A mind that expresses both desire and intent. No one has ever produced a single example of a message that did not come from a mind. Tornadoes and turbulence and cloud formations. But non-living things cannot create language. Rocks cannot think and they cannot talk. And they cannot create information. DNA is not merely a molecule. DNA has a four-letter alphabet, and structures very similar to words, sentences and paragraphs.
With very precise instructions and systems that check for errors and correct them. It is formally and scientifically a code. All codes we know the origin of are designed. But to a person, none of them have ever been able to explain where the information came from. Matter and energy have to come from somewhere. Everyone can agree on that. But information has to come from somewhere, too! Information is separate entity, fully on par with matter and energy. And information can only come from a mind. If books and poems and TV shows come from human intelligence, then all living things inevitably came from a superintelligence.
Every word you hear, every sentence you speak, every dog that barks, every song you sing, every email you read, every packet of information that zings across the Internet, is proof of the existence of God. Because information and language always originate in a mind. When we consider the mystery of life — where it came from and how this miracle is possible — do we not at the same time ask the question where it is going, and what its purpose is? Full Presentation and Technical Details please review before posting questions or debates on the blog, almost every question and objection is addressed by these articles :.
First let me assure you that I do not contact you in a curmudgeonly or aggressive spirit. I was intrigued by your arguments as posted on cosmicfingerprints. I am an interested, open thinker. Is that right? You want to be pointed to a non-life process with language in it — and hope in remaining unanswered to demonstrate that the fundamentally language-based processes of life require that a mind initially invoked them? Are you happy to accept that nonliving things exist de-facto, and that a thinking being simply chose to populate this habitat?
Or is it simply that this matter is beyond the purposes of your syllogism and you prefer to leave it to other thinking? Which is generally taken to be the big bang. Which does suggest an act of creation. The only problem with that is we have no access to that event. No one has ever observed the spontaneous creation of information or a communication system by a purely natural, physical process.
ALL of us have observed the creation of information and communication systems by intelligent beings making conscious choices. We see it every day. With no current scientific evidence that suggests otherwise. Perry, what do you suppose would be the minimum necessary for such a creation event? That is, would setting up DNA suffice, or would some intelligence have to also include the other elements of the system? Do you envision a creation that would require not just DNA, but also a complete organism and an environment to live in?
Is an entire biosphere necessary and sufficient? I have a question. It would be better than to just not believe in anything. It is at least better to have pasion and hope than to be n the dirt with nothing to hold you up. But I think you can discover that God is real. Will they not then believe? The Quoran is a book of blasphemous lies from Satan, you people deny Christ as Saviour and need to repent of your wicked beliefs. We went to different hospitals but they keep saying the same thing that i was the problem and my husband was perfectly okay.
One day i decided to try traditional and spiritual help, i contacted a woman who i came across on the internet called Iya Basira i ask her for help and she told me that i was the cause of me inability to bear a child. I became more confuse and worried and at this time my husband was making moves for a divorce. I told the woman everything and she decided to help me, she told me she is going to help me by praying for and given me traditional medicine to drink, that i will be blessed with a child.
At the end of the day i followed her instructions, because i wanted my husband to see it as a miracle because he was a strong christian. I did all she ask me to do and i got all the results i needed without my husband knowing and today am a mother. Thanks to mother Iya Basira i will forever be grateful. I notice you quoted the bible and was pretty interested on what you thought about the bible, is the bible true or just some fake stuff? If there is a video or article on why the bible is fare or real ill be interested in reading it. I think the Genesis accounts can be reconciled with science if you make some very simple assumptions see my Genesis 1 article and if you understand that Genesis 2 is metanarrative, not strict historical narrative.
I suggest you read the Bible and let it speak to you. Among the most useful books are Psalms, Proverbs and John. Truth is truth. Hypotheses exist until they are proven to be false or are supplanted with better explanations. Your wrong in your interpretation. If the dead are not raised, they go to hell. They goto hell, because their life ended up being a manifestation of negativity, the devil.
We are pitied, because nobody realizes, that we must believe in, and see the positivity around us. You can see it if you believe, but people fail to do so and continually spread the negativity. And with the generations it just keeps on growing, because nobody believes in the good. I am thrilled to have stumbled onto this website. I am absolutely an atheist.
Unfortunately, most theists never really understand why they are a theist. Typically, they are either incapable, or unwilling, to explore the extremely abstract…. That gets frustrating at times. I will definitely be exploring this site, your ideas. I encourage you to read Evolution 2. I am very much like you Jarrod, I love these types of discussions. I would like to add that, by definition, God and creator are different although One could embody the other. But then again, if there is no God, you will never know anyway. How are you so sure you wont find yourself standing before Odin at the entrance to Valhalla or Zeus on Mount Olympus?
Have you considered how improbable your gamble on the god of the bible is, considering the thousands of alternative gods throughout history.
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In response to Jose, why not Zeus? Or Odin. The stories really are not any less believable. Why not Zeus, Odin, Ra etc? Tell me? It would not be better, why should you have a passion in something false. Would it not be better to have passion in something real, solid, and confirm-able. Religion is a corruption. Religion causes people to do immoral things and lack the ability to allow things. Belief in gods haves given people false hope that people can function without.
