Rachel Strohm

art / history / public policy / science

83 Followers | 0 Following

Follow

Rachel Strohm

4 days ago

Today yaupon, which is distinguished by its dense, ovular green leaves and bright red berries, continues to grow widely throughout rural and suburban America, where it can be found in forests, on coastal islands and adorning neighbourhoods as an ornamental bush. Very few people, however, know that it can be brewed. Yaupon’s role in North American history has been fragmented, and only after a centuries-old history steeped in mysticism and international fame are people now beginning to recognise that they are living among the US' forgotten native tea.

Yaupon: The rebirth of America's forgotten tea

bbc.com

Rachel Strohm

4 days ago

In this post, I want to tell one of the many untold stories of the South Asian presence in West Africa. This story centers on family I know very well: my own. It spans six generations over the course of c.130 years, starts in Hyderabad and unfolds in Kumasi, Accra, and elsewhere in West Africa, via what is now India. I hope that this condensed memoir will serve to both foreground the historical relationship of South Asians and Africans and highlight some of the limits of these connections.

This is not Namaste Wahala: On Silences, (His)Stories and Ghana’s Oldest South Asian Family

everydayorientalism.wordpress.com

Rachel Strohm

7 days ago

In 1959, Mao, realizing his mistake, replaced the sparrows as a target pest with beetles, but the damage had already been done. The almost total lack in China not only of sparrows (which had to be reintroduced from the USSR) but of practically all other birds led to an immeasurable increase in the insect population. The number of locusts began to increase exponentially, and immense swarms of insects making their way through the fields of China destroyed most of the crops. From 1959 to 1961, a series of ill-starred events partially related to natural disasters and partly caused by the mistaken reforms of the Great Leap Forward (the idea to exterminate the sparrows being one of the worst), led to three years of famine so harsh that it caused the deaths of an estimated 20 to 40 million people.

Why Bumblebees Love Cats and Other Beautiful Relationships

longreads.com

Rachel Strohm

7 days ago

Digging for answers led the Averys and the Hyneses to a nurse with an odd nickname. “When have you ever heard of an angel of mercy being referred to as Tiger?” asked Edward Lake, the author of a book about cottage hospitals. It was this woman, Nurse Tiger, on whose watch most of the known baby mix-ups in Come By Chance took place.

The Lives of Others

magazine.atavist.com

Rachel Strohm

8 days ago

But the descendants of those who were interviewed for the Federal Writers’ Project have been given something that has been denied to so many Black Americans: the opportunity to read the words, and possibly see the faces, of people they thought had been lost to history.

Stories of Slavery, From Those Who Survived It

theatlantic.com

Rachel Strohm

11 days ago

Now, Huihan Lie, a 42-year-old, Dutch-born, Beijing-based entrepreneur of Chinese-Indonesian heritage, is trying to deploy technology to reconnect Chinese diaspora communities all over the world to their pasts. His company, My China Roots, is digitizing tombstones, ancestral tablets, and other artifacts that can help people of Chinese descent trace their ancestor

Technology is reuniting Chinese-Indonesians with their ancestral names

restofworld.org

Rachel Strohm

11 days ago

From the first treatment for leprosy to the foundation of the global positioning system, Black scientists have long been involved in major scientific developments, despite being pushed to the margins, refused jobs, and denied credit for their discoveries.

As part of the Black in Science special airing Feb. 27, Quirks & Quarks is highlighting Black scientists across disciplines who have made significant, enduring contributions to the world.

Meet 7 groundbreaking Black scientists from the past

cbc.ca

Rachel Strohm

28 days ago

Our research shows that Chinese banks are willing to restructure the terms of existing loans and have never actually seized an asset from any country, much less the port of Hambantota. A Chinese company’s acquisition of a majority stake in the port was a cautionary tale, but it’s not the one we’ve often heard. With a new administration in Washington, the truth about the widely, perhaps willfully, misunderstood case of Hambantota Port is long overdue.

The Chinese ‘Debt Trap’ Is a Myth

theatlantic.com

Rachel Strohm

30 days ago

So when I was informed that there was another oddity kinda like this involving the TV lineups, I decided I had to take a dive in.

It’s a tale that centers around channel 37, which was a giant block of static in most parts of the world during the 20th century.

The reason for that was simple: it couldn’t fend off its scientific competition.

Why Channel 37 Doesn’t Exist (And What It Has to Do With Aliens)

vice.com

Rachel Strohm

39 days ago

On almost every continent, pharmaceutical research is being undermined by a dearth of primates caused by an export ban introduced by China last year to restrict the spread of Covid-19. It’s a measure that was initially welcomed in the West, but which is now being seen as an existential threat to biomedical research in the UK, Europe and the US. Scientists fear that unless this shortage is addressed, the West will become dangerously reliant on China to test new treatments for heart disease, cancers and neurological disorders.

