I know all the words to “The Star Spangled Banner” — although a lifetime of Hockey Night in Canada probably helped.
All that to say:
There are a few things this (rare) pro-American Canadian still doesn’t understand about your wonderful country.
I’m not pretending to ask these questions either, like this shameful and embarrassing federal government employee, whose CBC TV show is paid for by my extorted tax dollars. Note that while ostensibly mocking Americans, all he does is accidentally highlight how patient and polite you guys really are:
With expanding reproductive choices, we can expect to see more women choose to reproduce without men entirely. Fortunately, the data for children raised by only females is encouraging. As the Princeton sociologist Sara S. McLanahan has shown, poverty is what hurts children, not the number or gender of parents.
That’s good, since women are both necessary and sufficient for reproduction, and men are neither. From the production of the first cell (egg) to the development of the fetus and the birth and breast-feeding of the child, fathers can be absent. They can be at work, at home, in prison or at war, living or dead. …
Meanwhile women live longer, are healthier and are far less likely to commit a violent offense. If men were cars, who would buy the model that doesn’t last as long, is given to lethal incidents and ends up impounded more often?
Is this a serious article? What kind of misandrist pens this type of sexism? Common to the NYTs, sure, but his dismissal of men and suck-up-ness (no, it’s not a word, I made it up) to women and his audience is pretty clear. What is his malignant purpose?
Raised during the Depression in Ohio, but born too young to fight in the Big War, he grew up dreaming of airplanes and flight. A brilliant student, he went to engineering school at Purdue at the age of seventeen and learned to fly young. He then enlisted in the Navy, applied his experience to become a fully qualified aviator at the tender age of twenty, and went on to fly almost eighty combat missions in Korea, one of which required him to eject from his aircraft after it was hit by fire from the ground.
But Neil Alden Armstrong’s greatest accomplishments were after the war, as a civilian employee of first the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, and then the new agency formed from that organization in 1958 — NASA. He was one of the test pilots for the X-15 aircraft which, in an alternate history, would have been the first of many experimental vehicles to gradually open up the new frontier of space. He wasn’t just flying the aircraft, but writing technical papers on them and helping develop them. He would have been happy to continue to live in the California desert, flying aircraft higher and faster, until they finally became full-fledged space transports, but fate intervened in the form of Sputnik and the space race and (some have speculated) the loss of his young daughter Karen to a brain tumor in early 1962.
While the timing of the latter tragedy seemed to be correlated, he never said that it was a cause of his decision to switch over from aircraft research pilot to NASA astronaut. As he later told his biographer James Hansen, “It was a hard decision for me to make, to leave what I was doing, which I liked very much, to go to Houston. … But by 1962 Mercury was on its way, the future programs were well designed, and the lunar mission was going to become a reality. I decided that if I wanted to get out of the atmospheric fringes and into deep space work, that was the way to go.”
According to a report, microbiologists at M.I.T. have “swapped out the genes of the R. eutropha bacterium so that it can create isobutanol — an alcohol that can replace or blend with gasoline used by vehicles.”
“We’ve shown that, in continuous culture, we can get substantial amounts of isobutanol,” said one researcher.
Bear in mind, however, the opening paragraph of the piece:
A humble soil bacteria has become a genetically engineered factory capable of making fuel for cars. But the project still has to get out of the lab and scale up to industrial-size production.
That “but” means everything. Biotechnology moves very slowly. There is always a gaping disconnect between the knowledge and abilities of applied scientists at any given time and the hyped media portrayal of them as ushering in an immediate revolution in medicine or energy. For instance, when compared to the hype that has accompanied every major advance in cancer research over the past four decades – including the discovery of recombinant DNA methods – the fruits of such advances have been relatively modest.