Religion is unnecessary, it is irrational. Why is the Christian god that has a bible that is the basis that allows slavery correct when the Islamic god that makes women second class citizens wrong. I think I have the issues clearly in mind and have my own opinion. What I would like to know now is this — What do you think is the strongest criticism of the ideas you have presented and defended here? If there is a naturalistic explanation for the origin of information then yes, we should look for it. I would argue that the only way we could ever find such an explanation is to admit that the current laws of physics do not explain the origin of information or consciousness, thus acknowledge we are searching for a new law of physics.
I am NOT doing that. Recognizing the existence of a designer is not anti-scientific at all. It just acknowledges that there are some things that are not reducible to mere physical laws. Case in point, you cannot reduce the rules of any computer program to mere physical laws. They obey physical laws but they also follow additional rules set by the programmer. You clearly cannot derive the genetic code from physical laws; it has every indication of being designed; and living things are better studied in the same manner that we study car engines, than in the manner that we study apples falling out of trees.
Every human language I know of is spoken by a conscious being. I have yet to see one that emerged from a rock. This is good stuff, Perry. May I just say that, at this point in time, the evidence for the Biblical God is way beyond just DNA, as you spoke about many years ago in your presentation. My point is the evidence for the Biblical God as our designer is ridiculous, and I have to laugh everytime that I hear Richard Dawkins, or any other non-believer argue for something else.
This pattern seeking has helped us evolve over billions of years — the grass moving may be a lion waiting to pounce. Knowledge is something you learn; faith is something you believe. Only if I pay attention to the facts will I save my life. The fact is this: The earth is 4. The universe is over 13 billion years old. Life evolved over billions of years, and humankind over the past million years. We share DNA with other primates; they are our cousins. These are facts. There are mountains of empirical evidence proving these facts. If your particular translation of the Bible says that our bones are made of butter, does that make it so?
If it said that God was a potato, would that make it so?
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Of course not; the Bible was penned by fallible human beings. Even if you believe that God INSPIRED the Bible which is what it says He did , then you still have to take into account the ignorance of the writers, most of whom lived in a remote desert during the Bronze Age, and who had formerly worshipped a volcano god before converting to El worship, and then converting to Yahweh worship — and still trying to hold onto the concept of the wife of God.
The history of religion is clear. The facts regarding science are clear. Get over yourself, and just believe in God — but accept science at the same time. Yes, the bible was written by humans, 40 unrelated humans, over years. And if you bother to look you can find it. Shallow really rocks through my mind right now…. Proof is in the creation that surrounds all living things. I understand you mean more then what we all can clearly see… and Faith, really? What big while you were alive like Moses you met God almighty? Would God make you have faith if you met God and knew God is Real? Maybe we can all come back… well except for the shallow ones that never make it….
Just believe in God? Of course. Just believe in science? God obviously loves science…He created it and made it available to us. You need to get over the false idea that science and God are in conflict. Wow, this is so wrong, firstly. Faith is out of context, our faith is sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. But it also says that we gain faith through hearing the word, and then the word is also proclaimed as Jesus, who is alive today and who is God. Your facts were taught by man, and our facts were in essence taught by the Holy Spirit, who is God.
Ours is drawn from a long line of historical culture of the Jews, who spoke a few of the broadest oldest languages around then. Honestly if any man was to right the bible, it would be the biggest hypocrisy ever, we as people love sin and doing our evil desire full things, which are noted in the bible for us not to do. There is nothing we get out of doing good on earth, apart from consequences for our actions.
Those facts that you mentioned are facts that are not accepted by every scientist and they have a tendency to change. What did life and the universe evolve from? How can something evolve into a system that works quite well without specific instruction to do so? What are the chances of that even happening randomly? We share DNA with bananas, that does not make you a banana. It would sure seem helpful at times.
The Bible does not say the earth is flat. The Bible does describe the God as exactly the being He would have to be in order to be able to create what has been created. As ignorant as you want to make the writers, they wrote of things that could not have been observed with the naked eye or quite impossible for those days. They described things in the skies and provided details on geography climate, geology, topography, etc that they could simply not have discovered themselves at that time.
Apparently they were not that ignorant since Biblical historical writings have been widely used by all sorts of groups that have done studies in that area of our planet. The Bible certainly cannot be held up as such. What about other current religions with differing gods? What about previous ones? They can all point to books, visions and miracles to back up their cases. I am not denying your right to believe, religion served humanity well and much of what we created to replace it has done a worse job for society.
So god, as an intelligent entity, must also be code based? Also, I get the argument posted about statistics and the infinitely small probability of information evolving in DNA. Life seems almost invetiable? Would it not be better to convey it in a more sure manner. He has the power, he has the knowledge how to. If god is real then he knows the way to ensure that all people know he is real and he is good. For the purposes of debate, there are some interesting articles here that offer a potential explanation of a evolution of DNA and b why the low probability argument is flawed?
Be interested to see the counter arguments? This would also seem to offer some good arguments for evolution in action, although I know many religious people now accept evolution in terms of being a click that started ticking after creation of a fully formed organism e.
Human but not before. Some people regard matter as independent and imagine that it has itself gained this freedom and elaborated the laws that rule over it. The result of all human effort and experimentation is a body of knowledge concerning a minute bright dot comparable to the dim light of a candle-surrounded by a dark night enveloping a huge desert of indefinite extent.
