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"And I am even supposed to love our enemies.”

"Killing others is not loving them.” --meet US Army Captain Peter D. Brown, just granted Conscientious Objector status due to his religious beliefs and honorably discharged after first being denied and taking them to court---only 224 applicants were approved for it during 02-06, out of 2.3 million serving. [more inside]
posted by amberglow on Oct 18, 2007 - 63 comments

 

WWII Interogators

Fort Hunt's Quiet Men Break Silence on WWII. After 60 years of silence, the World War II veterans who interrogated Nazi prisoners of war at Fort Hunt are telling their story. [Via The Reality-Based Community.] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Oct 10, 2007 - 35 comments

The Alternative Nobel Prize

The Right Livelihood Award "celebrates and supports people of vision. People who have ideas and apply them in concrete initiatives for the public good. They give hope for tomorrow, for a world in peace and balance. They demonstrate how we can overcome oppression, war, poverty, the destruction of our environment, and a widespread sense of meaninglessness and fear."
posted by homunculus on Oct 3, 2007 - 6 comments

California Inspects Spector and cannot decide. There is more to this than meets the eye.

California Where the Rich do Fine While the Poor are Doing Time "Hell, you got to live with it, there's nothing else to live with except mendacity, is there?" Big Daddy, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
posted by Rancid Badger on Sep 26, 2007 - 37 comments

The Tearoom Trade and the Breastplate of Righteousness

Laud Humphreys was studying to be an Episcopal priest in the mid-1950s when he learned, shortly after his father's death, that his father, Oklahoma State Representative Ira D. Humphreys, took trips to New Orleans to have sex with other men. After being dismissed as an Episcopal priest in the 1960s, Laud Humphreys then enrolled as a sociology grad student where he completed a dissertation about men who had sex with other men in public bathrooms in St. Louis, which Humphreys researched by agreeing to serve as a "watch queen", looking out for the police. After writing down the license plate numbers of the men having sex, Humphreys traced the men's addresses and contacted them in disguise, claiming to be collecting data for a public health survey. The research, which was condemned as unethical for its use of covert methods, was published in 1970 as Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places. [more inside]
posted by jonp72 on Sep 8, 2007 - 58 comments

Genetic discrimination

U.S. military practices genetic discrimination in denying benefits. "Those medically discharged with genetic diseases are left without disability or retirement benefits. Some are fighting back."
posted by homunculus on Aug 20, 2007 - 43 comments

Torture Teachers

Rorschach and Awe. "America's coercive interrogation methods were reverse-engineered by two C.I.A. psychologists who had spent their careers training U.S. soldiers to endure Communist-style torture techniques. The spread of these tactics was fueled by a myth about a critical 'black site' operation."
posted by homunculus on Jul 31, 2007 - 57 comments

Beyond "Immanuel Kant was a real pissant."

What can I know? What should I do? For what may I hope?
posted by anotherpanacea on Jul 22, 2007 - 109 comments

The Ethics of Infertility

The ethics of infertility: After taking fertility drug Clomid, Ryan and Brianna Morrison conceived sextuplets. Their religious beliefs steered them away from undergoing a selective reduction procedure in favor of bringing all six fetuses to term. Four of their newborns have died; the remaining two are in critical condition. This mother of multiples says that while she's grateful that insurance and Medicaid covered her million-dollar hospital bill, her "quest to have a family resulted in a significant drain on society's resources."
posted by lalex on Jul 2, 2007 - 136 comments

Life from scratch

Dr. Craig Venter, known for his role as a pioneer in the human genome project, has taken a major step towards creating life from scratch: transplanting the entire genome from one bacterium cell to another. Commence the ethics wars.
posted by charmston on Jun 28, 2007 - 32 comments

The human network

The human network is the paradigm and the infrastructure which supports social software.
posted by zippy on Jun 25, 2007 - 16 comments

Ethics, mental health, reviewed

Pentagon survey on troops in Iraq. Coverage from US News, AP.
posted by ClaudiaCenter on May 5, 2007 - 25 comments

Be my, be my baby. Or, you know *his*.