China’s plan for medical domination

unherd.com

Rachel Strohm

51 days ago

Just as the C5 can help solve investigations, it can also be leveraged by police and prosecutors’ offices to support existing forms of criminality. In Veronica’s case, C5 footage became collateral for extortion.

Where surveillance cameras work, but the justice system doesn’t

restofworld.org

Rachel Strohm

52 days ago

There was no single moment when I began to sense the long shadow that Cecil John Rhodes has cast over my life, or over the university where I am a professor, or over the ways of seeing the world shared by so many of us still living in the ruins of the British empire. But, looking back, it is clear that long before I arrived at Oxford as a student, long before I helped found the university’s Rhodes Must Fall movement, long before I even left Zimbabwe as a teenager, this man and everything he embodied had shaped the worlds through which I moved.

'Colonialism had never really ended': my life in the shadow of Cecil Rhodes

theguardian.com

Rachel Strohm

53 days ago

After local engineers recognised the value of sewage as a low-cost source of nutrients for fish, they started to develop a drainage system to bring wastewater east. A number of wealthy landlords-turned-fishery-owners siphoned off the sewage into inter-connected fishponds, known as bheris, around the area now known as Salt Lake. By the time India won independence from Britain in 1947, Calcutta’s authorities had completed a series of channels to convey huge quantities of sewage into the fisheries. Sewage was becoming a valuable commodity.

Where there’s muck there’s brass: making money from sewage in Kolkata

economist.com

Rachel Strohm

55 days ago

With many Afghans — 87 percent, according to one survey — believing that women should have the same educational opportunities as men, the Taliban has faced pressure from communities to change its policies toward education, which barred girls and women from schools in the past.

Why the Taliban agreed to let more girls in Afghanistan go to school

washingtonpost.com

Rachel Strohm

61 days ago

Thakrar is a co-founder of Dishoom, a small, fashionable chain of restaurants in Britain known for its vivid evocation of Mumbai’s fading cafés. When the pandemic hit, Thakrar’s most pressing concern was “to keep every member of our staff employed”. Realising that his restaurants would need to deliver, he sent each dish on a journey round east London, shook it up a bit and tasted it. He learned that “kebabs suffer, dal tastes fine and biryani is delicious.” He immediately halved his menu. Within three months of lockdown, Thakrar had opened four new branches, including one in Park Royal. These were all modular dark kitchens, a world away from its meticulously designed dining room.

Gulp! The secret economics of food delivery

economist.com

Rachel Strohm

65 days ago

The metals prices, in turn, are fueling a black market in stolen catalytic converters, which can be sawed off from the belly of a car in minutes, and fetch several hundred dollars at a scrapyard, which then sells it to recyclers who extract the metals. These global trends in emissions regulations, metals markets and larceny appear to have converged that rainy night in Mr. Kevane’s driveway.

Thieves Nationwide Are Slithering Under Cars, Swiping Catalytic Converters

nytimes.com

Rachel Strohm

66 days ago

One commonality amongst most orchids, and one shared by this species, is that V. planifolia is a ridiculous pain to grow in any volume. For one thing, this vanilla plant flowers only briefly, for a few hours, and pollination must occur at that time. Pollination itself is so difficult that it makes you wonder whether the plant has any interest in reproduction at all. It’s still not entirely clear how it gets pollinated in the wild. Generally it’s believed that a single type of small, stingless Mexican bee is responsible, and possibly some hummingbirds, but nobody’s really been been able to figure out how to get vanilla pollinated naturally in any farm-like setting.

How Did Madagascar Become the World's Biggest Producer of Vanilla?

atlasobscura.com

Rachel Strohm

67 days ago

The lunchbox moment is a story about norms, with the assumption that the person of color is the odd one out — which it’s easy to be. According to the United States Census Bureau, 76.3 percent of Americans identify as White (with 60.1 percent identifying as both White and not Hispanic or Latino). But that doesn’t account for non-white people who grew up around others of their background, or in diverse neighborhoods where no one race is in the majority. And while most people of color have some moment of feeling othered or different, it doesn’t always happen around food, nor does it happen with the same intensity. “I absolutely never [felt shame],” said Ren. “I felt bad for my white, American friends and the boring-ass food they ate.”

