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Christina Talbott-Clark
Lives in Anchorage
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Christina Talbott-Clark

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This is beautiful

It's been a while since I posted anything here (I'm still active; I've just been spending most of my time commenting on other people's posts of late) but this compelled me. It's not +Brian Koberlein's usual type of post - he usually posts on astrophysics, and his posts are well worth reading as he explains fascinatingly complex ideas in a very accessible, interesting manner - but it's equally thoughtful. 
Out of the Calm

Growing up, I spent most of my summers at my Grandmother’s lake in Minnesota. One of my favorite memories is when I would take the canoe out on the lake around twilight. Usually, in that hour between light and dark, the lake would take on a glass-like calm. It was then that you could paddle out onto the lake, gliding through the water with the only sounds being the whoosh of your oar, the occasional glup of a fish eating at the surface, and the lonely calls of distant loons.

When you paddle through calm water, the water rushes in behind your oar creating vortices. This always happens. It is basic physics. But in calm water you can see these spirals of water clearly, and they can last a very long time. The interesting thing about these water spirals is how they spin through the water. You can watch one form, drift slowly, and die as if it is a single entity. But in reality, these spirals are a form the water takes. The spiral is made of water, but not the same water for its whole existence. Water molecules are caught up by the spiral, make a swirling dance within it, and then return to the stillness of the lake. The spiral moves on, flowing through the calm.

Humans, as with all living things, are much the same. Our bodies are a dance of atoms forged in stars. We move through the world as a single pattern. But the physical world flows through us. The air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, becomes a part of us for a time. They join us in our dance only to leave after a time.

We borrow our existence from the cosmos. We flow on until, like spirals of water, we fade back into the calm.
Life is short. Don't waste it.
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I wrote an entire book on this topic: living as a river :)

I love +Brian Koberlein's take on this. 
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Wave of the future?

Is this part of the job automation they keep telling us about?

h/t +Katherine Phelps
Morio Murase's profile photoChristina Talbott-Clark's profile photoGregor R's profile photo
Bartok was big on atonality. Not really a fan, I like melody and harmony.
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This is brilliant and fun. Take a listen, and try to do it where you can also watch, if you can, as it shows whose music is playing when.

The original post also has some comments with links to other classical silliness you may enjoy.
Continuing the theme of musical interludes for your day, here's a mashup of 57 distinct pieces by 33 different composers, from the Baroque to the modern day. And it works weirdly well.
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I'm glad you liked it!
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Poppy red

In the winter of 1999-2000, I spent six months working as an exchange teaching assistant in Soissons - you can see it on the map in the article, in the middle of the band of yellow. The people I met there told me how the farmers would plow up tons of old shells every spring, and the marks of war were evident everywhere. The cathedral I passed each day, now restored, had photos documenting the destruction of part of the nave, but the shell marks still visible in the stone of the portico told the tale more vividly. The region has long been something of a welcome mat for invaders, and its fortresslike architecture, centuries old, bears witness to that brutal history.

But even seeing the scars of the wars all around me, even hearing the stories, I had no idea of the extent of the damage. The price this region has paid over the centuries, and especially in the past century, as a result of the two World Wars, is inestimable.

For the Zone Rouge, the armistice offered too little, and came too late.
When you imagine France and its scenic countryside, you might think of the picturesque villages, vineyards a plenty and endless rolling green hills to dri
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rare avis's profile photoJayme Hancock's profile photoChristina Talbott-Clark's profile photo
+rare avis​ I was an English assistant teacher. It was part of a national program to bring native speakers of English, Spanish, and German to France to work in the schools. It was a great way for me to be able to spend some time abroad while I was working on my French degree.
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Grace in action

This story will sadden and perhaps anger you, but it will also cheer you, and perhaps renew a bit of your faith in your fellow humans.
A remarkable, brave, compassionate woman. The type of person I can only ever hope to emulate.

This was a terrible, dark period in our history that many would prefer to forget. I'm glad her story, and the stories of all those she helped, is finally being told.

"When it was too much, she said, she'd go fishing. And it wasn't all terrible. While Burks got to see the worst of people, she said, she was also privileged to see people at their best, caring for their partners and friends with selflessness, dignity and grace. She said that's why she's been so happy to see gay marriage legalized all over the country."
It's hard to convince people these days that one lonely person can budge the vast stone wheel of apathy. The truth, though, is the same...
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I was too, +Lisa Cohen​​.
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You Are Not Stupid

I need to remember this. We all need to remember this - about each other, and about ourselves.
You Are Not Stupid

“So what do you do for a living?” I always cringe a bit when that question comes up among strangers, because when I reveal that I’m an astrophysics professor the response is almost always the same. “Um…wow…. You must be really smart!”

