The other day I listened to an excerpt of a talk by Jordan Peterson, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. He claimed with great certainty and conviction that reams of social science data more or less definitively prove that violent and property crime across the world stem largely from one source: inequality.
The crux of his argument is that the common wisdom that poverty breeds criminality is incomplete, if not flat-out wrong. It is not absolute poverty that creates crime, but rather relative poverty–particularly that kind of poverty that creates an immobile underclass of young men starved of social status, without any way to improve their prestige without breaking the rules–in other words, by committing crimes.
Now, this made so much intuitive sense to me that I had to look around and make sure it wasn’t too easy to be true. But lo and behold, the World Bank, hardly to my mind a paragon of progressive thought, backs this up in a 40-page study that I won’t quote from heavily. But here’s the money from the abstract:
“Crime rates and inequality are positively correlated within countries and, particularly, between countries, and this correlation reflects causation from inequality to crime rates, even after controlling for other crime determinants.”
It was beautiful, this empty place. Jondo knew he would be sad when it was destroyed. He wondered if he would be able to remember it after it was gone. For a long stretch he watched in silence, and wherever his gaze lingered, the clouds followed, rolling in from behind him. It always came from behind, the darkness.
He stood in a vast plain. The long yellow grass bowed and bobbed away from him in rolling waves, lashed by a rushing wind. The sky above him was dark, a swirling mass of furious cloud the swollen purple of a three-day bruise. To his left, far in the distance, rose a mountain. When he looked, it loomed closer. Above the mountain the air was clear, and it shone in the sun. Snow trimmed its base, reflecting a rainbow; it lofted into the heights of the sky beyond his vision, fading into the black emptiness, studded with stars as it grew taller and taller, until it became one with the ceiling of the heavens. There was no end to it, and he shook his head and looked down at his feet instead.
His toes rooted into the dark earth, tendrils reaching down into the still beneath as the wind tossed the world above into chaos. He could not feel the wind himself; but no matter which way he turned the grass bent away, as though it tried to run from him. As though it feared him. Continue reading “Somnia: a beginning”
I milled these myself from local mesquite logs. The lumber was waste from trimming my wife’s parents’ tree in their backyard.
I cut the blocks to show off accents of the lighter sapwood. I smoothed all faces, chamfered edges and broke corners on the belt sander, then finished the surfaces with several applications of olive oil, followed by beeswax applied with heat and hand rubbed clean. This is my favorite treatment for both wood and leather.
I think they came out pretty nice.
There are 24 blocks in this set; a similar, but still one-of-a-kind, set would cost $80.
The first thing I noticed when we landed on EG2 was the gravity. It was brutal, even in a powered hardshell. Three point one g is a hard pull. I felt it yanking on the skin of my cheeks, and my eyelids dragged when I blinked. The suit’s compression layer was doing a good job keeping blood flowing to my brain, but I could feel my heart pumping hard, and I was glad I’d been training in the heavy room on Hebridea for the last five weeks.
Michao looked like a jowly old draftrat. Somehow it made him harder to hate—a little less disgustingly good-looking. He grinned at me, perfect teeth making a strange contrast with his distorted face. “You could be a ‘before’ model for Regenis Skin Lifts, Soliera,” he said.
Sure didn’t take him long to burn up that little bit of goodwill. “You’re not so hologenic yourself at the moment. Should we get moving? We’re on the clock for rendezvous.” His expression soured, and I groaned inwardly. Captain Piet Michao never liked being reminded of anything by an inferior. Kiss the coula above you, kick the one below; might as well be his motto.
“Load up, Soliera. I want all those samplers in order. And double-check the roster before we start trekking. I don’t want to backtrack because you left a spectro behind.” Right. Like I was the one who’d cacked up the equipment list. I think he’d actually convinced himself that I was responsible for forgetting the crystallograph when we left Hebridea. That’s me, Ribekka Soliera: tech sergeant, algorithmic cartographer, convenient blame-weasel. Continue reading “Landing, Party of Two – a short story”
A leather sheath I made for a neighbor to fit a bush knife, which he found abandoned years ago in Mexico.
This is made from one piece of vegetable-tanned cow leather, stitched with waxed hemp cord and treated with olive oil. I also resharpened the knife and treated the handle with oil and wax to help preserve the wood, which had begun to crack.
The thick, stiff leather is wet-formed around the knife, and retains the shape of the handle as it dries. In this way the knife will not fall out of the sheath, even if you hold it upside down and shake it, but it can still be easily drawn and inserted into the sheath.
A similar custom sheath of this type would cost $40-$60, depending on the size and shape of the tool it is made for.