Episode 37: The Horrors of the MIND (Super Spooky Halloween Special Part I)

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Charles 0:23
Hello, and welcome to Assigned Scientist at Bachelor’s. I’m Charles and I’m an entomologist.

Tessa 0:28
And I’m Tessa and I’m an astrobiologist.

Charles 0:30
And today it’s just the two of us for our second annual super spooky Halloween special. Last year, we talked about the Locked Tomb trilogy, which was originally supposed to conclude this year. And then a pandemic happened, I guess.

Tessa 0:45
Yep. And it’s no longer a trilogy. It’s now a series, because somehow it gained a fourth book.

Charles 0:51
That’s like good news and bad news.

Tessa 0:53
Yeah, yeah, I have mixed feelings about it.

Charles 0:55
I like reading things when they’re already done. And I can just breeze on through. What we’re doing this year, is an idea that I had, I thought it would be fun to delve into the horrors of the mind, by which I mean talk about science fictional scenarios that are personally terrifying. And I’m an anxious person. So most things terrify me all the time. So Tessa, I would love to throw the ball towards you… some kinds of sports metaphor.

Tessa 1:27
So the one that first came to mind, I am an anxious person, but weirdly, it tends to manifest around fairly mundane things like, you know, well, not necessarily mundane – climate change isn’t exactly mundane, but you would say you know, not things that are particularly science fictional. In fact, things are unfortunately all too real. Um, one exception…

Charles 1:54

Tessa 1:55
Yeah, science-factional. And even the one I’m about to mention is not really a current one for me, but growing up, and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this on this podcast before, but ironically, given that I’m an astrobiologist, as a kid, I was irrationally scared of being abducted by aliens.

Charles 2:13
I mean, I don’t I don’t think that that’s that ironic, because it’s like it’s, you know, like the joys and fears of dating, right? Like, you want to go on a date with somebody…

Tessa 2:25
Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Charles 2:26
But you don’t want to be a abducted by them.

Tessa 2:30
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s a good way of thinking. And you know, it’s weird because I know exactly where it came from. There was a show on Fox in the mid 90s, called Sightings, which is all about all this, like, paranormal stuff like they did, you know, stuff on ghosts and angels and ESP. And sometimes just stuff that was very mundane, but they thought it was weird. They were really into crop circles, which is kind of hilarious in retrospect, because at the time, they’re like, oh, yeah, these are clearly you know, not the work of human hands, there’s, you know, some greater force at work. And then the late 90s, then, two dudes came out and said, Yeah, we made these using like, a couple of two by fours. It’s really not that hard. And now like, they make them for, like, promotional things, you know, for like companies that want to have something that’s visible from an aircraft.

Charles 3:21
It’s like the corruption of like…. world records used, they used to mean something, right?

Tessa 3:26

Charles 3:27
Now, they’re literally a promotional tool.

Tessa 3:29
Yep. Anyways, they also did a lot about alien abductions, and you know, it was something that I was unreasonably afraid of that they would come and get me in the night. And I would actually I remember even like, like putting music on, because I thought that would make me feel less afraid which it did. And of course, the great reversal of this is now arguably, I’m more of a threat to aliens than they are to me. Like even if they were to abducted me tonight, I would not leave unless I grabbed one of them, because Mama needs to finish your dissertation.

Charles 3:58
Well, here’s a new fear that I would love to propose to you that you could internalize right now, which is the fear of getting abducted, but then abduction and return and seeing yourself become what you hate the most ie an exploitative figure in academia. The terror of corruption.

Tessa 4:18
Yeah, yeah. No, that hits home, I’ll have to think about that. I mean, that’s, that’s the first like science fictional thing that comes to mind. How about you?

Charles 4:28
Well, I actually want to probe – haHA – a little bit deeper. Did you have an image of what would happen to you if you got abducted?

Tessa 4:37
I mean, they always made it out is like, Oh, they come and take you and out of your bed and you’d be paralyzed. It was actually like the, the whole being paralyzed thing that really frightened me. And fortunately for me, you know, I know no sleep paralysis thing. And I also didn’t experience it until after I had learned what sleep paralysis was. So yeah, no, it was just like you couldn’t move and they would just take you and I go thought that that was the aspect that really bothered me was like being held captive powerless.

