Paradox



To be sure, these are New Yorkers with elite educations, and most are socially liberal. Wealthy people in other places or with other histories may feel more comfortable talking about their money and spending it in more obvious ways. And even the people I spoke with may be less reticent among their wealthy peers than they are in a formal interview.

Nonetheless, their ambivalence about recognizing privilege suggests a deep tension at the heart of the idea of American dream. While pursuing wealth is unequivocally desirable, having wealth is not simple and straightforward. Our ideas about egalitarianism make even the beneficiaries of inequality uncomfortable with it. And it is hard to know what they, as individuals, can do to change things.

In response to these tensions, silence allows for a kind of “see no evil, hear no evil” stance. By not mentioning money, my interviewees follow a seemingly neutral social norm that frowns on such talk. But this norm is one of the ways in which privileged people can obscure both their advantages and their conflicts about these advantages.

And, as they try to be “normal,” these wealthy and affluent people deflect the stigma of wealth. If they can see themselves as hard workers and reasonable consumers, they can belong symbolically to the broad and legitimate American “middle,” while remaining materially at the top.



One of Trump’s most curious and convoluted themes—in an increasingly interconnected and globalizing world—was the need for greater sovereignty. “The nation-state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition,” he said. The subtext was that walls, along every nation’s borders, were the keys to prosperity and international security. The line baffled veteran American diplomats.

 “The President kept talking about sovereignty as if it were imperiled,” Richard Haass, the current president of the Council on Foreign Relations and the head of the State Department’s policy-planning staff under the George H. W. Bush Administration, told me. “The last I checked, we still have a veto at the U.N. We set our own limits in the Paris climate pact. No one is forcing us to adhere to trade agreements. It seemed to me it was something of a red herring. U.S. sovereignty is not imperiled. It’s an odd emphasis at the U.N., where our goal is to generate collective effort against common problems. It seemed to me inherently contradictory.”




"One day at a time! You put too much pressure on yourself," she said as she inserted three needles above each of my eyelids. I started to feel better, and by the end of the 90-minute session we were laughing, pin cushion and seamstress, together as one.

"Wellness" literally means "the opposite of illness," though the word is tasked with much heavier lifting these days. Dr. Judy got me thinking: Maybe simply feeling OK is enough. Every time I found myself in a state of OK-ness during my pursuit of wellness, I quickly moved to a new thing that would ultimately undo any progress I had made. I'm unqualified, both in the mysteries of spiritual health and as a writer, to determine if this is an apt metaphor for the wellness industry in general, but it's worth thinking about.



At Merck & Co., researchers had discovered that a byproduct of making the streptomycin antibiotic, which began with manured soil as a raw material, could be fed to chickens to fatten them up. In 1948, a rival company, Lederle Laboratories, was doing the same with a byproduct of one of its own antibiotics, Aureomycin.

Meanwhile, the industry was moving chickens indoors, their lives now bereft of such natural foods as insects, not to mention sunlight. The antibiotics helped smooth this transition, actually altering the animals’ metabolism to help them adjust to their new, unnatural life. Lederle announced its results in 1950, and the industry was all in. By 1955, American farmers were giving animals nearly half a million pounds of antibiotics a year.

“It’s always easy for us to say that we want farming to be more sustainable, and in reality, farmers themselves want that,” he said. “But if we really want things to change, we need to elect people who know about this stuff, care about it, and make things better for the farmers and the consumer at the same time. Progress is really fragile, and a lot of times the negative impacts are long-lasting, while the improvements are short-lived.”






"That is a decaying system... The state and capitalism fuse together into one engine of extraction held up only by cultural means."






“Conspiracy theories are for losers,” Uscinski told PsyPost. “People who are on the outside, people who lost, people who lack control, tend to believe in conspiracy theories.”

“We see this play out in our national debates: when Bush was president, Democrats were the ones propagating the conspiracy theories. They put forward theories about 9/11, war for oil, Halliburton, Cheney, Blackwater, etc. When Obama came to office, those theories became socially and politically inert. The prominent conspiracy theories came from Republicans and were about Obama faking his birth certificate, killing the kids at Sandy Hook, Benghazi, etc.”

It isn’t really evidence that drives people to believe in conspiracy theories, it’s their own biased interpretations of evidence.”

The study found no partisan differences when it came to conspiratorial predispositions, suggesting Democrats and Republicans have an equal number of conspiracists among their ranks.



Party lines may be sharply divided regarding issues, but not when it comes to animals and their welfare. Today, California Assembly Bill 485, the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act, passed the California State Senate by a vote of 38 to 0. With Assemblymember Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) signing on as a co-author and more Republicans voting in favor in both houses, the bill passed with bipartisan support. The bill's supporters are hoping that Gov. Jerry Brown will sign the historic animal-welfare law into being when it lands on his desk.

