Weekend Thoughts - 11.21.15

Image  by  Benjamin Balzázs , courtesy of  Creative Commons  licensing.

Image by Benjamin Balzázs, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Happy Saturday y'all! Below, I have rounded up some things for you to think about this weekend:

1. As a fairly big science fiction fan, I was intrigued by this article detailing why you probably won't live to see the final Star Wars movie. You see, unlike comic book universes, Star Wars has the ability to expand even further in several directions—time, places, characters, etc. A comic book series is limited in ways that Star Wars is not. I am definitely looking forward to the movie coming out next month (already bought tickets!) and to the future offerings to come, hopefully for the rest of my life and beyond.

2. Apparently the 1000th U.S. citizen murdered by police this year occurred last Sunday, although it is a bit hard to get concrete data around this topic because there is no national database that accurately reports the number of people killed by police. However, organizations such as The Guardian, Killed By Police, and Fatal Encounters have been making a concerted effort to compile data and create a repository for information on this topic. There are discrepancies between the sites, because there isn't any official database being maintained by the government, something that FBI Director James Comey described as "embarrassing". Either way, roughly 1000 civilians-murdered-by-police in 2015 seems like an extremely high number to me, and something that needs dire attention from the government.

3. The act of yawning is often taken to mean that a person is bored or exhausted, but science shows that yawning may indicate that the brain needs to cool down. Other reasons for yawning include being in a mentally-taxing situation and increasing the flow oxygen to the body. Instead of taking offense and insisting that someone who is yawning is not interested in what you have to say, try understanding that it can be a physiological response. Now of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that what you are talking about is worth listening to, but it's worth considering nonetheless.

4. Atlas Obscura explores the fascinating history of flipping the bird, or displaying one's extended middle finger to another person. Turns out it got its start in Ancient Rome, and has been with us since then!

5. An excellent interview regarding with Terence McKenna, featured in the book Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics, was republished on Reality Sandwich this week. As a fan of both topics, I found it an enjoyable read. The following quote blew my mind: "Compassion and awareness. To my mind the real contrast between Buddhism and psychedelic shamanism is between a theory out of which experiences can be teased and an experience out of which theory can be teased." WHOA!

That's all for this week's edition of Weekend Thoughts. Until next week, keep thinking wilder.