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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
"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 -
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
posted by vhsiv
on Apr 25, 2007 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
: 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 -
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 -
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
(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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
"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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -