It’s out of control. Everything conceivable is being rated on the internet with a predictable result of rampant spam, sock puppeteering, out-and-out fraud and completely unreliable information. What began as an attempt at positive crowd-sourcing naturally turned corrupt, as is the human way. On Yelp, for example, you can find star ratings for strip clubs, even ratings for individual strippers! My local bank branch has a 2.5 star average with 271 ratings. A bank branch? Digital Book Today, a site hoping to become an ebook selection gateway, requires a minimum average of 4 star reviews (and you will notice that ‘Bleak House’ by Dickens, for example. would not qualify, having only a 3.95 average). It all means nothing, and yet it’s pervasive and a situation that is only going to degenerate over time. In this case, multiple bad apples will eventually spoil the whole bunch.
very cool collection of google street views by Jon Rafman. the world at a glance, anthropologically speaking …
Maybe old people were more highly valued when they were more scarce. Modern life expectancy has screwed that up. Now we survive things that would have killed us not so long ago, and we go on and on and on and on. No wonder health care costs so much and is only going to cost more and more. It’s the leading growth industry now, supplanting war which, come to think of it, used to have the exact opposite effect. It’s not a death spiral. It’s a life spiral!
now that i know about highly experienced professional blog commenters, i can no longer believe in any comment i see on any blog. it’s just like tv commercials – i don’t believe that person is really suffering from dandruff or incontinence or is even hungry for that burger. those commenters can’t really think that president obama is a ‘communist’, can they? it’s just that someone is paying someone else to say whatever …
This person will be known as The Outhouse Arsonist.
Watched an interesting documentary on contemporary life in Tehran on Link TV – I especially enjoyed just seeing the city and the people in everyday-life-mode, and it made me want to ask all the people who so glibly talk about war, whether they even know what the place looks like, what it sounds like, what it is like to walk the streets, talk to people, get to know them – but of course not. i don’t know what it will take for people to learn that other people are the same as them. It goes for the Iranians too, in their opinions of Israelis, for example.
I’m no fan of any ethnicity- or religion-based government, Israel included. One of the great disasters of anti-semitism in the world has been the creation of that state as it is today. The anti-semites don’t hold themselves responsible, of course. They continue to blame the Jews and them alone, of course, but there would be no Jewish state were it not for the crimes of the Europeans against those people.
On which subject, recently a Near Eastern friend of ours started riffing about how his mother always told him that jews drink babies’ blood. They’re not the only ones to be accused of that, of course. Even us mild-mannered atheists are in the group, along with Wiccans, Mormons, and probably even Scientologists (is Scientology a logical descendant of Mormonism? A thought) …
This reminded me of one of my all time favorite anthropology books, ‘The Man-Eating Myth‘ by William Arens. He sets out to document how groups of people have, throughout history, accused their enemies of cannibalism, with no actual proof of any society actually practicing it as a matter of course. Chances are, there never were such cultures, just as the whole babies’ blood thing is obviously ridiculous.
People will go to any lengths to demonize their enemies, and again, so much of the problems of people in this world stems from the inability to distinguish fantasy from reality, or fact from fiction. It’s like when you listen to people speaking a foreign language you don’t understand – in your ignorance you imagine they are saying all sorts of wild stuff, while in reality they are probably discussing the merits of different laundry detergents, or some such mundane topic.
The waxy buildup of ignorance and fear of The Other reaches laughable extremes – just now in America you hear people talk about how President Obama is going to be “all for the black”, and now “the black has taken over”. They can’t even see the human in The Other. I wonder how we can even see the human in ourselves sometimes – and there are so many people who have the deep conviction that people are not even an animal species of this planet!
But we all come from the same small family that wandered out of Africa in search of something – maybe someday we’ll figure out how to have a proper family reunion.
This article is about the proposition that ‘religion equals fertility’, that people who are more religious have bigger families, and conversely, that atheists have smaller families. As evidence they examine a few select populations from the 20th century – as if these are representative of the whole of human history. The article, and especially the comments, are an exercise in logical fallacy.
statistics taken from a very short (and quite unique) period of human history are meaningless in any overall context.
There is no more meaningful evidence to support the hypothesis that “religion and fertility are linked” than the correlation between the number of pirates in the world and global warming.
All of the explanations in the article and comments in fact explain nothing.
For a lovely twist on the whole UFO thing, a theory that aliens must be communists to have reached such a high level of technology!
it’s just so cool to think about. These people never heard of Fox News or Hillary Clinton!
interesting story in Wired, about how the planetary infestation of
humans is also disrupting the global soundscape, that the manmade
noises, machines and all, drown out the spectrums which had been
divvied up, through evolution, among the various species. Man as a