“One of us spent years as an Oxford tutor and it was his habit to choose controversial topics for the students’ weekly essays. They were required to go to the library, read about both sides of an argument, give a fair account of both, and then come to a balanced judgment in their essay. The call for balance, by the way, was always tempered by the maxim, ‘When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly half way between. It is possible for one side simply to be wrong.'”
“If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”
[John Stuart Mill, English philosopher (1806-1873)]
Contemplate and consider.
Birds, today. EDIT: Updated link: http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/
I find it difficult that we compare natural disasters on the basis of how much financial damage they cause. A large storm today will destroy more property than it did a hundred years ago, simply because we have more property. It might be useful to scale it according to the percentage of the national debt accumulated during the current presidency.
I would much rather focus on the
amount [number, 2014-02-04] of people who have died. In this right, I think Katrina has not been our country’s largest natural disaster.
(on another scale note, I heard on the news today that people are buying more gas than ever, regardless of the price at the pump. Of course more gas is being bought: there are more people driving, and more SUVs and trucks on the road than ever before.)
When I get famous as a writer, I can just see the reviews of my blog:
“While most of the entries are entertainingly self-sufficient, intelligent, and written in a style that no one alive or dead could ever hope to imitate, the occasional descension into apparent self-loathing and despair takes away from the author that we truly know and love. If you can deal with the personal side of this literary mogul and its lack of writing ability, you will find nothing but joy in his blog.”
Of course, when I get famous as a musician, the reviews will be different:
“Where are the lyrics? Where are the motivations? Why does he hold back and not bare his soul to the world more often, instead of reviewing news and views held by other people? When an artist such as this chooses to represent himself in a blog, should he not be as emotionally captivating as he is on stage? He apparently doesn’t think so.”
Maybe fame as a geologist?:
“If you have interest in people and the randomness of life, this blog will keep you somewhat entertained, but if you visit the site in order to hear the ideas of tomorrow given first form, you will be saly disappointed, as science is rarely the topic and geology less so.”
And, of course, psychologists would have little use for me, no matter how famous I end up in other fields:
“It is sad to say that such a great figure in modern history, culture and spirituality has so little formal schooling in modern psychology that he disbelieves, on principal, everything that Freud ever said.”
Coral sex! Yeah!
“VIRGINIA KEY, Fla. — In the Florida Keys, the August full moon represents a unique and precious event: annual coral spawning for some of the most threatened corals in the world.
This year, like many others, researchers from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School and University of North Carolina Wilmington will spend the latter part of August and early September studying the phenomenon in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to understand how humans can improve the plight of elkhorn, staghorn, boulder star and other species of corals.”
“It is not restoration to introduce animals that were never here,” says University of Washington anthropologist Donald K. Grayson.
“Lions would be a harder sell, particularly to the elk herds that already live there.
‘Lions eat people,’ Mr. Donlan, the Cornell graduate student, says. ‘There has to be a pretty serious attitude shift on how you view predators.’ “
USATODAY.com – Beasts of both worlds: Scientists propose ‘rewilding’:
“What North America needs is a few good saber-toothed tigers and a couple of mastodons and mammoths — like in the good (very) old days.”
Interesting. What’s to keep people from hunting them back to extinction, and how will they affect the ecosystem as it exists now?
I visited a petrified forest the other day. All the animals were afraid of me.
“Mr. Bush was pressed as to whether he accepted the view that intelligent design was an alternative to evolution, but he did not directly answer. ‘I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought,’ he said, adding that ‘you’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes.'”
[EDIT: To clarify, I agree that people should be exposed to different ideas, and open to changing their opinions. The problem, however, is that intelligent design theories are arguments by authority, and not based on “the scientific method.” 2014-02-05]