Forgive me father, for I have sinned. I took the words of a fellow Christian in an article I wrote almost a year ago without permission. Plagiarism? Such blasphemy would not escape my fingers, no. Linking to the very page the text came from, and giving the name of the website (BibleStudy.org) was no problem, but showing the text itself (which is pretty much the reason people write blogs) was too offensive for the sensibilities of my good Christian brethren. Indeed, I may have just become a “man;” a true blogger. Because today, I was threatened with my first lawsuit.
Edward Snowden has just been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize – an award that has certainly lost credibility because of some of the recent recipients, including U.S. President Obama. Snowden is a man who gave up his cozy life snooping on the private data of people within and outside of his country, and was smart enough not to stick around to see what kind of damage the American government would do to him, like they did to others who blew the whistle on illegal behaviour. Though there are indeed others who also deserve such praise, I hope at least the nomination helps Snowden’s cause.
Skeptikai has had many articles on what I expect will be what everyone has been calling “The Big One” for years. That is, a catastrophic earthquake in the most densely populated city in the world – Tokyo. I never look forward to writing about the potential damage from such an event, but it’s important to keep up with the latest research, and there have been more predictions by the experts in recent months.
A panel of experts spoke last month about this. From Asahi:
2013 was a hectic year, but it has finally ended. Actually, it ended several days ago; but as you can imagine, things were hectic. The news cycle never stopped and the stories kept coming in, which is why I updated my existing articles a lot more than write new ones. But that doesn’t explain everything, which is why I’ll take the opportunity to do so below. Along the way, I’ll also mention the top Skeptikai articles of the year.
There have been many profoundly unjust decisions in the United States this year. One of the worst would have to be the setting free of George Zimmerman, who shot and killed the unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin, who committed absolutely no crime and was literally trying to run away from Zimmerman, who was wielding a gun. Yet, an even more outrageous case has surfaced recently, which I can only succinctly describe as: the worst legal decision of the entire year.
People tend not to carefully consider the ramifications of many of their actions. Scaling a mountain, taking an extra glass of wine, working longer hours for higher pay, etc. In fact, many people have trouble considering what the consequences of their actions will be a year, a month, or even a week later. This is of course why things like gambling addictions are as prevalent as they are. Therefore, it’s only natural that we don’t think of the genetic ramifications of our actions. But new research suggests that those genetic ramifications extend beyond our own lives.
This is a preview of
Life Experiences Not Only Influence Your Genes, but Your Children’s Genes
. Read the full post (565 words, 1 image, estimated 2:16 mins reading time)
Do you care where your clothes were made? It seems like virtually everything you buy at the store now has the “made in China” label on it, but that’s not stopping consumers or retailers from dealing with such products. American companies deal with tons of sweat-shop workers in China and elsewhere for cheap labour, and it seems there is no end in sight. Even Japanese people, who currently have probably the most negative views of Chinese people in the world, still consume goods from China. So what’s the deal?
The conviction rate in Japan is unbelievable. Some reports say 99.8%, others say 99.97%; but it’s clear that it’s above 99%. Why is this so? Are Japanese police really so perfect that they almost always arrest the real criminals and always have the evidence to prove their cases? Don’t bet on it. The Japanese legal system is corrupt, and the effects of this broken system can be felt by anyone in Japan who has ever been detained, regardless of innocence.
Confessing for Nothing
This excerpt from The Economist sums up the problem:
This is a preview of
The Whole Story on Japan’s 99% Conviction Rate, and the Corruption that Follows
. Read the full post (3048 words, 1 image, estimated 12:12 mins reading time)
Imagine a hacker who breaks into some girl’s computer. Maybe he doesn’t even know her – he just wants to get to know her. Maybe he looks into her interests so that he knows what she likes. Or maybe he knows her – maybe it’s his girlfriend or wife, and he wants to know if she’s being faithful. This kind of hypocrisy is lost on fools with such power… but can you blame them? Can you honestly say that you wouldn’t take a “quick peek” at your lover’s private information to confirm whether or not they have been faithful? I would like to say “I would never do that!” but I honestly don’t know what I would do in that situation. But whether or not you too would do such a thing, this point is very clear: It is wrong to do this. Some random hacker shouldn’t be able read your emails and watch you through your webcam. So the question remains: Why is it okay for the NSA to do this?
This is a preview of
Don’t Blame the NSA, They’re Only Human (so they spy on their love interests too)
. Read the full post (771 words, 1 image, estimated 3:05 mins reading time)
Being happy makes you not only live longer, but it makes you more successful in life. From the time we started feeling sad, we must have been thinking about happiness, and how to begin to feel it. It is today one of the most popular topics in psychology research, and the science is gradually becoming more clear on what factors do and don’t contribute to happiness. But this article is not about a list of things that will increase your happiness; it is instead about the single most important thing about being and staying happy. It’s the reason why some people who you would expect to be absolutely miserable are in fact exceptionally happy. So what’s the secret?
Posted in Culture, Featured, Legal Issues, Medicine & Health, Psychology, Science, Social Psych, TED
Tagged 60 Minutes, crime, Dan Caro, disease, happ, law, prison, right-to-die, suicide, Texas, Wayne Dyer