The Social Security Administration has released new data from its survey and finds that 51% of working Americans make less than $30,000 dollars a year in income. 

Thirty thousand dollars a year is only $2500 a month before taxes. There is no way in 2015 that a middle class family could be supported by $30,000 a year. Even if both adults in a household earned $30,000, that would still create serious difficulties in maintaining a middle class family in most areas of the country. The American class structure now looks more like pre-Revolutionary France than “The Strongest Middle Class In The World”

Only 18.4% of working Americans make between $55,000 and $155,000 a year, the typical bracket for the middle class in this country 

This is why we need Bernie Sanders more now than ever before. The 

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i really didn’t think he’d do it


i told my mom, nah that’s not gonna happen. he’s not gonna sacrifice his kid. the only children who die on this show are evil ones like joffrey and minor characters like the butcher’s boy and lommy.

they’re not gonna kill such a sympathetic, innocent, kind-hearted child who’s been a pretty major character since season 3, and the only person who humanizes stannis, he of the ‘personality of a lobster’ (direct loras quote).

his love for his daughter was his one redeeming quality and the thing that made him interesting to me.

i mean really, just look at how these dorks look at each other

and the round-about way he tells her he loves her


boy was i wrong. her face when it’s about to happen…

the fear

the desperation

and stannis just fucking stands there looking all remorseful

no, i will never forgive you stannis. what you’ve done is worse than anything anyone else has done on this show. worse than the red wedding. worse than the beheadings and torture and poisonings.

you burned your own fucking child alive, your only child and heir, the one you went through hell to save from greyscale, all for some freaky fire cult you only half believe in which is just a means to an end for you. an end that means NOTHING without an heir and without the only person who loves you unconditionally despite your many many flaws.

i know grrm and d&d coordinated on this and it might happen in the books in some way, shape or form but that doesn’t excuse any of them.

i’m mostly just frustrated with d&d for some of the choices they’ve made with regard to female characters. i don’t read the books but apparently arianne martell of dorne is supposed to be a pretty empowering female character which they decided to leave out for really good reasons i guess??????

dany’s rape was horrifying. cersei’s rape was horrifying. sansa’s rape was horrifying. but the shireen thing got me right in the feels and it’s just something i won’t be able to get over.



sincerely, me of the house heartbroken.

Meet Phobos: a Moon Called Fear

The Martian moon Phobos is one of the smallest moons in our Solar System. Named after the son of Ares (the Greek counterpart to the Roman Mars), Phobos means Fear in Ancient Greek. This god was said to accompany his father on the battlefield as the personification of fear. However, far from what its name suggests, Phobos is a rather subtle, asteroid-sized moon, which remained undetected until 1877.

In the early seventeenth Century, Johannes Kepler first proposed that Mars might be host to two moons. It wasn’t until August in 1877 that the American astronomer, Asaph Hall, officially confirmed this with the discovery of Phobos and its companion Deimos while studying Mars from the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.

Phobos has several characteristics which contribute to its elusiveness. It is a comparatively small moon, with a radius of only 11.1 km. It travels along an orbit of only 6,000 kilometres above the Martian surface, closer to its host planet than any other known moon in our Solar System. Our moon, on the other hand, lies 363,300 kilometres away when at its closest point to Earth. Phobos is also tidally locked to Mars, which means the same side always faces the Red Planet as the moon travels along its orbit. On the side which faces out, Phobos can be as warm as -4°C, and the side which faces Mars can drop down to -112°C. Rising in the west and setting in the east, Phobos takes four hours to cross the sky, and completes a full orbit of Mars three times per day. The fact that this moon is so small and orbits so closely to its planet means that it is concealed by Mars’ glare, making it difficult to detect.

Phobos has a lumpy and irregular shape, with a dark grey, heavily cratered surface covered with a thick layer of dusty powder. It has one of the darkest, least reflective surfaces of any object in our solar neighbourhood, and is composed of a material akin to carbonaceous chondrites - the material of asteroids. After being measured by the Mariner 9 and Viking Orbiter spacecraft, scientists noticed that its surface only reflected 5-7% of the sunlight that fell upon it. When its spectral light was reconstructed, Phobos appeared flat and greyish, allowing scientists to determine its composition based on its spectral signature.

There are many theories dealing with the origins of Phobos. One commonly held view is that Phobos came from the Asteroid Belt, and was pushed out by Jupiter’s gravity until it was seized by Mars into its present orbit. Another theory proposes that a large impactor collided with Mars, sending fragments blasting out until gravity eventually clumped them together into a satellite. Yet another possibility suggests that Mars already had a moon which was subsequently destroyed, and from the wreckage Phobos was created.

Sadly, this Martian moon is doomed to meet a violent fate. Spiralling inward at 1.8 centimetres per year, Phobos is expected to will either collide with Mars, or be ripped apart into a ring of debris around the Red Planet within 50 million years.

