nerds in LOVE
nerds in LOVE
The news: A new scientific study from Princeton researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page has finally put some science behind the recently popular argument that the United States isn’t a democracy any more. And they’ve found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.
An oligarchy is a system where power is effectively wielded by a small number of individuals defined by their status called oligarchs. Members of the oligarchy are the rich, the well connected and the politically powerful, as well as particularly well placed individuals in institutions like banking and finance or the military.
For their study, Gilens and Page compiled data from roughly 1,800 different policy initiatives in the years between 1981 and 2002. They then compared those policy changes with the expressed opinion of the United State public. Comparing the preferences of the average American at the 50th percentile of income to what those Americans at the 90th percentile preferred, as well as the opinions of major lobbying or business groups, the researchers found out that the government followed the directives set forth by the latter two much more often.
It’s beyond alarming. As Gilens and Page write, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.
That might explain why mandatory background checks on gun sales supported by 83% to 91% of Americans aren’t in place, or why Congress has taken no action on greenhouse gas emissions even when such legislation is supported by the vast majority of citizens.
This problem has been steadily escalating for four decades. While there are some limitations to their data set, economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez constructed income statistics based on IRS data that go back to 1913. They found that the gap between the ultra-wealthy and the rest of us is much bigger than you would think…
I took my girls outside today & they loved it. Here’s Amelia playing in some tall grass & flowers. ^_^ she’s so damn cute.
a drawing of my favorite demon<3
Crowley is the best.
Aziraphale is like, the heavenly manifestation of socks and sandals
You know, I remember a post JUST LIKE THIS about… two years ago.
Somehow that makes it even better.
I think it’s pretty difficult to say without access to the original, buuuut, going by the English summary, I’d agree with that. The farmer gave up everything of value in his life because his wife thought the wolf deserved to be given something for his song (hard to say what the wolf was doing there, but in Russian folklore, wolves and foxes are often cunning and manipulative). So he gave up his goods in exchange for a “good” that he hadn’t asked for and one that wasn’t of equal value, because his wife was blinded by praise/compliments that she perceived the wolf’s song to be. So yeah, “be careful what you get in exchange for what you give away and look carefully past honeyed words, because by the time you notice you’ve been fooled, it’ll be too late” could be one possible interpretation of the story’s lesson, just going by that post. (Wolves are often extreme opportunists in Russian folklore; similar to foxes, though foxes are often much more elaborately cunning in their schemes.)
So yeah. >.> Not as blunt and straightforward as “don’t trust strangers” or “true love conquers all”, sure, but hardly that opaque.
Easter Eggs around the World (1/3)
Easter eggs, also called Paschal eggs, are decorated eggs that are often given to celebrate Easter or springtime. As such, Easter eggs are common during the season of Eastertide (Easter season). The oldest tradition is to use dyed and painted chicken eggs, but a modern custom is to substitute chocolate eggs, or plastic eggs filled with confectionery such as jelly beans. Eggs, in general, were a traditional symbol of fertility, and rebirth. In Christianity, for the celebration of Eastertide, Easter eggs symbolize the empty tomb of Jesus: though an egg appears to be like the stone of a tomb, a bird hatches from it with life; similarly, the Easter egg, for Christians, is a reminder that Jesus rose from the grave, and that those who believe will also experience eternal life.
The practice of decorating eggshell is ancient, pre-dating Christian traditions. Ostrich eggs with engraved decoration that are 60,000 years old have been found in Africa. Decorated ostrich eggs, and representations of ostrich eggs in gold and silver, were commonly placed in graves of the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians as early as 5,000 years ago. [x]
*goes through the notes on that damn post*
*rolls in a ball of rage*
Public Service Announcement:
Russia is a place with people just like everywhere else.
No, bears aren’t as much of a problem as you might think.
No, wolves aren’t as much of a problem as you might think.
No, snow isn’t as much of a problem as you might think.
(Vodka might be a problem, but jesus, have you looked at the alcohol consumption rates in your own country?)
You know why? Because the fact that outsiders not used to living in such conditions couldn’t imagine how to live there or frigging invaders trying to invade getting more than they bargained for does not mean the people who have lived there for many centuries are not used to it and adapted to it, or that it’s still just one big sparse network of snow-drowned villages and opaque and baffling folk wisdom.
Also, if you don’t “get” a translated and condensed summary of a fairy tale from a very specific time, environment and culture, it miiiight be that you don’t have the cultural context and knowledge of symbols and way of thinking that you’d need to fully interpret it, and not ROFL OMG LOOK AT THOSE RIDICULOUS RUSSIANS WITH THEIR NONSENSE FOLK WISDOM, WHAT BULLSHIT IS THIS HAHAHA, THAT’S WHAT YOU GET FROM LIVING IN FUCKING RUSSIA.
Your Americacentrism is showing. You might want to take a look at that.
Robin has a book of Russian folk tales and they’re all such wonderfully meaningless, despairing bullshit. Yeah, this is the entire story.
Wow, could you not? Like, i don’t now what tone you were going for there, but hey, fairy tales in general tend to be “meaningless, despairing bullshit” because they were meant to scare people into behaving as bluntly as possible.
So you’ve got stories like the Pied Piper where a town full of kids gets drowned, Rapunzel where a girl gets pregnant and her prince falls down into thorned bushes and gets his eyes taken out and then they wander through the desert looking for each other, Sleeping Beauty where a princess is raped in her sleep and then gives birth, still asleep, to twin babies who wake her up by sucking the poisoned bit of flax from her thumb, the LIttle Mermaid who turns into seafoam because her love married another woman, Red Riding Hood who gets eaten, Cinderella whose step sisters cut off bits of their own feet to fit into the slipper and then have their eyes pecked out by birds, and-
So yeah, dismissing a culture’s entire collection of fairy tales as “meaningless, despairing bullshit” strikes me as more than a bit hypocritical and xenophobic. Oh, and having grown up with stories like these, I can assure you there are plenty that are uplifting or meaningful in their lessons if one bothers to look, like the one about the little humpback horse and the firebird, the prince who got turned into a falcon, the frog princess, the silver-hoofed goat, and many others.
(Also, have you perhaps considere that maybe, just maybe, a little something got lost in translation in the process of turning that folk tale into a paragraph-long summary in English in your English folk tale collection book?)
Please refrain from judging a culture you have no clue about, okay? Thank you.
And that baby animal webcams are a thing in general