Yes in my Backyard!

Berlin

For too long cities have been plagued by NIMBYism – people who chant not in my backyard. People who oppose change have held back communities for too long and now people are shouting yes in my backyard – YIMBY. In Toronto the rise of this movement has led to annual event called YIMBY Toronto. The movement is international though and it’s primarily driven by people who have been negatively impacted by previous generations’ poor urban design choices. A whole generation is taking a negative and making it a positive.

The movement is fuelled by the anger of young adults from the millennial generation, many of whom are now in their late 20s and early 30s. Rather than suffer in silence as they struggle to find affordable places to live, they are heading to planning meetings en masse to argue for more housing – preferably the very kind of dense, urban infill projects that have often generated neighbourhood opposition from nimbys (“not in my back yard”).

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Lessons on Dealing with Assholes

The Asshole Survival Guide is a new book by Robert Sutton, a specialist in dealing with assholes. No, he’s not a proctologist. Sutton’s research is about what makes someone behave like a jerk and what others can do about it. He’s a psychology professor at Stanford University where they actually have a no assholes policy. If you’re dealing with a lot of jerks at work then maybe you should read his book.

Let’s get to the meat and potatoes of the book, which is about how to deal with assholes. So tell me, what’s your best asshole neutralization strategy?

Robert Sutton
First, it depends on how much power you have. And second, on how much time you’ve got. Those are the two questions that you have to answer before you can decide what to do. Assuming that you don’t have Dirty Harry power or you’re not the CEO and can’t simply fire people you don’t like, I think you have to do two things in terms of strategy.

To begin with, you’ve got to build your case. You’ve also got to build a coalition. One of my mottos is that you have to know your assholes. We already talked about temporary versus certified assholes, but another distinction that’s really important is that some people, and you mentioned this at the outset, some people are clueless assholes and don’t realize they’re jerks, but maybe they mean well.

In that situation, you can have backstage conversations, gently informing them that they’ve crossed a line. This is simple persuasive work. But if it’s somebody who is one of those Machiavellian assholes who is treating you like shit because they believe that’s how to get ahead, in that case you’ve got to get the hell out of there if you can.

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Positively Trolling Racists on the Web

protest

Racists aren’t smart, and recently their stupidity has been taken advantage of to make the internet a little better. The popular online community Reddit has some parts of the site occupied by racists and the larger contingent of the community got sick of it. Some members started to infiltrate those hateful parts of the community and take over moderation and posting. They deleted the hateful posts and replaced them with a hilarious take on the community’s name.

One of the first big examples of this new, decidedly wholesome form of internet trolling occurred on /r/Stormfront, a subreddit originally named after the infamous neo-Nazi website and internet forum. Thanks to some cheeky Reddit users who took the subreddit over, /r/Stormfront is now dedicated to discussing the weather. Any kind of “disrespectful, hateful or discriminatory comments on race, religion, ideology, ethnicity, gender, political affiliation and sexual orientation are not allowed,” according to the page’s new set of guidelines.

“I love that people coming to Reddit to read about racism instead find themselves exposed to trends in severe weather,” Reddit user awkwardtheturtle, who has reclaimed a number of these racist subreddits, told Mic via Reddit private message. “It’s just such a funny twist.”

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How One Hawaiian Mayor is Making His Town Better

ocean shore
Hawaii is a beautiful part of the world and like most gorgeous parts pf this planet it’s feeling the pressures of climate change. Despite the American government’s blatant rejection of science and sense in environmental policy one Hawaiian mayor, Bernard Carvalho, is bringing his community into the 21st century. Indeed, when the American government pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord the mayors of Hawaii along with the governor committed to following the accord in their state. Over at Grist they look at what Carvalho is doing in his community, hopefully other mayors will follow his lead.

At the start of his first full term in 2010, Carvalho opened his inaugural address with a vision of a better, more livable Kauai, which he branded as Holo Holo 2020. It laid out the top priorities for the community, from economic resilience to environmental sustainability, and identified 38 projects to carry out. That included installing crosswalks, photovoltaic panels, transit infrastructure, and EV charging stations.

“A lot of this came from my going out into the community. I like to go visit people,” he says. “From these meetings came these 38 projects.”

Many are well underway, and several have been completed, including an upgrade to existing bus service and the extension of a pedestrian path that now stretches along the seashore between the towns of Kealia and Wailua. (You can see the complete list of projects here.) “All of it is tied into this bigger vision of honoring the land and the water and the environment,” Carvalho says.

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eBird App is Helping us Understand Birds

birds
eBird is a mobile app that has been around for a few years and used around the world. As a result the app has been used to collect a rich dataset of bird sightings which provides enough data for researchers to have a very accurate understanding of some bird species. You can use the data to see how birds react to ongoing climate change or just to find out what’s migrating through your area.

“eBird data has become so good and so accurate in the Americas that we can track the full life cycle of populations of birds and watch them in real time as they kind of flow over the continents,” said Rondel.

She recommends people who are newer to watching birds also download the Merlin Bird ID app, which guides users through a series of questions to help them figure out which species they are seeing.

Beyond logging their own sightings, the app also helps bird enthusiasts find the birds they want to catch a glimpse of. The app allows users to search a specific bird and pull up maps that show where the birds have been spotted in the past.

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