“You know, gay people are not allowed to fight in the army. I was watching 20/20. If you’re gay, they throw you out of the army. Why? Gay people can’t be proud of the country and want to defend it, too? What’s the army afraid is going to happen if gay people are in it? “Private, shoot that man!” “I, I can’t — he’s adorable. I, uh, sorry. Blue eyes and the uniform — it’s too much.”—
Jon Stewart, 14th Annual Young Comedians Special (1991)
It’s currently available on HBO on Demand, and everything he says is scarily relevant 17 years later.
“Researchers at Harvard University have discovered that our experience of pain depends on whether we think someone caused the pain intentionally. In their study, participants who believed they were getting an electrical shock from another person on purpose, rather than accidentally, rated the very same shock as more painful. Participants seemed to get used to shocks that were delivered unintentionally, but those given on purpose had a fresh sting every time.” - Science Daily
The results of the study are quite interesting. A slap in the face does indeed hurt more if it’s from a friend in an actual example of “mind over body.” Our bodies are so conditioned by the psyche that how we physically respond to a situation mirrors our emotional defense mechanisms. Context, meaning and intent all factor into human perceptions of physical pain, just as they often do when evaluating other problems or pain we face in life.
Props to science that actually helps us understand how our physical and emotional responses coexist.
“I think that if someone like George W. Bush can become the president of our country, a gay person should be allowed to marry whoever the hell they want.”—Me, just now at dinner. And of course, met with frowns from my conservative family. (via havent-got-a-prayer)
“…the truth is that promoting science isn’t just about providing resources, it’s about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology. It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say even when it’s inconvenient - especially when it’s inconvenient. Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth, and a greater understanding of the world around us.”—Barack Obama, weekly video address, 20/12/2008
And then I felt sad because I realized that once people are broken in certain ways, they can’t ever be fixed, and this is something nobody ever tells you when you are young and it never fails to surprise you as you grow older as you see the people in your life break one by one. You wonder when your turn is going to be, or if it’s already happened.
According to United States copyright law in United States Code, Title 17 §106, authors of works such as musical compositions have the exclusive right “to perform the copyrighted work publicly.” In United States Code, Title 17 §101, the law defines publicly performing a work as “to perform or display it at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered.” This means that if you sing Happy Birthday to your family at home, you’re probably not committing copyright infringment. However, if you do it in an restaurant — and if the restaurant hasn’t already worked out a deal with ASCAP — you may be engaging in copyright infringement.
I had a law school professor that sued some restaurant chains for singing Happy Birthday to their customers. He was asked to let the suit go by whomever owns the rights to the song. Nonetheless, that is why many restaurants slightly alter the song when it is sung to patrons on their birthday.
“Obama is a businesslike boss. He prefers briefing papers tightly written and shows up for meetings fully prepared. He expects people to challenge him when they think he is wrong and to back up their ideas with facts. He’s not a shouter — “Hollering at people isn’t usually that effective,” he explains — but if he thinks you’ve let him down, you’ll know it. “What was always effective with me as a kid — and Michelle and I find it effective with our kids — is just making people feel really guilty,” he says. “Like ‘Boy, I am disappointed in you. I expected so much more.’ And I think people generally want to do the right thing, and if you’re clear to them about what that right thing is, and if they see you doing the right thing, then that gives you some leverage.”
Again, take a second to reread, this time the bit where he says “people generally want to do the right thing.” Trust of this kind has been in short supply for many years in American politics, where the dominant attitude is that every disagreement is a sign of bad faith and every opponent is assumed to be malevolent. Obama’s attitude was ridiculed as kumbaya naiveté during the campaign, but trust proved to be essential to his victory. His campaign entrusted millions of volunteers with unprecedented authority to download information about prospective voters, to assign themselves to make phone calls and canvass their own neighborhoods and apartment buildings, and to keep the campaign abreast of their progress. A typical presidential effort is top-down, intensely protective of its data and strategies. Obama’s approach seemed to court mischief or even chaos. “There was a lot of snickering among the political pros,” says Plouffe. “They couldn’t believe that we were giving people we didn’t know access to our data and trusting them to handle it honestly. But it was enormously important because it made people feel that much more accountable: ‘These are my three blocks, and everyone’s counting on me.’”—Why History Can’t Wait - Person of the Year 2008 - TIME