Five-Week-Old Embryo In Alabama Totally Stoked about Abortion Ban

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ALBERTVILLE, AL – A five-week-old embryo took a brief moment from his busy schedule of multiplying cells and forming his heart tube to share his joy over Alabama’s controversial abortion law.  The new law bans abortion except in the cases where it threatens the mother’s life. “One less thing to worry about in here. Now I can sit back, enjoy my water-sac, and develop my bottom jaw without any stress,” he told reporters during a sit-down interview. “I have to tell you I was nervous. She was saying she wasn’t ready to be a mom and Googling nearby clinics. Well, mom, ready or not, here I come!” he said, before attempting to laugh out of the blob thing that will one day be his mouth. He expressed that he would be happy to see Roe v. Wade overturned one day. “Between me and you, Roe V. Wade made for some tough times for us embryos. Not my favorite Supreme Court ruling, I tell ya.” When questioned about what he was looking forward to most about being born, he said eating ice cream. “Mom just adores ice cream. I get a nibble here and there through the placenta. It’ll be great to taste it with an actual mouth.” His mother refused to give any comments as she was too busy looking at Google Map directions to New York City.

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Avengers: Endgame Falls Short With Captain America’s Ending

This post will contain spoilers for Avengers: Endgame.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (2019)

Avengers: Endgame has been called a worthy conclusion to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s ten-year saga. The film is a critical and financial success, but it has its issues. One of which is the ultimate fate of Captain America.

After the film’s main conflict is over, Captain America is given the task of delivering the  Infinity Stones back to their original timelines to set things right. He stands on the time machine. The Hulk says he’ll bring back Captain America in five seconds. It does not happen. Instead Bucky looks at a bench in front of them. There’s an elderly Captain America sitting on it. It turns out he stayed in the past and lived out his life with Peggy. He give his shield to Sam to pass on his legacy to his sidekick.

The scene worked on one level. Captain America tragically missed out on the love of his life by being a hero. He gets what he always wanted in this ending. It’s emotionally satisfying to see him dance with Peggy and hand off his legacy to someone else.

Yet he had started a relationship with Sharon Carter in Captain America: Civil War. He had made friends in the present. His best pal, Bucky, had finally come back after he lost him again. Why was he going back to the past to retire with Peggy? It’s as if his character  lost any development he’d gained since coming out of the ice.

To add on to that, Falcon is his own man.  He was Captain America in the comics, but the MCU doesn’t have to follow that example. He should build a legacy of his own.

When I first watched the scene, I wondered why Cap didn’t stop the atrocities of the 20th and 21st centuries. I didn’t understand how time worked in the MCU. I thought Captain America had always traveled back to the past to live with Peggy. He was stuck in a time-loop. Now I have come to understand that the MCU operates on a multiverse theory. This means that there are no time loops. The past can’t be changed so Cap can’t stop those atrocities. Every time a character travel back in time, it creates a new timeline.  The Russo brothers confirmed this in an interview.

Even taking into account this clarification on time travel, this ending for Captain America still has three major problems.

Problem #1: The Cap in the Ice

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The Russo Brothers confirmed that Captain America travels to another timeline to live with Peggy. The problem with this is there is already a Captain America in that timeline. He’s trapped in the ice. The MCU Captain America would have a moral obligation to save this other Captain. (Our Captain America will be referred to as MCU Cap and the other Captain America shall be refer from here on out) He understands the pain of not getting to be with Peggy. Why would he allow his past self to go through that pain when he’s unfrozen in seventy years? He couldn’t unless he was a jerk.

How would MCU Cap explain himself to Peggy? We’re not told if he tells her the truth about who he is. If he does, how can she be okay with him leaving his timeline to chase her? Wouldn’t she want him to go back to his friends and family in the future?  Wouldn’t she want her real Steve and not the MCU Cap who is essentially a doppelganger? If MCU Cap lies to Peggy and pretends to be her Steve, that is highly immoral.

Problem #2:  Unhealthy Escapism

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My favorite episode of Batman the Animated Series is Perchance to Dream. In the episode, Bruce Wayne ends up in another reality where his parents are alive and he’s engaged to Selina Kyle. He’s not Batman. It’s a dream come true. Eventually, Bruce figures out that it’s just a dream and he’s living a life of delusion. He refuses the world of dreams, because no matter how attractive it is, it’s not reality.

In this ending, Captain America chooses to live in a dream world. The Peggy that MCU Cap knows and loves is long dead. In the year 2023 (which Endgame takes place in), she’s been dead for almost ten years. Rather than move past her death and create a new relationship with Sharon, he’s heading to another reality where things are more comfortable for him. He’d rather live in the past than continue on in the future. The messages that this scene is sending are dangerous. Don’t move on, linger on the past forever. Don’t embrace reality, be delusional.