AB 485 was authored by Assembly Members Patrick O'Donnell (D-Long Beach) and Matt Dababneh (D-Encino) and sponsored by animal advocacy group Social Compassion in Legislation. The bill is written to ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits sourced from high-volume, commercial breeding facilities, known as mills, in all pet shops throughout the state. Stores that offer pets for sale will be required to source them from local shelters and rescues.



The CCleaner app offered for download between August 15 and September 12 was modified to include the Floxif malware, according reports published by MorphiSec and Cisco Talos. Floxif is a malware downloader that gathers information about infected systems and sends it back to its C&C server. The malware also had the ability to download and run other binaries, but at the time of writing, there is no evidence that Floxif downloaded additional second-stage payloads on infected hosts.

Cisco Talos security researchers detected the tainted CCleaner app last week while performing beta testing of a new exploit detection technology. About the same time, Morphisec reports receiving suspicious logs from several customers who installed the tainted apps, and immediately reached out to Avast. Cisco Talos believes that a threat actor might have compromised Avast's supply chain and used its digital certificate to replace the legitimate CCleaner v5.33 app on its website with one that also contained the Floxif trojan. It is unclear if this threat actor breached Avast's systems without the company's knowledge, or the malicious code was added by "an insider with access to either the development or build environments within the organization."



For the first time ever, scientists have stored light-based information as sound waves on a computer chip - something the researchers compare to capturing lightning as thunder. While that might sound a little strange, this conversion is critical if we ever want to shift from our current, inefficient electronic computers, to light-based computers that move data at the speed of light.

Light-based or photonic computers have the potential to run at least 20 times faster than your laptop, not to mention the fact that they won't produce heat or suck up energy like existing devices. This is because they, in theory, would process data in the form of photons instead of electrons.



As The Washington Post's Mike DeBonis, Kelsey Snell and Elise Viebeck report, in a meeting with congressional leaders Wednesday, Trump endorsed a Democratic offer to extend the debt ceiling and budget fight for three months and revisit it later this year. That's despite the fact that an hour earlier House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) had called that proposal “ridiculous and disgraceful.” Republicans in both chambers had hoped to extend the debt ceiling by at least a year and a half.

“It makes all of their normalizing and ‘Trumpsplaining’ look silly and hollow,” said Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist sharply critical of Trump, referring to his party’s congressional leaders. “Trump betrays everyone: wives, business associates, contractors, bankers and now, the leaders of the House and Senate in his own party. They can’t explain this away as [a] 15-dimensional Trump chess game. It’s a dishonest person behaving according to his long-established pattern.”

He also repeatedly demonstrates that, while he demands absolute loyalty from others, he is ultimately loyal to no one but himself.






"Saturday Night Live" star Kate McKinnon won her second consecutive Emmy for Best Supporting Actress on a Comedy Series, beating out her cast mates Leslie Jones and Vanessa Bayer, among other talented funny ladies. The actress, who portrayed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election, thanked Clinton in her speech.

Alec Baldwin nabbed an Emmy for portraying Donald Trump on "Saturday Night Live" and accepted his award by joking, "I supposed I should say, 'At long last, Mr. President, here is your Emmy.'" Melissa McCarthy won, of course, for her hilarious impersonation of former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. In an unexpected twist, Spicey himself made a brief cameo during Colbert's opening monologue, causing McCarthy's jaw to drop. "SNL" also nabbed the Emmy for Best Variety Sketch Series, and continued to pick up awards throughout the evening.

It was also a big night for HBO's chilling dystopian series "The Handmaid's Tale," which beat out "This Is Us," "Stranger Things," "House of Cards" and other hits when it nabbed the award for Best Drama Series. The cast was joined onstage by author Margaret Atwood, who wrote the 1985 novel the series is based on.












But let’s be clear on what this conflict is really about. Trump isn’t wrestling with a dilemma made difficult by two valid competing moral imperatives. He’s torn between (on one side) the reality of what it actually means to scrap protections for hundreds of thousands of people who know no other country, are thoroughly American and just want to contribute positively to American life; and (on the other) the need to continue propping up his campaign lies about how deporting these people will boost American workers. The conflict is between the inescapably awful truth about the real-life consequences of ending DACA and the imagined need to continue making empty gestures to his core supporters.

It could not be more fitting that only 24 hours after scrapping protections for 800,000 young immigrants brought here illegally as children, President Trump is set to deliver a big speech extolling the need to cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations. The juxtaposition captures the massive lie at the very heart of Trumpism as perfectly as anyone could ask for.



