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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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Good information from a comic source - again

It seems more and more frequent that good reporting is found in places that are at least ostensibly focused on making people laugh rather than making them think. But hey, if humor is an effective way of slipping useful information past our usual defenses of being too busy or too uninterested or too focused on our preconceptions, I'm all for it. 

This piece is a particularly helpful one for those dealing with the wilds of the Internet... which would be everyone here. It offers ways to help clear the nonsense from the sense, ways that are especially helpful because they don't demand a huge amount of specialized skill. Basically, the author is recommending that we treat information encountered online or in other media as we'd treat it if we heard it directly from another person. It's especially helpful that this article is designed to help us understand statistics, which, at least in my anecdotal experience, is one of the most despised, most underestimated, and most often flunked required courses in the basic undergraduate curriculum. 

Here's a good introductory quote: But stats are a mathematical crowbar: a very useful tool in the hands of smart scientists, but one which also can be misused to hurt people and take things and get into positions people shouldn't.

The author also gets major points from me for invoking Sturgeon's Law. 
Behold, eight math-free ways to work out which numbers to ignore.
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That sounds like a good resource, +Michael Hirshleifer! 
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Glacial retreat

We are losing our glaciers - those magnificent, ancient rivers of ice. Most of these photos compare a span of eighty to a hundred years, but there are great differences even between twenty or thirty years ago and now - my family and I visited several glaciers not included in these photos in my childhood, and visiting them again with a friend from out of state five years ago or so was a deeply distressing experience. They were so much smaller and farther away than I remembered them. One glacier we'd been able to walk right up to (if we'd been foolhardy enough to stand under its massive terminus - glaciers can calve without warning) had shrunk and retreated right up onto the mountainside, no longer the dominant feature of the valley, but relegated to a decorative side note. 

The title is clickbait, and the summary is phrased a bit confusingly (all of the most recent photos are more recent than 1999), but the pictures themselves are powerful.

Don't read the comments, by the way. They are even more depressing than the photos. 
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Oh yes! +Christina Talbott-Clark​ And we will.
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Spaceship!

It's Friday (here, anyway). Here is something funny for you. 

Via +John Lieske
 
I lost it when I saw this image :')
Even better it was posted by the director of the LEGO MOVIE on twitter.

#SPACESHIP
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THIS! Makes me giggle
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Want to win a TARDIS?

TeeFury, purveyor of limited-edition geeky shirts, has a contest going on now through November 23. First prize is a life-size, (sort of) working model of the TARDIS (not bigger on the inside or able to travel in space or time, but the light works and you can go inside it) which the TeeFury team had built especially for this contest. Other prizes are also Doctor Who themed. And the best part? After initially making the contest available only to people in the continental U.S., they have since thrown it open to entrants worldwide - and they will pay shipping! 

There's no purchase required to enter, so if you want a chance to own a TARDIS of your own, have at! (Disclaimer: I get a bonus entry for everyone who enters from this link, so there's some selfishness at work here... but on the other hand, I also think it's an exciting contest and am very pleased that it's not limited to people in the continental - by which is usually meant contiguous - United States, besides which I thought that some people in my circles might be interested in entering.)
I just entered the TeeFury Tardis Giveaway! Click above now to enter. And don't forget, all TeeFury whovian shirts are on sale until November 23rd. See Them Here: www.TeeFury.com/whovians
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Rosetta mission control live stream

Until about 2:00 p.m. Wednesday (EST), you can watch live video of European Space Agency during the approach and landing of the Philae space probe, which is scheduled to occur at about 11:00 a.m. Wednesday morning EST. There is a timeline of events on the site as well as a helpful infographic depicting Rosetta's journey to rendezvous with the comet. 

Of some interest also is the object chosen to provide a sense of the scale of the comet on the infographic. 
The live stream will run through Wednesday, and the landing is set for 11 a.m. Eastern time.
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Respectful depictions of Native Americans in film

While a film in production which uses insulting stereotypes of Native Americans for laughs is sending ripples of discontent and dismay through Native American communities, another film, one which empowered its actors at the time of filming and which holds deep meaning for their descendants today, has been lovingly restored.

I am hopeful that The Daughter of Dawn will not only be adopted for viewing by the National Museum of the American Indian, as one of its restorers is encouraging, but will be made more widely available so that people all over the country will be able to watch it. 
 
The Daughter of Dawn

A piece of recent history that provides a unique depiction of pre-reservation Native American (primarily Kiowa and Comanche) life has been rediscovered and lovingly restored.
A story about Daughter of Dawn, a long-lost silent film featuring an all-Native American cast.
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That's a good idea, +Matt Cruikshank! I'm not sure how to go about contacting the restorers to suggest such a thing, though it's also possible they've already thought of it. 
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Need a lift?

