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Science fights back: Scientists crowd Copley Square in message to Trump and his cabinet

Alternative facts are irrational

Ask a high-school math student.

A couple thousand scientists took time out today from a national conference at the Hynes - or just their weekends at home or in the lab - to protest attacks on science in general and climate science in particular, in a rally in Copley Square.

Science protester in Copley Square

The rally was something of a warmup for even larger science-based protests planned for April 22 in Boston and April 29 in Washington. Speakers also blasted Trump's immigration and visitor restrictions from seven countries, including Iran, for limiting the open door and dialogues that had long helped make the US the global science superpower.

Science protesters in Copley Square

"When science is under attack, what do we do?" an organizer asked. "Stand up and fight back!" the crowd replied.

Speakers pledged to organize and fight new EPA head Scott Pruitt, who left a career in Oklahoma of suing the EPA, new Secretary of State and, of course, Donald Trump, who once called climate change a Chinese hoax.

Science protester in Copley Square

Among the speakers: Chiamaka Obilo, a senior at Boston Latin Academy and a fellow at the Alliance for Climate Education, who said she became interested in climate issues when she left the hospital following ten hours of surgery for scoliosis, took a deep breath - and promptly breathed in exhaust fumes.

Obilo in Copley Square

Obilo said that growing up, half her classmates had asthma. "We can't ignore the fact that climate change is as much a social-justice issue as a science one," she said.

Naomi Oreskies, a professor of the history of science at Harvard, spoke of the difficulties many people had just showing up at the rally.

"We don't want to be here," she said. "We want to be doing science. We want to be in our labs. We want to be out in the field."

And some scientists just don't want to get sucked into a political battle, she continued.

But she compared what the Trump administration is doing and plans to do to a bunch of men who burst into a house and threaten to burn it down.

"Our science, our work, is under attack," she said. "We can no longer sit on the sidelines assuming someone else will protect us. ... It's not political to defend the integrity of facts. ... We did not politicize our science. We did not start this fight."

She quoted Benjamin Franklin: "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."

Science protester in Copley Square
Science protester in Copley Square
Science protester in Copley Square
Science protester in Copley Square
Science protester and dog in Copley Square
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Comments

is getting tedious. And you better hope Trump remains president and not Pence if somehow Trump is removed (highly unlikely); Pence is Trump's insurance policy, unless if course people trying to get Trump out of the way actually prefer a hardcore neoconservative like Pence over Trump who far more moderate.

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That's OK, you don't have to go to any rallies. I'm sure there's something good on HBO or NetFlix to watch.

Don't think the whole Trump/Pence succession hasn't come up. Until 2018, at the least, the thinking I've seen is that as bad as Pence is, at least he won't get us into a nuclear war.

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Tedious? Expect this to be the new norm. Donald Trumps election changes nothing about the fact, evidenced by the thin margins by which he lost the popular vote, that most people in this country don't want him to be president and reject his ideas as shameful and unamerican. People aren't just going to sit down and be quiet about it. And pretty soon Congressional elections will be upon us. The republican majority, given its current complicity in this sham, should hear the clock ticking. And once that is gone, you will have another 4 years of nothing getting done. Quite a situation.

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I tire of Republicans lying and their policies and ideas being immune to reality. It's becoming tedious.

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David Frum put it well a few weeks ago:

"Left-liberal demonstrations are exercises in catharsis, the release of emotions. Their operating principle is self-expression, not persuasion. ... They seldom are aimed at any achievable goal; they rarely leave behind any enduring program of action or any organization to execute that program. Again and again, their most lasting effect has been to polarize opinion against them—and to empower the targets of their outrage."

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/how-to-beat-trump/5...

(I know you lefties see Frum as some kind of boogeyman, but he has been steadily beating the anti-Trump drum for months.)

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I wouldn't exactly go to Frum for anything other than validation of the Clinton/Bush Neomoney world view.

In other words, he's one of the fools who got us into this by not listening to anyone with an income under seven or eight digits. Why should we listen to him now?

ADDENDUM: https://twitter.com/ryangrim/status/833426745546199040

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It's this kind of smug bullshit that got that buffoon elected in the first place. The left can either try to find new allies or build bridges, or it can keep marching in circles in its echo chamber, repeating the same catchphrases that lost them the 2016 election.