Paternity Discrepancy. "My little boy was there, he was up at bat, and I started yelling for him, 'Go Matthew [not his real name]! Knock it out of the park!' And another man started screaming for Matthew. Louder than me. I looked over, and I looked at him, and I was like, Who is this guy? And I looked at my son, and I looked at him … and they were identical."
posted by Sticherbeast on Apr 27, 2007 - 195 comments

The Tanner Lectures on Human Values online library

The Tanner Lectures on Human Values are all online for you to peruse. The library consists of around 180 full text PDFs by a wide variety of authors -- Christine Korsgaard, Antonin Scalia, Jared Diamond, John Rawls, Richard Dawkins, Frans de Waal E.O. Wilson, Francis Fukuyama and the previously mentioned Elaine Scarry among them. Lots of interesting reading to be... read. Navigation is to the left. The collection is sorted alphabetically by author.
posted by cog_nate on Apr 25, 2007 - 12 comments

For the public good, or just out of a job?

25 y.o. whistle-blower. Last Fall, a 24 y.o. by the name of Justen Deal, blew the whistle on what he perceived to be profligate waste by his employers. As an IT guy at Kaiser-Permanente, he'd seen a $442 million database project scrapped by the new CEO and replaced by a sweetheart deal for one of the CEO's former contractors. Internal estimates placed Kaiser's losses on this new contract at $1.2 billion dollars per quarter [more inside]
posted by vhsiv on Apr 25, 2007 - 74 comments

The Fifty-Nine-Story Crisis

The Fifty-Nine-Story Crisis. In 1978, renowned structural engineer William LeMessurier discovered a mistake in his design for the Citicorp (now Citigroup) Center. With hurricane season approaching, the skyscraper was in imminent danger of collapse. His handling of the situation has been praised as a "stunning example of good ethics in action" – but some disagree.
posted by smably on Apr 20, 2007 - 46 comments

Malaysia, Politics, and Bloggers

An Indonesian TV crew was invited to Malaysia for their Visit Malaysia Year 2007 campaign but encountered many problems. They write up about it - and start a flurry of comments and controversy across the Malaysian government about blogging. [more inside]
posted by divabat on Apr 6, 2007 - 14 comments

My Brain Made Me

Neurolaw - The Brain on the Stand
posted by Gyan on Mar 11, 2007 - 8 comments

Is your fetus gay?

Is Your Baby Gay? Southern Baptist theologian Albert Mohler has come out to support stem cell research: If a biological basis [for homosexuality] is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin.
posted by parmanparman on Mar 8, 2007 - 121 comments

Perverted Justice & Dateline NBC: Repsonsbile for Conradt's death? Yea/Nay/Otherwise.

The Shame Game. Perverted Justice (prev.) and Dateline NBC's series of To Catch A Predator specials are of questionable-at-best morality and have received much flak, particularly on the part of the former party. At the Columbia Journalism review, Douglas McCollum shares the case of Louis Conradt Jr., who killed himself upon being pounced upon by police and Dateline's cameras. McCollum also takes issue with NBC's paying of Perverted Justice for their services. And, for the other side, PJ's rebuttal.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me on Feb 10, 2007 - 163 comments

Armstrong Williams redux

Here's $10,000! All you have to do is pick it up and it is yours. There it is, just staring at you. You are a global climate scientist or economist and the American Enterprise Institute, "an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration" wants you to lend them some of your legitimacy, for which they will pay you ten grand.
posted by publius on Feb 3, 2007 - 34 comments

Tough Love

The Trouble with Troubled Teen Programs
posted by daksya on Dec 28, 2006 - 85 comments

When Scientists Go Bad

When Scientists Go Bad
posted by MetaMonkey on Oct 27, 2006 - 26 comments

"While I support freedom of speech, I also believe that writers have choices about what they write and a responsibility for exercising those choices in an ethical manner"

Landfill is a new short story by Joyce Carol Oates. The story has caused controversy due to it being partly based on the real life death of a College of New Jersey student. At first, Oates was bewildered by the outcry, but later she apologized.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 15, 2006 - 28 comments

CBC Blogging Manifesto

CBC Blogging Manifesto Tired of waiting for CBC, Canada’s national public broadcaster, to come up with a blogging policy, CBC bloggers – including the infamous pseudonymous blogger A. Ouimet – charge ahead and write one themselves.
posted by joeclark on Aug 13, 2006 - 12 comments

Is it really time to upgrade your mobile phone?

