A lawsuit claiming that Skittles are unfit for human consumption was dismissed on Monday. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are fit for human consumption. They contain titanium dioxide, a substance banned in Europe because it can damage DNA. Taste the rainbow.
The United States did not see the red wave in the midterm elections that was predicted. Republicans did win control of the House of Representatives, but the results of the Senate are leaning Democrat at this hour. Not the result Republicans were hoping for.
Republicans may have gotten a little cocky in expecting that red wave, and this is saying something given that Democrats had a massive deck stacked against them. The Democratic President has record-low approval ratings, crime rates are sky-high, and the economy is pitiful. Given those things, Republicans still could not capitalize on all of that. Perhaps because of external forces but perhaps because the party is over-invested in former President Trump. Perhaps he is not the future but the past of that party? He is clearly worried that Florida Governor DeSantis will replace him. He warned on Monday that if DeSantis runs for President in 2024, “he could hurt himself very badly.” Hurt who now?
Actor Sean Penn gave Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky his Oscar trophy as a keepsake to hold on to during the war. So much symbolism here to unpack and I’m going to try.
Zelensky is a former actor. Here we have one actor giving what he calls a “symbolic silly thing” to another actor. If it is so symbolic and silly, why travel across the globe to give it to a politician who is leading his country in war? It seems to highlight Zelensky’s past as an actor rather than a politician. As in “this is something you once aspired to.” Is that intended?
Penn says that leaving it with Zelensky will make him “feel better and strong enough for the fights.” What fight does Sean Penn have exactly?
The visits to Zelensky by high-profile American actors seems only to reinforce the notion that American support for this war is based on propaganda. We are being invited to believe that Zelensky is a heroic figure by people who act for a living and live in fictional worlds. That is punctuated when Penn says, “When you win, bring it back to Malibu.” As if an Oscar statue is a talisman of virtue and triumph that ordinary people cannot touch. In Malibu.
You can be inspired by this act if you choose. That is clearly the aim. Or you can ask: What am I being asked to feel here? What is meant by juxtaposing war with celebrity that might serve to minimize the real human cost of the war?
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A group of British math professors has published an open letter opposing the “politicizing” math degrees. Actually, in the U.K., they say “maths degrees.”
What is this about? Recently a movement has grown, calling math a racist colonial pursuit and that it should be taught in a more diverse way. New guidance from the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) states that “the curriculum should present a multicultural and decolonised view of mathematics, statistics and operational research, informed by the student voice.”
But, this is math we are talking about. The professors say that they “abhor racism, but one can abhor racism without subscribing to the theory of decoloniality.” They say they do not think math is a “particularly European paradigm” but it almost doesn’t matter because very little history of math is taught in math courses. Math is taught in math classes.
“As just one example, the Japanese mathematician Seki and the Swiss mathematician Bernoulli both studied what are now called Bernoulli numbers,” the professors say. “We agree that where practical the mathematical community should use terminology that gives non- Western mathematicians proper credit, but this is not the meaning of decoloniality.”
The worry is that mandating a “diverse” teaching of math will lead to a “skewed perspective on the history of mathematics, seen entirely through the lens of the theory of decoloniality.” They ask that the standards board “Avoid promoting any particular political perspectives, no matter how laudable.”