Hasnain, if Allah is true, how is it he does not know what Christians believe about Jesus and the Trinity? Have you met a ghost, spirit, demon, Damon, cheer up, Genie, Jen? I just wanted to know who or what you are? Quran is the most corrupted book. Full with contradicting surahs. Islam is full of bogus claimed. A rocks language comes from frequency, all things have frequency which would come from a design a creator…. So do you need faith if you know God truly esist? I mean if you met God and physically seen and spoke with God? For it is in the Skeptics nature to be in denial and to deny others.
Everything again has design, has code, has instruction, is from knowledge. There is intelligent design from the most smallest particles to the entire Cosmos, every sentient being is from something. The shallow mind body and soul of skeptic is that of a lost person in a forest starred in half-crazed tearing through the woods lost. Peace to everybody God save you all and God bless. I just have to add one more thing God is great come God is so great X offended t x Cosmos X forever plus so much more than you could ever imagine. Why do we have to limit so much about God? Why are we so limited in our thinking?
I believe that sentience is overrated and you are so arrogant to believe that you are better than a rock to this world than your speech about God. We dont need a ruler but the means to rule ourselves. That way is a hard way rather that expect that a God or God fix everything or hope for an afterlife. That means than nothing we do matters and we just need to believe and stay in line like cattle. So no more creation, no more improvement, no future just mindless obedience. You cant say you are scientific more than you can say than you are a hipocrite. Dont believe that I am insulting you I just think that you pretty much gave up of this world because you are lazy with the prospect of salvation.
And that to the generations to come is disappointing because ultimately we need to transcend this world not because you care for salvation it is rather for disregarding reality which is to me the only thing we can improve. Rocks must be space junk minus carbon.
Our life span for example exceed our bodies capabilities, vital organs were not designed to live as long as the entire body. We live to the 70s and to s today lingering until death finally arrives and releaves suffering. Humanity has created their own perfect designer in the Bible with nothing but mythic stories and fables from lunatics. I love those mythic stories and fables, they made my life safe. However, you did not substantiate that claims, unless you defined things differently. No, I think we agree on the same definitons. God will only intervene as we humans allow Him. Marshall makes excellent points for intelligent design.
Bacteria seems to be the catalist that gets everything started. The Bible is an excellent roadmap, Jesus and the Holy Spirit were present at mans creation. The Holy Spirit has a roll in everything today. The Bible is written on a 6 to 7 grade level and therefore its easy to understand. It is no scientific book that offers proof.
It offers an answer to communicate with God. Both are are right I guess. To sustain my position, recently a rift in the Atlantic Ocean is a recorded fact. Some people have erroneously made a statement that God caused the rift. They apparently never studied geology. The Dead Sea is a result of Asia separating from Africa, rift.
A natural occurence. There is not a shred of evidence thus far. Despite claims god made male and female, we even see fish change gender due to environmental inputs and humans born as both. We ought to be well past all this. Sorry, my phone causes some silly typos! I meant shamanic drugs, but hopefully you could figure that out. Jack, you really think fish change genders? I suppose even rocks talk, that is the electrons, protons and photons that interact are in motion and therefore subject to laws of sound in very hard for us to hear frequency. Gilbert Lay:Crystals vibrate at a frequency that can be used to run a very accurate watch.
There is a natural frequency to everything. We do not have the tester that will test everything but if we had one it would prove that even rocks have a frequency. GME Of course our bodies run out before we do but you fail to understand we out grow our bodies and hence we leave it behind. Now you need to find out why rather than using unproven myths as means of proving something is untrue and try and find the truth.
How does a myth become a myth? Are all myths untrue? Are myths an exaggeration of the truth? What is the truth? Actually you must start with being true to yourself first otherwise it really would be a pointless quest. Ultimately, water is just two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Things change. We call that evolution in the biological world. It can be Darwinian by natural selection, the passing on of beneficial traits or other methods such as horizontal gene transfer and selective breeding.
Populations of light moths, over a few generations, turn dark if left on darker tree bark due to environmental changes. They pass on dark colouring. Man breeds dogs. Want a guard dog? Breed based on aggression, size etc. Bacteria have been shown to swap DNA by several methods, resulting in antibiotic resistance spreading globally very quickly. Why no dinosaurs in the bible?
Why are fossil records different depending on what layer loosely, with layers of sedimentary rock representing periods in time they are found in? Do you even believe rocks were layer down by that process, among others? Absurdity of Atheism If abiogenesis spontaneous creation without specific design can be admitted under such conditions of regularity, then purposeful generation and definitely balanced creation can be the result of error ad perplexity, since these two are opposed to abiogenesis.
Such a statement is highly absurd that order and rectitude should come about without a Creator, and disorder and impropriety of design and fate should suppose a Creator. He is an ignoramus who says this, because anything produced without design will never be exact and proportioned, while disorder and contrariness cannot co-exist with orderly design. Allah swt is far above what the heretics say. Who said anything was random and disordered? Chemistry, the driver of biology, certainly isnt either. Neither is physics. They are both predictable but just complex, with so many influences, so goat herding nomads and the like invented gods — lots of them, all claiming their brand is best and in fact the only right one.
