SSA Week Day 6/7: My Picks


Today's the last day of SSA Week, and the end is in sight! At the time of this writing, we've raised just over $88,000 out of a target of $100,000. We can do this, people! If you haven't donated yet, now's your chance: get out your credit card, click this link, and become a donor by giving whatever you can to support an excellent secular organization empowering atheist students. I have a special offer for people who donate today, about which I'll say more later. But first, here are my favorites from the previous blogathons.

First, because I didn't do one of these posts yesterday (I know, I know, bad blogger - what can I say, I was out late last night), here's the cream of the crop from Thursday:

Le Cafe Witteveen features a feminist artist whose work I saw at Netroots Nation: Favianna Rodriguez: Let’s get offensive, bitches.

Camels With Hammers did a whole series of interviews in record time. For my money, the most intriguing was his chat with Ehsan Ali, a gay Pakistani atheist.

The Reluctant Skeptic talks about her personal journey to atheism and the role of contingency, in But What If...?

And as for Friday, there were four participating bloggers! My picks:

Blue Collar Atheist writes about the ever-increasing mental list of our beloved dead, and how the deaths of loved ones makes us more conscious and appreciative of the joys of being alive.

Al Stefanelli writes about religious discrimination toward job seekers, in Sorry, You Can’t Work Here. You’re Not Christian.

The Illini Secular Student Alliance offers some tips on getting along with religious believers.

Lousy Canuck posts about the ugly spectacle of online misogyny in video-game communities.

And now, here's my special offer. As I mentioned earlier, I have a major blog announcement that's going to drop later this month. Last week, something extremely cool, something that's going to play a big part in this announcement, arrived in my inbox. If you want to see what it is, click here to contribute, and then leave a comment or send an e-mail letting me know. You'll get in on the big secret early!

Befriend your ideological opposite. It’s fun.

Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
  • Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
  • "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
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3 ways to find a meaningful job, or find purpose in the job you already have

Learn how to redesign your job for maximum reward.

Videos
  • Broaching the question "What is my purpose?" is daunting – it's a grandiose idea, but research can make it a little more approachable if work is where you find your meaning. It turns out you can redesign your job to have maximum purpose.
  • There are 3 ways people find meaning at work, what Aaron Hurst calls the three elevations of impact. About a third of the population finds meaning at an individual level, from seeing the direct impact of their work on other people. Another third of people find their purpose at an organizational level. And the last third of people find meaning at a social level.
  • "What's interesting about these three elevations of impact is they enable us to find meaning in any job if we approach it the right way. And it shows how accessible purpose can be when we take responsibility for it in our work," says Hurst.
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Physicist advances a radical theory of gravity

Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.

Photo by Willeke Duijvekam
Surprising Science
  • The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
  • The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
  • While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
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UPS has been discreetly using self-driving trucks to deliver cargo

TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company, has also engaged in test programs with the United States Postal Service and Amazon.


PAUL RATJE / Contributor
Technology & Innovation
  • This week, UPS announced that it's working with autonomous trucking startup TuSimple on a pilot project to deliver cargo in Arizona using self-driving trucks.
  • UPS has also acquired a minority stake in TuSimple.
  • TuSimple hopes its trucks will be fully autonomous — without a human driver — by late 2020, though regulatory questions remain.
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