But here’s the important thing: For the next year or two, whatever you do, you should be sorting your experiences into two piles: One for all the times you get a little bit high — and I’m speaking here about emotional highs — loving what you’re doing. (Not loving what you’re toking — that’s a different thing.) So, one pile for all the experiences that thrilled you a little. And the other pile for all the things that didn’t quite work. So a year or so from now, you’ll have a more and more defined notion of where your pleasures are … and aren’t.
Those piles will keep getting more and more specific, and there’s a lesson in that. After a while, when someone invites you to do a job, you will have a tangible feeling, “Yeah, that’s the kind of thing I like.” Or, and this is far more important, “No, that’s the kind of thing I don’t like,” and you’ll know when to beg off and walk the other way. This is a do-it-yourself way to get a little luckier and to avoid making stupid mistakes.
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A gender-neutral third-person pronoun has arisen spontaneously as a part of kids' slang in Baltimore ›
“What’s also interesting about the kids’ language is that people — mostly academics — have been trying to introduce a gender-neutral singular pronoun into the English language for about 200 years, with very little success. And then a group of kids in Baltimore just make one up and start using it.”
You’ve had 48 hours to reflect on the ghastly shooting in Colorado at a movie theater. You’ve been bombarded with “facts” and opinions about James Holmes’s motives. You have probably expressed your opinion on why he did it. You are probably wrong.
I learned that the hard way. In 1999 I lived in Denver and was part of the first wave of reporters to descend on Columbine High School the afternoon it was attacked. I ran with the journalistic pack that created the myths we are still living with. We created those myths for one reason: we were trying to answer the burning question of why, and we were trying to answer it way too soon. I spent 10 years studying Columbine, and we all know what happened there, right? Two outcast loners exacted revenge against the jocks for relentlessly bullying them.
Not one bit of that turned out to be true.
But the news media jumped to all those conclusions in the first 24 hours, so they are accepted by many people today as fact. The real story is a lot more disturbing. And instructive.
We used to think that breast milk was just a food and that it was filled with fats and proteins and vitamins and that formula companies were successfully able to mimic this. But we now know that there are substances in breast milk that exist almost at the same levels that are not digestible by infants. So what are they doing there? It turns out, they’re digestible by beneficial bacteria. So over millions of years, the mother has been creating a substance that will recruit useful bacteria into her infant’s gut and this sets her infant up for life. So as much as breast milk is a food, we also now understand that it’s also a medicine.
Images of perfect bodies, flashy new cars or cheap fast food are researched, tested, designed and plastered everywhere to make you feel anxious, insecure or become obese. Adverts are not there to inform but to sell one thing: unhappiness. They work because they make us dissatisfied with what we’ve got or what we look like. They make us want the next new thing, until of course the next new thing comes along. They help sow the seeds of mental illness, insecurity, humiliation, debt, brand bullying at school and, through the remorseless use of resources they inspire, they threaten the planet.
Desert Trackways: 7-Million-Year-Old Clues to Elephant Social Complexity
For 14 months of my life I was lucky enough to reside in Amboseli National Park, Kenya. Funded by the National Science Foundation to study baboons, I lived surrounded by a gorgeous array of mammals and birds. I was fascinated, in particular, by the elephants who roamed the savannas and swamps.
As I witnessed at Amboseli, the core social units in elephant herds are made up of female relatives and their offspring. In these matriarchal units, bonds are tight. When family members spend time apart, their reunion is often a joyful event, marked by entwined trunks and trumpeted vocalizations. Males remain part of these units only until puberty. After that, they live mostly on their own, joining another herd for mating.
Last month, scientists reported an exciting discovery: A series of fossilized footprints suggests that elephants lived in these same family units, with the big bulls roaming alone, 7 million years ago.
Paleontologist Faysal Bibi and his research team published their findings in the journal Biology Letters. At a desert site called Mleisa 1 in the United Arab Emirates, two preserved “trackways” of prehistoric elephant prints were found. In speaking with the BBC, Bibi called the footprints “a beautiful snapshot” of the animal’s social behavior.
The first trackway shows that at least 13 individuals moved simultaneously in a single direction. The variation in footprint sizes and stride lengths guarantees that elephants of different ages and, almost certainly, of both sexes moved together.
The second trackway cleanly intersects the first at a single point. These prints were made by a large elephant, very probably a sexually mature male. All indications are that this male was solitary and moved over the landscape apart from the herd. Bibi et al. conclude that “The Meisa 1 trackways provide direct evidence for the antiquity of characteristic and complex social structure in Proboscidea,” the taxonomic family that includes living and extinct elephants, as well as mastodons and mammoths.
I’m forever telling my anthropology students that “behavior doesn’t fossilize.” In a sense, the elephant trackways make an exception to that rule. Strictly speaking, it’s the herd structure that is reconstructed by the footprints. But might this not clue us in to herd behavior as well? It’s reasonable to suspect that prehistoric elephant families whose members traveled together also shared emotional bonds.
