1. Your job. Yes, even if you’re working something that other people condescendingly term “not a real job,” such as retail or service. If you have a job of any kind in this economy, you’ve already won.
2. Whether or not you have debt. If you managed to get out of your education debt-free, that doesn’t mean that your life is a financial walk in the park that you constantly have to be apologizing for. If you are in debt, it doesn’t mean you got a “worthless” degree and now deserve to be shamed for struggling to find work after you were convinced by your school that you were making a good decision.
3. The kind of food you enjoy eating, or why you enjoy eating. (No matter how “uncultured” or “boring” or “gross” someone else might deem your favorite food.)
4. Your decision to have children, or not have them, or to not be sure if you even want them.
5. Your dislike for marriage as an institution — and even if this one day changes, you don’t have to justify having grown as a person and moved into a new point of view. No one should be telling you “I told you so” over something as enormous as your decision to commit for life to another person.
6. Your sexuality, or your desire to experiment with it. You are allowed to have “phases” or “try things out” or be “confused,” and can take as much time as you want figuring it out.
7. Your gender presentation.
8. Your income level, and what you can and cannot afford. If you are having trouble keeping up with friends because you are not able to spend as much as them, there is no reason to risk financial ruin to try and keep up appearances.
9. Your body. The only person whom you need to talk to about with it is your doctor; everyone else can else can go kick rocks.
10. Whether or not you want to go out on a weekend night, or ten weekend nights in a row. The amount of time you spend in a bar or at a club does not directly correlate with how cool or worthy a person you are.
11. Your relationship status. If you’re single and happy, that’s great. If you’re in a relationship and happy, that’s great. If you’re either of those and not happy, you are more than allowed to be, and it’s no one’s business how you should “fix” it unless you ask them for their advice.
12. How many friends you have. One is enough. A hundred is enough. And there is no need to falsely upgrade acquaintances to “friend” status in your mind simply to fill out the ranks. A true friend is rare, and we don’t need to make it a competition for who has the most.
13. How much you drink when you go out, or if you drink at all, or why you choose not to drink if you do.
14. What kind of music you enjoy listening to.
15. What kind of an education you have or don’t have, or if you intend to go back and finish what you’ve started. If continuing your studies is something you want to do, good, but don’t be forced into saying that you want it just because it’s what people expect of you.
16. What you happen to be turned on by. If you like slash fiction, you like slash fiction. If you like people recording videos of themselves popping balloons, that’s awesome for you. It’s all good, and as long as you’re not hurting anyone, have at it.
17. Whether or not you know to cook, even if you’re a woman who “should” know how to do those things.
18. If you stay at home to raise your children, or if you hire someone to help you do so because you have a full-time career. Neither of those choices are more or less feminist, no matter what Elizabeth Wurtzel tells you.
19. How many people you have had sex with.
20. Whether or not you are a virgin, and whether or not you want to wait for marriage to lose said virginity.
21. Whether or not you believe in God, and what you think God actually is. (As long as you’re not imposing any of your beliefs on others, in which case we’d have a bit of a problem. But I trust that you’re cool and wouldn’t do that.)
22. Who you voted for and why. If you want to talk about it, you’re free to. But no one should ever make you feel like you have to tell them.
23. If you have sex on a first date, if you kiss on a first date, or if you won’t even hold hands on a first date. You’re allowed to do whatever you like when you’ve just met a new potential suitor.
24. Whether or not you choose to use dating websites.
25. Not knowing exactly what you want to be when you grow up, even if many people would already put you in the category of “grown up.” If you are considering going back to school, or changing careers, or moving, or starting a family, or doing charity work — it’s all good. And none of it has to be followed up with a longwinded explanation about why it’s a good idea and they should believe in you. If you need to justify what makes you happy to someone in your life, perhaps you should ask yourself why you even care about their opinion in the first place.
MinuteEarth: The Story of Our Planet
Exciting news for people who are curious about where we came from and what makes our planet tick! Henry Reich, they guy behind MinutePhysics, has a new channel called MinuteEarth, all about how we know what we know about the history of our planet.