While it’s often intended as a compliment, it really isn’t. Smart didn’t allow me to become an astrophysicist. Hard work, dedication and the support of family and friends did. It’s also one of the most deeply divisive misconceptions about scientists that one can have: scientists are smarter than you. Part of this stems from the idolization of brilliant scientists. Albert Einstein was so smart that fictitious quotes are attributed to him. Media buzzes whenever Stephen Hawking says something about black holes. Any quote by Neil Tyson is a sure way to get likes on Facebook. We celebrate their genius and it makes us feel smart by association. But this stereotype of the “genius scientist” has a dark side.

For one there’s expectation that to do science you must be super smart. If you struggle with math, or have to study hard to pass chemistry, you must not have what it takes. The expectation to be smart when you don’t feel smart starts to foster a lack of self confidence in your abilities. This is particularly true if you’re a girl or minority where cultural biases presume that “your kind” aren’t smart, or shouldn’t be. Lots of talented children walk away from science because they don’t feel smart.

Then there’s the us vs. them mentality that arises from the misconception. Scientists (and fans of science) are smart. Smarter than you. You are stupid. But of course, you’re not stupid. You know you’re not stupid. The problem isn’t you, it’s the scientists. Scientists are arrogant. For example, when I criticized a particular science website for intentionally misleading readers, the most popular rebuttal was that I (as a scientist) was being elitist.

Where this attitude really raises its head is among supporters of fringe scientific ideas. Some of the strongest supporters of alternative scientific ideas are clearly quite intelligent. Presidential hopeful and evolution denier Ben Carson is a neurosurgeon. Pierre Robitaille made great advances in magnetic resonance imaging, but adamantly believes that the cosmic microwave background comes from Earth’s oceans. Physicist and Nobel laureate Ivar Giaever thinks global warming is a pseudoscience on the verge of becoming a “new religion.” None of these folks are stupid.

If there’s one thing most people know about themselves it’s that they’re not stupid. And they’re right. We live in a complex world and face challenges every day. If you’re stupid, you can quickly land in a heap of unpleasantness. Of course that also means that many people equate being wrong with being stupid. Stupid people make the wrong choices in life, while smart people make the right ones. So when you see someone promoting a pseudoscientific idea, you likely think they’re stupid. When you argue against their ideas by saying “you’re wrong,” what they’ll hear is “you’re stupid.” They’ll see it as a personal attack, and they’ll respond accordingly. Assuming someone is stupid isn’t a way to build a bridge of communication and understanding.

One of the things I love about science is how deeply ennobling it is. Humans working together openly and honestly can do amazing things. We have developed a deep understanding of the universe around us. We didn’t gain that understanding by being stupid, but we have been wrong many times along the way. Being wrong isn’t stupid.

Sometimes it’s the only way we can learn.
One of the most deeply divisive misconceptions about scientists is that they are smarter than you.
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Well, there are several ways to be "stupid". A lack of education is one, and the main point here is that conflating education/opportunity and innate ability is a mistake.

There's also willful ignorance, which is a rather different creature as it implies not an inability to understand, but an unwillingness. While there are certainly barriers to understanding posed by external (environmental) and internal (physiological) limits, some of which can be difficult or even impossible to transcend, I think a lot of what we might deem "stupidity" in our daily interactions is self-imposed and self-maintained.

It is very likely that my current perspective on intelligence as a variable state is based heavily on my interactions with young children, who can demonstrate surprisingly subtle insight and stunning idiocy within moments of each other. It makes for serious mental whiplash sometimes.
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Look, read, learn

This is a remarkable story, one I did not know - remarkable in its humanity, and remarkable in the difference between the easily assumed meaning behind the photo and the actual story of what was happening on that podium, and what happened afterward as a result. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but we should not be too quick to assume we know what it is saying.