Attorney General Jeff Sessions gestured towards this doctrine even as he announced yesterday the administration's decision to end the DACA program: "We are people of compassion and we are people of law. There is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws."

But while doing so, he turned his back on the very core of what it once meant to be a compassionate conservative.

Compassionate conservatism may sound like an oxymoron to liberals. It was by no means "conservatism lite." Adopted by hard right-wingers across Europe as justification for hacking away at the welfare state -- most notably by Britain's highly unpopular former work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith -- compassionate conservatism warns against dependence on state handouts and blames welfare for the decay of the traditional family.

Compassionate conservatism shares with Reaganism a deep skeptism of the state. One familiar definition, by Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, defines it as "the theory that the government should encourage the effective provision of social services without providing the service itself."



Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh appeared to indicate that he was evacuating his Florida home, just days after expressing skepticism about the seriousness of Hurricane Irma and floating unfounded theories about why media outlets were aggressively covering the looming storm.

Limbaugh, who stressed he is not a meteorologist, told his national audience on Tuesday that he believed the press was hyping coverage of Hurricane Irma to "advance this climate change agenda."

The conservative talk radio king additionally floated another baseless theory, suggesting local news outlets were showering its audiences in storm coverage to scare them into purchasing bottles of water and other supplies from local retailers. Limbaugh said there was a "symbiotic relationship between retailers and local media, and it's related to money."






“We started it,” author and surgeon Atul Gawande told me flatly. He argued that health providers are at the root of the country’s staggering opioid epidemic. He didn’t blame the pharmaceutical companies — although there is good evidence that they played a large role — but instead focused on how views of pain began to shift in the 1990s, with doctors urged to take their patients’ suffering more seriously.

"We as a profession have caused an epidemic that is bigger than the HIV epidemic. We have more deaths from drug overdoses than occurred at the peak of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in 1995. That’s how big this is. It’s more deaths than in motor vehicle accidents."































It's the core of the American dream, that anyone can become rich. In this case it defied all logic and reason. Trump was born rich and privileged. Didn't matter. The lies, the scams, the phony university, the lawsuits. "Pussygate." Didn't matter. The spoiled, corrupt, mendacious, megalomaniac branded himself as an honest man of the people and enough people bought it.



Officials across the globe scrambled over the weekend to catch the culprits behind a massive ransomware worm that disrupted operations at car factories, hospitals, shops and schools, while Microsoft on Sunday pinned blame on the U.S. government for not disclosing more software vulnerabilities. In a blog post on Sunday, Microsoft President Brad Smith appeared to tacitly acknowledge what researchers had already widely concluded: The ransomware attack leveraged a hacking tool, built by the U.S. National Security Agency, that leaked online in April.

“This is an emerging pattern in 2017,” Smith wrote. “We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world. This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem,” Smith wrote. He added that governments around the world should “treat this attack as a wake-up call” and “consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits.”

The non-profit U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit research institute estimated that total losses would range in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but not exceed $1 billion.



Years later, he described the experience as a “brutal education,” and he self-published a business manual for aspiring magicians. Some advice is technical: for magic, silver Liberty half-dollars are better than Kennedys; in low light, use cards that are red instead of blue. The manual was written long before Patterson entered politics, but any candidate would recognize the wisdom of sleight of hand. (“A good friend once told me that the only difference between a salesman and a con-man is that a salesman has confidence in his product.”)

In July, 2016, Patterson bet a friend two hundred dollars that Trump would win the Presidency. His conservative Washington friends didn’t take Trump seriously, but Patterson believed that the candidate’s ability to connect with voters was uncanny. (“Remember that you will be performing for people of varying degrees of education, in varying degrees of sobriety, and your routines must be easily understood by all of them.”)

After the turbulent first two months of the Administration, I met again with Kathy Rehberg and her husband, Ron. They were satisfied with Trump’s performance, and their complaints about his behavior were mild. “I think some of it is funny, how he doesn’t let people push him around,” Ron Rehberg said. Over time, such remarks became more common. “I hate to say it, but I wake up in the morning looking forward to what else is coming,” Ray Scott, a Republican state senator who had campaigned for Trump, told me in June. One lawyer said bluntly, “I get a kick in the ass out of him.” The calculus seemed to have shifted: Trump’s negative qualities, which once had been described as a means to an end, now had value of their own. The point wasn’t necessarily to get things done; it was to retaliate against the media and other enemies. This had always seemed fundamental to Trump’s appeal, but people had been less likely to express it so starkly before he entered office. “For those of us who believe that the media has been corrupt for a lot of years, it’s a way of poking at the jellyfish,” Karen Kulp told me in late April. “Just to make them mad.”



