78 posts tagged with humanity.
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"So many have died to defend what you see here."

You were taught in school that the rain forest is like the lungs of our planet.

It’s not that simple.

posted by zarq on Nov 12, 2015 - 17 comments

Who do you mean by we?

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari - "The book delivers on its madly ambitious subtitle by in fact managing to cover key moments in the developmental history of humankind from the emergence of Homo Sapiens to today's developments in genetic engineering." Also btw, check out Harari on the myths we need to survive, re: fact/value distinctions and their interrelationships.
posted by kliuless on Nov 8, 2015 - 7 comments

we just make a little money and we buy a little mercy

"I think there are different kinds of mercy: big Mercy and little mercy. Big Mercy is so big because it is made out of suffering and ultimatums, out of saviors and omnipotence, and out of stories that have only one way of ending, which are brutal and where almost nobody wins... But maybe there's another kind of mercy—mercy so little that it costs almost nothing. So little most of us never notice it." [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Oct 5, 2015 - 14 comments

"I don’t want to be left alone inside myself."

What will I hear when my ears stop working? by Ysabelle Cheung [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 28, 2015 - 30 comments

HUMAN by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

HUMAN is a film by French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand (who is primarily known for his aerial photography, especially as collected in the book Earth From Above). The film combines interviews of people from all over the world (over 2,000 were collected as the film was made) with aerial views of humanity in many contexts. The interviews are loosely organized by subject, and the film (in three 90 minute parts) may be viewed for free on YouTube: Part One, Part Two, Part Three.
posted by ocherdraco on Sep 25, 2015 - 4 comments

nobody likes to be reminded, even implicitly, of his own selfishness.

"Julia is a do-gooder – which is to say, a human character who arouses conflicting emotions. By 'do-gooder' here I do not mean a part-time, normal do-gooder – someone who has a worthy job, or volunteers at a charity, and returns to an ordinary family life in the evenings. I mean a person who sets out to live as ethical a life as possible. I mean a person who is drawn to moral goodness for its own sake. I mean someone who commits himself wholly, beyond what seems reasonable. I mean the kind of do-gooder who makes people uneasy."
posted by divined by radio on Sep 25, 2015 - 125 comments

“So you have put your hope in something else.”

Living in the Age of Permawar by Mohsin Hamid [The Guardian]
You see from your nook that humanity is afflicted by a great mass murderer about whom we are encouraged not to speak. The name of that murderer is Death. Death comes for everyone. Sometimes Death will pick out a newborn still wet from her aquatic life in her mother’s womb. Sometime Death will pick out a man with the muscles of a superhero, pick him out in repose, perhaps, or in his moment of maximum exertion, when his thighs and shoulders are trembling and he feels most alive. Sometimes Death will pick singly. Sometimes Death will pick by the planeload. Sometimes Death picks the young, sometimes the old, and sometimes Death has an appetite for the in-between. You feel it is strange that humanity does not come together to face this killer, like a silver-flashing baitball of 7 billion fish aware of being hunted by a titanic and ravenous shark. Instead, humanity scatters. We face our killer alone, or in families, or in towns or cities or tribes or countries. But never all together.
posted by Fizz on Aug 23, 2015 - 7 comments

"If someone doesn’t want to have sex with you, don’t have sex with them"

In the United States, only 22 states require that sex education should be taught in their schools. Of those, only 13 insist upon medical accuracy. There is no federal standard. As a result, classroom lessons that teach purity culture – the idea that virginity is a state of moral accomplishment – are pervasive. John Oliver's Last Week Tonight covers Sex Education in America. (NSFW) The end of the segment features a modern sex education video created by LWT, narrated by several celebrities (including Laverne Cox, Nick Offerman, Jonathan Banks, Kristen Schaal and Aisha Tyler) that touches on topics outdated lessons may be ignoring. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 15, 2015 - 45 comments

