Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘ethics

Monday Morning Links

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InstructionsForRidingAnIntegratedBus.jpg.CROP.original-originalAn Illustrated Account of the Great Maple Syrup Heist.

The 85 richest people on the planet are as wealthy as poorest half of the world.

* Slate has a memo from MLK following the desegregation of Montgomery’s bus lines.

* The problem, Berger concluded, was that “the Cubists imagined the world transformed but not the process of transformation.” It is that larger question – the process of actually getting to another world — that takes us beyond the artist and challenges the Left as a whole to cope with what can be done in this current moment of widespread disillusionment. Art in the Age of Fatalism.

If we don’t greatly reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world, or completely eliminate them, a major city is going to be destroyed by a nuclear weapon. It’s remarkable—it’s incredible!—that a major city hasn’t been destroyed since Nagasaki. We can confront this problem or we can accept that hundreds of thousands or more will be killed.

* 14 Things We Learned from Bill Murray’s Reddit AMA. Bill Murray says he tried mightily to save Garfield.

About 100 demonstrators rallied Friday outside the Safety Building to denounce Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm for his decision not to issue charges in the death of Corey Stingley.

Dropouts with heavy debt litter for-profit college landscape in Wisconsin, new report says.

“The world does not understand the settlements,” Livni said in a Channel 2 TV news interview. “The peace negotiations are the wall stopping the wave [of international boycott pressure]. If there is a crisis [in the talks, that wave] will crash through.”

Planet Likely to Warm by 4C by 2100.

* The Myth of the Deserving Rich.

Responses to Grantland’s Trans Outing.

* Famous movie quotes recreated as pictograms.

* Book reimagines ‘Pride and Prejudice’ from a cat’s point of view.

* DC vs Lois Lane.

* Debating executive salaries at MLA.

Melville and the Language of Denial.

The president is quoted today saying some things I never excepted a president to say.

* Even cough medicine is a lie.

What if saving could be like a lottery?

Thinking about the future here and its bleak prospects is not much fun at all, so instead of too much black-minded introspection you have the pills and the dope, the morning beers, the endless scratch-off lotto cards, healing meetings up on the hill, the federally funded ritual of trading cases of food-stamp Pepsi for packs of Kentucky’s Best cigarettes and good old hard currency, tall piles of gas-station nachos, the occasional blast of meth, Narcotics Anonymous meetings, petty crime, the draw, the recreational making and surgical unmaking of teenaged mothers, and death: Life expectancies are short — the typical man here dies well over a decade earlier than does a man in Fairfax County, Va. — and they are getting shorter, women’s life expectancy having declined by nearly 1.1 percent from 1987 to 2007. If the people here weren’t 98.5 percent white, we’d call it a reservation. The National Review visits Appalachia, and somehow manages to blame welfare.

* Meanwhile: Heroin gains a deadly foothold in Vermont.

* The headline reads, “Thief drops urn containing Sigmund Freud’s ashes during break-in attempt.”

* Ultimate Slate Pitch? I Would Rather Lick a Toilet Seat Than a Cellphone.

* What’s Inside This Mystery House In North Carolina?

* Isn’t it pretty to think so? As Presently Constructed, GOP Cannot Win White House. More here. They say the Democrats can’t lose. I say give them a chance.

The Average Human Wastes 22 Years Of Their Life… Sleeping.

* Why Expanded Universes Matter.

* What could go wrong?

* I saw this movie: Starting next week, all Indianapolis-area hospitals will ban visitors with flu-like symptoms.

* Happy birthday, Buffy.

* Adjuncts exist, and the New York Times is ON IT.

During World War Two, conscientious objectors in the US and the UK were asked to volunteer for medical research. In one project in the US, young men were starved for six months to help experts decide how to treat victims of mass starvation in Europe.

* Judge Dredd now enforcing jaywalking laws in New York, apparently.

* And someone left a laptop on a park bench.

