Factory Farming

One way that we might evaluate the ethics of the meat industry would be through a series of illustrations depicting dogs and horses in the same conditions (by industry standards) as say, chickens and cows reserved for human consumption.

Published in: on December 20, 2016 at 3:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Drug Addiction

A person, for whatever reason, begins using drugs and becomes an addict.  This has consequences to their health and relationships, their job or schooling… it affects their life at every level.  It impacts the lives of those around them.  So we are talking about a person with a problem who needs help and treatment, and most of all a system of support to help them get out of it and begin the transition back to a healthier life.

Except that in America our solution is to compound their trouble by treating them like a criminal.

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…which has the add-on effect of increasing the burden on society by perpetuating the cycle of drug use and the overwhelming temptation to commit crime in order to support the habit.

Published in: on December 14, 2016 at 6:41 am  Comments (1)  
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Justified Pay Gap

If high-level executives are genuinely worth what they are paid then there should be no issue or serious reservations with declaring it to the world.  In fact, the standard practice should be for all Executive Officers to make a public post something like this:

Hello, I’m so-and-so.  This is how much I make (including options and bonuses) and here are the reasons I am worth this amount.  Here also is the median pay of the company’s non-executive employees.

…and then open it up for public commentary.

Published in: on December 9, 2016 at 2:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Accountability on Campaign Promises

It wouldn’t hurt to have an infographic set up in a public-facing venue that tracked progress on campaign promises over the term of a newly elected (or re-elected) President.  Something that could be easily viewed and referenced as a kind of accountability report card for America’s highest office of public service.

Published in: on November 17, 2016 at 10:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Love Undeserved

I’m not sure that there are any definite “secrets” to a long-lasting and healthy relationship, but would venture to guess that one of the immutable qualities of such rare treasures is one person (or maybe both persons) loving the other more than they deserve.

Published in: on November 13, 2016 at 7:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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Animal Adoptions

Try to imagine in your mind an animal shelter; there probably is one nearby somewhere in the city or county where you live.  Picture this place, with the small cages and pens with dogs and cats and other small animals.  They’ve been dropped off and discarded or taken into custody.  They would like to have a home, someone to love and care for them and someone they can love and care for in return.  But these animals, sitting now in a small cage or pen at the local shelter are at a disadvantage… as many people, when looking for a “new” pet look first inside the local pet store.

After all, it’s such a more safe and friendly place to shop for a pet.

Only, what would it be like for these other animals over there, looking for a good home, if they too had a chance to be on display inside a comfortable and welcoming pet store?  What if pet stores took up the cause to be leaders and advocates for “unwanted” and “homeless” animals?  What if the local pet store, out of compassion, began leading the way in animal adoptions, perhaps by integrating or partnering with local animal shelters…

Published in: on November 2, 2016 at 12:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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What is your age(s)?

Have you ever contemplated your age beyond the number?  Because it turns out you actually have about three ages.

Your Chronological age – The one we put on forms and documents.  A number.  It reflects the number of days (usually rounded to years) since birth.  The most simplistic reflection of a person’s “age” but also boring and possibly the least meaningful   (if one is interested in seeing and understanding someone).

Your Physical age – I credit Nintendo Wii Fit for raising more awareness of this one.  It’s a reflection of your body’s relative “age” based on health, how well you’ve taken care of your physical self.  Are you aging your body faster than your peer group? Or eating healthy and staying fit?

Your Emotional age – Closely related to maturity.  How old you feel you are, even if unconsciously.  The subjective age domain in which your mind and interests most often reside, likely informed by outward behavior though not necessarily (as we do tend to roleplay according to social norms & expectations).  It can change in both directions.  Probably the most interesting of all.  Why is that?  Consider this… might it be possible to feel inwardly younger through the maturing process of self-reflection, acceptance and identifying those things that really matter the most?

So the next time someone inquires about your age you might respond with, “which one would you like to know?”

….or give the cheekier reply of all three.

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P.S. Sign language is beautiful, regardless of age

Published in: on July 29, 2016 at 12:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Product Testing. The Beagle Freedom Project.

Testing experimental cosmetic and consumer household products on animals is still a common practice.  It turns out, Beagles are a popular choice because of their, “friendly, docile, trusting, forgiving, people-pleasing personalities.”

I spent a bit of time on the organization’s website, thinking about how I might assemble a short post highlighting their efforts.  But then I came across this message to would-be foster homes.

Anyone interested in fostering or adopting a lab beagle should be aware of the challenges these dogs have. They will not be accustomed to life in a home and will not have experience with children, cats, or other dogs. They will not be house-trained and accidents will happen, although they learn quickly. Many have gone directly from a commercial breeder to the lab, and have never felt grass under their feet or even seen the sun. They will have been fed a special diet formulated for lab animals and may be difficult to adjust to new foods. They will be unfamiliar with treats, toys, bedding and may never have walked on a leash. They will have lived in cages with steel wire floors and may have inflamed or infected paws from the pressure. They may be fearful of people initially and may have phobias from a lifetime in confinement or from being restrained. They are likely to have been surgically de-barked by the breeder and have an ID number tattooed in their ear. Please also be aware that although these beagles are considered healthy, you will be given very little information about the beagle’s medical history, and you will not be told its origins or what kind of testing they may have been used for.

With time, patience, play, companionship, love – and most of all, freedom – these dogs will learn how to become dogs, and their transformation will be amazing.

The short video on the homepage is a good place to start.  For those thinking about donating or getting involved in some way, there is also an iPhone App called Cruelty Cutter that lets you scan product bar codes to check up on its animal-testing status.

The Beagle Freedom Project

Published in: on November 10, 2015 at 9:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Need to distinguish AI from Robots

People always think that ‘Dangerous AI’ means, ‘watch out for rampaging robots’ – when in fact a robot is little more than a form-factor, one of thousands of possible containers that an AI might inhabit and manipulate.  It doesn’t take deep analysis to suppose that a true and predatory AI would purposefully avoid using robot containers to achieve its objectives since, by the very definition of such an entity, it would easily know that as the place we’re most likely to be watching for it to emerge as a threat.

Published in: on October 8, 2015 at 3:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Processing Hostile Persons

By making such a fuss about housing for the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay (Cuba) American leaders have only elevated the superficial specter of the persons housed there in the eyes of the public and, worse than that, the non-Western world.

These are just people who need to be processed through a system that itself may be in need of some adjustment.  Place them somewhere; deal justly with each person as their individual cases demand it, and get back to the business of improving the economic outlook and security of lower and middle America.

Published in: on September 12, 2015 at 6:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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