Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

2 Articles from October 2015

  1. On being skeptical, politely

    At lunch today I was talking with a colleague. She’s cool; I really respect her attitude towards pedagogy and also like her as a person. But our conversation on the environmental dangers of cows led us to talking about lab-grown meat, which then led to a discussion of whether food grown in a lab is any better or worse for someone than food grown in a farm. And my colleague mentioned that she thought the meat from a lab would not have the same “energy” as meat from a farm.

    I blinked. “Energy?” I asked, already fearing the response.

    “Yes, energy! You know, how everyone has an Energy, and everyone can feel everyone else’s Energy?”


    So this led us into a discussion in which I played the role of Skeptic and she played the role of Believer, where I insisted I can’t believe in “energy” and she related examples: the way you “know” someone is angry across the room; the way you “recognize” people you’ve never met before; clairvoyance; and reiki practitioners.

    It’s always a little awkward when you stumble onto these points of contention with people who are more acquaintances than close friends. I am not a confrontational…

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  2. When we tolerate intolerance, people die

    So I came home tonight from a long night at work, only to see Twitter full up about the shooting at a Umpqua Community College in Oregon. My initial reaction was weariness—I was tired, already not in a great mood, and here there was yet another mass shooting.

    My second reaction was anger.

    I’m angry that a country where this happens would dare to utter the hypocrisy that it is the “greatest country on Earth” and then go around and impose its will on other countries unilaterally. When you let your citizens do this to each other, you are not the greatest country, unless you have a seriously messed up definition of greatest.

    In a civilized country, this does not happen. There is reason for mass shootings to be as common as they are becoming in the United States. If someone shrugs and says, “What can we do?” call them out on their bullshit, because the answers are pretty clear.

    And yes, you can love guns and still support gun control. You can vote Republican and still support gun control. Gun control does not mean the government is going to round up all your guns. The politicians and pundits…

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