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Consider the Following Case

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On Twin Earth, a brain in a vat is at the wheel of a runaway trolley. There are only two options that the brain can take: the right side of the fork in the track or the left side of the fork. There is no way in sight of derailing or stopping the trolley and the brain is aware of this, for the brain knows trolleys. The brain is causally hooked up to the trolley such that the brain can determine the course which the trolley will take.

On the right side of the track there is a single railroad worker, Jones, who will definitely be killed if the brain steers the trolley to the right. If the railman on the right lives, he will go on to kill five men for the sake of killing them, but in doing so will inadvertently save the lives of thirty orphans (one of the five men he will kill is planning to destroy a bridge that the orphans’ bus will be crossing later that night). One of the orphans that will be killed would have grown up to become a tyrant who would make good utilitarian men do bad things… (yes, there’s more)

Written by gerrycanavan

August 21, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Thursday Afternoon Links

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* Fast Food Workers Walk Off the Job in Milwaukee.

Massive solar flare narrowly misses Earth, EMP disaster barely avoided. Phew! Civilization saved.

Long story short, for every degree Celsius that global average temperature rises, we can expect 2.3 meters of sea-level rise sometime over the ensuing 2,000 years. (U.S. translation: for every degree Fahrenheit, 4.2 feet of rising seas get locked in.) We are currently on track to hit 4 degrees Celsius by 2100, if not sooner. That means locking in 9.2 meters, or 30 feet, of sea level rise. Suffice to say, that would wipe out most of the major coastal cities and towns in the world.

The unemployment rate for recent grads with a degree in information systems is more than double that of drama and theater majors, at 14.7% vs. 6.4%, according to a recent Georgetown University study. Even for computer science majors, the jobless rate for recent grads nears 9%.

How Copyright Made Mid-Century Books Vanish. More links follow the graph.

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* Thank China for the Pacific Rim sequel.

[T]hey were peppering my husband with questions. Where is he from? Where are his parents from? They asked about me, where was I, where do I work, where do my parents live. Do you have any bombs, they asked. Do you own a pressure cooker? My husband said no, but we have a rice cooker. Can you make a bomb with that? My husband said no, my wife uses it to make quinoa. What the hell is quinoa, they asked. … Google ‘Pressure Cookers’ and ‘Backpacks,’ Get a Visit from the Cops.

* How the NSA is spying on you.

The NSA’s Massive Call Record Surveillance Program Barely Accomplishes Anything.

* Highest-Ranking Black NYPD Police Chief Stopped and Frisked.

Conservative Catholics Recoil at Francis Papacy. Federal Judge: Catholic Church Has A Constitutional Right Not To Compensate Victims Of Sex Abuse.

Uruguay Poised To Become First Country To Legalize Marijuana.

* How the Republicans will retake the Senate.

The states include four Democratic held seats — Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina — and two GOP-held seats — Kentucky and Georgia. And Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) made the case that Republicans will have to come close to running the table.

* Oxymoron alert! Democrats To Introduce Supreme Court Ethics Bill.

* Amazon will sell officially licensed Kurt Vonnegut fan fiction.

* And in local news: Wisconsin DOT has a plan to fix the worst stretch of road in the city… a decade from now.

Tons of Weekend Links

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* “Austerity is not inevitable”: France falls to the Red Menace.

* Podcast of the weekend: Global science fiction on WorldCanvass, with Brooks Landon, Rob Latham, Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, and others.

* Charlie Stross prophesies the death of science fiction.

But anyway, to summarize: my point is that our genre sits uneasily within boundaries delineated by the machinery of sales. And that creaking steam-age machinery is currently in the process of being swapped out for some kind of irridescent, gleaming post-modern intrusion from the planet internet. New marketing strategies become possible, indeed, become essential. And the utility of the old signifiers—the rocket ship logo on the spine of the paperback—diminish in the face of the new (tagging, reader recommendations, “if you liked X you’ll love Y” cross-product correlations by sales engines, custom genre-specific cover illustrations, and so on).

