I really liked some of the points made in this article save for the Bill Maher’s comment, didn’t really need it. But the general point made about a scientifically literate public bringing a political fallout was spot on.
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has been the recipient of a seemingly bizarre political backlash — after the conservative magazine National Review penned a takedown cover story on the “Cosmos” host last week depicting him as a smug, intellectual bully.
The story struck many as odd given Tyson’s gentle, geeky presentation style. Comedian Bill Maher had Tyson on his HBO show over the weekend, trying to make sense of the backlash.
“You’re a scientist, and a black one, who’s smarter than [conservatives] are,” Maher quipped.
The line got laughs, but it’s worth remembering that Tyson served the George W. Bush administration as a member of the Commission on Moon, Mars and Beyond in 2004. Conservatives have no problem harnessing Tyson’s intellect.
No, the danger Tyson brings to the political structure, as he gains an increasingly large foothold in the popular culture, is the threat of an informed populace.
“When you’re scientifically literate, the world looks different to you,” Tyson wrote in 2011. “It’s a particular way of questioning what you see and hear. When empowered by this state of mind, objective realities matter. These are the truths of the world that exist outside of whatever your belief system tells you.”
That may not sound radical, but the promise of a large, nerdy, young voting block that subscribes to Tyson’s sentiment is a threat to the political status quo — certainly Republicans, but Democrats as well.
Imagine if millions of young Tyson fans stopped searching for facts to confirm their personal biases, or ceased prioritizing using their education to leverage personal wealth, and instead sought the most sound solutions to identifiable problems for the betterment of the species. If the rising generation of young voters actually starts demanding rational, evidence-guided leadership, few in our current crop of elected officials would survive the political fallout.
Consider this: In 1995, the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment — a nonpartisan panel of scientists and researchers assembled to offer objective technical guidance to Congress on scientifically complex issues — was stripped of all funding, effectively shutting it down. (Officially, it still exists on paper.) It has remained unfunded ever since. (Thanks, Newt Gingrich.) An attempt in May to provide a paltry $2.5 million to the office was stymied by House Republicans.
In a world where advanced technology has infiltrated nearly every corner of our lives — raising a litany of technical, ethical and legal challenges — our government is willfully scientifically illiterate.
The reason this status quo has been allowed to persist is that the general population isn’t much better. Conservatives continue to fight any attempts to combat climate change, while many liberals are refusing to vaccinate their children over fears of a nonexistent link to autism. It wouldn’t be hard to predict a liberal backlash against Tyson, similar to the one we’re seeing from conservatives, if he were to speak more prominently about his endorsement of genetically modified foods — one of the more scientifically unfounded banner arguments of the left.
Tyson is a threat to this cone of ignorance and self-interest. He’s a champion of knowledge and the human potential. He brings the fundamental belief that our species is destined for something greater than the interminable squabble between self-interested individuals and rival nations and dwindling resources — that our collective efforts can be applied to the pursuit of knowledge, ultimately paving the way for our exploration of the galaxy.
That’s a vision people can get behind. It’s also one that could potentially upend everything we know.
We’ve come to expect impossible, even improbable standards of beauty to populate our magazines and our television shows. It’s another thing entirely to find they’ve invaded our workplace.
Damn I’m screwed
I had to learn about this stuff in Speech Class. The point was so that we could remember to “look our best” when we present a speech, but all it did was prove to me how much easier life is for the conventionally attractive, and it wasn’t just me being delusional. :(
Apparently people are just nicer to you in general if you’re attractive.
It’s also important to think about what they really mean by “conventionally attractive”
A Russian tank manufacturer has unveiled a new tram design that it plans to start mass-producing in 2015. These beautiful pieces of engineering will hold 190 to 270 passengers and will be able to traverse on even the older, worn out Russian tram tracks.
I have never wanted to fuck a tram before, but here we are.
shinji you must pilot the tram
Palestinians express solidarity with the people of Ferguson
August 17, 2014
We the undersigned Palestinian individuals and groups express our solidarity with the family of Michael Brown, a young unarmed black man gunned down by police on August 9th in Ferguson, Missouri. We wish to express our support and solidarity with the people of Ferguson who have taken their struggle to the street, facing a militarized police occupation.
From all factions and sectors of our dislocated society, we send you our commitment to stand with you in your hour of pain and time of struggle against the oppression that continues to target our black brothers and sisters in nearly every aspect of their lives.
We understand your moral outrage. We empathize with your hurt and anger. We understand the impulse to rebel against the infrastructure of a racist capitalist system that systematically pushes you to the margins of humanity.
And we stand with you.
We recognize the disregard and disrespect for black bodies and black life endemic to the supremacist system that rules the land with wanton brutality. Your struggles through the ages have been an inspiration to us as we fight our own battles for basic human dignities. We continue to find inspiration and strength from your struggles through the ages and your revolutionary leaders, like Malcolm X, Huey Newton, Kwame Ture, Angela Davis, Fred Hampton, Bobby Seale and others.
We honor the life of Michael Brown, cut short less than a week before he was due to begin university. And we honor the far too many more killed in similar circumstances, motivated by racism and contempt for black life: Ezell Ford, John Crawford, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tarika Wilson, Malcolm Ferguson, Renisha McBride, Amadou Diallo, Yvette Smith, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Kathryn Johnston, Rekia Boyd and too many others to count.
With a Black Power fist in the air, we salute the people of Ferguson and join in your demands for justice.