Problem #3: Not the Time for Retirement

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After Endgame, the world is in chaos. 3.5 billion people have reappeared after five years. This could create many problems for the world. Iron Man and Black Widow are dead. During this time of chaos, Captain America who is in the prime of his life, decides it’s time to retire to the past. Why now? The world still needs him. Why would Captain America even want to retire? He’s the man who says he could do this all day. There comes a time to rest but Cap is still able bodied. He was willing to stand against Thanos’s army by himself in Endgame. How is he a man who is ready for retirement? It doesn’t fit his character.

Final Thoughts

This ending sought to wrap up Captain America’s arc with a heart-warming callback to the origins of the character. In doing so, they undid everything that Captain America has learned during his journey through the MCU and turned him into a man who can’t let go of the past. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely referred to the conclusion of his arc as him moving toward “enlightened self-interest”. That’s a very sophisticated way of saying he becomes a selfish asshole. This is not the ending that such a great character deserves.

 

Marvel’s Black Panther

This May marks the ten year anniversary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If they continue to release films like Black Panther, they can keep making movies for the next hundred years. I cannot give enough praise to Black Panther.  It is one of Marvel’s strongest offerings and shows why they have been able to succeed in building their universe whereas others like Universal and Warner Bros have struggled. Mightily in the case of Universal. They continue to add breadth and depth to their universe.

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A preview ran before Black Panther for Antman and Wasp. Both of these are MCU movies about superheroes, but Antman is a playful heist franchise. Black Panther is a whole other monster dealing with themes about leadership, blood, racial identity, and tradition.

Black Panther is not a character I’m heavily invested in. He’d pop up in the comics I read like Spider-man or the Avengers. I always enjoyed him because he was cool. He was the king of an African isolationist country with futuristic technology. I never got into his comics because I never made the effort to. I knew his backstory and the origin, going into this movie. I went into this expecting another solid Marvel origin movie, but it took itself off the path.

Very violent. People get cut up by swords, stabbed with spears, shot in the head. It has a little politics in there but it’s never allowed to overpower the movie. You’re not beat over with the head of a message. I loved the sets and costume designs for this movie. It takes from African culture and adds a sci-fi twist to it. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is full of sci-fi and worlds different than ours. I was impressed that they were able to give Wakanda its own identity that set it apart from the Asgard of the Thor movies and the alien world seen in Guardians of the Galaxy.

From a craft standpoint, I liked how willing Ryan Coogler was to put T’Challa through the winger. This guy gets messed up in this movie. He finds out dark secrets and gets the crap kicked out of the him. He’s a good protagonist because of how vulnerable he is throughout the film.  He’s a man made king by the death of his father, unsure if he’s ready for the throne He faces tough questions once he is king and discovers the right answers by the end of the film. I hadn’t seen any of his other films (Creed is on my to watch list but I’ve only seen Rocky 1). I will make an effort to watch the rest of filmography.

As a first generation African immigrant, I was often caught in between two cultures as a kid. The American Black culture and African culture.  This movie was a unique experience as it had those two worlds clash with each other through the conflict between, T’Challa and Erik Killmonger. T’Challa is African-born, raised in tradition, surrounded by family. Killmonger is American and has experienced the prejudices that go on in this country. He’s lost everything and wants to get even. I loved how far Coogler was willing to go with Killmonger to make him sympathetic but also show how destructive his line of thinking was. Michael B Jordan owned the role.

I give this film a strong recommendation. It’s a good movie with a memorable villain. I’m interested to see how this film does in the international box office. Domestically, it’s looking to break records. Superhero movie exhaustion is not here yet and it may never come.

World Hunger On The Rise Again, Lack of Networking to Blame.

(CNM) – After years of steady decline, global hunger is again on the rise. This increase – 350 million more people than last year – is largely fueled by a deficit in networking skills which has led to larger unemployment rates which has led to increased starvation and malnutrition across the world, according to a report published by the World Health Organization.

550 million work-age adults worldwide are networking-stunted, the report says. 100 million adults suffer from shyness. An estimated 220 million adults are too negative-minded to network without being a total downer. Being weird-looking and creepy is also cause for concern. These trends are the consequences of bad parenting, bad gene pools, chronic depression, and millennial entitlement.

“The number has risen dramatically in the past year. What we had here was a surplus of people who went out into the workforce and thought they could get by with a well-written resume, relevant work experience, and a college degree. The working world is more complex than that,” the heads of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the US Labor of Bureau Statistics (BLS), and the International Networking Skills Development Committee (INSDC) said in their joint foreword to the report.

