Which countries are getting media attention? This dynamic map shows you…
1,000 Times Too Many Humans?
A study that compared humans with other species concluded there are 1,000 times too many humans to be sustainable.
The study, published in the current Proceedings B (Biological Sciences) by the Royal Society, used a statistical device known as “confidence limits” to measure what the sustainable norm should be for species populations. Other factors, such as carbon dioxide production, energy use, biomass consumption, and geographical range were taken into consideration.
“Our study found that when we compare ourselves to otherwise similar species, usually other mammals of our same body size, for example, we are abnormal and the situation is unsustainable,” said Charles Fowler, co-author of the paper and a lead researcher at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. MORE
Children accompanying their parents on Christmas shopping trips: take a tip from black-headed gull chicks, and team up with your siblings to increase pester power.
Gull nestlings put aside their differences and coordinate their begging to extract the maximum amount of regurgitated food from mum and dad, French researchers have discovered.
It flies in the face of conventional wisdom – children should fight each other for the biggest share of parental care. “Competition should increase with the number of chicks, but that’s not what we found,” says Nicolas Mathevon of Jean Monnet University in Saint-Etienne.”
I know that the nature of the courts means that there is not and ought not to be too much uniformity in sentences. Judges are supposed to use their discretion to weigh up the merits of cases and defendants before passing judgement and sentencing. Despite this I keep finding myself overwhelmed by a sense of unfairness where I read about good citizens who are paced in terrifying and unnatural circumstances by criminals being punished for their actions during those incidents. The latest example is Barry-Lee Hastings. He has been sentenced to 5 years in prison for killing a burglar he found in his wife’s house. He stabbed the man repeatedly – probably terrified out of his wits – and he later died.
It is wrong that he is so severely punished for his actions under duress. Every day in the papers one reads about predatory criminals who set out to steal, burgle, assault, rape, maim and sometimes kill – yet the legal system is lenient with them. Oldham rioters who threw petrol bombs at police and tried to burn to death old people in a Labour club received 2 years.
“This week in the magazine, Jeffrey Goldberg writes about the world’s most successful, and perhaps most dangerous, terrorist organization, Hezbollah, or Party of God, which is based in Lebanon. Before September 11th, had murdered more Americans than any other terrorist group—two hundred and forty-one in the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut alone. Goldberg travelled to Lebanon to report his story, which will appear in the magazine in two parts.” Story
…you can see the new BETA of the Guardian and Observer digital editions.
It looks superb. You can browse the newspaper, see the images actual size, grab press cutting version and download as a PDF. Ver very cool.
Claim: The County of Los Angeles has requested that equipment vendors avoid using the industry term “Master/Slave” in product descriptions and labelling. Status: True.
…’master/slave,’ a term commonly used in computing (and related industries) to describe the unidirectional control of one device or process by another. Equipment vendors who do business with Los Angeles County received a message in November 2003 from the county’s Internal Services Department (ISD) informing them that “based on the cultural diversity and sensitivity of Los Angeles County,” labeling or describing equipment with the term ‘master/slave’ is no longer acceptable.
See the pictures of them digging it up.
From the GLA’s new leaflet “Equality Impact Assessments (EQIAs) – How to do them” [Page 6]:
“The GLA has defined equality target groups as: women; black and minority; ethnic people; young people and children; older people; disabled people; lesbians; gay men; bisexuals; trans people and people from different faith groups.
The equality areas, or strands as they are commonly called, are gender, race, disability, age, faith and sexuality. The strands are
inclusive of all people.”
Not only is this yet another self-parodying PC paragraphs (“trans people”, “different faiths” – different from what?) but white able bodied heterosexual men are not on the list. Where are they? Where is the “strand” which is addressing the needs of (white) men? Who is making sure that their medical needs are not underfunded, who is fighting the severe discrimination against them in the family courts? Who is fighting the discrimination against them in the Criminal Justice System and increasingly, in employment, care provision, housing and other services? Not the GLA and not the non-existent Minister For Men.
I also noticed this in a section of the leaflet where they try and justify these targeted (i.e discriminatory and unbalanced) campaigns:
“A targeted training programme for black and minority ethnic women would have a positive differential impact on black and minority ethnic women, compared with its impact on white women and all men. It would not, however, necessarily have an adverse impact on white women or men.”
Not neccisarily. But this tries to disguise the fact that if I allocate resources to one ethnic group only, the others will neccisarily lose out. This is clear cut racial discrimination in that on the basis of race alone, I think some women deserve a course but other do not and I allocate my resources accordingly.
It looks to me like the GLA are trying to make a positive impact on disadvantaged groups -which is a noble objective. Unfortunately, their criteria for resource allocation are crude, exclusive and racist. But what would you expect from an organisation that has Lee “Black Power” Jaspers, a proponent of separatism as in charge of “equality”?
Limbic’s Snap Summary: The keys to successful ethnic / race relations are the reductcion of ethnic competition and weakening of ethnic identification. This needs to be backed up by powerful efforts to promote equality and fight unfair discrimination by raising the costs of racism and discrimination . Bigotry can be fought and beaten, but similarities and unity must be emphasised, not diversity and difference. Anything that promoted racial identikit or separateness worsens tensions and confounds these efforts. Multiculturalism, positive discrimination (affirmative action), group rights, designating special status victims groups and fostering ethnic pride/identity and over-reporting the threat of racism all work against ethnic/racial peace and aggravate xenophobia and racism (two problems that were once very close to being non-issues, but now are large and growing again).
[ pg 37] “Often it is asserted that humans are by nature xenophobic and hostile to outsiders (e.g., Shaw and Wong 1989; Ghiglieri 1999.) Of course, some has do behave in this way, as discussed later in this chapter. But the level ‘ such hostility is facultative – a behavior that can change in response to different environments, including cultural environments. That is, group identification is responsive to changes in relative prices, where price is defined in broad terms. As racism or xenophobia becomes more expensive or has greater costs, fewer people will adopt such positions, as is true in contemporary America. As racism becomes more accepted, as was true in Nazi Germany, more people will become racist. Kuran (1998) indicates that ethnic identity may have a tipping point as more people in a group become ethnically active. The point is that in fact our group membership selection mechanisms are actually quite flexible, and it would be easy to think of humans as being much more clannish and xenophobic than we are. If this were so, we would live in a very different world but would still be recognizably human.