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S John

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  1. Sounds like me, except for the training for a marathon part. I’ll get some kind of slightly out of the ordinary physical thing once in a while and put it off til the next time I’m due for a check-up so that by the time I go into the Dr. my state of mind is ‘well, this is it. This is where they tell me it’s cancer.’
  2. Bolded mine. Yea I’ve been seeing a lot more of that lately and apparently Trump himself threw some gas on that fire at CPAC this weekend. It’s a really dumb argument but par for the course. That cop watched a mob, which had erected a platform to hang Mike Pence from btw, break windows of the United States Capitol, and overrun and beat several of his fellow officers. If he’s the only thing standing between the mob and members of Congress trying to escape, and she gets through that door - they are all coming in and who knows what might happen. He had no choice. I don’t envy the guy, I would hate to have to shoot and kill anyone under any circumstances, but he did the right thing. Very likely he did the only thing he could have done to prevent an even bigger disaster. The thing that kills me is the absolute gall of painting her as a martyr and him as a murderer as if we don’t have mountains of fucking tape of these people ransacking offices, searching for congresspeople, breaking windows, and kicking the shit out of Capitol police. This is not a he said she said scenario. We all know and saw what happened and it’s just another stark example of the irrelevance of truth to a scarily large segment of the population. People are lying to others AND to themselves about a situation that is incredibly well documented and anyone can go see for themselves. Even the actual shooting of Babbit is on video, and she’s clearly shot in a situation where she is the tip of the spear attempting to climb through a smashed window after being warned repeatedly, and with a rampaging mob behind her.
  3. I read about the pre-frontal cortex and the approximate age of 25 a couple of years ago and I’ve since mentioned this to several of friends around my age (37) in conversation and to a person they’ve said… yea that seems about right. Even just as a personal anecdote without the science behind it that tends to feel accurate to people who have lived 5-10 or more years past that age. I was still me before that, but it was like a beta version and I’ve since become the stable release version. Never gonna be immune to mistakes and I’ve certainly made a few since then, but I definitely make better decisions more consistently than in adolescence and early adulthood. The vast majority of regrettable personal behavior are from before that 25ish benchmark. And what drives that home even more is knowing that at the time I often didn’t really even recognize the mistake I was making. No clue that it might bother me later. It’s not until later that you come to realize that, man there was a period of my life when I just willy nilly did stupid shit that I would never do now. I expect that my older self will criticize my current self as well but I don’t think it will be nearly as acute as the criticisms I have of my ~17-24 year old self.
  4. I happened to catch both incidents that others were talking about in this thread. Two or three weeks ago he was kind of a difficult guest on Bill Maher and then follows that up with the tweet that ET wouldn’t be interested in us which, even if you agree that UAP are not ET (as I am personally inclined to for the time being), is not something that he or anyone else could possibly know. If your last two Neil sightings were those two things back to back, as mine were, you might be left wondering what his deal is lately. Seems like he has a particular axe to grind on this topic, which is fine - I get why an astrophysicist might quickly tire of the UFO community. But it’s foolish to be making proclamations about what advanced ET would or would not be interested in on the sole basis that you are a smart person. Like I said I’m a fan and sometimes-listener of Star Talk and I wouldn’t have brought it up independently but it was a bad last couple outings for Neil, IMO.
  5. I follow Tyson somewhat (listen to Star Talk now and then) and despite the fact that I often enjoy him it’s obvious that he always thinks he is the smartest person in the room. In the vast majority of rooms that is 100% true…. but it’s not an endearing quality and I do agree he comes off like an ass sometimes. Including this time. And agree that he seems kinda high strung lately, his appearance on Maher was also unnecessarily combative. As to UAP, I’ve been following the media on this and I’ve also peeked into subreddits dedicated to UFO and Aliens knowing that the congressional report was due and I was struck by how many people there feel that what the government is actually doing is slow walking a major reveal and were then subsequently disappointed by the content of the report, which essentially stated ‘we do not know what a small percentage of these encounters are.’ Personally, I do believe that they do not know what they are even if it is disappointing that the report basically told us what we already knew. I understand that there is at least 70 years of lore behind the relationship between the United States Government and UFO’s - some of which is fairly compelling - but I think if you do not have that background in UFO history and culture it really is a big leap from seeing some of these publicly available videos from the last 20 years or so and concluding that it’s definitely extraterrestrial in nature. It’s odd for sure, but it’s not conclusive enough for such a world altering claim IMO. And it really would be a massively stunning revelation. Even if most of us have seen the numbers astronomers have been putting out there and figured that there really must be other life out there, that is still an abstract thought based on numbers that are hard to wrap ones head around and when/if the existence of intelligent life becomes an absolute fact instead of a plausible idea a lot of heads are going to explode. The fact that the government is willing to not immediately rule out the possibility that maybe it could be something from elsewhere is a big step in itself but there was no way they were gonna drop anything substantive about that unless it’s known beyond a shadow of a doubt and can be proven.