I came across this image while looking for some unrelated pictures, and was immediately struck by it. It's of the space shuttle Endeavour docked with the International Space Station during Endeavour's last mission in May 2011. This was the second-to-last of the missions in the shuttle program, which ended in July 2011. All in all, the shuttles visited the International Space Station 37 times. 

I hope that someday, views like this one will be commonplace. Like love, wonder only increases when shared; and this particular wonder should be shared with the entire planet. 
English: This image of the International Space Station and the docked space shuttle Endeavour, flying at an altitude of approximately 220 miles, was taken by Expedition 27 crew member Paolo Nespoli from the Soyuz TMA-20 following its undocking on May 23, 2011 (USA time).
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just by the way, the defense expenses of american union, trifolds the sum of EU+russia+china, we could feed the hungry, give superior education for free and shelter and medicine to all who need it and still be several tmes more powerful than all of them. why they worry about giving food to the hungry, are they christian? 
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Read this if you're white in America

Heck, read it if you're not; it's very well done. Some of the things in it I already knew, or knew about; many, shamefully, I did not.


Via +Karen Conlin.
 
An excellent and incisive editorial on how little white America understands black Anerica and the crisis of institutional racism.

http://www.alternet.org/most-white-people-america-are-completely-oblivious
Black people have to learn everything about white people just to stay alive. White people just don't get that.
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I feel a little funny about saying "you're welcome" when all I did was post some comments... but you're welcome, +aendenne x. What I can do is small, but I'll keep doing it. And most importantly I'll keep listening. 
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Never Alone

I've been eagerly awaiting this game since it was announced, and yesterday it launched. It looks like a fantastic, fun game - it's been getting great reviews - and it's unlike anything I've seen before: it uses an authentic Inupiaq story to immerse the player in a fantastical world that is grounded in a real, but little-known, culture. It was developed by an Alaska Native corporation in collaboration with a game development company, and the participation and support of Inupiaq elders was integral to its creation. 

If you want to try something new in video gaming, this is a great place to start. 
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+Chris Dangerfield I don't care much for games that require dexterity in button-pushing, either; I have never been all that good at them. I love Monument Valley and Portal, and the Monkey Island game series; they are more my speed. I need a game where failing or dying either isn't a going concern, or doesn't set you back enough to be a block to continuing to enjoy the game. I'm hoping this game will suit me. 
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Remembering the cost

I saw a post this morning, with a photo of the poster as a young man, a new military recruit, just eighteen, who thought he was an adult, who thought he knew everything. He looks back on his own photo, he said, remembering this, and sees a child pictured there - inexperienced, innocent, and ignorant of his own ignorance. 

He said that it is the responsibility of those of us who do not join the ranks of military service to make sure that we do not betray the sacrifice of those who do, those who put their lives, their health, their faith on the line for us. 

This, then, is our charge, our trust, no less sacred or vital than the pledges given to us by these men and women who wear the uniform, who take the vow: to respect and care for our servicepeople when they are in need, and to do all we can to ensure that their work, their health, and their lives are not treated carelessly. For life is precious. 
 
Dulce et Decorum Est

On this Veterans Day, this Armistice Day, we remember those who have lost much, or all, because of human conflict. 

Dulce et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, 
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, 
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs 
And towards our distant rest began to trudge. 
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots 
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; 
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots  
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling, 
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; 
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, 
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . . 
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, 
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. 
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, 
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. 
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace 
Behind the wagon that we flung him in, 
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, 
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; 
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood 
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, 
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud  
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, 
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest  
To children ardent for some desperate glory, 
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est 
Pro patria mori.

Wilfred Owen

Thought to have been written between 8 October 1917  and March, 1918
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+Lonus Bjonus If you believe I place the blame for wars on the shoulders of those we send to die in them, or that I wish to glorify war itself, you have badly misunderstood my intent, and, as I understood and paraphrased it, the intent of the soldier whose words inspired my own comments. I am no soldier myself, but none of the soldiers I've known would ever either glorify war or blame their brethren for their service. You say I state my case well, but what you are describing is in no way the case I intended to make, so it appears I have not stated it so well, after all.

You say it is indisputable that every nation respects and honors its own soldiers. I do not know where you live; that may indeed be your experience. But I have heard too many stories in my own country, from before my time and even today, of soldiers returning from unpopular battlefields not to cheers but to scorn, and of veterans left homeless, helpless, unwanted, scarred and alone, to believe that ideal to be true.

Truly, there is no glory in violence: only suffering. I am sorry my words made you believe I thought otherwise. 
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Good morning

Here it is, your moment of Zen. 
 
Sunrise over the River of Stone by Marc Adamus
Zion National Park, Utah

source: https://500px.com/MAPhoto
#sunrisephotography   #landscapephotography   #zionnationalpark  
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Diplomacy, verbosity, felicity, generosity.
Introduction
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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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.
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