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SNL Mocks Lena Dunham and Her Girls
So here's some savvy conservative commentary on Saturday Night Live's hilarious fake promo for the new season of the HBO hit Girls. Introducing a needed note of realism into the show is the new character Blerta from Albania, who has a lot to say about how trivial, stupid, weak, ungrateful, and trashy the lives of Hannah and the others are. Blerta's life has been full of real problems, and she can be grateful just to have a roof over her head. (The linked article also includes a YouTube of the sketch.)
My favorite moment: Blerta say to Hannah: "It's okay, you're only 15. Hannah: "No I'm not. I'm 24." Blerta: "What the f--- is wrong with you?" That, of course, is a comment on how long adolescence has become, for all practical (not to mention emotional) purposes, for our privileged and clueless young women.
Here's what the conservative cultural critic (R.J. Moeller) concludes:
Apart from being a well-crafted piece of pop-culture satire, the SNL sketch ought to serve as a sobering reminder to any who might find themselves captivated by the lives of Lena Dunham and her pals. Blerta speaks for the 99% of the globe throughout human history that, should they be so lucky as to find themselves in front of a TV, would laugh themselves to sleep when once they heard what passes for “drama” in the lives of members of my generation.
Girls may be “just a TV show,” but for millions of young people, it is wildly popular and highly influential. Of course it’s not only Girls that is informing and shaping the worldview of Millennials across the country, but it is yet another artistic, celebrated coordinate being plotted on a cultural map that is guiding my generation to think promiscuous, self-indulgent, self-medicating lifestyles are things to be desired.
My objection to this bit of criticism is the lives of the "girls" on Girls are so obviously not desirable. The show displays promiscuity, self-indulgence, and self-medication as the foundations of really pathetic lives lacking in any insight into the key personal questions about "who I am" and "what I'm supposed to do." SNL hit a home run because the ball was teed up and so easy to hit.
My opinion is that the show--even unmocked through modest comedic exaggeration--actually supports "culturally conservative" views about what's wrong with our country--beginning with how bad allegedly liberal education is at many of our elite institutions, the self-indulgence of our parenting, and how degrading and self-denying it is to attempt to detach one's sexual life and sexual identity from the relational imperatives that each of us are given by nature and his or her place in society. These girls couldn't be meant to be role models for anyone, so lacking are they in moral and intellectual virtue. They lack self-respect based in real accomplishments or even rather basic impulse control.
Dunham's very memorable character Hannah, for example, has a wounded, narcissistic soul that is neon-displayed through her OCD and her regression to infancy by the end of the second season. Who would want to be Hannah?
This storm rained electrons, shifted energy from the sun's rays to the magnetosphere, and went unnoticed for a long time.
- An international team of scientists has confirmed the existence of a "space hurricane" seven years ago.
- The storm formed in the magnetosphere above the North magnetic pole.
- The storm posed to risk to life on Earth, though it might have interfered with some electronics.
What do you call that kind of storm when it forms over the Arctic ocean?<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8GqnzBJkWcw" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p> Many objects in space, like Earth, the Sun, most of the planets, and even some large moons, have magnetic fields. The area around these objects which is affected by these fields is known as the magnetosphere.</p><p>For us Earthlings, the magnetosphere is what protects us from the most intense cosmic radiation and keeps the solar wind from affecting our atmosphere. When charged particles interact with it, we see the aurora. Its fluctuations lead to changes in what is known as "space weather," which can impact electronics. </p><p>This "space hurricane," as the scientists are calling it, was formed by the interactions between Earth's magnetosphere and the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interplanetary_magnetic_field" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">interplanetary magnetic field,</a> the part of the sun's magnetosphere that goes out into the solar system. It took on the familiar shape of a cyclone as it followed magnetic fields. For example, the study's authors note that the numerous arms traced out the "footprints of the reconnected magnetic field lines." It rotated counter-clockwise with a speed of nearly 7,000 feet per second. The eye, of course, was still and <a href="https://www.sciencealert.com/for-the-first-time-a-plasma-hurricane-has-been-detected-in-space" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">calm</a>.</p><p>The storm, which was invisible to the naked eye, rained electrons and shifted energy from space into the ionosphere. It seems as though such a thing can only form under calm situations when large amounts of energy are moving between the solar wind and the upper <a href="https://www.reading.ac.uk/news-and-events/releases/PR854520.aspx" target="_blank">atmosphere</a>. These conditions were modeled by the scientists using 3-D <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-21459-y#Sec10" target="_blank">imaging</a>.<br><br>Co-author Larry Lyons of UCLA explained the process of putting the data together to form the models to <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/space-hurricane-rained-electrons-observed-first-time-rcna328" target="_blank">NBC</a>:<br><br>"We had various instruments measuring various things at different times, so it wasn't like we took a big picture and could see it. The really fun thing about this type of work is that we had to piece together bits of information and put together the whole picture."<br><br>He further mentioned that these findings were completely unexpected and that nobody that even theorized a thing like this could exist. <br></p><p>While this storm wasn't a threat to any life on Earth, a storm like this could have noticeable effects on space weather. This study suggests that this could have several effects, including "increased satellite drag, disturbances in High Frequency (HF) radio communications, and increased errors in over-the-horizon radar location, satellite navigation, and communication systems."</p><p>The authors <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-21459-y#Sec8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">speculate</a> that these "space hurricanes" could also exist in the magnetospheres of other planets.</p><p>Lead author Professor Qing-He Zhang of Shandong University discussed how these findings will influence our understanding of the magnetosphere and its changes with <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-03/uor-sho030221.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">EurekaAlert</a>:</p><p>"This study suggests that there are still existing local intense geomagnetic disturbance and energy depositions which is comparable to that during super storms. This will update our understanding of the solar wind-magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling process under extremely quiet geomagnetic conditions."</p>
Research reveals a new evolutionary feature that separates humans from other primates.
- Researchers find a new feature of human evolution.
- Humans have evolved to use less water per day than other primates.
- The nose is one of the factors that allows humans to be water efficient.
A model of water turnover for humans and chimpanzees who have similar fat free mass and body water pools.
Credit: Current Biology
Being skeptical isn't just about being contrarian. It's about asking the right questions of ourselves and others to gain understanding.
- It's not always easy to tell the difference between objective truth and what we believe to be true. Separating facts from opinions, according to skeptic Michael Shermer, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, and others, requires research, self-reflection, and time.
- Recognizing your own biases and those of others, avoiding echo chambers, actively seeking out opposing voices, and asking smart, testable questions are a few of the ways that skepticism can be a useful tool for learning and growth.
- As Derren Brown points out, being "skeptical of skepticism" can also lead to interesting revelations and teach us new things about ourselves and our psychology.