Lifes Worth Knowing

Archive for the ‘Current events’ Category

We Need to Talk. About Guns.

In Current events, Gun Control, Guns, Politics on December 19, 2012 at 10:16 pm

When news broke of the Sandy Hook tragedy, it felt like a punch to my ribs. As a parent, events like these mean more than they used to. The thought of a gunman terrorizing school children was enough to make me break down in emotion while listening to the reports on the radio. It left me numb, it left me angry, and it left me feeling powerless.

After Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tuscon, and Aurora…we were told that now is not the time to discuss guns. We were told that out of respect for the victims, we should not politicize the tragedy. The hypocrisy of that viewpoint is that in saying that we should not have a discussion about guns is a political statement itself. Politics are defined not simply as what we discuss, but more often than not, politics are what we choose to ignore. Our acceptance of the status quo is as political as a statement can be. Whether the issue is drone strikes, the Patriot Act, GMO’s, guns or Social Security, silencing those that want to have a meaningful discussion about a policy is at it’s very core a political statement.

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Mitt Romney: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

In 1%, Birth Control, Current events, Government, Health Insurance, Justin, Obama, Romney, Welfare on November 16, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Some elections are close. This one wasn’t. Even as Karl Rove tried to deny reality  and other conservatives attempted to digest the ill news, it became apparent that this was hardly even a contest. Ceding only North Carolina and Indiana back to Republicans from his initial election, it was obvious pretty early on in election night that it was going to be Obama’s night.

What was remarkable was how most Republicans had no idea that such a victory for the Democrats was coming. It wasn’t simply a psychological ploy that Romney had no concession speech prepared on election night…he truly believed he was going to win, and the Fox News spin machine (Looking at you Dick Morris) played right into that. Most Fox pundits, and even Romney’s own advisors, were predicting landslide victories for the Republican nominee.

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On Sesame Street

In Current events, Economics, Government, Justin, Politics on October 5, 2012 at 9:42 pm

You know that a presidential debate has been interesting when the prevailing topic dominating social media throughout the even was Big Bird. When Romney came out and stated that he would cut funding to PBS, the big bird trend took off and it became one of the few “missteps” that Romney made on the night, angering millions of Sesame Street Moms and Downton Abbey fans in the process.

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Healthcare gets personal

In Current events, Health Insurance, Justin, Politics on August 7, 2012 at 10:56 am

We often hear about the big ideas in politics, and national politicians like to paint issues in broad strokes, and one of the best illustrations is the healthcare debate. Pre-existing conditions, mandates, lifetime limits…most of the time, all of these are policy issues. But for nearly everyone at some point, those policy issues become personal issues. I recently had one of those moments where the big ideas that I have written about became personal experiences.

I now understand how truly messed up our medical system is, and just how badly it needs an overhaul. I am not an expert, nor a psychic, so I cannot say whether or not the Affordable Care Act can or will change anything, but I can say that something needed/needs to be done. The following is my latest experience with the American medical system, with as much transparency as possible.

It was hot. It was hot and I was covered in sweat, having just come back from a two mile run in which i proved to my wife that yes, I can still run two miles in fifteen minutes. I bounded up my front steps and into our kitchen where I poured a cold glass of water and reached into a bag of cherries that had been sitting on our counter all day. This morning, that bag was full and now there were a handful left. Even fewer as I topped off my glass of water with a couple of the sweet fruits as I went upstairs to get a shower.

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The Weekender

In Current events, Economics, Fascinating, General, Government, Interesting, Justin, Local, Politics, Religion, Science on May 25, 2012 at 9:58 pm

The Weekender is a weekly column devoted to the ideas/articles/videos that I find fascinating and wish I had more time to explore.

Just in case you were feeling significant today. There is nothing quite like being complete awestruck by the beauty of the night sky, and this isn’t a normal night sky. My favorite astronomer Phil Plait serves up these astonishing pictures pretty regularly, and this one comes from Helge Mortensen. Dazzling aurora dancing over snow covered peaks makes my life feel very, very small.