This research project still sounds in its primitive stages. What tipped me off? The fact that the reporter had to resort to writing about the hopes of the researchers rather than the actual results:
For their next trick, the MIT researchers hope the genetically engineered bacteria could eventually transform carbon dioxide into fuel — a way of using up the greenhouse gas that contributes heavily to global warming. The bacteria already naturally use hydrogen and carbon dioxide for growing.
The researchers “hope.” These are supremely intelligent, talented scientists. But “hope” in the world of biotechnology is measured not in years but in decades.
Louie Armstrong, “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans.” This is a live performance, but I haven’t been able to figure out where or when. I do know the musicianship on display here is breathtaking.
We have a choice here between a Hurricane or a Mint Julep, but Melissa still has all that mint growing in the garden. So, Mint Julep it is.
We also have to hurry up and play this one — and drink this one — before we lose the very last of the summer weather. Monument Hill cooled off a couple weeks ago, and doesn’t look likely to warm back up very much before the autumn sets in.
2.5 ounces Kentucky bourbon – Maker’s Mark preferred
2 fresh mint sprigs
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon water
If you happen to have your wife’s grandmother’s old julep glasses, by all means give them a quick polish and use them. If not, a Collins glass will do. My wife likes hers a little weaker and a little sweeter, so I double the water and sugar for her.
Trim your mint sprigs so that they’re the right height to serve as garnish. Trim off all the lower leaves, then muddle them in the bottom of the glass with the sugar and the water. Muddle them hard and release all that minty goodness.
Fill the glass all the way to the top with shaved or crushed ice, pour in the bourbon, then top off with a little more ice. Stick in a straw (we’ve got to get silver ones to go with the glasses!) then garnish with the sprigs.
Here are the two I just made.
AND ANOTHER THING: I’d usually leave it at that, but sipping at my cocktail and listening to Armstrong got me thinking. Or, as close to thinking as one can do on a sunny Saturday afternoon spent sipping at a cocktail and listening to Armstrong. What I’m thinking is, the huge debt we owe to Louis Armstrong.
Without Armstrong, jazz and pop as we know them simply wouldn’t exist. He did more than any other single artist to define them both — and he did so as an instrumentalist of unparalleled talent and as a vocalist of sublime and restrained emotiveness. Without Louis, how do you get to Charlie Parker? Without Louis, how do you get to Ella or Frank? He’s the guy who started it all.
Oh, and he wasn’t a bad actor, either, with 18 movies to his name.
We’re lucky we had him. I’m going back to my cocktail now.
The freeware game “Slender,” which was made by indie developer Parsec Productions, is scary. I mean, like, really terrifying. I played it recently, and it gave me chills.
The plot: You’re a girl thrust in the midst of creepy, long, ominous woods. The sky is pitch, and there are no lights. You’re hit with the instruction: “Collect Eight Pages.”
That’s it. You’re off.
You find the first page and then you begin to hear loud slams — great, terrifying thumps and bangs. They’re steps.
Something is chasing you.
Not much more needs to be said. What’s impressive about this game, though, is that some guy made it on his computer. It cost pennies. A major developer would have spent a fortune and the product, sadly, would not have been as disturbing.
Charles Onyett, in a review for IGN, said the following:
Few horror games thrust you so directly into the heart of fear. All of Slender’s elements – the lack of a map, the threat of instant death, the slight element of unpredictability of the page locations – all contribute to a pervasive sense of hopeless vulnerability as you frantically flee an unknowable predator who may or may not be directly behind you.
He’s absolutely right.
Parsec Productions understands that large expenses are unnecessary to frighten. All that is needed is what’s primal: the feeling of being lost in the woods, the darkness of night, the claustrophobia, the noises.
Everything hits the right note.
The best part is that it’s free. Head to their website and download it.
This is a great lesson to developers. When things become too convoluted, then you lose sight of the game. Keep it simple. People will come.
A note to those who might be interested: play it in a dark room and put on headphones. Wait until nightfall. Oh, and try to be near a light. You probably won’t sleep much.
