Tag Archives | Society

Connecticut Town To Hold Mass Burning Of Violent Video Games, Films, And Music

Connecticut makes progress in the war on fictional violence. The Guardian reports:

A Connecticut community is to hold an amnesty of violent video games in the wake of last month’s mass shooting in Newtown. Organizers Southington SOS plan to offer gift certificates in exchange for donated games, which will be burned. The group, a coalition of local organisations, argues that violent games and films desensitize children to “acts of violence”.

The video game amnesty will take place on 12 January in Southington, a 30-minute drive east from Newtown. The town of Southington has provided a dumpster, organisers said, where violent video games, CDs or DVDs will be collected.

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Cultural Shifts And Styles To Come In The 2010s

As we begin 2013, here’s DIS Magazine looking forward to our happy, creepy future:

For humanity, gender bending will extend down generationally, all the way to the unborn. Gender for infants will be predetermined and hormone treatments will become standard treatment for children who reject their pre-natal assignments. Trannies will subsequently grow in numbers and be afforded a great deal of respect—especially transgendered pop stars.

Clearly, the current trend of heterosexual promiscuity will continue to accelerate in direct proportion to the rise in gay monogamy. “Republican sex” (formerly known as “the missionary position”) will become a popular term and it will be considered the most risqué, dirty sex a pervert could ever have.

Animal farming will soon reel from unfathomable scandal and animals will develop severe eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Animal obesity will also become a chronic issue. Domesticated family pets will deal with these same emotional eating issues due to the simple truth that these diseases are psychologically contagious and animals are psychic.

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Americans Are The Most Spied On People In World History

 Washington’s Blog on life in an era of firsts:

The US surveillance regime has more data on the average American than the Stasi ever did on East Germans. The American government is collecting and storing virtually every phone call, purchases, email, text message, internet searches, social media communications, health information, employment history, travel and student records, and virtually all other information of every American. Some also claim that the government is also using facial recognition software and surveillance cameras to track where everyone is going.

Moreover, cell towers track where your phone is at any moment, and the major cell carriers, including Verizon and AT&T, responded to at least 1.3 million law enforcement requests for cell phone locations and other data in 2011. And – given that your smartphone routinely sends your location information back to Apple or Google – it would be child’s play for the government to track your location that way.

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A Manifesto Against Truth

Picture: Ardfern (CC)

Mikhail Lyubansky, Ph.D, writing in Psychology Today, from 2011:

The problem with truth is that it can be just as destructive as a lie, sometimes more so.

This is self-evident for most adults. That’s why we have the concept and vocabulary of a “white lie” (and yes, even our language has racist overtones).

Yet, when it comes to racism and anti-Semitism, “truth” and “facts” are frequently assumed to trump any other argument. They don’t.

Consider this a manifesto against truth.

Don’t get me wrong: I like verifiable, data-supported facts as much as the next person, perhaps more than many, given my training and background in research.  Even so, I have issues with “truth” — serious issues.

Here are my Top 3:

#1 There is rarely a single truth. Philosophers have long observed that our reality — our “truth” — is strongly influenced (if not outright determined) by one’s perspective or point of view.

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Unbelief Is Now The World’s Third-Largest Religious Affiliation

There are more than a billion (non)adherents to what has been insultingly dubbed “unbelief.” The Washington Post writes:

A new report on global religious identity shows that while Christians and Muslims make up the two largest groups, those with no religious affiliation — including atheists and agnostics — are now the third-largest “religious” group in the world.

The study, released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, found that Christians make up the largest group, with 2.2 billion adherents, or 32 percent worldwide, followed by Muslims, with 1.6 billion adherents, or 23 percent. Close behind are the “nones” — those who say they have no religious affiliation or do not believe in God — at 1.1 billion, or 16 percent.

The majority of the world’s religiously unaffiliated live in the Asia-Pacific region, with 700 million in China alone, where religion was stifled during the Cultural Revolution.

