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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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Body autonomy is not just for grown-ups

We are teaching our kids that they don't have to give (or receive) hugs and kisses unless they want them, and that they shouldn't give them to others unless the other people want them, too. In this way, we are teaching them to have good boundaries and respect others' boundaries, and that they have the right to be listened to and have their own boundaries respected. We want our kids to grow up to be safe, and to help keep others safe.

So if you ask a kid, ours or someone else's, for hugs or kisses and they say no, please don't press the point or make sad faces or try to coerce them. They need to understand that no means no, and that it's okay to say no, even for "no reason". As for our kids, when they are ready, they'll come give you hugs and kisses on their own. And if, as sometimes happens, they start to give you too many, please feel free to tell them "no", too. 
My daughter occasionally goes on a hugging and kissing strike. She doesn't have to hug or kiss anyone just because I say so, not even me.
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+Douglas Creamer​ Yes, exactly what +God Emperor Lionel Lauer​ said. I'm a hugger myself, and it took a long time for me to learn to ask if someone I don't know well wants a hug instead of barging in and hugging them. This is not about stopping children from showing their affection. And though my final introductory comment was not really in jest (because there is such a thing as too many kisses sometimes and my kids are masters at it), I find it vanishingly unlikely that kids are going to learn not to be affectionate because a few adults refuse to be hugged on a few occasions. Not when the kids' peers give and refuse affection at the drop of a whim, as young children do.

No, this is about teaching kids that they are also people deserving of respect. Once they are comfortable, they will probably change their minds, and their hugs and kisses will be all the sweeter because they are given unbidden.
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Transgender Allying 101

Transgendered people have been in the news a lot in the past year or two. How is a well-meaning cisgendered person to respond to the increasing visibility of transgendered people in the media and in daily life? Here are a few suggestions. And aside from the specifically situational ones, they are appropriate for interacting with any group of which you are not a member. As a white, heterosexual, cisgendered person, i.e. a member of the social majority, I appreciate - and need - reminders that my perspective is not the only one and that I should shut up and listen to stories that don't mirror my own experience every once in a while.
 
It's been a weird year for trans people. Allow me to be more specific: It's been a heated, daring, tumultuous, graphic, specularizing, aggressive, pointed, contentious, highly fatal, and ...
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It's objectification by another name.
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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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... though, I think you described it well, personally.
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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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Christina Talbott-Clark

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Amazing Grace

If you have not yet listened to President Obama's eulogy for the Reverend Senator Clementa Pickney, I can assure you it is well worth your time. And though I did not listen to the entire service, listening through to the end of the service after the eulogy concludes demonstrates in a small way the depth of feeling and community in the church tradition the "Reverend President" described. The eulogy and the closing prayer had me in tears almost continuously. I can add nothing but this: Let the people shout "Amen!"
 
Today is not only a day of joy, but a day of mourning. President Obama delivered a eulogy for Clementa Pickney, murdered nine days ago today. And if you have the time -- he spoke for a full 40 minutes -- I encourage you to listen. This is one of those speeches that a written transcript doesn't really capture, because it's not a politician's speech.

In fact, I'd probably better give a warning here. Those of you who hate the President, per se, will not enjoy watching this; I'd simply skip it. Those of you who are unfamiliar with the language of the church may find it unusual or hard to understand, because it's very much not a political speech; it's a eulogy delivered by a man for his coreligionists, fitted deeply into the language of his religion. (Although for those who wonder about the significance and the importance of the church in African-American society, he explains it quite beautifully at 1:33:33

Those of you who want, however, to hear an extraordinary, heart-shaking speech, one full of all the things we have needed to say and we have needed to hear our leaders say for so long, should sit down and watch. You won't regret it.

He speaks about the man, he speaks about the church, he speaks about our society, and the meaning of this killing and of the society which allowed and created it. And what he has to say is wise and worth listening to.

For all that I have had my issues with him -- some very serious indeed -- on this matter, the President has stood up and made us proud.

(Edited to add: I just watched it a second time, and it's even better. The sermon he preaches, starting at around 1:37:00, is a joy to behold, and it's everything I never thought I would hear an American President say out loud in my lifetime.)
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The Eleventh Commandment

A piece of poetry to celebrate the day, by +Lisa Cohen​.
 
For Jenny and Lisa, Alan and Paul, and so many others who finally and irrevocably have the basic, fundamental right to live lives of love.

And The Eleventh Commandment was to Love

We stagger beneath these stones
twice-carved into a covenant
of obligation. We will never know
what tenderness was lost to fury

at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Only Moses
spoke mouth to mouth with God. We gnaw
at the bones of ancient arguments,
swallow stern words transcribed by human

hands. If we could repair what was broken,
there would be gentle promises instead
of recriminations. And no fear to seal
flesh to flesh in the sacrament of devotion.

- LJ Cohen
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You're welcome! I really like it. 
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Kickstarter share

My high school classmate David is trying to buy a kiln so he can move into doing pottery professionally. I really like his work and would love to see him succeed. He's made a very cute video for his Kickstarter campaign. If you are so inclined, take a look, and if you like what you see, consider backing the campaign. He's 90% of the way to his goal now with just over a day to go. 
Please help me purchase a kiln for my studio! I'm a ceramic art student making oil lamps, cups, and planters to cozy up your home!
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And it's funded. Hooray!
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Letting the devil in: conquering oversensitivity with the "Daredevil Method"

A friend of mine with some experience and training in mindfulness - he's a Zen Buddhist priest - shared this article. It describes a useful method for engaging with difficult emotions and, eventually, channeling the negative energy that comes with them into productive action. (It's also a cool article and method, of course, for using a superhero as its central metaphor.) I'm going to try this the next time I'm emotionally overwhelmed. Maybe it will be helpful for you, too.
Daredevil's hypersensitivity can be seen as a symbol of emotional sensitivity. But we can use the same method he uses to not get overwhelmed by our emotions.
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+Eli Viertel​ That was an interesting article. The distinction between learned empathy and learned control over instinctive empathy/emotion would seem to make all the difference. 
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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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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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