

In 1920, only 5 per cent of Americans lived alone. By 2016, that number was 27 per cent, and most of the growth of solo living has been in the cities.

A study by the Engaged City Task Force in Vancouver asked people to report the biggest problem facing that city. The result was surprising: they might have said homelessness, or the opioid epidemic. But the number one problem in Vancouver according to residents was urban loneliness.”

 

Who I see suffering the most from loneliness is the elderly.  As we grow older our world shrinks.  Mobility goes down and correspondingly contact with the outside world also declines.  Friends begin to die off as disease and accidents of life take their toll.  The golden years are rarely golden for many senior citizens.  What contact is available from the outside world comes through the television (and sometimes the radio).  The lonely context the elderly inhabit is a recipe for poor physical and mental health outcomes.

“What is it about cities that makes us so lonely? Just look up. The urban environment, with its tall glass towers of one-bedroom and studio condos is built for loneliness, it’s designed to cut people off from each other.

But things may be changing: new ideas like co-housing, where families live together, mean the city itself could become less forbidding. But is it enough to face down an epidemic?”

Not changing fast enough. These solutions need to have been started decades ago.  Our society is now paying the price for not designing our cities around the idea that we need social contact for our mental and physical health.  The quotes are from the preface to an radio broadcast on CBC called Ideas.  The show on loneliness is quite interesting, I recommend going to page and giving it a listen.

 

The argument proceeding from clownfish. The argument proceeding from strawberries. The argument proceeding from seahorses. “Intersex people are as common as redheads, so sex does not exist.” “Sex is a spectrum, so males are female.” “Bio-essentialism!” (Is that like thinking horses and carrots exist?) “It’s SO COMPLICATED.” “Thinking women exist is like thinking women […]

via The TRA Trope Almanac — Jane Clare Jones

This is an interesting way to think about household dynamics and how we approach the problems, conflicts, and solutions we encounter in everyday living.

 

 

“Imagine the household model as a system of pulleys and ropes. Those ropes are tightened (creating tension) or loosened (creating slack) based on material inputs, changes in life direction or needs, and other factors. If you get hung up on the specificity of pulleys, then just think of the household as an abstract system of interrelated slacks and tensions. The goal isn’t to accumulate slack and avoid tension; it’s to find a balance between surplus and utilisation for the whole system. We’ve learned that a household that can hold itself in balance and is prepared to sustain periods of imbalance is a healthy household. What you want to do is hold this balance and make the flows of resources something you can control.

One element of household design is managing the flows. Everyone possesses a hierarchy of slacks and tensions, and we bring those into our households. We can venture this maxim: Households run best when they are organised around the hierarchy of slacks and tensions of people in the household. No household looks the same as any other because each values things differently, but every household runs better when everyone in it shares the same sense of what’s important. In our case, we currently need a lot of slack in order to care for children, which requires more time and emotional energy, and we agree about working a bit less than full-time to get it.

When our older son turned 18 months and finally started sleeping through the night, Misty asked Michael when he would be ready to think about a second child. We can’t, he said. It would take all the remaining slack out of our system, and then some. No functioning system can operate without slack (in other words, at full tension) for very long. That’s one way to describe actual poverty: grinding stresses and the absence of any surpluses. That’s why it damages people, marriages, dreams. But the tension created by having a child is partly a function of how old they are. A needy infant makes you sleepless and fretty for weeks, stretched to the breaking point – until your baby smiles at you. As they grow up, the system gets more slack: the end of diapers and car seats, self-feeding, full-time school, independent playdates and sleepovers. One day you wake up and find that the rope has been let out in small enough increments that you didn’t notice along the way, but now there’s discernible looseness.

This piece from Aeon Magazine written by Misty-Mclaughlin and Michael Erard has a definite middle class sensibility and expectations around it, but I think it may be a useful heuristic model to think about.

What are the arguments against supporting female sex-based rights that do not involve insults, shaming, and hyperbolic claims?  How are any of these points unreasonable?

I think that most would agree with all of the below, yet expressing this opinion (one rooted in biological fact and material reality) in public can be dangerous for people because of the militancy and pernicious nature of transactivists.  I have yet to have a discussion in which I can make an argument against because there is an almost absolute vacuum of anything that resembles a debatable position.

A couple examples of common assertions made in gender debates:

Assertion #1 – Trans women are part of highly discriminated against cohort…  they face violence in society.

Retort – Adult human females are abused and killed on a scale world wide.  Efforts to change that have been ongoing and at a glacial pace, since forever.  The violence gender non-conforming males experience can be directly traced back to the epidemic of male violence in society.  Why not get men to stop with the violent enforcement of patriarchal norms rather than subsuming hard fought for female sex based rights?

 

Assertion #2 – Trans women are women.

Retort – There is no evidence that human beings can change sex, nor is anyone ‘born in the wrong body’.   Therefore, transwomen will always be male; and this is the only logical conclusion one can draw if facts are important to your reasoning.

 

 

 

Calling the defence of female rights, boundaries, and safety ‘bigoted’ has no reasonable basis in a fact based discussion.

You would think that our dear UCP government wouldn’t be so brazen in their attempt scuttle the investigation into their dark little web of political hackery.  Apparently not.  Their solution to being investigated by the Electoral commissioner is well… fire the electoral commissioner.

*blinks*

“The Office of the Election Commissioner has been dissolved and transferred to the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Alberta said in a news release Friday.Bill 22, the Reform of Agencies, Boards and Commissions and Government Enterprises Act, came into effect on Friday, the agency said.On Thursday, the legislature passed the bill, which included the firing of election commissioner Lorne Gibson.  Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley said Thursday the quick passage of the bill is the mark of a premier and government “consumed by power and unconcerned by the views of Albertans.”  Gibson was leading the investigation into the so-called “kamikaze” campaign of UCP leadership candidate Jeff Callaway and had levied fines against 15 people totalling $207,223.

Callaway allegedly entered the race to discredit former Wildrose leader, and Kenney’s chief rival, Brian Jean, only to drop out and endorse Kenney weeks later.  Kenney and Callaway deny they worked together to defeat Jean, but emails obtained by CBC News show high-ranking Kenney officials providing resources, including strategic political direction, media, and debate talking points, speeches, videos and attack advertisements, to the Callaway campaign.”

It should be readily apparent to both sides of the political spectrum that an investigation is warranted.  We, as a populace, need to be able to trust our democratic institutions.  It is bullshit like this that negates all the ‘get out the vote’ and ‘express your voice’ and ‘do your civic duty’ sentiment we are bombarded with before elections.

As a active citizenry we should be taking part in the political process the rest of the time, but that is another blog post.

“Edmonton-Manning MLA Heather Sweet, the NDP critic for democracy and ethics, sent a letter to Resler on Friday asking him to provide a report to the legislature on the steps he will take to preserve the material Gibson gathered during his investigation.

“Public confidence in the integrity of our democratic elections in Alberta has been significantly damaged,” Sweet wrote. “Any loss, misplacement or destruction of the evidence being gathered by Mr. Gibson in his investigations would lead to further irreparable damage to that confidence.”

This investigation is, rather ineptly, being swept under the carpet.  Thankfully the NDP is doing what good oppositions do, and not letting the issue be buried.

 

Source: cbc.ca

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