“This is not something that the world can afford to ignore. To reach our aim of ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2020, we must address the fact that lacking in networking skills leads to unemployment which leads to starvation. Half of the starving population are perfectly-qualified workers who do not network or have a poorly constructed network. Finding an answer to the networking-stunted question is a necessary condition to end world hunger,” they said.

In response to the report, WHO has plans to open networking education centers where networking-stunted individuals will be gathered to help them become better networkers.

“A person who does not know how to network is a person in need of help. If you or anyone you know is networking-stunted, please fill out the form on our website to add to our list of individuals who require networking re-education. After the opening of the networking education centers, the networking-stunted will be transported to the centers where they will have access to free drinks and networking mixers. It is fully recommended that the networking-stunted individuals not ask questions or resist during their relocation,” WHO said in their public response to the report.

James Damore and the Memo of Controversy

After publishing a memo about his thoughts on diversity on an internal discussion board, James Damore has been fired from  Google. He’s been making the rounds online, talking about his memo, diversity, chess, and his thoughts on Google’s actions. The memo, much like everything else these days, has been very divisive. Damore has been labeled a sexist  due to the comments made in the memo. Free speech advocates have come to his support, disgusted that a man lost his livelihood over his opinion. So what is James Damore? Is he an anti-diversity bigot or a victim of political correctness? The only way to find out that answer is to go to the controversial memo itself.

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I pulled this version of the memo from medium.com. It has a foreword responding to the public reaction to the memo. Mr. Damore sounds reasonable here. He says he’s speaking for more than just himself. Others at Google share the same opinion. Though we will never hear from them after the firing of Mr. Damore. I agree with him here. Diversity in the workplace is a very hot topic. People shouldn’t be afraid to vocalize their opinions as long as they are professional and not inflammatory.

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This introduction is intriguing to me. How he will substantiate his claims he’s making? Free and open discussion is a valuable part of the human experience. He mentions differing traits in men and women may contribute to lack of equal representation. A bold claim, but that isn’t advocating for the removal of women in the work force.  He sounds okay here.

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He hedges his claims on the bottom, by mentioning that he doesn’t know much outside of perspective. And he claims he himself may be biased and is open to discussing his position. He is correct in that social sciences, media, and the tech field skew to the left of political spectrum. I’m not seeing anything worth being fired over.

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I don”t know if I agree with his right and left political breakdown. It’s very broad and basic. I have to agree with him that we have a culture that shames people into silence. But that is on both sides of the political spectrum. Colin Kapernick kneeled during the National Anthem and now cannot get a job in the NFL. He’s not the best quarterback, but he’s better than others that currently have jobs. He’s been blackballed for his comments on touchy subjects much like how James Damore has been.

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Biological differences do exist between men and woman. This is very well-documented. Sexual dimorphism is observable in the human species.  But to look at biological differences and apply them to women in the modern tech field is a huge jump. I don’t know what he could be thinking of here. Is he saying that women are lacking in something to be successful or that they are biologically programmed to dislike working in the tech field? He will have to have strong evidence to support either claim.

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And this is where Mr. Damore got himself into trouble. His first citation is a Wikipedia link. Not the most credible of sources. My understanding of the first bullet is that he is claiming women are more social creatures than men and prefer to work with people than isolated in rooms with computers. I don’t find that to be necessarily a fallacious claim, but doesn’t sufficiently explain the lack of women in the tech field. There are women who work in that industry and they’re as social as any other woman.  Author needed to dig deeper for an explanation. He needed to speak to female coworkers and ask them why they got into the tech field. This would allow him to understand more of why women enter and better understand why some women may not.

Bullet number two is a similar half-truth. It has been noted that women have difficulty obtaining raises, but you can’t claim that women wanting to be liked is the sole explanation. He’s jumping to conclusions. There can be other reasons for why women don’t get or don’t ask for raises. Could that be true on average? Maybe. There is also no citation for this claim.

The third bullet point is just ignorant. Women work high stress jobs. The majority of nurses are women and that is a very high stress position. He didn’t do enough research or think about the positions that women hold in our society. He’s acting like women just prefer to work as secretaries and not ask for raises because they want to be liked and can’t handle stress. Third bullet puts a sour taste in my mouth.

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Mr. Damore jumps again to a conclusion and states that we should stop assuming sexism is solely responsible for the gender gap. I wouldn’t go that far. Sexism is likely a part of the reason for gender gaps. It is not wholly responsible, but it is an element.