For years, they’ve been dancing around it. Hiding their feelings. Calling it impractical. In 2012, Superman and Wonder Woman have stopped pretending, and are now the most super superhero couple in the DC universe. Starting in next week’s issue of Justice League, Superman and Wonder Woman will hook up and start dating.
The cover of the issue, Justice League #12, was revealed earlier this week in Entertainment Weekly, showing the couple’s ability to get high around each other. Do you think they’d notice if they flew into a bird, or a plane maybe?
Some of you may be asking; “but where’s Lois Lane?” If you aren’t a modern DC fan, then let’s fill you in: DC recently rebooted their entire comic universe. Dubbed “The New 52,” every modern franchise has been restarted, starting with issue #1. In Superman’s new reality, Clark Kent and Lois Lane aren’t married. She has a new boyfriend now… His name is Jonathan.
Related at PJ Lifestyle on comics and relationships:
I had two interesting responses to my article on Baltimore and the decay of America, and because my energy level is very low now as I begin treatment for cancer, allow me to respond briefly.
One friend asks why you believe that Romney and Ryan have answers for fixing America. Because America must decide whether it is going to be a society of productivity. Will it make new things and wealth? A city like Baltimore will not be rebuilt by taking money to lower living standards in the suburbs, but by creating great, new enterprises that produce goods and services people want.
Another polite reader put the following in the nicest possible way — I’m not being sarcastic: Don’t the Republicans and Romney just represent nineteenth-century plutocratic greedy capitalism dressed up as free enterprise? Millions of Americans believe this and unless they change their minds America will not change.
Yes, that evil Romney who wants to buy another 100 Rolls-Royces is not like those modest-living Kennedys, Gores, and all the rest, including a serious Democratic presidential candidate who betrayed his cancer-stricken wife after making a fortune on rather questionable legal actions. And I seem to recall a great lionized hero who — let’s face it: there’s no doubt — murdered a poor young working-class woman and left her to drown without ever paying for his crime. Sure there are bad conservatives and bad Republicans, corrupt and immoral people, but for goodness sake you aren’t treating them as great tribunes of the masses, as the friends of the exploiters, as they line their pockets from yours.
Details regarding this morning’s tragic Empire State Building shooting are still emerging. The blood isn’t even dry, but as always, that’s not stopping the opportunistic gun control ghouls like Mayor Bloomberg from politicizing the shooting.
A 41-year-old is dead, several more people are injured, and shameless Smarter Than You™ celebrities are more than happy to build their gun-grabbing case on the backs of the victims. As Twitchy already reported, Kim Kardashian is calling for Americans to “rethink gun laws.” And actor Jim Carrey wants to “revise” the Second Amendment.
No semi auto guns!Every 2 wks now, another mass shooting.AMERICA allowing this behavior is beneath us!Revise the second ammendment. ;^\
24 Aug 12
So, Jim Carrey has no use for the Bill of Rights? What exactly is keeping him here in America, eh?
(CBS/AP) DENVER – Prosecutors say the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting made threats and was banned from the University of Colorado after failing a key exam six weeks before the rampage.
Prosecutors made the accusations about James Holmes in court Thursday as they tried to convince a judge to let them see records from the university, where Holmes had been a neuroscience doctoral candidate.
James Holmes saw three mental health professionals before shooting
James Holmes’ lawyers: He’s mentally ill
Watch: James Holmes appears “dazed” in court
Prosecutors also claim professors had urged Holmes to get into another line of work before the shooting and invalidated his student ID in June. Attorney Karen Pearson didn’t disclose where their information came from.
Defense lawyer Daniel King objected to the release of the records, calling the prosecution’s request a “fishing expedition.”
“They already know all about Mr. Holmes’ history at CU. Why is it necessary to get more information when they have all the evidence, they have what they’re seeking?” he said.
King added that the “prosecution is fishing around looking for motive. Motive is irrelevant. Intent is irrelevant.”