Seven million years ago, there were no Homo sapiens on our planet; our lineage was either in its extreme infancy or soon to evolve. I love to imagine the trackway elephants roaming a world without us.
Nowadays, researchers report that elephants experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of human actions. In The New York Times Magazine in 2006, Charles Siebert wrote:
“In ‘Elephant Breakdown,’ a 2005 essay in the journal Nature, [psychologist Gay] Bradshaw and several colleagues argued that today’s elephant populations are suffering from a form of chronic stress, a kind of species-wide trauma. Decades of poaching and culling and habitat loss, they claim, have so disrupted the intricate web of familial and societal relations by which young elephants have traditionally been raised in the wild, and by which established elephant herds are governed, that what we are now witnessing is nothing less than a precipitous collapse of elephant culture.”
Siebert notes, and I agree, that the evidence for elephant PTSD is compelling. It’s only gotten worse for elephants in the years since he wrote his piece, as the current situation in Cameroon exemplifies. Elephant slaughter is terrible enough; on top of that, the survivors suffer emotionally.
Thanks to the discovery of the elephant trackways, we know that elephants have lived in complex social units for at least 7 million years. For all the millenia intervening between then and today, elephants have survived and adapted. I hope that they can survive what we’re doing to them now.
The “dark universe” — the sum of Dark Matter and Dark Energy — is pretty much THE universe. Observations put the dark universe at about 95 percent of the total. That means our kind of matter and energy — the stuff you see, touch and experience every day — is a mere 1/20th of the cosmos.
To see skies truly comparable to those which Galileo knew, you would have to travel to such places as the Australian outback and the mountains of Peru. And civilization’s assault on the stars has consequences far beyond its impact on astronomers. Excessive, poorly designed outdoor lighting wastes electricity, imperils human health and safety, disturbs natural habitats, and, increasingly, deprives many of us of a direct relationship with the nighttime sky, which throughout human history has been a powerful source of reflection, inspiration, discovery, and plain old jaw-dropping wonder.
Until now, your Google Web History (your Google searches and sites visited) was cordoned off from Google’s other products. This protection was especially important because search data can reveal particularly sensitive information about you, including facts about your location, interests, age, sexual orientation, religion, health concerns, and more.
If you want to keep Google from combining your Web History with the data they have gathered about you in their other products, such as YouTube or Google Plus, you may want to remove all items from your Web History and stop your Web History from being recorded in the future.
Here’s how you can do that.
Astronomers have confirmed the existence of a new class of planet: a waterworld with a thick, steamy atmosphere.
The exoplanet GJ 1214b is a so-called “Super Earth” - bigger than our planet, but smaller than gas giants such as Jupiter.
Observations using the Hubble telescope now seem to confirm that a large fraction of its mass is water.
The planet’s high temperatures suggest exotic materials might exist there.
“GJ 1214b is like no planet we know of,” said lead author Zachory Berta, from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
The planet was discovered in 2009 by ground-based telescopes. It is about 2.7 times the Earth’s diameter, but weighs almost seven times as much. It orbits its red-dwarf star at a distance of just two million km, meaning temperatures on GJ 1214b probably reach above 200C.
In 2010, astronomers released measurements of its atmosphere. These suggested that GJ 1214b’s atmosphere was probably made up of water, but there was another possibility - that the planet was covered in a haze, of the type that envelopes Saturn’s moon Titan.
Mr Berta and his colleagues used the Hubble Space Telescope’s wide-field camera to study the planet as it crossed in front of its star - a transit. During these transits, the star’s light is filtered through the planet’s atmosphere, giving clues to the mixture of gases present.
The researchers said their results are more consistent with a dense atmosphere of water vapour, than one with a haze.
Calculations of the planet’s density also suggest that GJ 1214b has more water than Earth. This means the internal structure of this world would be very different to that of our own.
“The high temperatures and pressures would form exotic materials like ‘hot ice’ or ‘superfluid water’, substances that are completely alien to our everyday experience,” said Dr Berta.
The planet’s short distance from Earth makes it a likely candidate for follow-up observations with the James Webb Space Telescope, which may launch by the end of this decade.
A new study reveals the public find it hard to differentiate between the language used by convicted sex offenders and mainstream magazines.
NEW FAVORITE THING
NEW FAVORITE THING
amazing. amazing. amazing.
Our knowledge of outer space is a lot like our knowledge of history — it’s really hard to separate what we know from research from what we picked up from movies. In both cases, this means that a lot of our everyday knowledge about space is just laughably wrong.
Yep, it’s not enough for space to make us feel small — it needs to make us feel stupid, too.
November 10, 1958
We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.
First — if you are in love — that’s a good thing — that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.
Second — There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.
You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply — of course it isn’t puppy love.
But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it — and that I can tell you.
Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.
The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.
If you love someone — there is no possible harm in saying so — only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.
Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.
It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another — but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.
Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it.
We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.
And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.