Quickies: Civility and protest in the face of challenges to our democracy…

... aaaand also cats

It’s Friday, and today, I have some longer, more thoughtful reads bookmarked for the quickies.

  • Civility is Overrated – at The Atlantic, Adam Serwer digs into the history of how Reconstruction failed Black Americans and how the false veneer of political civility has often masked rampant oppression and violence in this country. “The true threat to America is not an excess of vitriol, but that elites will come together in a consensus that cripples democracy and acquiesces to the dictatorship of a shrinking number of Americans who treat this nation as their exclusive birthright because of their race and religion. This is the false peace of dominance, not the true peace of justice. “
  • And, related, Medea Benjamin and Nicolas Davis ask, Why aren’t people in the US rising up like those elsewhere in the world at Common Dreams. One of their suggestions is that we put too much faith in electoral politics, and we’re drained from endless campaigning. As a resident of New Hampshire, I’m certainly feeling this one.
  • Rob Picheta at CNN reports that the flat-Earth conspiracy movement is growing around the globe. Despite my main gig as a physics and astronomy professor, I actually don’t get as bothered by this, because at least these folks aren’t engaging in more dangerous conspiracies, right? However, some psychologists and sociologists are concerned that it encourages a much larger array of conspiratorial thinking and mistrust of experts, knowledge, and science.

And now for Cute Animal Friday, with submissions curated by Muscadine:

With all these kitties in the news, I decided to feature an image of my late step-kittie, Jinx, from 2016. She moved in with me when her human did, and I was on lots and of allergy medications. I’d go for shots and explain the situation and they’d always remark… wow, you must REALLY like this guy. I didn’t fully understand his attachment to Jinx, until, of course, I adopted my dog Macey (shown in the background being a VERY GOOD GIRL by not chasing Jinx around the house in her final days). So, thanks to Tim and Jinx for first teaching me what it really means to be a pet-parent!


Nicole is a professor, astronomer, educator, geek, dog mom, occasional fitness nerd, and maker of tiny comets. She is also very loud under the right circumstances. Like what you read? Buy me a coffee: https://ko-fi.com/noisyastronomer

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