Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I Still Know

“I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”
--Agatha Christie

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

BEAUTY: Interior--Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent

The most recent issue of Architectural Digest shows us inside the home of interior design duo Nate Berkus and his husband Jeremiah Brent and their newborn daughter Poppy. Both men are accomplished interior designers as evidenced by the wonderfully curated environment they created which is all about material (welcome back, brass!) and texture and form. The subtlety of the apartment blossoms upon closer inspection. Take a look at each detail, the shape and combination of the furnishings, the engaging yet restrained collection of objects...but the thing that makes me swoon is the shoe closet. I would LOVE to have that as I have, ahem, nearly as many shoes.


Their daughter Poppy is a lucky little girl--look at this sweet room they assembled for her...I love the neutral malachite wallcovering, the chrome changing table, the little tee-pee, and the menagerie of stuffed animals.


http://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/jeremiah-brent-nate-berkus-designed-greenwich-village-home-article

http://www.nateberkus.com/
http://www.jeremiahbrent.com/

Monday, September 28, 2015

Happy Cherokee New Year 2015!

Happy Cherokee New Year!

The Cherokee people ended their year and started the new year in autumn. It’s interesting—and makes sense—that they chose the harvest to mark the end of the year. The earth had gone through a cycle: the food had grown from spring, through summer, and then was harvested in the fall. The cycle was finished; time to start anew. The New Year was celebrated with a festival that featured purifications, dancing, prayers and offerings, and food such as corn, beans, squash, and meat.

Since the Cherokee calendar was and still is extremely tied to the phases of the moon, the timing of the New Year observation is somewhat up for debate. Some sources say that it was observed on the first full moon after the start of autumn, which is today, September 28th, 2015. Other sources report that the New Year was observed ten days after the first full moon, the ten days probably being a period of fasting and preparation for the festival. Still other sources cite the first full moon in the Cherokee month of Nvdadequa or Nvwatitequa—which happens during our month of November—as the true Cherokee New Year.

Whenever it was celebrated, it was surely around this time... when the earth turns, the days grow shorter, the nights grow longer, and the weather turns cold. We prepare for the introspection that comes with winter, when the ground sleeps under the snow. That is the beginning of the year, the beginning of time: from darkness and cold springs life, new growth.

I wish you all "alihelisdi itse udetiyvsadisvi" or Happy New Year!


http://www.cherokee.org/

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Keyboard For Breakfast

The Cafe Int. at the Nexon Computer Museum in South Korea serves a very clever breakfast: a waffle made in the shape of a keyboard and little brioche in the shape of the accompanying mouse! Sides are syrup, fruit, sorbets and a little "pâtisserie."


http://www.nexoncomputermuseum.org/english/?mcode=0303
http://www.nexoncomputermuseum.org/english/

Thursday, September 24, 2015

"Giudecca" by Ghost Culture

Here is the bubbly, off-kilter, haunting "Giudecca" by Ghost Culture (James Greenwood). It seems like a pop song, buuuuuut...
It's like when something familiar to us is made from an unexpected material. It is the thing we know but shifted slightly to the side.

"I'm laughing at everything
Let it go, leave it be--"



http://www.ghostculture.com/

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"Let It Carry You" by José González

Oh my, how I love the music of José González (previously here, here, and here). This track, "Let It Carry You" is from his most recent release "Vestiges & Claws." And it is profound and joyous...profoundly joyous? Joyously profound? Yes...let it carry you.




http://jose-gonzalez.com/

Happy Autumnal Equinox 2015


Today is the official start of autumn, when our planet begins to tilt the other direction, tipping the northern hemisphere away from the sun. The days grow shorter, nights grow longer, as we move indoors and into ourselves for hibernation and introspection. Autumn is a time of harvest as the earth moves into hibernation as well. It is a beautiful time, a spiritual transition, a doorway between summer and winter.

HAPPY AUTUMNAL EQUINOX 2015!

(And for my friends Down Under, Happy Spring!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Happy Birthday "Oh, By The Way!" 2015

Congratulations "Oh, By The Way," you are six years old today!


Six years ago, I had a dream in which I started a blog called “Oh, By The Way.” When I woke up that morning, I went to the computer and promptly started a blog called “Oh, By The Way.” Seriously--it was the first thing I did that morning, and yes, I often act out in waking life things I have dreamt.

