“We think our actions express our decisions. But in nearly all of our life, willing decides nothing. We cannot wake up or fall asleep, remember or forget our dreams, summon or banish our thoughts, by deciding to do so. When we greet someone on the street we just act, and there is no actor standing behind what we do. Our acts are end points in long sequences of unconscious responses. They arise from a structure of habits and skills that is almost infinitely complicated. Most of our life in enacted without conscious awareness. Nor can it be made conscious. No degree of self-awareness can make us self-transparent.”—John Gray (via blackestdespondency)
The government wouldn’t spend a dime on education, healthy food, drinkable water, assisting people in poverty, de-polluting the streets, or anything else of importance. But they would be on call to spend millions on equipping a small police force to fight off a group of defenseless protestors. You can argue with me that this is not a hate crime, when it so obviously is, but you can’t argue with me when I say that this government is too corrupt to even serve it’s purpose.
If the country stops waging its war on drugs, including marijuana, fewer government dollars will flow to police efforts to address this public policy issue. Municipalities will also receive less money from property seized in drug raids. States that legalize marijuana use are likely to experience a decline in prison populations—and that will reduce the need for government to hire private prison companies and correctional officers.
“Years ago I learned a very cool thing about Robin Williams, and I couldn’t watch a movie of his afterward without thinking of it. I never actually booked Robin Williams for an event, but I came close enough that his office sent over his rider. For those outside of the entertainment industry, a rider lists out an artist’s specific personal and technical needs for hosting them for an event, anything from bottled water and their green room to sound and lighting requirements. You can learn a lot about a person from their rider. This is where rocks bands list their requirement for green M&Ms (which is actually a surprisingly smart thing to do). This is also where a famous environmentalist requires a large gas-guzzling private jet to fly to the event city, but then requires an electric or hybrid car to take said environmentalist to the event venue when in view of the public.
When I got Robin Williams’ rider, I was very surprised by what I found. He actually had a requirement that for every single event or film he did, the company hiring him also had to hire a certain number of homeless people and put them to work. I never watched a Robin Williams movie the same way after that. I’m sure that on his own time and with his own money, he was working with these people in need, but he’d also decided to use his clout as an entertainer to make sure that production companies and event planners also learned the value of giving people a chance to work their way back. I wonder how many production companies continued the practice into their next non-Robin Williams project, as well as how many people got a chance at a job and the pride of earning an income, even temporarily, from his actions. He was a great multiplier of his impact. Let’s hope that impact lives on without him. Thanks, Robin Williams- not just for laughs, but also for a cool example.”—Brian Lord.org (via boysncroptops)
“I don’t have money,” Mason said, “to pay for other people’s health insurance.”
That may be the most insightful statement of the misguided conservative philosophy of self-interest I have ever heard. Senator, you already pay for other people’s health insurance. And assuming you have health insurance, other people pay for yours. That’s the way insurance works.
Very few people can afford to pay out of pocket for health care, so we pool our resources. No one pays in as much as they collect if and when they become seriously ill. We all underwrite one another. That’s why we need young, healthy people in the pool and why there is a health care mandate. And if people do not have health insurance, we pay for their care in the increased cost of our own health care and hospitalization.
The same is true of life insurance. Sure, you pay premiums, but when you cash out, it’s other people’s money that pays the death benefit. No one pays their own way in this world.
I first became aware of the emboldened and benighted selfishness of the conservative right when I served on the local School Committee back in the 1990s and heard people arguing that they should not have to pay for other people’s kids to go to school. Somehow the idea that you shouldn’t have to pay for anything that doesn’t directly benefit you swept through the conservative movement like a self-inflicted virus.
A decade on, I find it extremely tiresome to hear conservatives constantly complain about paying for health care, unemployment benefits and food stamps as though they were footing the entire bill themselves. They would have you believe that they not only pay their own way, but also have to support an entire family of illegal immigrants on welfare.
To begin with, no one pays their own way. We are all supported by other people’s money. And when it comes to taxes, the portion that goes to assist the poor is a pittance.
The American way of life is underwritten by the tax dollars we pool to support a civil society and the money we pay into a social safety network of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and military and public pensions. No one other than criminals would be able to make a living, were it not for our concerted effort to work for the common good.
Of course, conservatives don’t believe in the common good, which to me means they don’t believe in America. Only in the perverse logic of the right, for example, could a Nevada rancher who refuses to pay the same fees as other ranchers for grazing his cattle on public land be considered some kind of a folk hero. He’s a thief.
People aren’t talkin about the news, they’re talking about what they think the news is. There is no news channel saying “This is what happened, draw your own conclusions.” We have made this country so bereft of critical thinking, that now we have a problem where we have to teach them to think for themselves.
We have no unified authority, or problem solvers. We have congressman discussing environmentalism, when they don’t understand half the problems our earth is going through. We go to congress instead of going to people who have worked their whole LIFE trying to solve these problems. When it comes to racism, we’re asking a panel of white dudes, when it comes to sexism and woman’s rights we ask a panel of white priests on what they think. IT’S INSANITY! We ask people who are not in the arena they should be speaking in/for.
AND THAT’S WHY WE DON’T trust the media, it’s because they’re not in the arena of black experience, and they don’t care about the black experience, UNTIL something bad happens and they have the tools to paint us as destructive, ugly and evil!
”—The response of a Protester in Ferguson who was asked by a reporter as to why most of the protesters didn’t want their faces on tv. (via sara-the-narco)
When my husband [Carl Sagan] died, because he was so famous and known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me — it still sometimes happens — and ask me if Carl changed at the end and converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again.
Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous — not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance… That pure chance could be so generous and so kind… That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space and the immensity of time… That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me and it’s much more meaningful.
The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.
"While the American Museum of Natural History has been hosting Night at the Museum sleepovers for kids, there’s never been an adult-only one. Ever. Until now. They’ve just announced their first sleepover for grown-ups, which will take place on Friday, August 1st.” - Gothamist
Amenities will include some of the following:
"Explorers can roam through the nearly empty halls of the Museum (including the spiders). There will also be a flashlight tour.”
"Participants will be invited to attend a special presentation in The Power of Poison exhibition with Curator Mark Siddall."
"There will be a midnight viewing of the Dark Universe Space Show, narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson."
"There will also be charging stations and tea service."
While pure science is, indeed, a necessary component of any civilization which seeks to expand its understanding of the universe, what we see dominating the landscape today isn’t pure science but corporate-driven “science” that only seeks to accelerate corporate profits, not human understanding. And with that corporate-slanted science comes a whole new era of truly terrifying technologies that we may soon see become reality in our world.