When Seattle man, Jason Padgett, walked into a bar for a drink a few years ago, he was an ordinary man with seemingly average intelligence leading an unremarkable life. He worked contentedly in his father's furniture shop and had never done well academically or ever cared to do so. On exiting the bar that night, he was viciously mugged, hit on the head and knocked out.
Recently two Transgender women were shot to death because they made a wrong turn and did not listen to or possibly did not understand the commands of the guards at the gate of the NSA.* That was unfortunate. The tragedy is in a day and age where the non PC complain that people are too PC and the PC proclaim that they are sensitive major media continue to identify those two as "men dressed as women". With the notable exception of Reuters, all other media did not even mention the chance they were trans.
In 1966, when the "Star Trek" television show debuted, it was revolutionary - not just in the ways that are commonly stated, like that it took a stand against racism and petty geopolitics, we had Sidney Poitier and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. by then, but rather what it did for science.
In the post-World War II era, science had gone from being a well-respected endeavor to being 'mad'. This was after Harry Harlow's monkey isolation experiments, after LSD on unwitting subjects, after the atomic bomb and after the forced sterilization of 60,000 people under the label of science.
All through the month of March, from 11:57 PM to midnight, visitors in Times Square can see artist Marco Brambilla's vision of Apollo 18, the mission that never was.
We may sometimes think science is in the doldrums today - young people nostalgically believe the 1960s and 1970s were some kind of Golden Age of Space Exploration - but things are much better now. Between 1965 and 1975 the budget for NASA was cut in half.(1)
In 1993, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan gave us "defining deviancy down", a clever bit of alliteration based on the work of sociologist Emile Durkheim from his defining work of 1895. Durkheim wrote that crime is normal, it is going to happen, but by defining what is deviant, a community decides what is not and creates a reasonable standard for living together.
This is my first posting, and already I'm in trouble. The pull-down menu for "Field" belies an excruciatingly conventional taxonomy of human endeavour. If I want to deliver a critical comment on Economics, it'll have to go under "Random Thoughts". Same with Sociology, Science Fiction, ... most everything I want to talk about now that I'm retired and no longer constrained to discuss only Physics. I suppose I could just list everything as Physics, since that will always be my model for everything, but then no one would read any of it.
Nothing justifies the killing of people for expressing ideas no matter how repugnant one finds them. However, these things don't happen in a vacuum. These things are not simply the fault of the minority other person and their refusal to see how superior the majority is and adopt their ways. The Marianne LePen's of France are more the reason for this than Charlie Hebdo is. Charlie was just a soft target that those cowards decided to attack. Hearing a major political candidate advocate for the deportation of a large group would tend to make radicalism more likely.