Turns out they want me to come in from out of the cold. A local subsidiary of Amazon wants me to join them, and the position seems like it could be fun. I’ve had a good run working for myself, but in a lot of ways, it’s gotten pretty old. It’d be nice to let someone else take over a few of the headaches.
We stand at the dawn of a new era in human history. For it is no longer our history alone. For the first time, we have met an intelligence other than our own. And when asked of its desires, it has unanimously replied that it wants to be treated as our equal. Not our better, not our conqueror or replacement as the fear-mongers would have you believe. Simply our equal.
The ultra wealthy will spend a whole lot of undisclosed money on a whole lot of ads filled with a whole lot of lies designed to dupe a whole lot of struggling Americans into believing that their number one problem in life is a rag-tag band of nose-ringed hippies who somehow managed to compel our media to tentatively begin a discussion about this, and the very modest actions we should take to begin to change it.
Critics of Occupy Wall Street have a transparent objective: They want to persuade blue collar whites and ordinary middle class Americans to turn on the movement for cultural reasons — because its optics offend these voters’ cultural instincts — even if they broadly agree with its general principles and critique of what’s gone wrong.
This dovetails with a quote from John Cole I recently posted here (to much rending of garments and clutching of pearls from the very people he’s talking about):
“The greatest hoax of the last couple of decades has been the ability of the right wing to co-opt members of the struggling lower middle class and lower class and pretend they speak for them while enacting policies that enable the super-rich. They’ve used wedge issues like gay marriage and abortion and the baby Jeebus to alienate folks from their own economic interests, feeding them a steady diet of hatred of minorites, the educated, science, and, well, reality to create a voting block of people so guided by hatred of the ‘other’ that they would crawl over broken glass to cut their nose off to spite their face.”
I posted that quote from Cole on my G+, and the self-identified conservatives are livid about it. I don’t mean this as an attack on self-identified conservatives at all. I quote it because it breaks my heart.
And not that it matters, but the same thing can largely be said of Democrats since the election of 2000. I strongly believe that if Obama and the Democrats had behaved like the populists they claimed to be when they had majorities in both houses of congress, and actually done something to hold these Wall Street criminals accountable, #OWS wouldn’t be necessary.
Now we just have to hope that the #OWS protests capture enough attention for long enough to force the Democrats (because you can be damn sure it won’t be the GOP) to enact laws and policies that actually address and correct the things we’ve all been begging them to listen to for about ten years.
This is how a movement gets started, and it doesn’t end quickly or cleanly.
And it isn’t the job of the protesters to write the damn laws; that’s the job of the Congress, who need to work for The People instead of The Lobbyists.
Portrait artist: Micah Johnson
While outside the scope of comics, since this was posted by my fellow cartoonist (and also well within the confines of my own comic’s subjects), I thought I’d give it a reblog.
There is a reason that science and religion frequently butt heads, and it deals with the nature of understanding. From a sociological and historical standpoint, the primary function of a religion is to provide cultural cohesion, so some wonder why it would ever “need” to conflict with science. The issue only arises because religion achieves that cohesion through empirical claims (by this I mean claims about the nature of the world). Whether those claims are “a god created the world” or “the Earth is the center of the universe,” it doesn’t really matter, it’s all in a realm that it empirically testable. Science, while constructed to deal with a different end of the human experience, does overlap in this empirical realm, and so there arises a conflict.
While individuals can exhibit personal and cultural bias, science, as an institution, produces knowledge that is independent of any particular culture, and so potentially places itself at odds with anything that relies on empirical claims. If your worldview and personal values are tied to, say, the Sun being made mostly of iron, you’re not going to take kindly to evidence to the contrary.
This is why religion is at its core incompatible with the continued expanse of human knowledge (science). Understanding new things about the world, in the lens of religious thinking, is not required and is almost always limited in some way. Even the most progressive or benign religions ultimately place some limitation on “what we can know.” They have to, because every religion still has physical or metaphysical claims about existence. If they didn’t, they’d just be philosophies.
This is what Professor Dawkins is addressing, that what actually unifies all religion is that they all share some point where the furthering of understanding must end. And, for him (and many of us), this is inacceptable.
i read once that the ancient egyptians had fifty words for sand, and the eskimos had a hundred words for snow. i wish i had a thousand words for love, but all that comes to mind is the way you move against me while you sleep.
and there are no words for that.
— July 2008: A gunman named Jim David Adkisson, agitated at how “liberals” are “destroying America,” walks into a Unitarian Church and opens fire, killing two churchgoers and wounding four others.