The Limits of the Lunchbox Moment

eater.com

Rachel Strohm

70 days ago

If only we were actually committed to addressing the long-standing conditions that permit American fascism to grow, we could transform society in ways that would preclude future white-supremacist insurrections. What’s more, this unfair racist criminal punishment system cannot be trusted to provide equal justice. When, out of desperation, we lean into this corrupt and primitive system, we cosign its abuses and validate its crimes across the board. That’s why decarceration—not just selectively, but for everyone—is the only way to ensure this treacherous system can longer inflict harm.

I’m for Abolition. And Yet I Want the Capitol Rioters in Prison.

thenation.com

Rachel Strohm

77 days ago



It took Portland, Ore., almost $1 million in legal fees, efforts by two mayors and a police chief, and years of battle with the police union to defend the firing of Officer Ron Frashour — only to have to bring him back. Today, the veteran white officer, who shot an unarmed Black man in the back a decade ago, is still on the force.

How Cities Lost Control of Police Discipline

nytimes.com

Rachel Strohm

84 days ago

Chinese money brokers based in Mexico “have come to dominate international money laundering markets,” U.S. prosecutors said in a Sept. 24 sentencing memorandum for Gan’s case.

Special Report: Burner phones and banking apps: Meet the Chinese 'brokers' laundering Mexican drug money

reuters.com

Rachel Strohm

84 days ago

When roaming the wards, SOFA projects two baby-blue eyes and a pixelated smile on a small screen, though it can show a range of positive emotions, from surprise to love. A second screen sits on its waist, allowing doctors to remotely share a patient’s medical records. Its jointed arms and fingers serve no medical purpose, but according to Laowattana, patients would rather communicate with something that looks like themselves. When interacting with patients, SOFA replaces its digital smile with a video of the controlling doctor, reminding patients that a human is still in the driver’s seat.

Meet the man trying to automate Thailand’s hospitals

restofworld.org

Rachel Strohm

87 days ago

In Sanskrit literature, the two rasas, essences, often associated with the monsoon are vipralambha shringara and sambhoga shringara: the erotic thwarted and the erotic fulfilled. Rain, the union of earth and sky, symbolized the latter; the yearning for rain the former.

Monsoon Dread

thebaffler.com

Rachel Strohm

90 days ago

Across Eastern Russia, wild forests, swamps and grasslands are slowly being transformed into orderly grids of soybeans, corn and wheat. It’s a process that is likely to accelerate: Russia hopes to seize on the warming temperatures and longer growing seasons brought by climate change to refashion itself as one of the planet’s largest producers of food.

How Russia Wins the Climate Crisis

nytimes.com

Rachel Strohm

98 days ago

Working in Paris and India at the turn of the last century, Waldemar Mordecai Haffkine created the world's first vaccines for cholera and plague. Then an accidental mass poisoning derailed his life.

Waldemar Haffkine: The vaccine pioneer the world forgot

bbc.com

Rachel Strohm

101 days ago

In three years, Mrs. Rodríguez captured nearly every living member of the crew that had abducted her daughter for ransom, a rogues’ gallery of criminals who tried to start new lives — as a born-again Christian, a taxi driver, a car salesman, a babysitter.

She Stalked Her Daughter’s Killers Across Mexico, One by One

nytimes.com

Rachel Strohm

102 days ago

The familiar trope of Jason Bourne movies and John le Carré novels where spies open secret safes filled with false passports and interchangeable identities is already a relic, say former officials — swept away by technological changes so profound that they're forcing the CIA to reconsider everything from how and where it recruits officers to where it trains potential agency personnel. Instead, the spread of new tools like facial recognition at border crossings and airports and widespread internet-connected surveillance cameras in major cities is wiping away in a matter of years carefully honed tradecraft that took intelligence experts decades to perfect.

'Shattered': Inside the secret battle to save America's undercover spies in the digital age

news.yahoo.com

Rachel Strohm

103 days ago

Even just a decade ago, face markings and other traditional Inuit tattoos were not often seen on the streets of Anchorage, Alaska. But today, their increasing visibility marks a powerful resurgence of Indigenous traditional practices and movements to decolonise Alaska. Part of that shift is thanks to Alaska-based Iñupiaq artist Holly Mititquq Nordlum and the other Inuit women tattooists going through her apprenticeship program, Tupik Mi.

Decolonising the Arctic, One Tattoo at a time: A Conversation with Holly Mititquq Nordlum

polarconnection.org

Rachel Strohm

103 days ago

Even just a decade ago, face markings and other traditional Inuit tattoos were not often seen on the streets of Anchorage, Alaska. But today, their increasing visibility marks a powerful resurgence of Indigenous traditional practices and movements to decolonise Alaska. Part of that shift is thanks to Alaska-based Iñupiaq artist Holly Mititquq Nordlum and the other Inuit women tattooists going through her apprenticeship program, Tupik Mi.