  6. Especially when classical examples of democracy in Athens/Rome are arguably most famous for the manner in which they failed. With Rome in particular, the end of the Republic might be one of the most relentlessly prodded historical periods out there. Neither Athens nor Republican Rome were liberal democracies in the modern sense, but they were something other than autocratic and it seems odd to have two really famous and continuously studied examples of democratic backsliding in the historical record and declare that the modern order could never slip away. Modern people tend to overlook that there is nothing genetically superior about us vs. our ancient or even prehistoric ancestors. We have not evolved in any significant way, we just enjoy the inheritance of a really good run absent total global societal collapse. That seems obvious on its face but I think it’s hard sometimes to realize that we are the exact same beings as primitive hunter-gatherers, or ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, etc. The extremes of behavior of which humans are capable is mostly mitigated by our relatively comfortable circumstances but we are not higher beings than those who sacrificed virgins to bloodthirsty gods or made drinking implements of the skulls of fallen enemies. Hell, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan have only very recently begun to fade from living memory. We are capable of great and noble things but there will never be a time when humans can relax and pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. Everything that we have achieved and hope to achieve requires constant maintenance. It’s similar to getting into good physical condition. You can’t just declare victory one day and never exercise again because beer, pizza, and fries are still out there. Its a struggle that will last until we are all dead.
  7. I don’t necessarily disagree but I also don’t think it’s fair to say that these specifically non-religious entities that have done great evil count as religion because of the political structure.
  8. Fuckin’ Californians. I’ve been listening to Dan Carlin’s latest podcast episode about the war in the Pacific (supernova in the east) which he sort of anchors around the unique aspects of the Japanese people during the time period and acts ranging from brave and admirable to abhorrent and pants-shitting horrifying. The series is a really good listen if you are interested in the Pacific theater during WWII and have like 15 hours to kill.
  9. Manchin has already been governor of West Virginia so I don’t think it’s that. I do think his obstinacy is due to the fact that he might want to run again and it ain’t easy these days to run as a Democrat in West Virginia. To me that best explains Manchin. He is trying to walk the line between Democrat policy goals and winning as a Democrat in West Virginia which is a very tough spot to say the least. I think it’s possibly an impossible spot which is why I wandered off into an aside in retirement. If he was for sure planning on this being his last term he might be less of a thorn in the side of the rest of the party, but again, wishing Manchin away is a double edged sword. Personally don’t see any way that seat stays blue once he’s gone.
  10. It did cross my mind that elected positions might not actually be all that much work, depending on the person.
  11. Social media is an empty husk compared with the in-person community you get from the church. I honestly think social media does more societal harm than good but that’s for a different thread. The community aspect of organized religion cannot be overlooked. If you move somewhere new a Church would be a great place to meet new people assuming you are a believer or at least inclined to tolerate it. Additionally my local Catholic parish is involved in all kinds of local community ministries in which I have considered participating - and maybe will once my son is older - despite the fact that I’m an agnostic who doesn’t really want to go to mass. I may not agree with everything they do, or believe exactly as they do, but it can be a very good vehicle for helping local poor, in need, refugees.. etc. And a good old fashioned way to meet some of your neighbors. It’s definitely not all negative.
  12. Probably why I’ll never personally be a powerful politician or CEO - but I really don’t get people wanting to continue working til they drop dead. Manchin is 73, he’s up for re-election in 2024 when he’ll be 76 for a 6 year term that would bring him to 82 yrs old if he is re-elected and completes it. I mean, what the fuck! Big caveat here is that once Manchin does hang it up we can probably expect WV to raise up an MTG level nutter to the Senate so maybe Manchin really is doing us a favor by being a pain in the ass. But anyway, I genuinely like what I do for a living. It has good perks, it interests me, I like my coworkers, and I make a decent living. Yet I’ll be 37 in a couple of weeks and since I turned 30 or so I often think about: how can I get out of working every day as quickly as possible? I don’t know if I will be successful but I’m actively trying to retire before 60. If I live to be Manchin’s current age, I hope that I have been retired for more than a decade and definitely not doing whatever I can to make sure I get to work for nine more years. Don’t people have hobbies or stacks of unread books to get to!? Unpersued creative interests or gardening to hone? Christ, Joe, take up whittling or fly fishing or something, spend some time with the grandkids.
  13. I also think that the disconnect most people already have from their food sources is an advantage in this case. For pretty much every Westerner not in the food or agriculture industries meat is something you get out of a package at the store or shows up on your plate at a restaurant. If the cultured ribeye looks like a ‘normal’ ribeye I’m not sure it is a huge leap. I think it’s really a question of terminology and marketing. Come up with something that sounds enticing and responsible like ‘sustainably grown’. If there’s a big orange sticker on the package that says ‘VAT MEAT’ it’ll be a harder road.
  14. Raised Catholic and have come to realize that my primary problem with the Church is really that I’m best classified as agnostic and I don’t believe in any of it anymore. I think as a kid the consequences of not believing scared me into genuinely trying but I’m honestly not sure that I ever really believed it. I’m not going to debate theology with my parents/ grandparents, I’m not going to poison my son against religion, and I’m content to go through the ritual motions when form requires it - but I ain’t getting up early on Sundays anymore unless it’s to go fishing. personally I think that for most people raised in the church who have left it is not because of the sex scandals but because they have gradually secularized their lives. Clearly there are victims and families of victims who obviously and rightfully left the church due to these issues and that kind of bad publicity doesn’t do much for finding new converts, but I think for the typical lapsed Catholic it has more to do with the evolving beliefs of each individual than the church. I think for most Catholics the child sex scandals feel a bit abstract. I’ve been a part of many parishes and really haven’t experienced or even heard of anything untoward happening outside of the news. It’s a bit like US mass shootings in that regard. Like we all know this happens and is terrible and happens WAY to much, but most of us have never experienced it or know anyone who has.
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