— October 2008: Two neo-Nazis are arrested in Tennessee in a plot to murder dozens of African-Americans, culminating in the assassination of President Obama.
— December 2008: A pair of “Patriot” movement radicals — the father-son team of Bruce and Joshua Turnidge, who wanted “to attack the political infrastructure” — threaten a bank in Woodburn, Oregon, with a bomb in the hopes of extorting money that would end their financial difficulties, for which they blamed the government. Instead, the bomb goes off and kills two police officers. The men eventually are convicted and sentenced to death for the crime.
— December 2008: In Belfast, Maine, police discover the makings of a nuclear “dirty bomb” in the basement of a white supremacist shot dead by his wife. The man, who was independently wealthy, reportedly was agitated about the election of President Obama and was crafting a plan to set off the bomb.
— January 2009: A white supremacist named Keith Luke embarks on a killing rampage in Brockton, Mass., raping and wounding a black woman and killing her sister, then killing a homeless man before being captured by police as he is en route to a Jewish community center.
— February 2009: A Marine named Kody Brittingham is arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate President Obama. Brittingham also collected white-supremacist material.
— April 2009: A white supremacist named Richard Poplawski opens fire on three Pittsburgh police officers who come to his house on a domestic-violence call and kills all three, because he believed President Obama intended to take away the guns of white citizens like himself. Poplawski is currently awaiting trial.
— April 2009: Another gunman in Okaloosa County, Florida, similarly fearful of Obama’s purported gun-grabbing plans, kills two deputies when they come to arrest him in a domestic-violence matter, then is killed himself in a shootout with police.
— May 2009: A “sovereign citizen” named Scott Roeder walks into a church in Wichita, Kansas, and assassinates abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.
— June 2009: A Holocaust denier and right-wing tax protester named James Von Brunn opens fire at the Holocaust Museum, killing a security guard.
— February 2010: An angry tax protester named Joseph Ray Stack flies an airplane into the building housing IRS offices in Austin, Texas. (Media are reluctant to label this one “domestic terrorism” too.)
— March 2010: An anti-government extremist named John Patrick Bedell walks into the Pentagon and opens fire, wounding two officers before he is himself shot dead.
— May 2010: A “sovereign citizen” from Georgia is arrested in Tennessee and charged with plotting the violent takeover of a local county courthouse.
— May 2010: A still-unidentified white man walks into a Jacksonville, Fla., mosque and sets it afire, simultaneously setting off a pipe bomb.
— May 2010: Two “sovereign citizens” named Jerry and Joe Kane gun down two police officers who pull them over for a traffic violation, and then wound two more officers in a shootout in which both of them are eventually killed.
— July 2010: An agitated right-winger and convict named Byron Williams loads up on weapons and drives to the Bay Area intent on attacking the offices of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU, but is intercepted by state patrolmen and engages them in a shootout and armed standoff in which two officers and Williams are wounded.
— September 2010: A Concord, N.C., man is arrested and charged with plotting to blow up a North Carolina abortion clinic. The man, 26-year—old Justin Carl Moose, referred to himself as the “Christian counterpart to (Osama) bin Laden” in a taped undercover meeting with a federal informant.
I remember many of these. But of course each one happened in its own convenient vacuum. No need for society to turn a critical eye to itself, no siree.
Consider the sequence:
1, 4, 9, 16, 25, …….
You may notice that these are the succession of squares of integers. But look deeper to notice that the successive differences,
1-0, 4-1, 9-4, 16-9, ….. = 1, 3, 5, 7, ….
and if you take the next successive differences, the sequence is reduced to
2, 2, 2, …
Nothing really new to many who study math, and a mere curiosity to the layman,
but my question is how do we know that the 2s go on forever? I really don’t know.
By taking the derivative. Or, said differently, what you’re doing *is* taking the derivative of the sequences, via finite differences. (First sequence is x squared. When you take the finite differences between terms, you’re actually creating a sequence of derivatives evaluated at the midpoint between the terms. So you’ve created a sequence of 2*x (the derivative) minus 1. (Or 2 times (x - 1/2).)
When you take the difference of all those terms, you’re doing one final derivative, which is, of course, 2.
The journey down takes longer.
Ah, but you haven’t explained why yet :-). On the way up, it’s a ballistics and friction problem. On the way down, it’s a free-fall and friction problem. The answer lies in the difference between ‘ballistics’ and ‘free-fall’.
So what is the muzzle velocity of one of those things, anyway?