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Showing posts from December, 2017

Why it’s not a good idea to keep a tiger as a pet

Tigers are among the most beautiful animals on earth. It's no wonder that some people are fascinated by them and feel a desire to keep them as pets. However, tigers are not domesticated animals. Small tiger cubs will soon grow up to weigh hundreds of pounds, and they can easily overpower and kill a person. Furthermore, because tigers are endangered, it is especially important to the overall tiger population and the ecosystem for more tigers to live in the wild.Tigers can turn on their human keepersTigers occasionally maul their keepers. In 1998, in Florida, a tiger put Richard Chipperfield in critical condition. It was shot by Graham Chipperfield. The brothers were trainers for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
In 2003, Antoine Yates was mauled by a 500-pound tiger that he secretly kept in his apartment in a Harlem housing project. His brother found him injured on the floor and brought him to the hospital. To capture the tiger, police had to rappel down the side o…

Why people believe the president is mentally 'unleashed'

What people were saying at the end of November 2017The New York Daily News published an editorial on Nov. 29 marveling that, while Congress is in “delicate negotiations” over his tax reform bill and a day after North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile, he tweeted “demanding the firing of a private citizen who happens to run MSNBC, a news channel he hates” and “casually accused a congressman-turned-TV-host of murder" (the latter of which PolitiFact rated as a "Pants on Fire" lie and which received a tweet in response from the accused Joe Scarborough: "Looks like I picked a good day to stop responding to Trump's bizarre tweets. He is not well."). The newspaper concluded from this “latest spasm of deranged tweets” that the president is “profoundly unstable,” “mad,” “mentally unwell and viciously lashing out...we are witnessing signs of mania.” That same day, he also thrice retweeted anti-Muslim content posted by a leader of an extremist hate gr…

Who 'war' it better?: Why it's bogus to tweet about military prowess, especially with these numbers

President Trump recently distributed the following information, presenting it as a personal accomplishment that proves he is more competent or effective than his predecessor, President Obama. Here's why it is a mistake to use this information to make a point about who is more effective than whom. Screenshot taken from the Washington Examiner the morning of Dec. 29, 2017. The article was dated Dec. 23. A factual error in the information circulated widely online before the media outlet corrected it. Seemingly forgetting that the war against ISIS is about an international coalition defeating a common enemy, Trump self-promotes an argument that he is a better commander-in-chief than his predecessor. This is problematic on several levels. The war is about the freedom and safety of the people of Syria and Iraq; it should not be presented as a pissing content between Trump and Obama. It is morally repugnant to do so and, in its blatancy, it undermines U.S. credibility as a leader in intern…

Quotes: On time

Erich Maria Remarque:After a while he says suddenly in the half-darkness: "What actually is time?"George puts his glass down in astonishment. "The pepper of life," I reply. The old rascal can't catch me so easily with his tricks. Not for nothing am I a member of the Werdenbrück Poets' Club: we are used to big questions.Riesenfeld disregards me. "What's your opinion, Herr Kroll?" he asks."I'm a simple man," George says. "Prost!""Time," Riesenfeld continues doggedly. "Time, this uninterrupted flow — not our lousy time! Time, this gradual death."Marcel Proust:When a man is asleep, he has in a circle round him the chain of the hours, the sequence of the years, the order of the heavenly host. Instinctively, when he awakes, he looks to these, and in an instant reads off his own position on the earth's surface and the amount of time that has elapsed during his slumbers; but this ordered proces…

The forces behind political polarization

Jonathan Haidt explains in a recent essay that we become politically polarized when centripetal or centrifugal forces are imbalanced. These are the forces that draw us together or pull us apart.“Imagine three kids making a human chain with their arms, and one kid has his free hand wrapped around a pole. The kids start running around in a circle, around the pole, faster and faster. The centrifugal force increases. That’s the force pulling outward as the human centrifuge speeds up. But at the same time, the kids strengthen their grip. That’s the centripetal force, pulling them inward along the chain of their arms. Eventually the centrifugal force exceeds the centripetal force and their hands slip. The chain breaks.”The “good kind of identity politics,” according to Haidt, is exemplified by MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech that ”framed our greatest moral failing as an opportunity for centripetal redemption.” Identity becomes centrifugal “when you take young human beings, whose minds evolved…

Is 'Trumpism' a cult?

"During the late eighties and throughout the nineties," Susie Meister wrote in early 2016 before the election, "evangelicalism hit its stride communicating and promoting a very specific message that amounted to a chorus of sound bites about “family values,” militarism, and the pro-life movement." Meister, someone who "attended church several times a week," realized:"I could no longer reconcile Jesus’s calls for non-judgment, loving your enemies, and taking up your cross with many of the Religious Right’s positions on social services, women’s rights, and the LGBT community. Even though I felt alone in my theological shift, I was not. A recent Pew Research Center poll puts the evangelical retention rate at 65%...It isn’t just general education that can shift beliefs; indeed a recent study by Baylor University researcher Aaron Franzen found that increased reading of the Bible correlated with greater passion for social justice — a trait typically associa…