A Clock That Tics Once A Year

"Erik, photojournalist, and I have come here to try and get the measure of this place. Nevada is the uncanny locus of disparate monuments all concerned with charting deep time, leaving messages for future generations of human beings to puzzle over the meaning of: a star map, a nuclear waste repository and a clock able to keep time for 10,000 years—all of them within a few hours drive of Las Vegas through the harsh desert." -- Built For Eternity, Elmo Keep on structures designed to potentially outlast human civilization. (Motherboard)
posted by The Whelk on Aug 9, 2015 - 67 comments

The Earth, our home, is beginning to look like an immense pile of filth

This is an extract from Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si. Here are some of the early analyses.
posted by infini on Jun 18, 2015 - 86 comments

"Femininity, as it turns out, can be a barrier to enlightenment."

The psychotherapist Carl Jung, after seeing a photo of the Arctic explorer Augustine Courtauld, remarked that Courtauld's was the face of a man 'stripped of his persona, his public self stolen, leaving his true self naked before the world.' For women, this is doubly true: a woman's life is one lived under surveillance, a system of inner and outer regulations even more restrictive than a man's. Even a simple stroll down the sidewalk becomes an exercise in self-loathing. Suck in your stomach. Straighten your hem. (What if it rides up, exposing you?) Every shop window offers a glimpse of your own reflection. Adjust, adjust, adjust.

It's enough to drive a woman crazy (and isn't this what we're always being accused of?). It's enough to drive any woman to the woods.
So where are all the women hermits? [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on May 6, 2015 - 31 comments

The Asshole Factory

They are designed to disinfect us of our fragility. To cleanse us of our flaws. To disinfect us of weakness. Love, grace, mercy, longing, forgiveness, passion, truth, nobility, dreams. Their objective is to stamp all that out; to eradicate it; to erase it. To replace it with calculation, ruthlessness, self-concern; gluttony; cruelty; anxiety, despair. By using the most sophisticated technology ever made to subjugate, oppress, and goad us into being little torturers ourselves. Our economy doesn't make stuff anymore. So what does it make?
posted by philip-random on Apr 26, 2015 - 92 comments

My First Life as a Nurse

I am in my first month of nursing school. It is the early 70s and this is a three-year program, hospital-based, all practical training. It is my first day in my first ward...
A remembrance, by English professor and disability studies scholar, Janet Lyon.
posted by Toekneesan on Mar 24, 2015 - 15 comments

You need housing to achieve stability, not the other way around.

We could, as a country, look at the root causes of homelessness and try to fix them. One of the main causes is that a lot of people can't afford a place to live. They don't have enough money to pay rent, even for the cheapest dives available. Prices are rising, inventory is extremely tight, and the upshot is, as a new report by the Urban Institute finds, that there's only 29 affordable units available for every 100 extremely low-income households. So we could create more jobs, redistribute the wealth, improve education, socialize health carebasically redesign our political and economic systems to make sure everybody can afford a roof over their heads.

Instead of this, we do one of two things: We stick our heads in the sand or try to find bandages for the symptoms. This story is about how Utah has found a third way.
Scott Carrier reports for Mother Jones on Utah's simple, cost-effective approach to ending homelessness: "finding and building apartments where homeless people can live, permanently, with no strings attached. It's a program, or more accurately a philosophy, called Housing First." [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Feb 19, 2015 - 114 comments

linking those behind bars to the outside world

The act of pen-palling mirrors the mindset shift that will be necessary to rethink how our society "does justice" on a much larger scale. My conversations, correspondences, and relationships with prison-torn families have taught me that separation breeds more separation, that the coldness and isolation of prison breed the coldness and isolation of violence. And I think about how the one-on-one relationship, in which the prisoner emerges as a person (with thoughts, a personality, a history, hopes, dreams, nightmares), might serve as a model for the beginnings of a person-based, connection-based justice system.
The Radical Power of a Prison Pen Pal, a longform essay by Maya Schenwar, Editor-in-Chief of Truthout and author of Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn't Work and How We Can Do Better. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Dec 12, 2014 - 4 comments

Praise for the glories of war and the futility of peace.

