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The top U.S. military official just gave the most reasonable speech on critical race theory

The controversy over critical race theory seems to have hit a fever pitch in the U.S.

Critical race theory (CRT) has been around for decades (the American Bar Association has a nice synopsis of it here). As with any academic theory, it's complex, but in a nutshell, CRT examines how the social construct of race impacts the laws and institutions of our society. But recently, as Americans reckon more fully with the legacy of racism in our national story, the entire idea of CRT has become a political football, scapegoat, diversion, and bogeyman, depending on who's discussing it.

There's a lot of confusion in this discourse about what CRT is, as well as where and how it's actually being taught, and some of that confusion has spilled into the U.S military.

Defense Secretary Austin was questioned at a House Armed Services Committee meeting today about CRT being taught in U.S. military academies. Representative Mike Waltz (FL-R), a former Green Beret, cited a letter he'd received from a superintendent at West Point about CRT materials being used in one class, as well as a workshop on "Understanding White Rage" that 100 cadets were taking. Representative Matt Gaetz asked Austin about it as well.

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the highest-ranking military officer in the U.S., was offered a few minutes to respond at the end of the session. And his rational, reasonable, level-headed thoughts were a breath of fresh air.

Watch General Milley share his thoughts:



General Mark Milley hits back at uproar over critical race theorywww.youtube.com


Here's the transcript of his speech:

"First of all, on the issue of critical race theory, etc. I'll obviously have to get much smarter on whatever the theory is. But I do think it's important, actually, for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read. And the United States Military Academy is a university, and it is important that we train and we understand. And I want to understand 'white rage." I'm white, and I want to understand it.

So, what is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out. I want to maintain an open mind here, and I do want to analyze it. It's important that we understand that. Because our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and guardians—they come from the American people. So it is important that the leaders, now and in the future, do understand it.

I've read Mao Tse Tung. I've read Karl Marx. I've read Lenin. That doesn't make me a communist. So what is wrong with understanding—having some situational understanding—about the country for which we are here to defend?

I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned and non-commissioned officers, of being quote 'woke' or something else because we're studying some theories that are out there. That was started at Harvard Law School years ago, and it proposed that there are laws in the United States, antebellum laws prior to the Civil War, that led to a power differential with African-Americans that were three-quarters of a human being when this country was formed. And then we had a Civil War and Emancipation Proclamation to change it. And then we brought it up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964—it took another 100 years to change that.

So look, I do want to know. And I respect your service, and you and I are both Green Berets. But I want to know. And it matters to our military and the discipline and cohesion of this military.

And I thank you for the opportunity to make a comment on that."


Well said, General Milley.

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

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You could say Marine biologist, divemaster and National Geographic Explorer Dr. Erika Woolsey is a bit of a coral reef whisperer, one who brings her passion for ocean science to folks on dry land in a fresh, innovative and fun new way using virtual reality.

Images courtesy of Meta’s Community Voices film series

Her non-profit, The Hydrous, combines science, design, and technology to provide one-of-a-kind experiential education about marine life. In 2018, Hydrous produced “Immerse 360”, a virtual underwater journey through the coral reefs of Palau, with Dr. Woolsey as a guide.

Viewers got to swim with sharks, manta rays and sea turtles while exploring gorgeous aquatic landscapes and learning about the crucial role our oceans play—all from 360° and 3D footage captured by VRTUL 2 underwater storytelling VR cameras.


Hydrous then expanded on the idea to develop two more exciting augmented adventures using Meta Quest 2 technology: “Expedition Palau,” a live event where audiences can share a “synchronized immersive reality experience”, which includes live narration from Woolsey, and “Explore,” a “CGI experience” to enjoy the magic of the ocean at home.


www.youtube.com

“I’ve been extremely fortunate to explore and study coral reefs around the world,” Woolsey said, sharing that it was “heartbreaking” to see these important habitats decay so rapidly while the latest scientific reports did not clearly lead to widespread compassionate action.

“How do we care about something we never see or experience?” she reflected. As she discovered, virtual reality would be a powerful solution for eliciting empathy. “VR has the ability to generate presence and agency and make you feel like you’re there. It's that emotional connection that can bridge scientific discovery and public understanding”

The combination of virtual reality and the ocean’s natural breathtaking beauty is, as Woolsey puts it, a “match made in heaven” for getting people more engaged in ocean education. “When you’re floating you can look up and down and all around you…seeing a school of fish surrounding you and reefs in these cathedral-like structures. Rather than watching a video of a scientist, you get to become the scientist.”

Hydrous also has special kits to provide middle school students hands-on learning about ocean life. In addition to a journal, activity cards and a smartphone VR viewer, each kit includes lifelike 3D printed model pieces of a coral reef so that middle school students can try building their own.

These reef models even turn white when temperatures rise inside the aquarium, which mimics the real “bleaching” that corals endure when they die due to higher than normal ocean temperatures. Students really do become scientists as they figure out how to bring color back to their reef.

While it’s true that the health of our oceans affects us all, the growing threats our oceans face—pollution, overfishing, climate change—don’t always affect us on an empathetic level. Through the use of technology, Woolsey has created an innovative way to connect hearts and minds to one of the Earth’s most important resources, which can inspire real and lasting change.

“We can’t bring everybody to the ocean, but we’re finding scalable ways to bring the ocean to everyone.”

To learn more about Hydrous, click here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


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