Five Good Things for 11/18/2015

Five things I encountered today that were interesting, educational, beautiful, edifying or that I otherwise found to be…well, good. None of these are promotions and I do not receive any benefit from sharing them. I just like them.

I can’t believe we’re nearly halfway through the week. I feel like I’ve spent most of it so far being anxious about one thing or another. Hopefully the second half of this week will be calmer. Here are some things to take your mind off whatever is stressing you out this week.

albert-einstein-messenger-portrait1) The Atlantic has a great history of science article on how Einstein’s Theory of Relativity came to be accepted. The story  also goes to the broader point of how bias in science can stall progress for decades. Scientists are just as vulnerable as anyone else to bias, and if you’re working off the wrong set of assumptions, you’re gonna get the wrong answer. Which, I think, is something we could all do to remember.

ArmedAndSexyLeia-OfficialPix2) “Can We Talk About Why We Really Love Princess Leia?” is a great little essay on the true strength and allure of Leia Organa. Despite in some ways falling into a very traditional mythological role in the original trilogy, she’s really a subversive figure, and even more so in the Expanded Universe. I hope some of our new lady characters in the upcoming films can carry on her legacy.

3) This is one of those viral clickbait videos that’s just too sweet not to share. This Special Education teacher spends the first ten minutes of every day complimenting and validating his kids, and encourages them to do the same for each other. It’s so lovely to see and seems to have made a big change in the kids themselves. Now, I know there’s a lot of debate over whether children these days are getting too much positive reinforcement which is leaving them unprepared for struggle, but for children who probably hear a lot of negative things and already face many challenge, I think is probably a much-needed infusion of encouragement in their day.

1434283187-promo1.png4) I love a good webcomic and Peritale by Mari Costa is just adorable. It’s about a fairy who wants to be a fairy godmother but can’t pass her test because she doesn’t have any magical powers. She’s a Squib, basically. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have talents, and as the story unfolds she finds ways to be a hero that she never would have predicted.

Galaxy_1954_04_0000.jpg5) I recently re-read a great classic sci-fi story by Fredrik Pohl called “The Midas Plague”, published in 1954. The conceit is that it’s set in a future where so much stuff is produced that consuming it becomes a chore – those with lots of possessions are considered poor, while it’s a luxury to have less and live more simply. You can read the whole thing in Galaxy Magazine’s online archive.

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