I don't want Trump around another 4 more years (or 4 more minutes) any more than you do. A bunch of scientists marching around with funny or obscure signs might make themselves and their friends feel better, but it's not going to bring Trump down.

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You posted a Frum article, and then you call my response "smug bullshit"?

Have you read his stuff, ever? The guy is the Rodeo King of Smug Bullshit. Or was this the first thing that popped up from a semi-respectable news source when you googled "protests don't work" and you went with it?

Take a look at his track record of columns from mid-2015 to now and look carefully at how effective a prognosticator he has been. Also make note of how he's a mouthpiece for validating the interests and beliefs of the wealthy far more than he ever speaks truth to power.

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In hell, the chief topic of conversation, the only topic of conversation, is: hell sucks. It sucked yesterday, and it sucks even more today, or it would if there were any days, but it just goes on and on, getting worse and worse. As a topic of conversation, it sucks. It's really tedious. But what else is there to talk about, really ?

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implying imaginary...

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math humor is the lowest form of humor

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He won the popular vote by | -3,000,000 | votes.

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The embracing of "alternative numbers" is disturbing. Give me real physics with real numbers any day.

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Irrational...?

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Square Root of a Neg 1 is an imaginary number of course since it is impossible to resolve the positive and negative factors.

However... that said... It does have a function.

If you plug it in at just the right place in a Polar Equation, you can use it to cancel a Square Radical Symbol in the string.

Advance Calculus.

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I just finished editing/uploading my photos. They can be seen by clicking here. Have a look.

Good crowd. Not as big as previous rally's but this rally for some reason went un-noticed by alot of people. (I only saw it here and on a tweet by WBZ-TV earlier this morning)

Ah well. I'd guess there were at least 2-3k people there, maybe more. It's always hard to tell when you're standing on the ground. I'm sure BPD will have numbers in a bit. It started off slow and then more and more people came streaming in!

The signs, as expected, where excellent. I tried to get as many as I could. Very intelligent signs.

Great group of people. And speakers you could actually hear! (If you were on the right side and not near the generator)

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I loved your 4th and 5th pictures.

I had to zoom in quite closely to realize the object in the foreground was two photographers - one kneeling behind the other. At first glance at the wide view, I thought it was somebody impersonating a mounted cop - wearing a little horse costume and clopping a couple of coconut shells together!

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haha amazingly enough I don't look in too much detail in the photos. I just edit for speed so I can get them uploaded. For days after I have people going "did you see so and so in your photo" and I truly do not :-) But good catch.

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It was a small but passionate crowd. Loved the close-up of my spouse hidden behind our "Make America Think Again" sign.

Head up to the big reading room on the second floor of the BPL for a straight-on aerial view of future rallies. Note that you can easily open the dusty casement windows for a clear shot.

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And thanks for the suggestion for the next rally (there will be another one, I'm sure). I wish the Copley Mall wasn't so nasty about pictures. I wanted to get one from the Westin's second floor (from the entrance on Huntington)

I do want to get a selfie stick for next time. Will help with the crowd shots to get raise the phone above the crowd and get better shots. And of course, better pano's.. all I will have to do is turn the stick.

(And probably will switch to my Samsung Galaxy S6 Phone, as I do with my Silver Line Gateway photos.. it just takes better, crisper photos without much fidgeting with the settings. Sorry Apple Fans!)

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looking at your photos. Thanks!

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Good crowd. Not as big as previous rally's but this rally for some reason went un-noticed by alot of people. (I only saw it here and on a tweet by WBZ-TV earlier this morning)

This rally was organized over a few weeks if I'm not mistaken; the women's march (which you're probably referencing as "previous rally's") was organized since the election. FYI.

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I also think people were confused about this also.

Because every time I said "oh I'm going to the March for Science", friends were like "oh that isn't until April 22nd", I didn't hear about this one.

I honestly didn't know myself until Adam posted it a few days ago and I had to *look* on social media to find the event itself.

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I had to *look* on social media to find the event itself

This sort of thing does take at least a little effort.

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I think my point was I had to search for it. I know enough like-minded individuals who just invite me to stuff like this (and alot of garbage too). Was just surprised that I had to actually *look* for it and put a whole 30 seconds into looking for it, unlike the other two where I was invited (or saw endless shares about it)

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Is it all soft science or were the hard sciences represented too?

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I only hear that sort of talk from people who find that "soft" science is any science that is too "hard" for them to understand.

