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Member since: Thu Feb 14, 2008, 10:58 AM
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on His Love of History, Youth Sports and Which Books Everyone Should Read

Source: Smithsonian


Later this summer, Abdul-Jabbar will publish his tenth book, Writings on the Wall: a ranging collection of essays that weaves through race, politics, religion and aging, all with an eye to how we as a culture might do a bit better by each other. It’s a frank, earnest offering, dotted with pop culture references and bits of humble advice that takes advantage of the unique perspective that comes with being one of the most famous athletes of the 20th century. Like his other books—he’s written histories of forgotten African-American icons, books for children, and, most recently, a reimagining of the life of Sherlock Holmes’ brother, Mycroft—it shows off the breadth of his interests and his undiminished curiosity for both the past and the present.


What do you think the most pressing issue facing America today is? Is there one that cuts across all the others you talk about?

The cultural elevation of emotional reactions over logical thinking is at the root of racism, misogyny, homophobia, political corruption, and most other social ailments. The public is constantly manipulated by appeals to tradition, popularity, sentiment and other emotions that are meant to short-circuit logical thinking in order to get votes or money or both. Politicians will crank up the fear factor about immigrants or bathrooms or voter fraud despite the lack of evidence that there is any real threat. When people are afraid, they act irrationally, but justify their repugnant behavior by wrapping themselves in the flag or a holy book. As we look around at statements being said by this year’s presidential candidates, do we feel like proud Americans embracing the principles of the U.S. Constitution?


You end the book with advice to Generation Z. What does that advice boil down to?

We put a lot of pressure on each generation to step up to the plate and fulfill the American Dream. Then we sit around in our poolside lounge chairs judging them on how well they're doing and how fast their going in reaching the goals we’ve set for them. But we don’t take into account that their version of the American Dream may not be the same as ours. In fact, studies show that it isn’t. They don’t necessarily want what the previous generation wanted and they aren’t on the same timetables. My advice was the customize the American Dream to fit their own needs and values, but to never stop working to make sure everyone has equal access to achieving it.

What was the inspiration to write this kind of holistic book—which covers a wide swath of the problems facing America—at this particular moment?

This election cycle has shown Americans to be at one of the most divisive times in its history. I wanted to write a book that reminded everyone of the common values that we share that have defined this country from its inception. Our freedoms that we’re so proud of also make us vulnerable to attacks from within of those who would exploit our fears in order to manipulate us and rob so many of equal opportunity and economic parity.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/kareem-abdul-jabbar-his-love-history-youth-sports-which-books-everyone-should-read-and-more-180959753/

How Trump’s Nomination Could Still Be Stopped

Source: WSJ

Opponents of presumptive nominee Donald Trump are taking their battle to the Republican National Convention. The main venue for their fight is the convention’s rules committee, which drafts the rules governing how the 2,472 convention delegates will select the party’s nominee.

The rest of the graphic (and more): http://graphics.wsj.com/elections/2016/last-ditch-effort-to-block-donald-trumps-nomination/

Photos of World’s Famous Monuments Taken The Other Way

Source: Amusing Planet

Take any famous monument around the world, and look up pictures of it on the Internet, or at your own albums, if you have visited the place. Don’t they all look the same? Sure, there are all sorts of angles, but the cameras are all pointed towards the landmark. But if for once, someone were to turn their backs, point their cameras away from the landmark in the opposite direction, and snapped a picture, would you be able to guess where it was taken?

Photographer Oliver Curtis has been doing this for the last four years. It started in 2012, when he was visiting the Pyramids of Giza in Cairo. Curtis turned away and looked back in the direction he had come from. What he saw fascinated him so much that he has since made a point of turning his back on some of world’s most photographed monuments and historic sites, looking at their counter-views and forgotten faces.

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C., USA

Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK

More: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2016/07/photos-of-worlds-famous-monuments-taken.html

Last one for the road!

The Sleepy Japanese Town Built Inside an Active Volcano

Source: The Smithsonian

For the residents of Aogashima, an island about 200 miles due south of Tokyo, 1785 was an unforgettable year. Although they weren’t alive to witness the deadliest event in island history, they know what unfolded all too well—and what they know hasn't changed their mind about living atop a real-life volcano.

They’ve heard the stories about how, on May 18, the ground began to shake. Giant plumes of gas and smoke billowed out from the mouth of the island’s volcano, shooting rocks, mud and other debris into the sky. By June 4, the island’s 327 residents had no choice but to evacuate, but only about half succeeded and the rest perished. Those who live on the island that’s home to a volcano still registered as active by the Japanese Meteorological Agency, the governmental agency responsible for monitoring the nation’s 110 active volcanoes, know that there’s always the chance that history could repeat itself. But Aogashima’s inhabitants are willing to take that risk.

One such resident is Masanubu Yoshida, a government worker who has lived on the island for the past 15 years. He says that he tries not to spend too much time worrying about the possibility of another eruption. After all, it’s been more than 230 years since the last one—the odds (at least so far) are in his favor.

“No one can win over nature,” he tells Smithsonian.com. Rather than dwell on the possibilities, the 40-year-old focuses on the benefits of living in this lush paradise, which formed from the remnants of four overlapping calderas centuries ago. Much of the village is located inside the outer crater wall.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/japanese-town-aogashima-active-volcano-180959153/

French Artist Transforms Boring City Walls Into Vibrant Scenes Full Of Life

Source: Bored Panda

Imagine yourself coming back home from a long trip and… not being able to find it.

This might actually happen if you lived in one of the buildings that got touched by this talented French street artist Patrick Commecy. Together with his team, he creates huge murals of hyper-realistic facades that bring blank and boring city walls to life.

What’s interesting here is that while these realistic yet fake facades trick you at first glance, some of the people painted there were once real. Commecy often paints many notable people from the history of the town the mural is in. Can you spot any of them?

More: http://www.boredpanda.com/street-art-realistic-fake-facades-patrick-commecy/
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