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Josh Fredman
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Another first: This athletic magazine featured a full-figured athlete as a way of showing that physical fitness is for people of all sizes.

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-33646878
Women's Running magazine ignited social media this week with its August issue featuring plus-size model Erica Schenk running on the cover.
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This reminds me of my own non-theistic animist sentiments.
 
I talk to the trees . . .but they don't listen to me . . . 
The city of Melbourne assigned trees email addresses so citizens could report problems. Instead, people wrote thousands of love letters to their favorite trees.
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If race is a construct (and, visual characteristics notwithstanding, it pretty much is), then racial identity is a matter of personal affirmation, rather than simple anatomy. I don't see what the problem is with a person choosing what race they wish to affiliate with. If Rachel Dolezal wants to identify as black then we should be as accepting of that as we would of a person who wishes to identify with a certain culture or gender. I think the only reason this story has gotten such a ridiculous amount of play in the news is that the stewards of the media thought it would be a cute piece of sensational fodder for web clicks and TV ratings.

Now, if the people whom Dolezal serves feel betrayed by her background, or if she misrepresented herself to them in a way that breached their trust, then that's another matter--and it's a matter between her and them. It's hardly newsworthy, as the NAACP isn't exactly the major driver of current events in the country and the world, and Dolezal's story doesn't affect the general public. Indeed, I think that such a high level of media scrutiny upon her for no good reason is tantamount to harassment.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11672742/I-consider-myself-black-says-white-woman-who-posed-as-an-African-American.html
US civil rights activist Rachel Dolezal, who claimed she was an African American, was outed by her parents as a white woman
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I like the way you present this, Boogie, because it's so true to your style and who you are, and with any luck it may even reach a hater or two.

My personal opinion is that you don't go far enough in asserting your rights and your value, and that of other fat people. Yes, fat acceptance is about accepting yourself. That's a fundamental part of it. But it's also about more than just that. It's also fundamentally about the right of all people to live their lives without suffering unethical institutional discrimination. Fat people are discriminated against at every level--not because of the quality of their character, but because of their body composition. That's WRONG, period. Self-acceptance against a culture of hatred isn't enough. Bigotry needs to be fought back against. It's the haters, not fat people, who need to be publicly shamed and cowed into biting their tongues when they're on the verge of acting out on their discrimination. As a society we've begun to acknowledge this when it comes to sexists, racists, and homophobes, but we haven't quite gotten there yet when it comes to fat-bashing bigots. But we will get there, and that's what the fat acceptance movement is about. It's okay to say that. It's okay to say that you and all other fat people are worthy of that basic dignity. Because you are.

And so, I think it's okay that this backlash against fat people is happening. Because you're right that the cause of the backlash is because of the growing popularity of the fat acceptance movement. Backlashes like these always happen when societies change into something better. To this day there are backlashes against women's rights and minority rights from people who refuse to accept the changes toward equality that our society has made. The backlash against fat people is a sign that the tide is turning for the better, that the haters are on the back ropes and are lashing out against the loss of their immunity to be despicable creeps to other human beings.

The one thing I disagree with you about is HAES, and your belief more generally that being fat is unhealthy. At your size, yes, it's true. You've got a lot of health problems, some of which have to do with your weight. But the vast majority of "obese" people in this country are not 500 pounds. They're 180 pounds, 210 pounds, 300 pounds. At those kinds of weights, it isn't a sure thing that they're unhealthy. You'd have to check case-by-case. And your saying (about there being no fat old people) is wrong: There are plenty of fat old people. Go and look.

In the meantime, you shouldn't assume to know people's health because they're fat. There are even some people--and you're not one of them, but they do exist--who are healthy at 400 pounds, or higher! And not "healthy right now," but healthy for their whole lives, into their 50s and 60s, which is when people of all weights start to develop age-related illnesses.

As for "Health at Any Size," it's a valid and noble movement. It acknowledges that not everybody is going to be skinny, and that this shouldn't stop people from caring about their health. It rejects the lie that people can't be healthy if they're not thin.

This is important because of two things:

First, you yourself said how hard it can be to lose weight. For most people, losing weight until they're not clinically obese anymore is not a valid option. They'll always have that extra 50 or 100 pounds. And that's okay! They can still live healthy lives: They can get enough vitamins and minerals in the food they eat. They can get some exercise. They can go to the doctor to monitor any potential issues that appear on the horizon. And they can accept themselves for who they are, and banish the demons inside their heads who tell them that, because they're fat, they're unworthy. That's the message of HAES. Instead of being burdened with an unrealistic goal of weight loss that they'll never meet, and feeling like that much more of a failure, people can focus on being as healthy as they can be within the body that they've got.