Charles 5:06

Tessa 5:06
And not having control of what was going on at all? I don’t know. I’m sure my therapist could make a lot out of that. But yeah, you know, you know, I was too young to know about the whole, you know, ain’t only probe or whatever that did not even cross my mind. It was mostly just, you know, the act of someone coming into my home doing something to me that I could no longer move, because apparently that is something that they were reported to do, which, again, also matches the symptoms of sleep paralysis. And then you know, what just popped up to you and run weird experiments on you and like, take messy tissue samples, because apparently, even though they have interstellar travel, they haven’t figured out like MRIs, which is weird.

Tessa 5:45
I didn’t really think too much about what would actually happen after they grabbed me, it was just the fact that they could grab me. But when you watch TV that claims it’s factual, and you’re seven or six, five, whatever, I don’t know any better. Suddenly, it’s like, oh, this could be a real thing. Because I mean, they wouldn’t let people on if they you know, didn’t think they were true, right? Yeah, friggin Nova on PBS didn’t episode about it, too. And that also did not help because like, I mean, I trusted Nova.

Charles 6:16
PBS… come on.

Tessa 6:17
They taught me about how the immune system works. And taught me about the space shuttle Challenger disaster. As far as I was concerned, they were fully credible. That’s kind of why it probably latched into my head.

Charles 6:28
What a betrayal.

Tessa 6:29
Looking back as an adult, I’m like, okay, these are like, whatever these people thought happened to them. Sure. Sounds scary. But sure, also doesn’t sound all that plausible that, you know, aliens traveled unfathomable distances to grab people, and do things that they could have done with a robotic probe a whole lot easier. And without anyone noticing.

Charles 6:47
Yeah, I hear that argument. But on the other hand, I can absolutely imagine humans doing that if we had the capability.

Tessa 6:55

Charles 6:56
So I don’t think it’s outside the realm of like, because this is the… it’s always so funny. When people make arguments on the basis of like, well, this is nobody would act like this. And it’s like… somebody would.

Tessa 7:08
True, maybe we’re just getting the juvenile delinquents of the interstellar community.

Charles 7:12
And that’s, that’s the real nightmare.

Tessa 7:15
Yeah, yeah.

Charles 7:20
Well, when I proposed this, the first thing that came to my mind was a pretty common science fictional idea, I think of like, having an implant in your brain that then connects you kind of like the internet inside your brain. In particular, the first thing that comes to my mind, is a young adult novel called Feed by M.T. Anderson. Have you ever read this?

Tessa 7:47
No, but I’ve heard of it.

Charles 7:49
I remember reading it when I was in the demographic age, because I used to love above all of the genres dystopian and post apocalyptic fiction, so Feed… I don’t really remember that well, because it’s been a while since I read it. But from Wikipedia, in the context section, “The novel portrays a near-future in which the feednet, a huge computer network (apparently an advanced form of the Internet), is directly connected to the brains of about 73% of American citizens by means of an implanted device called a feed. The feed allows people: to mentally access vast digital databases; to experience shareable virtual-reality phenomena (; to continually interact with intrusive corporations in a personal preference-based way; and to communicate telepathically on closed channels with others who also have feeds.” And so this is a whole nightmare to me, because I want to be left alone.

Tessa 8:40
Right, right.

Charles 8:41
Don’t talk to me.

Tessa 8:42
This is, you know, the alerts or notifications on your cell phone going off forever in your own head.

Charles 8:47
I mean, it’s kind of two levels of a nightmare, where one: implantable stuff really freaks me out. And then the second part of it is, don’t talk to me. Leave me alone. I am, and this is not a brag because people get very annoying about like introversion on the internet. I think it hit its peak a couple of years ago of the like, cozy core, right? I’m just a shy introvert and extroverts are out hooking up with people and I like to read books. I’m not doing that. But I am saying on just a pure like, like, do you feel energized by being around other people? Do you feel exhausted by being around other people? I am the most introverted person I’ve ever met, or know about, insofar as when I read the story about the Serbian hermit who came out of his cave and to town and was like what’s going on and people were like, it’s a pandemic, and then he got his vaccine and he was like, if I can do it, anybody can… I’m a little bit jealous of that guy, like to that extent.