Decolonising the Arctic, One Tattoo at a time: A Conversation with Holly Mititquq Nordlum

polarconnection.org

Rachel Strohm

103 days ago


In the winter of 1942, on the shores of a lake high in the Himalayas, a forest ranger came across hundreds of bones and skulls, some with flesh still on them. When the snow and ice melted that summer, many more were visible through the clear water, lying on the bottom. The lake, a glacial tarn called Roopkund, was more than sixteen thousand feet above sea level, an arduous five-day trek from human habitation, in a mountain cirque surrounded by snowfields and battered by storms.

The Skeletons at the Lake

newyorker.com

Rachel Strohm

103 days ago


In the winter of 1942, on the shores of a lake high in the Himalayas, a forest ranger came across hundreds of bones and skulls, some with flesh still on them. When the snow and ice melted that summer, many more were visible through the clear water, lying on the bottom. The lake, a glacial tarn called Roopkund, was more than sixteen thousand feet above sea level, an arduous five-day trek from human habitation, in a mountain cirque surrounded by snowfields and battered by storms.

The Skeletons at the Lake

newyorker.com

Rachel Strohm

104 days ago

The relative price of fossil fuels and renewables is key to anyone’s decision of which power plant to build. Making low-carbon technology cheap is a policy goal that doesn’t only reduce emissions in your own country but in the entire world, forever.

Driving down the price of low-carbon energy should be seen as one of the most important goals (and achievements) of clean energy policy, because it matters beyond the borders of the country that is adopting that policy. This is the beautiful thing about technology: once it is invented somewhere it can help everywhere.

Why did renewables become so cheap so fast? And what can we do to use this global opportunity for green growth?

ourworldindata.org

Rachel Strohm

105 days ago

The new farm laws will fundamentally alter the workings of Punjab’s agriculture, especially the role and relative power of social and institutional actors, marked by the mandi system for around half a century. Meanwhile, the resistance to the new laws reflects both more established as well as relatively newer forms of political mobilisations in rural areas.

The Agrarian Crisis in Punjab and the Making of the Anti-Farm Law Protests

developingeconomics.org

Rachel Strohm

106 days ago

But biology, like computing, has a bottom, and the bottom is not abstract. It’s physical. It’s shapes bumping into each other. In fact the great revelation of twentieth-century molecular biology was the coupling of structure to function. An aperiodic crystal that forms paired helices is the natural store of heredity because of its ability to curl up and unwind and double itself with complements.

I should have loved biology

jsomers.net

Rachel Strohm

106 days ago

While renovating a house in San Francisco, a couple discovered a diary, hidden away for more than a century. It held a love story—and a mystery.

Castles in the Sky

magazine.atavist.com

Rachel Strohm

106 days ago

There were many factors that led to the recognition that birds migrate to other continents rather than the moon, but one which is pretty astonishing came about in 1882 in Mecklenburg, Germany. Someone shot a white stork, and when it fell, they saw that the stork had survived a previous attempt on its life. There was a spear embedded in its neck. Intrigued, the hunters took it to the nearby University of Rostock, where the spear was identified as “Central African.” The stork had, therefore, flown about 3,000 miles pierced with a two-and-a-half foot iron-tipped spear.

When Birds Migrated to the Moon

thereader.mitpress.mit.edu

Rachel Strohm

106 days ago

Several years ago, I began to photographically document vestiges of racism, oppression and segregation in America’s built and natural environments — lingering traces that were hidden in plain sight behind a veil of banality.

Hidden in Plain Sight: The Ghosts of Segregation

nytimes.com

Rachel Strohm

107 days ago

During the 1940s, Ransome-Kuti established the Abeokuta Women’s Union and fought for women’s rights, demanding better representation of women in local governing bodies and an end to unfair taxes on market women. Described by media as the "Lioness of Lisabi",[1]:77 she led marches and protests of up to 10,000 women, forcing the ruling Alake to temporarily abdicate in 1949. As Ransome-Kuti’s political influence grew, she took part in the Nigerian independence movement, attending conferences and joining overseas delegations to discuss proposed national constitutions. Spearheading the creation of the Nigerian Women’s Union and the Federation of Nigerian Women’s Societies, she advocated for Nigerian women’s right to vote and became a noted member of international peace and women's rights movements.

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti

en.wikipedia.org

Rachel Strohm

108 days ago

And as the deer’s psychological landscape metamorphosed in the presence of the wolves, so too did the physical landscape that underlay it. As deer numbers fell and grazing habits changed, the willow, cottonwood and aspen seedlings they had been stripping from the clearings were granted a reprieve. Undergrowth thickened. Leafy stands grew up along the river edges. In this way, fear is a force that shapes the world.

