Shatner’s live, extemporaneous post-touchdown monologue on mortality was better than Kirk’s death scene

After returning to Earth in Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin private spacecraft, Shatner is delivering an extemporaneous monologue about viewing Mother Earth and reflecting on death. “I hope I never recover from this,” he says, of the emotions he experienced. Much better than Kirk’s death scene in Star Trek: Generations. Someone (I was listening, not watching… I think it was Bezos) says “Beautiful,” and Shatner thinks he’s commenting about the view…

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Conundrum (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 14) You Get Amnesia! And YOU Get Amnesia! EVERYONE Gets Amnesia!!!

Rewatching ST:TNG The Enterprise-D crew finds itself the victim of an amnesia scenario devised by desperate, shadowy figures known as “TV script writers,” who actually give Riker a line complaining about the feeble infodump that shows up in the denouement. Plot necessity provides this week’s baddies with the power to erase all the personal memories of everyone on the ship (including the android Data), and also the ability to erase…

I studied philosophy and engineering at university: Here’s my verdict on ‘job relevant’ education

She double-majored in engineering and philosophy. Fifteen years later, which degree is more relevant to her success? She says that even with an engineering degree, she was criticized for not knowing specific skills that she never actually used (such as drafting by hand) or that she learned quickly on the job (such as the specific CAD software her company used). And after 15 years, most of those specific job-ready skills…

Am I being rude or is my autism not being understood and accommodated for?

A valuable thread that explains many of the differences that make autistic people seem “rude” to neurotypicals (who are more comfortable with unspoken rules, fuzzy categories & eye contact, and who get annoyed by unfiltered honesty, stimming & requests for clarification). Am I being rude or is my autism not being understood and accommodated for? – a thread. /1 — Emily♡ (@ItsEmilyKaty) July 31, 2021  

The insect apocalypse: ‘Our world will grind to a halt without them’

It is 50 years since I first collected those caterpillars in the school playground, and every year that has passed there have been slightly fewer butterflies, fewer bumblebees – fewer of almost all the myriad little beasts that make the world go round. These fascinating and beautiful creatures are disappearing, ant by ant, bee by bee, day by day. Estimates vary and are imprecise, but it seems likely that insects…

The Value of Truth: We are living through an epistemological crisis.

In the jargon of academia, the study of what we can know, and how we can know it, is called “epistemology.” During the 1980s, philosopher Richard Rorty declared it dead and bid it good riddance. To Rorty and many other thinkers of that era, the idea that we even needed a theory of knowledge at all rested on outmoded, Cartesian assumptions that the mind was an innocent mirror of nature;…

Most Americans have a high opinion of the humanities, and 81% use at least one humanities-related skill on the job

While some survey respondents were unfamiliar with the term “humanities” (apparently guessing that it had to do with the study of the human body), once they were given the definition “studying or participating in activities related to literature, languages, history, and philosophy,” most respondents had a high opinion of the subject. Predictably, people who were educated at liberal-arts colleges were the most favorable towards the humanities, but science and engineering…

Thomas Jefferson on “newspapers without government” vs “government without newspapers”

Those darn founders with their darned respect for the free press. So biased! I am persuaded myself that the good sense of the people will always be found to be the best army. They may be led astray for a moment, but will soon correct themselves. The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their…

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The Offspring (StarTrek:TNG Rewatch, Season Three, Episode 16) Data Experiences Fatherhood

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. Data builds an android derived from his own positronic neural pathways, and intends to raise it as his child — a prospect that invokes Picard’s iconic facepalm. Picard (to admiral conjured up by writers who needed an antagonist): “There are times, sir, when men of good conscience cannot blindly follow orders. You acknowledge their (Data’s and Lal’s) sentience, but you ignore their personal liberties…

The Coronavirus Is Rewriting Our Imaginations

Possibly, in a few months, we’ll return to some version of the old normal. But this spring won’t be forgotten. When later shocks strike global civilization, we’ll remember how we behaved this time, and how it worked. It’s not that the coronavirus is a dress rehearsal—it’s too deadly for that. But it is the first of many calamities that will likely unfold throughout this century. Now, when they come, we’ll be familiar with how they feel.

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The Bonding ( ST:TNG Rewatch, Season Three Episode 5) — Character-driven analysis of grief

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. After a member of a landing party dies an accidental, senseless death, Picard must break the news to her young son. “Jeremy, on the starship Enterprise, no one is alone,” says Picard. “No one.” Numerous times on my rewatch, I’ve wished episodes would devote less time to scanning and probing and navigating around the Sci-Fi Thing of the Week, and more time on how the…

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Who Watches the Watchers (ST:TNG Season Three Episode 4) Rationalist, talky mythbusting

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. After a primitive, rationalist society mistakes Federation technology for supernatural power, Picard must do whatever it takes to undo the resulting cultural contamination. Fortunately for Picard, that involves lots of talking. A grim scene in sickbay memorably demonstrates that humans in the 24th century can sometimes delay but cannot defeat death. A cleverly subversive climax has Picard calmly determined to deliver the Mintakans from…