Tessa 9:46
Championed like quarantine or lockdown person right there.

Charles 9:49
Love that guy. In another world, in another reality I absolutely would have become a hermit monk. I’m like two steps away from becoming a hermit monk, Now. I’d live in a cave with goats, whatever. So that’s, I think that’s part of it. And just the idea of not being able, it’s just the ultimate intrusion of like, even if you’re in public, you can kind of be by yourself, you can put on headphones, right?

Tessa 10:14
Right, shut yourself away.

Charles 10:16
You can find a little corner behind a column, which I have frequently done in my life. But if there is a thing inside of your brain, there is no escape from other people, ever. And that is horrifying. So I hope that doesn’t happen.

Tessa 10:32
So the mentioning implants made me think of this, I have no problem at all with like most medical stuff, you know, in the course of my transition, I’ve gone through some non trivial medical procedures myself, but something that I’ve noticed, interestingly, throughout my transition, is my attitude towards body horror has changed completely.

Charles 10:52

Tessa 10:52
I used to be like, pretty unfazed by it pre-transition. Nowadays, I can’t do it, like it just makes me too viscerally uncomfortable to deal with. And I wonder if that’s because like previously, you know, I’d been coping, essentially, by like, being mildly dissociated from my body at all times. And that’s obviously no longer the case. I’m in a body I really, really like. And so therefore, part of me is like, Oh, my God, don’t let anything happen to this, you know. So, I suspect that’s probably why because like, now I just, I will avoid it at all costs.

Charles 11:26
I just… yeah, this is interesting. I have two responses. One is this podcast episode probably would be great supplemental materials for your therapist.

Tessa 11:34

Charles 11:36
So great idea. And then secondly, I have always been freaked out by body horror, like always. And I think to some extent, it’s just that I’m, I mean, we’ve talked about it before, just like the inescapable nightmare of organic corporeality.

Tessa 11:51
Yes, yeah.

Charles 11:52
In general, where it’s just like, most days, I can kind of skate through and I’m not too bothered about it, because like, I have no alternative. But then sometimes it’s like, you mean I have to deal with this all the timee, and the only escape that I will ever get is through death? Which is another thing. It’s, yeah, it is very, because I think, particularly over the past year and a half, and I want to be careful in how I phrase this because I don’t want to stigmatize disability. But one of the things that has been a constant anxiety companion for me, since the beginning of the pandemic, is not necessarily just getting COVID… what really freaks me out, especially post vaccination, where I know that my chances, as an otherwise pretty healthy young person of dying, are, are ultimately pretty slim, not zero. But smaller. It is the development of long COVID.

Tessa 12:57

Charles 12:58
Because I think also, as somebody who has complex sensory issues, I am locked in a constant day to day battle with feeling comfortable in my own body to begin with.

Tessa 13:12
Right, right.

Charles 13:13
That the development of long COVID really freaks me out. Because it’s like, that would be just completely upsetting the truce that I’ve been able to kind of reach and so body horror, I think for me taps into those similar fears of like, I’m barely getting by dealing with having a body, base level, right? If I introduce a lot of complications to this, it’s gonna go south real quick.

Tessa 13:41
Right, right. Yeah, no, that’s kind of how I feel it too. Is that a I kind of already went through that with male puberty the first time around? I don’t need another dose of it in my life.

Charles 13:50

Tessa 13:50
But also be Yeah, you know, I’ve because of that I’ve already got a lot of peculiarities and idiosyncrasies going on in terms of my physical form. I don’t need to add more to the list, whether that’s something relatively mundane, like nerve issues, or whatever the sort of thing you might see from long COVID, or it’s something very supernatural or science fictional – growing, I don’t know, insect legs or something like that.

Charles 14:13
That… I might be able to jive with.

