The Heavy and the Light: This Week’s Link Dump (2/22/2015)

This week I’ve come across some fascinating stories that I’d like to share with those few who are reading my infant blog!!!!!!  Thank you so much!!!!!!  I am toying with the idea of doing a series called The Heavy and the Light in which I share links to stories, articles, and songs that I found to be particularly important or fascinating.  Some are intense, others alleviating (hence the name) and I hope that you guys get as much out of them as I.

The Heavy

What ISIS Really Wants

“It would be facile, even exculpatory, to call the problem of the Islamic State ‘a problem with Islam.'”

Thursday night I went out for a few drinks with some friends who are moving to the West Coast.  Besides wishing them much luck and embracing them many a time I took this final chance to ask some questions of the one who is an Army veteran and get some perspective.  We mostly talked about the US military bureaucracy and about the benefits of disciplined exercise but we did tip toe around discussing the current threats in the Middle East and what the response should be.  I hesitated and drew the conversation clear of that because I didn’t want to start a heated debate and because I became woefully aware about my ignorance on ISIS.  As a result, I have completely binged on ISIS scholarship and spent quite a few hours reading about it.  This article is quite a long one, but it is accessible and I think does an amazing job of exploring the intricacies of Islam as a religion and the variables that factor into the decision to send troops or not.  Thanks Uncle Steven for sharing.


U. Mass. Amherst Will No Longer Accept Iranian Students into the Sciences and Engineering Programs

“So I’ve been checking around and it seems like most institutions, particularly the top ones, have no such policy. Folks at MIT, Caltech, Berkeley, Michigan: no one can find anything remotely like this.”

I’m not going to get into my staunch opinions on immigration and higher academia, but education should be a right, not a privilege.  Furthermore, to completely refuse entry to an entire nationality is inherently racist and xenophobic.  At least MIT and others haven’t arrived at a bollocks interpretation of a US sanction and blindly turned away those who dream to learn.


Jessica Williams Apparently is an Idiot for Choosing How to Live Her Life

“Are you unaware, how insulting that can be for a fully functioning person to hear that her choices are invalid?”

Just like Islam, there are differing schools of thought within the feminist movement.  So when Jessica Williams got backlash for respectfully saying she didn’t want to host the Daily Show after John Stewart’s retirement, she defended herself.  Putting women down for not wanting to move up the career ladder is not useful feminism.


Seeing Purple: Prince in the 80s

“In this personal essay, Mike Powell details his gender-blurring experiences with the psychedelically ambiguous art of Prince and pinpoints why The Purple One’s flashes of social utopia and sexual liberation are so timelessly subversive.”


Every Sport Except Long-Distance Running is Fundamentally Absurd

This article explores why the Human species is the most adapted on the planet for endurance running.  We are awesome!!!!!!!!!  In the opening scene of the film Last of the Mohicans the three protagonists out run an elk in the span of a day.  It’s an amazing glimpse into how we as species have survived and are at the pinnacle of the food chain.


Mo Farrah Indoor World Record

The Light

Mo Farrah Breaks Men’s Indoor 2 Mile World Record & Genzebe Dibaba Breaks Women’s Indoor 5K WR

Speaking of distance running, two world records were broken this week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Great Britain’s Mo Farrah ran a freaking 8:03.4 two mile on an 200 meter track.  His first mile was a 4:03 so not only did he negative split his second mile, but he did it in 4 minutes flat.  Meanwhile, in the same race, ageless wonder Bernard Lagat keeps shattering Master’s records and ran an 8:17.

The second record to fall was the women’s indoor 5K.  Adding to the three world records she set last year in the 1500, 3K, and the 2 mile, Genzebe Dibaba ran it in an astonishing 14:18.86.  That’s an average mile of 4:36 over 3.1 miles.  If she wasn’t already, this feat establishes Dibaba as one of the best runners of all time.

Genzebe-Dibaba


Stunning Pictures of a Green Tree Frog Riding a Giant Rhinoceros Beetle

Frog-Riding-Beetle-1


Tomatan: The Robot that Feeds you Tomatoes

Yup.  That’s Pretty Weird.


My Song of the Week

Someone showed me this fantastic set by Gaslamp Killer and hidden deep within it is this 60s or 70s Indonesian song.  There’s not a lot going on, but I really like the harmony and am fascinated by the idea that there is music out there that is so obscure it may never be fully cataloged.  Their voices are mesmerizing.