Second, it's important because the vast majority of fat people really aren't unhealthy because of their fat. We tend to think of every obese person as being this 500 pound headless fatty on the news, because that's the way obesity is presented to us in this society. But it's a lie. Like I said, the vast majority of obese people weigh somewhere in the upper 100s or in the 200s. Most people really can live their whole lives just fine with that kind of extra weight. And of those who can't, it's usually because of other health issues or bad genetics, not fat, and they would have developed those health problems anyway. Fat is a scapegoat. If a fat person ever has a health problem, everyone automatically assumes that it's because they're fat. But that's just not true.

But even with the really big people, HAES is still important. For that matter, YOU can be a part of HAES, Boogie. You can start looking at the parts of your life that don't have to do with being fat, and make improvements wherever you can. You probably already do this anyway! And in the meantime, you can continue your journey toward weight loss. HAES doesn't mean "you're not allowed to lose weight." It means you do the best you can with the weight you're at.

Also: I won't get into it here in any detail, but when you explore the medical literature on the subject of fatness and health, you'll find that it isn't the slam dunk that you and most other people assume that it is. "The medical community" may be as single-minded about this as the general public is, but that's not what the science itself says. It's just the telltale sign of a deeply rooted social prejudice. You can realize this for yourself by reading the literature, and speaking to the researchers who conduct it. The truth of the matter is that we don't actually know much yet about whether being fat is healthy or unhealthy. At your weight, Boogie, yes, it's hard to be healthy. But for the vast majority of people, it's much more dubious that their fat is the major source of health problems that we all believe it to be.

I guess the big point I'm really trying to make here is that it isn't usually fat itself that makes a fat person's life miserable. It's the never-ending hatred and messages of inadequacy that people and society broadcast from everywhere, every day. Humans are social creatures and we internalize that kind of bullshit. Like I said, most fat people are only fat by a few dozen pounds. The self-loathing in their lives doesn't come from the fat. It comes from the way that their fat is judged.

When that bigotry becomes unacceptable in our society, fat people's lives will become immeasurably better without any of them having to shed a pound.
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A sense of wonder that endures today in other forms. We remember those who prepared the way.
 
Sail with us to 1983 as Carl Sagan introduces The Planetary Society ‪#‎tbt‬
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A short video that gets right to the point.
 
It is disturbing how time-consuming and exhausting this can be for people who already have to over-achieve just to appear competent. 
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Whoosh!
 
Say "cheese," everyone!
Five months after its launch, the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) mission has successfully journeyed to the region of space where Sun and Earth gravitational attraction offset each other. From the vantage point of L1, DSCOVR's EPIC camera has captured its first full-globe view of Earth, and it's well, epic.
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US Supreme Court Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage Nationwide

Well, we got there. =]

By a five-to-four vote, but we got there.

I began writing about it in my journal in 2004, dating back to within half a year of the beginning of my journal, with language and reluctance and homophobic sentiment that I find embarrassing today, and initially my writing on the subject took the form of opposition to formally outlawing same-sex marriage rather than outright explicit support in favor of it.

Even so, I was about ten years ahead of my time. But what a difference those ten years made! It was the difference between seeding the conversations to change the mind of a nation and jumping on a fast-rolling bandwagon of popular sentiment. This was a lonely and very controversial subject then. Not anymore.

It doesn't often come up in such a direct way, but this is a good reminder that taking a stand on controversial issues is important.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/27/us/supreme-court-same-sex-marriage.html?_r=0
In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the court ruled, 5-4, that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.
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I'm a fan of clouds! I don't think I've ever seen a horseshoe vortex.
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Europe is exploring alternative nuclear fuel sources due to the plutonium-238 shortage.
 
Can nuclear waste help humanity reach for the stars?
With the shortage of plutonium-238 to power space missions, Europe has decided to focus on an accessible alternative material that could power future spacecraft: americium-241.
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This is a beautiful arrangement of a beautiful piece of music, and bonzer for you for covering it on your own terms.

I'm probably not the intended audience, since I never suffered from chronic anxiety or depression, but I agree with you that one of the most appealing qualities of the Metroid games, especially the early ones before dialogue increased and message prompts told you where to go, is their sense of desolation and intensive solitude. In Metroid II, most of the regions have music that's barely there, and when I was a kid it creeped me out--especially after running into quite a few metroids by surprise and getting that blast of music from nowhere. Then, in Super Metroid, with its gorgeous environments and music whose simplicity belied its deep emotional provocation, all sorts of moods were possible under that umbrella of aloneness. When I first played the game, and was heading through Brinstar toward Kraid, I found that beautiful glass walkway. I brought up the map and suddenly my comforting, sprawling Brinstar map wasn't there anymore. Instead was "Maridia," with just three pink squares all alone on an empty grid. It was disorienting. Had I taken a wrong turn? The thought of entering another massive region of Zebes when I hadn't even tackled Kraid yet was humbling, unsettling, and immensely exciting. I've always thought of the music that plays there as "the Maridia theme," even though I learned later that it's the Red Brinstar theme.

