Mind Games 2.0

Bloggin' 'bout science and life

Category: Personal (Page 1 of 5)

The Way To Agitate People Never Changes

This evening I went to hear a lecture by Dan Billin on the Noyes Academy in Canaan, New Hampshire.  The Noyes Academy was a school started in 1834 in the town next to where I live that was founded by local abolitionists and accepted both black and white students.  In August of 1835, the townspeople from Canaan, Enfield and Hanover, New Hampshire, dragged the school off its foundation and ran all the black students out of town.  

The short history of the school can be found in a chapter of the Canaan Town History.  In reading this chapter, one paragraph really hit home that things really never change.

In those days there existed a class of men, whose minds were constantly seized upon new and unheard of horrors, with which to influence and arouse the indignation of such as are always shocked at the recital of outrage and wrong. This class of persons like to pass from one state of indignation into another with abruptness, and always find the succeeding condition more intense than the preceding.

Sounds just like many of our current politicians and various infotainment outlets, who do nothing but foment rage.  So nothing is again new under the sun.

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A Modest Proposal For A Constitutional Gun Law

I watched some of the coverage today of the March For Our Life across the country.  It got my family thinking, given some of the commentary from the NRA and the Gun Lobby.

The 2nd amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

My proposal is that anyone who owns a gun, with some exemptions that I will enumerate below, must serve in the Militia – which today would be the National Guard.  

The only exceptions would be BB and pellet guns, 22’s, handguns with capacities less than 10 shots, shotguns with less than a 6 shell magazine capacity, single-shot, bolt-action or lever-action rifles, and all black-powder guns (my personal favorites in ).

Addendum:  In an article published in the Washington Post in 2014, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens proposed that 5 words be added to the 2nd amendment of the the constitution.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the militia, shall not be infringed.

That would do it!

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The Best Tip I’ve Ever Seen

A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.

Albert Einstein

A tip Einstein left to a Japanese bellboy.  

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Sage Words From The Past About Political Parties

A true party-man hates and despises candour; and, in reality, there is no vice which could so effectually disqualify him for the trade of a party-man as that single virtue. The real, revered, and impartial spectator, therefore, is upon no occasion at a greater distance than amidst the violence and rage of contending parties. To them it may be said, that such a spectator scarce exists anywhere in the universe. Even to the great Judge of the universe they impute all their own prejudices, and often view that divine Being as animated by all their own vindictive and implacable passions. Of all the corrupters of moral sentiments, therefore, faction and fanaticism have always been by far the greatest.

Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments III.3.43

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A Conservative Principle to Guide Health Care Reform

For all the “conservatives” who rail against the ACA as a liberal take-over, you should go back and read your Adam Smith (remember, the guy who wrote Wealth of Nations – or more correctly An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations – the founding document of modern capitalist economic theory). His first book was The Theory of Moral Sentiments, a fascinating philosophical book that lays out the basis for what makes the Wealth of Nations work. His moral philosophy is undergirded by the Golden Rule. For example, this paragraph is from Chapter 1 of The Theory of Moral Sentiments:

And hence it is, that to feel much for others and little for ourselves, that to restrain our selfish, and to indulge our benevolent affections, constitutes the perfection of human nature; and can alone produce among mankind that harmony of sentiments and passions in which consists their whole grace and propriety. As to love our neighbour as we love ourselves is the great law of Christianity, so it is the great precept of nature to love ourselves only as we love our neighbour, or what comes to the same thing, as our neighbour is capable of loving us.

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Can A New Sense Of Country Before Party Take Hold?

Among all the political and legal noise that was created last week, I think one thing that was sorely missed was this exchange between Gov. Kasich and Sen. Sanders.  I think both of these people have identified the important problems facing our country, and I agree much more with Gov. Kasich about what the solutions to those problems might be.  However, I, more than anything, appreciate the civil and intellectual tone that both take in this discussion.  This is what we need to get back to!

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Wisdom From Martin Luther King, Jr. For These Times

On 3 December 1956, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered an address to the First Annual Institute on Non-Violence and Social Change in Montgomery, Alabama.  I read this again last week and found much that resonated in today’s world.  One section in particular speaks to politics today:

Another thing that we must do in speeding up the coming of the new age is to develop intelligent, courageous and dedicated leadership. This is one of the pressing needs of the hour. In this period of transition and growing social change, there is a dire need for leaders who are calm and yet positive; leaders who avoid the extremes of “hot-headness” and “Uncle Tomism.” The urgency of the hour calls for leaders of wise judgement and sound integrity–leaders not in love with money but in love with justice; leaders not in love with publicity, but in love with humanity; leaders who can subject their particular egos to the greatness of the cause. To paraphrase [Joshua Gilbert] Holland‘s words:

God give us leaders!
A time like this demands strong minds, great hearts,
true faith and ready hands;
Leaders whom the lust of office does not kill;
Leaders whom the spoils of life cannot buy;
Leaders who possess opinions and a will;
Leaders who have honor; leaders who will not lie;
Leaders who can stand before a demagogue and damn his treacherous
flatteries without winking!
Tall leaders, sun crowned, who live above the fog
in public duty and private thinking.

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It’s Almost Baseball Season Again!

It’s almost baseball season again!  It always makes me think of a couple of my favorite comedians – Abbott & Costello.  Their word play is dizzying.  This is an audio recording of their radio show from 12 May 1948. The entire show was about Costello preparing to take Joe DiMaggio‘s place on the New York Yankees.  This has the classic “Who’s on First” bit, but I’ve excerpted the show to begin with another classic routine “Feller Pitching?”

Enjoy!

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Where Does It Say That Evolution Does Not Happen?

I was sitting in church a couple of weeks back on Christmas Eve waiting for the service to start.  As I usually do to pass the time, I picked up the Bible (what else are you going to do in church?), and I had a revelation about what I work on – namely evolution.    

This revelation came to me in the form of a simple question.  Where in the Bible does it say that evolution does not happen?

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Valuable Advice About Editing And Teaching In General

Posted by The Baltimore Sun on Thursday, September 8, 2016

This is hugely valuable advice.  If one is to teach what students need to know, one really has to just simply do it!

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