"Oh, By The Way" is my digital scrap book of things I like, things I would share with a close friend and say: “Oh, by the way, do you know of this artist/ clothing or interior designer/ model/ singer/ actor/ gorgeous man… or, have you seen this video/ photo/ film... or heard (or do you remember) this song/ band... or, read this book/ poem/ inspiring quote... or, visited this place/ restaurant/ famous building... or, have you heard of this amazing new scientific discovery?”

Followers and regular readers: thank you so much! I hope you find this blog fascinating, beautiful, interesting, moving, inspiring, informative, and uplifting. Welcome to the birthday party. Instead of cake this year, we are having donuts! Grab a virtual glazed treat and a glass of milk and enjoy...

The Last Day of Summer

Today is the last day of summer 2015...


Monday, September 21, 2015

Just finished reading...

...the powerful All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr which won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.


A good friend and I have started our own two-person book club since we have challenging schedules and busy lives--two of us seems more manageable than a whole gaggle. We read, we email our thoughts as we progress through the book, and then we meet for a lunch (or several!) to discuss. For our current book, she suggested Doerr's novel All The Light We Cannot See. I had not heard anything about the subject of the book, so I dove in.

Ostensibly, we follow two separate plot lines: 1) a young blind girl, Marie-Laure and her father who are forced to flee Paris when the Nazis come, and 2) Werner, a young German orphan whose only love is science and who, for that very reason, gets snapped up by the Nazi party to work on radios. I must say that when I started the book, I was a tiny bit reticent since this is very familiar territory. There have been so many books, films, and plays about WWII that it almost seems--and I do not mean this disrespectfully to those and their descendants who were destroyed or touched by the war--that there is a little bit of a saturation point on the subject. This has nothing to do with the subject of the war itself but the way it is appropriated and packaged for sale by industries, especially Hollywood. But it only took a few chapters to see that this story may take place during WWII but is actually about so much more. It is effective, especially with a war that is still fairly recent and that still gets a lot of cultural coverage, to tell it from a smaller point of view, from the perspective of two children. It's always more effective to tell grand stories from smaller points of view: HISTORY when told as such is HISTORY, but when it is an individual, it is of course easier to identify with, to see the impact on actual lives. But if our protagonists are kids, as they are here, it is all the more effective since war is generally, on a psychic level, incomprehensible--and it is certainly incomprehensible to children. And the sad part is that we watch them come to comprehend what it all is, as the daily details of war tighten into them, making notches, taking from them their childhood.

Through the many years of WWII, our children, for various reasons, end up in the French coastal town of Saint Malo for the cataclysmic siege the city suffered in August and September of 1944 at the hands of American bombs and British gunfire. Some critics have suggested that it is obvious that these two will eventually meet and that the device is predictable, even hackneyed. But I did not see it that way and to those critics I say you are not looking at it the right way--you are hobbled by a linear point of view. The story itself is told not in chronological order. We hop back and forth between their childhood, the start of the war, the siege, the middle of the war, back and forth, circling the events through time. I felt that it was more about following the thread backward--the two meet, yes, but what are the incredible, improbable, heartbreaking, and sometimes joyous paths that lead to such a meeting? I often contemplate this idea in my own life by looking at a meeting with someone or a particular event and tracing it back. I'm sure we've all done this in our imaginations: if I hadn't gone to _____ or known _____ then I would never have gotten here, now. Our lives are a connected chain of such what ifs. So for me, it was not so much that it was "inevitable" that they meet but that, at a certain point in the time stream, they did meet. Now, let's examine how and why that happened. All time is simultaneous. When you stand outside of it, you can observe from any angle, and such an approach is cosmically thrilling.

There is a marvelous juxtaposition between the literary and the cinematic in Doerr's writing. His style is certainly literary--but in a powerfully simple, straightforward way. It is not florid writing. Author JR Moehringer says, "Anthony Doerr sees the world as a scientist, but feels it as a poet." And this is true. While stunningly poetical (often breathtakingly so), it is completely direct and this helps the swift pacing. The entire novel is composed of short chapters that act as quick cuts in a film which is unexpected by ultimately pleasing. It brings a compelling rhythm to the story. If it were a film, such little bursts of story, flitting back and forth, would bring a lot of very effective tension. And it is the same in the book, back and forth, back and forth, not only with time as I have mentioned, but with location and character. We are sort of breathlessly putting together the puzzle of this story. His directness also plays up the completely heartbreaking aspects of everything happening to and around these kids. I confess that, as a writer, I might have been tempted to find adjectives that would describe heartbreak and misery and fear, to try to describe all of that and GIVE it to the reader...but that would have been the wrong approach. It is enough to see these children in this situation. The rest happens in our hearts.

