I was Raped and it’s Not My Fault: A Letter to the Editor
Naturally, it didn’t take long for the shame to sink in. It ate at me, made me untrusting, sad and small. For years, it was all I could feel. I didn’t trust that anyone could love me with the knowledge of my “condition.” I kept asking myself questions like, “Am I supposed to like girls? Boys?” or “Who am I? Is it worth even trying with people because they’ll never understand.” The girl who used to chatter incessantly became stuttering, silent, angry — unable to trust her own thoughts. Shame made me into a cold, selfish person I didn’t recognize.
It’s taken me years to rid myself of shame, and even more years to start to appreciate my intellect, recognize my strengths and begin to speak out for myself and my community. But without the example of people who inspired me to be fearless and open about myself and a group of wonderful friends, I might still be in that black box of shame with room to breathe but no room to grow.
Last week, however, Fox News made me feel that shame again. Some of their commentators made me, and my community, a punchline to their joke. Instead of celebrating a move Facebook made to give its users a chance to fully express their gender or sexual identity, Fox News correspondents decided to mock it. Unable to realize their own ignorance, they snickered at the thought that anyone could identify as intersex, even asking the question, “What if you want to identify as a pinecone?”
By laughing at our identity, they proved they’d rather spread ignorance than grapple with the complexity of our truths. We are all different, and our differences don’t make us any less human. Their commentary added to the chorus of those in power who continue to force us to accept a binary that isolates and leaves out people like me. I feel so sorry for those people. They forget that if we would accept others and be more open, like Facebook is trying to do, maybe we could stop making each other feel so deeply screwed up. Maybe, just maybe, we could even make each other better.
My birthday is around the corner. I don’t usually ask for presents, but this year I’ve decided to make an exception. I’m asking all my friends and family to donate to charity: water and give clean water to people who need it, instead of giving me gifts. Did you know that almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean drinking water? Every day, 5,000 kids die from water-related illnesses before they reach their fifth birthday. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are simple solutions like drilled wells, spring protections and BioSand filters that help provide clean water to communities around the world. 100% of every dollar you donate to my birthday campaign will be used to build clean water projects in developing countries. charity: water funds their operating costs separately through a group of private donors, so 100% of all public donations will go directly to people in need. Help me make this birthday my best ever — donate to my campaign!
This lamp absorbs 150 times more CO2 than a tree
It’s still in the “so crazy it just might work” stage, but these microalgae-powered lamps, invented by French biochemist Pierre Calleja, could absorb a ton of carbon from the air every year. That’s as much as 150 to 200 trees. [x]
YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. This is ingenious.
The design is a light bulb surrounded by a glass casing. The glass is filled with (water based) media and microalgae. The top is permeable to gasses so that gas exchange can occur. All of the wiring is linked to the grid underground.
Since the light source is inside, it gets scattered and “dimmed” by the water and algae. This makes it less glaringly bright and scatters the light wider, which is good for a street light. It is not longer white light as well, which helps make it easier on the eyes while still providing light.
At the same time, it provides the light for photosynthesis in the algae, so they are continuously exchanging CO2 for O2, not just in the day. It also provides a source of heat, which helps keep the algae from going dormant during cold weather (as in the snowy picture above).
And notice how I did not specify permeability - that’s because NOx’s (NO and NO2) are also permeable and can be used as nitrogen sources to microalgae. In fact, algae are relatively low maintenance. As autotrophs, they don’t require super complex media, not does it really need to be changed/added to. (I’m actually fairly certain that there would still be algae in these tanks a year later; it may need to be cleaned or something, but there would be some living algae.)
and they’re so pretty too
Can these please be a thing