This is an interesting video about emotional triggers and how the viral nature of the internet can polarise arguments in a dangerously divisive way. Consider this, perhaps Top Gear was past it anyway and maybe Clarkson is not really all four horseman of intolerance. If the internet can help make people this angry about something that is on balance not that important (television show about cars/common assault) how angry, and divided, might it make us (have made us) about stuff that is actually important and that requires compromise and cooperation (e.g. climate change/ Palestine/ The Dress (what colour?)).
Two men are having a fight in the street. They're exchanging punches until one man grabs the other's neck. "Stop and I'll stop". Says the man who has the other man by the neck. They both stop punching, except one man is still holding the other by the neck and now he's strangling him. So the man who is being strangled hits out, but the man holding him by the neck hits him back hard in the face. Another man who is standing in the street watching says to the man being strangled "stop hitting him, can't you see you give him no choice but to hit you back harder, be a good chap, die quietly".
When trapped in an avalanche the sight of a slobbering St. Bernard lolloping towards you must seem like an angel sent from heaven. A booze carrying angel; as it is well known that the little barrel attached to the collars of mountain rescue dogs contains brandy, but how does a 70% proof digestif help a stranded mountain climber? After all brandy is usually served at room temperature not alpine blizzard temperature! So I've devised a perhaps less enjoyable, but considerably more functional solution:
Don't turn to booze when you're in a tight spot. Stuck in an avalanche, you need Rescuing. Stranded Mountaineer, plus St Bernard, plus miniature barrel of Bach Rescue Remedy, equals problem solved.
The vast majority of jobs involve some form of cooperation. This means that virtually anybody who has been employed for any meaningful length of time has ‘experience of working in a team’. So why do employers insist on all applicants ‘demonstrating’ this? The below is a theoretical CV of someone who may lack team working experience. For everyone else it should be a given:
Intense periods of introspection. Working with a variety of mediums and subjects excluding people.
Turn on light, turn off light. Feed cat.
Playing musical instruments without accompaniment.
Servicing clients individual needs, avoiding police. (No threesomes).
Professional Gambler (Online)
Playing online poker ad nauseam.
The Paralympics start today. Huge pressure on some of the athletes when you consider the billions the government has invested in sending them to Afghanistan to train with the Taliban. Toughest, most explosive, paralympic training programme in the world. Blood, sweat and tears. Lots, and lots, of blood, sweat and tears.
Dr Rowan Williams’s massive ornate eyebrows precede him. They rise and arch, undulating with the knowledge bestowed upon them. As the wave of a magician's wand precedes a trick, so the flourish of the Bishop’s brow proceeds a doctrinal proclamation. But unlike the magician’s blunt stick the Bishop’s brow is sharp, like a cheese wire brush. Sharp enough to slice a schism in the fabric of the Church.
Unseeing they sweep before the Bishop filtering the air for for particles of theocratic detritus. When they trap precious particles of God plankton they funnel it straight into the mind of the eminent clergyman.
They twitch, faster than the human eye can register, searching for resonance. When they find it they sing, humming like the reed of a piccolo, with the mysterious song of the creator.
They are his horns. Bestowed upon him by God, not the horns of a goat, but the feathered horns of a wise owl. Worn not on the top of the head, but on the face, either side of the mind's chakra. A tool for guidance, not violence. A sixth sense, like the whiskers of a cat.
The Bishop's brow. Mystical, musical, filter feeding, tickle whisker, face horns. A brow bestowed by God upon only the most divine of men.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
Dwight D. Eisenhower - The Chance for Peace Speech - 1953
Here's what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defences each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace. Goodnight.
To say that I'm not very good at remembering birthdays, friends or family, is probably disingenuous. The truth is I'm not very good at caring. I don't much like presents and I find birthday greetings too generic to be meaningful, so I tend to not bother about my own birthday and not bother much about others either, but that can upset people, so what to do?
I recently came up with a solution. I came across an app called boomerang. It is a plug in for Gmail. It allows you to schedule email messages to send in the future. I quickly realised that I could easily programme this app to send emails to my friends and family members every year on their birthday removing any future requirement for me to send birthday greetings, simply download the app and programme it to send the below message:
Dear [insert name of friend or family member]
Happy, the current year, minus the year of your birth, th birthday.
This is an automated message set up to send you birthday greetings every year for the next fifty years. This might seem a little impersonal, but rest assured it is in fact the opposite. Your birthday is so important to me that I cannot bear the thought of failing to send you a birthday greeting on this special day. Automating this process removes the risk that some day in the future I may be incapacitated in such a way that would prevent me from sending you this greeting. I cannot live with this risk. Now that I have set up this message I know that I will always complete this important task, so without further a do:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY (unless you're dead)
Best wishes on this special day
P.S. below is a list of names, email addresses and birthdays. Please find your name in the list and forward this message on to the next name on the list on the appropriate date. Thank you.