There is some lovely poetry in the title too: "the light we cannot see" being Marie's blindness and by implication, how she maneuvers in her world of darkness (there are some gorgeous passages from her point of view, encountering natural elements) but also how Werner learned about the invisible world around him. He loved that the air is filled with wavelengths, infrared light, ultraviolet light, and especially invisible radio waves, all this static that is in the air every second. And then there is all the lightness we can't see while things are so dark and horrible...where is the lightness of the world when such a war rages? Where is joy when people can be so deliberately cruel and monstrous, when Germans wanted so to punish, to destroy, so full of anger at the entire world. It reminds me of certain quarters of this country today where people are SO angry and want to lash out to hurt and destroy...all the leftovers from the Tea Party and evangelicals with their twisted, aimless fury, lips curled in a snarl and veins bulging in their necks. The target of such rage does not matter. There is also the abstract idea of the light we cannot see being those invisible paths and threads that lead us forward, to a meeting with a special person, to a place that becomes a part of us.

And finally, I will say that I love how science is presented, as something real, important, powerful...more powerful than politics or petty hatred. It can be used by anyone and everyone, it does not play favorites or take sides. Science exists above and beyond--or rather the objects of science, the radio waves, wavelengths, electricity, magnetism. These things exist whether there are Nazis or not, whether evangelicals deny them or not. There is a purity to it. I like that Werner strives for that, and his allegiance is to a truth that is actual and exists no matter what, no matter if it is believed in or not. And Marie-Laure loves the natural world, the scientific aspect of zoology and marine life and shells and phytology and botany. The way that both of these kids look up to this system of recognizing and understanding the world around them is beautiful and frankly refreshing, and this leads me to reflect on our current time, here and now (shouldn't good art do that? make one think about one's own life and time?). I lament the anti-science movement in this country, the anti-vaxxers, the evangelicals who think that the world is only 4,000 years old and that fossils are decoys planted by Satan to detract from "God's word." Thankfully we have people like Bill Nye and Neil Degrasse Tyson who are champions of the sciences, but come on, we should not have to have someone to "champion" science. It should--and IS--self evident. But only if one is not blinded by religious superstition. So, it's lovely to see science portrayed as something NOT up for debate, something that is granted, something that is a given...

Recommend? YES. It is a beautiful, fulfilling achievement of literature, but also philosophy and spirituality. There are a few passages toward the end that deal with the enormity of life and this reality in a concise but jaw-dropping way. It didn't win a Pulitzer for nothing...

http://www.anthonydoerr.com/books/all-the-light-we-cannot-see/

Sunday, September 20, 2015

BEAUTY: Painting--Frank Mesaric

The arresting work of Frank Mesaric features empty, realistic settings charged with meaning under a ghostly superimposition of a black and white version of a famous Baroque painting. The pairings seem to be loosely linked in a kind of stream-of-consciousness way. The Beheading of Halofernes by Caravaggio floats over a leather sofa. A maritime rescue vessel puts out a fire while Georges De La Tour's Magdalene with the Smoking Flame sits nearby. Rembrandt's The Anatomy Lesson hovers ominously over a stripped hospital bed in an empty corridor. And finally, and most chillingly, Supper at Emmaus appears next to an F-117 fighter among what must be the burning Kuwaiti oil fields from the Gulf War.


Top to bottom: Couch and The Beheading of Halofernes; Deep Water and St. Mary Magdelene with the Smoking Flame; Entry Door and The Inspiration of Saint Matthew; F-117 Night Hawk and Supper at Emmaus; Fulham Railway Crossing and Dead Christ; Hospital Bed and The Anatomy Lesson; Passage Window and Christ Embracing Saint Bernard; Bridge at Tarraville and The Virgin Mourning Christ

http://www.frankmesaric.com/

Friday, September 18, 2015

Just watched...

..."Pixar's "Inside Out."


I've loved Pixar films ever since I saw the truly delightful "Monsters Inc." and it seems they can do no wrong. Each time they release a new animated film, I raise an eyebrow and wonder, "Hmmm, that seems like a shaky premise...it could turn out to be a typical schlocky kid's film." But then I see said film, whether it is "Finding Nemo," "WALL-E," or "Up," and I am swept up and enchanted in a story that manages to be both light and poignant, both for children and adults, both silly and bittersweet. I mean, the first ten minutes of "Up" and "WALL-E" contain more humor and love and meaning than some entire Hollywood films.