- Susan Abulhawa, novelist and activist
- Linah Alsaafin, graduate student, SOAS
- Budour Hassan
- Rinad Abdulla, Professor, Birzeit University
- Ramzy Baroud, Managing Editor, Middle East Eye
- Diana Buttu, Lawyer, Palestine
- Rana Baker, graduate student, SOAS
- Abbas Hamideh, activist and organizer
- Abir Kopty
- Ahlam Muhtaseb, Professor, CSU
- Alaa Milbes, Ramallah, Palestine
- Alaa Marwan, Ramallah, Palestine
- Nour Joudah, Washington DC
- Ali Zbeidat, Sakhnin, Palestine
- Areej Alragabi , Jerusalem, Palestine
- Areej Saeb, student, Jerusalem
- Asma Jaber
- Beesan Ramadan, Nablus
- Dina Zbidat, Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Dr Jess Ghannam, UCSF
- Huwaida Arraf, Attorney, New York
- Nejma Awad, Tetra Tech DPK
- Monadel Herzallah, USPCN, San Francisco Bay Area
- Ghassan Hussein
- Dinna Omar
- Randa C. Issa
- Amal Khoury, MD MPH, Washington, DC
- Amani Barakat Moorpark, California
- Fadi Quran
- Fajr Harb
- Falastine Dwikat, PCACBI
- Hala Gabriel
- Khaled Jarrar
- Osama Ahmad, AMP Bay Area director
- Hala Turjman
- Halla Shoaibi, Birzeit University
- Harun Arsalai
- Zaid Shuaibi
- Hurriyah Ziada
- Dima Eleiwa, Shujaiyah, Gaza, Palestine
- Jamil Salem, Birzeit University
- Karam Saleem, International Solidarity Movement, Palestine
- Khaled Barakat
- Khuzama Hanoon, Palestine
- Laila Awartani, Ramallah, Palestine
- Lana Habash, Let’s Go There Collective
- Lana Khoury, Washington DC
- Yousef Aljamal, University of Malaysia
- Safwan Hamdi
- Leena Barakat
- Lema Nazeeh, lawyer
- Yara Kayyali Abbas, Palestine
- Mariam Barghouti, Birzeit University
- Mohammad Ayyad, graduate student, SOAS
- Nader Elkhuzundar
- Nancy Mansour, Existence is Resistance, New York/Palestine
- Mohammed Alkhader, Birzeit University
- Nazik Hassan, attorney, Riverside, California
- Nora Taha
- Rena Zuabi
- Roleen Tafakji-Haidami
- Samera Sood
- Sana Ibrahim
- Sherene Seikaly, UCSB
- Taher Herzallah
- Tamara Reem, Washington DC
- Ahmad Nimer, Palestine
- Riya Al’sanah, journalist, London
- Alaa Milbes, Ramallah
- Belal Dabour, Gaza doctor
- Huda Asfour, PhD, Durham NC
- Iyad Afalqa, Irvine, CA
- Ruba Leech, Portland, OR
- Rashad Al-Dabbagh, Network of Arab American Professionals
- Maysoon Suleiman-Khatib, Civil Rights Specialist
- Diana Alzeer, Ramallah, Palestine
- Mona Kadah, Boston MA
- Lucy Garbett, Jerusalem, Palestine
- Hadeel Assali, Columbia University, NYC
- Magid Shihade, Oakland, CA
- Tamara Tamimi, Palestine
- Hammam Farah, psychotherapist and editor
- Dina Elmuti, Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture
- Laila Hamdan, Portland OR
- Bushra Shamma, VA, USA
- Rev. Fahed Abuakel, Presbyterian minister , Atlanta, GA
- Rehab Nazzal, artist, Canada
- Ezees Silwady, Palestine
- Dua’ Nakhala, freelance researcher, Belgium
- Amal Oweis, Palestine
- Shaheen Nassar, UCR
- Amin Dallal, youth counselor
- Dr. Tariq Shadid, surgeon
- Zaha Hassan, Esq
- Randa Issa, PhD
- Murad Saleh, GED
- Lila Sharif, Ph.D
- Sa’ed Atshan, Ph.D
- Rasha Khoury, MD Jerusalem
- Hadeel Assali, Columbia University, NYC
- Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, Associate Professor of Race and Resistance Studies, San Francisco University
- Tanya Keilani
- Shahd Abusalama
- American Muslims for Palestine
- Free Amer Jubran Campaign
- International Solidarity Movement, Palestine
- Let’s Go There Collective
- Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
- Students for Justice in Palestine, University of New Mexico
- The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat
- Bay Area Intifada, Bay Area
- PAWA, Palestinian American Women Association
- NSJP, National Students for Justice in Palestine
- Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights
- Mashjar Juthour, Palestine
- Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee
- Al-Awda NY, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition
- Stop the Wall
- The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Non-military US citizens are 29 times more likely to be killed by a cop than a terrorist.
Doodle by bored medieval school boy
This 15th-century doodle is found in the lower margin of a manuscript containing Juvenal’s Satires. This classical text was a popular device to teach young students - kids - morals. The medieval teacher Alexander Nequam stated: “Let the student read the satirists […] so that he may learn even in his younger days that vices are to be shunned” (quote here). Spoken like a true optimist, because this page shows what young school boys like to do with rules: disobey them. And so in stead of studying the student who used this book drew a funny doodle in the lower margin: a figure with a flower in one hand and what appears to be a pipe in the other. Could it be his teacher? Doodles are of all ages but those produced by bored school kids are the most entertaining.
Such a great tumblr, follow and you are bound to enjoy these discoveries