Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war. When a rare opportunity for a dronestrike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.
“He is determined that he will make these decisions about how far and wide these operations will go,” said Thomas E. Donilon, his national security adviser. “His view is that he’s responsible for the position of the United States in the world.” He added, “He’s determined to keep the tether pretty short.”
Nothing else in Mr. Obama’s first term has baffled liberal supporters and confounded conservative critics alike as his aggressive counterterrorism record. His actions have often remained inscrutable, obscured by awkward secrecy rules, polarized political commentary and the president’s own deep reserve.
In interviews with The New York Times, three dozen of his current and former advisers described Mr. Obama’s evolution since taking on the role, without precedent in presidential history, of personally overseeing the shadow war with Al Qaeda.
My favorite part is like 1/3 in when Coop has to lean on his chin to keep from saying something. It’s amazing, the man has an infinite amount of patience. Also, it’s no coincidence that huge bigots tend to be idiots.
A brief record of what I’ve learned based on looking over my browser history for the last few days.
+ Dentists do not have the highest suicide rate among professions (as we previously thought). Food batchmakers are actually highest followed by physicians, lathe operators, medical scientists, urban planners and THEN dentists. Some reports also list marine engineers.
+ Food batchmakers are the people who set up and operate equipment that mixes or blends ingredients used in the manufacturing of food products which somewhat strangely includes candy makers.
+ Suicide statistics are basically bs because most suicides are reported as accidents to protect the privacy of the family. Also, statistics are rare and involve very low sample sizes.
+ It was posited that dentists have a high suicide rate because they are not much liked by their customers but that turns out to be a small and probably less relevant part of the equation. Psychologists believe that it’s because dentists are typically perfectionists and that perfectionists respond to stress poorly and are much more likely to ignore the signs of depression.
+ Sexist humor actually encourages and reinforces sexism. >>>>>
This is a TED length minidocumentary on the people who live in the sewer systems of Bogota, Colombia.
Aside from literally sleeping in feces, these people are dodging rats, flash floods and drug addicts. What’s worse, the sewer dwellers are constantly under attack by local “death squads,” who fire open rounds and pour gasoline into their underground homes, then set them ablaze.
Kinda heavy and horrifically disgusting but interesting. Nubs down to killing homeless people.
This is a playlist celebrating the graceful and deadly dance of the
velociraptor. Tails out, claws up, let’s dance.
Made in Heights is performing an elegant pirouette of destruction.
Fullhaus is slow-clapping while Knowa Knowone loads the shotguns. As
we all know, Spring is the time when Velociraptor activity is at its
highest. Make sure you and your family are well prepared!
I also added an excellent talk by Dr. David Eagleman on how developments in neuroscience are undermining legal precedent. It’s amazing, make sure to check it out!
John Scalzi wrote a piece that’s been getting a lot of hype this week called Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is. It’s basically an attempt to explain privilege to people who play video games all day. Predictably, there were a lot of Missed The Point Entirely Trophies that had to be given out. Scalzi rounds them up in to categories and posts responds en masse in another blog post here.
6. Your piece is racist and sexist.
This particular comment was lobbed at me primarily from aggrieved straight white males. Leaving aside entirely that the piece was neither, let me just say that I think it’s delightfulthat these straight white males are now engaged on issues of racism and sexism. It would be additionally delightful if they were engaged on issues of racism and sexism even when they did not feel it was being applied to them — say, for example,when it’s regarding people who historically have most often had to deal with racism and sexism (i.e., not white males). Keep at it, straight white males! You’re on the path now!
I also enjoyed this one
5. What about affirmative action (and/or other similar programs)? It just proves SWMs don’t have it easy anymore!
Asserting that programs designed to counteract decades of systematic discrimination are proof that Straight White Males are not operating on the lowest difficulty setting in the game of life is not the winning argument you apparently believe it is.
Both the original piece and the followup are great, quick reads. The comments on both are always entertaining and occasionally insightful. I think it’s a bit easier to explain privilege as just the person who doesn’t get discriminated against in that particular scenario.
I’d say this guy got away lucky, especially for pulling something this stupid.
Etymology: The separation of aporia into its two morphemes a- and poros (‘without’ and ‘passage’) reveals the word’s rich etymological background as well as its connection to Platonic mythology ….. the myth of Poros, Penia, and Eros in Plato’s Symposium especially reveals the concept’s untranslatability. Penia, the “child of poverty,” decides to forcefully impregnate herself with the inebriated Poros, the personification of plenty, who is always in opposition with aporia and thus defining aporia. The result of this union is Eros, who inherits the disparate characteristics of his parents (25). The perplexing aspect of the myth is revealed as one realizes that Penia is acting out of resourcefulness, a quality normally attributed to Poros, and Poros’ inaction reveals his own passivity, a poverty of agency or poros. Such a relationship intensely affects not only the context of aporia but its meaning as well.
