one thing I find hilarious is when Shakespeare quotes are used out of context
like, people are always saying “some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them” as if it’s all deep and meaningful when actually it comes from a prank letter in Twelfth Night
and “This above all: to thine own self be true” comes from Polonius in Hamlet wherein the joke is that he’s an old pompous dude giving a long and rambling speech full of contradictory pointless advice to his son
“Brevity is the soul of wit” is another joke, because again, it’s made by Polonius who will just not shut up
it’s “we are such stuff as dreams are made on” not “of “, as in, “such stuff as dreams are built on”
“wherefore art thou, Romeo” doesn’t mean “where are you, Romeo” it means “why the fuck are you called Romeo, shit, I wanted to bang you but I can’t because you’re a goddamn Montague”
all these lines have acquired a kind of dignity in text that they never had in performance or are constantly misinterpreted
It’s not necessarily bad but it is kind of funny, sometimes.
I think the best way to explain this is to compare it to the other states of matter so here is a run-down
Solids - molecules are structured rigidly and resist deformation of shape or volume.
Liquids - molecules can move passed one another, resists changes in volume.
Gas - Molecules can be separated by much space and fly around each other. Can be deformed in shape and volume.
Now, in a gas each molecule will be charge neutral. However, the molecules can interact weakly with each other through what is called van der Waals forces. These forces keep the cloud kind of together and explain some gas behaviour.
In a plasma all (or enough) of the molecules are ionised. That is, they have charge. So the molecules are going to interact in a much stronger way. Additionally, electricity can be conducted by plasma.
There’s not a huge amount of plasma on Earth. We’re talking; neon lights, lightning, electric sparks, fire. But stars are all plasma, so it’s actually the most abundant form of matter in the universe.
Science “journalism” is why we can’t have nice things.I highly recommend clicking through any science reporting to the actual article, but it will make you a cynic!
I recently had a conversation with my mother about “scientific” articles, and using skepticism. It was stemmed from her telling me about an advertisement that she saw for a talk on “natural” treatment for disease.
I looked at the article. Surrounding the text were pictures of attractive, smiling people doing yoga, and tranquil pools of water.The headline was “Goodbye Diabetes, Heart Disease, & Cancer Risk: Preventing and Reversing Disease the Natural Way”. This immediately set off my mental bullshit warning. For starters, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are all very different diseases. To suggest that they can all be treated with similar tactics is ludicrous.
It only got worse from there, as the rest of the ad read: “More than 40% of people age 20 years or older, and 72% over 65 years old, are prediabetic or have diabetes. The health implications are catastrophic. Come and learn natural strategies that address the underlying causes of disease and place us on the path of health and healing.” There are some very common advertising gimmicks used here. First, is the use of arbitrary statistics. The fact that 40% of people 20+ years old and 72% of 65+ year-olds have a diabetes-related disease is irrelevant, unless followed by some other statistic regarding the treatment of these people. The use of these statistics is used merely for show, to give an appearance of credibility.
Next, the use of the word “catastrophic”, without any more specific details as to the pathological effects of diabetes. “Catastrophic” is not a very descriptive term, but it has an emotional impact. It sounds very negative and very extreme, thus making the reader want to avoid whatever it is that is described so negatively.
Finally, the use of the terms “natural strategies” and “path of health and healing”. This also appeals to emotions without actually describing anything at all. Using the term “natural” makes things sound more appealing, due to social stigma against anything man-made or artificial. Words like “health” and “healing” sound pleasant-it doesn’t matter that without context, these words are meaningless, because they evoke a positive response.
After looking at all these uses of advertising, I was pretty much convinced this was a scam, but what put the final nail in the coffin was the mention of a book signing for the lecturer’s book, something entitled Goodbye Diabetes: Preventing and Reversing Diabetes the Natural Way. It was obvious: this whole lecture was just a ploy to garner publicity-and sales-for the lecturer’s book.
I tried telling my mother that it would maybe be a good idea to approach this lecture with a healthy dose of skepticism, and that things that touted “natural” or “miracle” “cures” without solid evidence should be analyzed critically. She did not take my advise very well. She said that the lecturer had a doctorate, isn’t that enough credibility? I responded that no degree makes you automatically reliable; Dr. Oz had a doctorate, and he’s still a manipulative snake-oil salesman. She replied that she just wanted to look into all the options, that she liked the idea of natural treatments instead of just medicating for everything. I told her that’s fine, as long as you look at your options critically and with skepticism. She then said that she didn’t like the word skepticism-it had a very negative connotation.
The conversation went on, but that really ended it for me. It made me realize that for most people, they don’t care if their information comes from a well-sourced, peer reviewed scientific paper or if it comes from a quack looking to make money. They’ll just take whatever is easiest to swallow. And it makes me sad to think that people are like this. It makes me sad that I couldn’t convince my mother to look at things with skepticism. Because it’s not a negative word. It just means searching for the truth, and not stopping for the easy answers along the way. It means being able to think for yourself, and not simply gobbling up whatever someone with a title tells you to think. I think that “skepticism” is a positive word. And I think that if we all head a little more of it, we could see some positive change. But don’t just take my word for it. Think about it yourself.
This is one thing that disappoints me about so many people: that there’s no motivation to research, especially when it comes to health. For fuck’s sake, there’s nothing inherently “negative” about skepticism.