In recently published articles in Neuroscience of Consciousness and Aeon, Gerrans and co-author Chris Letheby suggest that psychedelic drugs “make us better” because they “violate our ideas about ourselves.” Which is to say they work by dissolving the self itself.

“People who go through psychedelic experiences no longer take it for granted that the way they’ve been viewing things is the only way,” Dr. Letheby said in a press release. “Psychedelics can assist in enlightening people about the processes behind their subjectivity. This is called ego-dissolution and it offers vivid experiential proof not only that things can be different, but that there is an opportunity to seek change.”












People who have the least are often the most generous : Those who have lost everything (refugees) most respect dignity and freedom



Do you see opportunity in difficulties or difficulty in opportunities?




As I was leaving the Oval Office, it all seemed so unbelievable. I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself. Me, an icon of international fame? More like me, the one-time garbage truck driver, chumming around with the leader of the free world.

There are many lessons in my fantastic journey. As I approach my eighth decade, with more fans and adulation than I could ever deserve, I can say with certainty that to be interesting you have to be interested. You can watch the parade that is life—and live vicariously through others, as many do—or you can get in and participate in your own journey. And the best time to go for broke is when you’re already there.



"In a way of having that affordable free access to information increases awareness to these areas we didn't know from schooling or families," Im said. "Once you're aware, these new tools and apps equip us ... to actually make that investment."

Then again, Im points out, we might have created a solution for a problem of our own making.

"Increased awareness is very powerful," Im said. "The other piece, in some ways we're constantly bombarded in self-absorption."

Im said we might find ourselves comparing our lives to the perfection we see on the Internet, which leads us to utilizing online tools for self-care — and the cycle continues.

"There is this point where you do also have this time for self-reflection and you start seeking substance and meaning beyond a whole selfie. You start searching. Those are also things that push our generation," Im said.



Misinformation can easily take hold online, and spread quickly in the echo chambers of social media. There is certainly no shortage of false information circulating about Clinton online. It’s not hard to see why sinking money into an effort to seek out online attacks and “correct them” might appeal to Clinton allies. The effort to play social media defense could inspire similar initiatives, and might even set precedent. Yet while it may seem satisfying on a visceral level for supporters to counter attacks against their favorite candidate online that doesn’t mean the effort will be effective. “A lot of digital campaign strategy is experimental and run for fear of losing,” Phil Howard, a professor at the Oxford Internet Institute said. “No one wants to be the team who lost because they didn’t try a particular strategy, but that alone is no guarantee any of it will work.”



While looking through the Van Allen papers at the University of Iowa to prepare a Van Allen biography, science historian James Fleming of Colby College discovered "that [the] very same day after the press conference, [Van Allen] agreed with the military to get involved with a project to set off atomic bombs in the magnetosphere to see if they could disrupt it."

The Americans launched their first atomic nuclear tests above the Earth's atmosphere in 1958. Atom bombs had little effect on the magnetosphere, but the hydrogen bomb of July 9, 1962, did. Code-named "Starfish Prime" by the military, it literally created an artificial extension of the Van Allen belts that could be seen across the Pacific Ocean, from Hawaii to New Zealand.

The plan was to send rockets hundreds of miles up, higher than the Earth's atmosphere, and then detonate nuclear weapons to see: a) If a bomb's radiation would make it harder to see what was up there (like incoming Russian missiles!); b) If an explosion would do any damage to objects nearby; c) If the Van Allen belts would move a blast down the bands to an earthly target (Moscow! for example); and — most peculiar — d) if a man-made explosion might "alter" the natural shape of the belts.

The scientific basis for these proposals is not clear. Fleming is trying to figure out if Van Allen had any theoretical reason to suppose the military could use the Van Allen belts to attack a hostile nation. He supposes that at the height of the Cold War, the most pressing argument for a military experiment was, "if we don't do it, the Russians will." And, indeed, the Russians did test atomic bombs and hydrogen bombs in space.

In any case, says the science history professor, "this is the first occasion I've ever discovered where someone discovered something and immediately decided to blow it up."



Attraction Effect: "Conventional accounts of rational choice dictate that a person’s preference between two items be independent of the other options on offer: If one prefers salmon to steak, this should not change just because frogs’ legs are added to the menu (Luce & Raiffa, 1957). However, the choices of neurotypical adults are heavily influenced by the composition of the choice set; rather than being based on an independent assessment, the attractiveness of a given option depends on how it compares with the other values that are simultaneously present (Huber, Payne, & Puto, 1982; Simonson, 1989; Tversky, 1972)."