~ eKAT
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

anonymous asked:

Prompt: Oliver tries to help Felicity get over her fear of loud noises after the accident

On the Cusp of Fear

Originally posted by secretgif-s

The middle of the night during a thunderstorm always seemed to be the worst for her since she’d gotten home from the hospital a few weeks back. It reminded Oliver of what it had been like after he’d gotten back from the island almost four years ago. He, too, had been terrified by loud noises, especially the thunderstorms, which was why he wasn’t surprised to find Felicity huddled in a corner at the far end of the room as soon as the first loud clap of thunder rattled the windows. She shot out of bed, her shriek waking him immediately, but before he could pull her into the safety of his embrace, she was gone.

Oliver rolled onto his back, his eyes glancing around to the room until he spotted her. Felicity’s back was plastered against the wall, knees to her chest, arms around her legs so she could crowd herself into that tiny spot as much as she could. It broke his heart seeing her like that, so small and so terrified of something that somehow no longer bothered him. He pushed the covers aside and got out of bed, slowly making his way toward the frightened woman he loved so much.

Felicity remained huddled in her corner, her head buried in her arms as she trembled and cowered in fear. Another loud crash and she nearly jumped out of her skin, holding herself tighter as a tiny sob escaped her throat. Slowly Oliver approached. The last thing he wanted was to startle her further. He crept forward, kneeling down once he was only a few feet from her.

“Felicity,” he whispered, keeping his voice soft and calm as he reached out. His hand hovered just above her elbow while he waited for her to acknowledge him. “Felicity, honey,” Oliver said again, a little louder this time.

Her head lifted until her eyes were no longer hidden by her arms. Oliver smiled at her warmly, hoping it would ease some of the tension in her body, but another loud crack of thunder rattled the windows as rain and hail pelted them from the outside. Felicity shoved her face back into her arms as her nails dug into the delicate skin above her elbows.

“It’s okay, baby,” Oliver cooed, scooting a few inches closer so their feet barely touched. When his toes brushed her pink lacquered ones, he saw her tense for a moment before letting out a deep, shuddering breath. Felicity relaxed, but only slightly. It was her way of telling him he could come a little closer.

Oliver’s hand fell to her calf and stroked it gently through the thin material of her pajama pants. “I’m right here,” he whispered, coming just a little closer. “You don’t have to be scared.”

Again, her eyes peeked out from behind her folded arms, and this time, she saw him. Tears had spilled down her cheeks. If his heart had been broken before, it was completely shattered now. Oliver stared at his fiancé wondering what it was going to take to make her feel safe again. The gunfire and hail of bullets had really done a number on her, and even though the therapist said it would take time, he couldn’t stand to see her like this.

Felicity had always been the stronger one, always been the support when he needed it. Now, it was Oliver’s turn to be that for her. He scooted closer, until he could gently pull her into his arms and fold them around her. She relented easily, her body melting into his as she pressed her face into his neck. While the trembling continued for a little while longer, he could feel her begin to relax.

“I’m here,” Oliver murmured into her ear as his hands stroked up and down her back, a reassuring touch that calmed her frazzled nerves. “You’re safe, baby. I’m right here.” He kissed her forehead and settled himself against the wall after turning them around. It looked like they’d be spending another night on the floor, but he didn’t care. Just so long as Felicity felt safe in his arms, he’d sleep on that floor with her every night from now to eternity.

The Top 10 Writing Posts for April 2015

These were the new Writers Write posts you enjoyed most in April 2015:

  1. 11 Things To Know About Dating A Writer
  2. Howdy Ma’am: Three Ways To Introduce Your Characters In The First Few Lines
  3. Proust’s Questionnaire - 35 Questions Every Character Should Answer
  4. Write Small - Five Ways To Make Your Reader Care
  5. 21 Social Media Don'ts
  6. Three Ways To Start Writing – Without The Fear
  7. The Three Most Abused Words in Emails (and other writing mistakes)
  8. Four Ways To Help You Make Your Reader Stop And Stare
  9. What To Do When All Your Characters Sound The Same
  10. Three Tips For Writers Who Eavesdrop

Previous Posts

Pawns in Battle

it is absurd
the kind of unimaginable tragedies
that thrust us into a conversation
that is long overdue

i hope you can understand
my inability to comprehend
the level of your pain from this injustice

i could weep
for a thousand seasons
and I would never be able
to understand

the pain
the fear
the hopelessness

the kinds of emotions
that one should not endure
simply because of age, gender or race

when we devalue our youth
our girls and women
or those of a different skin

we create conditions that are ripe for their exploitation

conditions which render our young African girls
pawns in battles they do not understand

ones which they have not choose to fight

to my sisters:

you are valued

-Georges Ekwensi | #ToMySisters234

falcon-eye requested some flinchy Killian around David because he remembers his death in the AU. Perfect for Captain Charming Friday! 

