We lost Carl Sagan on this day in 1996.
I drew this a year ago, but I’ve decided I’m going to post this picture every year, as a reminder: Sagan showed us that understanding the universe is within everyone’s grasp, that we are all scientists, and that in a vast cosmic arena, this Pale Blue Dot holds all the beauty, pain, love and knowledge that make us what we are. This universe is worth understanding, and we all have our part to play.
(Made with Paper)
Q:I'm a high school student and I *really* want to work at NPR once I'm done with college. What should I be doing now to prepare myself?
Enjoy college. Enjoy life. Do things outside your comfort zone. Everyone here took a different path. People change. What you want now might not be what you want in five years. Explore all of your options. Leave your mind open. Write and read and experience as many things as you can. This is true for any path in life, not just working here. (I’ll stop the zen for a sec: we have an internship program.) But seriously: just do as much as you can and meet as many different types of people as you can. College is short. Too short. Worry about us later.
Emily asks "Where My Ladies At?”
Stop. Watch this.
The lack of women with STEM shows on YouTube is the nail, Emily Graslie is the hammer, and this video is the proverbial strike upon its head. There’s not much that I can say that Emily doesn’t say better, and truer, and from an emotional place of which I can only begin to imagine the outermost atoms of the outermost superficial shell.
Digging into how women are treated on YouTube taps into much larger issues, in STEM fields and society in general. But it’s also a very visible place to begin to make an impact and force change. I think I still fall into the “not knowing exactly how I fit in to this” category like she mentions. And I know there’s lots of people, male and female, who feel like that. But we’re here, we’re listening, and we have your back. That’s a start.
Head over to the video page to see a great list of female-led STEM YouTube channels in the description. Can’t wait to see that list grow.
Science Avengers … ASSEMBLE!
Next up on the docket is Beastie Boys v. GoldieBlox, Inc. in the 4th Circuit Court for “Ridiculous Applications of Copyright Law”
You know that amazing ad for GoldieBlox engineering toys? The one that features three young girls busting up our pretty pink…
Q:Hi Amanda, I'm Kieran from Bumblefuck Illinois. I'm going away to school next year and I've been debating on whether I should do music as my job .I've been playing piano since first grade and I play 6 different instruments now as well as sing. I'd love to go into performance or possibly music education. I've been really scared to, the what ifs of a career in music kind of scare me. What I'm asking is, do you think the risks and the uncertainty is worth a life of music?
cold fact: there is no path or job you can take in life that doesn’t involve risk and uncertainty.
if you have the inkling that working in/with music would make you happier than any other job, i’d argue that you’d be happiest coping with the risks and uncertainties associated with working in music instead of dealing with the risks and uncertainties involved in being a doctor, lawyer, veterinarian, astronaut, barista, bus driver or whatever other career choices are currently on your list of possibilities.
many jobs are hard work, but if you love the work, it doesn’t feel like work. if you choose your career path based ONLY on what you think is going to bring you safety and security instead of adding in the factors of what will bring you joy and happiness, chances are high you will wind up living a life of quiet desperation. if you factor your own joy into the decision, chances are also higher you’ll work harder and be a generally more valuable member of this giant chaotic society we call the human race.
pick your poison, and make sure it’s a poison you really like the taste of. you’re going to be drinking a shit ton of it.
True. All of this.
Wisdom, right here.
This is my nephew. Just in case it escaped your attention, he is dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast.
Yesterday I was out for lunch with some of my family, including my nephew who I hadn’t seen for a few months. He was very excited to see me and I was him.
As soon as we sat in the restaurant, he started pulling out some princess figurines (which he had amusingly named Rihanna and Gaga), and he was explaining to me how beautiful they were. He told me he wished he could be as beautiful as them even though he was a boy.
This kind of comment was nothing new for him.
After we all started eating, I noticed he was facing away from us. He turned around with a tear rolling down his cheek and refused to say what was wrong. This was very out of character for him. He was usually so attention seeking and theatrical, and incredibly intelligent for his age.
After a while he put his head into his arms on the table and started crying a lot more. I leaned into him and asked what was wrong again.
He whispered really quietly to me “I don’t want to be weird.”
I responded to him saying “Weird? I’m weird. Weird is good, weird is different!”
"But I don’t want to be different, it’s wrong," he replied through tear-stained fingers.
Angry, I started “Let me tell you what’s wrong. You are five years old and people are already telling you what you should and shouldn’t say. Or what you should and shouldn’t wear. You’re crying because somebody decided what boys are supposed to do and what girls are supposed to do, and nobody should differ from that. Well, let me tell you a little something about normal…
It used to be normal to laugh at people because they had different coloured skin. It used to be normal to bully somebody if they were a boy and they loved another boy, or a girl who loved another girl. It used to be normal to pick on someone for being too fat or too skinny. It used to be normal to pick on different, and the worst part is that a lot of that stuff is still going on.
Why would you want to be normal, you’re extraordinary! If anybody tells you that you can’t be a beautiful princess, you put on that fucking dress because you are beautiful and you are a little weird, but nobody normal ever made a fucking bit of difference in the world. You wear whatever the hell you want, and like whatever the hell you like, because it’s people like you that are going to make a real, lasting change.
