01. A made up language
When I was about 3, I started learning to read and asked my older brother to help out. We loved to hang out together, the dynamic being him trolling me at every step and me getting frustrated while trying to get my revenge. During his gig as a reading tutor, he started intentionally misspelling words on paper to get entertained by my mispronunciations. Do this a few hundred times and - by accident - we ended up creating this pig-latin like language. Super fun - speak it fast enough and parents can't understand a thing. Neighbors get confused and people on the street struggle to figure out which country you moved from. The language rules became apparent only years after our brains were already excelling at swapping consonants and vocals within syllables of complex words. A good friend eventually also picked it up, increasing the speakers of this endangered language to 3, while our parents remained clueless. "Echamaifyciivonoak!"
02. Understanding evolution
That moment when the angels sing, the world around you fades to white and you're in awe of all these small miracles... it happened to me when I finally understood the basic process of evolution.
Are you confident you can explain evolution to a 10-year-old?
It's easy, it's just a series of happy accidents. An error in the copying process that sometimes results in an improvement in the next generation. A bump that becomes a wing, a pinhole that turns into an eye - not overnight, but after a hundred or a billion times you end up with beautiful dandelion parachutes designed by what Dawkins calls the blind watchmaker.
03. Fragments of life *
These are some random stories from someone who lives in the US but wasn’t born here. Another immigrant from a former communist country, with other siblings living all around the world. Different perspectives enabled by somewhat open borders and tolerance.
I’ve seen our own politicians and far right extremists being openly racist on national TV, being hosted purely for ad revenue. Whenever I see the combed-over xenophobic orange clown foaming at the mouth, I'm also seeing all the red flags and hearing alarm bells ringing at full volume. All the signs are there, ask any of your acquaintances coming from different cultures - we've seen it all before and learned to avoid and reject these individuals.
You are now facing two choices: to learn from other people's mistake or make your own. The impact of a bad choice will most likely reverberate and negatively impact your life over the next few years. It's not "what's the worst that could happen" it's how long it will that take for the nation to recover. It's years that mean little on a historical scale but will represent a sizable chunk of your own life. I left my own country because the recovery was not happening fast enough. After November 8 I might have to do it all over again.
PS: Currently interested in: The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, The Giving Pledge, Melinda & Bill Gates Foundation, YANSS, Sapiens, Breaking Smart, @benedictevans, @pmarca. Also, hi Grang Jo ^_^