What Matters With the Golden Rule

The "Golden Rule" is one of the cornerstones of almost every society. It is evident in the concepts of Karma and Dharma, and even secular humanism and existentialism. It was most famously preached tenderly by Jesus as "Love thy neighbor as thyself," as a derivation of the Hebrew Bible's directive in Leviticus. And who can forget Jesus's contemporary Hillel the Elder who flipped the Rule on its head by stating: "That which is hateful to you, do not do to another. The rest is commentary."

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Giving of One's Self

I've mentioned before that I did not initially vote for Michael Bloomberg for mayor. But he ended up being one of my favorite politicians, despite the fact that he lacked in charisma. I enjoyed it when he said he had smoked marijuana and he liked it, too! But one story stood out for me: when services were cut by New York's government, he would find a way for his charity to donate to those very same services. This inclination towards philanthropy made me a permanent fan.

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A Woolly Future

My youngest son has come up with a phenomenal idea for a children's book, and I hope nobody beats him to the execution of the idea. He wants to write a fiction book about a boy who brings a woolly mammoth to life and keeps it as a pet. The book would also contain actual facts about the woolly mammoth.

I informed him that he was in luck; just last week, Harvard scientists (I knew that the fact that they were from Harvard would grab his attention; he heard last year that it was the oldest and the best and most important in the U.S., and therefore wants to attend one day) announced that woolly mammoths would be brought back to life by splicing DNA from the extinct mammoth with elephant genes. He was so excited--maybe the woolly mammoth would become his new favorite animal, even more than the panda. He wanted to know so much about DNA.

We discussed how DNA are the building blocks of life, that, under a microscope, they are shaped as a double-helix, which I tried to describe to him as looking like a twisting ribbon. I told him how DNA could be found at the root of a single hair, with a swab of the inner cheek, or by scraping a piece of skin. And that DNA is like the code to a computer program. As I discussed this with him, it reminded me how awesome--in the literal sense of the word--it is that something so microscopic could be linked to something so complex and vibrant. DNA makes us more than matter. Again, in the literal sense.

Today, we went to the Museum of Natural History. We stood before the life-sized replica of the woolly mammoth, of course, but also before impressions of trilobites, small arthropods that lived for 300 million years on earth--more than twice as long as the dinosaurs--but are now extinct. And in the Rose Space Center, we learned that the universe is thought to be 14 billion years old, that we see stars that died out billions of years ago as they were so long before the arrival of humans, let alone human comprehension. And we learned how scientists managed to decode so much of the vastness of space and time.

And after our feet hurt, and our brains were tired, we headed to the museum gift shop, and pretended that our pressing matters mattered.

Love vs. Fear

The times I have been most afraid have been when I have been deprived of control. I wouldn't say I'm a control freak, but I would say that I don't like flying or sitting in the back seat of a car driving along a cliff, for instance, because I am not in control of my situation. Same with a tram up a mountain. Or an elevator up a skyscraper. And I don't think I'm scared of dying as much as falling.

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Jealous Over Seeing Beautiful Oops

There are people who inspire me each day, and they are often so different from each other. I love those differences. But there is a type of person who is so rare that I have to give credit where credit is due. There are some people who see the beauty in every person they meet. Often, it's physical beauty where most people see only plain. Sometimes, it's beauty that is hard for others to see in a given action or expression of emotion.

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Peace on a Bed of Nails

I don't think I meditate correctly. I think there is a standard way to do it, but I have chosen not to. I know that people are crazy about transcendental meditation, and it costs like a thousand dollars or something, but I'm not interested in that. Still, I heard a few years ago that the most effective people in every industry swear by meditation, so I decided to try it for myself, even if I didn't exactly know the right way to meditate.

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Half Hollow Hills, A Special School District

Tonight, the Half Hollow Hills school district did something pretty remarkable. They approved next year's calendar, which has days off for two holidays not previously noted by the district: Diwali and Eid al-Fitr. I am proud of the school district from which I and my children have benefited. I am also proud of my childhood friend and former neighbor Niti for being a leader in the push for observance of the holidays.

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Sufficiently Suffolk

Suffolk County stands out from the rest of New York in a number of ways. 8/10 of the highest-grossing 7-11s in America are in Suffolk. Suffolk leads the state in heroin and fentanyl overdoses. Suffolk also leads the state in DWI crashes. Suffolk begins at Melville and ends at Montauk, spanning more than 80 miles long. And so much of those 80+ miles are filled with beauty. Somehow, I think all of these things are connected.

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Shrinking the World Down One Community at a Time

On Monday, I will appear on an "Expert Hangout" in an authors' Facebook community. I will speak about legal and business terminology and concepts and how intellectual property affects authors. The interesting thing about this community is that it will be attended by plenty of people outside of the U.S. And I have already informed the community members that I am generally unfamiliar with laws outside of the U.S.

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Ties Against the Tide

I hate neckties. I know I am not the only one, but I would love to see a fashion revolution in the workplace where male professionals--doctors, lawyers, accountants--ban neckties. Have you ever thought about why people where them in the first place? Croatian soldiers in the 17th century tied their uniforms in a certain way, and Louis XIII LIKED it. So there. Go ahead, wear that cravat (the French terminology). Even if it cuts off your oxygen. Or spreads disease.

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Putting Up Roadblocks

The first Executive Order to come from the new President was withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This was a relatively uncontroversial move, and was also a pretty toothless move, as Congress had effectively withdrawn the US from TPP in 2016. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and many other technologists were in favor of withdrawing from TPP for a very different reason--secretive clauses about US copyright--than the President's protectionism.

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