Tessa 14:15
Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. It would fit your aesthetic. Mine? I don’t, I don’t know.

Charles 14:20
Yeah, I… it is actually interesting to me, because I edited and published our episode with Aaron Fairchild recently, and we talked about being a furry and like whether they would choose to actually incorporate any of the sort of aspects of their fursonas physically if they were able to. I think what’s interesting to me about quote unquote, extreme body modification and that kind of stuff, is that I am such a hyper cautious individual. That, like, even thinking about, like, further surgeries that I might be interested in, just… not having kind of a backspace.

Tessa 14:56
Right. Yeah, no, I get that. I feel the same way about tattoos.

Charles 14:59
Yeah. It kind of freaks me out of like, I think I want this. But I can’t actually experience what it’s going to be like, until I can’t go back from it.

Tessa 15:10

Charles 15:10
And that also played a little bit into fears about going on HRT, but a little bit less so, because HRT is such a gradual process.

Tessa 15:19
Yeah, that’s actually how I approached it. I figured, you know, if it started doing stuff I didn’t like I could just stop.

Charles 15:24
You can just stop, whereas surgery is… and I, god, it’s such a hackneyed talking point with transphobes at this point of like, what about regret? And it’s like, Barbara, I regret a lot of stuff that I didn’t have to get medical approval for.

Tessa 15:40

Charles 15:41
I don’t regret any of the stuff that I had to get redundant medical approval for, like, it’s like… it… life is complicated! But yeah, I think, because I’ve always been freaked out by body horror, although I will say I think about this a lot… I think having a third arm would actually be pretty chill.

Tessa 15:59
I you know, I get that. Like, there are some exceptions. I wouldn’t like… if I had a functional pair of wings, I’d be totally chill with it. I guess like that would be awesome.

Charles 16:07
See wings, I feel like would just get in the way because you’d have to get all of your shirts specially tailored.

Tessa 16:12
Oh, yeah. I mean, that’s true. But I just, like, invest a lot in halter tops, which I look good in anyway.

Charles 16:17
You could go just like extreme lesbian thirst trap edition and get like, a harness.

Tessa 16:25
Ooh, yeah. Yeah. Now we’re talking. Yeah. See, I could totally make this work. Yeah. And, you know, I also like being able to fly, because that just seems like it would be cool.

Charles 16:37
Well, speaking of transness, another thing that I had on my list, not so much recently, I think, but especially earlier on, when I started transitioning, which was about a decade ago, at this point, there was a lot of wasted time, frankly, invested in the idea of identifying like, a neuro physiological seat of transness. Do you know what I mean?

Tessa 17:03
Yeah, yeah. We’ve talked about that before with like…

Charles 17:05

Tessa 17:06
Like when we had Rose Eveleth on and stuff like that, yes.

Charles 17:09
And finding, you know, the trans section of the brain or whatever the thing is that turns you trans. And a conclusion that would often follow was like, this could be a key to better diagnosis. And it’s like, get outta here, right? Because I categorically reject the idea that there will ever be like a neurophysiological cue that will supersede self identification.

Tessa 17:33
Right, exactly.

Charles 17:34
And so I think that’s kind of a weird nightmare to me of, like a better understanding of transness quotes, better understanding transness, leading to, like just a reversal of the gains that we’ve gotten in loosening medical gatekeeping.

Tessa 17:51
Right. Right. Right. Although, I mean, I feel like after a while, that does tend to burn itself out. I mean, for a long time, they are doing the exact same thing with homosexuality, or really any thing other than heterosexuality. And people have pretty much given up on it. Partially, because turns out, you know, not really all that scientifically, well supported anyways, but also because, you know, it just doesn’t matter. You know, it’s not something people are actually all that interested in finding out because it’s not something people feel like they need to know.