"Here's to words like courage, sacrifice, discipline, glory, maimed, dead. Here's to war." Joe Frank on war. [more inside]
posted by dancestoblue on Nov 11, 2014 - 31 comments

"People were either taken by it or felt it was the Antichrist."

Consider an arthouse, darker, noir version of Men in Black with secretive alien refugees trapped in Manhattan, tentacle sex and concept art by H. R. Giger. Clair Noto's The Tourist could have been transformed into a great movie in the right hands. Instead, it has languished in permanent development hell since the 1980's. Some call it "the greatest scifi screenplay never produced" (Article, part 1 and 2.) Decide for yourself and read Noto's original screenplay. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 1, 2014 - 18 comments

Animal Spirits

The more we learn about the emotions shared by all mammals, the more we must rethink our own human intelligence [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Aug 21, 2014 - 69 comments

human connection with & despite algorithmic curation

I quit liking things on Facebook for two weeks. Here's how it changed my view of humanity [more inside]
posted by flex on Aug 18, 2014 - 73 comments

The humanity has been reduced to nothingness.

"The world isn't being destroyed by democrats or republicans, red or blue, liberal or conservative, religious or atheist -- the world is being destroyed by one side believing the other side is destroying the world. The world is being hurt and damaged by one group of people believing they're truly better people than the others who think differently. The world officially ends when we let our beliefs conquer love. We must not let this happen."
Andrew W.K. (previously applauded advice columnist) offers advice to a guy who reduces even his own father to a set of beliefs and political views and how it relates to him.
posted by dios on Aug 11, 2014 - 631 comments

Are you a horrible person, or only pretending to be a horrible person?

The Case against Cards Against Humanity
posted by garlic on Jul 31, 2014 - 299 comments

mais comme bonnes à penser

Animals aren’t tools for thinking. Animals are some of the basic building blocks of thought itself
When he’s teaching, my friend the writer William Fiennes sometimes asks students to write about an encounter they have had with an animal at some time in their lives. What they soon discover is that the animal is always some unspoken aspect of themselves. The rat in the compost bin. The teenage girls escaping from a predatory geography teacher who stumble on a sheep giving birth. The deer shot by two boys who’ve stolen a gun. Put an animal in a story and it is never just an animal.
[more inside] posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 29, 2014 - 45 comments

Fished Out

The world's fish are in danger—as is everyone who depends on them (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 23, 2014 - 52 comments

"'You aren't black on the inside' - childhood friends"

I, Too, Am Harvard. A photo campaign highlighting the faces and voices of black students at Harvard College. 63 students participated, sharing their experiences with ignorance and racism. "Our voices often go unheard on this campus, our experiences are devalued, our presence is questioned-- this project is our way of speaking back, of claiming this campus, of standing up to say: We are here. This place is ours. We, TOO, are Harvard." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 5, 2014 - 38 comments


"The Fireman"
posted by zarq on Mar 3, 2014 - 13 comments

If I die on Monday

Last Monday, a runner, wife and mother of three named Meg Menzies was struck and killed by a drunk driver. Today, 90,000 runners dedicated their miles to her. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jan 18, 2014 - 23 comments

"We just choose to be present."

In 1986, Sandra Clarke was working as a staff nurse at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, OR when a dying man asked her to sit with him. She agreed but first needed to make her rounds and the man died alone in his room before she was able to return. Troubled, and feeling that she had failed a patient, she resolved to gather volunteers to stay with those who were alone and close to death. Ms. Clarke enlisted her entire hospital for a bedside vigil system to help ensure that patients would not be alone when they died. In 2001, Sacred Heart formalized the program as No One Dies Alone (NODA) and over the last decade, it has spread to hospitals across the US. "Susan Cox Is No Longer Here" offers us a glimpse into the NODA experience in Indianapolis. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 7, 2013 - 23 comments

Looking good for a 600 year old antediluvian patriarch, Mr Crowe

The first trailer for Noah, the forthcoming Paramount Picture biblical epic, is online. With a budget of $130 million, and slated for release in March/April 2014, and with a cast of stars, this covers Chapter 6-9 of the Book of Genesis. Filming took place mostly in Iceland, with some scenes in New York State. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Nov 15, 2013 - 262 comments

"This is my gift to you. Do with it what you want."

The Course of Their Lives. While much in medicine has changed over the last century, the defining course of a first year medical student's education is still 'Gross Anatomy.' This is their hands-on tour of a donated cadaver -- an actual human body -- and is an experience which cannot be replicated by computer models. When Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Mark Johnson came up with the idea of following a med school gross anatomy class for a feature story, his editor challenged him to make it different. So he chose to intertwine the students' stories with that of Geraldine 'Nana' Fotsch, a living future donor, as sort of a stand-in for the cadaver. (Via. This four-part series contains descriptions of a human dissection. Some may find it disturbing.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 19, 2013 - 29 comments

If you put up posters in the right place, witnesses know.

After 22 years, an arrest has been made in the 1991 murder of "Baby Hope." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Oct 13, 2013 - 30 comments

Life, liberty and the pursuit of fuck-you money

The Quality of Life: As Macaulay once noted: “If men are to wait for liberty till they become good and wise in slavery, they may indeed wait forever.”
posted by Gyan on Aug 2, 2013 - 18 comments

Touching Yarns

Loes Veenstra knitted more than 500 sweaters since 1955 & kept them in her house in the 2nd Carnissestraat. The sweaters were never worn. Until today. [more inside]
posted by ouke on Feb 12, 2013 - 28 comments

"In the future, everything will be terrifying."

Dougal Dixon is a scientist, author, and illustrator. While he is most famous for his work on dinosaurs, his books After Man: A Zoology of the Future and Man After Man: An Anthropology Of The Future attempt to explore what might happen in the far future. The Posthuman Art Of Dougal Dixon. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 30, 2013 - 26 comments

"once aroused, it seeks out its object, as hatred does, in its entire"

The Delights Of Disgust
I confess I am disgusted by a great many things about people (and about myself, but let's put that aside). I do not believe it is particularly urgent for me to overcome my disgust, even if I recognize that this emotion must remain entirely separate from my thinking about which laws would be most just. I am disgusted by other people's dandruff, facial moles, food stuck in their beards, yet I do not accept that in feeling this way I am judging those people to be subhuman. I take it rather that humanity, while endearing, is also capable of appearing disgusting.
[more inside] posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 16, 2013 - 23 comments

So high, so low, so many things to know.

January 13, 2013 marks the 125th anniversary of the National Geographic Society. The Magazine is celebrating by taking a yearlong look at the past and future of exploration. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 8, 2013 - 10 comments

"it's quite clear that there's tons of cultural transmission that's just strictly by observational learning."

How Culture Drove Human Evolution
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 4, 2013 - 44 comments

“It wasn’t your time.”

The Jumper Squad. "Each year, the New York City Police Department receives hundreds of 911 calls for so-called jumper jobs, or reports of people on bridges and rooftops threatening to jump. The department’s Emergency Service Unit responds to those calls. Roughly 300 officers in the unit are specially trained in suicide rescue, the delicate art of saving people from themselves; they know just what to say and, perhaps more important, what not to say."
posted by zarq on Oct 9, 2012 - 39 comments

"There’s happiness and love and life all around you. Right now you can’t see it."

"Always remember that beautiful experiences and massive amounts of love are on their way. If you are able to feel pain and sadness this profoundly, more than most people can ever imagine, remind yourself that you can feel happiness and joy and love this profoundly as well, and that’s our little reward as depressed people. We feel things harder than other people do, and when those things are negative they are complete and total torture. But while we feel pain harder than other people have to, we feel beauty and joy and love harder than anyone else gets to, and that’s the victory that’s waiting on the other side of this pain for you. Hang on. Be tough. Better times are coming. Beautiful things and loving people are already out there, and when this cloud passes you get to experience them all so, so deeply." -Comedian Chris Gethard addresses an anonymous fan contemplating suicide (Trigger warning: discussion of suicide) [more inside]
posted by inturnaround on Sep 13, 2012 - 27 comments

The End of Sex?

