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[personal profile] dreamcatcher284
Saw two articles today that paint bleak pictures in parts of the world.


Doomsday clock at 5 mins to midnight. Apparently, a panel of atomic scientists have shifted their "doomsday clock" one minute closer to Armageddon during their recent annual meeting. The panel's concern was at governments stalling in efforts to tackle global warming and nuclear proliferation, and they also expressed concern about how politicians and the public alike have developed an increasing tendency to dismiss or worse, attack facts and science in particular.

It's one other dire forecast on top of a pile of dire forecasts for the coming year, especially considering that the clock was pulled back by one minute just last year. On the other hand, this ritual does seem almost defeatist in a way, since it's merely a pronouncement of impending doom without the accompaniment of concrete suggestions to resolve the concerns. Identifying what's wrong is important, but only railing that the public doesn't pay enough heed about science won't make people more inclined to pay attention. As Krulwich so eloquently put it here, there are better ways at engaging with people, and it's definitely a two-way thing.


Scary policing of schools in Texas. Looks like an increasing number of public schools in Texas and other places are resorting to hiring their own policy and dealing with trouble-making kids as they would criminals.

I don't know what to think about this. On the one hand, I can see the need for teachers and kids to feel like they can be in a safe environment, and I've heard the horror stories about some kids who do nothing but throw chalk at their teachers when their backs are turned.

On the other hand, ticketing and even arresting kids as young as six for stuff that would have only landed them in detention even a decade ago seems highly dystopic. It's hard to tell how pervasive the trends of these punitive actions are without proper statistics, but it still sounds horrible that such brutal and punitive measures are used on kids at all. At some point, ticketing and jailing the kids for little stuff (like not picking up crumbs from the floor or saying a bad word) just makes it more likely that the kids will end up back in jail later on since they're likely jaded by the experience, and having something like that on the kids permanent record is bound to shut out opportunities for ending the cycle of trouble. It just seems so much easier this way to have something small ruin a person's entire life before they've even really had a chance to live it, and it seems an awfully authoritarian, iron-fisted way of dealing with things. Again, there's got to be a better way.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-12 04:18 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] sorrillia
*Is appropriately depressed.*

I've managed to just somehow avoid thinking about global warming and the threat of nuclear (or biological) war. I don't really know how, other than somehow having learned to just not think about the long-term future unless I'm specifically trying to. It's probably not the healthiest adaptation, but it seems to work.

I'm reminded of something in one of Feynman's autobiographies where he talks about how, after watching the Trinity test, he was completely unable to understand how anyone could bring themselves to build anything, when it was all surely going to be destroyed soon anyway.

I think my comments on the Texas article are long enough that I'm going to post them on my blog.

In the meantime, the world is depressing, but at least there's alot of snow: http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lxayn1hpOR1qbr8m0o1_500.jpg

(http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/04/alot-is-better-than-you-at-everything.html for reference)

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-12 06:11 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] sorrillia
Sadly we haven't had any snow here, either, though last week was impressively cold. It's warmed up again this week, though.


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