47.2

A Dartmouth economist has pegged what he claims is the most miserable age: 47.2 years old. A new study by David Blanchflower, collecting data about well-being and age from 132 countries, suggests that for people in developed nations, the “happiness curve” reaches its perigee at precisely 47.2 years. Those are the doldrums of middle age.

For someone like me who feels plenty of middle-aged misery but is not yet 47.2, this statistic is daunting! I’m not gonna see an upswing for another 2.14 years? I decided to talk to some actual 47.2-year-olds to find out what it is about 47.2-hood that’s so miserable, and how I can escape their horrible fate.

Dan Kois, Slate

Emerson on Prayer

“Prayer that craves a particular commodity, any thing less than all good, is vicious. Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view. It is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul. It is the spirit of God pronouncing his works good. But prayer as a means to effect a private end is meanness and theft. It supposes dualism and not unity in nature and consciousness. As soon as the man is at one with God, he will not beg. He will then see prayer in all action. The prayer of the farmer kneeling in his field to weed it, the prayer of the rower kneeling with the stroke of his oar, are true prayers heard throughout nature, though for cheap ends.”

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Self Reliance

Random Quiz

Someone who studies ants is a:
The original drummer for The Beatles was:
SQL stands for:
The author of the Foundation series:
Defenestrate means:

Literal Interpretation, example of

I was at a private school that had rules about the length of boys hair. One guy in particular always ignored the rule and the administration would tell him to get a hair cut every so often, but he never did. Eventually when his hair got about down to his shoulders the principal pulled him aside and told him his hair was twice the allowed length and by next week it needed to be shortened by half.

Monday rolls around and he comes in with half his head shaved, and the other side as long as ever. We were impressed by literal interpretation of the principal’s request, but it still ended up with him getting a suspension for a week and he had to shave the other side before he could come back.

What’s the best way you’ve seen someone rebel against school rules? from AskReddit

Javascript Rising Stars

For the 4th consecutive year, Vue.js is the overall winner of our contest, with more then 30,000 stars added on GitHub in 2019.

No surprises at the following spots: React and the code editor VS Code follow in the same order as last year.

The biggest jump in the rankings is Vue Element Admin, a solution to build nice dashboards using Vue.js components, number 4 this year.

Svelte has been around for a few year but it really took off in 2019 and it holds the position number 5.

TypeScript enters the TOP 10, its success has been one of the main changes in JavaScript landscape over the last years.

Deno, the JavaScript run-time built by the creator of Node.js was one of the newcomers in 2018. It’s still trendy, at the 13th position.

https://risingstars.js.org/2019/en/

Tabulating Crime, Difficulties With

The first problem with understanding crime is that measuring it is harder than it sounds. The Department of Justice approaches the problem in two ways. The F.B.I.’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, or U.C.R., solicits data from about twenty thousand law-enforcement agencies around the country. Simultaneously, the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey, or N.C.V.S., interviews about a hundred and fifty thousand nationally representative citizens, asking them whether they have been victims of a crime.

Both datasets have problems. An obvious one is that there’s no consensus about what counts as criminal activity. In some jurisdictions, only offenses worthy of incarceration are considered crimes. In others, fined infractions also count. (Is speeding a crime? What about manspreading, for which one can be fined seventy-five dollars in Los Angeles?) Because the U.C.R. draws its data from investigators, and the N.C.V.S. relies on victims, they can present starkly different pictures of crime. According to the U.C.R., the incidence of rape nearly doubled from 1973 to 1990. The N.C.V.S., by contrast, shows that it declined by around forty per cent during the same period. Researchers at Vanderbilt University looked into the discrepancy; they found that the upward trend in the U.C.R. data correlated with upticks in the number of female police officers, and with the advent of rape crisis centers and reformed investigative styles. It could be, in short, that a modernized approach to the policing of rape drastically increased the frequency with which it was reported while reducing its incidence. But coherent stories like these only sometimes emerge from the conflicting data.

Matthew Hutson, New Yorker

Heaven and Hell are Within You

An old monk on Mount Athos in Greece once told me that people rejoice in the thought of hell to the precise degree that they harbor hell within themselves. By which he meant, I believe, that heaven and hell alike are both within us all, in varying degrees, and that, for some, the idea of hell is the treasury of their most secret, most cherished hopes — the hope of being proved right when so many were wrong, of being admired when so many are despised, of being envied when so many have been scorned.

And as Jesus said (Matthew 6:21), “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

David Bentley Hart, NY Times

RIP – Neil Peart

I saw Rush on the Power Windows tour and the crowd threw glow sticks in the air when they heard the first note of Tom Sawyer. Thanks for the good times Neil!


Here’s a Rolling Stone profile of Rush from 2015 that I remember reading and enjoying: From Rush With Love

Neil Peart likes to ask himself a couple of key questions. One is “What is the most excellent thing I can do today?” The answers lead him to travel between Rush’s shows on a BMW motorcycle instead of a plane or bus (creating scheduling nightmares for the band’s management), and to embark upon extracurricular bicycle trips through West Africa and China and Europe. He aims to fill every minute of his life with as much much-ness as possible, which may also help explain all those 32nd notes.

Hamlet as improv part …

Hamlet is a tragedy where there is a part left open, as a part is left open for an improvisational actor in farce. But here the part is left open for a tragedian.