The alternatives to creation and evolution, for example, are laughably silly. A biblical flat earth around which the sun orbits? Mud statues? Using ribs from man to make woman? Talking snakes? Magic apples? Talking burning bushes? Purposeful creation is very fast compared to natural processes on the same scale.
The Great Wall of China was built for about a millenia — and look at what the end result is. Abiogenesis lasted for millions of years, and its end result is a mix of simple organic elements capable of reproducing with errors and engulfing elements needed for reproducing. Compare those two, and you get a pretty good idea how the former is impossible to do with the latter. Do children with 12 fingers not get born? Do children without a head not get born? Do people with one leg shorter then the other not get born?
Are we not all different from one another in some small or great way? What exact proportions do you see in life? You used a good prognosis of the computer and the programmer. Now how do we know the difference between sweet and bitter good and bad? Today man has developed more power computers which can process things far faster than us yet we still have ultimate control over them. If they get a virus they tend to crash. We also try to stop the virus but sometimes we just have to replace the hard drive and start again.
No suppose we have been designed in a similar way for example we can be corrupted we can contract a virus and ultimately when we stop working out creator can retrieve our memory and brings us back to life with a new body faster memory faster processors and more intelligence. A computer? Does it know it has a maker Can it choose to decide and follow the makers inputs.? How can you say something is not true because it is not scientifically proven?
How many times have the scientists books been rewritten because of new discoveries and new scientific development. How many people thought the world was flat and assumed the end of the flat world was the sea which stretched out forever. Man decide I can cross that sea or I can attempt to fly like that bird. Man has not yet grown his own wings and flown with then yet. Can science prove this can be done? Why do birds have wings? Will man evolve into being able to fly?
We can choose to accept we have a creator who has ultimate control or not. Religious has there are others in the form of angels however we depict what they look like. What if Instructions have been left for us to live and develop. What if how we choose to process these instructions has been left entirely up to us as individuals.
Once the code is cracked do you think the designer will sit back or will he be alerted of this? We know why computers have updates. To prevent viruses and fix bugs as well as improve usage efficiency which in prevents over heating and over use. Suppose this is what our creator wants if we were to have one I have not even touched on things like sleep , time domains , male and female, Science has proven that science alone does not hold all the answers.
Basically what i am saying is why does talking and moving and seeing and everything else in between feel so natural if there is a very complex design behind it? The biological processes of cellular reproduction are completely independent from mental processes. Learning more about biology will let you make more persuasive arguments about it. H2O particles created a strand of DNA while combining with different elements. Why do u think we survive on water today and how we absorb water molecules. A human can go a week and a half without drinking water.
Proving that u will die without water and the fact that DNA thrives on water as the moleculic structure is absorbed. Where did they come from and how are they constant? Great website! Very stimulating information. Perry ponder this; What scienfic evidence do you have for the perfect Axis tilt? Cosmic collision? Einstein Law r being Disproved as we speak, bouyancy weight. Engineer disputes the Law, look it up. Not metion CERN by miliasecond speed of light, etc. Is it magic too that two of our planets spin in opposite directions? How does that affect laws of space and time?
It is not GodDidIt. Why must there be a designer. Then is he really all powerful. It has zero to do with any magic sky kingdom for dead people. Sure, some religious people made scientific advances, but this has been despite religion NOT because of it. Excommunicated astronomers and the like. Burnt women knowledgeable about herbal remedies. How does heaven even work anyway? Equally valid or not gods as far as I can see. What about the millions of South American natives killed by Christians, who were happily worshipping their particular jaguar gods etc? Them or you? What about people throughout a million or so years of probable human and human ancestor religious worship?
Animism for example the worship of eg mountains. Im just fine. You have stated that matter cannot have existed for forever. Will you also acknowledge the fact that matter cannot be created or destroyed? If so this does seem to purport the universe to be God designed, as there must have been a first un-caused cause. However, why is it no more valid to suggest that matter has always been in existence than it is to suppose a God has always been in existence? This hypothesis would be entirely consistent with the First Law of Thermodynamics.
The singularity, as it has been stated many times, was all matter condensed into something smaller than an eighth of an atom, and not as you assume to be the beginning of all matter. Therefore there really is no need to jump to the conclusion that God started the Big Bang, because your assumption that the big bang was the point in which all matter began is false. Now on to your information theory. Simply because there is a lack of an understanding of the information given does not mean that God is inferred.
Adolph Caso Editor. Antonio Meucci represents an unlikely story in American history. Having come of age in Florence, Italy, he immigrated to America by way of Cuba, where he lived for many years and where he worked with the Italian Opera Company. Having come to New York, he experimented with his telettrofono electric phone.
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Community Reviews. And none were Mehsud. Roughly nine people were killed and another four wounded. Their identities were never announced, though a Pakistani official said some of the dead had belonged to the Taliban. The commander died, along with at least four other inhabitants. As villagers recovered the bodies, CIA personnel dispatched their drones to the nearest town, anticipating that the funeral would be held the same afternoon. Hours later, officials in Virginia watched on TV screens as mourners chanted around the burial site and the missiles began to fall, three altogether.
