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The Singularity

The term singularity describes the moment when a civilization changes so much that its rules and technologies are incomprehensible to previous generations. Think of it as a point-of-no-return in history.
Most thinkers believe the singularity will be jump-started by extremely rapid technological and scientific changes. These changes will be so fast, and so profound, that every aspect of our society will be transformed, from our bodies and families to our governments and economies.
A good way to understand the singularity is to imagine explaining the internet to somebody living in the year 1200. Your frames of reference would be so different that it would be almost impossible to convey how the internet works, let alone what it means to our society. You are on the other side of what seems like a singularity to our person from the Middle Ages. But from the perspective of a future singularity, we are the medieval ones. Advances in science and technology mean that singularities might happen over periods much shorter than 800 years. And nobody knows for sure what the hell they’ll bring.
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Maria Balaban,,,, You ma’am, are an idiot

Maria Balaban, 72, and a white member of Congregation Ahavath Achim in Connecticut, has filed a lawsuit demanding to removal of the body of a Jamaican-born black woman, Juliet Steer, from the Jewish cemetery. Maria Balaban alleges that the congregation broke its own rules Juliet Steer was allowed to be buried in an interfaith section of the cemetery.
Steer, who died of cancer in 2010, asked to be buried there because she thought it was peaceful. A representative from the congregation claims that Balaban was motivated by race. Her lawyer denies allegations that she is racist, pointing to her past work as a social worker.
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Languages

Remember when you first considered yourself fluent in Spanish? (Just kidding. Let’s try that again.) Remember your friend who learned Spanish, and what she told you was the key to becoming fluent? “You have to reach the point where you think in Spanish.” Makes sense. Languages don’t just “have a different word for everything”, they’re constructed differently, too. The order of verbs, nouns, and adjectives is just the beginning. Spanish, for example, assigns a gender for each noun. (El gato. La luna.) English assigns blame for certain acts ― He broke the mug. She crashed her bicycle. ― regardless of who was at fault. Could the language we speak –― or the different ways we speak our own language ― make a difference in how we perceive things? Could language shape different populations’ sense of space, time, and even justice? Lera Boroditsky believes so. As an example, the Stanford University researcher cites an aboriginal culture called Kuuk Thaayorre, whose language has no words for “left” and “right,” but only for the directions of the compass. As a result, she says, a 5-year-old in this culture has better navigational ability than a college professor in ours.

‘Kafka on the Shore’ by Haruki Murakami

With the passing of the old year into memory and looking out toward the unknown that the next year brings it often makes many of us think about our lives, where we’ve been and where we’re going. I’ve always related to this writing by Haruki Murakami when considering such things and with New Years upon us it seemed an appropriate time to share it.

‘Kafka on the Shore’ by Haruki Murakami
“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you.
You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn.

Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you.
This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time.
Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones.
That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades.
People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood.
You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in..That’s what this storm’s all about.”


Millennials, A new breed of College Student


Who Are They?
The Millennial Generation, born from 1982 through the present, represents a generation distinct from their parents of the Baby Boom generation, and their immediate predecessors, Generation X. Now a generation that sent their first freshmen to college in the fall of 2000, and will graduate their first seniors this spring. Generally described as optimistic, team-oriented, high-achieving rule-followers, the Millennials have driven down teen suicide rates, teen pregnancy and abortion, violent crime and drug use among teens. Aptitude test scores for this group have risen across all grade levels, and the pressure to succeed has risen likewise.
The expected teen rebellion among Millennials has manifested itself as a break with the Boomer and Gen X cultures that preceded them. “Expect teamwork instead of free agents, political action instead of apathy, T-shirts with school colors instead of corporate swooshes, on-your-side teamwork instead of in-your-face sass.” The Millennials are correcting for “what teens see as the excesses of today’s middle aged Boomers: narcissism, impatience, iconoclasm, and a constant focus on talk (usually argument) over action.”
The generation that Millennials are most likely to emulate is actually the G.I. Generation, which Tom Brokaw called America’s “Greatest Generation”. “No other adult peer group possesses anything close to their upbeat, high-achieving, team playing, and civic-minded reputation.”

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Welcome Home. The kiss that didn’t destroy a single marriage.

Photo By Brock Vergakis Associated Press
A Navy tradition caught up with the repeal of the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule on Wednesday when two women sailors became the first to share the coveted “first kiss” on the pier after one of them returned from 80 days at sea.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta of Placerville, Calif., descended from the USS Oak Hill amphibious landing ship and shared a quick kiss in the rain with her partner, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell of Los Angeles. Gaeta, 23, wore her Navy dress uniform while Snell, 22, wore a black leather jacket, scarf and blue jeans. The crowd screamed and waved flags around them.
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Kepler mission discovers first Earth size planet

NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered the first Earth-size planets orbiting a sun-like star outside our solar system. The planets, called Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f, are too close to their star to be in the so-called habitable zone where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface, but they are the smallest exoplanets ever confirmed around a star like our sun.
The discovery marks the next important milestone in the ultimate search for planets like Earth. The new planets are thought to be rocky. Kepler-20e is slightly smaller than Venus, measuring 0.87 times the radius of Earth. Kepler-20f is slightly larger than Earth, measuring 1.03 times its radius. Both planets reside in a five-planet system called Kepler-20, approximately 1,000 light-years away in the constellation Lyra.
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