what i’m reading 3/17/10

A police officer in Vermont tasered an elderly homeless woman for standing in front of a store.

Was the woman a coked up drug addict trying to fight off the police officer? Nope, the woman was a 58-year-old senior citizen who happened to be homeless and have a mental illness. She could be someone’s mother or grandmother. Her crime? Keeping her arms folded in front of herself, refusing to move, and then refusing to be arrested.

Unfortunately, not much has change since this Discover article was published in 1992:

The team went on to determine that the sperm tries to pull its getaway act even on the egg itself, but is held down against its struggles by molecules on the surface of the egg that hook together with counterparts on the sperm’s surface, fastening the sperm until the egg can absorb it. Yet even after having revealed the sperm to be an escape artist and the egg to be a chemically active sperm catcher, even after discussing the egg’s role in tethering the sperm, the research team continued for another three years to describe the sperm’s role as actively penetrating the egg. […]

In fact, biologists could have figured out a hundred years ago that sperm are weak forward-propulsion units, but it’s hard for men to accept the idea that sperm are best at escaping. The imagery you employ guides you to ask certain questions and to not ask certain others.

Not sure I agree with this criticism of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, but it’s an interesting point of view:

More action means more violence, and Alice was no exception. It’s remarkable that Carroll’s brainy, plotless tale of fanciful wordplay could become a fiesta of bloodshed and mayhem. Violence in kids’ media contributes significantly to violent behavior

And finally, I happened to stumble across this PSA from Fandom Lounge. I was recently contacted by this troll and coincidentally found this post soon after. He seems to be quite active in the feminist blogosphere.

If you have recently received a random message or contact from an unknown person containing text similar to the title [“‘can i talk to you?’ troll”], it may be a troll. His name seems to be Paul Melville Austin, but he uses a variety of pseudonyms […] This behaviour has continued over many years. He may or may not be dangerous.