* Tom Hayden remembers the Port Huron Statement (or at least the compromise second draft).

* Joe Biden endorses marriage equality for about fifteen minutes.

Black Studies Hitpiece Leads to Chronicle of Higher Ed Twitter Trainwreck. Why Is the Chronicle of Higher Education Publishing A Racist Hack? Grad Students Respond to Riley Post on African-American Studies. The Inferiority of Blackness as a Subject. Anti-intellectualism, déjà vu.

When copyright term-extension meets infinite life-extension.

* A tribute to Disneyland’s secret restroom.

* Connecticut continues its recent spate of being decent its citizens, legalizes medical medicine.

* Stand for your ground: A Florida woman faces prison after firing a warning shot to scare off an abusive husband.

* Nerds assemble! Joss Whedon finally made something everybody likes. An interview. Another. Whedon on Batman. Whedon on Wonder Woman.

* The Avengers: Will superhero movies never end?

What I see in “The Avengers,” unfortunately, is a diminished film despite its huge scale, and kind of a bore. It’s a diminishment of Whedon’s talents, as he squeezes himself into an ill-fitting narrative straitjacket, and it’s a diminished form that has become formula, that depends entirely on minor technical innovations and leaves virtually no room for drama or tragedy or anything else that might make the story actually interesting. To praise the movie lavishly, as so many people have done and will continue to do, basically requires making endless allowances. It’s really good (for being a comic-book movie). It’s really good (for being almost exactly like dozens of other things). It’s really good (for being utterly inconsequential).

* Today’s single chart that explains everything.

* The football suicides. More players file concussion lawsuits against the NFL. Will the NFL still exist in 20 years?

* The internship scam.

How the Blind Are Reinventing the iPhone.

* Save the Holocene! Why “the Anthropocene” might not be a useful construct.

* Do you remember Frank Kunkel? How about Frank Nowarczyk? John Marsh or Robert Erdman? Johann Zazka? Martin Jankowiak? Not even Michael Ruchalski? Do you remember the call “Eight hours for labor, eight hours for rest, eight hours for recreation?” The names are those of the seven of the nine people killed in 1886 in Bay View, Wisconsin for demanding eight hour work days.

* On Colorado’s policy of sending kids to adult court.

* A report by the ABA shows that some law schools hire as many as 15% of new graduates in an effort to boost employment numbers.

* Consider the case of Toby Groves.

* New Police Strategy in New York: Sexual Assault Against Peaceful Protesters.

* North Carolina’s Ban on Gay Marriage Appears Likely to Pass.

* Since Mexico’s legislative body passed sweeping climate change legislation on April 19, Mexico joins the UK as the only two countries in the world with legally binding emissions goals to combat climate change.

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* American Airlines channels Darth Vader: We are altering the deal. Pray we do not alter it further.

* And Stephen Colbert’s employment of the comedic stylings of German Ambassador Hans Beinholtz continues to be my absolute favorite thing of all time.

They Can Do Anything, We Can Do Nothing

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…I’d call using a false identity to get inside a diabolical organization “journalism.” It might not be respectable and won’t get you invited to fun corporate-sponsored events. But Gleick has thrown the curtain back. And of course, he’s at fault here. Even if he broke the law, is that the real issue here? What is worse, using a false identity or advocating for policies that will destroy the entire nation of Tonga? Using a false identity or lobbying the U.S. government to halt changes in mileage standards for cars so that we don’t become a bunch of hippie Europeans or something and continue to change the climate with ever-greater rapidity? I think I know which side contains the moral monsters here. And it ain’t Peter Gleick.

Erik Loomis, in defense of Peter Gleick.

