Sometime between November 14th and November 29th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!
- Neuroscience says listening to this song reduces anxiety by up to 65 percent: “The group that created ‘Weightless’, Marconi Union, did so in collaboration with sound therapists. Its carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms, and bass lines help slow a listener’s heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.”
- Physicist Wins Ig Noble Prize For Study On Whether Cats Should Be Classified As Liquids Or Solids: "At the center of the definition of a liquid is an action: A material must be able to modify its form to fit within a container," Fardin said. "If we take cats as our example, the fact is that they can adapt their shape to their container if we give them enough time. Cats are thus liquid if we give them the time to become liquid."
- Pseudoarchaeology and the Racism Behind Ancient Aliens: “Where, exactly, the idea of ancient aliens building the pyramids began — and why some academics think racism lies at the heart of many extraterrestrial theories.”
- Do you have any advice for someone who is 16?: "Watch Star Trek. // I’m sorry anon. I realized belatedly that I basically just told you 'turn to Jesus!' and walked away without explanation. I’m absolutely not kidding, though: Star Trek. Especially in times of difficulty and change: watch Star Trek."
- This is the Greatest Example of Wanton Cruelty in All of the Star Wars Universe: "There’s a lot here that can be considered cruel—torture, enslavement, sadism, and so on—but the really cruel thing isn’t directly happening in the scene, but it does make the scene possible. It’s the fact that droids can feel pain."
First off, and most importantly: Happy Thanksgiving to you if you celebrate; if you don’t, I hope you have a pleasant day doing whatever you do.
I’m increasingly of two minds of Thanksgiving.
On the one hand, we have a lot to be thankful of (a year and a half into being back in the Seattle area, both of our jobs are going well, we’re continuing to rebuild our social connections over here, we really like where we ended up, the midterms overall went in a promising direction, etc.), and we’re having a very pleasant day here at home resting and making and eating all sorts of tasty food.
On the other hand, I have a lot of friends from indigenous American heritage who rightly point out that this day isn’t so celebratory for them, especially at a time when our country is dealing with rampant nationalism and racism. For many people, especially anyone who is part of the many social groups who find themselves targets of oppression, it may be hard to find quite as much to celebrate on a day like today.
This year, more so than many, it seems particularly (and distressingly) apt to post William S. Burroughs’s cynical, but all too topical, even after all this time, Thanksgiving Prayer.
To John Dillinger; I hope he is still alive.
Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1986.
Thanks for the wild turkey and the passenger pigeons,
destined to be shat out through wholesome American guts.
Thanks for a continent to despoil and poison.
Thanks for Indians to provide a modicum of challenge and danger.
Thanks for vast herds of bison to kill and skin,
leaving the carcasses to rot.
Thanks for bounties on wolves and coyotes.
Thanks for the American dream,
to vulgarize and falsify until the bare lies shine through.
Thanks for the KKK.
For nigger-killin’ lawmen, feelin’ their notches.
For decent church-goin’ women,
with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces.
Thanks for “Kill a Queer for Christ” stickers.
Thanks for laboratory AIDS.
Thanks for Prohibition,
and the war against drugs.
Thanks for a country where
nobody’s allowed to mind his own business.
Thanks for a nation of finks.
Yes, thanks for all the memories —
all right let’s see your arms!
You always were a headache,
and you always were a bore.
Thanks for the last and greatest betrayal
of the last and greatest
of human dreams.
On the one hand, I don’t know that I’ve known any transgender people who have died through suicide or violence from others. But there’s a very real chance that I have, and simply not known that they were transgender (they didn’t know at the time, they didn’t trust me enough to tell me, it was none of my business, etc.) before they died. (I’ve also not known very many people who have died in these manners, either.)
But I do know and count as friends a number of transgender (including genderqueer, genderfluid, etc.) people today, and I’m very glad to know each of them, and to know them as they are. As horrible as this world can be, I hope that through ever-increasing education, visibility, and acceptance, each of them can continue to be true to themselves, and to stay safe and healthy, and are people I know for a long time to come.