Dead Ringers: the Science Museum asks us the question "should we upgrade our mobile phone?" "No" and "no" say the Times and the Observer, but we still do: on average every 18 months. What's the problem? Well it isn't just the lead, arsenic, beryllium and brominated fire-retardant cases (pollutants all) disappearing into our land fills (which are not covered by the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive [WEEE] in Europe). Coltan also goes into our phones. It occurs mainly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and as such our demand for upgrades has been contributing to a war (despite mobile phone companies' claims to the contrary, coltan is not regulated like timber). If we must upgrade, we can at least recycle or hack our old phones.
posted by nthdegx on Aug 7, 2006 - 49 comments

Hand of God

Charlotte Observer photographer Patrick Schneider has been fired. After a 2003 incident in which the North Carolina Press Association stripped him of his awards for three pictures (before and after can be seen here) the Observer has fired Schneider over the alteration of this image. The question remains among photojournalists: is it unethical to alter a photo in such a way that it more closely resembles what the eye saw and the camera is unable to capture, or is this a deceptive practice that damages the public's trust?
posted by TheGoldenOne on Jul 28, 2006 - 78 comments

Coming soon to a cinema near you

The Human Speechome Project - "A baby is to be monitored by a network of microphones and video cameras for 14 hours a day, 365 days a year, in an effort to unravel the seemingly miraculous process by which children acquire language.". Selected video clips. Paper (PDF, 750KB). To test hypotheses of how children learn, Prof Deb Roy's team at MIT will develop machine learning systems that “step into the shoes” of his son by processing the sights and sounds of three years of life at home. Total storage required: 1.4 petabytes.
posted by Gyan on Jul 23, 2006 - 21 comments

GATTACA

The Promise and Perils of Synthetic Biology
posted by Gyan on Jun 16, 2006 - 14 comments

What does John Solomon have against Harry Reid?

Harry Reid accepted free boxing tickets from the Nevada Athletic Commission says John Solomon of the AP. Solomon implies that Reid might have gotten himself into an ethical dilemma as the NAC opposes the creation of a federal boxing commission, something the Senate was considering at the time. The article also tosses in some digs at Reid by repeating the claim that Reid is involved in the Abramoff scandal.

However, Media Matters points out that Reid did not act in the NAC's favor and instead allowed the passage of legislation that would create a federal commission, in opposition to the giftgiver's wishes. This is not the first time Solomon has attacked Reid. Politics/News-filter
posted by papakwanz on May 31, 2006 - 34 comments

You see when you are "dead" on Everest, "dead" is a matter of condition in some cases.

Would you leave a dying man to reach the top of Everest? Mark Inglis, who lost both legs in a climbing accident years ago, triumphantly scaled Mt. Everest earlier this month. About two and a half hours into the climb, they passed David Sharp, a climber on his way down who was clearly in distress and only hours from death. Inglis and his team left him there and continued to the summit and, as expected, David Sharp died.