‘This Was an American Experiment to See If It Caused Harm to Human Beings’

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Written by gerrycanavan

February 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm

‘A Judicial Officer or Employee Shall Not Accept a Gift from Anyone Who Is Seeking Official Action From or Doing Business with the Court’

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Written by gerrycanavan

September 10, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Enjoy Your Plutocracy – 2

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More on yesterday’s Walmart v. Dukes decision from Dahlia Lithwick and Scott Lemieux. Here’s Lemieux:

…if you can’t use statistical and anecdotal evidence to prove gender discrimination — and, as he apparently admitted about racial discrimination and the death penalty during the deliberations in McKleskey v. Kemp, it’s clear there’s no amount of statistical and anecdotal evidence that would convince Scalia — then there really isn’t a law against gender discrimination at all. There’s just a law against having your company being run by complete idiots. Any amount of gender (or, presumably, racial) discrimination is acceptable to the Court’s Republican appointees as long as you’re not dumb enough to actually explicitly state it as a formal policy.

Elsewhere in Supreme Court news, we have ThinkProgress reporting that Clarence Thomas decided three cases where the American Enterprise Institute filed a brief after AEI gave him a $15,000 gift.

Monday Links

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* BREAKING: The rich are getting richer.

* ThinkProgress covers the growing Clarence Thomas ethics scandal and notes other justices have been forced out for what Thomas is known to have done.

* Empire, Nevada: The last company town shuts down. Via MeFi, which notes the connection to the Burning Man festival.

* Muppetational: YouTube has the trailer for The Muppets.

* And Hendrik Hertzberg explains the Anthony Weiner scandal.

Weiner’s sins, being wholly online, basically onanistic, pathetically “immature,” and totally without direct fleshly carnality, are literally ridiculous. They lack the swaggering macho that pushes more traditional, arguably crueler male transgressions—having affairs, whoring, fathering children out of wedlock—into the comparatively (though only comparatively) safer territory of “boys will be boys” and “men are like that.”

Let us never speak of it again.

Sunday Links

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* Two articles I read on the plane: “The Brain on Trial” and Aleksander Hemon’s account of his young daughter’s illness. The latter is only available offline, which (trust me) is for the best. By the end I was nearly bawling. For your own happiness do not read this article.

* Inside AOL’s content farm.

* The growing controversy over President Obama’s illegal waging of war in Libya got much bigger last night with Charlie Savage’s New York Times scoop. He reveals that top administration lawyers — Attorney General Eric Holder, OLC Chief Caroline Krass, and DoD General Counsel Jeh Johnson — all told Obama that his latest, widely panned excuse for waging war without Congressional approval (that it does not rise to the level of “hostilities” under the War Powers Resolution (WPR)) was invalid and that such authorization was legally required after 60 days: itself a generous intepretation of the President’s war powers. But Obama rejected those views and (with the support of administration lawyers in lesser positions: his White House counsel and long-time political operative Robert Bauer and State Department “legal adviser” Harold Koh) publicly claimed that the WPR does not apply to Libya.

* Rick Perry vetoes no-texting-while-driving bill because of freedom.

“I support measures that make our roads safer for everyone, but House Bill 242 is a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults,” Perry wrote in his explanation of one of his vetoes.

Perry said in his veto statement that the key to stopping people from texting while driving is “information and education.”

Freedom!

* Mightygodking highlights ethical interpretation with twenty-five movies distilled to a one-sentence moral.

* And Love These Pics takes us on another trip to the New Orleans Six Flags Theme Park abandoned after Hurricane Katrina.

Monday Links

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* Nightfall: Tonight is the darkest night in 500 years.

* Is it me or has Obama kind of got his mojo back? Republican senators say privately they expect the Senate to ratify the New START treaty this week, which would hand President Obama his third major victory of the lame-duck session.

* But don’t get cocky: ‘Conservatives Threaten Government Shutdown Over Debt Limit Vote.’ ‘Republicans In The House As A Whole Want To Get Rid Of The EPA.’

