Author Archive | Good German

Why Assisted Suicide Laws are More Dangerous Than People Acknowledge

From the "The Brittany Maynard Fund" YouTube video.

From the “The Brittany Maynard Fund” YouTube video.

John B. Kelly writes at CounterPunch:

The story about Brittany Maynard, who on Sunday died under Oregon’s assisted suicide program, dominated American news for the last month. As former New England Journal of Medicine editor and leading assisted suicide advocate Marcia Angell wrote October 31 in the Washington Post, “Maynard, the 29-year-old with incurable brain cancer, is the new face of the movement to give dying patients the choice to end their lives faster and more humanely. Her youth and attractiveness have helped make her a national media story.”

Indeed. The celebrity rag People put Maynard on its cover,and CNN, NPR, PBS, the New Yorker, and a host of others gave her and her backers a forum to promote their cause. Maynard especially targeted her home state of California. Assisted suicide, typically sanitized by supporters as “Aid in Dying” and “Death with Dignity,” is also legal in Washington state and Vermont.

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The Socialist Malala Yousafzai the US Media Doesn’t Quote

Statsministerens kontor (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Statsministerens kontor (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Ben Norton writes at CounterPunch:

Now that Malala Yousafzai has won her hard-earned and well-deserved Nobel Peace Prize, she and her amazing, tragic story is back in the spotlight. Per usual, nevertheless, the corporate media has taken this positive development and exploited it, in the service of US imperialism.

The US corporate media loves talking about the remarkable bravery and strength of Malala and the brutality of the Taliban forces that almost killed her. Such coverage fuels its racist, orientalist, neocolonialist narrative about “backward,” violent, misogynist Muslims and their need for “white saviors,” thereby legitimizing Western imperialist interests in South and West Asia. Malala’s victory can be appropriated and whitewashed by the US political establishment to “prove” that its (internationally illegal) invasion, occupation, and destruction of Afghanistan has “helped” its people (as for the hundreds of thousands killed and injured in the process, well, those inconvenient exceptions aren’t part of this narrative).

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Liberals Are More Emotion-Driven than Conservatives

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Via ScienceDaily:

Emotions are powerful motivators of human behavior and attitudes. Emotions also play an important role in guiding policy support in conflict and other political contexts. Researchers at Tel Aviv University and the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya have studied the interaction between emotion and political ideology, showing that the motivating power of emotions is not the same for those on different ends of the ideological spectrum. Their research is published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Design of the study

The researchers conducted six studies to examine emotions, ideology, and how they act together to affect support for policies. The first two studies focused on intergroup empathy, while the third study examined the interactive influence of ideology and despair on support for policies. Participants self-identified as being at different points of the right-left ideological spectrum.

Specific scenarios were selected for the six studies relating to current events in Israel, mainly surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and possible steps towards its resolution.

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Defining the Supernatural

Juliana Coutinho (CC BY 2.0)

Juliana Coutinho (CC BY 2.0)

Richard Carrier writes:

There is a trend in science and law to define the word “supernatural” as “the untestable,” which is perhaps understandable for its practicality, but deeply flawed as both philosophy and social policy. Flawed as philosophy, because testability is not even a metaphysical distinction, but an epistemological one, and yet in the real world everyone uses the word “supernatural” to make metaphysical distinctions. And flawed as social policy, because the more that judges and scientists separate themselves from the people with deviant language, the less support they will find from that quarter, and the legal and scientific communities as we know them will crumble if they lose the support of the people. Science and the courts must serve man. And to do that, they must at least try to speak his language. And yet already a rising tide of hostility against both science and the courts is evident.

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Direct Brain Interface Between Humans

Surian Soosay (CC BY 2.0)

Surian Soosay (CC BY 2.0)

Via ScienceDaily:

Sometimes, words just complicate things. What if our brains could communicate directly with each other, bypassing the need for language?

University of Washington researchers have successfully replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection between pairs of people as part of a scientific study following the team’s initial demonstration a year ago. In the newly published study, which involved six people, researchers were able to transmit the signals from one person’s brain over the Internet and use these signals to control the hand motions of another person within a split second of sending that signal.

At the time of the first experiment in August 2013, the UW team was the first to demonstrate two human brains communicating in this way. The researchers then tested their brain-to-brain interface in a more comprehensive study, published Nov. 5 in the journal PLOS ONE.

“The new study brings our brain-to-brain interfacing paradigm from an initial demonstration to something that is closer to a deliverable technology,” said co-author Andrea Stocco, a research assistant professor of psychology and a researcher at UW’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences.

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Richard Dawkin’s Privilege Delusion

Matti Á (CC BY 2.0)

Matti Á (CC BY 2.0)

Rebecca Watson writes at Skepchick:

Well, PZ Myers, Jen McCreight, Phil Plait, Amanda Marcotte, Greg Laden, Melissa McEwan and others have all already said it, but I figured I should post this for the record: yes, Richard Dawkins believes I should be a good girl and just shut up about being sexually objectified because it doesn’t bother him. Thanks, wealthy old heterosexual white man!

When I started this site, I didn’t call myself a feminist. I had a hazy idea that feminism was a good thing, but it was something that other people worried about, not me. I was living in a time and culture that had transcended the need for feminism, because in my world we were all rational atheists who had thrown off our religious indoctrination so that I could freely make rape jokes without fear of hurting someone who had been raped.

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Cops Arrest 90-Year-Old Advocate and Clergy For Scary Crime of Feeding the Hungry

Abby Zimet writes at Common Dreams:

Bound by faith and virtue to resist newly passed “homeless hate laws” in Fort Lauderdale, a 90-year-old homeless advocate and two ministers were arrested by a phalanx of burly cops for resolutely continuing to share food with homeless people in public, part of a “week of resistance” to a growing body of laws there and in at least 20 other cities that criminalize poor people by restricting their panhandling, camping, storing belongings, going to the bathroom and other activities deemed  “life sustaining” to the homeless – that is, essentially, for existing. The ordinance against food-sharing, which went into effect Friday, sparked a call for a week-long series of actions and protests by churches and advocacy groups; among them, Food Not Bombs vowed to mark the law’s passage on its first day, Halloween, by holding their usual weekly food share and greeting the city “with our middle fingers fully extended.”

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The Extinction of Quiet

eric snopel (CC BY-ND 2.0)

eric snopel (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Ilima Loomis writes at openDemocracy:

In 1989, ‘acoustic ecologist’ Gordon Hempton received a grant to document and record the natural sounds of the state of Washington in the USA. He identified 21 wilderness places to record—sites unsullied by the sounds of traffic, aviation, construction, and other human-made noise. Twenty-five years later, only three of those sites remain muted.

Little by little, our world is becoming louder, with the creeping spread of noise pollution infiltrating our homes, our workplaces, and even our wilderness.

Hempton, whose work for the past 30 years has been traveling the world to survey and record natural sound, says he’s seen firsthand how the hum, ping, and roar of modern life has taken over our sound-scapes. By his count, the United States has only 12 remaining truly ‘quiet places,’ which he defines as somewhere you can go for at least 15 minutes without hearing artificial sound at dawn, the hour when sound travels farthest.

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