Charles 18:22
Yeah, well, I think the absolute most generous good faith is like, we want to identify people who won’t do quote, unquote, irreparable harm to their bodies, but it just is a fundamentally transphobic viewpoint, any way you slice it, the idea that it is better to have a cis body than a trans body…

Tessa 18:45

Charles 18:45
Is transphobic. Like, get out of here. And I think about this a lot also, because it’s kind of related, where I was thinking about this. And I was like, what about a future where we weirdly go forward in like, medical capabilities, and I, because this is an interesting thing that cis listeners might not know about, but the rates of bottom surgery between like transfem and transmasc people, at least last time I checked, the numbers are like wildly diverse.

Tessa 19:17
Yeah, yeah.

Charles 19:18
Where most transmasc people, in my experience, don’t pursue bottom surgery, really. And by bottom surgery, I really mean specifically genital reconstruction surgery because like lots of guys get hysterectomy or whatever, but that’s more of a sort of middle surgery.

Tessa 19:36
Torso surgery.

Charles 19:37
Yeah, torso surgery, just getting in there. scooping it out. And a reason that is behind this for a lot of people I have I actually proposed this theory to you, which is that surgery for things that you might have to hide are probably more typical than surgeries for something that you could easily fake.

Tessa 19:57
Yeah, like…

Charles 19:57
Yeah, if you have for example, a chest and you would need to wear a binder to hide a presence – that is tougher than like wearing a bra that has breast forms. And…

Tessa 20:10
Exactly, yeah, no, I could totally believe that, honestly.

Charles 20:13
So that’s one of my theories. But then the other explanation that’s typically given is that the surgical procedures just aren’t there, like vaginoplasty has always been perceived as having better ultimate effects than phalloplasty, especially, which is construction of a phallus or metoidioplasty.

Charles 20:32
And not to give away all our secrets to cis people. It’s like basically, taking, I don’t know how much I want to get into… we’re a family friendly podcast. Kind of. For like 12 year olds, I would say, but I guess if you’re curious, just google metoidioplasty. And you’ll learn a lot about how genitals work and hormones, and it’ll enrich your life. Probably! It’s… and you basically end up the gold standard for that is that you… I remember seeing very early on in my transition, somebody was like contemplating it, but they were worried about it. And they were like, there, they were writing into like an ask me kind of Tumblr, and they said, like, they had been given the Michelangelo’s David as like a positive example of what the effects of a meta might look like.

Tessa 21:19
You know, that that actually tracks.

Charles 21:21
Yeah, um, here’s what I’ll say in the, in the very old days, you like couldn’t get diagnosed as trans if you weren’t, like, holistically, like, violently dysphoric your whole body. And then I guess the sort of theoretical situation here is that we’re at a point where suddenly, we’re, we’re so advanced medically that there is a push for people not to be able to kind of quote unquote, pick and choose, but to have to just go whole hog, just totally sissing their whole body, if that makes sense.

Tessa 21:58
Yeah, I mean, on one hand, I could like see people putting pressure on that just from like the true trans true scum, whatever perspective sort of gatekeeping on the other hand, I feel like if medical technology does get that advanced, it seems like, at least based off of how things have gone so far, if anything would enable people to pursue more morphological freedom, like move, in some cases very radically away from that model. I mean, I know improvements in bottom surgery for trans women have led to some very unconventional, deliberately so results where people like preserved parts of their original genitalia, but also construct a vagina.

Charles 22:37
Yeah, cause this actually gets to something that I was literally thinking of, in this exact moment. Of I saw like a fear mongering piece about like, with these new fangled trans identities, we’re getting people who want a penis and a vagina, or somebody who wants nothing at all. And it’s like, sick. Yeah!

Tessa 22:57
Yeah, exactly. Bring it on, yeah.

Charles 22:59
And I think it’s kind of a, two roads diverged in a medical transition wood. And one of them leads to, things are so good now, that the only valid… because I feel like there are probably a lot of people out there who are like, fine with people who have identifiably trans bodies, but only because there’s like no other option, versus people who are like, do whatever you want, who cares. And I think if anybody wants to write this, I think it would be an interesting kind of thought experiment to go down, that kind of nightmare, re:… like, we’ve had this brief taste of morphological freedom of, you can access what you think will best help you in identifying with and modifying your body in the ways that you want to, and then going around the bend again, to a very prescriptive, kind of, yeah, you can only do this if you’ll also do this.