That typically happens when said science deals with icky humans or someone can't deal with uncertainty very well.

You could check the AAAS Conference Program if you really want to know.

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That these marches/protests have mild weather, gets people in the city to spend money. Huge!

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How many cabinet appointments have been prevented by these protests? How many by Warren?

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Is preventing is her own re-election.

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When a substantial percentage of the people in the more populous portion of your state turn out to march at an event you are speaking at, how does that affect your reelection chances, exactly?

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replicator failure

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They are like a tugboats that can help correct a ship that is off course. Right now we need as many tugboats as can be found.

The Republican intellectual atavists are steering the nation to a level of collective stupidity. A President who calls climate change a Chinese conspiracy, state legislatures that advocate mythology as science and a Supreme Court that declares legal fictions are equivalent to human beings.

Since there are many voters who have their heads up their mental butts we need to let other voters understand that flat earthers are in charge and want to take everyone off the edge.

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Do voters pay attention to protests?

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You should go to one of the protests and ask some of the voters there.

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Large numbers of people turning out put pressure on local and state politicians to pay attention. We can't stop all the damage done by a criminal administration, but Massachusetts is wealthy and regionally well configured to alternate between "we won't cooperate" and "we'll do it ourselves".

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Odd that Charlie hasn't figured it out yet.

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n/t

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We're just getting started. Just wait until April 15th and April 22nd...... you think the Women's March was large. Just wait. Just wait.

People are more energized than ever now.. the more he does, the more we march.

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You are stealing the Tea Party's thing?
http://legacy.wbur.org/2010/04/14/palin-tea-party

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You are stealing the Tea Party's thing?

Yes, because April 15th had no special significance until the Teabillies came along.

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In looking at the protests against Trump, they have fallen into 2 camps. The first is like this one or the Women's March on Washington, which were very vague and almost seemed like catharsis for those who were strong Clinton supporters. Their goal is just to show that there are like minded folks who oppose the President. Since there were no strong specific goals, there is nothing to be seen, at least in the short term, from the protesting.

Then there's the immigration protest when Trump issued an executive order. They were loud and had a specific goal- thwarting the executive order. While it could look like they failed, they didn't. The Department of Homeland Security noted flaws in the "execution" of the policy, meaning that the bad optics of preventing green card holders from entering the country which came out through the protests at airports across the country, may have affected change. Heck, the administration is now saying that they are going to come up with a different EO to deal with the possibility of terrorists entering the country. Perhaps the next EO will be a bit saner what came out at first, and the protesters can be thanked if that happens.

In the end, there have been no physical demonstrations against any cabinet appointments, which has lead to a lot of party line votes, but that said one nominee has withdrawn his name from consideration, and in another case the Vice President needed to vote to break a tie.

I think that people do need to get over this "Trump is a bad, bad man" mentality and start focusing on policies with which they disagree with him on. That's how you affect change.

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Making Trump out to be a bad man and pointing out how his policies are bad are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the more people think of him as bad, the less forgiving they will be of his policies. You may be falling into the line of thought that Bush-Cheney weren't bad, they were just incompetent. It isn't true; they were genuinely bad, and their policies were bad. Their apparent incompetence was actually indifference toward what most people considered good, and an expression of their being bad.

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He was a good man who either got bad advice or made bad decisions.

I never saw the rationale for invading Iraq, but I totally understood Afghanstan. In the run up to Iraq, I saw protests that said the US shouldn't be flexing it's muscle militarily, which made no sense in the actual battle against Al Queda (as opposed to the fake one in Iraq). I also saw at these protests opposition to US policy towards Israel/Palestine. The conflating of issues weakened the good argument against going into Iraq.

Trump's personality isn't for me, but marching against boorishness isn't as effective as marching against an anti-Muslim immigration policy.

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Until this one, he was the worst one in at least 100 years. He authorized torture, for Christ's sake! He started an unnecessary war that killed more Americans than 9-11 (which he ignored warnings about). A war that destabilized an entire region --so far, permanently. Not "a good man." A war criminal.

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And at that, both Iraq and torture were more Cheney/Rumsfeld things.

W is as bad a person as Bill Clinton is. The difference is that W had to react to Al Queda striking in New York and Virginia.

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There were no Cheney/Rumsfeld things. They were all Bush things. You can't be serious.

He made the final decision to invade Iraq and if he did it based on bad info from his own people then he still owns it, lock stock and barrel.

