Quickies

Quickies: Free Love Communes Powered by Sex, the Alleged “Long-Lost Mayan City”, and Epigenetics

  • Why scientists are infuriated with a New Yorker article on epigenetics – “There are a lot of challenges in science writing, but one of the main ones is this: Research more often yields streams of caveats, not elegant conclusions. This fact makes trouble for another truth: As a writer, it’s your job to take a reader from the beginning to the end of a piece as elegantly as possible.”
  • Chart of the Day: Civil Rights Protests Have Never Been Palatable to White People – “White people have been racist for a very long time. White people have also long been delusional about this fact. Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee co-founder Julian Bond once said that public opinion about the civil rights movement could be boiled down to one sentence: ‘Rosa sat down, Martin stood up and then the White folks saw the light and saved the day.’ A new Washington Post review of polling data challenges that false narrative.”
  • That Long-Lost Mayan City a Teen Found Isn’t Lost … or a City – “How can you resist a headline like ‘Quebec teen may have discovered long lost Mayan city’? Alas, the story going viral today is too good to be true, according to archaeological experts. The supposed lost pyramid? More likely an abandoned field.” From Amy.
  • The Female Ghost Buster Who Rooted Out Spiritual Fraud for Houdini – “Impressed by her faculties of logic, resourcefulness and quick wit, Houdini invited Rose to join the team of about 20 salaried undercover investigators that he referred to as ‘my own secret service.’ This clandestine team traveled ahead of Houdini’s touring schedule, visiting towns and cities where he was due to perform and infiltrating the local Spiritualist “scene” to gather evidence of fraud. These details were passed on to Houdini, who would then expose the fraudsters during his shows.”
  • Inside the 19th-Century Free Love Commune Powered by Electric Sex, Eugenics and Delusions of Immortality – “John Humphrey Noyes so fervently believed sleeping around could lead to immortality that he convinced 300 people to join him in a utopian socialist community built on that very principle, in upstate New York. As he saw it, promiscuous ‘interlocked contact’ between men and women—in the form of a polyamory scheme he called ‘Complex Marriage’—would generate enough spiritual energy to propel the human race into some sort of electrically powered, divinely connected eternal life. And that’s only the beginning of the 19th-century Oneida Community founder’s randy theology.”
  • Sheryl Sandberg Admits She Got It Wrong with ‘Lean In’ – “It is scary, and absurd, to think about how many people in our own country aren’t valued enough to have adequate benefits, like paid leave. Sandberg does acknowledge her own privilege, as she does not have the same financial struggles many single moms face, stating that she should have written more about women raising children alone.”

Featured Image

Mary

Mary

Mary Brock is a scientist who works on drugs you've hopefully never heard of. She enjoys cooking to Blue Grass music, messing with her cats, and hosting the Boston Skeptics' Book Club. She was born in the South but loves living in New England (despite the lack of chocolate chip pizza). Mary does not use Twitter and don't even try to follow her, because she is always looking over her shoulder.

Previous post

Quickies: The myth of the "perfect" body, how media portrays science, and praying potholes away

Next post

Can We Ban Atheists From Billboards?

3 Comments

  1. May 11, 2016 at 1:00 pm —

    Regarding civil rights and white opinions, Dr King actually included a wonderful paragraph about it in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

    “I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.’ Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

    “I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.”

    Wow, that’s a far more eloquent way of saying “Your concern is noted.” than I usually do.

    • May 11, 2016 at 1:45 pm —

      For some reason the term “All Lives Matter” came to mind while reading this.

      As it was, so shall it ever be.

      I hope not…

    • May 12, 2016 at 10:14 am —

      That is such a powerful statement, and so terribly true.

Leave a reply