The spending of time and money on hobbies and other leisure activities is an important ethical consideration. How much is too much when your time (and money) could be spent in “better” ways? Here I argue that escapism can be healthy and make life better for you and those around you.
Lara Croft’s origin story is supposedly one of survival. The introduction shows an innocent female archaeologist and her friends heading for adventure and fame. Circumstances quickly deteriorate, and the first Lara does in the game is to set herself on fire, fall several meters down onto a metal pin, and brutally pull it out from her side. The sequence is emotional and well executed, the subtext being that this hurts Lara mentally as much as physically. Before the credits roll, the screen fades to white and the text a survivor is born appears in bold, rough letters. And it might have worked. She has undoubtedly become tougher and more experienced. But she has also become a cold‐blooded, psychopathic killer.
Every now and again there comes a work – whether a book, a movie or something else – that is of such societal significance that it cannot and must not be overlooked. Glenn Greenwald’s No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State is just such a work.
“The Book of Nature is written in the language of Mathematics”, Galileo famously said. The language of mathematics is clean, precise and absolute, with no regard for the concept of uncertainty. But Uncertainty, this frowned‐upon offspring of Mother Earth and Father Science, of theory and practice, which we’d rather throw to the wolves on a cold winter’s night, is central to all science. In physics, uncertainty is particularly special, because physics has always been concerned with the hunt for certainty – the hunt for the capital Truths of nature.
Normally, when people ask what I do, I just say I study the aurora. That’s not strictly correct. Yes, the aurora is involved in my studies, but it’s not the actual topic. It’s just that when people ask me what I do, it’s way better than saying “I study plasma irregularities in the high‐latitude ionosphere and their effects on trans‐ionospheric signal links” because, well, the image explains it all. But let me try to explain, in understandable terms, what I actually study.