AN: Many thanks go out to my girl, we-should-buckle-some-swash, who helped me with this immensely <333 (you are da bomb diggity bomb). Also thanks to swanspond for making sure I didn’t go on tumblr so I would finish this!

More than Fear

The first time he notices Killian’s weird behavior is during their family breakfast at the diner. Emma and Snow are occupied by little baby Neal blowing little raspberries, the newest thing he’s learned how to do. Their cooing and aweing attract other ladies dining at the establishment  to stop by their table. He turns his attention over to Killian to ask him about grabbing a pint at the Rabbit Hole after work when he finds the pirate anxiously drumming his fingers on the table, his attention elsewhere. When he says Killian’s name to bring him back, he feels bad startling the poor guy sitting across the table from him. Killian flinches in his seat, causing him to bang his leg against the bar under the dining table. A loud curse escapes his lips and his ears redden in embarrassment as the whole diner grows quiet. Emma’s attention is immediately diverted and she fusses over him, making sure he’s okay. Once she’s ascertained that he’s alright, she teases Killian that she needs her 300 year old pirate in one piece. 


The second time he notices it is when Emma leaves him and Killian in the living room to help Mary Margaret out with dinner. Though his attention is on the movie playing in front of them, he notices from the corner of his eye,  Killian bouncing his leg in a frenzied manner as he sits on the couch.

He clears his throat to try and gain Killian’s attention, not wanting to alarm him like he did last time.

“Killian, everything alright?” He hasn’t heard anything to make him different from Snow. In fact, his wife revealed to him that Emma told Killian she loved him. Not exactly the type of information a father needs to know, but as long as Emma was happy, he was too.

The young man (Killian maybe hundreds of years older than himself, but he was courting his daughter, so young man he was) turned to face him, his eyes wide as saucers as he shook his head at him. “Aye, mate. Why do you ask?”

“Just checking that you and Emma are okay.” He couldn’t believe the words that just came out of his mouth. He only prayed that the pirate’s words wouldn’t scar him or make him lose his appetite.

“Mate, are you seriously asking me if me and your daughter are in order?” A teasing grin slowly unfurling on Killian’s face, and David inwardly groaned. Thankfully, he was saved from that conversation by Snow calling them for dinner. He was sure that his poor wife was seriously confused for the passionate kiss he gave her as they got to the table; as well as the thank you he whispered into her ear as he pulled away.


The third time it happens is when Grumpy runs into their office telling them there’s been an emergency. Emma quickly sprints in front of them and he claps Killian on the back as they make their way. He notices that Killian’s back stiffens at the contact before running off hurriedly. David can’t help the pang in his heart that feels a lot like sadness- is this the start to losing a friend?

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My List

I made a list of my regrets
and most pleasantly the items were few
though sadly my list primarily consisted of 
all I may have done or become were it not for fear
the many times I hid while love was near
and every single act of kindness I did not do

May your list be short my friends, and (I haven’t said this in a while) in case no one’s told you yet today, let me be the first to say…

Yes I do love you,
Mike <3  

The Deathly Hallows

Death to beat
what noble cause
were it not for vanity

Ever searching to outwit
the reaper man and fear
the path we all must walk

A cloak, a stone, a wand
all wizard’s tools
means to an end

The worth of all our lives
questionable, and disputed
when the end can be undone

Here we are, alive and well
with numbered days all right
enjoying time such as it is
made precious by uncertainty

(Image caption: With a technique using specially engineered neuron-infecting viruses, Fred Hutch researchers have pinpointed the tiny region of the mouse brain involved in fear. Illustration by Jacqueline Morgado / Fred Hutch News Service)

Tracing the scent of fear

The odor of bobcat urine, if you ever get a chance to take a whiff, is unforgettable — like rotten meat combined with sweat, with something indescribably feral underlying it. To humans, it’s just nose-wrinklingly disgusting.

But to mice, it smells like one thing: danger.

Rodents react instinctually to this trace of their natural predator. Even lab-raised mice that have never been exposed to bobcats — or cats of any sort — have a fear response to this unmistakable scent.

For mice, this instinctual reaction can be lifesaving. The fear response triggers a surge of stress hormones which sends the mice into hyper-preparedness, helping them to respond and flee quickly from hungry predators. Although humans and mice have different stress triggers, this response is reminiscent of our physiological responses to fear and stress.

Now, a study published online in the journal Nature has identified nerve cells and a region of the brain behind this innate fear response. With a technique that uses specially engineered viruses to uncover the nerve pathway involved, a research team led by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center neurobiologist and Nobel Prize winner Dr. Linda Buck has pinpointed a tiny area of the mouse brain responsible for this scent-induced reaction.

