Beautiful photography combining the youthful and current images of the elderly. It seems to take some of the sting out of aging, maybe most of it.
Excellent TED lecture by memory researcher Elizabeth Loftus:
Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus studies memories. More precisely, she studies false memories, when people either remember things that didn’t happen or remember them differently from the way they really were. It’s more common than you might think, and Loftus shares some startling stories and statistics, and raises some important ethical questions we should all remember to consider.
Based on the work of Robert Sapolsky, the dominance of society by alphas cause the have-nots to suffer stressed-induced deteriorating health. When those alphas died off due to eating tainted meat, the entire troupe benefited, becoming more social and gentle. Fascinating findings that appear to apply to humans too.
Yesterday I was walking through Arlington National Cemetery, when I saw the following signs dictating that those in the cemetery should be solemn.
This sign made me think of the two-minute video in which John Cleese (of Monty Python fame) explains that people commonly confuse seriousness (which can be properly accompanied by laughter and frivolity, often enabling inspiration and catharsis) with solemnity. What is the purpose of solemnity?
It serves pomposity, and the self-important always know at some level of their consciousness that their egotism is going to be punctured by humor. That is why they see it as a threat. So they dishonestly pretend that their deficiency makes their view more substantial, when it only makes them feel bigger. [raspberry]. Humor is an essential part of spontaneity and an essential part of playfulness, and an essential part of the creative activity that we need to solve problems, no matter how serious they may be.
Apparently, humor (and other forms of free expression–something for which the soldiers allegedly died for–is more powerful than bullets. We wouldn’t want people walking through the cemetery speaking out, especially using the weapon of humor, to question whether many of these soldiers died for lies, be it the alleged Gulf of Tonkin incident, the alleged weapons of mass destruction, or the other lie from the steady stream of lies that has kept America constantly at war.
According to Lee Camp, little bits of comfort are getting in the way of the possibility of progress.
The first photo below is an HDR photo I took of the Lincoln Memorial 3 nights ago. Walking around DC, I’m mostly repulsed by the thought of what this city has become: Blatant corruption and warmongering hypocrisy. But I draw strength and hope from the glorious monuments on the National Mall.
Approaching crisis point for journalism and corruption – Bill Moyers talks with John Nichols and Robert McChesney
Bill Moyers, John Nichols and Robert McChesney are three of the people I admire most in the world. Here they are sitting at the same table discussing what to do about the massive corruption of our political system, specifically, the challenges faced by those who are trying to do responsible journalism to report on this travesty. These issues are discussed with precision in the latest book by Nichols and McChesney: “Dollarocracy,” a stunningly sober look at the situation (I’ve almost finished reading it).
Toward the end of this excellent video, McChesney and Nichols indicate that they are “optimists.” They argue that we are at one of those acute crisis points periodically faced by Americans and thus positive change is in our grasp. The authors further argue that it is becoming apparent that we need to make the case for publicly funded journalism. This is an approach taken by many functional governments, and it was one of the cornerstones of early America, a topic discussed by Nichols and McChesney in one of their previous books.
I am in Washington DC for the national conference of the National Consumer Law Center. Our special guest today was Senator Elizabeth Warren. In a blistering plain-language talk, delivered to an audience of approximately 900 consumer lawyers, Warren took aim at lobbyists, courts and the campaign finance system. [more . . . ]