Climate Feedback Loops

Following up on Debunking Deniers of Climate Change (which is excellent, watch the video if you haven’t done so yet), a new study considers the difficulties involved with making predictions about current climate change based on historical models. And there’s the possibility of feedback loops making a bad situation worse: An alternative is that there are additional feedbacks lurking in the system. Small temperature increases do things like melt reflective ice and put more water vapor (another greenhouse gas) into… Read more

Why Do People Behave Honestly?

A new study by Joshua Greene and Joseph Paxton investigates the mental processes behind honest behavior: They recruited 35 people and asked them to predict the result of computerised coin-flips while sitting in an fMRI scanner. They were paid in proportion to their accuracy. In some ‘No-Opportunity trials’, they had to make their predictions beforehand, giving them no room for cheating. In other ‘Opportunity trials’, they simply had say whether they had guessed correctly after the fact, opening the door… Read more

Bursting Your Bubble

Photo by Richard Heeks. Read more

Daily Hilarity: “Mr. Bean In Hell”

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Kantian Reasons To Lie To The Murderer At The Door?

Michael Cholbi thinks he has some: First, the lie is not meant to advance the happiness either of the liar or of the potential murder victim, but to thwart the abuse of the victim’s autonomy that her murder would represent. Hence, if lying to the murderer is manipulation at all, it is manipulation in the service of the would-be victim’s autonomy, a central Kantian value. Second, while Kantian ethics prioritizes the value of autonomous rational agency over happiness, it does… Read more

“The Myth of Sexual Spontaneity”

Greta Christina attacks what she calls “the myth of sexual spontaneity,” defined as the idea that “for sex to be good and meaningful, the desire has to strike both partners out of the blue and be acted on immediately” on the grounds that arises from and implictly reinforces negative views of sex: Our culture tends to see sex, either as a sin that we must resist, or as a selfish luxury we can do without. We don’t see it as… Read more

Gays In Other Militaries

While we still discriminate, some of our allies have progressed ahead of us already.  The Huffington Post has a detailed account. In Britain, on the other hand, gay and lesbian service members marched in crisp uniforms in the annual Pride London parade July 4. Gay Australian soldiers and sailors had their own float in Sydney’s Gay Mardi Gras parade. In Israel, the army magazine earlier this year featured two male soldiers on the cover, hugging one another. Also via The… Read more

Allies Of Political Secularism From Egypt And Lebanon

Thanks to the Atheist Media Blog Read more

What It’s Like To Be A Bat

Researchers on echolocation are trying to tap what they think is our untapped potential to learn what it’s like to be a bat. A team of researchers from the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH) has shown scientifically that human beings can develop echolocation, the system of acoustic signals used by dolphins and bats to explore their surroundings. Producing certain kinds of tongue clicks helps people to identify objects around them without needing to see them, something which would be… Read more

Feminism and Vampires

Feministing breaks down Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Twilight, and True Blood for their implicit (and explicit) views on sex.  While comparing and contrasting True Blood and Twilight, Latoya Peterson drops this tidbit, which is the first thing to make me curious to peek at Twilight (though I’m 99% sure I still won’t): In both series, sex is spiked with danger. A man’s protection and a woman’s desire are intimately connected to violence. Sookie frequently finds herself the subject of Bill’s… Read more

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