The news: A new scientific study from Princeton researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page has finally put some science behind the recently popular argument that the United States isn’t a democracy any more. And they’ve found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.
An oligarchy is a system where power is effectively wielded by a small number of individuals defined by their status called oligarchs. Members of the oligarchy are the rich, the well connected and the politically powerful, as well as particularly well placed individuals in institutions like banking and finance or the military.
For their study, Gilens and Page compiled data from roughly 1,800 different policy initiatives in the years between 1981 and 2002. They then compared those policy changes with the expressed opinion of the United State public. Comparing the preferences of the average American at the 50th percentile of income to what those Americans at the 90th percentile preferred, as well as the opinions of major lobbying or business groups, the researchers found out that the government followed the directives set forth by the latter two much more often.
It’s beyond alarming. As Gilens and Page write, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.
That might explain why mandatory background checks on gun sales supported by 83% to 91% of Americans aren’t in place, or why Congress has taken no action on greenhouse gas emissions even when such legislation is supported by the vast majority of citizens.
This problem has been steadily escalating for four decades. While there are some limitations to their data set, economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez constructed income statistics based on IRS data that go back to 1913. They found that the gap between the ultra-wealthy and the rest of us is much bigger than you would think…
One week ago, I purchased the first asthma inhaler I’ve owned since the 8th grade. I’d shown up at my doctor’s office short of breath, and a lung function test promptly revealed that I was inhaling about one-fifth as much air as a healthy 24-year-old should be. “We’re expecting a lot of cases like you,” my doctor told me as he wrote my prescription. “It’s going to be a hell of a pollen season.”
And for that, you can blame the polar vortex—the extreme cold system that repeatedly hovered over much of the United States this year—along with the rest of this winter’s brutal weather. Those cold snaps helped spawn a spring allergy season so intense that it already has its own headline-ready nickname: the “pollen vortex.”
"The long winter, the particularly cold weather, it all pushed the pollen season back quite a bit," says Estelle Levetin, the chair of the biology department at the University of Tulsa. Individual flowering trees probably aren’t producing more pollen, Levetin says—but they’re all dumping their pollen at once, making this allergy season particularly difficult for people who are sensitive to more than one type of pollen.
Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks brings our attention to Charles Bonnet syndrome — when visually impaired people experience lucid hallucinations. He describes the experiences of his patients in heartwarming detail and walks us through the biology of this under-reported phenomenon.
Remember that episode of courage the cowardly dog where a furry bunny runs away from abusive dog dude to be with her lesbian cat lover
because that is all you need to remember
This episode is actually what got Courage taken off the air because a coalition of moms thought it carried lesbian symbolism and they threatened to sue the network if the show wasn’t removed from the air.
Many people at Cartoon Network cite Courage as their favourite show during its run and say that they would not have taken it off, had they had a real choice.
So the show ran the remaining episodes and was not renewed for another season.
… Are you fucking kidding me?!Really… REALLY? THIS was why they canceled Courage? Look, I’m tolerant of any belief, but anyone who would bitch about this episode can go fucking die for all I care.
They do realize that she left a fucking abusive relationship, which takes a fucking hell of a lot of effort, to be happy. The moral of the fucking story is to be happy, and to know your worth. It’s not about a fucking lesbian love scene you fucking worthless trash, it’s about telling little girls that they CAN ESCAPE an abusive relationship.
For fucks sakes, I’ve never been so anti-biggot in my life until right now.
Everything about this: my parents’ frugality, lack of culture growing up, time spent alone- is so damn on-point. I’m pretty sure Dyer and I had the same childhood, mine just being across the pond a few decades later. This part brought me to tears:
"…it was more than just education. I was my parents’ only child, but the life I would go on to lead would be so different from theirs, and the most important part of this difference was the way that it could never be explained and articulated to them by me."
I feel this difference growing, this gap widening, every day and it scares the shit out of me. It is my frustration. It is the root of my guilt. It is the reason for the pressure I put on myself.
If you needed further motivation to change your passwords, it turns out that the NSA has been utilizing the giant security vulnerability known as the “Heartbleed bug” to gather information about Internet users, Bloomberg reports.
The bug, which takes advantage of a previously unnoticed programming error in a widely used encryption standard to trick Web servers into giving up valuable user data, has affected nearly everyone on the Internet.
As we explained on Tuesday, as many as 66% of websites use the software containing the flaw, including major services like Facebook, Yahoo, and Gmail.