:: via The Wikipedia ::
The word is from a recent NYTimes op-ed from a NY state supreme court judge asking for the legalization of MJ. It’s the same article we’ve seen before but notable for the characters involved and the general eloquence. The real question, of course, is when will we finally legalize smoking scorpion tail?!?!?
It’s not even lunchtime and we’ve listened to presentations by Craig Venter on his plans to create biofuels made by microalgae: an acre, he believes, will be able to produce 10,000 litres of oil per year, as opposed to corn, which can produce just 18. He’s just received $300m of investment from Exxon to make it a reality.
I’m amazed by how many of my friends think that the world is rapidly coming to an end. Granted, our progress thus far isn’t workable but as a species we’re getting it figured out.
:: Great Article on Singularity University via Email (Thanks Lana!) ::
It’s worth noting that this article is a tad starstruck and isn’t quite as critical as it should be of Mr. Kurzweil. Also, I think that asteroid mining, while exceptionally cool, is a sexy vanity project for nerdy billionaires. If the goal is resources the answer is the ocean. It’s much easier to visit and we have barely even touched on the resources available there. Except fish, we’ve really fucked that scene up. Sorry dolphins!
++ Update ++
I forwarded this quote to my friend and she replied:
I visited a guy who is working on it at UC San Diego. He said that basically when humans were evolving agriculture we spent 10,000 years breeding wheat from a random grass to the fat stalks we have today, something capable of becoming a staple crop and supporting huge populations, cities, kings, armies, and all that civilization stuff.
Now we have to perform that same genetic engineering feat with generations of algae to get the stuff that will grow petroleum. WE have far more powerful tools to do it like supercomputers. But we only have like 10 years.
here is a crazy picture of a starfish
“Buddhism is a philosophy, not a religion.”
2. The whole practice is based around how to transcend the near infinite cycle of spiritual reincarnation.
3. Buddhist monks spend all day praying.
How could anyone even casually familiar w Buddhism say it wasn’t a religion? 100% of the time people who say this do not actually know the difference between philosophy and religion. Here’s a quick guide:
Is religion just a type of philosophy? Is philosophy a religious activity? There seems to be some confusion at times over just whether and how religion and philosophy should be distinguished from each other — this confusion is not unjustified because there are some very strong similarities between the two.
The questions discussed in both religion and philosophy tend to be very much alike. Both religion and philosophy wrestle with problems like: What is good? What does it mean to live a good life? What is the nature of reality? Why are we here and what should we be doing? How should we treat each other? What is really most important in life?
Clearly, then, there are enough similarities that religions can be philosophical (but need not be) and philosophies can be religious (but again need not be). Does this mean that we simply have two different words for the same fundamental concept? No; there are some real differences between religion and philosophy which warrant considering them to be two different types of systems even though they overlap in places.
To begin with, of the two only religions have rituals. In religions, there are ceremonies for important life events (birth, death, marriage, etc.) and for important times of the year (days commemorating spring, harvest, etc.). Philosophies, however, do not have their adherents engage in ritualistic actions. Students do not have to ritually wash their hands before studying Hegel and professors do not celebrate a “Utilitarian Day” every year.
Another difference is the fact that philosophy tends to emphasize just the use of reason and critical thinking whereas religions may make use of reason, but at the very least they also rely on faith, or even use faith to the exclusion of reason. Granted, there are any number of philosophers who have argued that reason alone cannot discover truth or who have tried to describe the limitations of reason in some manner — but that isn’t the quite the same thing.
You won’t find Hegel, Kant or Russell saying that their philosophies are revelations from a god or that their work should be taken on faith. Instead, they base their philosophies on rational arguments — those arguments may not also prove valid or successful, but it is the effort which differentiates their work from religion. In religion, and even in religious philosophy, reasoned arguments are ultimately traced back to some basic faith in God, gods, or religious principles which have been discovered in some revelation.
A separation between the sacred and the profane is something else lacking in philosophy. Certainly philosophers discuss the phenomena of religious awe, feelings of mystery, and the importance of sacred objects, but that is very different from having feelings of awe and mystery around such objects within philosophy. Many religions teach adherents to revere sacred scriptures, but no one teaches students to revere the collected notes of William James.
Finally, most religions tend to include some sort of belief in what can only be described as the “miraculous” — events which either defy normal explanation or which are, in principal, outside the boundaries of what should occur in our universe. Miracles may not play a very large role in every religion, but they are a common feature which you don’t find in philosophy. Nietzsche wasn’t born of a virgin, no angels appeared to announce the conception of Sartre, and Hume didn’t make the lame walk again.
The fact that religion and philosophy are distinct does not mean that they are entirely separate. Because they both address many of the same issues, it isn’t uncommon for a person to be engaged in both religion and philosophy simultaneously. They may refer to their activity with only one term and their choice of which term to use may reveal quite a lot about their individual perspective on life; nevertheless, it is important to keep their distinctness in mind when considering them.
:: THANK YOU Austin Cline ::