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Christopher Hitchens: How To Demystify With The Best Of 'Em
Christopher Hitchens, Demystifier Extraordinaire.
When discussing Christopher Hitchens, nearly everybody feels the need to use more than one word ("Author, journalist, thinker, and polemicist...").
He himself struggled to find one word for the theme in all of his work but found "contrarian," "malcontent,"radical" and the like to be condescending, and others like "dissident" and "freethinker" to be undignified if self-appointed.
I humbly suggest that "demystifier" fits the bill.
His problems with Bill Clinton and with The British Monarchy, and with the modern Left's anti-interventionism foreign policy, and with religion and superstition in general was that they clouded the truth (or, rather, excused untruth through duplicitous over-complication). The same explanation justifies his lionization of figures like Emile Zola and Thomas Paine and Bertrand Russell and George Orwell.
Thus we can see that the fundamental motivating factor for Christopher Hitchens, and the reason that we have seen him so often vindicated, is that he never lost his sense of contempt for mystery, much less his tolerance for the complacency behind intentional mystification. Not being content to live in a fog, he mustered all of his formidable breath to try to clear it away.
While his style cannot and will not ever be imitated, his drive is perfectly replicable and actionable universally. To follow Hitch in his Big Idea, one must simply detest vagary, insist on explanation and proof, and maintain a healthy mistrust for authority.
It is a compelling definition of genius that he who is a genius is he who shatters even his own aspirations. Christopher Hitchens's closing quotation in his methodological manual of dissent Letters to a Young Contrarian (the last word of which title he did not pick, by the way) is this passage from the writings of George Konrad:
"Have a life lived instead of a career. Put yourself in the safekeeping of good taste. Lived freedom will compensate you for a few losses... If you don't like the style of others, cultivate your own. Get to know the tricks of reproduction, be a self-publisher even in conversation, and then the joy of working can fill your days."
Hitch managed to follow this advice, rather beyond expectation, because his lifestyle followed from his distaste for mystification. Watch the video below for a touching and worthwhile tribute to his life and his work as an atheist.
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.