It’s known as the “amygdalo-piriform transition area,” or AmPir for short. The researchers were surprised to find that the fear response was so concentrated in this one small region of the olfactory cortex, a part of the brain responsible for perceiving odors.

Although humans do not show instinctive fear to predator odors, studying how mice respond to predator cues can help us learn about our own innate emotions and responses, Buck said.

“The stress hormone response is very reminiscent of human responses to fear and stress. And of course there are disorders in that, like PTSD,” she said. “Understanding the neural circuitry underlying fear and stress of various sorts is very important, not just to understand the basic biology and functions of the brain but also for potentially finding evolutionarily conserved neural circuits and genes that play an important role in humans.“

A trail of breadcrumbs in the brain

Fear triggers both physiological changes (surges of the stress hormones in their blood) and behavior changes in mice. The animals freeze when smelling the predator odor so they won’t be detected.

“Increased stress hormone levels in the blood cause a faster heart rate, blood pressure and increased awareness — it changes many things so the mice can survive and prepare for a coming threat,” said Fred Hutch postdoctoral research fellow Dr. Kunio Kondoh, also an author on the Nature study.

Researchers know which neurons cause the stress hormone increases but not which cells drive the freezing behavior, so the researchers set out to trace how the “danger” signal from the mouse’s nose gets to those stress hormone-triggering cells.

Kondoh and Dr. Zhonghua Lu, also a postdoctoral research fellow working on Buck’s laboratory team and an author on the study, modified a research tool known as viral neuronal tracing. Their technique was built on the backbone of the pseudorabies virus, which can infect neurons and moves from neuron to neuron across cell synapses, the special cellular bridges that nerve cells use to send signals to their direct partners. This pseudorabies virus only travels in reverse in the brain, in the opposite direction of neuron signals — like a salmon swimming upstream.

The researchers modified the virus to light up its pathway, leaving a trail of fluorescent breadcrumbs as it traveled from the neurons in the mouse brain that induce stress hormones to the cells that send signals to those stress-response neurons. They saw multiple different areas of the brain where the viral tracer had blazed its backwards path.

To pinpoint which of those areas was involved in the specific fear response to predator odors, Kondoh exposed mice in the lab to smells — the aforementioned bobcat urine, purchased from a hunting supply store, or a chemical from fox feces — and looked for olfactory neurons activated in response to those noxious scents. The researchers then looked at the cross-section of the two experiments — those nerve cells that send signals to the stress-response cells of the brain and that also light up when mice smell traces of their predators — and found them to be concentrated in one area of the olfactory cortex, the AmPir.

The AmPir is a small region of the rodent brain and, like most parts of the brain involved in sensing and responding to odors, it’s fairly mysterious, Buck said.

“We had actually never even heard of the AmPir. It’s a very tiny area and nothing was known about it,” she said. “We don’t know whether it even exists in humans.”

What is known about the AmPir is that it sits right next to the amygdala, a part of the brain that in humans and other animals plays a role in some emotions — including fear.

Kondoh also found that stimulating the AmPir directly boosted stress hormone levels, and that blocking this brain region’s activity blocked the hormone surge when animals were exposed to predator odors. (Animals with an inactive AmPir still froze when they smelled predator odors, though, suggesting to the researchers that the stress hormone response and behavior changes may be controlled by different parts of the brain.)

The next steps

The next steps for the research team are to uncover the molecules involved in the neural circuits they found, Buck said. The researchers would like to identify genetic signatures in the neurons involved in fear responses. If they find unique molecular signatures for those neurons and if those signatures occur in humans too, such discoveries could lead to a better understanding of stress disorders, such as PTSD and depression, Buck said — and perhaps even point to novel targets for therapeutics.

There’s also evidence suggesting that other scents, like rose oil, can block the fear response to predator odors. Buck’s research team is currently working to uncover the neurons that could suppress stress hormones and the fear response in rodents.

“We’re just beginning to scratch the surface,” Buck said. “By pursuing these various connections, I think there is the potential to identify neural circuits that would be relevant to humans and to the treatment of human psychiatric disorders.”

In honor of Colin Baker’s birthday on Monday, Big Finish is having a sale on the Sixth Doctor Main Range trilogies from 2011, 2012, and 2013:

2011 (ft. Evelyn and Brewster):

2012 (ft. Flip)

2013 (ft. Mel)

Each story is available for £5 on CD and download, or as a bundle of all nine stories for £40 on CD and download.

As Real as the Light

tell me what you’re thinking
what is on your mind
you are always searching
for things you cannot find

things that you insist
are as real as the light
things that you just missed
things just out of your sight

the kindred spirit
you feel near it
it too is alone

the heart who’s beat
you can repeat
with one as lonely
as your own

hope, you say, is where
your will for living lies
give it up, you fear
the soul within you dies