Recent Articles

Alice and Dorothy

| August 10, 2014 | Reply

A lot of worthy Facebook images show up unattributed. Here a recent one I enjoyed:

weird shit

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The economics of prostitution

| August 9, 2014 | Reply

The Economist has gathered statistics that I didn’t know exist to determine the value of prostitution in various cities, and also considering other variables. The illegality of the trade in most places would make the gathering of statistics difficult, it would seem. I suspect that many of these attributes correspond to variables that draw attention on dating sites, at least the attributes that can be gleaned from looking at a photo (to determine body type, race, length of hair).

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Book Project: God is like an abusive boyfriend

| August 7, 2014 | Reply

Hemant Mehta, the editor of FriendlyAtheist.com, is launching this book project on Kickstarter. It is a book making the argument that the relationship many have with “God” is like a relationship with an abusive boyfriend.

Our goal is to get people to reconsider their relationship with God. We all know people who feel like they need Him, but we are both atheists who enjoy happy, fulfilling lives without religious faith. We know it’s possible! So this is our way of offering a different perspective on God than the one people usually hear in church. If you’re religious, we hope it nudges you to think differently. If you’re not religious, we hope you find it entertaining and informative.

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Civil Rights Organizations Sell Out

| August 6, 2014 | Reply

The Nation reports that venerable civil rights organizations are selling out on the issue of Net Neutrality. Literally.

[T]elecoms are desperate for third-party approval, and have even resorted to fabricating community support for their anti–net neutrality lobbying campaign. Perhaps the bigger picture here is how so many of the old civil rights establishments have become comfortable with trading endorsements for cash. Verizon, Comcast, AT&T and other telecom companies have donated, either directly or through a company foundation, to nearly every group listed on the anti–net neutrality letters filed last week. We saw a similar dynamic play out with Walmart when the retailer handed out cash to civil rights groups in order to buy support for opening stores in urban areas.

Times have changed. Just as Martin Luther King Jr.’s children have embarrassingly descended into fighting bitterly over what’s left of his estate, the civil rights groups formed to advance Dr. King’s legacy seem willing to sell out their own members for a buck.

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Lee Camp: Ordinary people do not want war

| August 5, 2014 | Reply

Lee Camp, from Redacted Tonight:

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The tortured history of the Senate’s report on U.S. torture

| August 5, 2014 | Reply

Propublica has published this astonishing history of the Senate’s attempt to not get to the truth.

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Just Talkin’ Here

Just Talkin’ Here

| August 4, 2014 | 1 Reply

One of the more congenial things about FaceBook is that while flaming (and trolling and all such related hate-baiting tactics) still happens, users aren’t locked into the thread where it occurs. With multiple conversations going on all the time among many different arrangements of “friends” it is not a problem requiring something like a nuclear option to deal with. 

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Neil deGrasse Tyson comment on GMOs blows up into a detailed discussion

| August 3, 2014 | Reply

Neil DeGrasse Tyson has been criticized by the anti-GMO crowd for not condemning GMOs during an interview during a book signing. He has now expanded his comments, as reported by Raw Story:

If your objection to GMOs is the morality of selling non-perennial seed stocks, then focus on that. If your objection to GMOs is the monopolistic conduct of agribusiness, then focus on that. But to paint the entire concept of GMO with these particular issues is to blind yourself to the underlying truth of what humans have been doing — and will continue to do — to nature so that it best serves our survival,” he advised. “That’s what all organisms do when they can, or would do, if they could. Those that didn’t, have gone extinct extinct.

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Double standard regarding drugs

| August 3, 2014 | Reply

Marijuana is constantly attacked by many politicians, even though use by adults (use by children is a different story) rarely if ever results in a visit to the hospital. This makes me conclude that the problem with marijuana is that users and producers need more expensive lobbyists. I write this based on an eye-popping article on the well-established dangers of LEGAL drugs in the September 2014 edition of Consumer Reports. Here’s an excerpt:

OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin–prescription narcotics . . . can be as addictive as heroin and are rife with deadly side effects. Use of those and other opioids has skyrocketed in recent years. … 46 people per day, or almost 17,000 people per year, die from overdoses of the drugs. That’s up more than 400 percent from 1999. And for every death, more than 30 people are admitted to the emergency room because of opioid complications. With numbers like that, you would think that the Food and Drug Administration would do all it could to reverse the trend. But against the recommendation of its own panel of expert advisers, last December the agency approved Zohydro ER, a long-acting version of hydrocodone.

Almost as dangerous is a medication renowned for its safety: acetaminophen (Tylenol and generic). Almost 80,000 people per year are treated in emergency rooms because they have taken too much of it, and the drug is now the most common cause of liver failure in this country.

If lawmakers put all drugs under the same scrutiny as far as safety, it would turn the drug world upside down.

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