More of PJ Lifestyle’s coverage of the Aurora shooting:
American anti-doping officials plan to strip Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and impose a lifelong ban from cycling — the sport that made him an American hero and a sports icon, it was revealed on Thursday.
The announcement from the US Anti-Doping Agency effectively destroys his legacy as one of the greatest cyclists in history and rubs a black smudge on a story that inspired millions of fans, drawn to his story of returning to glory after recovering from horrific cancer.
The USADA acted within an hour of Armstrong’s announcement that he would stop fighting charges that he used blood doping to illegitimately enhance his performance.
Despite the action, Armstrong maintains his innocence and called the USADA’s case a ‘witch hunt.’
The battle over his Tour de France wins is likely not over. USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said the agency has the authority to remove the titles from the 40-year-old athlete — and would act promptly to do so.Armstrong says only the International Cycling Union, which oversees the Tour de France, has that power.
‘USADA cannot assert control of a professional international sport and attempt to strip my seven Tour de France titles,’ he said in a statement. ‘I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours.’
USADA maintains that Armstrong has used banned substances as far back as 1996, including the blood-booster EPO and steroids as well as blood transfusions — all to boost his performance.
‘It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and athletes,’ Mr Tygart said. ‘It’s a heartbreaking example of win at all costs overtaking the fair and safe option. There’s no success in cheating to win.’
Armstrong, who retired last year, declined to enter arbitration — his last option — because he said he was weary of fighting accusations that have dogged him for years. He has consistently pointed to the hundreds of drug tests that he has passed as proof he was clean.
The new thriller Premium Rush isn’t a great movie, and its story has more than a few bumps, but it has one thing going for it: It’s a charged-up, full-on, Red-Bull-chugging sample of what life is like for a New York City bike messenger. These are the fearless souls who make FedEx look like the Pony Express.
The messenger is played by one of today’s more capable young actors, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (a favorite director Christopher Nolan featured in Inception and The Dark Knight Rises). Gordon-Levitt, who prepared for the role so extensively he crashed into a cab and gashed his arm (an accident referred to in a blooper clip after the credits roll) races through the movie as Wilee (named for Wile E. Coyote), a pumped-up Ivy Leaguer who could have been a lawyer but chose the life of adrenaline junkie instead. He’s got girl problems (sexy Vanessa, played by Dania Ramirez, is also pursued by fellow messenger Manny, played by Wolé Parks), he’s got occupational problems (the best parts of Premium Rush are when he’s mentally mapping out a path through the labyrinth of cars, trucks, buses, and pedestrians), and now he’s got a problem with an extra-special package.
The package (really just an envelope) has to be taken from Columbia University’s campus to some questionable characters in Chinatown within an hour and a half, but after picking it up, Wilee finds himself menaced by a guy (Michael Shannon) who claims he’s the head of campus security and demands to be given the envelope. It turns out Shannon’s character is really a cop, Bobby Monday, who owes some Chinatown underworld thugs a lot of money in gambling debts. And the envelope Wilee carries? It’s a kind of deposit slip for an underground Chinese bank with a value of $50,000.
Woody Guthrie would have been 100 years old this year, and celebrations and tribute concerts have been held not only in the United States but all through Europe. You can get the various details here.
But the New York Times ran the most left-wing, guilt-tripping contribution to his legacy in its Weekend section last Sunday. The piece, written by Lawrence Downes, begins by noting that to attend the gala final concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., one has to buy tickets that range from $80 to $175. Guthrie was a singer who in a good year may have earned $70 in one month — when he was employed by CBS to do a radio program — and such a price for people to listen to his songs would have infuriated him.
The publicity for the concert reads: “Through his unique music, words and style, Guthrie was able to bring attention and understanding to the critical issues of his day.” To which I would say, sometimes. He came to attention by what is most likely his most outstanding work,Dust Bowl Ballads, in which Guthrie chronicled the impact of the dust storms throughout the Southwest that drove thousands of poor farmers from Oklahoma and elsewhere to flee however they could to California and the Salinas Valley, where they could eke out a living picking crops.
