Jersey Shore: isolation as a requirement for insular cultural groups
If you haven’t heard of MTV’s newest reality show: “Jersey Shore,” then you might be living under a rock. It follows the (mis)adventures of 7 Italian-Americans spending the summer partying at the Jersey Shore.
I wasn’t a watcher, but I got to enjoy some of the more choice quotes through my co-workers (thanks guys!). However, yesterday my roommate threw a few episodes on during a lazy Saturday morning.
What hit me is how much I was reminded of a line from Goodfellas where Karen starts getting introduced to the culture of being a mafia wife:
“there was never any outsiders around, absolutely never… being around each other all the time made everything seem all the more normal.”
Any community that engages in activity that the general public finds unsavory, faces a lot of pressure to conform to the group. Avoiding the general public is an effective defense mechanism against this pressure, but ends up creating a feedback loop where that group becomes more isolated and gets less feedback from the general public.
Is isolation a requirement for counter-cultural groups?
Just to be clear:
The show has caught a LOT of flack for promoting negative Italian sterotypes. These 7 self-described “guidos and guidettes” are definitely pretty polarizing figures. It’s hard to justify their status as nationally televised personalities (read: potential role-models), but I’m not going to pass judgement on them. They are young party-goers who are not particularly unique in prioritizing the fun of a highly-sexualized party lifestyle over more socially redeeming pursuits.
My take is that any blame here fits squarely with the network execs who are exploiting the choices of these young adults through a slew of reality programs (Real World, Road Rules, etc.).
Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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