In the end, dozens of bystanders were killed, perhaps as many as 86 — but not Mehsud. By one account, he was receiving an IV drip for his diabetes; by another, a woman was massaging his legs. CIA personnel, watching the video in real time, ordered a strike, and two Hellfire missiles from a Predator incinerated the house. His wife, father-in-law and mother-in-law, a lieutenant, and seven bodyguards were also killed in the blast.
The hand-launched Raven surveillance drone, which flies at feet at 50 mph. The ScanEagle , also for surveillance, flies higher, at up to 19, feet, at 90 mph. The RQ-7B Shadow , which operates at 18, feet at mph. The armed MQ-1 Predator , which can travel to about 25, feet and fly at mph. The armed MQ-9 Reaper , which flies at 30, feet at mph.
A Taliban attack in Kabul kills 17 people and injures 83; Cuban officials complain the U. The next morning, he will learn he has won the Nobel Peace Prize. If I have to buy a pair of shoes, then I have to eat ramen noodles for dinner. I still apply. Every day is a gamble with my health. Struggling builds character. But at the end of the process, you feel that your voice was heard. For the surge in Afghanistan, there was an enormous amount of pressure to make a decision. There were all kinds of numbers being floated around in the press, lots of unfortunate leaks.
This might have been a day or two before the election, but the point is: There is no doubt that we did not stay on top of that the way we needed to. This underscored a failing in my first year, which was the sort of perverse faith in good policy leading to good politics. Is the auto industry going to collapse? Will layoffs accelerate?
It was better to go ahead and push through and then show that we had gotten something done that was really important to the American people. But I give Nancy and Harry and a whole lot of Democrats enormous credit. It was one of those moments where a lot of people did the right thing even though the politics of it were bad. For all its warts and all the mistakes that any political party makes — including catering to the interest groups that help get people elected — the truth is that the ACA vote showed that when people had to do something they thought was right even if it was not going to be helpful to their reelection, the majority of Democrats were willing to do it.
Certainly Nancy and Harry were willing to do it. One thing that I had to learn fairly early on in the process is that you have to have a plan B. But we had begun to look at what other paths might be possible. Once we knew it was possible, then it was really just a matter of working Congress.
A year later, when the left got irritated with me because of budget negotiations, there was always this contrast between Obama and LBJ, who really worked Congress. But I tell you, those two weeks, that was full LBJ. Every day we were working Democrats, because at this point there was no prospect of us getting any Republicans. Poll numbers were rotten, people were angry. Good-government reforms have hamstrung an administration, which I think is for the most part for the best. The folks who I will always consider the real heroes of the ACA were the legislators, mostly younger and in swing districts, who had tough races and were just a great bunch of guys.
Three thousand years ago, confronted with the mysteries of the universe, the Greeks invented a pantheon of gods and assigned each of them power over the sky and ocean, over love and intelligence. To explain the unexplainable is the realm of mythology. So when America woke up to find that a black man from Planet Harvard with a Star Trek name was suddenly the president — the commander-in-chief!
Thus the Obama Conspiracy Theory was born. Here are an even dozen:. The good news is the Obama-conspiracy period is unlikely to survive his presidency. As Obama leaves office, one of the more painful memories is the recollection of all that talk of the post-racial society he was supposed to usher in. Now that was a real conspiracy theory. One small child wounded. Ah, damn. Oh, well.
She needs to get evaced. We need your location, over. It was the first time where we learned how to work through that noise. Objectively, if you look back, we managed what was the largest environmental disaster in American history — at least on the continental United States — better than or as well as any administration ever has. But in the midst of it there was this sense that things were completely out of control. The gap between the perception and the reality of what we were doing was stark. We were on top of this thing from the start. When it happened, we assigned all our best people from all our agencies to start working on it.
What made it unique was that, to my chagrin and surprise, nobody had ever seen anything like this before. And we had to invent a way to solve it. It came in very handy that I had a Nobel Prize—winning physicist as my Energy secretary. And he literally designed a little cap that essentially served as the specs for the construction of a mechanism to close the darn hole. But that took three months.
What you realized was the degree to which [it mattered that the] camera down there is showing the plume of oil coming out. We started having gallows humor about the pelican, that it seemed like they had one pelican that they showed over and over again, covered in oil. Staying focused and disciplined in moments where people — and certainly the press — are most likely to panic has overall served us well.
Our hard-won reputation for good management took a well-deserved blow. That was dropping your left and getting socked in the jaw. He likes to roll in style, comfort and convenience. His over-the-top idea in Paris that winter started as a limo timeshare service. I think his original pitch had me and him splitting the costs of a driver, a Mercedes S-Class, and a parking spot in a garage, so that I could use an iPhone app to get around San Francisco on-demand. Tech bro lolz! And btw thanks for introducing surge pricing after the Chelsea bombing the other week.
On a recent visit to Toronto, I was lucky enough to stay part of the week in a townhouse chosen through Airbnb, a quirky number in a surprising neighborhood that opened up the city in a way that three days at the DoubleTree by Hilton conspicuously failed to do. Viewed through the lightest imaginative scrim we use to turn the quotidian into a kind of ongoing romantic-dramatic narrative, interactions with the so-called sharing economy have added value to my life in ways I never expected.