* Power and morality: It is shown that high power increases the use of rule-based (deontological) moral thinking styles, whereas low power increases reliance on outcome-based (consequentialist) moral thinking. Stated differently, in determining whether an act is right or wrong, the powerful focus on whether rules and principles are violated, whereas the powerless focus on the consequences. For this reason, the powerful are also more inclined to stick to the rules, irrespective of whether this has positive or negative effects, whereas the powerless are more inclined to make exceptions.

* Jessica Valenti has your concise readers’ guide to the #mooreandme debacle. Ryan sends along the Naomi Wolf vs. Jaclyn Friedman argument from Democracy Now!, which is pretty astounding. The second part (via Student Activism) is even more astounding:

Friedman: If someone asks me twenty times, do I want to have sex with them, or do I want to have sex without a condom, or whatever sexual act we’re negotiating, and I say no twenty times, and the twenty-first time I say yes because I am worn down, and because I’m being pressured and coerced and I’m afraid, and because I woke up to him already raping me, and I’m freaked out, that is not real consent. That is not a chance to have actual consent. That’s not legitimate consent.

Wolf: Well, I guess you and I will have to part ways.

* Inside Paris’s secret Metro.

* The CDC has found that a majority of Americans had troubled childhoods. As a friend recently said on Twitter: Please stop fetishizing childhood. You are misremembering your life.

* More from the minimalism meme: minimalist superheroes.

* And The Day Comedy Won: How 30 Rock Beat Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. I may be one of the few people in America who liked both shows.

Sunday Night!

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* Rest in peace, David Markson. Though I could never make it through This Is Not a Novel, let me second David Foster Wallace; Wittgenstein’s Mistress really is “pretty much the high point of experimental fiction in this country.”

* Peter Singer vs. the future: Should This Be the Last Generation? He comes down on the “no” side, though he doesn’t seem quite convinced:

I do think it would be wrong to choose the non-sentient universe. In my judgment, for most people, life is worth living. Even if that is not yet the case, I am enough of an optimist to believe that, should humans survive for another century or two, we will learn from our past mistakes and bring about a world in which there is far less suffering than there is now. But justifying that choice forces us to reconsider the deep issues with which I began. Is life worth living? Are the interests of a future child a reason for bringing that child into existence? And is the continuance of our species justifiable in the face of our knowledge that it will certainly bring suffering to innocent future human beings?

* Terrifying Nixon-era Children’s Books.

* A history of soccer in South Africa.

* Ending the university: Under a program announced Thursday, employees of Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club will be able to receive college credit for performing their jobs, including such tasks as loading trucks and ringing up purchases. Workers could earn as much as 45 percent of the credits needed for an associate or bachelor’s degree while on the job.

The credits are earned through the Internet-based American Public University, with headquarters in Charles Town, W.Va., and administrative offices in Manassas.

* What if political scientists covered politics? Via Yglesias.

Obama now faces some of the most difficult challenges of his young presidency: the ongoing oil spill, the Gaza flotilla disaster, and revelations about possibly inappropriate conversations between the White House and candidates for federal office. But while these narratives may affect fleeting public perceptions, Americans will ultimately judge Obama on the crude economic fundamentals of jobs numbers and GDP.

Chief among the criticisms of Obama was his response to the spill. Pundits argued that he needed to show more emotion. Their analysis, however, should be viewed in light of the economic pressures on the journalism industry combined with a 24-hour news environment and a lack of new information about the spill itself.

Republicans, meanwhile, complained that the administration has not been sufficiently involved in the day-to-day cleanup. Their analysis, of course, is colored by their minority status in America’s two-party system, which creates a strong structural incentive to criticize the party in power, whatever the merits…

* And some sunday night surrealism from Vladmir Kush. Via MeFi.

No More Zoos

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Written by gerrycanavan

March 8, 2010 at 11:13 am

Wednesday!

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Wednesday!