Look at the photo. Read the story. Then look again.
"The two Americans had asked Norman if he believed in human rights. Norman said he did. They asked him if he believed in God, and he, who had been in the Salvation Army, said he believed strongly in God. 'We knew that what we were going to do was far greater than any athletic feat, and he said “I’ll stand with you”' – remembers John Carlos – 'I expected to see fear in Norman’s eyes, but instead we saw love.'"
Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the 1968 Summer...
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I liked that, too, +Bruce Shark. Norman's fortitude is impressive. He never recanted his actions although his life would have been so much easier if he had. And his humility is inspiring. I loved what he said about the statue. What a wonderful idea.
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In Canada and the United States, during the 19th and much of the 20th Century, generations of children were taken from their homes and villages and placed in boarding schools where they were forced to learn new ways to live and speak, forbidden to speak their native languages or follow their own traditions, and abused physically, emotionally, and sexually. This is a part of our history, and our great shame.

These are stories that need to be told and understood.

I am by no means an expert on this topic, and I cannot speak for Alaska Natives or Native Americans. But this is what I know:

Everyone who looks at an Alaska Native or Native American person who has emotional or mental instabilities, or addiction problems, or is homeless, needs to understand that these are not problems that sprang from nowhere, and that they are not problems that are somehow natural to indigenous people. They are the result of a brutal, deliberate, long-term cultural genocide, in which an entire generation of children - at minimum - was cut off from its roots, its family, its sense of self, and - at best - isolated, and at worst (and all too often) systematically tortured in an attempt to integrate them into White society.

These days, many children and adults are seeking out and making connections with their elders in an attempt to regain their cultural roots and recreate the lines along which culture is taught, but much has already been lost, and more is lost every day as elders die.

And for the lost generation(s) who endured these schools and institutions like them, it is far, far too late. They need our support, and rather than sympathy or pity, which can be degrading and condescending, they need our understanding.

We all need to hear these stories.
The Raven and the Light has the makings of a very interesting, and very creepy, horror game. It has several things about it that stand out, most importantly being that its horror is actually real: it's based on the system of "residential schools" used in Canada to extinguish groups of indigenous people during the 19th and 20th centuries. (Similar systems were used in many parts of the US and Australia)

The use of fiction to tell people about real (but often unspoken) history has a long pedigree, of course; it underpins everything from Charles Dickens to Twelve Years a Slave. This is only beginning to happen in games, and it has the potential to be even more powerful there than it can be in movies, owing to the profoundly immersive nature of the medium.

There's a lot more to this game, of course, but I'll leave the rest of that to both this article and to game reviewers.
2015’s The Raven and the Light illuminates one of the darkest stories of Canada’s native population.
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Kee Hinckley's profile photoBreen Ouellette's profile photoChristina Talbott-Clark's profile photo
Thank you, +Breen Ouellette​. I'll remember that. I was using the term to indicate that the goal of these actions was to destroy the culture and that individual deaths were not the primary intended result. I certainly did not mean to downplay their horrific nature or their illegality. 
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Dig a little deeper

I read this article because I totally agree with the premise - I find overtly "Christian" movies mostly embarrassing. I was raised and remain in a very unevangelical branch of Christianity and am deeply uncomfortable with the idea of converting others to my faith as is expected in some other branches of Christianity. As a result of this discomfort, and because the popular image of Christianity in the United States is (not undeservedly) that of a bunch of people trying to "save your soul" whether you want them to or not - often by imposing their values on your day-to-day life - I spent a large portion of my life conflicted about even identifying myself as Christian. Even now, films whose main purpose is to proselytize are, to me, something to disavow as quickly as possible. Besides, they are so bad. Propaganda is never good art, in any guise.

So I would have been satisfied if the author of this piece had merely written an excoriation of "Christian" movies as bad art. I would have read the piece and come away with my prejudices comfortably confirmed. But that would be too easy, probably too easy for her to write and certainly too easy for me to read. Instead, she chooses to dig more deeply into the purpose of both art and Christianity: not to comfort us, but to confront us. It's a thoughtful piece, worth a look both from Christians and from everyone else.
God's not dead, but one Christian's tolerance for bad movies is.
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+Sally Smith I love the 50's version.. 
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Happy New Year

May the coming year be one of health, happiness, and healing for you, for yours, and for us all. 
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On Lullabies

Singing has long been a way for humans to forge and strengthen bonds. We used to sing while we worked, while we walked, while we celebrated, while we protested, and while we mourned. These days, in this country at least, we don't sing in community as much as we once did. But we still sing to our children. These songs, often paradoxically given the lyrics - "Rockabye Baby", anyone? - have the power to comfort, to heal, and to make audible our love. 
On the bonds made between parents and children during a nightly ritual.
Daniela Huguet Taylor's profile photoblanche nonken's profile photoSarah Lester's profile photoChristina Talbott-Clark's profile photo
I don't tend to do lullabies very often. It might be nice to do it more. On the other hand, we all sing a lot at other times of the day... to the point that sometimes I'm told "Mommy, stop singing. I'm singing."
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Art and silliness

I really love it when people put captions on paintings and manuscript illuminations. They rarely fail to amuse me. This set was especially good. Quite a few of the ones in this collection had me laughing out loud. Enjoy!

