So why does chemistry’s role in accidents get highlighted, and whose fault is it that people are so scared of chemicals?
Simple - mine. It’s my fault, and my grandfather’s. We are responsible for chemophobia. Why? Well, grandfather’s sodium demo certainly fuelled my enthusiasm for chemistry. But it didn’t spark it - that happened somewhere else. And sparking an interest is what he should have done and what I should be doing.
Pouring fuel onto the flames of enthusiasm is easy, especially with chemistry. The theatre is easy, too - the bangs, the flames, the explosions, the pops, the whizzes, the smoke and the rockets are fabulously entertaining. I love it, and I love the whoops and cries and applause from the audience.
But at the end of the day, what did the audience remember? Just those bangs - and not a jot of chemistry. Explosive, flaming chemistry demos do nothing to show what chemistry can build and everything to highlight what it can destroy. And in the process, they blow out any flickering interest in chemistry and replace it with fear.
Clippings and half-formed thoughts on nature, conservation, technology, history, architecture, & other nerdery. Lovingly selected for you by Hannah Waters. Follow me on twitter @hannahjwaters and read my blog Culturing Science.
Words mold brains, and if you don’t believe it, you should look at what sort of language we use about the internet and the products (digital and not) that connect to it and are part of it. Revolutionary, disruptive, magical, wizards, and on and on—contemporary digital culture has co-opted the language of revolution and magic without the muscle, ethics, conviction, or imagination of either. And it’s not that those things aren’t possible, we just aren’t living up to their meaning and instead saturating ourselves with hyperbole. These are words you have to earn, and slinging them around strips the words of their powerful meaning. Can you take a real revolution seriously if you are bombarded with messaging that your phone is revolutionary?
Last month, a user on a Grand Theft Auto V forum asked whether players would be able to rape women in the game. In the post, which was widely shared on social media, he wrote, “I want to have the opportunity to kidnap a woman, hostage her, put her in my basement and rape her everyday, listen to her crying, watching her tears.” This is alarming but, in a game that prides itself on player-led freedom and opportunity within virtual, victimless but violent worlds, is it unreasonable? If this freedom is necessary to maintain the artifice of the world, the designer surely has a responsibility to engineer the victim’s reactions in order to communicate something of the pain and damage inflicted.
I was reluctant to tumbl this but it makes me sick to my stomach every time I read it.
“Much of the work that the intelligence community does has a profound impact on the life of ordinary Americans, and they ought not to be excluded from the process,” [Lee Hamilton, an Indiana Democrat who chaired the House Intelligence Committee and co-chaired the commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks] said.
“Nobody is arguing that we should be so transparent as to create dangers for the country,” he said. But, he said, “there is a mindset in the national security community — leave it to us, we can handle it, the American people have to trust us. They carry it to quite an extraordinary length so that they have resisted over a period of decades transparency. . . . The burden of persuasion as to keeping something secret should be on the intelligence community, the burden should not be on the American public.”
Source: Washington Post
In the ongoing process of becoming a writer, I read and reread the authors I most loved. I read for pleasure, first, but also more analytically, conscious of style, of diction, of how sentences were formed and information was being conveyed, how the writer was structuring a plot, creating characters, employing detail and dialogue. And as I wrote, I discovered that writing, like reading, was done one word at a time, one punctuation mark at a time. It required what a friend calls ‘putting every word on trial for its life’: changing an adjective, cutting a phrase, removing a comma and putting the comma back in.
I read closely, word by word, sentence by sentence, pondering each deceptively minor decision the writer had made. And though I can’t recall every source of inspiration and instruction, I can remember the novels and stories that seemed to me revelations: wells of beauty and pleasure that were also textbooks, courses of private lessons in the art of fiction.
— Francine Prose (via mttbll)
Source: The Atlantic
Millennials witnessed, embraced, and in some cases instigated massive disruptions of the music, television, movie, media, and retail industries. The most supervised and entitled generation in human history, they have no patience for inefficiency, stodgy institutions or the status quo. Consider what they could do to politics and government.
Source: The Atlantic
The temporary photo will wrongly be called frivolous or trivial — after all, only unimportant images could be so easily parted with. But as we have seen, there is meaning in witnessing ephemerality itself, an appreciation of impermanence for its own sake. By carving a space away from the growing necessity to record and collect life into database museums, temporary photography encourages an appreciation of the importance of experiencing the present for its own sake.
But there is a group of storytellers who aren’t all that excited about this shift to images as the primary vehicle for the delivery of the story. We are the wordsmiths. The poets. The short story writers. The memoirists. The novelists. The journalists. Call us anachronistic. Call us conservative. Call us backward. Whether because we love words — the way they sound, the way they taste, the immensely lonely training we undergo in order to use them effectively — we aren’t very happy with this new image obsessed world.