At conception, every embryo is female and unless hormonally altered will remain so. You need testosterone to turn a fetus with a Y chromosome into a real boy, to masculinize his brain and body. Men experience a flood of testosterone twice in their lives: in the womb about six weeks after conception and at puberty. The first fetal burst primes the brain and the body, endowing male fetuses with the instinctual knowledge of how to respond to later testosterone surges. The second, more familiar adolescent rush -- squeaky voices, facial hair and all -- completes the process. Without testosterone, humans would always revert to the default sex, which is female. The Book of Genesis is therefore exactly wrong. It isn't women who are made out of men. It is men who are made out of women. Testosterone, to stretch the metaphor, is Eve's rib.



» Senator who voted for anti-trans ‘bathroom bill’ busted in hotel with underage boy

» Lawmaker pushing for less regulation has child die in van at his facility

» Bill Cosby Plans to Hold "Town Halls" About Sexual Assault





















"Tesla's solar panels produce DC - Edison's favored flavor of electricity - whereas Southern California Edison delivers alternating current - developed by Tesla."



Trump wants to run the country like a business.
Trump divides groups, creating fear and violence.
Trump cuts worker protections and hires billionaires.
Trump doesn't fill most positions.

Uber wants to repair its image.
Uber aids federal investigation and increases accountability.
Uber embraces change and rewards collaboration and empathy.
Uber appoints an independent board to improve culture.



Probably one of the most important aspects of his personality is that for Donald Trump there’s really no tense other than the present tense. He doesn’t think terribly much about the future, and he also doesn’t at all acknowledge that the past exists. I think he almost uniquely, in my experience, doesn’t really experience the past in his day-to-day life. When you ask him about things that took place earlier in his life, it’s almost as if they come fresh to him every time you mention them.






















Consider this example from the medical realm: When radiologists, in a study, were asked to analyze a routine chest x-ray, 60 percent failed to realize a collarbone was missing. Why? Because the data they were familiar with had subconsciously trained them to expect to see one.

Interesting fact: A mere 1 in 1 million humans have the condition that can cause cleidocranial dysplasia, the absence of a collarbone.



According to documents released in March by Wikileaks, US intelligence can hack smartphones, computers and smart, web-connected TVs, to pilot them and eavesdrop.

"All the other connected objects can be pirated, that has been shown, be it a coffee machine, a refrigerator, a thermostat, electronic entry systems, the lighting system...," warns Loic Guezo, a cyber security analyst for southern Europe with Japanese security software company Trend Micro.

Mikko Hypponen, head of research at Finnish security specialists F-Secure, has for his part come up with his eponymous Hypponen's Law. This states that "once a device is described as 'intelligent', you can consider it as vulnerable."






“A slim majority of Americans (55 percent) say religion can answer all or most of today’s problems. Although this percentage has declined substantially over time, it has been relatively stable over the past year and a half and is up from the all-time low of 51 percent in May 2015,” reports Gallup analyst Art Swift.

And the inevitable partisan divide: 71 percent of Republicans, 50 percent of independents and 47 percent of Democrats also agree that faith is still the answer. The strongest sentiment — 85 percent — was found among those who attend church weekly, the lowest — 9 percent — who had no religious preference."



Fox News outranked both MSNBC and CNN in prime time, drawing 2.2 million viewers compared to MSNBC’s 1.3 million and CNN’s 1.1 million. Fox also triumphed when breaking news about terrorist attacks in London terror emerged: Fox News was the No. 1 cable news network Saturday evening with 2.1 million viewers; CNN garnered 1.2 million and MSNBC a telling 628,000 viewers. And it has been ever thus, it seems. In brief, Fox News has been the No. 1 cable news channel for 15 years according to those Nielsen numbers. Additionally, Fox News programs made up 15 of the top 30 telecasts on basic cable.



Throughout the 1980s, Rev. Sun Myung Moon actively promoted opposition to communism, a struggle he saw in religious terms.

“The only way to defeat communism is to clearly prove the existence of God,” he said. He developed an anti-communist strategy he called Victory Over Communism (VOC), which critiqued the fallacies of Marxist theory while seeking to “demonstrate in detail how God guides human history.” VOC was the philosophical underpinning of CAUSA (Confederation of Associations for the Unification of the Societies of the Americas), an organization that Rev. Moon established in 1980 to combat the spread of communism in Latin America. CAUSA seminars trained anti-communist leaders through South and Central America, and even sought to convert communist sympathizers.

Even as he celebrated the end of the Cold War, Rev. Moon focused on new struggles, calling for “a revival of spiritual culture.”

“The societies of free countries today are exhibiting a phenomenon that is every bit as evil as communism … the philosophy of materialistic humanism and … the extreme individualism and selfishness that are the offshoots of this philosophy,” he declared in 1992. The young people, whom we normally expect to become the future leaders, are losing touch with their consciences in a flood of immorality, drugs and crime, to such an extent that it is difficult for us to have hope in them as the leaders of the 21st century.”