Tessa 23:58
And you know, it’s odd, because like, ultimately, the principle the idea of, you know, you get to pick and choose is based off body autonomy. So, I mean, pretty much as you say, you know, that is going to be a nightmare scenario, not only for trans people, but for anyone who might have to deal with having a body that isn’t approved by the state, whether it’s women or people of color, or whatever, because, you know, if you decide that trans people you know, only have one way to be trans and don’t actually have control over what they’d like their body to be, you know, you can only accept you know, a certain type of body if you wish to medically transition that’s going to have like knock on effects for a lot of people in a very not good way.

Charles 24:38
Plus, it gets into… here’s the chain of association: transphobes, Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale, theocracy, Christians being weird about stuff, basically. Because I think overall there is a cultural movement towards, do what you need to do, but a lot of this fear mongering comes back to sort of religious fundamentalists who hate trans people, because we’re like, an affront to God’s vision, right? And so basically, the idea being there is male and there is female, and anything that doesn’t perfectly map onto our images of those is aberrant and disgusting and perverted and bad. And so that is where the fear of like, people having no particular genitals at all comes from, where it’s like, well, you can’t do that, because that doesn’t happen. But of course, it does happen. And moreover, even if intersex people didn’t exist, which of course they do… mind your business.

Tessa 25:40
Yeah, plus, I mean, the whole well, it doesn’t happen. I mean, that’s true for a lot of modern medicine, people with serious health conditions, congenital health conditions, not dying, you know, days after birth. doesn’t usually happen in nature. But that hasn’t stopped us, um…

Charles 25:56

Tessa 25:56
I think that’s a good thing.

Charles 25:57
I love not dying.

Tessa 25:59
Yeah, yeah. You know, we’re… how, even people use eyeglasses. Yeah, you know, those don’t exist in nature, either. But, uh, yeah…

Charles 26:07
Well, we haven’t gotten down to the very deepest parts of the ocean. So…

Tessa 26:13
Okay, fair enough. You know, that there may be some like, deep sea angler fish, which have fashioned spectacles, but you know, aside from that possibility.

Charles 26:22
Cause it’s… how is… cause glass gets made by like, superheating… sand.

Tessa 26:27

Charles 26:28

Tessa 26:28
It’s a form of silica. Silica dioxide, yeah.

Charles 26:31
There’s… sand in the ocean.

Tessa 26:33
Yeah. And there’s also volcanoes. So yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s not completely implausible.

Charles 26:39
I was listening to another podcast this morning, because I listen to podcasts every day of my life. And they mentioned sort of the Enlightenment era attitude of like, well, we’re learning everything there is to know so sorry, people in the future. And I don’t necessarily think that that’s ever going to happen, especially if we encounter a great apocalyptic collapse like that, which occurs in a canticle for Leibowitz. And then we have to spend another 1000 years rebuilding all of our knowledge again, and then there’s another nuclear war. And then the cycle repeats itself. But I do look forward to the future where we have covered enough stuff, that the academic sniping becomes extremely niche, and extremely weird, even more than it already is, basically, what I’m saying is I look forward to 50 years from now, when we do discover a fish in the deep ocean, wearing a circle of naturally made glass over its eye. And we’re like, well, we can’t say that this is actually fish wearing spectacles, because they can’t see, because there’s not enough light. And then other people going back and forth. The class itself doesn’t have any, like, the refractive index is not enough to improve vision, etc, etc, etc. Listen, academics have to be employed doing something, something Yeah. There are a number of things, not that we can really dig into too much. I mean, I’m terrified of space travel. And there’s one book that I really enjoyed on the Edge of Gone, where a catastrophic natural disaster is basically going to make the world unlivable. And so they build a bunch of these generation ships up into space. And the concept of being on a generation ship. No, thanks. No, thank you.

Tessa 28:38
Yeah, no, I mean, even as someone who was very enthusiastic about potentially going into space given if given the opportunity, it’s, you know, it’s reasonable to be scared, it’s it’s not a, what’s the word, hospitable environment. It also seriously constrains a lot of your capabilities, and like, you can’t just get off.