Everest pioneer Sir Edmund Hillary is displeased, and this fellow is lucky the group that found him decided his "weak attributes of life" were enough for an effort at rescue.
posted by thirteenkiller on May 27, 2006 - 211 comments

Reporting The Truth

A reporter agonizes over reporting the truth, written by Vanessa Gezari who taught journalism in post-Taliban Afghanistan.
posted by mischief on Apr 4, 2006 - 11 comments

Delivering the Vote, with Dividends

Whooops! While making a required filing to the state ethics commission, Ohio Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Kenneth Blackwell finds Diebold shares in his stock portfolio that he now claims to have bought "accidentally." Yes, that Diebold -- the e-voting company whose chairman promised to "deliver the vote" to George Bush. And yes, that Blackwell, whose state helped deliver the White House to the GOP. Blackwell insists that the humble amount of Diebold stock was in one of those "blind trust" type of arrangements that worked out so rewardingly for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. [newsfilter via RawStory.]
posted by digaman on Apr 4, 2006 - 108 comments

Delegating our moral beliefs. . .

Can we have an intelligent non-religion-bashing discussion about this article? ". . . perhaps the most shocking implication of my inquiry into the role religion plays in our lives" : ". . . those who have an unquestioning faith in the correctness of the moral teachings of their religion are a problem: If they haven't conscientiously considered, on their own, whether their pastors or priests or rabbis or imams are worthy of such delegated authority over their lives, then they are taking a personally immoral stand. Please RTFA before commenting.
posted by spock on Jan 26, 2006 - 175 comments

Lifeboat ethics

Lifeboat ethics. "Terror had assumed the throne of reason, and passion had become judgment." After the ship William Brown sank on a voyage from England to America in 1841, its longboat with 41 passengers and crew aboard leaked badly and began sinking. To stay afloat, the first mate ordered sailors to throw men and women overboard: those remaining were saved and eventually rescued. One sailor who followed orders, Alexander Holmes, was convicted of manslaughter after he returned to Philadelphia in 1842. This true story inspired a famous fictional case, many legal opinions, two movies, and a recent book. What would you have done in the same life-or-death situation?
posted by cenoxo on Jan 7, 2006 - 57 comments

Bad medicine

The problem of fake pharmaceutical drugs
posted by daksya on Dec 22, 2005 - 21 comments

Bluto: My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.

75 hard-core alcoholics to be offered apartments. Seventy-five alcoholics... are about to get an invitation to move into a new apartment building all their own on the edge of downtown Seattle. At tax payer's expense. What's different about this homeless shelter? The residents will be allowed to drink alcohol, provided they do it in their rooms. [.PDF]

"As much as we want it to work, the idea of asking a hard-core population of chronic alcoholics, for example, to put down the bottle before they get a set of apartment keys is unrealistic and impractical." Predictably, the project was not without opposition. [bugme]
posted by OpinioNate on Dec 19, 2005 - 85 comments

President Bush today accepted responsibility for decision to go to war against Iraq based on faulty intelligence.

President Bush today accepted responsibility for decision to go to war against Iraq based on faulty intelligence. Discuss. [newsfilter]
posted by lupus_yonderboy on Dec 14, 2005 - 162 comments

It raises many difficult ethical issues

'A cadaveric kidney comes from a dead person and in the majority of cases in China, the dead people are prisoners, which allows for us to know at least two weeks ahead when the kidney will be ready' Transplantsinternational.com is offering organs from executed Chinese prisoners for sale on it's website (offline at the moment) for £23,000 per kidney. They say the deceased's family receive a donation for the organs.

This is not a new phenomenon as it was brought to the attention of US Congress in 2001, however, now people seeking transplants know in advance that there is an organ ready for them. "Blood samples are taken from prisoners to ensure they will be the perfect match for their Western beneficiaries."

It raises all sort of ethical issues. Should someone accept an organ from an executed prisoner? What right does someone have to say it is immoral to take an organ acquired in this way? Then again China's human rights record is appalling, should desperate Westerners be taking of advantage of those in prison? Should it be made illegal in the West to become a transplant tourist in order to curb this trade?
posted by ClanvidHorse on Dec 12, 2005 - 49 comments

Crime & Abortion

Economist Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics, has long posited a controversial thesis that legalized abortion help reduced crime, by reducing unwanted children, prone to crime. However, a new paper argues that Levitt (& Donohue) made serious errors in their research. Properly analysed, abortion has no significant effect on crime. Levitt disagrees, of course.
posted by daksya on Dec 4, 2005 - 46 comments

How much should we know?

