Blood vineyards, slave labor and the US wine industry

Frances Dinkelspiel writes in “California’s Wine Industry was Built on Slave Labor,”:

California, which had been part of Mexico until 1848, tried to solve the labor shortage in the spring of 1850 with a law that essentially enslaved Native Americans so they could be put to work in the vineyards.

Nicknamed the Indian Indenture Act, which was, in fact, the very first legislation that the state passed, cruelly stripped California’s Native Americans of most of their rights. It allowed any white man to identify a Native American as vagrant, lazy, or drunk, which would permit a marshal or sheriff to arrest and fine him. Since most Native Americans could not pay theses fines, a week’s worth of their labor would be auctioned off to the highest bidder, who would then pay the fines. The Native Americans couldn’t protest against their treatment because the law also prohibited them from testifying against white men in court. [link]


In praise of Gchat

Four years after I blocked my boyfriend, I sent him an email saying I would be visiting his city. We traded a few responses, but my trip fell through days before I moved overseas, and again we slipped into silence. Then, nervously, I unblocked him on Gchat — and suddenly, both tagged “available,” the messages started flowing. Now, when we don’t message each other, it’s mostly because we can yell from the next room over. We have a cat: 23 mentions and counting. [link]

Optimal exercise time is late afternoon to evening

4 to 8 p.m.: Overall exercise performance peaks. In physical activities involving strength, power, speed and stamina, this is the time zone when you’re likely to do your best, possibly because it coincides with your peak body temperature. “When your body temperature is higher, you’ll have greater lung capacity, blood flow to muscles and flexibility,” Breus says. Your hand-eye coordination and reflex reaction time are better now, too. So this is a great time for running, cycling, swimming or playing racket sports (tennis, anyone?), as well as team sports. A 2007 study from the U.K. found that soccer-specific skills, like dribbling speed, also peak in the early evening. So does performance during a cycling time trial, according to a 2005 study by the same researchers.

In addition, ratings of perceived exertion, or RPE, are at their lowest in the late afternoon and early evening hours, Rowland notes, which means you may be able to exercise harder for longer. A 2014 study from the University of North Texas in Denton found that healthy young men were able to perform exhaustive severe-intensity sessions on a stationary bicycle for 20 percent longer (until they reached the point of exhaustion) between 5 and 8 p.m. than between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. [link]

Transhumanists ignore low hanging fruit, because it’s not sexy

Paul Graham Raven says:

Well, I have good news: it turns out that technologies which extend, augment or otherwise improve human life are already here! You may have heard of some of them: clean water; urban sanitation; smokeless cooking facilities; free access to healthcare; a guaranteed minimum income; a good, free education. There are more – and you’d be surprised how many of them have been around in one form or another for decades, even centuries! But they’re unevenly distributed at the moment, so the first agenda item for all transhumanists should be looking for ways to get these technologies to everyone on the planet as soon as possible… because if you don’t, by your own logic, you are wilfully and consciously permitting millions if not billions of people to suffer totally avoidable misery, poverty, illness and death. Better still, you can start close to home; after all, what better test-case could there be for the even distribution of longevity improvement than the ~17 year lifespan differential between the wealthy and the poor in the United States itself? [link]