The prevailing and largely correct narrative is about the isolation and dislocation wrought by the smartphone and social media, but societal trends inevitably provoke strong countertrends. The explosion of DIY handcrafting of everything from beer to chocolate to butchering to the crap you find on Etsy likely would not have happened but as a back-to-the-farm reaction to the alienation of digital-only life.
Likewise, the sharing economy has begun to allow us to grow back the connective social tissue that social media tore asunder. And the shift from communal work spaces like those offered by WeWork to communal, hostel-style living is already under way. He was signing as a free agent with a team filled with really good friends, rather than the one that had criminally underpaid him and refused to sign any decent players to surround him with.
Strange as it is to say, their careers ran in parallel. Before Obama gave his career-catapulting speech at the Democratic National Convention, reporter and later Obama biographer David Mendell asked if he was ready for his big moment. Obama smiled wide, Mendell later wrote. I got some game. But at the time, LeBron was a year-old, still just a month out of his rookie season, figuring his way around a league that eyed the young phenom and all his hype warily. After all, if a skinny black kid with an awkward jumper could make it all the way to the White House, what else is possible?
Is that too strong a word for you? BS : Reform would be to say that it is bad public policy when six financial institutions have assets equivalent to 57 percent of the GDP of the United States. That would be reform. In fact, the major banks are larger today than they were before Dodd-Frank. FF : Okay, you like Obama. BS : This country is a lot better as a result of Obama, and he had to do that against fierce opposition. On the other hand, to my mind, the great issue of our time is the movement toward oligarchy.
And that means the power of Wall Street, the power of corporate America, the power of the billionaire class to own the politics of this country. So we have made progress, but the fundamental issue of taking on the one percent and the greed of the billionaire class, that has not occurred. Do you think that that misses the point?
BS : The president appoints people. President Obama, in a big mistake, basically did what Republicans wanted and appointed Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson to chair a commission on the deficit crisis. So that tells you something. Still, the bottom line is: Today in America, the economy is in much better shape than when Obama first came in.
He deserves credit. More people have health insurance, poverty is down. On the other hand, the angst of the moment is that people see this country moving into an oligarchic form of society — where we have a grotesque level of income and wealth inequality where the political system is being bought by Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers. BS : Right. I think what the president had to do, which he chose not to do, is to make it clear that we have got to deal with the greed of the one percent of corporate America and Wall Street, that their practices cannot continue.
That is an approach he has chosen not to take. In order to have real leverage going forward, he needed to scare the crap out of these guys on some level. BS : In , he ran one of the great campaigns in the history of the United States. Brilliant campaign. Did he mobilize the energy and the coalition that he put together into a powerful political force which would have helped him fight for the change that this country needed? The answer is no. BS : Yeah, it is harder than you think to mobilize people.
That is a true point. Did he do everything that he could have? I think the answer is no, he did not. Rather than making the Republicans an offer they could not refuse because millions of people were standing behind him, he chose to sit down with Republicans and negotiate. I think his politics are not the politics of taking on these people.
Americans are addicted to hope. We think the world is infinitely malleable and that with enough pluck and elbow grease anything is possible. We believe that everything and everyone can be redeemed, that the movie will always end with the hero walking away from the wreckage or the town cheering. We believe in conversions and getting a new life.
We scoff at the ancient Stoic lesson that recognizing limits and living within them is the key to happiness. Limits are undemocratic, reality a construct. And tomorrow is another day. We bring the same attitude to politics. That and a very short memory. We spend the next two years stewing and blaming Washington and the media, encouraged to do so by Washington and the media. And then, as the debates and primaries and conventions come round again, we forget all that and convince ourselves that this time the messiah really is coming.
We are a nation of children. Barack Obama understood the power of hope — he campaigned on it. Even Bill Clinton, who ran as the man from Hope, did not have the audacity to present himself as the man heading for Hope. It appears that Obama genuinely believed his own rhetoric. But once elected, Obama did what grown-up politicians do: He got to work. He learned and talked to experts; he read documents and stayed up late. He was responsible. For this, he was punished. He raised expectations he could not meet, which just infuriated the kids, who kept pouting until Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders offered them ice cream.
Even Shepard Fairey, the artist who designed his famous hope campaign poster, abandoned Obama for Sanders. When, he wonders, will they ever grow up? The answer is never. Because we treat bowing to reality as a punishable offense, we are stuck in this cycle. There is no exit. Once an anxious friend who read his stories asked him whether he thought there was any hope in the world at all.
Under the radar, they and their donor group poured money into races all over the country. Many of the ugly lies and slurs you see now were first trotted out in those midterm races. The single most important item the Koch network has obstructed is congressional action on climate change.
They and their allies represent the combined force of the fossil-fuel industry, and they have funded contrarian science that denies the reality of climate change. By spending strategically, they successfully killed efforts to put a price on carbon pollution — the so-called cap-and-trade bill — as well as many other efforts to help the country move toward alternative energy.
The president told the New York Times recently that climate change is the most terrifying issue we face. The story of the economy in the Obama years is in many ways a tale of loose money. Back in the grim autumn of , Chair Ben Bernanke took the most important weapon in his arsenal, the Fed-funds target rate, and slashed it all the way to zero — an unprecedented move and a clear signal of just how seriously he was taking the economic emergency.