Insect wings can shred bacteria to pieces! This video shows how a newly discovered nanostructure on the wings of cicadas can rip certain bacterial membranes to shreds. This structure, perfected by nature as a natural defense against dangerous microbes, could be harnessed by humans to create antimicrobial surfaces.
Sometimes nature is our best innovator.
(More at Nature News)
“Every tiny atom in your body came from a star that exploded long before you were born.”
You Are Stardust teaches kids about the whimsy and interconnectedness of the universe in stunning illustrated dioramas.
Bonus: Amidst the jarring gender gap in science education, this is a project by two women.
Eleventy thumbs up!
First it was science in the undergarments, now it’s thinking about how the Earth shows the Moon it’s pale blue butt.
Learn more about the Dark Side of the Moon in this throw back episode of Coma Niddy University.
When you stop and think about it …
What Can Frogs See That We Can’t?
How a frog traveling beyond the edge of the solar system will demonstrate that light intensity drops via the inverse square law and light travels in discrete unites called quanta.
Nice physics lesson/homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey by Veritasium.
A Toilet-Like Vortex of Bad Astronomy
Bad is getting science wrong. Worse is getting science wrong because of mystical woo. Worstest is having that bad science go viral. The video discussed below has been featured on big sites like Kottke.org and I Love Charts, which shows how fast this stuff can spread.
In the case of the “solar system as a vortex” videos, we have reached the darkest, worstest timeline. But science is here to help. Phil Plait has debunked this in gloriously gory detail, so please, please go read that. And stop sharing this bad science. Share this instead.
First of all, that’s a helix, not a vortex. But that doesn’t matter. The planets do not trail behind the sun. It’s simply not based in reality. You can easily test this just by keeping track of the planets in the sky, and tens of thousands of people have done this throughout history.
In a second video, the creator shows the planets orbiting a moving sun like a rotating drill bit. This is not the case. The solar system is indeed tipped 60˚ with respect to the galaxy. But sometimes planets are ahead of the sun and sometimes they are behind the sun. Also, the solar system does bob up and down across the galactic plane, but only once every 64 million years (this is due to the disk’s internal gravity, because it’s made of stuff). Much like a wobbling top, the Earth will “wobble” in its rotation around every 26,000 years (Google “procession” for more), but this has nothing to do with the claims of the video (although it is why the North Star won’t always be in the north).
Much like how if I am walking forward at 3 mph on a train going 70 mph, I am not going 73 mph. I am going 3 mph, just in a different frame of reference. The speed of our solar wind pushing outward on intergalactic space is much higher than the speed we are traveling around the galaxy, and there’s no reason to think that all that out there is going to affect us in here.
DJ Sadhu, who sadly spins lies rather than records, explains why someone would want to make all this up on his site. Enter at your own risk. Basically it’s an appeal for a model that doesn’t have us returning to the same place every year. That might sound spiritually superior, but it’s also BS. TIme moves forward, the planets and the sun move in predictable, well-studied patterns, and regardless of our position in the galaxy, the years are ours to make different. And we do a pretty good job of that without videos like this.
It kind of sucks that all it takes to spread BS is a few weeks with 3D animation software and an internet connection, but hey … it can be a force for good as much as it is bad. Now commence getting this post a bazillion notes, or else the vortex will get us all.
It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas. Obviously those two modes of thought are in some tension. But if you are able to exercise only one of these modes, whichever one it is, you’re in deep trouble.
If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. You never learn anything new. You become a crotchety old person convinced that nonsense is ruling the world. (There is, of course, much data to support you.) But every now and then, maybe once in a hundred cases, a new idea turns out to be on the mark, valid and wonderful. If you are too much in the habit of being skeptical about everything, you are going to miss or resent it, and either way you will be standing in the way of understanding and progress.
On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish the useful as from the worthless ones. If all ideas have equal validity then you are lost, because then, it seems to me, no ideas have any validity at all.
Some ideas are better than others. The machinery for distinguishing them is an essential tool in dealing with the world and especially in dealing with the future. And it is precisely the mix of these two modes of thought that is central to the success of science.