True Integrity? Not The Block…

There’s an interesting article online called, 13 Traits of People With True Integrity that opens with the (unintentionally?) funny line: Integrity, for those who are not familiar, is quite important. After you guffaw at that bit, the author continues, “People who have a strong sense of integrity are sadly a rare breed. However, there are still some people left in this world with integrity, and usually, … (more–>)

Empathy and The Dog Allusion

Empathy, writes Martin Rowson, is one of the things that make us human, make us civilized, allows us to interact without tearing one another’s throats out. Without it, we’d have no civilization; we’d be like the beasts of the fields. And we’d have no dogs or gods, either. Empathy is what makes us own pets and be religious. That’s one of the thought-provoking ideas Rowson tosses … (more–>)

Type amen, click like and share…

I created what proved an interesting discussion on Facebook recently when I threatened to ‘unfriend’ anyone who continued to out those obnoxious ‘type amen and share’ posts on their timelines. Now if you’re a FB user, you have seen these things endless times. They’re as common as the “50% will get this math question wrong” and “you won’t believe what happened next!” or the “Nine out of … (more–>)

Fortuna: Why Plans Fail

Niccolo Machiavelli used two words in his book, The Prince, to describe the factors that influenced events. In English these are virtue or character (virtu), fortune or chance (fortuna). Only virtue is internal – our nature – and although it manifests as voluntary action, it can only be somewhat, but not entirely controlled.* The other – chance or fortune – can make the best-laid plans of mice … (more–>)

What’s in a (Popular) Name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.” Juliet, in Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2) A recent article in The Atlantic about how our names impact our lives got me to thinking about how and why we name our children – and what they say about us, about our parents, what our names mean to others of their … (more–>)

When good people do bad things in groups

The headline is taken from a piece on Science Daily on a study about how groups change personal behaviour and morality. The study is reported on the MIT website. I’ve seen that change myself, many times over the years, and most recently locally. The study adds intelligence on the neurology of how such group activity changed people. The report itself is called “Reduced self-referential neural response during intergroup … (more–>)

Litter, litter, everywhere

Pop cans. Coffee cups. Candy bar wrappers. Fast food wrappers. Cigarette packages. Cigarette butts. Dog feces. Bags of dog feces. Flyers. Cellophane package wrap. Water bottles. Juice bottles. Chip bags. Beer cans and bottles. Disposable lighters and pens. Cardboard beer boxes. Discarded newspapers and junk mail. Plastic grocery bags. I just don’t get littering. I’ve never gotten littering. These are just some of the items I’ve … (more–>)

Bread, Madness and Christianity

The witch craze of Europe is a popular, albeit often misrepresented, part of our collective history. Everyone knows witches were hunted, tortured and often killed – burned at the stake, a particularly repulsive method of murder. While not a uniquely Christian form of killing, it was practiced widely by Christians throughout history in every European nation, perfected in ritual by the Spanish Inquisition. Hunting witches in … (more–>)

The Eyes Have It

This summer my mother was diagnosed with macular degeneration. There is no cure. It is irreversible. It simply progresses. Science has some hope for future cures, and has some treatments to slow the progress, but a cure likely won’t come soon enough for her. At 93, one expects that the body will fail, that organs and parts won’t work as well, will lose efficiency, will fail. … (more–>)

The sum of all knowledge

In his 2004 book, The Know-It-All, A. J. Jacobs tells of his quest to become “the smartest person in the world” by reading the Encyclopedia Britannica from cover to cover. Right away, you can see the fly in this intellectual ointment: knowledge doesn’t equal intelligence. Jared Diamond, in his introduction to Guns, Germs, and Steel, credits the barely literate, ill-educated tribespeople of New Guinea as being … (more–>)

Believing is Seeing

“He who permits himself to tell a lie once,” wrote Thomas Jefferson (in a letter to his nephew, Peter Carr, from Paris, France, 1785), “finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of tongue leads to that of the heart, … (more–>)

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