Unless Earth is special beyond reason, you can confidently assume there are plenty of societies out there. That doesn't mean that they'll come to Earth (or, as many believe, already have). Interstellar travel, despite what you've seen at the local multiplex, is hard. But we could easily get in touch via radio signals or flashing laser lights.
The month of November is Native American Heritage Month. A recent editorial by Kevin Gover, director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian, suggests that "the vast majority of Americans have a limited -- and often mistaken -- understanding of Native American history."
Using names or acronyms of mental illnesses to hyperbolize innocuous idiosyncrasies and experiences has become pervasive in our cultural dialogue. It is important we end this trend, because making these flippant references trivializes how devastating the illnesses can be and perpetuates myths and misunderstandings.
I'm not ready for Sienna to have her mom's sailor mouth, but eventually, when she's a teen, I don't want her to be afraid of speaking the language of her classmates and once she reaches adulthood, I hope to be ready for her to speak such words in my presence as part of normal conversation because the reality is that cursing is ordinary and sometimes, often even, acts as a release for pent up stress.
Like all great games, works of genius, love affairs, and near death experiences, there is a defining moment, in Scrabble, that reigns supreme -- one existential, moon howling, Job-in-the-belly-of-the-whale moment that, metaphorically speaking, I imagine was at least partially responsible for Van Gogh cutting off his ear.