Month: October 2014

An English lesson from the late, great George Carlin

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George Carlin

“A cop out is not an excuse, not even a weak one; it is an admission of guilt. When someone “cops a plea,” he admits guilt to some charge, in exchange for better treatment. He has “copped out.” When a guy says, “I didn’t get to fuck her because I reminded her of her little brother,” he is making an excuse. If he says, “I didn’t get to fuck her because I’m an unattractive schmuck,” he is copping out. The trouble arises when an excuse contains a small amount of self-incriminating truth.”

“If I were in charge of the networks”, an excerpt from George Carlin’s book, Brain Droppings. Read the full essay here.

What is philosophy for?

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“From a distance, philosophy seems weird, irrelevant, boring — and yet, also, a just a little intriguing. But what are philosophers really for?

The answer is, handily, already contained in the wordphilosophy itself.

In Ancient Greek, philo means “love” and sophia means “wisdom” — philosophers are people devoted to wisdom. Being wise means attempting to live and die well.

In their pursuit of wisdom, philosophers have developed a very specific skill set — they have, over the centuries, become experts at many of the things that made people not very wise.”

Beautifully animated this video from Alain de Botton of The School of Life  cleverly explains why philosophy is a “powerful and necessary tool of government, leadership, and personal growth in everyday life”.

Follow philosopher and writer Alain de Botton on Twitter.

Find The School of Life online.

I saw first saw “What Is Philosophy For?” at Brain Pickings – Maria Popova‘s personal [digital] inquiry into how to live and what it means to lead a good life.

How to Write a Sentence BY JAMES THOMAS

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“Sentences have been around since the dawn of paragraphs, and indeed since before that, for sentences are essentially the building blobs of a paragraph. Right here, if you’re looking closely enough, you may notice that what you are now reading in fact is a sentence. But also—some will have noticed even more well—what you are reading is a paragraph. And I could go further than that, even, to declare that you are also reading words, letters, and indeed this entire page. Nobody thought you could do it, but here we are now and aren’t you having a good time?’

Read the full article at The New Yorker.

Follow James Thomas aka @AstonishingSod on Twitter.

“Forget caution and correction … “

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Hazards of Hindsight

For a moment
forget hindsight
prudence and reconsideration
Hindsight dry-cleans your speech
Forget caution and correction
don’t render me speechless with your reason –
all I want from you is a quick artless response
that knocks judgement off into history’s oblivion
only then I’ll get a pure no, a simple yes from you
not the elusive past, I wasn’t a part of

To make any sense of history
I need an artless response
In its freshness
I can see better
the peanuts enclosed in the sturdy shell
the fresh oil in its ripened seeds.

by Monika Kumar
from Samalochan, 2012
translation by author.

Originally published at 3QuarksDaily.

Women experience heightened rates of physical threats and sustained harassment online

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Pew survey of Online Harrassment shows women are tormented more often, and severely, than men.
Pew survey of Online Harrassment shows women are tormented more often, and severely, than men.

Read more:

For Women, The Internet Can Be a Scary Place at New Republic.

Download a pdf of Pew’s Online Harrassment survey here.