Lesson 21: Gloria Steinem’s Aphorisms; Fish, Power, Love, Bunnies, and Life

It turns out that the phrase “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” did not originate with Gloria Steinem, but rather was inspired by another phrase: a man needs God like a fish needs a bicycle. U2 used the line well once, catching the additional irony of the idea when sung by a man. Yet the phrase remains connected to Steinem because it remains emblematic of feminism’s crux: politics, mixed with wit, stirred through emotion. In the end, one central story of feminism was the story of relationships; boiling the movement’s politics down to “woman,” “man,” and “need” was critically brilliant.

Here’s what Steinem said about the quote

"In your note on my new and happy marital partnership with David Bale, you credit me with the witticism 'A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.' In fact, Irina Dunn, a distinguished Australian educator, journalist and politician, coined the phrase back in 1970 when she was a student at the University of Sydney. She paraphrased the philosopher who said, 'Man needs God like fish needs a bicycle.' Dunn deserves credit for creating such a popular and durable spoof of the old idea that women need men more than vice versa."

Intimacy Aphorisms

Aphorisms don’t have to be brilliant; they rarely stick. But perhaps exchanging “man” for God” and “woman” for “man” makes this one newly crucial for young girls. It doesn’t mean that girls don’t need love, nor does it mean that men are antithetical to their happiness. The key word in the phrase is not “woman” or “man” but “need.” Our finest feminists understood that dependence, not love, equals oppression. The first step to asserting independence occurs at the nuclear level, when girl meets boy.

“What we are talking about is a revolution, and not a reform,” Steinem says in a clip from the new HBO documentary, “Gloria: In Her Own Words.” What’s so wholly inspiring is the fact that definitions were less important than actions at the start of the movement.

Love Is Not About Power

At one point in the film, we see a close-up of Steinem’s daybook, into which she’s penciled the word “bunny-work.” Her time undercover at Playboy remains infamous, but know we see it differently: of all the bunnies, she remains the most cool. Her mind comes through the tail and ears and glamour and irony. Her honest, complicated feelings about the choice to do that piece are riveting, as are her riffs on marriage (“people ask me why I’m not married; I can’t mate in captivity”); on her hair (inspired by Hepburn’s Holly Golightly); on President Nixon’s sexual insecurities. But Steinem’s most illuminating lines are the simplest, like “love is not about power.”  One woman’s consistent, clear vision for women in the rest of the world is as much a philosophy of love as it is one of work, and politics.

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Would you have to tip robots? You might be answering that question sooner than you think as Domino's is about to start using robots for delivering pizza. Later this year a fleet of self-driving robotic vehicles will be spreading the joy of pizza throughout the Houston area for the famous pizza manufacturer, using delivery cars made by the Silicon Valley startup Nuro.

The startup, founded by Google veterans, raised $940 million in February and has already been delivering groceries for Kroger around Houston. Partnering with the pizza juggernaut Domino's, which delivers close to 3 million pizzas a day, is another logical step for the expanding drone car business.

Kevin Vasconi of Domino's explained in a press release that they see these specially-designed robots as "a valuable partner in our autonomous vehicle journey," adding "The opportunity to bring our customers the choice of an unmanned delivery experience, and our operators an additional delivery solution during a busy store rush, is an important part of our autonomous vehicle testing."

How will they work exactly? Nuro explained in its own press release that this "opportunity to use Nuro's autonomous delivery" will be available for some of the customers who order online. Once they opt in, they'll be able to track the car via an app. When the vehicle gets to them, the customers will use a special PIN code to unlock the pizza compartment.

Nuro and its competitors Udelv and Robomart have been focusing specifically on developing such "last-mile product delivery" machines, reports Arstechnica. Their specially-made R1 vehicle is about half the size of a regular passenger car and doesn't offer any room for a driver. This makes it safer and lighter too, with less potential to cause harm in case of an accident. It also sticks to a fairly low speed of under 25 miles an hour and slams on the breaks at the first sign of trouble.

What also helps such robot cars is "geofencing" technology which confines them to a limited area surrounding the store.

For now, the cars are still tracked around the neighborhoods by human-driven vehicles, with monitors to make sure nothing goes haywire. But these "chase cars" should be phased out eventually, an important milestone in the evolution of your robot pizza drivers.

Check out how Nuro's vehicles work: