In our geek household, we celebrate holidays when We get days off from work. That’s irrelevant for me since I’m retired; but, all the more important because my honey and I get an extra weekday together – instead of only the evening through to morning. Make sense?
We celebrate New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day because the first is my wife’s birthday, the second is mine. We celebrate MLK Day. Memorial Day in its original form – remembering the Civil War. Independence Day, Labor Day. Veterans Day is Armistice Day in our home. Again, we’re celebrating the original.
Thanksgiving is a perfectly reasonable holiday; but, remember to reflect on the lot of First Nation folks who didn’t exactly invite us in – and were brutally shoved aside. I used to belong to a sport club named for Metacomet who damned near wiped out all those original English colonists.
Lots of folks get their knickers bunched over what should be a special December event – whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Festivus. Essentially, we celebrate the winter solstice. There are Druids on both sides of our relationship and neither of us is religious. My wife is a student of Buddhist philosophy [among others] and I’m a philosophical materialist, dialectician, existential and atheist. Wandering the roadways and footpaths of our small bosque community with Sheila the dog – is plenty of celebration.
What are we thankful for? Well, today we celebrated our 254th Lunaversary. We take time to express our thanks to each other for another wonderful month since we were married here in the courtyard at Lot 4. We celebrate the regular anniversaries, too. Of course. But, we consider ourselves exceptionally fortunate to have found each other…and celebrate that every month.
Have a mellow holiday, folks. We send you our love and respect.
In one of the more absurd examples of wearable technology we’ve seen lately, a Japanese firm has created a high-tech bra called the True Love Tester that literally snaps open only when it senses that the woman is in love.
Lingerie maker Ravijour developed the bra as part of a campaign to celebrate the company’s 10th anniversary. Featuring embedded sensors and a high-tech clasp, the True Love Tester bra connects to a smartphone app via Bluetooth. Sensors monitor the woman’s heart rate and the app analyzes the received data to figure out whether the woman is in the grip of true love.
The designers point out that the type of excitement a woman feels when she’s in love is distinguishable from other types of excitement. Presumably that spares the wearer from her bra dropping off at the sight of her favorite snack…
The bra’s makers do seem to take measuring true love quite seriously, though. There’s a graph in the promotional video that plots the woman’s heart rate alongside shopping, jogging, watching horror movies, flirting, getting a surprise gift and eating spicy food. The bra’s clasp comes undone automatically, but only when the “true love rate” exceeds a particular value…
Seems only fair and reasonable to make a companion piece. Say, a zipper for men’s jeans.
[NOT Professor Hills]
Professor Thomas Hills looks at his own mid-life understanding
As a teenager I remember asking my parents if it was possible to have a mid-life crisis before you left high school. This was followed by hearty chuckles. Nonetheless, it forces one to ask the question: what exactly is a mid-life crisis and how would you know if you were having one? And is there evidence that such a thing even exists? And if so, what are the symptoms? Does mid-life put you at risk of divorce, dying in a motorcycle accident, or failing to open your parachute?
There are many ways to answer these questions. And there are a number of dominant factors (and preconceptions) that appear in our middle years. There is a wealth of studies out there, including data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the US, recorded between 1999 and 2010.
Divorce: Divorce does not increase in middle age…
…Crash rates and fatal car accidents are at their lowest among people in their 40s and 50s…
Homicide: Does middle age increase the chances that people will become homicidal killers? No…
Depression: Mid-life can indeed be truly depressing…
Suicide: You might be more likely to kill yourself in middle age…
In sum, there does appear to be a mid-life signal among the noise, though it doesn’t stand out as a hotbed of risk taking. It might leave some people a little more down than up. But these people should feel some solace in knowing that things do indeed get better.
For middle-age men feeling the call of youth, my recommendation is to wear a helmet and a life-vest at all times.
I’d add: Get more exercise. Sort out your nutrition if you haven’t already. Don’t stop reading and learning. If you’re busy living you ain’t about to waste time worrying about dying.
I make the point regularly that the average human stops learning and seeking knowledge by age 26. In my book that’s a crime against humanity, an intellectual form of suicide by ennui. We have more avenues and access to information than ever before in the history of humanity.
Use it or lose it.
Love in the DIY lumber aisle.
My kind of holiday.
Feels natural – sharing affection with puppies of all species.
“What is love” was the most searched phrase on Google in 2012, according to the company…The Guardian has gathered writers from the fields of science, psychotherapy, literature, religion and philosophy to give their definition of the much-pondered word.
The physicist: ‘Love is chemistry’
Biologically, love is a powerful neurological condition like hunger or thirst, only more permanent. We talk about love being blind or unconditional, in the sense that we have no control over it. But then, that is not so surprising since love is basically chemistry. While lust is a temporary passionate sexual desire involving the increased release of chemicals such as testosterone and oestrogen, in true love, or attachment and bonding, the brain can release a whole set of chemicals: pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin and vasopressin. However, from an evolutionary perspective, love can be viewed as a survival tool – a mechanism we have evolved to promote long-term relationships, mutual defence and parental support of children and to promote feelings of safety and security.
• Jim Al-Khalili is a theoretical physicist and science writer
The Vatican has criticized a popular American nun, saying her book on sexual ethics, including topics such as masturbation and homosexuality, contradicted Catholic teaching and must not be used by Catholic educators.
The Vatican’s doctrinal department, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a stern “notification” about Sister Margaret A. Farley, a member of the Sisters of Mercy and a professor emeritus of Christian ethics at Yale University.
The Congregation sharply criticized Farley, saying her writings manifest a “defective understanding of the objective nature of natural moral law” and pose “grave harm to the faithful…”
The only grave harm is posed to the authority of the 14th Century inquisition brain trust and maybe – just maybe – the pile of gold the Vatican rakes in from American Catholics.
The Vatican repeatedly urged Farley to change her text to conform with church doctrine. She refused, explaining in letters to Rome that the book was not intended to represent Church teachings but rather help readers move beyond a reflexive “taboo morality” and think through sexual ethics in the context of justice, wisdom and love…
Farley sounds way too much like a 21st Century Christian to me. And, certainly, to the Pope.
Several Catholic theologians also issued statements Monday supporting Farley and describing her as a serious scholar and insightful theologian. Sister Patricia McDermott, president of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, expressed “profound regret” at the Vatican’s response to the book…