Landscape of fear: why we need the wolf

theguardian.com

Rachel Strohm

108 days ago

The underwater sculptures create both a physical barrier for nets and a unique underwater museum. The sculptures are placed in a circle, 4m apart, with an obelix at the centre carved by the Italian artist Massimo Catalani. Emily Young provided four sculptures, each weighing 12 tons, she calls “guardians”; nearby lies a mermaid by the young artist Aurora Vantaggiato.

Underwater museum: how 'Paolo the fisherman' made the Med's strangest sight

theguardian.com

Rachel Strohm

110 days ago

That evidence is part of why I keep stacking my money, planning for another good vacation in the national parks. At times it’s the only weapon I have against despair. I’m able to do everything my ancestors couldn’t—that’s the structure of my resistance. I swim in public pools and lounge on public beaches because they couldn’t dare. I am constantly working to figure out how to make you acknowledge me as American, too.

We're Here. You Just Don't See Us.

outsideonline.com

Rachel Strohm

110 days ago

This means that the same mayors publicly offering undocumented people protection are, to varying degrees, running governments that dump data into streams that trail back to ICE.

The Major Blindspot Undermining Sanctuary Cities and Helping ICE

theappeal.org

Rachel Strohm

110 days ago

Most significantly, the “community standards” Facebook uses to police content on its platforms were expanded. Usually, the company does not remove misinformation unless it creates a threat of imminent harm, but for a few months in Myanmar, that policy was broadened to include anything that could “suppress the vote or damage the integrity of the electoral process” — for example, a baseless rumor that the country’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, had died from Covid-19, which circulated before the election.

Facebook’s experimental hate-speech policy seems to be working

restofworld.org

Rachel Strohm

111 days ago

The three appreciated the scholarship as an acknowledgment of suffering, a payment of a debt that was owed. Still, it could not erase the pain that lived on within them.

Four generations ago, their ancestors were fleeing their homes — hungry, shivering, unaware of what would come next. Now the descendants were at a Chick-fil-A, speaking about their paths to becoming a dermatologist, a pharmacist and a financier.

After reparations

washingtonpost.com

Rachel Strohm

111 days ago

At the North Pole, 24 time zones collide at a single point, rendering them meaningless. It’s simultaneously all of Earth’s time zones and none of them. There are no boundaries of any kind in this abyss, in part because there is no land and no people. The sun rises and sets just once per year, so “time of day” is irrelevant as well

Time Has No Meaning at the North Pole

blogs.scientificamerican.com

Rachel Strohm

111 days ago

I thought I’d share my findings with you to show you that we prisoners aren’t deadbeats — our days are, in fact, incredibly full.

A Day in the Life of a Prisoner

themarshallproject.org

Rachel Strohm

111 days ago

Chicago's main answer to the neighborhood’s decline was to demolish scores of blighted buildings in a bid to improve public safety. But those aggressive clearance efforts left Madison Street with fewer storefronts for potential entrepreneurs and a glut of empty lots. And in the resulting vacuum, vacant properties became commodities for speculators with little connection to the neighborhood and, in many cases, little interest in developing it.

Disinvested: How Government and Private Industry Let the Main Street of a Black Neighborhood Crumble

propublica.org

Rachel Strohm

113 days ago

Nobody knows who made the Unicorn Tapestries, a set of seven weavings that depict a unicorn hunt and described as “the greatest inheritance of the Middle Ages.”

The Secret of the Unicorn Tapestries

theparisreview.org

Rachel Strohm

114 days ago

This 49-minute call between Navalny and Konstantin Kudryavtsev, one of the FSB officers who traveled to Omsk in the aftermath of the Navalny poisoning, provides a detailed first-person account that describes how the FSB organized the attempted assassination in Tomsk as well as the subsequent clean-up operation. The unintended confession adds significant new details to our understanding of the operation, including the exact manner in which, according to the FSB officer, the Novichok was administered.

"If it Hadn't Been for the Prompt Work of the Medics": FSB Officer Inadvertently Confesses Murder Plot to Navalny

bellingcat.com

Rachel Strohm

115 days ago

The few military and intelligence satellites are fundamental to U.S. security and are the source of its vulnerability. The early-missile-warning system uses only 10 satellites, the intelligence community's high-resolution imagery is provided by maybe a dozen, and military command and control communications depend on just six. “The central military problem has been,” Grego says, “that we extended ourselves into space, and now we're vulnerable.”

How Do We Prevent War in Space?

scientificamerican.com

Like this set of items on Pocket? Share with friends.