So it was a similar story with "Inside Out," a story that, on the surface, appeared more for tween girls. But on the recommendation of a friend who has demonstrated a capacity for a certain understanding of the world that overlaps with mine, I saw it. And indeed, it is delightful.

It is actually a very effective treatise on and study of psychological processes of the developing brain...disguised as a children's film. The animation and the sparkly effects make it fun and visually stimulating but the ramifications of the story are, at the risk of sounding silly, rather profound.

Once again, we have an intro in this film that manages to convey the contents of an entire complete story...but that is just the start. We watch the birth of a little girl, Riley, and see her grow up for 11 years. She and her parents live in Minnesota where Riley plays hockey with her mom and dad and her friends. But we get a special view of Riley that no one else does: we see inside her head where the personifications of all her emotions interact. Joy, Anger, Fear, Sadness, and Disgust all add their own viewpoint to Riley's world and her interactions with those around her. Director Pete Docter and his production team consulted Paul Ekman, a well-known psychologist who studies emotions, and Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley to understand more fully the function, role, and methodology of our emotions and our psyches.

As one can imagine, the emotional interior landscape of a child is generally fairly straight forward. But when Riley's father takes a job on the West Coast which takes them to San Francisco, Riley misses her friends, her hockey team, and her old life. This change is a spring board for watching the world view of a child grow, become more complicated, become richer. Of course the poignancy comes from the inevitable loss of innocence, and the loss of "pure" emotions...something that any adult with a sliver of self-awareness can identify with. The results of this growth might no longer be so pure but the trade off for a more extensive and deeper emotional life is worth it.

Aside from this grown-up trip down memory lane and examination of how we all got to where we are now, psychologically speaking, the film functions as a nice way to give children a way to think about their emotions. It provides them with visual symbols that allow them to possibly understand their internal processes, which, even for adults, can sometimes be overwhelming and mysterious. The underlying message that it is acceptable--and even necessary--for all of our emotions to act in concert and not to be afraid of that is a beautiful thing.



Recommend? YES.

http://www.pixar.com/features_films/Inside-Out

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Stovetop Wisdom by Lisa Strier

Lisa Strier lives in Pennsylvania and creates a series she calls Stovetop Wisdom. Insightful, humorous, touching, bittersweet ideas are distilled down into quotes that appear on a stove top... a wholly unique and surprising presentation!


Top to bottom: consequences; memorabilia; not getting smarter; once upon a time; shick; what is *forgetting*; worked up

http://stovetop-studio.blogspot.gr/

You can buy her pithy and poignant stovetop quotes in greeting card form at her Etsy page:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/IKANartware

Sunday, September 13, 2015

New Study Suggests Connections Between Homophobia And Mental Disorders

Just can't resist posting this article about an Italian study on homophobia. I couldn't agree with it more. We have always known this to be true, but it is nice to now have scientific proof to back it up.


New Study Suggests Connections Between Homophobia And Mental Disorders
BY ZACK FORD SEP 11, 2015 3:17PM

Homosexuality was long derided as a mental disorder — and being transgender often still is — but a new study suggests that it might be more likely that it’s actually homophobia that is a sign of mental disorder.

Researchers working with the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine evaluated the mental health of 560 Italian University students to see what connections could be found between their psychological traits and their propensity for homophobia. Indeed, they found that aspects of psychoticism and immature defense mechanisms were significant predictors for homophobic attitudes.

“We found that psychoticism represented an important risk factor for homophobia, demonstrating that pathologic personality traits are involved in homophobic attitudes,” the study explains. Psychoticism embodies various characteristics, but above all, “severe psychopathologic conditions, such as delusion, isolation, and interpersonal alienation, but also hostility and anger.” Homophobia could be partially linked by “pathologic trait of personality,” meaning that various disorders of relationship and thought could be predictive of homophobia.

Immature defense mechanisms similarly predicted homophobic attitudes. These are coping mechanisms activated during states of distress and anxiety and include behaviors like projection, acting out, isolation, denial, passive aggressiveness, and displacement. “Our data revealed that immature defense mechanisms predict homophobia, highlighting that a negative attitude toward homosexuals is influenced once again by dysfunctional aspects of personality.”

