I'm Alex. I love nature, questioning things, and discussing deep ideas. I am really friendly and love when people talk to me.

 

mikeschanbacher:

White-Throated Sparrows and the Return of Winter Birds
This White-throated Sparrow is just one of the many birds returning to my area in the fall months. 

I love these birds.  They also recently came back to my area.  I love their soft call notes and beautiful but thin and out-of-tune-sounding songs that they occasionally sing on their wintering grounds.

mikeschanbacher:

White-Throated Sparrows and the Return of Winter Birds

This White-throated Sparrow is just one of the many birds returning to my area in the fall months. 

I love these birds.  They also recently came back to my area.  I love their soft call notes and beautiful but thin and out-of-tune-sounding songs that they occasionally sing on their wintering grounds.

Why I Reblog or Like Posts From People Who Post Many Things I Dislike, Disagree With, Or Think Are Harmful

snepwig:

dirkbot:

If you notice me reblogging

  • a repost
  • stolen art
  • false information
  • etc.

please let me know, you’re not rude or annoying and I actually do give a fuck and I will correct my mistake, thank you

I’m really with you on the part above.

Also, if you notice me reblogging things from

  • anti-sj blogs
  • TERFs or SWERFs
  • anti-feminist/MRAs
  • other shitty people

please give me a heads up. I’ll never get angry at you for letting me know and I’ll actually be really glad that you kept me from giving some awful person more visibility.

I’m not sure I’m with you here.  Why?  People are complex and people can change.

If we see a genuinely positive, awesome, constructive post from someone who often posts stuff that we consider bad or negative, is it good to just ignore it because we don’t like the other things they post?

If we completely shut out people who we disagree with more than not, if we refuse to engage with them at all, or if we only ever engage with them in a negative way, we will close these people off from being able to build a positive bond with them, and influence them in a positive way.

Right now American society is more polarized than I’ve ever seen it before, and it causes a lot of negative consequences—gridlock in congress, hostility between factions of like liberal vs. conservative, and I think when people close off the people who they disagree with, it prevents the groups from learning from each other.

I think that it’s important to respect all people and separate the idea of people’s value as a human being, from the truthfulness or effect of the things that they say or do.  Just because a person is doing shitty things, I don’t think they’re necessarily a shitty human being.  And if they do something really good, do I want to ignore it, just because I don’t like other things that they do?

Think about how you would feel if people focused exclusively on the negative or harmful things you did, and ignored the positive things you did?  How would that make you feel?  Would that help you to grow as a human being?  Would that help you to think rationally, to be mentally healthy?

Don’t do this to people.  Allow people who often do a lot of bad things, to do good things, and be like—hey, it’s awesome that you did this.  Like and reblog posts from people whose views you frequently dislike or disagree with.  You may help them to grow as a person.  And you might be surprised that there may even be times where they have some insight to offer that you weren’t getting by surrounding yourself with people who believe the same things you do.

roseapprentice:

cazort:

In our culture, it’s often taken for granted that parents reach an age where they have an awkward “sex talk” with their kids.  Here I challenge this idea.

The only reason people try to have this awkward talk is that they’ve been hiding sexuality from their kids, lying or keeping a secret.  But hiding sexuality from kids sends a message that sex is a taboo subject, and creates a culture of shame surrounding it, which can make kids vulnerable to abuse and sexual assault, less likely to speak up about abuse, and more easily manipulated.

If you’re open from the beginning, you protect kids, promote a healthier culture, and completely avoid the need for an awkward conversation later on.

I agree with the concept behind this, and I think it’s a really useful video to watch.

Personally, I still want there to be a tradition of a sex talk in our culture. But instead of that talk being about what sex is, I’d rather have it be about how to have sex safely and consensually, about sexual anatomy and how to care for one’s own body, about clearing up misconceptions, and about making it clear what reliable information and resources are available and where.

I think that that conversation can be awkward even if you’ve always been honest with your kids, and I think it’s still a very important conversation to have.

I’ve thought about this…I definitely think it’s important to talk about issues like safe sex, sexual anatomy, caring for your own body, addressing common misconceptions or misinformation, and pointing people to furthe resources.

I also think talking about consent is really important.

But ideally, I’d like these things to happen in an ongoing way, through many conversations.  First of all, I think there’s a ton of information that kids need to be taught, to be safe and to have a healthy attitude towards sexuality, and I think people are better able to digest and integrate information if it’s presented gradually, rather than all at once.

I also think that the issues of consent and how to respond to unwanted touching, are something that I would want to talk to kids about very early on, long before I started explaining details about sex.  Just really basic stuff like, if someone touches you in any way that you don’t want to be touched, it’s always okay to tell them to stop, and that it’s important for people to respect those boundaries and if someone doesn’t listen when you say no, to tell you or another adult immediately.  And then make sure you and family members set an example—I think sometimes people send bad messages to kids implicitly, by not respecting boundaries, like when kids are touching each other in unwanted ways, or adults doing the same to kids…and even if it’s not at all sexual I think it can sort of set a bad precedent, so I’d want to not only set a good example, but have an explicit conversation about that, very early on.

In our culture, it’s often taken for granted that parents reach an age where they have an awkward “sex talk” with their kids.  Here I challenge this idea.

The only reason people try to have this awkward talk is that they’ve been hiding sexuality from their kids, lying or keeping a secret.  But hiding sexuality from kids sends a message that sex is a taboo subject, and creates a culture of shame surrounding it, which can make kids vulnerable to abuse and sexual assault, less likely to speak up about abuse, and more easily manipulated.

If you’re open from the beginning, you protect kids, promote a healthier culture, and completely avoid the need for an awkward conversation later on.