* In Galileo’s time, science was clashing with religion; today, Robinson believes, we’re living in a “Galilean moment” again, in which climate change means science has become politicised. This time, though, the clash is with capitalism. “There are cultural forces in our society which say, you can save the world or else you can make a profit, and they’ll say sorry, we have to make a profit. So we have a strange religion now.” As his global-warming-themed trilogy, which ends with 2007′s Sixty Days and Counting, shows, a major theme for Robinson is ecological sustainability, and he stresses today his belief that “the climate crisis is an emergency.” Another interview with Kim Stanley Robinson, this one focusing on his new time travel novel, Galileo’s Dream.

* Fun graphic analysis of Choose Your Own Adventure novels, including Inside UFO 54-40, the only CYOA with an impossible-to-reach ending.

* The rhetoric of Google’s suggested searches. Via Ezra Klein, who summarizes:

For instance: the most popular searches beginning with “how 2 …” are “how 2 get pregnant” and “how 2 grow weed.” Searches beginning with “how might one” tend to be about music or, weirdly, Andrew Jackson.

More titillatingly, people asking “is it wrong to” tend to have something sexually indecent in mind. The top results are “sleep with your cousin,” “sleep with your stepdad after your mom has died,” and “like your cousin.” Searches beginning with “is it unethical to” tend to be about white-collar crime and animal rights.

One notes, at least in my geo-targeted region of the world, the top suggested result for “is it wrong to” is actually “is it wrong to sleep with your sister.”

* Yesterday’s Daily Show had a pair of fantastic clips: one on the Berlin Wall and another on Sean Hannity flagrantly lying (with video!) about the size Michelle Bachmann’s health-care protest.

* Chart of the Day: Rock Music Quality vs. U.S. Oil Production.

If They Have Vital Signs, Get ’em Out

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At 12:28 p.m., a Memorial administrator typed “HELP!!!!” and e-mailed colleagues at other Tenet hospitals outside New Orleans, warning that Memorial would have to evacuate more than 180 patients. Around the same time, Deichmann met with many of the roughly two dozen doctors at Memorial and several nurse managers in a stifling nurse-training room on the fourth floor, which became the hospital’s command center. The conversation turned to how the hospital should be emptied. The doctors quickly agreed that babies in the neonatal intensive-care unit, pregnant mothers and critically ill adult I.C.U. patients would be at great risk from the heat and should get first priority. Then Deichmann broached an idea that was nowhere in the hospital’s disaster plans. He suggested that all patients with Do Not Resuscitate orders should go last.

This story from the New York Times Magazine about the breakdown in medical practice in a stranded New Orleans hospital during Katrina will stick with me a long time. Unprepared for the severity or duration of the crisis, believing things in New Orleans to be much worse than in retrospect they were, and apparently significantly undertrained in proper triage procedure or in the deep ethical minefields surrounding end-of-life care (including apparently not understanding what a D.N.R. is), these doctors made some very difficult choices that a layperson like myself cannot possibly judge them for—but what happened at Memorial Medical Center should be standard-issue training in medical, schools, nursing schools, and hospitals so that things never go so badly off the rails again. This was not a zombie attack; it was not the end of the world. Katrina was only a local disaster. To paraphrase the patient quoted in the article: If they have vital signs, Jesus Christ, get ’em out.

Thiele didn’t know Pou by name, but she looked to him like the physician in charge on the second floor. He told me that Pou told him that the Category 3 patients were not going to be moved. He said he thought they appeared close to death and would not have survived an evacuation. He was terrified, he said, of what would happen to them if they were left behind. He expected that the people firing guns into the chaos of New Orleans — “the animals,” he called them — would storm the hospital, looking for drugs after everyone else was gone. “I figured, What would they do, these crazy black people who think they’ve been oppressed for all these years by white people? I mean if they’re capable of shooting at somebody, why are they not capable of raping them or, or, you know, dismembering them? What’s to prevent them from doing things like that?”

The laws of man had broken down, Thiele concluded, and only the laws of God applied.

Some appropriately heated discussion at MeFi.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 28, 2009 at 1:05 pm

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