The world needs a lot more weird and a lot less normal.”
And he understood exactly what I meant. He lunged in for a hug and kissed me on the cheek before uttering under his breath “What does ‘fucking’ mean?”
I love that kid more than I’ve ever loved anything. Don’t make his generation fight our battles.
Shaming of every variety needs to end now, we should be celebrating different, not condemning it. Not just for society as it is now, but for society as it will be.
How many more tears do we need our children to cry?
“Don’t make his generation fight our battles.”
10 Years Later And I Still Haven’t Written It
Title: Hugh Done It
Tagline: “A Parody of mystery plays like the ones Agatha Christie was wont to write. God, she was a woman. Full, passionate, rich. I miss her so.”
The program needs to have something like (or this could be a “doctor” moment before the curtain rises),
“A fair warning to all ladies and gentlemen present: there is a moment in the first act in which a loud noise comes suddenly. Sometimes Sabetha, I mean “the murderer,” gets carried away. In this likely case there could be more than one successive loud noise. Hopefully this will provide ample warning as to the potentially startling noise, and apparently as warning of who is the murderer. (note to self, re-write before going to press.)”
But of course, no rewrite.
(Lead) Richard Richardson. He is a private detective. As it might be pointed out at some place in the play. He is mild mannered, shy, single, and quite handsome. He looks a lot like me. He is also very slow to catch on to sexual innuendo. Also much like me.
(Lead) Sabetha Monrow. She is an heiress or some such nonsense. She is filthy rich. A sexual predator, and an amazing cook and artist. But around RR, she is shy, somewhat coy, and only lets the sexual predator out when other people are around.
Janet Vise (pronounces Veesay). Janet is an ode to Rocky Horror Janet. She is Sabetha’s mentee, at Sabetha’s behest and is the opposite in every way from Sabetha, but of course is drawn to her. She is in love with Sabetha and sees the budding relationship between SM and RR as a problem. She is always caustic to RR.
Raynaldo Fazmal (pronounced fahjmal). A gay porn mogul. He is filthy rich and is trying to get Sabetha to do a movie with Janet entitled “Two Women Have Sex.” Apparently the gay porn industry is tired of coming up with titles that are innuendo. As Reynaldo will put it at some point, “Most of our titles zing right over the heads of our main audience, so I figure we have to give them what the want, and what they are able to understand.”
Tabetha Monroe. Tabetha is Sabetha’s mother. A dottering old woman who approves of nothing that Sabetha is interested in, which includes breathing. She is constantly trying to commit suicide in order to keep Sabetha from getting even more money. However, she finds a reason to live when she meets Reynaldo, and doesn’t care one whit if he is a gay porn mogul, or apparently if he is a gay, porn mogul.
Hugh Monrow. Husband of Sabetha in name only. Yes, Sabetha was once named Monroe, but when she married she took Hugh’s name of Monrow. Same pronunciation though. Hugh is fated to die in the first act. Sorry Hugh.
Scenes to write the entire play around (because every great play started out with only a few snappy one-liners):
Richard: That’s right. Richard Richardson, no, that’s not a stutter. (Chuckles to self at oft told, yet unfunny joke.) I am a private detective. (Or detective for hire)
Reynaldo: Richard, doesn’t that makes you a private…
Sabetha (walking in from SL): Dick!
Richard (to Sabetha): Richard!
Richard (to Reynaldo): Detective.
Richard (to Sabetha): Is it always like this?
Other silly scenes:
Richard: I am sorry to have spoiled your dinner plans, what were you having?
Sabetha: We’re having… red herring.
[Orchestra plays brief suspense music]
Richard: Never had it. I’ve had Red Rockfish, Monkfish, Ahi Ahi… Red herring you say?
Sabetha: Yes. You won’t have spoiled my plans if you decide to join us.
Richard: That would be nice. Frankly, I was hoping you’d ask.
Sabetha: Well, then. Since I am on an asking roll, would you like some… Champagne?
[Orchestra plays brief suspense music]
Richard (looking about, confused): Yes, Champagne would be fine. (Looks at painting above fireplace.) Did you paint this?
Sabetha (about to pop cork): Yes… I did. (Cork pops)
[Orchestra plays brief suspense music]
Richard walks over to orchestra pit (or area) and says to the conductor: Do you mind…?
Janet (to all): Reynaldo is a gay porn mogul. He’s loaded.
Sabetha: Is that gay, comma, porn or just gay porn?
Janet: Both actually… I think.
Reynaldo (enters): My ears are burning. (and then as an aside, almost to the audience) And for the first time this month my ears are the only part of my body that are on fire.
And in the shakedown scene:
Richard: And I’ve posted guards (police) at each entrance to the house; at the foot of the main and back stairways; by the fuse box in case of an ill-timed power outage; by the outside telephone lines, in case of “accidental, rapid fraying,” and of course behind one of the lamps in this room. No one leaves here until I solve this case. And it should prove rather easy, since the murderer is in this room. And, no, it’s not me. And, no, it’s not the one behind the lamp.