What does humor add to this conversation that straight news reporting can’t?
Pappalardo: Satire allows us to zero in on the hypocrisies built into the pro-life movement and the political strategies they’ve employed. It’s a way to shed light on less-talked-about subjects […] and hopefully make people feel a little less alone right now. And they aren’t: Pro-choice people are in the overwhelming majority right now. Nothing that happened or will happen in the Supreme Court was achieved democratically.
Newell: We’re able to push the logic of these bills further, which helps to highlight their absurdity. I think we all get a little too used to certain talking points, even when we disagree with them. This is a nice affirmation to ourselves of how incredibly flawed they are.
Big Think asked Shane Parrish of Farnam Street to offer advice for getting the most out of a book. From the video (slightly edited for clarity):
Before you read a book, take a blank sheet of paper and write down what you know about that subject. You can mindmap it, or you can write bullet points. Then read a chapter of that book. Now go back to that sheet and use a different color pen and fill in the gaps: what did I learn?, did I learn a different terminology?, can I connect it to what I’ve already read?
Before you pick up the book for the next chapter skim this sheet. It primes your brain for what you’re going to read. I think that’s a really effective way to not only build on the knowledge you have but to connect what you’re reading to the existing knowledge. It’s going to show you what you’ve learned because it’s going to be a very visual distinction. It’s going to be a different color of ink, and I think that allows you to connect to the book.
I often do this in the jacket of the book if I don’t have a physical piece of paper.
Is your cat a monster when it comes to food? They scream at your door at 4 A.M. to be fed and then they eat so fast, you think you didn’t feed them at all? You’re not alone. Many cats eat so fast, and so often, it actually can pose a health concern. An estimated 60% of cats are clinically overweight, according to the …
Opened in Vernon, New Jersey’s in 1978, Action Park’s biggest claim to fame was the number of injuries experienced by visitors to the amusement and water park. Apparently during Action Park’s heyday, between 5 and 10 guests ended up in the emergency room every weekend. It was nicknamed “Traction Park,” “Accident Park,” and, my favorite, “Class Action Park.” Lawsuits finally shut down Action Park in 1996.
Dr. Fuschia Sirois, professor of psychology at the University of Sheffield, agrees. “This is why we say that procrastination is essentially irrational,” she told the Times “It doesn’t make sense to do something you know is going to have negative consequences… People engage in this irrational cycle of chronic procrastination because of an inability to manage negative moods around a task.”
Procrastination isn’t a unique character flaw or a mysterious curse on your ability to manage time, but a way of coping with challenging emotions and negative moods induced by certain tasks — boredom, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, resentment, self-doubt and beyond.
In fact, there’s an entire body of research dedicated to the ruminative, self-blaming thoughts many of us tend to have in the wake of procrastination, which are known as “procrastinatory cognitions.” The thoughts we have about procrastination typically exacerbate our distress and stress, which contribute to further procrastination, Dr. Sirois said.
But the momentary relief we feel when procrastinating is actually what makes the cycle especially vicious. In the immediate present, putting off a task provides relief — “you’ve been rewarded for procrastinating,” Dr. Sirois said. And we know from basic behaviorism that when we’re rewarded for something, we tend to do it again. This is precisely why procrastination tends not to be a one-off behavior, but a cycle, one that easily becomes a chronic habit.
The proteins threads that give the slime cohesion are incredible in their own right. Each is one-100th the width of a human hair, but can stretch for four to six inches. And within the slime glands, each thread is coiled like a ball of yarn within its own tiny cell — a feat akin to stuffing a kilometer of Christmas lights into a shoebox without a single knot or tangle. No one knows how the hagfish achieves this miracle of packaging, but Fudge just got a grant to test one idea. He thinks that the thread cells use their nuclei — the DNA-containing structures at their core — like a spindle, turning them to wind the growing protein threads into a single continuous loop.
But that’s not all! Hagfish don’t have a jawbone, they’ve got kind of a sandpaper on their face, which is not the scientific way to describe it at all. They eat by burrowing into carcasses and rub their face around to get their fill. The skin of a hagfish is more efficient at processing nutrients than their intestines, so needless to say the burrowing really works for them. While hagfish use their slime to defend against attacks — the excreted slime clogs the gills of attackers — they also use their ridiculously squishy bodies as a defense. If a shark bites them, the important bits squish out of the way like one of those water wiggly toys. (Do you know how hard it is is to google the name of a toy you’ve played with your entire life without ever having known the name of? “Squishy squiggly water snake” is what worked for me.) Lastly, hagfish tie themselves in knots to rid themselves of slime AND to help them eat when they’re inside the dead bodies of recently passed sea friends. Now you know.
(Allow me an aside. The last time I wrote about the wacky world of sea creatures on Kottke.org, it was a post about the first known case of the sperm of cooked squid implanting in someone’s mouth. (At the time, of course, everyone knew the sperm of raw squid could implant, but this first case of cooked squid doing the same was big news).)
H&M makes a T-shirt with a sequinned message that changes depending on the nap. It says “Skate”, and with a swipe of one’s hand, it says “Chill”. Catriona Black, however, noticed that you can, of course, choose to swipe only some of the sequins, thereby creating the ultimate Scottish t-shirt.
According to reports from gullible parents’ organizations, police departments, and media outlets, Kids on the Internet are spreading memes featuring an image of “Momo” (actually a sculpture called “Mother Bird” created by Keisuke Aisawa for the Japanese SFX studio Link Factory) that includes explicit self-harm and suicide instructions (the “challenge” in “Momo challenge” is allegedly to get kids to hurt or kill themselves).
It’s a hoax, though. There are no verified sightings of Momo Challenge memes in the wild, and this isn’t even the first time this hoax has gone around; it circulated in September 2018 as well.
As Taylor Lorenz writes in The Atlantic, this is part of a genre of hoaxes that rely on parental anxiety about kids’ use of technology to spread incomprehensible cultural ideas, from the Satanic Panic over backmasked secret messages in heavy metal lyrics to the “eating Tide Pods” hoax to the fictional deaths linked to the “cinnamon challenge.”
These trends are “part of a moral panic, fueled by parents’ fears in wanting to know what their kids are up to,” Benjamin Radford, a folklorist and research fellow at the Committee for Skeptic Inquiry, told Rolling Stone. And spreading them can actually end up causing harm. “These stories being highly publicized, and starting a panic means vulnerable people get to know about it and that creates a risk,” the U.K.-based suicide-awareness charity Samaritans told The Guardian. Some kids can also end up hurting themselves by participating in the trend ironically.