That move, along with three rounds of so-called quantitative easing, or QE, where the Fed pumped money into the financial markets by buying bonds, constituted the biggest and mightiest monetary-policy experiment ever undertaken: an unorthodox attempt by the Fed, along with other leading central banks, to prevent the collapse of the global economy. There was one minuscule rate hike, of one-quarter of one percent, in December The effects of ZIRP and QE were wide-ranging and mostly felt in the prices of financial assets, like stocks, bonds, and real estate.
For financial investors, the Obama years turned out exceptionally well. But really they have the central bank to thank, much more than the president. What if we had the singularity and nobody noticed? In , Barack Obama had been on the trail for weeks, using a BlackBerry like all the cool campaigners, when the new thing went on sale and throngs lined up for it. The new thing had a silly name: iPhone. The iPhone was a phone the way the Trojan horse was a horse. At the Rio Olympics you could see people, having flown thousands of miles to be in the arena with the athletes, watching the action through their smartphones.
As though they needed the mediating lens to make it real. This device, this gadget — a billion have been made and we scarcely know what to call it. Contact lenses have been rumored; implants are only a matter of time. Silicon passes carbon in the life-form sweepstakes. You may consider this an apocalypse or an awakening, according to taste. Machinery that takes over our biological functions may serve us, like prosthetics, expanding and amplifying our humanity, but not everyone feels expanded or amplified. With every gain comes a loss — memory being the first to go.
Amnesiacs with prosthetic memory. We become sidewalk zombies, downward facing, oblivious to our immediate fellows and the storefronts past which we glide. We resemble wraiths. Still, the zombies are often smiling — evidently chatting or texting with invisible spirits who are, after all, just other humans. Before, the internet was just a place we visited.
EIGHT YEARS IN AMERICA
Now we seem to have moved in. That is the true purpose of the magic box. So, sure, call it a fancy phone. A mini-camera. An electronic commodity, a status object, a bit of bling. But in a short few years, it has changed what it means to be human. ADAM PLATT: Many things in Foodlandia, these days, have a political element to them, and if you want to emblazon a flag to be carried into battle, you could do worse than a bristly, semi-digestible bunch of locally grown kale.
AP: The idea of kale is much more powerful than kale itself. In short order it went from being discovered, to appreciated, to being something that was parodied. AS: The same thing happened to pork. Remember bacon peanut brittle? Bacon-fat cocktails? AP: Ahhh, bacon versus kale. The two great, competing forces of our time. AS: Do you think one gave way to the other? Bacon is the great symbol in the comfort-food, farm-fresh-dining movement, a kind of merry, unbridled pulchritude. AS: But pork has an advantage: People like the way it tastes. All the bridesmaids have come to the fancy bridal shop to see Maya Rudolph try on wedding dresses.
This should be a familiar scene: The bride emerges from the changing room and … This is the dress! The friends clap. The mother cries. Everyone is a princess. Go ahead and twirl! But when the bride emerges in Bridesmaids, almost all of her friends have started to feel sick. Sweat coats their skin. Red splotches creep over their faces. It starts with a gag from Melissa McCarthy, followed by another gag. Then a gag that comes simultaneously with a tiny wet fart. We breathe a sigh of relief.
Watch Teenage Boys Hit Their Parents for Turning Off 'Fortnite' (Video)
Then sweet Ellie Kemper gags, and the sound effect is surprisingly nasty. They look bad. They are embarrassed. How far is this going to go? Wendi McLendon-Covey wet-farts quietly, and the manager is horrified. Now we get another fart from Melissa. This one is deeper and darker. Kristen Wiig stares at Rose Byrne, as both women realize how serious this could be.
Wendi tells everyone she has to get off the white carpet. She runs to the bathroom. The bridesmaids follow. This must be where it ends. Suddenly, we are in the bathroom, running alongside Wendi as she races for the toilet. We barely have time to react, when Melissa runs in after her.
The camera pans up fast to see her desperation. We are watching a war now. I need the toilet! It will be funny, and then it will be over. That is the limit of our imagination. We cut wide again to see the bathroom. Why are we in such a wide shot? Melissa knocks the Kleenexes and towels off the bathroom counter. And then … she starts to hike up her dress. This is the moment. Change for women in this country has come in many forms. Some change is big and loud and hard-won and can be put in writing. Some change is as small and simple as a handshake.
Melissa McCarthy starts to hike up her dress. She hoists her body up onto the sink. She is fully on top of the sink now. The kicker. The cherry on top. The camera cuts. We are above now. We look down from a safe perch as the release we have been anticipating and dreading begins.
A woman has just pooped in a sink. The revolution has begun. I think they both shared a belief in the art of the possible, and they both did not think compromise was a dirty word. When our cover was blown — a Wall Street Journal editorial came out saying that Boehner and Obama were working on this and attacking the whole premise — that was devastating. It resulted in Cantor being a part of the talks. Paul Ryan said if we do this deal, it will guarantee your reelection.
If we agree with Barack Obama on spending and taxes, that takes away one of our big weapons. That conversation was quite illuminating. Both parties like their daggers. That was the dance. There was a moment in time where they had the outlines of an agreement and we went off to fill in some additional details between the two staffs pursuant to a meeting that had occurred on a Sunday morning at the White House.