If you watch television news stations, you've probably already heard that the latest missing white girl has been found. Naturally, the media is now obsessed with figuring out what led to the murder of the girl's parents. In the unending quest for information, TV news stations have shown the myspace pages of the two teens. And like many other teenagers, the two have xanga journals as well. But several sources, both blogs and mainstream news sites, have publicized the location of these pages. Is this responsible journalism?
Previously on MeFi: Blogging from prison; diary of a killer?
posted by kyleg on Nov 14, 2005 - 74 comments

did skynet need ethics?

Should programmers refuse to write malicious programs? Doctors take an oath to do no harm. We'd all like our computers to do what we want, and would be quite upset if they didn't. Should Sony's programmers have refused to write the malware?
posted by Jerub on Nov 14, 2005 - 94 comments

Liar, liar, pants on fire

"What's the matter sweetie? Can't sleep?"
"No, no. I was just going over my answers to the polygraph test your dad just gave me."
posted by Rothko on Nov 7, 2005 - 17 comments

Wilhelm Furtwängler

The Wartime Ninth. "Berlin. October 7, 1944. In the Beethovensaal a concert is about to begin, but the theater is empty, relieved of its usual audience studded with Nazi elite. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is on stage, awaiting its cue. Conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler stands awkwardly on the podium. The vague meandering of his baton summons the first shadowy note of Bruckner's Ninth Symphony. A Radio Berlin engineer starts his Magnetophon. The most extraordinary orchestral recording of the century has just begun". More inside.
posted by matteo on Oct 5, 2005 - 21 comments

Covert Propaganda

Ethicsgate continues: Today, the bipartisan Government Accountability Office declared that the Bush administration broke the law by paying Armstrong Williams to write favorable columns about the No Child Left Behind Act, funneling public funds to a PR firm to sift through news stories and gauge media perception of Bush policies, and financing phony TV news reports giving the President's education policies "an A-plus," creating what the GAO called "covert propaganda." [Williams et. al. previously discussed here.]
posted by digaman on Sep 30, 2005 - 59 comments

Common base of morality?

Do the Right Thing
posted by Gyan on Sep 14, 2005 - 63 comments

We no longer know what it means to be human,

EMBO's report on Time and Aging (free access) contains an essay wherein the author, Karin Knorr Cetina, from the University of Konstanz, Germany, argues that death and aging used to be major issues that defined what it means to be human and helped us find our place in society by showing us the limits of what is possible to achieve as a human. With the advances in science, particularly biological advances in slowing aging and technological advances in extending human function, we no longer accept our fate. Instead of accepting that we all grow old and die so we should take our place in society, with the expectation that if we contribute, society will take care of us, too, we now have promises being made by science that death and aging are no longer inevitable. Where are we headed, then? If we can no longer find our place by finding the limits of achievement and accepting our place within them, how do we work as a collective?
posted by Mr. Gunn on Jul 25, 2005 - 15 comments

melting wax

Is Civilization Decaying? Will technological progress be accompanied by moral progress? Notes on a 1923 debate between J. B. S. Haldane (Daedalus) and Bertrand Russell (Icarus). "As John Brunner pointed out in an article in the New Scientist in 1993, these two books ... inspired two generations of science fiction writers."
posted by painquale on Jul 10, 2005 - 11 comments

Stem Cells - Rumor vs. Reality

Stem cell pioneer does a reality check
posted by daksya on Jun 26, 2005 - 9 comments

Wal-mart: Sith Lord of unbridaled capitalism

That "liberal bastion" PBS and that "wacky" Christian Right AGREEING on something? Does the "Sith Lord of unbridaled capitalism" really deserve to be hated? Does it bear watching? A new movie will take a look: (Registration -free link). Why are growing numbers "ready to join the ranks of all right-thinking people the world over in declaring Wal-Mart an outpost of hell on earth"??? The full 60 minute Frontline program video is available online.
posted by spock on Jun 6, 2005 - 28 comments

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