No one who listens to these songs can doubt his talent, his humor, and his concern for those he knew well. “Talking’ Dust Bowl Blues” is filled with humor and irreverence, and although imitated by scores who wrote their own talking blues for years thereafter, nothing comes close to Woody’s originals.
But Mr. Downes’ concern is that there has been a “sentimental softening and warping of Woody’s reputation,” because the truth was that the “saintly folk hero” was really an “angry vigilante — a fascist-hating, Communist-sympathizing rabble-rouser.” He complains that his most well-known song, “This Land is Your Land,” has been “truncated and misinterpreted” because the “pan is off the flame.”
Mr. Downes is obviously referring to the last two verses, which Guthrie himself never sang — and which now both Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen regularly include — about how he saw a sign that said “Private property, no trespassing, but on the other side it said nothing, that side was made for you and me.”
Just don’t try to trespass on any of Bruce’s million-dollar properties — unless you want the police arriving and throwing you in the hoosegow, which Woody himself knew quite a lot about.
A World Bank report says there are now 6 billion phones in use around the world, and an estimated 70 percent of the world’s poorest people (and who also, not coincidentally, work in agriculture) have access to them. The developing world is now using mobile phones at higher rates than those in developed nations – 96 percent of people in Indonesia and 89 percent of those in Kenya text.
To me, there is perhaps no trend more interesting and yet continuously ignored by the vast majority of western techies than this. The amount of information shared, not via Facebook, Pinterest or on ipads, but using simple SMS messaging is staggering. And the amount of opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to help those in need is enormous.
Related at PJ Lifestyle on technology raising the quality of life:
In a new interview with In Touch, Snooki reveals she’s worried about being a bad mom even though she’s technically been one the minute she decided to carry a child to term inside her Stromboli box. She shouldn’t be worrying as much as preparing for how horribly she’s going to ruin this kid, is my point:
“I’m nervous that I’m not going to be a good mom,” she admits to In Touch. “I just really hope I know what I’m doing!”
The reality star says being pregnant has been crazier than a night out at the Jersey Shore! “At the Shore you’re going to hook up, get into a fight or go to jail. You only have three options. But being pregnant you have no idea what’s going on!”
On Sunday, Nina and I finally caught The Dark Knight Rises. We both enjoyed it*, but with a nearly three-hour running time, I felt sort of numb afterwards, finding newfound respect for the terse minimalist Jack Webb police procedural-like feel of the half-hour Adam West Batman series from the 1960s.
OK, just kidding. But still, two hours and 44 minutes is way too long for anything that wasn’t directed by David Lean.
[I]f insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, what are we to make of every murderous Regressive movement from the French Revolution to the October Revolution to Mao and Pol Pot? All of them began in resentment and ended in oceans of blood. In fact, one of the worst things about being a Regressive is having to ride the tiger that eventually eats all of them. In Dr. Zhivago, the idealistic Pasha becomes the feared zealot Strelnikov who in turn becomes another of Stalin’s statistics. In this Batman installment, Bane’s raging Id and his secret controller’s lust for revenge are both defeated by heroes who understand where the truth lies.
Ladies, have you ever had a person that you care about but he has this annoying habit that grinds your nerves?
Since you’re an open and honest human being, you want to talk to him about it, but the one time you alluded to it before, he got all huffy about it. Now, you don’t want to bring it up because you’re thinking it’ll turn into this whole, big thing. So, since he’s a great person, you just ignore it even though you really wish he’d stop doing it. Well, it just may be possible that you’re doing something very similar to some of the men in your life. Too harsh? Okay, maybe not YOU, but your loud friend, you know — the one that doesn’t have a lot of tact? She may be doing some of these things and by reading this article, you may be able to help her with things like…
1) If you don’t want us to fix it, why did you bring it up?