Thinking About How We Teach Physical Education

shecalleditsavagery:

Do you ever think about how they teach physical education in America?  They spend all year teaching you the rules of weird sports that you’ll never play outside of gym class.  Like floor hockey.  Who the fuck plays floor hockey in real life?  Then at the end of the year you take a fitness test.  You do push-ups, pull ups, run a mile, and they rank your fitness based on these abilities.  Except, no one ever teaches you how to run a mile.  They don’t teach you how to pace yourself, or how to measure your breathing, or what good running form is.  They teach you how to hold a tennis racket like you’re shaking hands, but not how far apart to place your hands when doing a push up.  They teach you how to play games, but not how to stay fit.  Then they punish you with a C when you can’t do a full push-up.  I swear, the only time I ever did a push up in P.E. was during a fitness test.  Hey, but at least I know the rules for badminton.  

I think a lot about physical education in the US and I think there’s a lot of it that is really crappy.  I just posted a video about some stuff I thought was really bad about my elementary school gym class.  I offer some concrete suggestions of how I’d like gym classes changed, but I think your comment here offers some other suggestions that I didn’t really get at, that I think would also really improve things.

I also agree that they didn’t really teach me much about how to improve my fitness or perform well at stuff.  In many cases, I learned this stuff outside of school, like by going to a tennis camp, or later in life, through taking dance classes, or even going through physical therapy after an injury.

In many cases, in my 20’s and early 30’s I was like…why the hell wasn’t I taught this stuff much earlier in life?

When I was in elementary school, I was in the 5th percentile of height and weight, and young for my grade, and in gym class, I was made to compete against kids much bigger than me. This skewed my self image in a negative way.

Here I explain how I realized, years later, how skewed my self-image was, how my gym class experience had contributed to this, and how I built a more realistic, healthy self-image.  I conclude with specific recommendations for how we could better teach gym class or physical education in elementary school, encouraging kids to work to better themselves rather than compare themselves to others, and teaching more cooperative, social, or creative physical activities like dance as a way to help kids to love their bodies and love moving and using their bodies.

Orcs and Depression and Dreams and Wizards and Confronting Fear

dividedconsciousness:

Depression feels a bit like climbing an ever-growing steep hill with orcs running towards you trying to kill you. You’re armed with nothing but spoons to defend yourself and there’s no guarantee that once you’re at the top you’ll find something that’ll make you happy. I feel like today I’m lying facedown on the grass letting them stab me in the head but have no spoons to stand up and fight back.

I felt a really odd resonance with this post.

When I was a kid, I used to have nightmares a lot, all sorts of nightmares.  Then, one day, I had a dream that I was being chased by orcs, who were out to kill me.  It started on a steep mountainous / hilly area, and I was running downhill, and towards the coast.  And I was running and running and there were more and more, and it was like I was on a whole continent of orc civilizations and they were all out to kill me.

And I ran into a submarine, and the entire orc fleet came chasing after me.  So I submerged it and I went to the bottom of the sea.  And I was terrified to come back up, because the entire orc navy was out waiting to kill me.

But then I found something at the bottom of the sea, a place indoors with air.  And I got out of the submarine and it was a school of wizardry!  And I became a wizard.  It was really weird but wonderful and beautiful.  Like I felt this transformation when I became a wizard, like I felt really good and I felt this power or energy flowing through my body.

I never faced the orcs in that dream.

But from that point onward, when I was faced with something scary in dreams, instead of running, and continuing to feel the fear, as I had for years, I would think: “I’m a wizard.” and I would confront whatever was confronting me.  I would try to cast a spell.  It didn’t always work.  I remember many dreams of botched spells…I’d be in a dark room and cast a spell to make a light and nothing would happen.  I would still feel somewhat afraid…but…instead of running, I would try casting another spell.

It was like, something about my approach changed.  And I started having dreams where the spells would work.  I would be trapped in a room, and I’d cast a spell and successfully unlock the door.  Or I’d fail to unlock the door, and I’d cast another spell to teleport myself out.  I found I was sometimes able to shoot fireballs, to fly, even to travel through time.

I’m not 100% sure how these dreams corresponded to what was going on in my real life, but I think they may have corresponded to a series of gradual changes.  I don’t always feel like I did in that dream when I became a wizard and felt so happy and confident, but I do feel that way sometimes, and it’s really beautiful.  And I’ve found my own sort of wizardry in my waking life…things that I’m really good at, really passionate about, things that make people say: “Wow, you did that?”  And I think these things are more likely to happen when I push through my fears.

In the first dream, the orcs never went away.  In the other dreams, my spells didn’t always work.  But the key was that I really believed that I was a wizard, and I kept trying to cast the spells.  And eventually they started to work.  I think that’s kind of how life works.  If you confront your fears, the things you’re afraid of won’t go away, and you won’t necessarily solve problems the first few times you try.  But…if you face your fears and confront them, something changes.  It’s like you take a new path.  It opens a door for something better to happen.

Welcome to Tumblr! Re: Hi there

heatherfoster:

Here’s my first post.  I’m excited to be here!

Yay, welcome to Tumblr, it’s a really awesome place!

Made a trailer for my YouTube channel.

This isn’t the funniest or flashiest channel, but I’m hoping it can be one of the deepest and most thought-provoking ones.  The main point of the channel is to question ideas, especially cultural ideas which we take for granted.  I want to share ideas and ways of thinking that I think have the potential to make the world a better place.

I also want to make clear that I have a huge amount of respect for people who have different viewpoints from mine.

If you like this, then please check out my videos and subscribe to my channel!

You are the world’s leading expert on yourself.

No one else in the world knows more about you, understands you better, understands your thoughts, your beliefs, your life experiences, your desires, dreams, struggles, insecurities, weaknesses, strengths, and how they all fit together.