Charles 29:00
Well, that’s part of it. I hate feeling trapped on stuff. This is part of why I don’t like boats. I’m… actually, on the generation ship on On the Edge of Gone. The protagonist’s sister is trans, she’s a trans woman, and not to spoil things, but they end up finding each other. In a circumstance where the protagonist is like, I can get you onto the generation ship, they need young people, and her sister has to like look her square in the face and be like, Okay, well, why do they need young people? And it’s to make more people.

Tessa 29:33

Charles 29:34
And she can no longer do that. Right?

Tessa 29:37

Charles 29:37
And I think that is particularly… it’s kind of a gray area of sexual consent, even where, if you’re going to be on the generation ship, the idea is to make generations and then it’s a very, like, they probably wouldn’t force you to breed. But there would very much be that attitude of well, you’re here, you’re using up resources. Right? What are you contributing back.

Tessa 30:04

Charles 30:05
And no, thank you. No thanks. So that’s one. But I actually thought it would be interesting to end on kind of a utopian scenario that I don’t like. By which I mean, I think about a lot, the crisis of housing, and how, from an environmental standpoint, the best option is dense urbanization, because that is effectively the most efficient way of housing large numbers of people, because suburban sprawl is bad, and a lot of post colonialization rural sprawl is also very, very bad, because we end up with a lot of monoculture and also racism. And there’s racism everywhere. But let me tell you, I spent a lot of time recently driving through rural Arizona, in the areas that are primarily populated by white people.. there’s some bad vibes out there.

Tessa 31:05

Charles 31:06
So dense urbanization is like the best option. It allows people to have walkable cities, it better facilitates public transportation, because public transportation really only works if stuff is pretty close to each other, right?

Tessa 31:19

Charles 31:19
So that you can efficiently move large numbers of people without having to go way out of everybody’s way, etc, etc, etc. But I have lived in big cities, and I do not enjoy the experience. I’m not into it, I end up stressed out, kind of on edge all the time overstimulated, not into it…

Tessa 31:42
You aren’t the only person who has that problem. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I’ve been psychological studies about it.

Charles 31:48
Well, there’s that. And then there’s kind of the general person overstimulation of living in a big city, and like urban isolation, etc, etc. But then there’s also very specifically, I have responses to noise and audio stimuli.

Tessa 32:03

Charles 32:04
That a lot of people don’t have where it’s like, I have trouble living in cities, because cities are loud.

Tessa 32:11
No, no, that, honestly, that totally makes sense.

Charles 32:14
And so it’s, it’s tough, because it’s like, on one hand, for the good of the world, and humanity, I know that the best situation is that people are mostly living in densely packed cities with public transportation. But that is also personally my nightmare. So it’s tough.

Tessa 32:35
I get that, I get that. And I can totally understand having mixed feelings about it too. Because, you know, again, a lot of those rural locations, while they are quiet, they have other issues with them as well.

Charles 32:48
Bad vibes. … I mean, that’s really the nightmare to end on, where it’s not even science fiction, but that we’re all facing a tsunami wave of, I mean, literal tsunamis but also other natural disasters, and increasing livability across the world as a consequence of irresponsible actions on both broad and narrow scales. And that’s a real bummer. Yep. So hopefully, that doesn’t, I mean that. And so there’s a good solution here where we can’t undo what has been done. But there is a future where people take meaningful action and look out for each other and support each other. And we make meaningful investments in climate responsive living and resources. And then there’s cynically a more likely scenario where the people who aren’t going to be hurt by it, and are unfortunately in control a lot of stuff continued and not care, and then they just die.

Charles 34:03
You can find me on Twitter at @cockroacharles.

Tessa 34:06
And you can find me on social media @spacermase, or at tessafisher.com.

Charles 34:14
You can find the podcast on Twitter @ASABpod or at our website where we post show notes and transcripts for every episode asabpodcast.com. And if you like the podcast, please tell other people that you think might like it about it because that’s apparently the number one way the podcasts grow.

Tessa 34:30
And until next time, keep on science-ing.

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