Saying goodbye, slowly, to the suburban experiment
Lewis Mumford (1895-1990) was an interesting guy. Among many other things, we was a fan of cities and good urban planning. He also gave a warning voice against the rise of car-centric suburbia as it was happening in the 20th century. Here’s a quote from him, emphasis from me:
In the suburb one might live and die without marring the image of an innocent world, except when some shadow of evil fell over a column in the newspaper. Thus the suburb served as an asylum for the preservation of illusion. Here domesticity could prosper, oblivious of the pervasive regimentation beyond. This was not merely a child-centered environment; it was based on a childish view of the world, in which reality was sacrificed to the pleasure principle.
Perspective: car-centric, suburban sprawl is a construct of the 20th century that clashes with the way human settlements developed and thrived for millennia. It reconstructed our living spaces on a scale meant for cars, making our neighborhoods inhospitable to the kind of pedestrian connectivity that we need for healthy interactivity with our environments and with each other.
Some day that sprawl will be fully retro-fitted as the kind of walkable, compact environment that puts people in face-to-face contact more so than what happens now via windshield perspectives; respecting both basic human needs and also the land-space needs of nature. This is happening now slowly, in our lifetimes, but the damage is significant and the repair will take many years.
Future generations will look back on the suburban experiment of the 20th century as the bizarre, unnatural thing that it was. Knowing that makes me feel a bit better about how slow the process is of undoing the physical and psychological detritus of the experiment.
"We men are deplorable, dependent creatures. But compared with these women, every one of us is king, for he stands more or less on his own two feet, not constantly waiting for something outside of himself to cling to. They, however, always wait for someone to come along who will use them as he sees fit. If this does not happen, they simply fall to pieces."
The fact the Einstein was a raging misogynist kind of makes sense, given that it is widely speculated his first wife made significant contributions to the Theory of Relativity, but was completely unacknowledged (especially after he left her for his cousin).
There is more and more evidence that Mileva Einstein-Maric (Einstein’s first wife) is the coauthor of “The Theory of Relativity.” Recently published letters between Mileva Maric and Albert Einstein are shedding light on who is the author(s) of the “Theory of Relativity.” Albert Einstein received the Nobel Prize in 1921: he gave all the money from the Nobel Prize to his ex-wife - Mileva Maric- this was the condition for the divorce settlement. Einstein did not leave any documents which acknowledged the contribution of Mileva Maric to the Theory of Relativity.
In 1905, several articles bearing the name of Albert Einstein appeared in the Annalen der Physik - a Germans Physics Journal where the Theory of Relativity was published. The paper dealing with relativity was entitled Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Korper. Only Albert Einstein’s name appeared in the journal as author. According to Abram Fedorovich Joffe, the original paper was signed “Einstein-Marity.” ”Marity” is a variant of the Serbian “Maric”, Mileva’s maiden name. Mileva Maric Einstein’s name was left out when publication of the article took place, but Joffe saw the original 1905 manuscript.
"How happy I will be when the two of us together will have brought our work on the relative motion to a victorious conclusion."
A young Albert Einstein wrote these words to his first wife, Mileva, shortly before publishing the Theory of Relativity. The release of letters like this one has scholars arguing over Mileva’s contribution to relativity. They met at Zurich’s prestigious Swiss Polytechnic School: Mileva was the only woman in the class, and only the fifth in the school’s history. The daughter of a wealthy Serbian family, Mileva excelled at physics and math, and was devoted to her studies until she met Albert Einstein. The two brilliant scientists fell in love. They lived and worked together. But more interested in their own work than their classes, both failed their final exams. Einstein passed on a second attempt. Unmarried and pregnant, Mileva failed hers again. Einstein never met his daughter… and no one is sure what happened to the baby. Einstein and Mileva later married and had two sons. Mileva focused her energies on Albert’s career. Some scholars believe Mileva did the math for the Theory of Relativity, others say she corrected Einstein’s math, and still others claim she was even more deeply involved. The paper outlining the theory is signed with a hyphenated name Einstein-Marty, the Hungarian form of her maiden name Maric.
Before the work was published, Albert Einstein left his wife and two sons. He never acknowledged his first wife or her work.
He did, however, give Mileva all of the Nobel Prize money. But, the money didn’t last long: Mileva was sick, and caring for their mentally ill (schizophrenic) son. Einstein went on to great acclaim, but he never again produced physics equal to the work he did while married to his first wife and collaborator, Mileva Maric.
Friends, let me tell you about Rebecca Gomperts.
Rebecca Gomperts is a sea captain, a certified physician, and the founder of Women on Waves, a Dutch pro-choice non-profit organization that brings reproductive health services to women in countries with restrictive abortion laws.
This is how it works:
- Rebecca Gomperts and her team installed a specially constructed mobile clinic aboard a commissioned ship.