He is fundamentally bored, and for that reason he acts theatrically. The play is written entirely out of spite against actors, and by its nature the role of Hamlet cannot be done by an actor. An actor can act everything except an actor. Hamlet should be played by an actor brought in off the street, and the rest of the characters should be professional actors. The point about Hamlet is that he is an actor and you can’t act yourself. You can only be yourself.

W. H. Auden, Lectures on Shakespeare

Personal Identity, Quotes on

“Even though I was very shy, I found I could get onstage if I had a new identity.”
David Bowie

“I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art.”
Madonna

“Who the fuck are you?”
The Who

“If you understood everything I said, you’d be me”
Miles Davis

“Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?”
Alan Watts

Mirror Neurons

You’re walking through a park when out of nowhere, the man in front of you gets smacked by an errant Frisbee. Automatically, you recoil in sympathy. Or you’re watching a race, and you feel your own heart racing with excitement as the runners vie to cross the finish line first. Or you see a woman sniff some unfamiliar food and wrinkle her nose in disgust. Suddenly, your own stomach turns at the thought of the meal.

For years, such experiences have puzzled psychologists, neuroscientists and philosophers, who’ve wondered why we react at such a gut level to other people’s actions. How do we understand, so immediately and instinctively, their thoughts, feelings and intentions?

Now, some researchers believe that a recent discovery called mirror neurons might provide a neuroscience-based answer to those questions. Mirror neurons are a type of brain cell that respond equally when we perform an action and when we witness someone else perform the same action.

Lea Winerman, The Mind’s Mirror, apa.org

RIP – Elizabeth Wurtzel

Elizabeth Wurtzel, whose startling 1994 memoir, “Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America,” won praise for opening a dialogue about clinical depression and helped introduce an unsparing style of confessional writing that remains influential, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. She was 52.

NYTIMES

Three Cheers for Thrasybulus

So, if we look at Athens in 401, the democracy has been completely restored and I’d like to draw my comments about this to a close by focusing on Thrasybulus, a man, who I think probably none of you had ever heard his name when you came into this class. You had heard of Pericles, you may have heard of Themistocles, you heard lots of different Athenians, but you never heard of Thrasybulus. So, you might be surprised to hear the following. Cornelius Nepos, a Roman historian of the first century B.C., in writing lives of famous Greeks and Romans, wrote the following about Thrasybulus: “If excellence were to be weighed by itself, apart from luck, I believe I would rank this man first of all. This much is certain, I put no one ahead of him in sense of honor, steadfastness, greatness of soul, and love of country.” That isn’t bad but it’s not the end.

A few years before 180 A.D., Pausanias the great travel writer of antiquity, wrote his guide to the famous and historic places of ancient Greece. In the section on Athens, he described the graves of the heroes and men that lined the roads outside the city beginning with the one leading to the place known as The Academy. Here’s what Pausanias the travel writer says, “The first is that of Thrasybulus, son of Lycus, in every way the greatest of all famous Athenians, whether they lived before or after him.” Think of all the names that are involved in that and maybe the weight of Pausanias’ general comparison is intensified by something a little bit more specific, because the next words in Pausanias’ account are these: “His is the first grave and after it comes that of Pericles,” just in case you thought he missed Pericles by mistake.

Now, that’s extraordinary and there’s a great puzzle that I can’t solve and probably never can be solved. How could it be that these fellows who lived centuries afterwards said these things about Thrasybulus and we have never heard of him? I mean barely heard of him. I mean, the best answer I can give you is there must have been lost histories, and we know there are of the period, and they must have given Thrasybulus the kind of credit for his remarkable achievements that don’t show up in Xenophon and Diodorus and the orators. But we at last, and you have an obligation to future generations, must not let the name of Thrasybulus lie in obscurity again, and just so that you don’t forget him, remember he is the only Greek I know whose name fits a Yale fight song — Thrasybulus, Thrasybulus.

Robert Kagan, Lecture 21 – The Struggle for Hegemony in Fourth-Century Greece

Ron Rosenbaum on The Connection (audio)

Ron Rosenbaum is the Edgy Enthusiast at the New York Observer, the journalist who’s made a beat out of his own obsessive passions and interests now for thirty years. If there’s a common thread that runs through The Simpsons, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Nabokov’s “Pale Fire,” Edith Wharton, Jorge Luis Borges and Mystery Science Theater 3000 it’s that Ron Rosenbaum finds it brilliant, beautiful or redemptive.

He’s a close reader of Shakespeare and the Bible and this summer’s Survivor series; a lover of classic films, epic poetry and borderline bad pop music. He writes and reports only as a rationale to read more and plunge further into his labyrinth of oddball ideas, conspiracy theories and misconceptions about the world.

It’s Ron’s world and welcome to it. The Edgy Enthusiast Ron Rosenbaum, this hour on The Connection.
(Hosted By Christopher Lydon)

Guests:

Ron Rosenbaum, Editor and Author of the NY Observer’s Edgy Enthusiast.

The Connection

Apartments for rent in Denver: What will $1,100 get you?

Listed at $1,005/month, this studio apartment is located at 1431 Humboldt St. South.

In the apartment, you can expect a dishwasher. Amenities offered in the building include a resident lounge and on-site laundry. Pet owners, take heed: This property is both dog-friendly and cat-friendly. There’s no leasing fee required for this rental.

Walk Score indicates that the surrounding area is a “walker’s paradise,” is convenient for biking and offers many nearby public transportation options.

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