Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Links: Double Super-Earths, Biodiesel Cheat Sheet, and a Tragedy Close to Home

This week's links involve good news, and then far more tragic news.

The fun bits first: astronomers have detected two planets near Earth's diameter orbiting the star Kepler-62. The star is a slightly more orange cousin of the sun, and the planets orbit within the habitable zone. The Bad Astronomer has the details.

Continuing from last week's biodiesel discussion, I'd like to share this publication from the US Department of Energy. It's a two-page PDF that covers much of what I went over in my post, and a convenient cheat sheet for the present use of biodiesel.

I'm at a loss at what to say about this last link. I actually feel a little bad for including it with two other links, because it's not just a tragedy: it's a tragedy close to home, and I want to give it its own post once I've emotionally processed it all. Audrey Pott, a teenage girl living in Santa Clara County, committed suicide days after three teenage boys raped her and posted pictures online. Her rape and suicide happened last fall. Authorities are only now making arrests.

The sheer cruelty of the boys is mind-boggling. The slow pace of law enforcement infuriates me. The practice of slut-shaming—in short, harassing women for possessing sexuality—feeds into this crime, especially as it manifests itself in youth social-media culture. It is a double standard that harms women, and seeing it at work here drives me to rage.

But what sickens me the most about this incident is the fact that I live in Santa Clara County. One of my best friends from middle school graduated from Saratoga High School, which two of the boys who raped Audrey attended. Had I been born a decade later, I might have known Audrey.

I might have also had the displeasure of knowing the boys who demolished her life. Three misogynistic boors who thought their maleness gave them the right to violate and humiliate an innocent youngster. Why the hell do we let these things happen?

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