- They sail to countries with restrictive abortion laws, answering phone calls and e-mails from women who need another way out.
- Upon landing, they take the women who come to them aboard the ship, and then they take the ship out into international waters.
- There the laws of the flag ship are in effect.
- They then perform non-surgical medical abortions, while walking the women through the process.
- They sail back to shore, and once they depart, they continue to follow up with their patients to ensure they remain healthy and safe.
In response, Rebecca Gomperts and her team have been:
- hit by eggs thrown by physically violent pro-life activists
- met with resistance by government officials of the countries they visit
- been forced to disguise themselves and their patients to save the women who come to them any public shaming (which the media helps to perpetuate)
- and once, harassed by two war ships sent out by the Portuguese military
And yet they continue to answer the calls and e-mails of women who want their help, providing reproductive counseling and teaching them how to circumvent the dangerous laws of their country when necessary.
Director Diana Whitten is telling their story in her documentary, VESSEL. It’s a beautiful doc, a necessary doc, and the film is premiering this week at SXSW. Please show your support for these women on social media. It’s so incredibly important.
If you’re in need of reproductive counseling or an abortion service, you can find Women on Wave’s international support and informational collective on Women on Web.
These people are heroes. Rebecca Gomperts is a hero. What they do has and will save countless lives. It’s so incredibly important that their story is told and the struggles of women living in countries governed by restrictive abortion laws (including the United States) are brought to light.
*mortal combat voice* FINISH HIM
SHE USED THE FORCE OF HIM PULLING HER TO HELP PROPEL HERSELF ONTO HIM. THAT’S SOME TACTICAL THINKING DAMN.
she beat his ass with flip flops on thats some serious skill
Yeah but who’s the second person who showed up? Back up?
and in that moment, the entire movie theater burst into tears
i think this was the moment that made most of us despise umbridge more than voldemort
most of us?! don’t you mean ALL of us?? I don’t think even Voldemort liked this bitch!
No one likes Umbridge.
I heard, one time, a dementor kissed her and IT died
Voldemort committed genocide, but Umbridge dared to be female while she abused her power.
The point isn’t that Umbridge was worse than Voldemort; it’s that everyone hates her more. And I think it has nothing to do with her being a woman and everything with being the sort of cruel most of us have actually experienced.
I mean, look at Voldemort. He’s basically Wizard Hitler, which is, obviously, an incredibly terrible thing to be. But most people—especially the younger people in Harry Potter’s target audience—have not had their parents murdered by a xenophobic cult leader. Nor have they fought for their lives against giant snakes, been kidnapped for dark rituals, or watched numerous friends die in front of them. Voldemort’s crimes are numerous, but they’re distant and fantastical, like hearing about a serial killer on the news.
But they have had that one teacher who inflicts extra punishments just because they don’t like you. They’ve complained to parents and authorities only to be ignored. They’ve sat through pointless classes and been silenced when they criticize. Umbridge is that teacher we all hated because she made our lives miserable and we were powerless to stop her. And as we grow out of school, there are still people in positions of power who act like her. The manager who denies your schedule requests and penalizes you for invented infractions. That customer who complains to corporate because their scam didn’t work, and the corporate decision to listen to their story. Cops performing illegal searches because they know you don’t have any proof.
Yes, torturing and killing numerous people is worse than terrorizing a handful of schoolchildren, but Voldemort is the bad guy in a fairy tale. Umbridge is personal.
*drops the mic*
Voldemort is the villain we never hope to face.
Umbridge is the villain we face every day.
And she’s married to Carson on Downton Abbey.
It’s time to end the academic culture that says working yourself to sickness means you’re just working hard enough. It’s time to end the culture that says taking time for yourself and your own health comes at the expense of doing good work. It’s time to end the culture that says sleep deprivation, anxiety attacks, and binge drinking are just part of the game. It’s time to end the culture that says if you’re not getting along with your mentor, then it’s all your fault. It’s time to end the culture that says advisors and faculty don’t have to take responsibility for the health of their students. It’s time to end the culture that says seeking help means you’re weak, or a bad researcher.
I’m not afraid to admit that this is an issue that touched my life during my Ph.D. Thankfully I had amazing friends and family outside my program to help me through tough times. But I know that not everyone has a support system like mine. I also watched in sadness when, after a fellow Ph.D. student committed suicide, our program, university, and health services did nothing to acknowledge that it happened, or that the culture of academia could have contributed to it, and (as far as any of us have been able to tell), has done little if anything to stop it from happening again.
Some graduate programs are putting better student support systems in place, and for every bad advisor we can find an exception that cares and helps their students to the utmost of their ability. But academia, overall, still possesses a culture of acceptance and ignorance when it comes to mental health issues, especially in graduate programs.
It’s time to end that culture.
Very interesting article.