Recent Articles

When perpetrator of terror attack is muslim, attack receives 5X more media coverage

From the U.K. Independent:

Terror attacks carried out by Muslims receive more than five times as much media coverage as those carried out by non-Muslims in the United States, according to an academic study.

Analysis of coverage of all terrorist attacks in the US between 2011 and 2015 found there was a 449 per cent increase in media attention when the perpetrator was Muslim.

Muslims committed just 12.4 per cent of attacks during the period studied but received 41.4 per cent of news coverage, the survey found.

July 6, 2017 | By | Reply More

George Lakoff: Two Fundamental Principals of Conservatives

Why do conservatives tolerate Donald Trump? Why do Trump voters tolerate Trump when it means that they will be hurt by GOP legislation regarding health care and many other things?

George Lakoff argues “Voters don’t vote their self-interest. They vote their values.” He sets out two largely unspoken principals that guide conservatives:

1. In the Strict Father Family, father knows best. He decides right and wrong. It is the father’s moral duty to punish his children painfully when they disobey.

Harsh punishment is necessary to ensure that they will obey him (do what is right) and not just do what feels good. Through physical discipline they are supposed to become disciplined, internally strong, and able to prosper in the external world.

July 2, 2017 | By | 4 Replies More

The Easy Work of Meeting People while Traveling in Turkey and Greece

My Girlfriend Jen McKnight and I saw some amazing sites during our trip to Turkey and Greece. It was the trip of a lifetime based merely on the many ancient and modern wonders we saw and photographed. What made this trip especially satisfying, though, were the people we met, and there were many. Turkey and Greece offer an endless stream of incredibly friendly people. Combine that with the fact that Jen is a people-magnet; combine that with my natural curiosity, and you end up with animated conversations in some of the most unexpected places. It happened so often that after we’d been in Turkey for a day, I decided that whenever we ended up visiting with a person for more than a few minutes, I would ask the person/people to take a selfie with us and trade contact information. I’m posting some of these photos here.

On the flight to Goreme, a Turkish woman who teaches language, but who lives in Amsterdam, volunteered to give Jen and me a crash course in Turkish. What a gift! We actually did incorporate a couple dozen Turkish words into our vocabulary.

Thank you, Mustafa Kabalci, who was our host in Cappadocia at Sultan Suites Cave Hotels! He was as good a host as I could have imagined, offering us unending advice and encouragement. We’ll never forget the wise eyes of Ismir, the dog either. And there was Haydar Elçi from the Goreme restaurant, who presented us with a free desert of baklava on our final night in Goreme. Who else? There was Karolina Barac, the model from Croatia with whom we shared an inspiring balloon ride. And then there were two Turkish women from Istanbul, who we met at Derinkuyu, Turkey, Tilbe Cana İnan and Nesrin Göksungur who approached Jen and me 100 feet underground, asking if they could walk with us to distract them from the claustrophobia. That led to a later (above-ground) wonderful dinner conversation in Urgup on a breathtaking overlook.

While in Turkey, we also met Fatih and Jenna, the two young law students from Indonesia, who were taking a break from their schooling at the University of Leeds in London at sat next to us in the small outdoor restaurant in Goreme.
There are many merchants among the people we got to know, especially since it was a holiday season, and all of them offered us insights and friendship. That list includes Fatih, Mohammed and Suddik. Jen bought a cute little birdsong whistle from a man in Istanbul for a total of 1 Turkish Lira (30 cents). He then chased us down to make sure that Jen knew how to fill the whistle with water and showed her several techniques for making bird sounds.

 

July 2, 2017 | By | 1 Reply More

Experiencing the Beauty and History of Cappadocia, Turkey

My girlfriend Jen and I are back home, but our hearts are still in Turkey.

As I sit at my computer post-processing photos from Cappadocia, I still can’t quite get my head around the magic and immense beauty from that region surrounding the town of Goreme. Not only was there natural beauty, but also signs of ancient history everywhere we looked. On our first morning there, we saw Cappadocia from the air – a glorious early-morning balloon ride.

June 29, 2017 | By | 1 Reply More

Will Your Job Be Lost to a Robot?

This article in MarketWatch, and this stunning graphic, should give many people concern, though not everyone:

Occupations that are expected to remain in demand for a live human are, not surprisingly, those that require compassion, understanding and moral judgment, such as nurses, teachers and police officers . . .

June 14, 2017 | By | Reply More

Atlas of Risk of Death and Causes of Death

According to this website, the British National Health Service developed two excellent graphics to illustrate the causes and risk of death.

June 5, 2017 | By | Reply More

Rick Steves’ Pragmatic Approach to Terrorism

I’ve long admired Rick Steves, not only for his immensely useful travel resources, but for his world view and his willingness to speak up on difficult topics, such as advocating for the decriminalization of drugs.

Another topic on which he has taken a courageous stand is the way we, as a nation, react to terrorism. Here’s what Steves had to say (in 2006):

I think we’re 300 million people and if we lose a few hundred people a year to terrorists, that doesn’t change who we are and it shouldn’t change the fabric of our society. Frankly I think we should get used to losing—as long as we’re taking the stance in the world of being the military superpower, you’re going to have people nipping at you. And if it’s hundreds or thousands—we lose 15,000 people a year to have the right to bear arms and most people think that’s a good deal, year after year. We spend 15,000 people for the right to bear arms. What do we spend to be as aggressive and heavy weight on this planet? We’re always going to have terrorism.

I agree with Steves. Zero tolerance regarding terrorism is ruining us. We tolerate death as inevitable in many other spheres without freaking out, clamping down on civil rights and indiscriminately bombing people overseas.

Yes, you should try to prevent (all) acts of violence, but occasionally you will fail to prevent deaths, as happens with gun violence, drunken driving, texting while driving, cigarette smoking, lack of medical care, eating crappy food and lack to exercise. How many people die early because they are forced to go to terrible schools, which sends them into a downward spiral?

May 23, 2017 | By | 1 Reply More

The Heroism of Chelsea Manning

Now the that Chelsea Manning has finally been released from U.S. custody, Glenn Greenwald takes this opportunity to recount her heroism:

Though Manning was largely scorned and rejected in most mainstream Washington circles, she did everything one wants a whistleblower to do: tried to ensure that the public learns of concealed corruption and criminality, with the intent of fostering debate and empowering the citizenry with knowledge that should never have been concealed from them. And she did it all knowing that she was risking prison to do so, but followed the dictates of her conscience rather than her self-interest.

BUT AS COURAGEOUS as that original whistleblowing was, Manning’s heroism has only multiplied since then, become more multifaceted and consequential. As a result, she has inspired countless people around the world. At this point, one could almost say that her 2010 leaking to WikiLeaks has faded into the background when assessing her true impact as a human being. Her bravery and sense of conviction wasn’t a one-time outburst: It was the sustained basis for her last seven years of imprisonment that she somehow filled with purpose, dignity, and inspiration.

May 20, 2017 | By | Reply More

“Ataraxia”: My Favorite New Word

Ataraxia:

For Epicureanism, ataraxia was synonymous with the only true happiness possible for a person. It signifies the state of robust tranquillity that derives from eschewing concerns about an afterlife, not fearing the gods (because they are distant and unconcerned with us), avoiding politics and vexatious people, surrounding oneself with trustworthy and affectionate friends, realizing that the physical things one needs to be happy are few and that pain seldom lasts long, and, most importantly, being an affectionate, virtuous person, worthy of trust.

May 18, 2017 | By | Reply More