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“People only care about being rich now – this is the only way to achieve social prestige. Before, careers weren’t so important; people had more time for their friends. In the countryside life has changed completely. My granny lives in the southern mountains and in her village, when I was growing up, everyone had a cow and a pig and chickens. Now they are selling off their cows because the milk is worth nothing. There is no future in small farming and the young people are leaving for the towns. It’s sad when I go there because I’m watching a whole way of life disappear. I hope that Poland will bring in laws and regulations that make life easier for people, rather than more difficult, the way it is with the bureaucracy we have now. I hope I can get a job that pays well enough for me to own a flat and also travel around the world.” –“Meet the Children Who Came in from the Cold,” the Guardian
John Kenneth Galbraith: Edward Kennedy’s age and youthful inexperience were, at the beginning, sadly adverse circumstances. But not always. Arising early one morning in his first campaign to shake hands with the workers arriving at a Massachusetts factory, he was greeted by a man of mature years who came rolling down the line. He said, “Teddy, m’boy, I hear you’ve never done a day’s work in your life.” It was the candidate’s most vulnerable point; he braced himself to make a reply, but the old man didn’t wait for it: “Let me tell you somethin’, lad. You haven’t missed a thing.” –“The Many Sides of Ted Kennedy: Memories from those who loved and loathed the man,” Salon
One of the leading theories of why religion is so popular goes by the ominous name of ‘Terror Management Theory’. Put simply, this is the idea that people turn to religion to ease their fear of death. Gareth Morris and Tina McAdie, of Huddersfield University in the UK, set out to test this idea in a group of mostly young people (a mix of Christians, Muslims, and the non-religious) recruited within the University. The study was simple, but the results were very interesting. While Christians did indeed have a lower death anxiety than the non-religious, Muslims did not. In fact, their death anxiety was markedly higher than both the other groups. –“Is the Social Function of Religion Changing?” by Tom Rees, Epiphenoma
Many comedians consider stand-up the purest form of comedy; Doug Stanhope considers it the freest. “Once you do stand-up, it spoils you for everything else,” he says. “You’re the director, performer, and producer.” Unlike most of his peers, however, Stanhope has designed his career around exploring that freedom, which means choosing a life on the road. Perhaps this is why, although he is extremely ambitious, prolific, and one of the best stand-ups performing, so many Americans haven’t heard of him. Many comedians approach the road as a means to an end: a way to develop their skills, start booking bigger venues, and, if they’re lucky, get themselves airlifted to Hollywood. But life isn’t happening on a sit-com set or a sketch show — at least not the life that has interested Stanhope. He isn’t waiting to be invited to the party; indeed, he’s been hosting his own party for years.
Because of the present comedy boom, civilians are starting to hear about Doug Stanhope from other comedians like Ricky Gervais, Sarah Silverman, and Louis CK. But Stanhope has been building a devoted fan base for the past two decades, largely by word of mouth. On tour, he prefers the unencumbered arrival and the quick exit: cheap motels where you can pull the van up to the door of the room and park. He’s especially pleased if there’s an on-site bar, which increases the odds of hearing a good story from the sort of person who tends to drink away the afternoon in the depressed cities where he performs. Stanhope’s America isn’t the one still yammering on about its potential or struggling with losing hope. For the most part, hope is gone. On Word of Mouth, his 2002 album, he says, “America may be the best country, but that’s like being the prettiest Denny’s waitress. Just because you’re the best doesn’t make you good.”
Ratio of husbands who say they fell in love with their spouse at first sight to wives who say this:
Mathematicians announced the discovery of the perfect method of cutting a cake.
Indian prime-ministerial contender Narendra Modi, who advertises his bachelorhood as a mark of his incorruptibility, confessed to having a wife.
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Science’s crisis of faith