HIGHTOWER: Cleaning Up Dry Cleaning

I apologize in advance for using technical jargon, but have you sniffed any "perchloroethylene" today?You have if you've had a suit, a blouse or other clothing dry cleaned, because perc, as it's known in the business, is the solvent used by nearly all of America's 27,000 dry-cleaners. Unfortunately, dry cleaning itself is not clean at all, since perc is highly-toxic, capable of causing central nervous system damage, reproductive disorders, miscarriages, kidney and brain damage and several kinds of cancer. With dry cleaners pumping out 250 million pounds of this stuff a year, perc has become one of the most prevalent air contaminants in our cities.So, is being poisoned or wearing dirty clothes our only choice? No, thanks to all kinds of innovative folks who are devising non-toxic ways to keep our clothes and our air clean. Some of the most promising methods involve going "back to the future" with what's called "wet cleaning" -- simply modernizing the old-fashioned processes of washing clothes.Another technique is to use liquid carbon dioxide -- the same benign, commonly-available substance used to carbonate sodas. Industry tests are showing that plain old liquid CO2 gets clothes cleaner than perc, does less damage to the fabric, dries the clothes quickly without needing high-energy heaters to do the job, can be recycled to clean load after load and puts zero toxic contaminants in our air.Not only do these alternatives to perc make sense, but they also will make dollars and cents for the local businesses that clean our clothes. The operating costs of the liquid carbon dioxide process are less than those of conventional chemical cleaning, and the cleaners can do two to three carbon-dioxide loads in the same time it takes chemical operators to dry-clean one.This is Jim Hightower saying ... This is just one more example of how concern for the environment is good business.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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