Archive for September 1st, 2010
Here’s a new way to get away from people . . . well, except for the thousands of people who are on the both with you:
[I]t is so big it will have actual neighborhoods – a Boardwalk with a real carousel and high-diving show; a Central Park with thousands of real plants and trees; a Royal Promenade as wide as a highway, lined with shops and including a bar that rises three decks; an Entertainment zone that includes an ice skating rink; and more.
The 16-deck ship will have as many as 8,700 people onboard when you combine full-capacity passengers and crew, certainly enough to declare Allure a city at sea.
Assume that Frans De Waal is correct when he writes that empathy is the foundation of morality, in that it wells up from deep in our bones and that it evolved over many years in our ancestors. What, then, are the functions of the moral rules and moral maxims (and yes, Commandments) that we hear every hour of every day? If these rules aren’t the wellspring of our inclinations to be kind and decent (and sometimes violent), what function do they serve? After all, it certainly seems that we are oftentimes guided by our moral rules, even if those rules don’t account for that deep empathy that fuels our conduct.
Philosopher of cognitive science Andy Clark considered this issue in a chapter titled “Connectionism, Moral Cognition, and Collaborative Problem Solving,” found in an excellent anthology titled Mind and Morals, (edited by Larry May, Marilyn Friedman and Andy Clark (1996). This anthology, based on a conference that occurred at Washington University, explores the interconnections between moral philosophy and cognitive science.
Senator Al Franken is well-focused on the current threat to net neutrality:
If we learned that the government was planning to limit our First Amendment rights, we’d be outraged. Well our rights are under attack – not from the government but from corporations seeking to control the flow of information online.
I believe that net neutrality, preserving a free and open Internet, is the First Amendment issue of our time.
Today, a small Minnesota bookstore’s website loads just as fast as Amazon.com. That’s because right now Internet service providers don’t discriminate between different kinds of content online. So if you have something to say or a product to sell, there is currently no limit to how influential or successful you can be.
But the nation’s largest telephone, Internet, and media companies have a different plan for the Internet. Instead of a level playing field, these companies have made clear they plan to reserve express lanes for their own content and services – or those of big corporations that can afford to pay a higher price – and leave Minnesota’s consumers and small businesses in the slow lane.
We can’t let companies write the rules that they’re supposed to follow. Because if that happens those rules are only going to protect corporations, not the public interest.