LMR #11

March 2017

Considering the various projects and demands of my daily life, I decided to switch from a weekly to a monthly digest. So Last Week’s Reads will become Last Month’s Reads (LMR).

And for this last month we have:

The unfair and dangerous glamorization of Narco culture, Cesar Albarran Torres, The Conversation. A thoughtful look on the implications of the Hollywood and media representation of narcos and the cartel war, a narrative that not only perpetuate the stereotype of the Mexican or Latino “bad hombre”, but entirely overlook the actual brutality of what it is at all effect a war, where it is estimated that 160,000 Mexicans have been murdered and that it branches out into other illegal activities such as organ harvesting, sex trafficking and kidnapping.

Oliver Sacks on the need to normalize disability, Maria Popova, Brain Pickings. This is a very interesting story. Apparently there is an Island in the Caroline archipelagos of Micronesia, called Pingelap, where in 1775 a strong typhoon decimated the 90% of the population. Among the survivors, many deceased because of starvation in the following years, so that, from the original 1000, only about 20 people were left on the island. Centuries earlier, the original settlers had brought with them the recessive gene for total colorblindness (Achromatopsia), which flourished during the re-population of the island carried on by this small group of people. Color blindness manifested in 1 every 12 people, instead of the usual 1 every 30,000.

The achromatopic children seemed to have developed very acute auditory and factual memories… [They] were oddly knowledgeable too about the colors of people’s clothing, and various objects around them — and often seemed to know what colors “went” with what…[…] They were learning to compensate cognitively for what they could not directly perceive or comprehend.

Sacks came to witness how people adapted, so that this “condition” was not a disability or a defect but rather a new, different and exceptional ability.

There is a sort of critical level, so that if a tenth or a quarter of the population have some condition, it has to be accepted as a legitimate form of life and won’t be marginalized and, sometimes, won’t even be noticed.

(I believe this should actually be extended to any kind of disability)

A Cartoon from Tom Gauld.

Screenshot 2017-04-12 20.12.40

You look like your name, Anne-Laure Sellier, The Conversation. Yes, apparently you tend to mirror the character traits that your name suggests! It’s impressive to think about how many things shape, or at least can play a role, on the type of person we are!