When men have a problem, we like to figure out how to deal with it so that it frees our thought processes up for debates about who the greatest home run hitter of all time is (Babe Ruth) or whether you’d be more likely to catch a venereal disease from Paris Hilton or Snooki (Snooki). So, if two men are talking and one says to the other, “My boss is being a real jerk. I’ve had a vacation on the schedule for three months, but he’s asking me to work next weekend. It’s not even an important job! Anybody could do it!” he’s hoping to get a solution to his problem.
Is there a way to save his vacation? Should he quit his job? What should he say to his boss?
This is why men tend to be mildly irritated when a woman talks about an issue and just seems to want him to commiserate. “Oh, I can’t BELIEVE she said that to you about your dress! Who does that ratty b*tch think she is?” These comments don’t lead to getting anything done. So, we can pretend to sympathize, but we’ll be biting our lip to keep from explaining what to do the whole time.
Dreams: Cool-ass movies you can watch for free with no download times and which often star you and often have porn. They can even tell the future (maybe), help resolve the past and give you insight into the present. What’s not to love about these flickery little bastards? Next time you’re complaining about life, just remember this: your brain, clever fucker that it is, has automatically provided for a good solid few hours every day where you get to be the star of the show, unicorns are real, you can fly, you get to have any kind of sex you want, and also Rodney Dangerfield is trying to kill you with a machete for stealing the plans to the replica of the Empire State Building he’s constructing from light and candy in his garage. Wait, forget that last one. That’s, uh, personal.
A lot of people complain they don’t remember their dreams. That can be fixed. A lot of people claim their dreams are boring. That can be fixed, too. In fact, turns out that dreaming is a skill you can build just like any other with a little persistence and some simple techniques. With a little practice, you can activate Lucid Dream Mode and have conscious control while dreaming.
So if you’re ready to throw out the TV and the YouTubes and get into some real deep inner territory, like balls deep, read on:
1. Write your dreams down every morning. This is the most important thing in this list. If you don’t do anything else, do this. Get a journal, stick it by the bed with a pen, and write down all the crazy shit you remember from your dreams the instant you wake up. Don’t stall; if you switch gears even a bit to check your e-mail or take a shower, you’re going to lose most, if not all, of what you dreamt. The more you do this, the more you’ll remember from your dreams. This is basically the lock and key that opens up your dreamspace. The more detail you record, the more detail you’ll remember the next night, and the more you’ll start to gain control of what you’re dreaming.
2. Set your intention. Tell yourself what you want to dream about before you go to sleep. Visualize the type of dream you want to have. Ask yourself a question. Pick one thing, and stick to it; maybe write it in your dream journal and then see how you net out in the morning. Coupled with the practice of dream journalling, this will help you gain more and more control over the dream state, allowing you access to new capacities for problem solving and satisfaction.
Do not adjust your television set: the Mamets are going to be all over it.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, CBS is aiming to have acclaimed writer/director David Mamet reboot the old Western Have Gun – Will Travel. The Pulitizer Prize-winner — whose television credits include The Unit and episodes of Hill Street Blues and The Shield — would helm the updated series about a gunslinger named Paladin, which originally ran from 1957 to 1963.
“Mamet will serve as writer and executive producer on the project, alongside non-writing EP Elliott Webb. If the pilot is ordered, Mamet also would direct,” THR reports. Hollywood.com has reached out to both CBS and Mamet’s reps for a statement, but has not immediately heard back.
Why can’t doctors be more like vets? With medical breakthroughs quietly taking place in the field of animal medicine, it’s a question more Americans should be asking — whether or not they have pets.
Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, pets have access to more superior medical care than humans do. Dogs that suffer from arthritis may undergo stem cell regeneration therapy, in which their own autologous (adult) stem cells are harvested from their own fatty tissue and then injected into their joints. The healing benefit is remarkable, as I have witnessed myself with two of my own dogs. Unfortunately, this particular therapy is not yet available for humans in the United States.