I agree that some men take on high-paying positions for status, but others do enjoy their work. Not every CEO is just in it for the status. What’s odd to me about that paragraph is that he both claims that men take on jobs for status, but then lists a bunch of low status jobs that men work. If status drove men, then why would they be garbage collectors? He throws out this work-related death stat, but I don’t feel that is relevant to this discussion.

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His top suggestion is the best one he makes in this list. But that doesn’t only pertain to women, that can apply to all people. Finding a way to add more socializing into coding can make it a more appealing field to work in. But this does not explain why women would not want to be leaders in the technology if they are already within it. Those women are interested in coding. This would be more for women outside of the technology field.

I don’t see how point two is relevant to his claims. A woman who is good enough to get a job at Google has a spirit of competition within her. Those jobs are not handed out. If they’ve made it that far, they should want more once they are in the company. What needs to be focused on is how many women desire to be leaders and why they do. What is preventing them from becoming leaders? If they aren’t any, let’s ask women why they don’t want to be leaders. We can’t assume that they have less of a drive for competition. His link about education is not relevant to this discussion.

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Suggesting that women cannot handle leadership positions due to stress is where he got into trouble and what drove Google to fire him. It’s a sexist assumption that women shy away from  positions because they fear the stress. It’s what did him in.

Work-life balance is a good topic to bring up, but his suggestion is for women to work part time. How is this a reasonable solution? How will they pay their bills? Why is he assuming it’s simply too much for women to handle a full-time technology job?

Now his last point here invalidates the entire paper. The crux of his argument is that biological traits are responsible for women not succeeding in the tech field. These traits are innate and universal across cultures. It’s a nature over nurture argument. Now he’s saying men need to be allowed to take on more feminine traits by society. That’s a nurture over nature argument. If men’s traits and desires can be changed through societal influence, why can’t the same be true for women?

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Did Google state that they were going to try and hold back others who worked extra hours or took on more stress? He’s afraid that will happen and have disastrous consequences. What has led him to this fear? As far as I can tell, Google is doing great work as a company?  What disastrous consequences is he talking about? What evidence does he have that something terrible is going to happen?

The first bullet-point I agree with. Mentors and classes should be open to anyone who needs help regardless of gender or race. If people are excluded because of their race even if they are white, that is wrong. Help should be available to everyone who can benefit from it.

What special treatment for “diversity” candidates is he speaking of? I clicked the link for his lowering the bar comment, but it leads to a private forum. Had there a controversial hiring of a “diversity” candidate? He creates an us vs. them mentality with his use of  quotation marks. How does he know that these “diversity” hires aren’t just good enough to work at Google? Is every non-white man hire a diversity hire? He’s not accepting for what they can do. If he has a personal experience of working with someone hired to meet a diversity quota who could not do the work, then he should provide that as evidence.

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He hasn’t had much evidence of his own. This memo has been the kettle calling the pot black. He calls social constructionism a myth but earlier he had mentioned that society needs to allow men to be more feminine. Did I misread that? I agree that the gender wage gap is a myth. In this paragraph I sense frustration. Like some “diversity” candidate got hired through a program and he felt that they hadn’t worked hard to get that job. And he’s afraid it’s going to mess up Google.

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These are his concluding thoughts. People are biased towards women due to a biological need to protect them. Men are disposable and cannot voice gripes about their gender issues without being shamed. Society believes differences between genders is due to men oppressing women, but the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. However society ignores the pains of men and spends its resources on helping women.

Is he wrong here? I share some of the same sentiment. Very difficult for men to discuss gender issues without being negatively labeled. I don’t know if that comes from biological bias towards women. From what I’ve seen, it’s because one side believes their opinions are morally correct and to oppose them is to be evil. They have very black and white thinking on issues where it may be more complicated. A good example of this would be Donald Trump voters. It is easy to label all Trump voters as evil racists, but that is not the case for all of them. Some people voted for Obama and then switched over to Trump. That was why he won the election. So within his voter-base were people who were not evil racists.

Men as the disposable gender is a subject that intrigues me, but I don’t feel it has much place in a memo stating that biological differences between men and women are responsible for a lack of women in the tech field. We aren’t discussing war. People are sitting around in a room punching code. What does it matter if men are disposable in this context?

If what he says is true and society does favor women, why doesn’t society give them more positions in the lucrative tech field then?

It’s kind of sad that he writes about people afraid of being fired for their comments and that men are labeled misogynists for discussing gender issues because that’s exactly what happened to him.

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Google does not sound like a fun place to work if this gentlemen thinks it is a psychologically unsafe environment. It is very concerning that he believes this. What have they done to make him feel unsafe at work?