“Subsidies like direct payments and crop insurance are criticized as not being safety nets for poor farmers, as is their stated purpose, but rather a way for wealthy farmers to get richer,” Potter’s report, released last week, stated. “The direct payment policy of the [European Union] ... is distributed by the hectare – so that farmers who own or rent more land receive greater financial benefits.”

In the name of food security, the subsidy system will often urge farmers to grow a few particularly widely used commodities. But in so doing, government support could be inadvertently, but directly exacerbating agriculture-related environmental problems.




But, despite Trump’s suggestion that he is being victimized by a witch hunt, and that a more adept PR strategy could minimize the damage, this is a situation entirely of Trump’s own making. And each of Trump’s actions leading up to this moment are rooted deep in Trump’s autocratic and authoritarian impulses; his total contempt for basic institutional processes; and his tendency, when his sense of grievance strikes, to slip into a delusional belief that he can overwhelm the institutional independence of his persecutors the way he might steamroll someone in a business deal.










George Carlin
“There is absolutely nothing wrong — There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those words in and of themselves. They’re only words. It’s the context that counts. It’s the user. It’s the intention behind the words that makes them good or bad. The words are completely neutral. The words are innocent. I get tired of people talking about bad words and bad language. Bullshit! It’s the context that makes them good or bad. The context. That makes them good or bad.”



Terry La Sorda
“That sense of wonder is so important. You have to bring people to the edge of reality, to let them see what reality really is. … And I think reality is an illusion. The only real things in life are the things you can’t touch: love, and our sense of wonder."



Bill Maher
“And Ronald Reagan, God bless him, we can talk about him now that he’s gone… He did some good things, but I must say, he also kind of made dumbness a virtue.”



Jerry Seinfeld
“It’s so fuckin’ hard to get comfortable… it just comes and goes, there’s just like, glimpses, little moments… where I feel really like myself and I feel comfortable. And then the rest of it I’m just like in my father’s suit with these huge sleeves and legs and I’m goin’, I’m thinking, ‘what am I wearing?’, ‘what am I doing here?’”



Leo Tolstoy
“I know that most men—not only those considered clever, but even those who are very clever, and capable of understanding most difficult scientific, mathematical, or philosophic problems—can very seldom discern even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as to oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions they have formed, perhaps with much difficulty—conclusions of which they are proud, which they have taught to others, and on which they have built their lives.”



Kanye West 
“When you walk straight, niggas tend to look at you sideways…” (“My Way”)



One of the remarkable side effects of universal access to information is how it has bolstered the human tendency to embrace information that reinforces our existing beliefs. Clearly the value in providing interconnected access outweighs the erosion of rational argument, but that erosion is substantial and disconcerting.

The Trump era has overlapped with the blossoming of a number of questionable rhetorical practices, not the least of which is the practice of responding to any critique of Trump with a tangentially similar critique of one of his political opponents, usually Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Someone, somewhere dubbed this “whattaboutism” — as in, “What about what Obama did?”



The idea of measuring an American president by the accomplishments of his first 100 days in office goes back to 1933 and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's dash to staunch a banking crisis and pull America out of the Great Depression. He had signed a record 15 major pieces of legislation in those first 100 days. But it's not as simple as the legend would make it seem.

"Presidents since Roosevelt have been held up to a standard that not even Roosevelt achieved," said historian Patrick Maney, a professor at Boston College who has written books about Presidents Clinton and FDR. "Only two or, at most, three of those measures actually originated in the White House," Maney said of the 15 major pieces of legislation signed by Roosevelt. "Almost all the rest had originated in Congress and many — including federal relief for the unemployed, the Tennessee Valley Authority — had been up for debate for years."

So in Maney's view it wasn't just about the president; it was about Congress too. And that's a lesson many presidents have learned over time — that their greatest domestic achievements come not from the White House but from their ability to work with the 535 people down at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. And often it takes a long time.



Light or low tar cigarettes have holes in the cigarette filter, which allow smokers to inhale more smoke with higher levels of carcinogens, mutagens and other toxins, and have been on the market for 50 years.

"This was done to fool smokers and the public health community into thinking that they actually were safer," Dr. Peter Shields, deputy director of the OSUCCC-James and a lung medical oncologist, said in a press release. "Our data suggests a clear relationship between the addition of ventilation holes in cigarettes and increasing rates of lung adenocarcinoma seen over the past 20 years. What is especially concerning is that these holes are still added to virtually all cigarettes that are smoked today."