Meanwhile, in Florida late last year, a Yorkshire terrier underwent a routine spay procedure, but something went very wrong during the anesthesia process and the dog emerged from resuscitation with cortical blindness. Veterinarians advised the dog’s owner that euthanasia might be the kindest option in this case. Then, a quick-thinking vet at Calusa Veterinary Center in Boca Raton suggested hyperbaric oxygen therapy; with nothing to lose, the dog’s heartbroken owner consented. Thirty-five HBO2 treatments later, the dog’s blindness was reversed.
Meanwhile, hyperbaric medicine is available to human patients with one of 15 Medicare-approved conditions — but alas, cortical blindness is not one of them. Dogs, on the other hand, may receive hyperbaric treatment for a much broader range of medical conditions — about 50 — so the chamber is being used to address problems ranging from Lyme disease to pancreatitis.
Veterinarian Diane Levitan, of Peace Love Pets Veterinary Care in New York, also offers her clients hyperbaric medicine for their animals. “Hundreds of thousands of people have been helped by HBO2, and it will help innumerable animals,” Levitan says. “Most of what we vets do is a result of what’s practiced by doctors on people; experiments are performed on dogs and mice and other animals, but this is one of the few situations where that’s reversed, and we’re applying a treatment modality to animals that humans tried first. It would be great if the human medical community would embrace HBO2 more. Hyperbaric medicine is not in the forefront of people’s minds, but it would be great if it could be in the forefront of physicians’ minds. That would create more cases, so that Medicare could see evidence-based medicine — and more people could be helped.”
It doesn’t help matters that the mainstream media reports on HBO2 with the same disparagement it normally reserves for stories on adult stem cells. The MSM sensationalized HBO2 by showing the late Michael Jackson asleep in his own private hyperbaric chamber, then trivialized the treatment by citing Keanu Reeves’ use of HBO2 for insomnia. If you get your news only from the MSM, you’d be convinced that HBO2 is just another one of those dangerous, experimental treatments that smack of quackery, just like adult stem cell therapy, and should be avoided like the proverbial plague.
At the suggestion of science fiction author John Ringo, I am reading his book The Last Centurion. I am not a big fiction reader so this book was a good start for me as I like its “bloggy” first person style. The book takes place in the second decade of the 21st century with a world enduring two catastrophes: a mini-ice age and a plague. The book describes a possible future and all the political and military problems and limitations that exist during a catastrophe. As a psychologist, I was struck by how people and society behaved during these crises.
The main character, an American army officer, gives his observations about how important trust is in a society when there is a disaster. “Americans form voluntary random social alliances. Other societies do not. Low trust societies in the U.S. do not.” In other words, in America, groups of random strangers will get together to aid other people for no direct benefit to themselves. In a disaster, it is imperative for people to help each other to get through it and save as many lives as possible.
For most of us, there’s a world of difference between the written word and the spoken word. Where the written word is formal, the spoken word is colloquial; and this as it ought to be–audience matters. Of course, the spoken word isn’t merely word. It’s also facial expression, physical gesticulation, intonation, and apparent emotion. If I want to use sarcasm, it’s indicated by my tone of voice. If I want to playfully tease a friend, my eyes give away the fact that I’m not a mean-hearted jerk. And if I need to ask a subordinate to work on a given task, I can sweetly and gently ask if she wouldn’t mind getting started on her project. Attempts at writing the very same thing out have the annoying habit of coming across as accusatorial, bossy, or otherwise catty.
That’s where emoticons come in. While I certainly do not consider myself an emoticon apologist, I concede that there’s a time and a place.
That time and place? Any time when it would be far preferable to communicate via the spoken word, but when, due to circumstances (including laziness), speaking face to face is not feasible. E-mail communication, web forums, texts, and facebook messages are all examples of less-than-stellar substitutes for speaking in person.