Science is Rewriting the Rules of Reproduction Aarathi Prasad's new book investigates taking sex out of the reproduction equation. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Aug 19, 2012 - 28 comments


Peter Turchin is a Professor of Mathematics, and of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut. For the last nine years, he's been taking the mathematical techniques that once allowed him to track predator–prey cycles in forest ecosystems, and using them to model human history -- a pattern identification process he calls Cliodynamics. The goal of cliodynamics (or cliometrics) is to turn history into a predictive, analytic science. By analysing some of the broad social forces that shape transformative events in US society: historical records on economic activity, demographic trends and outbursts of violence, he has come to the conclusion that a new wave of internal strife is already on its way, and should peak around 2020. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 2, 2012 - 60 comments

Every Hollywood Movie Is A Children's Film

Essayist and cartoonist Tim Kreider is no stranger to film criticism ( previously) but his thoughtful, surprising, detailed analysis of Lynch's The Straight Story and Spielberg/Kubrick's AI deserve special attention.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 23, 2012 - 42 comments

"The beauty of [science fiction] is—the whole point of it is—that humans are the same."

Each morning at 9am for the next two weeks, (Mefi's Own) scifi and fantasy author John Scalzi will be chatting with musician Jonathan Coulton about one of his science fiction songs -- a different song each morning, -- in a daily podcast over at Tor.com called Journey to Planet JoCo. Series index. On May 29th, they'll be premiering a brand new, previously unheard Coulton song.
posted by zarq on May 17, 2012 - 3 comments

Never Tell Me The Odds

Dr. Nick Bostrom puts the probability of an existential event wiping out humanity in this century at 10-20%.

Each time we make one of these new discoveries we are putting our hand into a big urn of balls and pulling up a new ball---so far we've pulled up white balls and grey balls, but maybe next time we will pull out a black ball, a discovery that spells disaster. At the moment we have no good way of putting the ball back into the urn if we don't like it. Once a discovery has been published there is no way of un-publishing it. (Dr Bostrom, previously on Metafilter.)
posted by COD on Apr 28, 2012 - 74 comments

I'm Human

I'm Human A video by the students of Liberty Middle School in Madison, Alabama. Featuring the students and faculty of Liberty Middle School, Bob Jones High School, and James Clements High School; and the music of Sigur Rós. (SLYT)
posted by BitterOldPunk on Jan 17, 2012 - 12 comments

"We Stopped Dreaming"

King of the Cosmos (A Profile of Neil deGrasse Tyson) by Carl Zimmer. (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 3, 2012 - 20 comments

The Paint Factory of Blombos

For the last few decades, discoveries at Blombos Cave near Capetown have been pushing back our timeframe for the earliest known periods of complex human thought. Henshilwood et al have now discovered a 100,000 year old ocher paint factory at the same site.
posted by jjray on Oct 13, 2011 - 17 comments

"The City Is Not A Concrete Jungle. It's A Human Zoo"

The Corners Project. For three years, photographer Friko Starc took candid, spontaneous portraits of people who passed by one of five Manhattan street corners. Video [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 28, 2011 - 12 comments

America's Next Great Civil Rights Struggle

The New Republic examines what they're calling "America's Next Great Civil Rights Struggle" and asks, "What will it take for America to accept transgender people for who they really are?" [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 29, 2011 - 173 comments

The Clock in the Mountain

Kevin Kelly describes how a clock designed to run for 10,000 years will function and the efforts behind its creation and building.
posted by reenum on Jun 18, 2011 - 73 comments

Conflict, Security, and Development

Remove the scourge of conflict - "Taming mass violence is the theme of the World Bank's latest World Development Report, which focuses on 'conflict, security and development' [pdf] ... Mass violence destroys all hopes of progress. We should make a huge effort to eliminate this scourge. It seems feasible. It is desirable. So try."
posted by kliuless on Apr 30, 2011 - 18 comments

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