While these aggressive personality traits were linked with homophobia, depression had the opposite effect. “Subjects with depression have a lower risk to develop homophobic behavior,” in part because it seems they were less likely to “perceive external reality as a threat and project their anger.”

The study also found that gender was a significant predictor of homophobia. “Men are more homophobic than women,” and in particular, they demonstrated a tendency toward more negative attitudes and “a major risk of aggressive behavior or acting out toward homosexuals.”

Speaking to Medical Daily, lead researcher
Dr. Emmanuele A. Jannini suggested, “After discussing for centuries if homosexuality is to be considered a disease, for the first time we demonstrated that the real disease to be cured is homophobia, associated with potentially severe psychopathologies.”

Homophobic attitudes have previously been linked to unacknowledged same-sex attractions and dying younger.



Link to original article on Think Progress:
http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2015/09/11/3700857/homophobia-mental-disorder/

Friday, September 11, 2015

"Last Happy End" by Alice Rose

Danish musician Alice Rose is lovely. This is her new song "Last Happy End" filmed by German duo Lenny Grade and Christian Diekmann. The pair projected an animation of a heartbeat over floral bouquets frozen in crystal clear blocks of ice. The resulting image is a poetical interpretation of a song about death and loss.




http://www.alicerosemusic.com/

Thursday, September 10, 2015

"All Scientists Should Be Militant Atheists" by Lawrence M. Kruss

From The New Yorker.
Thank you, Lawrence!


SEPTEMBER 8, 2015
All Scientists Should Be Militant Atheists
BY LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS

As a physicist, I do a lot of writing and public speaking about the remarkable nature of our cosmos, primarily because I think science is a key part of our cultural heritage and needs to be shared more broadly. Sometimes, I refer to the fact that religion and science are often in conflict; from time to time, I ridicule religious dogma. When I do, I sometimes get accused in public of being a “militant atheist.” Even a surprising number of my colleagues politely ask if it wouldn’t be better to avoid alienating religious people. Shouldn’t we respect religious sensibilities, masking potential conflicts and building common ground with religious groups so as to create a better, more equitable world?

I found myself thinking about those questions this week as I followed the story of Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who directly disobeyed a federal judge’s order to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, and, as a result, was jailed for contempt of court. (She was released earlier today.) Davis’s supporters, including the Kentucky senator and Presidential candidate Rand Paul, are protesting what they believe to be an affront to her religious freedom. It is “absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberties,” Paul said, on CNN.

The Kim Davis story raises a basic question: To what extent should we allow people to break the law if their religious views are in conflict with it? It’s possible to take that question to an extreme that even Senator Paul might find absurd: imagine, for example, a jihadist whose interpretation of the Koran suggested that he should be allowed to behead infidels and apostates. Should he be allowed to break the law? Or—to consider a less extreme case—imagine an Islamic-fundamentalist county clerk who would not let unmarried men and women enter the courthouse together, or grant marriage licenses to unveiled women. For Rand Paul, what separates these cases from Kim Davis’s? The biggest difference, I suspect, is that Senator Paul agrees with Kim Davis’s religious views but disagrees with those of the hypothetical Islamic fundamentalist.

The problem, obviously, is that what is sacred to one person can be meaningless (or repugnant) to another. That’s one of the reasons why a modern secular society generally legislates against actions, not ideas. No idea or belief should be illegal; conversely, no idea should be so sacred that it legally justifies actions that would otherwise be illegal. Davis is free to believe whatever she wants, just as the jihadist is free to believe whatever he wants; in both cases, the law constrains not what they believe but what they do.

In recent years, this territory has grown murkier. Under the banner of religious freedom, individuals, states, and even—in the case of Hobby Lobby—corporations have been arguing that they should be exempt from the law on religious grounds. (The laws from which they wish to claim exemption do not focus on religion; instead, they have to do with social issues, such as abortion and gay marriage.) The government has a compelling interest in insuring that all citizens are treated equally. But “religious freedom” advocates argue that religious ideals should be elevated above all others as a rationale for action. In a secular society, this is inappropriate.

The Kim Davis controversy exists because, as a culture, we have elevated respect for religious sensibilities to an inappropriate level that makes society less free, not more. Religious liberty should mean that no set of religious ideals are treated differently from other ideals. Laws should not be enacted whose sole purpose is to denigrate them, but, by the same token, the law shouldn’t elevate them, either.