"To be in the company of a tortoise is to be reminded — instantly, inarticulably — of the oldness of the world and the newness of us (humans, specifically, but also mammals in general). Nature has created thousands of creatures, but most of us have been redrawn over the millenniums: Our heads have grown larger, our teeth smaller, our legs longer, our jaws weaker. But tortoises, some varieties of which are 300 million years old, older than the dinosaurs, are a rough draft that was never refined, because they never needed to be. They are proof of nature’s genius and of our own imperfection, our fragility and brevity in a world that existed long before us and will exist long after we’re gone. They are older than we are in all ways, as a tribe and as individuals — they can live 150 years (and can grow to be 200 pounds). As such, you cannot help feeling a sort of humility around them: They may be slow and ungainly and lumpily fashioned, but they are, in their durability and unchangeability, perfect in a way we aren’t. It is all this that makes them unique and unsettling animals to live with, for to be around them is to be reminded, incessantly, of our own vulnerability — and our own imminent deaths."






If you are looking for him to preach about the current state of the union, don’t hold your breath. The closest Norm Macdonald comes to talking about politics is when he says, “It’s raining in the forest.” It probably means he doesn’t like getting political onstage. And that’s fine because he is his audience.

“It’s just kinda aimed at myself,” he says of the material. “If you try to write something that is aimed at somebody, it ends up bad. Maybe some people can do it, I don’t know. But it’s mostly just stuff I see that makes me laugh. I see something and I think it’s funny and I’m a person so… maybe other people will think it’s funny too.”








Many centuries ago, Aristotle described three key features of humans – we are driven to make meaning in our lives; we are able to self-reflect and self-evaluate our progress in life; and we are highly social creatures who seek relationships with others – whether these are platonic, erotic, or familial. Most of us are not content to go it alone in life for too long.

Another interesting insight that Aristotle emphasized was that to be truly happy in life, we must have healthy intimate relationships – we are only able to flourish if there are others in our lives for and about whom we care. It is not enough simply to know the faces or the names of your neighbors, baristas, or colleagues! We must endeavor to connect and bond with others; intimate relationships are the glue that often keeps us – or our worlds – from falling apart.



  • In 2014, a study reported that overweight and obese people who drank diet sodas ate between 90 and 200 more calories of food per day than those who drank regular sodas.
  • Also in 2014, a review of several studies, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, revealed that people who drink diet sodas raise their risk of type 2 diabetes by about 13% for each 12-ounce can they drink each day.
  • A 2015 BMJ review of studies also found that a single daily serving of diet soda boosted the chance of diabetes by 8%.
  • A 2012 study found that daily drinkers of diet soda who were, on average, 69 years old had a 43% higher chance of heart attack, stroke or dying as a result of blood vessel problems.
  • Israeli researchers who studied 381 adults without diabetes showed that diet soda drinkers had many things that raised their odds of having type 2 diabetes, including higher weight and belly fat, higher levels of blood sugars, and more glucose intolerance. Their 2014 study suggested a cause: Artificial sweeteners affected gut bacteria, which in turn affected metabolism. But that connection was only noted in mice.



These three friends - Jeff Smith of Beaufort, S.C. (left), Hal Kuehl of Cape Coral, Fla. (center) and Peter Wilfert of Coconut Creek, Fla. (right) - recreated a pose from a photo they took in 1966 on Cape Cod, Mass., reuniting in Cape Coral to swap stories and rekindle their friendship.

“We’ve gone through life’s ups and downs, divorces and marriages, successes and failures, but all and all we came through it pretty well,” said Wilfert. “None of us are dead.”

“After that reunion, I was kind of saddened and disappointed that we hadn’t kept in touch better over the years,” Smith said. What other advice would Smith extend to those tan young men in the first photo?

“We might all three of us say the same thing: Don’t marry your first wife.”



The best anti-depressant is gratitude.
The most robust system depends on diversity.
The most stable relationships are open to change.
The most effective law enforcement is positive reinforcement.
The highest level of an individual can achieve is collaborative.
The best institutions foster loyalty by allowing self-expression.
The best abortion prevention is better access to birth control.
The best way to maximize yield is to attract more pollinators.
The most pragmatic path may be the most uncertain one.
The strongest outward principles come from within.



MLK Jr: "Life is a series of shattered dreams."
Gandhi: "Satan's successes are the greatest when he appears with the name of God on his lips."
Ram Dass: "And your lives, our lives, are grist for the mill."
L. Ron Hubbard: "The urge of the moment can become the sorrow of a lifetime."
Max More (on Mother Nature): "You compel us to age and die—just as we’re beginning to attain wisdom."
Og Mandino: "I love the light for it shows me the way, yet I love the darkness because it shows me the stars."
Aldous Huxley: “The trouble with fiction… is that it makes too much sense. Reality never makes sense.”
disturing 9/11 facts: "“It’s easier to deceive the masses, than get them to believe they’ve been deceived.”
W.H. Auden: “Poetry might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings.”
Amy Bruckheimer on Veep: "What do the experts know anyway?"
Physicist Neil Turok: "The universe turns out to be the simplest thing we know... the whole thing, is the simplest thing, isn't that amazing..."



