“Israeli forces launched a preemptive strike against PIJ targets on August 5, Reuters reported, after one of the group’s leaders, Bassam al-Saadi, was arrested in the Occupied West Bank. Israel claims to have hit a number of PIJ targets. However, several civilians, including 17 children, were killed in the clashes, both by Israeli weapons and possibly by errant PIJ rockets intended for Israeli targets. A ceasefire brokered by Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, the US, the UN, and the Palestinian Authority between Israel and the PIJ last Sunday has thus far held; however, an attack on worshipers in Jerusalem’s Old City late on Sunday could portend more violence. At least eight people, including US citizens, were injured in the attack, which was allegedly carried out by a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem, according to Israeli authorities. They have not yet released his name, and there is no indication that he is affiliated with any larger group, according to Reuters.
Despite the ceasefire, the aftermath of even short-term hostilities in Gaza goes far beyond active bombardments and shelling; the combination of years of violence, a brutal blockade, and state repression has created an enduring crisis. What’s more, there’s little chance to recover before violence breaks out again.
According to initial UN reporting, 360 Palestinians have been injured in the fighting, and Gazans experienced a tightened Israeli blockade of goods and services that led to 20-plus-hour rolling blackouts each day. There were no Israeli deaths or serious injuries, the Associated Press reported”
“The Gaza strip is home to around 2 million Palestinians and has been governed by Hamas since 2007, when the group took control from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, which governs the West Bank. The two groups have had no success in creating a unity government over the past 15 years, despite repeated attempts, weakening the Palestinian resistance and further disenfranchising ordinary Palestinians. Although Fatah and Hamas agreed to hold elections in 2021, which would be the first since 2006, those elections have been postponed indefinitely.”
“”Luck,” E.B. White once said, “is not something you can mention in the presence of self-made men.” They worked hard, no doubt, to get where they are. But they also benefited enormously from good fortune, not just in life but in life’s building blocks. A fortunate combination of thousands of slight genetic differences boosted their intelligence, motivation, openness to experience, task perseverance, executive function, and interpersonal skills.
“Like being born to a rich or poor family, being born with a certain set of genetic variants is the outcome of a lottery of birth,” the behavioral geneticist Kathryn Paige Harden argues in The Genetic Lottery. “And, like social class, the outcome of the genetic lottery is a systemic force that matters for who gets more, and who gets less, of nearly everything we care about in society.””
“In the new book There Are No Accidents, author Jessie Singer argues that basically everything we consider to be an “accident” — be it car accidents or fatal fires or workplace injuries — are in fact not accidents at all. Humans, Singer writes, make mistakes all the time, but it’s the dangerous conditions in our built environments that result in fatal consequences. Larger systemic forces, shaped by corporations and governments, intersect to create vulnerabilities that we don’t all share equally. Anticipating and reducing those opportunities for human error is the key to preventing needless death.”
“When we talk about accidental death, what we’re talking about is unintended, injury-related death, not violence and not disease. There is a huge swath of ways that people die, from choking, to falls, to drowning, to traffic crashes, to fires, to poisoning, to drug overdoses. It is a massive category that includes much more obscure and unlikely ways to die, like freezing to death or starving to death, which of course still do happen.
These are all considered accidents. But there are racialized and economic differences in some accidental deaths — they’re not universal. Indigenous people are more than twice as likely as white people to be killed by a car crossing the street, and Black people are more than twice as likely to die in an accidental house fire than white people. There’s quite a bit of conditional exposure in whether or not a house fire is deadly, whether or not a traffic crash is deadly. It has to do with different layers of exposure, and that layered causality is really important.
If you’re driving an old car, you’re more likely to die in a traffic crash. If someone is driving a much bigger car than you or if you live in a low-income neighborhood where they’re not repairing the roads, you’re also more likely to die. And if you’re in a scenario where all three of those factors are interacting and maybe there are other factors too, like your local hospital recently closed, which means you’re farther away from emergency medical services — all of these layers contribute to whether or not we survive our mistakes. Certain people have less opportunities to survive their mistakes.”
“We should also be advocating on the federal level to rebuild the social safety net so people don’t have to make bad decisions. Pay people money to protect themselves, to drive a safer car, to not take the most dangerous job or live in the least-safe place. There’s also so much you can do locally. There are a million ways to prevent accidental death. In your neighborhood, you can advocate for traffic calming and public transit expansions, because if you don’t have to drive a car, you are much safer. If you’re able to take a bus or a train, that makes you more likely to survive your trip from point A to point B.
You can advocate for safe injection sites, and the free distribution of Naloxone and syringes. Simply making them accessible without stigma will not only prevent accidental overdose, but will prevent the accidental transmission of diseases. You can fight for in-your-home and in-your-office ADA accessibility, like ramps and grab bars, so an accidental fall is less likely to end in death.
This even extends to much less-common causes of accidental death, like fighting for fire safety requirements like sprinklers and self-closing doors in apartment buildings in the city you live in. It means that when someone makes the mistake of lighting something on fire, it’s less likely to kill people. As long as we can stop focusing on the last person who made a mistake, as long as we can accept that mistakes are inevitable but premature death is not, we can do so much to protect each other.”
“the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced that it would reinstate its SAT/ACT test requirement for applicants. In a departure from the trends set by other elite universities, MIT rolled back its admissions policy, implemented in the 2020–2021 admissions cycle, which made standardized test scores optional. Administrators cited key issues with “holistic” admissions standards, an increasingly popular method of equitably distributing open spots to students regardless of how well they perform on standardized tests.
In a statement explaining the decision, MIT Dean of Admissions and Student Financial Services Stu Schmill noted that MIT’s “research shows standardized tests help us better assess the academic preparedness of all applicants, and also help us identify socioeconomically disadvantaged students who lack access to advanced coursework or other enrichment opportunities that would otherwise demonstrate their readiness for MIT.”
Without an objective measure like a standardized test, low-income students—who may not have equal access to other pieces of the holistic pie, such as a plethora of Advanced Placement (A.P.) classes or numerous extracurriculars—have a harder time proving that they are academically prepared for an MIT education. A move that was intended to increase diversity and help low-income students, as it turns out, mostly helps low-scoring wealthy students—and makes it harder to identify talented yet underprivileged applicants.
MIT now distinguishes itself from other elite universities, a spate of which have removed their SAT and ACT requirements in recent years, primarily citing COVID-19 and diversity-related justifications for the policy change.
The original logic of such policies is based on the idea that SAT and ACT scores correlate strongly with income, which suggests that students from poorer households are denied admission to competitive schools solely because they can’t afford to ace the SATs.
However, omitting standardized test scores makes all applicants reliant on application materials that correlate even more highly with income, such as admissions essays. A 2021 Stanford study found that essays are actually more strongly correlated with household income than SAT scores. Thus, by omitting one income-correlated metric, one that is even more closely related to income takes prominence.
While wealthy parents can pay for test prep, they can’t take a standardized test for their children (well, almost never). However, with essay coaches and college counselors at their disposal, many wealthy students’ college essays can be manicured to fit exactly what schools are looking for.”