Like the Red Brinstar theme, the Lower Maridia theme has touched a lot of people. I hadn't originally been among them until Jillian Aversa's "Kindred" caused me to look at the source piece again as though I were seeing it for the first time. It's definitely one of the best pieces in a soundtrack filled with gems.

Your flute playing in this arrangement is even more expressive than usual, and one of my favorite things about your music is just how diverse your sound is. I absolutely love the mood you achieved here. I was hoping for this level of depth with your recent "Another World of Beasts," because that's another one of those rabbit hole music pieces for me, but when I listen to the two side by side it's beautifully obvious that you poured so much more of yourself into this one.

As an "experimental piece," I respect the vocals here and I respect what you're trying to do with them. If I had to offer a criticism, it would be that, like conversational dialogue boxes in the Metroid universe, explicitly explaining your interpretation of Samus' thoughts changes the music from the listener's interpretation of the journey to the creator's interpretation. Without the vocals I could play this piece and lose myself in it. I could listen to it a hundred times and imagine a hundred different stories. With the vocals, I am drawn each time to your story. Their spoken, non-lyrical quality for me has a harsh impact. I guess the word I'm looking for is "disruptive."

At any rate, it is a small criticism, and as a fellow artist I fervently support what you're trying to do and your entitlement to do it. Sometimes the experience of art is for stopping and thinking about, and being challenged on, rather than flowing through like water along the river. I always enjoy your music (and will support you someday on Patreon when I'm not quite so flippin' poor). This piece is a wonderful addition to your oeuvre. (I can't use that word without feeling pretentious; I don't mean to be pretentious.) Thank you, as ever, for adding color and satisfaction to my days.
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It's delightful to imagine all the works in your pipeline. Even though I don't always comment, I've enjoyed all your recent works. This is an exciting time to be a +Lauren the Flute fan! =]

In fact I don't think I've ever listened to a piece of your music that I didn't like. I'm sure it'll happen someday; people have opinions and preferences after all. But even with my criticism for this piece, it's definitely one of my favorites of yours.

I think your friends were right to encourage you to post this version. A risk worth taking, as you put it. I'm sure when others come here to comment they'll say the same thing. It's pieces like this one that define who you are as a musician. I feel guilty for my desire of an instrumental-only version, because it would be asking you to produce a version of your art that omits something purposeful and deliberate. If you're comfortable doing that, then by all means do--though maybe let this one stand alone for a few weeks first? And if you're not, I really respect that. The mark of artistic vision sometimes requires us to say "This is the way it's going to be."

Cheers!
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Judging by the video, the depths of science are not as comprehensible to the general public as perhaps most of us wish they were. Judging by the comments below the video, however, the general public is to Feynman in unadulterated brilliance what Vizzini was to Einstein.

Or in other words, Feynman had a point.

Imagine if you spent ten years building your own car from the ground up, not buying a single part, fabricating every last one yourself from basic materials. Then someone comes along and asks you how you did it? Any socially acceptable answer would be informationally pointless, because the true instruction manual would be tens of thousands of pages long. This is what Feynman was objecting to. The interviewer was asking a profound question that can only properly be answered through outrageous amounts of explanation; yet the interviewer's intention was not to learn physics but to get some kind of trite little morsel that Joe Average watching the show could digest and feel good about. Maybe if we all respected knowledge a little more, we wouldn't prefer meaningless answers to excellent questions.

On the other hand, and to Feynman's discredit, sometimes it takes a little dose of the meaningless to get laypeople interested in science in the first place. Those little morsels can act as a lubricant to lead a person down the road to meaningful scientific inquiry. Lots of engineers got started because of Scotty, even though the "engineering" depicted on the show was total rubbish and wouldn't teach you anything about operating anything. So perhaps Feynman could have been less churlish and impatient while still advocating for his underlying point that science isn't just a bunch of easily-digested factoids, which is a very good point. Alas, being good at science and being good at public relations are two completely different skills. In modern times, only Carl Sagan came close to mastering them both. All too many scientific geniuses had no clue how to promote scientific literacy in the general public.
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+Dorkus Finelstein Truth is, I write comments mostly for myself, so I don't really summarize or try to make my points more concise, even if that would make people more inclined to read them...
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  • Joshua Tree Studios
    Writer, Editor, Web Developer, Game Designer, Consultant, 2012 - present
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I live on a remote mountain observatory, but I don't work there! I work for the Internet.
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I love curiosity, ambition, beauty, human power, exploration, and creation. I have a strong will.

If you are thinking about adding me to your Circles, thank you! I would request that you send me a brief message explaining why you've added me. That way I'll have a better understanding of whether I should add you back, and into which Circles. If I don't add you back, please don't take it personally! Most of my posts are public so you will still be able to follow them and participate in the conversation.

For people wondering if they've found the Correct Josh: I am left-handed, and rather fond of fat people.
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