In science, of course, the very word “sacred” is profane. No ideas, religious or otherwise, get a free pass. The notion that some idea or concept is beyond question or attack is anathema to the entire scientific undertaking. This commitment to open questioning is deeply tied to the fact that science is an atheistic enterprise. “My practice as a scientist is atheistic,” the biologist J.B.S. Haldane wrote, in 1934. “That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel, or devil is going to interfere with its course and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career.” It’s ironic, really, that so many people are fixated on the relationship between science and religion: basically, there isn’t one. In my more than thirty years as a practicing physicist, I have never heard the word “God” mentioned in a scientific meeting. Belief or nonbelief in God is irrelevant to our understanding of the workings of nature—just as it’s irrelevant to the question of whether or not citizens are obligated to follow the law.

Because science holds that no idea is sacred, it’s inevitable that it draws people away from religion. The more we learn about the workings of the universe, the more purposeless it seems. Scientists have an obligation not to lie about the natural world. Even so, to avoid offense, they sometimes misleadingly imply that today’s discoveries exist in easy harmony with preëxisting religious doctrines, or remain silent rather than pointing out contradictions between science and religious doctrine. It’s a strange inconsistency, since scientists often happily disagree with other kinds of beliefs. Astronomers have no problem ridiculing the claims of astrologists, even though a significant fraction of the public believes these claims. Doctors have no problem condemning the actions of anti-vaccine activists who endanger children. And yet, for reasons of decorum, many scientists worry that ridiculing certain religious claims alienates the public from science. When they do so, they are being condescending at best and hypocritical at worst.

This reticence can have significant consequences. Consider the example of Planned Parenthood. Lawmakers are calling for a government shutdown unless federal funds for Planned Parenthood are stripped from spending bills for the fiscal year starting October 1st. Why? Because Planned Parenthood provides fetal tissue samples from abortions to scientific researchers hoping to cure diseases, from Alzheimer’s to cancer. (Storing and safeguarding that tissue requires resources, and Planned Parenthood charges researchers for the costs.) It’s clear that many of the people protesting Planned Parenthood are opposed to abortion on religious grounds and are, to varying degrees, anti-science. Should this cause scientists to clam up at the risk of further offending or alienating them? Or should we speak out loudly to point out that, independent of one’s beliefs about what is sacred, this tissue would otherwise be thrown away, even though it could help improve and save lives?

Ultimately, when we hesitate to openly question beliefs because we don’t want to risk offense, questioning itself becomes taboo. It is here that the imperative for scientists to speak out seems to me to be most urgent. As a result of speaking out on issues of science and religion, I have heard from many young people about the shame and ostracism they experience after merely questioning their family’s faith. Sometimes, they find themselves denied rights and privileges because their actions confront the faith of others. Scientists need to be prepared to demonstrate by example that questioning perceived truth, especially “sacred truth,” is an essential part of living in a free country.

I see a direct link, in short, between the ethics that guide science and those that guide civic life. Cosmology, my specialty, may appear to be far removed from Kim Davis’s refusal to grant marriage licenses to gay couples, but in fact the same values apply in both realms. Whenever scientific claims are presented as unquestionable, they undermine science. Similarly, when religious actions or claims about sanctity can be made with impunity in our society, we undermine the very basis of modern secular democracy. We owe it to ourselves and to our children not to give a free pass to governments—totalitarian, theocratic, or democratic—that endorse, encourage, enforce, or otherwise legitimize the suppression of open questioning in order to protect ideas that are considered “sacred.” Five hundred years of science have liberated humanity from the shackles of enforced ignorance. We should celebrate this openly and enthusiastically, regardless of whom it may offend.

If that is what causes someone to be called a militant atheist, then no scientist should be ashamed of the label.

Lawrence M. Krauss is the foundation professor and director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, and the chair of the board of sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. His books include “The Physics of Star Trek” and, most recently, “A Universe from Nothing.”


Original article here:
http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/all-scientists-should-be-militant-atheists

BEAUTY: Collage--Hollie Chastain

Graphic designer and fine artist Hollie Chastain uses the cardboard covers and binding from old school textbooks as a base for her clean-lined collage work. I love how the notes and scribbles from long ago students can still be seen in many of the pieces.


Top to bottom: Act 5, Scene 2; Feeling Alliance; Fool's Gold; Nefelibata; Pleasures Called Pitch; Small Talk

http://www.holliechastain.com/

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

If you're free, meet me for lunch, won't you?...

We'll have chopped egg salad sandwiches, cottage cheese, strawberry shortcake, and vanilla malted shakes...