Archive for June, 2014

The goddess of reason wasn’t so reasonable

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Love her or hate her, you can’t deny that Ayn Rand, the 20th century’s most bellicose/eloquent (select adjective based on political persuasion) defender of laissez-faire capitalism, is experiencing a revival. Sales of her 50-year-old magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, for years second only to the Bible, are soaring even more this year. Two major publishing houses have rushed to release new Rand biographies—by academics, no less—this fall. And there is nary a tea party protest that doesn’t prominently splash banners alluding to John Galt, Atlas Shrugged’s ubermensch hero.

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Brain Clears Away Old Memories To Form New Ones, New Research Shows (VIDEO)

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Psychologists have long considered the process of forgetting as key to a healthy mind, yet neuroscientists haven’t paid much attention to it in the past, Frankland says. “If you embrace the idea that forgetting is healthy,” then it makes sense that neurogenesis may contribute to the clearing out of old memories, he says. Although it’s pure speculation at this point, he says, it’s possible that one way that antidepressants help people with depression, a condition linked to reduced neurogenesis, “is to promote some sort of clearing or forgetting,” he says.

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Sugata Mitra’s new experiments in self-teaching

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Fascinating video. Watch.

Esther The Wonder Pig Is A 500-Pound House Pet, And So Much More

Friday, June 20th, 2014

“We were pretty typical people,” says Jenkins. “We were two totally normal, meat-eating omnivores who because of a Facebook message from a high school friend met and fell in love with a pig that changed our lives.”

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How Many People Do You Know Who Are Not 100% Straight Or Gay? More Than You Think.

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Sexuality is a gigantic spectrum of endless possibilities. And get this: We can choose different ways to express our sexuality based on our sexual orientation. When I was growing up, I always thought people were either “gay” or “straight” and never realized there are actually thousands of ways to express sexuality. When we put people in boxes, we miss out on all the wonderfully diverse ways that human sexuality can change and all the different ways people of any gender or sex can be compatible with one another. The possibility of combinations is endless, and this photographer thinks it’s high time we all came clean about that.

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Deaf Woman Adopts Deaf Dog Who Knows Sign Language In Perfect Match

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

When Rosie first arrived at the shelter, workers couldn’t figure out why she wouldn’t respond to them, reports Central Nebraska News. That’s when shelter volunteer, Tracie Pfeifle, realized Rosie couldn’t hear them, and set out to teach the 3-year-old dog sign language.

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How American Universities Turned Into Corporations

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

On Monday, you could read about a new study of public universities showing that schools with the highest presidential salaries also had the fastest-growing student debt. That same night, Senator Elizabeth Warren was on the Colbert Report to bring attention to the nation’s student loan debt, which now exceeds $1 trillion. And over the weekend, New York University was the subject of a New York Times investigation detailing inhumane working conditions at its far-flung Abu Dhabi campus, the crown jewel in president John Sexton’s octopus-like plan to grow the university throughout New York City’s Greenwich Village and across the globe.

At their core, these stories reflect a fundamental change in higher education: universities act increasingly like big businesses that treat students as customers.

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As universities succumb to this cost disease, they begin to resemble businesses more than nonprofit schools charged with a public mission. The future of higher learning and, more broadly, our society hangs in the balance. If there’s any inspiration we can glean from the recent headlines, it’s that the laundry list of problems demanding solutions is becoming clearer. But it will be harder for us to effect change if we are unable to understand the broader cultural problem at play in the corporatization of the university.

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Depressed Goat Mr. G Won’t Eat Until He’s Reunited With His Donkey Best Friend Jellybean (VIDEO)

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

Watch.

Frank Schaeffer: Why Jesus Would Have Hated Most Modern Day Religion

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Jesus certainly was not a “Bible believer,” as we use that term in the post Billy Graham era of American fundamentalist religiosity that’s used as a trade-marked product to sell religion. Jesus didn’t take the Jewish scriptures at face value. In fundamentalist terms, Jesus was a rule-breaking relativist who wasn’t even “saved,” according to evangelical standards. Evangelicals insist that you have to believe very specific interpretations of the Bible to be saved. Jesus didn’t. He undercut the scriptures.

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Jesus rejects tribalism, literalism, group identity, specific religions, and gatekeepers as well as his Jewish identity. The phrase “Salvation is from the Jews” is paradoxically a reference to his liberating departure from tribal identity in favor of common humanity.

What is the implication of Jesus-centric non-theological, non-dogmatic salvation? It’s the abolishing of exclusion of the other as “unsaved.”

What about God? Jesus says that God doesn’t want (or maybe no longer wants) worship via exclusionary religion, sacrifice or membership in the correct tribe, sect or nation. No, Jesus says, the Father wants “true worshipers [who] will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth.”

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Hero Cat’s Mom: She Used to Guard Our Son in His Crib

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Erika Triantafilo says that while Tara the hero cat had never been quite so heroic before this week – famously body slamming a neighbor’s dog who viciously attacked her 4-year-old son Jeremy – she was not completely surprised by Tara’s protective actions.

“Tara has known Jeremy since before he was born,” Triantafilo says. “She used to go on walks with us when I was pregnant. And she used to check in on Jeremy when he was in his crib. They’re great buddies.”

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I still run across folks who tell me that cats care only about themselves, they’re untrustworthy, sneaky, ad nauseum. That certainly has not been my experience. Since childhood I’ve had many cats, often hand raised from kittenhood, who’ve been my best pals, walking with me and my dog(s), loving attention, but not too much, as much doglike as catlike. I’ve got one now. His name is Noir, a red angora rescued from my cat hoarder middle sister. You can see pictures of him on this site and on my FB pages:
https://www.facebook.com/thomas.watson.790?ref=tn_tnmn
https://www.facebook.com/BalthoTheDogWhoOwnedAMan?ref=hl

Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.

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