A touching piece on Ronald Deprez, one of the first to use Maine’s Death with Dignity Act

Maine became just the ninth state to allow people with terminal illnesses to end their life, but the law faced loud and uncharacteristically nonpartisan opposition. Gov. Janet Mills said signing it was the hardest decision she’d made in her first five months as governor.

It is my hope that this law, while respecting the right of personal liberty, will be used sparingly and that we will respect the life of every citizen with the utmost concern for their spiritual and physical well-being,” she said at the time.

He was able to have the death he wanted,” Lovelace said. “For me, and the work we’ve been doing, there is no greater reward than that.”

via the Portland Press Herald

“Another one of those”

When I started out, each and every twist and turn I encountered, whether in the markets or in my life in general, looked really big and dramatic up close, like unique life-or-death experiences that were coming at me fast.

With time and experience, I came to see each encounter as “another one of those” that I could approach more calmly and analytically, like a biologist might approach an encounter with a threatening creature in the jungle: first identifying its species and then, drawing on his prior knowledge about its expected behaviors, reacting appropriately.

– Ray Dalio, Principles

Timothy Morton on the philosophical aspects of the Anthropocene

This leads Morton to one of his most sweeping claims: that the Anthropocene is forcing a revolution in human thought. Advances in science are now underscoring how “enmeshed” we are with other beings – from the microbes that account for roughly half the cells in our bodies, to our reliance for survival on the Earth’s electromagnetic heat shield. At the same time, hyperobjects, in their unwieldy enormity, alert us to the absolute boundaries of science, and therefore the limits of human mastery. Science can only take us so far. This means changing our relationship with the other entities in the universe – whether animal, vegetable or mineral – from one of exploitation through science to one of solidarity in ignorance. If we fail to do this, we will continue to wreak havoc on the planet, threatening the ways of life we hold dear, and even our very existence. In contrast to utopian fantasies that we will be saved by the rise of artificial intelligence or some other new technology, the Anthropocene teaches us that we can’t transcend our limitations or our reliance on other beings. We can only live with them.

From ‘A Reckoning for Our Species’: The Philosopher Prophet of the Anthropocene

Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds

The most heated arguments often occur between people on opposite ends of the spectrum, but the most frequent learning occurs from people who are nearby. The closer you are to someone, the more likely it becomes that the one or two beliefs you don’t share will bleed over into your own mind and shape your thinking. The further away an idea is from your current position, the more likely you are to reject it outright.

– James Clear, Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds

The brilliant Japanese writer Haruki Murakami once wrote, “Always remember that to argue, and win, is to break down the reality of the person you are arguing against. It is painful to lose your reality, so be kind, even if you are right.”

History won’t stop for zoning

Munjoy Hill was an undeveloped area until the Great Fire of 1866, when a tent city emerged to house burned-out refugees. Gradually, houses replaced the tents, many of them modest ones built for workers employed in the rail yards and sea port at the foot of Fore Street. The neighborhood was the home of Portland’s black community and the first stop for waves of immigrants, Irish, Italian and Jewish, who were looking for a better life.

But when people say they want to preserve the “historic character” of Munjoy Hill, they don’t mean that they want to make a place for refugees, workers and immigrants of all colors and religions. They mean they want you to get a permit before you pop some dormers in your roofline.

via the Portland Press Herald

Hope

Hope lives in the fibrous burrows of your heart, it lines the layers of your skin and folds into the corners of your eyes. It does not fly in on the feathered wings of a bird, nor does it breeze away with the November wind. Hope is blindness in the face of what you think you know, it is doing what you do not think you can do. It webs itself between the consoling words you whisper into the neck of a grieving child.

from The New York Times

My Stepson, the Owl and Me

Inequality and competitive parenting

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Many people who grew up in America in the 1970s remember a low-pressure childhood with a lot more freedom and independence than today’s kids enjoy. Data backs up those impressions. In 1969, 41 percent of American children biked or walked to school, a figure that had dropped to about 18 percent by 2014. In 2017, according to the American Time Use Survey, a typical American parent spent close to twice as much time each week interacting with their children as parents did in the late 1970s (almost 28 hours for both parents in 2017, up from 14 hours in 1976). And education-oriented activities grew the fastest.

It’s a vicious circle: Inequality leads to the rise of competitive parenting, which further exacerbates inequality for the next generation. We’re seeing that play out in the United States.

 

from the Washington Post

The parent trap: The greater a country’s income inequality, the likelier parents are to push their kids to work hard

The Single Family housing market is heating up.

Take a look at the graph above, which shows home sales for 2015. Keep in mind that recorded sales dates are generally 30-45 days following the initial contract, when the agreed price is set.

This shows us that somewhere around April – when the relentless winter storms began to dissipate – the market started heating up very quickly.

To make sure this wasn’t just following a yearly trend, I also ran the numbers averaged over all years of sales data. The scale is naturally lower because of the historically cheaper homes, but it’s useful to see that the pattern we’re observing here is not replicated over the average of all years combined – something different was happening in 2015.

Maybe this is a recent trend? I pulled 2014’s data also (which you can see below) to make sure we didn’t see the same pattern there.  Prices were down slightly during the winter months (to be expected), but again, there weren’t any observable correlations between the 2 years beyond that.

There’s a lot more tests that could be run to verify these ideas, but I think it’s safe to say the market started heating up in April 2015 and hasn’t shown us any signs of slowing yet.

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