Good lord.

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W was in charge, and he signed off on all of Cheney's evil doings. It's all in his lap. I'm no fan of Clinton, but he did far, far less damage to the country and world than that smug fratboy with his asshole agenda.

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I see two issues that are about the man rather than policy:

One is that Trump's irrational behavior indicates bona fide mental health problems. The question I've heard is whether he is crazy or crazy like a fox? When KellyAnne Conway refers to a false event she sounds like crazy as a fox. That's a job of a subordinate to the President: see how far lies can go. But when the man who is where the buck stops refers to events that never happened then there is a worse problem than just narcissistic personality disorder. It's one thing if he is the head of a large corporation; it's utterly a different matter when he is the one who can launch a nuclear strike.

I have a hard time imagining that this could be a reality and hope to hell that I am unreasonably fearful. But I never feared this under Nixon, Ford, Reagan or either Bush, and certainly never feared it under Carter, Clinton or Obama. I was too young to have any awareness of the fears of Soviet preemptory strikes from Cuba coming out of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Anyone aware at the time want to add their thoughts of comparison between today and the fear during that period?

Two that he engaged and via subordinates continues to engage in criminal dealings with the Russian government so that he can enrich his personal fortune. If he is directing his subordinates to remove sanctions against Russia for its invasion and continued harassment of Ukraine for his personal gain then I would imagine that is criminal.

These are not policy issues. These are behavioral issues which go directly to the man.

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And a rally or march will do what for these concerns?

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And a rally or march will do what for these concerns?

Potentially, a great deal, but you're not really interested in the answer, are you? Your rather transparent goal is to disparage and discredit the whole idea of marches and rallies. Akin to those who wail, "Stop liking what I don't like!", you are objecting to other people doing what you don't want to do. Maybe you should just get over that and go bowling or something.

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In fact, I started off answering the question "what have these protests accomplished"? My answer was and is that specific protests can seemingly accomplish specific things, but general protests are basically a way to vent. Just my 2 cents. So have as many "Trump is delusional" protests as you want, but don't count on policies being changed.

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My answer was and is that specific protests can seemingly accomplish specific things, but general protests are basically a way to vent

You're wrong about this, I think because you're projecting. You can't imagine yourself going to what you call a "general protest" for any reason other than as "a way to vent"; therefore, that's why everyone else is going? Does that make sense?

o have as many "Trump is delusional" protests as you want, but don't count on policies being changed.

Ah yes, the wise old head telling the foolish young how the world works. I'm not sure where you morphed this demonstration into a "'Trump is delusional' protest"; that's truly mystifying, but whatever. I'm also not convinced of your sagacity in matters of policymaking: your take on it seems simplistic, as if policy is made as a result of one singular type of activity. In fact, policy is influenced by a great many things. One of the biggest problems with policymaking in the USA today, IMO, is the fact that because of legalized corruption, our government's policies do not serve the best interests of the people (it's basically the represent.us take; watch some of their videos to get an idea what that is). Put simply, as things stand now, the voice of the people in policymaking has become diminished because of the outsized influence of money. Represent.us has, I think, a sane long-term strategy for changing that, but it IS very much a long game. In the nearer term, when the voice of the people is not heard through the so-called "standard" policy channels (which have largely become the property of moneyed interests), it's necessary for the people's voices to be raised in other venues. Think that demonstration was pointless? If you were a congresscritter who voted for extraction industries and was heading home to do some town halls in the district, and you saw that awesome Chaffetz video, you might think differently. So call it "venting" if you want and dismiss it in your mind, but you're objectively wrong in this.

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1. My answer to the question "what have these protests accomplish?" was my answer. If you can explain what concrete goals came, for example, from a protest taking place the day after Trump was sworn in, do it. I gave my 2 cents, which is worth as much as your 2 cents.

2. Daan responded to my comment by noting that Trump is insane (or similar thoughts). I don't disagree with that, but the question was "what do these protests accomplish?" which leads me to ask how a rally can do anything about that other than giving those who feel that way an opportunity to meet up with like minded people.

Your feelings that money has corrupted government is well founded, and the major party nominees in 2016 epitomize the problem. But let's go back to the Occupy Movement. Some felt that their goals were too vague and fluid, but this was one of their issues. But without a clear set of goals, little was accomplished. The Tea Party Movement, on the other hand, went a good amount of time with a set core of ideas (government has grown too big, so spending should be cut) and had more success.

