Security Absurdity

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(Source: Dan Paluska)

14 years ago today, four planes were hijacked and used as missiles. All 246 passengers on the planes were killed when the hijackers flew the planes into two of the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon, along with a further 2,731 people in those buildings.

Nobody wants something like that to happen again (unless you’re from Al-Qaeda, in which case, as-salamu alaykum and welcome to my blog, please don’t blow us up), so security was increased immediately and then gradually over the next decade, in ever more annoying ways, to keep us safe. Continue reading

Objectification of The Spouse

(Source: Pexels)

Who are these guys? Are they objectifying each other? Are they even married? I don’t really know; stock image websites don’t give you the right sort of information. (Source: Pexels)

(I refer to spouses but my meaning is the same for partners, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc.)
The right partner can make a big difference to your life. Being with someone who is right for you can positively affect nearly all areas of your life, and conversely, being with someone who is wrong can mess up other areas of your life. The right person can make your life more enjoyable, more fulfilling, more satisfying, they can help you reach your goals, they can cushion you from the occasional harshness of life. They’re a friend, but much more than that. A lover, but still more.

You’d think with something so important that society would place a lot of emphasis on finding that person and searching for the qualities that make a good spouse. Instead, we have precisely the opposite. Continue reading

Review: Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight

Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight
Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A powerfully eye-opening refutation of our culture’s hatred of fat. Instead of a review, I’ve just included some quotes from the book because they say it very clearly:

“The vast majority of people who try to lose weight regain it, regardless of whether they maintain their diet or exercise program.”

“…people in the overweight or moderately obese categories live at least as long – or longer – than people in the normal weight category.”

“No one has ever shown that losing weight prolongs life. Some studies actually indicate that intentional weight loss increases the risk of dying early from certain diseases.”

“Large people eat no more than lean people, despite a popular misconception that large people consistently overeat.”

“Obesity and overweight are only associated with 26,000 annual deaths, far fewer than guns, alcohol, or car crashes.”

“If we simply redefine obesity using the criterion we assign to other disease – defining it instead at the point at which it promotes disease – the [obesity] epidemic would vanish.”

View all my reviews

Review: Enemy Combatant

Enemy Combatant
Enemy Combatant by Moazzam Begg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It makes my heart ache to read this book. How can my country – or any country – hold someone without charge for years? There can be no justification for it, and the only explanation is that the American government, at the highest levels, does not care about our values of freedom or justice.

Moazzam quotes from Malcolm X in this book, and I’ve included the quote here:

“I’m not anti-America, and I didn’t come here to condemn America – I want to make that very clear! I came here to tell the truth – and if the truth condemns American, then she stands condemned.”

View all my reviews

The American Dream

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You could be anyone, but let’s assume you’re an average sized person. A spider with a leg-span about as long as your torso and a body possibly slightly smaller than your head lowered itself from the ceiling towards Emily’s face. It came down slowly, like somewhere in the arachnid’s brain it knew that sudden movements will startle prey, even if that prey is asleep like Emily was.

Emily tossed her head from side to side on her pillow, and the spider stopped, suspended two feet above her. It soundlessly clicked its fangs – impatient. She made sounds in her sleep, sounds that were meaningless to the spider – as most sounds are, save for the buzz of a fly’s wings or the high-pitched squeak of a tasty mouse. If you or I heard her though, and saw the expression on her sleeping face, we’d know that she was having a nightmare. We’d probably go to wake her up, if there wasn’t an enormous spider dangling there between us and her. Maybe we’d just close the bedroom door and hope we hadn’t actually seen what we thought we saw.

After a few moments, Emily’s movements stopped, though the nightmare in her head continued. The spider lowered itself even slower than before, a few millimeters at a time, until it was close enough that if it had wished to, it could have reached one long, spindly leg down and stroked her forehead. Continue reading

BO? BS.

(Source: Tiffany Terry - https://www.flickr.com/photos/35168673@N03/)

(Source: Tiffany Terry)

Humans are social creatures – we cannot survive except in groups. Anybody with excellent outdoor survival skills who thinks they can do it alone should ask if they learned those skills from another human. Since we are social creatures, it wouldn’t make any sense for our bodies to naturally produce odors that repelled other humans. Based on just that simple argument, it seems clear that the concept of offensive body odor is bullshit. Continue reading

The Problem is Not Your Resume

These people want your job. (Source: James Cridland)

These people want your job. (Source: James Cridland)

You’re trying to get a job. You’ve applied for a bunch of them. Maybe even got some interviews. Sadly, none of those big fish have bitten yet, and your savings are dwindling. Maybe the problem is your resume (spoiler: it’s not). So you take some resume advice, say from Google’s HR Manager, like here. Now your resume’s really swell. You’ll get some better attention from an interviewer, and perhaps you’ll get a job. Good news for you.

Continue reading

Certainly More than 50 Shades

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

We like to see things as black and white. Pedophiles are emotionless land-monster predators (basically the equivalent of sharks, except they can’t breathe underwater (and also they want to have sex with children, sharks probably don’t do that)); we can all agree on that, right? Women who abandon their newborn babies are hardly women at all. Politicians who misbehave should lose their jobs. Or should they? Is being a politician just a ridiculous, thankless job? Is being a new mother one of the most stressful things a woman is likely to go through? Is the life of a pedophile already a terrible one, except for the millionaire DJ ones? We’ve all avoided nuance at one time or another, and I want to examine the reasons for it. Continue reading

Nudity and The Human Condition

(Public Domain)

(Public Domain)

Recently, a woman at Claridge’s, a luxury hotel in London, was asked to cover up while breastfeeding her baby. If you’re in England and have any media exposure you’ve probably heard about it, if you haven’t here’s a link. There are some absolutely uninteresting debates going on about that (in the sense that I can’t believe we haven’t moved past it as a society), but it got me thinking about something else when someone on the radio was quoted as saying “It’s one of the most natural things there is.” I agree with that, certainly. Being naked is also one of the most natural things there is. Simply having exposed breasts, nevermind feeding a baby with them, is perfectly natural. Continue reading

Requiem for a Hamster

Missy's runway (1)

Missy in better days, with her cheek pouches crammed full of food and ready for a day of adventuring.

In October of 2012, a hamster entered our lives. She got the name ‘Missy’, which I thought of as a ridiculous name for a hamster, but she became Missy, and I loved her.

She was a cautious hamster, and gentle. She explored slowly. When we played with her, she walked with the air of someone who is expecting at any moment to be eaten by a predator. Over time, she became more comfortable with our house and would zoom from room to room. Hearing her little feet pattering as she runs under my chair at the computer is all it takes to make me smile. After a few months she would sometimes escape her cage to roam around the house at night, and it was enjoyable to think of the adventures she may have had while we were all asleep. She improved her skills until eventually she escaped her cage every night, sometimes within seconds of being put back in. She would stuff her face full of food for later, then climb out. A few times she got behind the cupboards for days at a time. Finally we had to put locks on the cage doors so she wouldn’t accidentally leave our house and die outside. Continue reading