Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Saturday, February 18, 2012
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|SeaWorld of Pain|
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Here is a list of the events.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
I think one could make a moral argument that the loss of such a cultural activity--along with the attendant human knowledge and skills that it requires--would be a tragic cultural loss in many ways. Here is one example where the philosophical arguments of animal rights, environmental ethics, and cultural preservation collide.
It is interesting to note that in Australia--which resembles the Anglo-American philosophical "scene"--aboriginal rights and customs have been assiduously protected and honored. Not perfectly, I suppose, but on an institutional scale that I believe isn't found in many other countries.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Friday, February 3, 2012
You can read the rest of the article here.
In 2005, while teaching history at a French university, I was struck by the general disbelief among students that rational and sensitive human beings could ever hold others in bondage. Slavery was so obviously evil that slave-holders could only have been barbarians. My students could not entertain the idea that some slave-owners could have been genuinely blind to the harm they were doing.
At the same time, I was reading a book on climate change which noted how today's machinery – almost exclusively powered by fossil fuels like coal and oil – does the same work that used to be done by slaves and servants. "Energy slaves" now do our laundry, cook our food, transport us, entertain us, and do most of the hard work needed for our survival.
Intriguing similarities between slavery and our current dependence on fossil-fuel-powered machines struck me: both perform roughly the same functions in society (doing the hard and dirty work that no one wants to do), both were considered for a long time to be acceptable by the majority and both came to be increasingly challenged as the harm they caused became more visible.
The article has already generated a fair amount of commentary and criticism. Keith Kloor's blog post, "A Tortured Analogy," at Collide-a-scape is particularly good.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
The biggest breakthrough came in 1921 when Frederick Banting and Charles Best conducted a series of experiments one summer in the laboratory of J.J. R. Macleod at the University of Toronto. Like Minkowski and von Mering, they showed that removing the pancreas from dogs made them diabetic.So what to make of this? I shudder to think of the pain inflicted on all of the animals used for their pancreases in order that I and so many other diabetics might live, but at the end of the day I am grateful that it happened. How could I not be? What other cures for terminal illnesses might be found through animal testing alone? I'm not saying I'm pro-animal testing per se, but it is certainly difficult to feel authentic in extolling an animal rights ethic while simultaneously relying on something borne from such a brutal reliance upon animal lives.
Then they went a step further and painstakingly took fluid from healthy dogs' Islets of Langerhans, injected it into the diabetic dogs and restored them to normalcy - for as long as they had the extract.With the help of a biochemist colleague named J. B. Collip, they were then able to extract a reasonably pure formula of insulin from the pancreas of cattle from slaughterhouses.
In January, 1922, a diabetic teenager in a Toronto hospital named Leonard Thompson became the first person to receive an injection of insulin. He improved dramatically, and the news about insulin spread around the world like wildfire. For their work, Banting and Macleod received the Nobel Prize in Medicine the very next year, in 1923. Banting shared his part of the prize money with Best, and Macleod shared his with Collip.
"This penetrating look at the pros and cons of wildlife conservation among the Himba of Namibia and the Maasai of Kenya reveals that Western-style game reserves and eco-lodges seldom consider the impact such approaches have on local inhabitants. Filmmaker David E. Simpson offers a look at an emerging new paradigm: "community-based conservation," which seeks to give indigenous people a voice in the way wildlife is both used and preserved."
Some of the issues that arise:
-Wild animals (especially rhinos) can be very dangerous animals and at times pose a threat to villagers in communities adjacent to the conservation areas. Should the communities be able to kill a rhino that has killed some of their own (people and/or cattle), or should they be forced to abstain and have no recourse to this threat?
-In Namibia, the government has given villagers ownership of the laws which govern how they must deal with wild animals in their areas. On a co-op basis, they decide quotas of how many animals may be killed per month, and it is believed that this forces the villagers to respect their resource and to therefore better protect it. How might an animal rights argument treat this?
-In Africa, eco-tourism is a major incentive to preserve wilderness and its accompanying animal life. However, the fencing in of lands that once belonged to indigenous peoples hurts them by cutting them off from a resource they once lived off of in a sustainable way. How might one resolve the incompatible desires to preserve wilderness and to allow a culture its own life-sustaining resource in a land where resources are famously scarce? Who wins, people or wilderness? If people, who should have the more favorable access to wilderness resources: tourists and developers or indigenous populations?