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I doubt they ever do in fact.
How long did abolitionists protest? Suffragettes? Vietnam war protesters?

Heck, the Boston Massacre was in 1770 and the Tea Party in 1773. Dog years in today's news cycle/social media time.

But the tides of opinion change and protests are a time-honored American way to help effect that change. (Along with the free press, of course.)

There'a a reason why it's first in the Bill of Rights of all citizens.

Trust me, I'm not going to these protests to feel good or make friends. I'm a grumpy old man that wants to stay home.

This Trump rhetoric and now actions are threats to our liberties and way of life. And I'll vocally oppose it and organize to change it as long as necessary.

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Good job.

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I responded to you because you're a reasonable fellow. (I'm not a big one for arguing, esp. on the internet.)

Forgive me if I jump on the soapbox:

As you may have noticed, I'm a history major/ buff.
I truly see all of these protests as a part of history so when it's looked back on people see that Trumpism was rejected by the majority.

I had people tell me they weren't voting or were even voting for Trump in MA b/c it wouldn't matter.

Hell no! I voted for HRC so it went down in history as a vote against DT.

Every vote matters. These protests matter.
November 2016 will be seen as one of our darkest times.
The uprising against Trumpism will be looked back upon as patriotic and in step with our other fights for liberty.

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But let's go back to the Occupy Movement. Some felt that their goals were too vague and fluid, but this was one of their issues.

Actually, no, I don't think it was an "issue". I think a lot of people would have liked Occupy to have a short, bullet-point-list of discrete, concrete goals. Some of these people would have considered themselves sympathizers; more, I think, would have been opponents or at the least detractors. Both wanted that bulleted list because it makes their job easier: it gives them something specific to do (or to disrupt or destroy or obstruct), and by the time you tick off the items on their list, bing! You're done! You have Occupied! Or whatever.

The problem is that these people are simply looking at things the wrong way. That's not how reality works, that's not how real problems present themselves or are solved. People have forgotten that, those who ever knew. Real problems are messy and persistent, and you have to be persistent and flexible and willing to "not accomplish anything" (in the judgment of bulleted-list lovers) in a given action in order to solve them. But most people these days, or at least most who have access to forums and hold forth on them, have had the luxury of ignoring the real ugly persistent problems, and instead engaging only with "problems" that lend themselves to quick easy convenient "solutions" where you can expend a minimum of time and energy (and ideally don't have to do anything but click a link or two), and then you get a badge or a sticker and you can dust your hands and say "done!" Talk about wanting to feel good...

Real problems are not like that. They are NOT LIKE THAT. Now, you may have a choice about whether you engage with them or not -- or you may believe that you do. I think that a lot of these big messy problems have gotten bigger and messier as people opted out of engaging with them whenever they could, and the longer we kick that can down the road, the uglier the outcome will be. But it IS still, for many, a choice. So, sorry, I understand the urge to say "where's the checklist, where's the bullet points, what do we do". But it's not like that. There are ways you can be involved that are concrete and discrete. They're also quite limited in scope, which is not to say that their effects are not real. But I'm afraid for most people, when they criticize the movement for being "vague" and "accomplishing nothing", they're really not looking for something concrete that they can do. Instead they're looking for an excuse to do nothing.

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Adam your math isn't adding up. You claim thousands of people were at the protest but even the commenters say it was it a large crowd. This article gets a C-.

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It definitely was not as large as the immigration rally on Jan. 29. In that one, the entire park was jam packed and the crowd spilled over across both Boylston and Dartmouth. I saw estimates of 10,000 to 15,000 for that.

Yesterday's covered maybe half the park and it was a bit easier to move through the crowd than at the immigrant rally. So 2,000 seemed about right to me, but, yes, I could be wrong. But you get at least a point deduction for saying I wrote "thousands." Yes, 2,000 is plural, but "thousands" makes it sound larger than what I wrote.

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2,000 was my best estimate too. The organizers announced 3,000. I'm a little peeved that many of the media reports just said "hundreds," which is a little misleading IMO. But, hey, at least the media paid attention to the rally!

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Same.. I lowered my estimate originally after looking at pictures. ~2k sounds about right. Its just hard to tell when standing on the ground walking around. Plus hard to tell who was there for the rally and who just happened to be in the park at the same time.

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duplicate post

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