My family is from Nigeria, and my full name is Uzoamaka, which means “The road is good.” Quick lesson: My tribe is Igbo, and you name your kid something that tells your history and hopefully predicts your future. So anyway, in grade school, because my last name started with an A, I was the first in roll call, and nobody ever knew how to pronounce it. So I went home and asked my mother if I could be called Zoe. I remember she was cooking, and in her Nigerian accent she said, “Why?” I said, “Nobody can pronounce it.” Without missing a beat, she said, “If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka.”
"don’t touch the bottom guiz pretend it’s hot lava"
Favourite Moments from Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey (4/?)
- From Episode 2: Some of the Things That Molecules Do
I remember when I first started going to the gym I was confused by a lot of things people did in there.
Why is that guy making so much noise? Why do people wear hats in the gym? Why is that guy only doing half a rep? Omg why is that guy squatting so low he’s gonna hurt his knees?! Why is that guy arching his back on the bench press? Why does that girl have so much makeup on? How does that girl workout with her hair down?
Then over time I realized there’s usually a reason why people do specific things. Everybody goes to the gym for different reasons. Just because you don’t understand it, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
That guy is making noises on that last rep because he’s giving it his all after a shitty day. That girl is wearing a hat to stay warm between sets because the fans at commercial gyms are on too high. Oh yeah, and so she can avoid eye contact from the guys trying to start conversations. That guy isn’t benching with full range of motion because he’s recovering from a shoulder injury. That guy is squatting that low… Well, because that’s a proper way to squat despite the outdated information in fitness textbooks. That guy is arching on the bench press because he’s a powerlifter and doesn’t look at the bench press as just a chest workout. That girl has makeup on because she doesn’t have time to wipe it all off because she has a busy schedule and is just squeezing in a gym session. That girl is working out with her hair down because she forgot a hair tie… Or she just doesn’t like how her ponytail gets in the way when she lays on a bench. Whatever.
Some people go to the gym to lose weight. Some go to gain weight. Some go without regards to weight/aesthetics and just want to get stronger. Every person has a different goal.
Unless what someone in the gym is doing is directly interfering with your own training, or they are doing something that is truly dangerous (not just something that is unfamiliar to you)… STOP CARING ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE IN THE GYM ARE DOING.
“In 2002, having spent more than three years in one residence for the first time in my life, I got called for jury duty. I show up on time, ready to serve. When we get to the voir dire, the lawyer says to me, “I see you’re an astrophysicist. What’s that?” I answer, “Astrophysics is the laws of physics, applied to the universe—the Big Bang, black holes, that sort of thing.” Then he asks, “What do you teach at Princeton?” and I say, “I teach a class on the evaluation of evidence and the relative unreliability of eyewitness testimony.” Five minutes later, I’m on the street.
A few years later, jury duty again. The judge states that the defendant is charged with possession of 1,700 milligrams of cocaine. It was found on his body, he was arrested, and he is now on trial. This time, after the Q&A is over, the judge asks us whether there are any questions we’d like to ask the court, and I say, “Yes, Your Honor. Why did you say he was in possession of 1,700 milligrams of cocaine? That equals 1.7 grams. The ‘thousand’ cancels with the ‘milli-’ and you get 1.7 grams, which is less than the weight of a dime.” Again I’m out on the street.”
powerful Black Science Man
“I teach a class on the evaluation of evidence and the relative unreliability of eyewitness testimony.” Five minutes later, I’m on the street.
This is a good illustration of what’s wrong with the US criminal justice system.
I’m more struck by the second anecdote, in which he was evidently disqualified from jury duty for displaying the ability to do math.
Animals that are unbelievably awesome.