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He wants people to be treated as individuals but has said we should create programs for women because on average they are more agreeable, more anxious and less driven for status. That’s not treating people as individuals.

Diversity in the work place will remain a moral issue so long as people are discriminated against because of who they are and how they were born. That will not go away.

I agree that conservatives who are reasonable and professional should not be alienated.

Programs that exclude others based on their race shouldn’t exist in the workplace. They should be open to everyone.

“Discriminating just to increase the representation of women in tech is as
misguided and biased as mandating increases for women’s representation in the
homeless, work-related and violent deaths, prisons, and school dropouts.”

I wouldn’t equate trying to get girls jobs as the same as believing women should be violently murdered and sent to prison at the same numbers of men. People just want women to be well-off and to have a chance to make a good living like any of the men in the field. Very strange comparison.

Criticism of the diversity programs should be permitted. Google ought to have an anonymous suggestion box where people can leave comments without risk of repercussions. This can help to improve their programs and allow employees to feel psychologically safe.

Open discussion is very important to Mr. Damore. Google should have a forum for this. He makes Google sound like a terrifying place to work where the wrong opinion can get you thrown out the door. When you speak up, you are shamed into silence.

But why would we deemphasize empathy? We need that to understand how to better get women into the field? We should rely solely on numbers in that case. We have to get straight to the people. Numbers only tell a part of the story. The methodology behind the numbers have to be examined. When analyzing human behavior, we should pay attention to the individual’s emotions.

The science of human nature isn’t an exact science. I’ve read many psychology books and many of them state that there are failings in their findings and more research needs to be done. You can’t apply the findings to the general population. I just finished a psychology book called The Dark Side of Close Relationships. In one of the last sections in the book, they come to the conclusion that social rejection may do more harm to a person’s well-being than social acceptance does good. But the study accepts that there are limitations to the collection of the data and the responses of the subjects involved in the research. So while the information suggests one thing, it’s possible it may be another.

I do not believe Mr. Damore deserved to be fired for this memo. He has a passion for the subject and speaks for others who are afraid to speak themselves. He is ignorant on some fronts and draws conclusions without substantial evidence. I believe Google could have worked out a solution. If many employees feel that the work environment is psychologically unsafe, that cannot be conducive to being productive. Google takes diversity very seriously so they should have allowed Mr. Damore, female coworkers and leaders to have a discussion on his views. It would be an open forum where they could each learn more about each other’s perspectives. Allow the women to respond to his memo and set him straight on where they believe he is wrong. Let employees give feedback on how they feel about diversity and how they feel about Google’s current practices.

Mr. Damore’s points on work-related deaths and society favoring women over men would best be left to another paper discussing the position of men in contemporary society. I do not read any maliciousness behind his words, but I do sense frustration.  I understand why Google fired him. His memo brought a negative light onto the company but I wish they hadn’t. By firing him, they could be contributing to a psychologically unsafe work environment that Mr. Damore describes. They should have found a way to work with him and see where they could make changes.

 

 

The Simple Argument Against Mankind

Is man good or evil?

The answer to this question has escaped humanity. Philosophers like Plato, Ayn Rand, and Immanuel Kant each had their own well-thought-out answers, but they’re all dead so who cares what they think.  I say man is evil. I only need one piece of evidence to prove my claim.

The public bathroom.

We’ve all experienced one. Opened that door, looking to complete our most basic bodily function. We’ve all kicked open that stall door and hoped for the best. Then we saw the true nature of humanity lying on the ground next to the toilet. Festering. Leaving a smell in the air that beckoned filthy flying disease-spreading creatures.

On the walls in those stalls, we can see all that man is. The bathroom stall is a private place for a person. No one is allowed in. The person can collect their thoughts and write any messages they choose. No one knows who writes the words. The anonymity of the stall wall reveals the darkness of man. For what does he share in his private moment but the worst words and the worst sentiments. The foulest language in our tongue greets the person who wishes to evacuate their bowels and be on their way. The person has to sit with their cheeks spread on toilet paper, holding their nose and forced to look at crude drawings of genitalia and racial epithets. In their most vulnerable moment, they find that they have been betrayed by their fellow man.

Those people then embrace their own evil. They sit up and leave without flushing. They contribute to the depravity on the walls. They unleash their load on the floor. They leak out onto the toilet paper. They leave the stall in worse shape than they found it. A revenge for the person before that afflicts the person after.

No person who leaves the bathroom leaves with a smile on their face. Their face is a contorted one of frustration with a touch of misery.

For they have been reminded what they are.

Evil.