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The Weekender

In Birth Control, Current events, General, Interesting, Justin, Maps, Nature, Science, Ted Talk, Thoughtful on April 13, 2012 at 7:55 pm

The Weekender is a weekly column devoted to the ideas/articles/videos that I find fascinating and wish I had more time to explore.

I, for one welcome our new monkey overlords. The study of language is one of my under-explored interests on this blog. Ever since being introduced to Noam Chomsky and that idea that the language that we speak can have a direct impact on our view of the world, I have found linguistics fascinating. One of the hallmarks of our humanity is that we have a written language…something that we thought was uniquely human. This study showed that baboons can learn to “read” English words. While it is too much of a leap to say that they understand language, it is interesting nonetheless. The experiment basically rewarded a monkey for determining if a word was real or not. A positive response for the word “wasp” would return a treat, a positive response for the word “telk”… no treat. At the end of the study, the baboons could get the right response 75% of the time. Let that sink in for a moment…baboons can determine real English words from fake English words. Nature is awesome.

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The Weekender

In Current events, Economics, Government, Health Insurance, Interesting, Justin, Maps, Politics on March 30, 2012 at 9:56 pm

The Weekender is a weekly column devoted to the ideas/articles/videos that I find fascinating and wish I had more time to explore.

This week’s edition is going to be a little bit different. The usual links are still going to be here, but keeping in the spirit of this blog – the passion to never stop exploring – I wanted to ask the readers for suggestions/topics/websites that aren’t usually covered here. I tend to cull my links from the same stable of sources, and while i do find them fascinating, I want to broaden to scope and explore some new territory. Hit the comments at the bottom of the page or email me at lifesworthknowing@gmail.com to send me your ideas and sources for interesting material. Thanks in advance.

It’s a beautiful world. This video is able to visualize something that we rarely get to see, but constantly experience. Ocean currents are one of the most influential aspects of weather patterns. We have all heard of El Nino, and the effects of that current…well this video is able to demonstrate what those currents look like across the entire globe. It’s oddly beautiful. (via Kottke)

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Health Reform and the Supreme Court

In Current events, Government, Health Insurance on March 28, 2012 at 7:40 pm

If we strip away all of the political rhetoric that surrounds the healthcare debate, and spurn the death panels and the government takeover, we are left with an essential constitutional question that went in front of the Supreme court this week. In my experience, not many people really understand what it is that is at the center of the health care case. The question is not whether the Affordable Care Act is a good idea or whether or not this is a government takeover of healthcare. The essential question regards the individual mandate, and is actually fairly simple and straightforward. Essentially, can the federal government require a citizen to buy a product?

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Leading from Behind

In Current events, Government, Justin, Obama, Politics, Romney on March 22, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Another Republican primary came and went this past Tuesday, with Mitt Romney sweeping to a decisive victory in Illinois. His victory speech Tuesday night represented an opportunity to coalesce the conservative movement behind his supposed inevitability. He trotted out his usual stump speech, focusing his sights primarily on President Obama after congratulating his fellow Republican candidates. He reiterated some of his main talking points and mentioned that Obama “leads from behind”, a phrase that has been thrown around a lot in this campaign cycle

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The Weekender

In Current events, Economics, Fascinating, Food Politics, General, Interesting, Justin, Thoughtful on March 17, 2012 at 8:34 pm

The Weekender is a weekly column devoted to the ideas/articles/videos that I find fascinating and wish I had more time to explore.

Cool doesn’t even begin to describe this. You know how the space shuttle was taken to space on the backs of those three boosters? Did you ever think what happened after the shuttle jettisoned them? This *mindblowing* video takes you through the entire process – from launch to landing from the perspective of the solid fuel boosters. The entire sequence takes only 400 seconds to go from launch pad to a height of 41 miles and back down to the ocean. Just when you think it is going to get boring…it starts getting better, trust me, block out 8 minutes and get the whole thing.

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