capitol building

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Attendees from across the country descended on the nation’s capital to speak up for science.

The March for Science unfolded on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, and in multiple cities around the world. Coinciding with Earth Day, the event drew researchers, educators and scientifically-minded people.

The event kicked off with open teaching sessions on the Mall, followed by a rally near the Washington Monument, and then a march that traveled to the U.S. Capitol building.

NPR spoke to some of the participants about why they decided to attend the March for Science.

PHOTOS: Scientists Take To Washington To Stress A Nonpartisan Agenda

Photos: Meredith Rizzo/NPR

I’ve been thinking a lot about the meeting between Trump and Obama at the White House, and here’s the thing.

Obama used to be a law professor. This is key.

Law school is so, so different from college. 

In college, everyone expects there to be a “syllabus day,” kind of a grace period where they can show up and get the lay of the land, figure out the bare minimum that they can get away with, the TA gives everyone their office hours, there’s an introductory lecture, and everybody leaves a few minutes early to go take a nap or something. You do the bullshit assignments, you say something in class now and then to get your participation check mark, and figure out how badly you can do on the final and still pass. 

But see, in law school, all the methodologies you’ve spent the last 17 years operating under go out the window. Day one of law school is you being thrown into the deep end of the pool—you’ve had a homework assignment for two weeks now, and it’s to read the first 200 pages of your casebook. And now it’s you and the teacher (who is usually as smug as Alex Trebek) gauging and assessing what you managed to absorb while you skimmed through all those pages of reading so you could hurry up and get to the other 150 pages of reading for your next period class, in front of 50 people who are all smarter than you. And if you fuck up, or you didn’t do the reading, you are at the mercies of not just the professor, but the silent satisfied judgment of your peers. 

Law school is hard, and it will make you feel stupid and tongue-tied and like you don’t know anything and can’t form an argument—because you don’t, and you can’t. Everybody there has had a 4.0 since birth. Everybody there was the smartest kid in their class, and you’re all rabidly competing for a sliver of a chance at something down the road. It’s petty, and savage, fiercely entrenched in a culture of formalities and ceremony, and exactly like Washington DC

Yesterday when I was driving home, the NPR reporter talking about the Oval Office meeting mentioned that Trump had thought it was going to be a “getting to know you” type meeting, but that he was surprised when Obama stretched their talk out to 90 minutes before sending him along to the Capitol building where he met with congressional leaders for more lengthy meetings and stuff he didn’t want to do.

And he hasn’t even gotten to the actual job yet

So think about that as we go into this. 

Trump walked into the Oval Office like a two-pump-chump freshman thinking it was syllabus day, and what he got was the first day of law school, and he hadn’t done the reading like everyone else had, and Professor Obama decided to put him in the hot seat. 

This was Obama’s chance for the most perfect revenge that would never be picked up on as revenge at all. He was gracious, polite—everything he needed to be for a peaceful transition and a good review from the press. And that would continue when the doors were closed, because that’s the key. Not a Come to Jesus meeting, oh no. If Obama were smart—and he is very smart—he would have treated Trump like an equal, and brought the discussion to a level that assumes far more of Trump than anyone has so far. Assumes that he’s an adult who’s been paying attention. Statistics, esoteric minutiae about the executive branch procedure, economic growth numbers, labor figures, domestic policies, countries Trump has never even heard of, shit that would never in a million years have been in Trump’s campaign soundbites or digestible summaries. 

No way to escape. No aides to remember any of it for him. Just the two of them. 

Because that’s what would strike a precise chill into Trump. The thundering realization that he’s woefully unprepared for the hard, boring, thankless reality of this, and Obama’s version of a smooth transition won’t and shouldn’t include remedial civics. 

That’s what I saw when they shook hands and Trump stared at the floor instead of looking back into Obama’s face. He’s just figured out how little he knows about any of this

And that should give you a small glow of satisfaction, because after those meetings, Trump definitely has the 1L Terror Shits. In January, the night sweats and insomnia will show up, but for these first few weeks—nothing but diarrhea and self-doubt.  

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In 1952, unidentified flying objects made themselves known to the leaders of the free world, by buzzing over the White House, the Capitol building, and the Pentagon.

Washington National Airport and Andrews Air Force Base picked up a number of UFOs on their radar screens on July 19, 1952, beginning a wave of sightings still unexplained to this day. These objects where traveling at 100 M.P.H. but with the ability to accelerate to the unbelievable speed of 7,200 M.P.H. The Washington 1952 sighting was confirmed by other local radar, and then Andrews Air Force Base.