Snopes.com investigation: "...when someone attempted to fact check the fact checker, the response was the equivalent of “it's secret.”

"Capitalist America: Where people laboring for shit pay are the freeloaders and people coasting on intergenerational wealth are job creators"

"People with poor self-control, feelings of loneliness and depression are more likely to binge-watch television on a regular basis. The kicker? Watching that much television also gives people those symptoms."

"Humans are weird creatures, aren’t they? You’d figure they’d want to hear the truth so they can act accordingly and pull themselves out of their misery. But they prefer to be seduced, even though the picture you paint for them is highly unlikely to become reality."

Recess is first thing to be cut from school time when testing, yet exercise is best for new neurons and retaining information. Jobs minimize lunch and break times, yet those moments are needed for best brain function and focus (Pomodoro method).

In: Steroids in Baseball. Out: Kids who look up to major league players and get inspired.

The emotions of love and hate are triggered by the same chemical in the brain.

"Endorphins are at the highest levels in married couples immediately after one spouse leaves the house for work."

"President Bush got the world's attention this fall when he warned that a nuclear-armed Iran might lead to World War III. But his stark warning came at least a month or two after he had first been told about fresh indications that Iran had actually halted its nuclear weapons program."

"Despite the increased focus on accuracy in the media, the number of fact checkers employed at major U.S. newspapers has declined 62 percent since 1999."

"Media outlets trade on their history, but they don’t resemble their past selves in any meaningful way."

"My father never talked much about his parents or relatives. I never thought about asking questions."



no experience and you are surprised by everything
too much experience and you aren't surprised by anything
the brain itself is activated based on instinctual and often irrational responses to stimuli
fake it 'til you make it
'get busy living, or get busy dying'
fighting fire with fire
One man's trash is another man's treasure
One man's pain is another man's pleasure
the more you think the harder it gets to do
workin for the weekend
the more you learn the less you know
"too much of a good thing" (Serotonin syndrome)
Trump: "believe me"
practical joke
the only constant is change
all GHGs aren't bad, we need carbon balance
"politically correct"
educated guess
common sense
expect the best, prepare for the worst
everyone lives with doubts, fears
feelings/thoughts -> behavior/action
you will love, and hurt someone
"in God we trust"
truth is stranger than fiction
more things change, more they seem the same
the courage to be vulnerable
voting machines: negative votes
"broken promise in the promised land"
"the bigger the better"
conventional wisdom
plans change
infinity pool
mud bath
tragic hero
secret to success (failure)
emotional intelligence
pure science is art
pure art is science
church and state
sense of self/without ego
best debaters take both sides
smoking cigarettes to get a break
small talk in office to pass time
stadium waste
bathroom anti-handwashers
invisible hand
revolving door
free trade
decline of organized labor
private equity
silicon valley
false idols
maintaining the status quo (really means protecting it!)
welfare for the rich
entitlements
deregulation
"the ruling class"
Crony Capitalism
tea party (run for government, be against government?)
identity politics ('convenient Boogeyman')
nation building
world police
Big Ed (student debt)/Big Finance (wall st.)
Big Pharma/Big Ag (health care)
kick up dust trying to vaccuum
conservatives want financial deregulation and social fascism
liberals want financial regulation and social freedom
people want a quick-acting government, only available to our "enemies" without democracy

Military bases in desert are developing solar panel parking lots, microgrids, and water re-use; though the war is for homeland oil
Society treats art like science (asking questions, forming hypotheses, analyzing results), and treats science as art (opinion, feeling).
Best way to focus on goals: "Quality thought is always aligned with non goal-directed thought and prayer." (Eckankar, The Call of Soul)
Deregulation/libertarian principles: “tyranny by unaccountable private concentrations of wealth” (Noam Chomsky)
Kanye started with his jaw wired shut, continues to push hip-hop's boundaries using the human voice (Vox)
Heuristics: a rule of thumb, an educated guess, an intuitive judgment, stereotyping, profiling, or common sense (wiki)
Congresspeople don't run the country (they definitely don't read the bills); their staff runs the trains (Jack Abramoff)
Nihilism is not really a cause of fear, but emboldening; "your days are numbered, so get busy with what you want to do" (veritasium)
near miss, plastic glass, flammable/inflammable, nylon rubber, business ethics, military intelligence (george carlin)



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