(Warning: contains swears. Oh, and nudity. And bodily functions. But then, these sorts of things almost always do.)
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+Christina Talbott-Clark Let's just be over here impersonating neutronium, right?
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Collections Christina is following
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Juneau - Soissons, France - Vancouver, WA
Diplomacy, verbosity, felicity, generosity.
I'm a geek. I have many geekeries: pop cultural geekery, of course; SCIENCE!; theology; music; sociology; books (especially, but not exclusively, science fiction/fantasy); linguistics; food; archaeology; and so on and so forth. I'm kind of a philosophical Jack-of-all-trades (and master of none).

Basically, I enjoy many things.

One thing I especially enjoy is the spirited and civil exchange of ideas, and I love that Google+ provides such a great platform for lively and thought-provoking discussion. I'm willing to talk, and think, about most anything. Let's start a dialogue! 
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Christina Talbott-Clark's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Greatness, Again

You know, a long time ago being crazy meant something. Nowadays everybody's crazy. -- Charlie Manson I saw George Wallace speak once. Yes, t

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We attended a wedding at Raven Glacier Lodge. The setting, half a mile up Crow Creek Road in Girdwood, is beautiful - right on the creek, surrounded by trees and ferns - and the lodge itself is lovely, a fine example of Alaskan architecture and hospitality. The owner and staff were all very welcoming and friendly, the building and deck well laid out for hosting a reception, and the food, prepared on site, was fantastic. I did not get more than a glimpse of the guest rooms, but they looked very comfortable as well. Since I was a guest at the event, I can't speak the cost of renting the lodge either as a lodging or for an event, but based on experience, I would recommend Raven Glacier Lodge to someone looking for an intimate venue with a gracious and truly Alaskan feel. Those with mobility issues should be aware that access to the lodge is up an unpaved driveway and that the lodge itself, even the ground floor and outdoor areas, is accessed via short flights of 2-3 steps. The guest rooms are, as far as I could tell, all on the second floor, and again, I did not see any access options other than stairs.
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Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
Public - 2 months ago
reviewed 2 months ago
This is the best and most authentic Mexican food in town. The owner comes from the state of Michoacán and the recipes are from her region. You can expect familiar tacos, burritos, and enchiladas, as well more unusual dishes like pollo en mole, chilaquiles, menudo, and nopales. Everything is made to order, and they are responsive to requests for special dietary needs. If you are a vegetarian, ask for the extensive vegetarian menu. It's also a very family-friendly place, with inexpensive children's plate options. I particularly recommend the chile rellenos - totally unlike the heavy, eggy dish found at most Mexican restaurants. The special tacos are also fantastic - try the lamb. And if you love guacamole, treat yourself to theirs. It's expensive, but that's because it's a massive helping - easily enough for four or five people to share. If you are in a hurry, or want to sample the menu without the heftier price tag of the main entrees, stop by at lunchtime on a weekday and try the buffet. The items on offer vary, but usually include taco meat, guacamole, and their fabulous mole sauce. And you can't beat their flour tortillas, made in-house and the best I've ever had by far. If you're craving authentic Mexican food, give Mexico in Alaska a try. It's not the fastest or the cheapest. It's just the best.
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Public - 3 months ago
reviewed 3 months ago
We have been using +Scooper Trooper's services for years now and have always been very happy with them. They come in and get the job done quickly, and both the yard cleaners and the office staff are friendly, helpful, and responsive.
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
6 reviews
The restaurant is bright and clean, the treats delicious, and the staff very friendly. We are always greeted with a smile. And there are games to play, which makes it a great place to bring kids or just hang out.
Public - 2 months ago
reviewed 2 months ago
This shop is a friendly, clean community gathering place. It's locally owned and has become a fixture in Girdwood. If you're heading down to the peninsula or just out for a drive, it's a great place to stop for a treat.
Public - 5 months ago
reviewed 5 months ago