We shipped them some paperwork Sunday night. Monday — nothing. I literally probably had a couple hundred hours of private meetings at my home with them. One of the problems, though, is that old bad joke: What happens when the dog catches the bus? Well, they caught the bus in But we spent an awful lot of time in detailed, detailed discussions about how to deal with everything from the potential for a government shutdown in to the budget deal in to the fiscal cliff in and beyond.
Not a single thing leaked out of those discussions, and we went through the budget literally line by line — where would they be willing to raise revenue? Could they, for example, raise revenue by eliminating the tax cuts for small aircraft that are not taxed the same as commercial airlines? It got that detailed. We would shake hands and have a deal.
Illustrations by Lauren Tamaki. And the very next year, I was one of the most hated men in America. What I remember from my show is the fact that I did get an opportunity to warn people of what could be over the horizon. I was trying to teach them the history of our country and the Founding Fathers. They would be horrified by his policies and by everything he says. But because he has an R after his name, they suddenly accept it and hold him up as the great savior. And I was worried our country was hurtling toward a disastrous, self-inflicted economic crisis.
That morning, when it became clear the vote was going to be close, my husband, Mark, and I knew we needed to get to Washington quickly. I went straight from my rehabilitation appointment to the airport, and Mark was at our house in Houston packing our bags so he could meet us at the plane. That night, I remember seeing the Capitol for the first time since I was injured and feeling so grateful to be at work.
I will never forget the reception I received on the floor of the House from my colleagues, both Republicans and Democrats. And then, like I had so many times before, I voted. After I resigned from Congress to continue my recovery, and Mark retired from the U. Navy and NASA, we hoped to have a second chance at service. We wondered what our path might be. The tragedy at Sandy Hook gave us the answer.
There is a sea change happening in the movement to prevent gun tragedies. Groups like ours are finally helping to bring some balance back to the politics of this issue; no longer does the gun lobby have the playing field to itself. I worked so hard to get my speech back, and honestly, talking to people who share my determination helped me find my words again. Best of all, I got back on my bike. Riding my bike once seemed like such a huge challenge.
It seemed impossible. It was a nice tactic on their part—they set up a meeting in the Great Hall of the People with more press than I thought lived in China. All the financial reporters came too because Biden was going to get his comeuppance: Man, the United States was downgraded for the first time. I walked in, and Hu was being very smart. He looked at me and said he thought America would come back and that they wanted to be able to help, but he wanted to be sure their investments in our Treasury bills were secure.
I went and saw him in midst of that at the White House. We went down to the basketball court. He went off on vacation shortly after that and he spent a lot of time thinking about how to come out of this and fight his way back. On September 17, , three years after the financial crisis and the dawn of the Great Recession, there was every reason to believe that public attention to bank fraud, massive foreclosures, executive wealth, and middle-class debt had come to an end — if it had ever really begun.
While the city and the current owners bickered over who should eject the unwanted public, they built a library, a free canteen, a sleeping village, a drum corps, and a media center, and held a twice-daily town meeting to deliberate the running and political purpose of their Occupation. It was, more or less, a working model of real democracy, steps from where the Bill of Rights had been adopted, in the heart of the financialized fake Manhattan that had paved democracy over.
The sitting and talking of a few hundred, then many thousands, of people, in Manhattan and then at sites across the United States and Europe, for about two months accomplished several things. It pushed media, not very skillful with abstractions, to focus on long-known truths about the redistribution of wealth upward to the richest one percent. Historians are obligated to use positive data: unemployment reports, foreclosure peaks, homicides eyewitnessed and livestreamed. But those of us who lived through it can insist on the importance of mood, of atmosphere, and of silence.
There was the belief, at the election in and after, that even though Obama propped up the big banks in the Great Recession, he was going to save the rest of us, too. He would prosecute wrongdoers, at least, or halt foreclosures and fraud. A three-year lag. And there was a belief in that Obama, in his second term, would now have the political safety to launch measures to save African-Americans specifically — to deliver the country from the era that threw people in jail for practically nothing and shot them for black skin and a justified fear of the cops.
A two-year lag. Yet its curious effect was primarily to set the stage, through caution and blocked action, for an upsurge of genuine social movements that began from his absences. Perhaps the old community organizer knew that for a real democracy, citizens must do things for themselves. That winter and going into , we began raising rounds pretty quickly. At one point, we were growing at new people every two weeks in the Chicago office. So you would come in and not only would your desk be gone, but that entire wall would be missing. We did pranks for our own employees, just so they were excited to come to work every day.
We got accustomed to things like that. You were wondering what fun, crazy things happened. Every day we would share by email different success stories of merchants whose businesses we had saved. I remember there was one about us saving a zoo, where this woman had a llama farm and she was going out of business. We put her on Groupon, and suddenly she was booked for six months. I would wake up ina cold sweat and think: Oh, maybe I have a cold. Oh my God, it was difficult for me to go into a crowd.
I isolated myself. After I left work I stayed in my condo. Total-shutdown mode. I was angry at everything. It could have been ants walking across my coffee table. I was angry because my dog Rocsi was wagging her tail. Of course I was angry that — why was I chosen to go back the second time? I mean, you got me in , then you sent me again in ?
When I got home, I was back working in a hospital. For years, I thought I was doing well. I was still functioning as a mom.