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“There have been hard conversations and tears along the way. Early on, trying to make sense of her family’s relationship with the people they enslaved, Marshall shared her family’s narrative about Hester: that she was so close with the Marshall family that she opted to stay with them after the Civil War. But the Mosleys reframed the story for Marshall: As a penniless Black woman, where else could she have gone?”

A powerful, painful article. The wounds caused by the immense sin of slavery and attempts to cast people as subhuman take generations to heal – and we are still within living memory of outright segregation (not the much subtler kind that occurs still today). But, there is always hope.

“Such a result, even if only in monkeys, might lead regulators to decide that human embryo models deserve to be treated like embryos, with all the attendant restrictions. Some researchers feel that we urgently need a new definition of an embryo to offer clarity and keep pace with the scientific advances. If there is good reason to suppose an embryo model has the potential to generate viable offspring, we will need to either accept the regulatory implications or find ways to nullify that potential.”

More than ever, we are grappling with the slippery concept of a soul, and are losing our way steadily without any clear definition of a person. However, to do so, will require brutal recalculation of what we’ve allowed to occur for decades, e.g., turning the other way when it’s clear our profitable trading partners are casually committing genocide, modern slavery in the Middle East, abortion.

“I can’t think of many scenes that are flourishing right now, which may account for the shortage of geniuses. Scenes are the soil in which geniuses sprout and flourish. Of course, some geniuses really are solitary; Isaac Newton did not go down to the alehouse to quaff beers and talk celestial mechanics. But more often, genius is a social phenomenon. Brian Eno coined the term “scenius” to describe an ecology of artists, entrepreneurs and thinkers from which brilliant individuals are spawned.

I’m interested in what makes a particular place and moment susceptible to scenius. It might be a random efflorescence; an accident of time, people, and place. It might have deep-rooted economic causes. Athens became more intellectually advanced than Sparta or anywhere else partly because trade made it richer and busier; Florentine artists benefited from the surplus of the banking industry. It might be a rebellion of the artists against the culture’s gatekeepers: Parisian Impressionism emerged when young painters, dissatisfied with the strictures of the Academy, hooked up with a network of gallery-owners, dealers, and critics outside of the official system.”

Turns out that any innovation in fields is often best based on or informed by a firm foundation in classical principles, much like any physical structure.

“Who is really affected by “Affirmative Action”? From how it’s discussed, you would think “Affirmative Action” affects a wide swathe of the black and Hispanic public. But you’d be wrong. 

By Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade’s estimate, in any given year, only 1 percent of black and Hispanic 18-year olds get into a college as a result of racial preferences. The other 99 percent either don’t go to college at all or don’t go to colleges selective enough to “need” racial preferences. Schools with acceptance rates over 50% generally don’t use affirmative action.”

Never honestly had much of an axe to grind with affirmative action beyond its potential inefficiency. MLK’s plan for a “GI Bill” for the poor cited in this article (h/t to my pal Teddy Kim for this one, btw) made far more sense. However, now it is on its way out, a good reflection on its pros and cons.

“Before plants arrived, some researchers think, crusts of microbes could have helped prepare the land by transforming bare rock into fertilized soil. A biocrust well adapted to extreme conditions could take hold of a suitable substrate that held nutrients and was regularly moistened with fog. By gradually weathering the rocks and stabilizing the sediment as soil, it could alter the environment in a way that promoted the development of higher organisms.”

The more we learn about the intricacies of nature, it is clear that life is astoundingly resilient, it is everywhere and supremely capable of adaptation… but that doesn’t mean there aren’t losses along the way.

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