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Newtown, CT, and America’s Serial Aversion to Substance

Picture: US DOD (PD)

Daniel Edward Massoglia writes at Diatribe Media:

“Now isn’t the time.”

Jesus Christ. “Now isn’t the time.” When is the time? What does that even mean? Why are you saying it?

It is a peculiar society in which the common response to one of the most horrific shootings in its history can be telling others not to talk about it, to not think about it, to not feel it. That can hold engaging in the scripted, often-disgusting exercise of gaudy, superficial grief the best of all options. The United States is the mass murder capital of the world. Please, sir: when is the time?

For people intent trying to make sense of the Newton, CT tragedy with the familiar grief process—a tear from the president, a solemn nod from the anchorwoman: there’s no way to make sense of a mass murder at an elementary school. There’s no way.

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Crazy People Make Sense

Picture: Aries Author (CC)

Quinn O’Neill writes at 3quarksdaily:

Given the amount of senseless and stupid behavior that we perceive, it might seem outrageous to claim that people – all people – make perfect sense. The crux of my argument rests on the idea that behaviors are caused, and to the extent that they are caused – fully, I believe – they will always make sense if the causal factors are understood.

This seems to be the approach that we intuitively take when we observe unusual behavior in animals. We don’t blame the animal and label it a dumbass, we assume there’s something causing the behavior, like an illness, the presence of another animal, or the animal’s having been trained by humans. A bizarre behavior could also have a strong genetic component; maybe it’s evolved because it’s adaptive or maybe it’s the result of a spontanteous deleterious mutation. In any case, we’re likely to attribute the behavior to material causes rather than to blame the animal.

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Blocking Prison Construction With A Makeshift Schoolhouse

Decarcerate PA creates a surreal scene in its effort to impede the construction of a new state correctional facility:

Early morning November 19, seven members of Decarcerate PA set up school desks, banners, and a little red schoolhouse to block the entrance to the prison construction site in Montgomery County. They then sat at the desks, linking arms and refusing to move or allow construction vehicles onto the sight. Construction was delayed for over an hour before all seven protesters were arrested and taken away.

The new prisons are being built on the grounds of SCI Graterford in Montgomery County. If completed, they will cost $400 million and house 4,100 people. We believe these prisons must be stopped, and that the money should be reinvested in our schools and communities.

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Wider ADHD Medication Use Would Cut Crime Rates Significantly

Will medicating of the crime-prone someday be mandated? COSMOS Magazine reports:

When comparing the behaviour of adults suffering from ADHD during periods when they were medicated, with periods when they weren’t, researchers found that medical treatment reduced the risk of committing crimes by 32%.

Individuals with ADHD have previously been shown to be at greater risk of entering a life of crime. “It’s said that roughly 30 to 40% of long-serving criminals have ADHD,” said Paul Lichtenstein, co-author of the study at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. “If their chances of recidivism can be reduced by 30%, it would clearly affect total crime numbers in many societies.”

The study, which tracked more than 25,000 people over four years, found that medication had the same effect on those who had committed relatively minor infringements as on those involved in more serious and violent crimes.

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On The Evils Of Chairs

Jacobin Magazine on a needless technology, introduced more recently than you might think, which drains our physical and psychic well-being:

As chairs became prevalent in schoolrooms, they became a tool for teachers to control the movement of children, whose healthy tendency toward activity made them difficult to teach. Today, children in the developed world learn early that sitting still in a chair is part of what it means to be an adult. The result is that by the time they actually reach adulthood, most have lost the musculature to sit comfortably for prolonged periods without back support.

No designer has ever made a good chair, because it is impossible. Not only are chairs a health hazard, they also have a problematic history that has inextricably tied them to our culture of status-obsessed individualism.  The general trend at most points in Western history has been that upper-class people sit in a certain type of chair – typically the crappiest, most damaging design available at the time – and everyone else tries to imitate them. Worse still, we’ve become dependent on chairs and it’s not clear that we’ll ever be free.

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