Friday, February 08, 2013

David Byrne on Civil Disobedience

David Byrne has written an essay on the subject of civil disobedience.  Though Byrne’s thoughts on the subject are largely focused on the Aaron Swartz case, or free sharing of information generally, it is still an interesting read.  To Byrne’s credit, he does highlight that civil disobedience, and freely choosing to suffer the consequences thereof, sets a fine example for others to follow by quoting the following.

And he [Randy Kehler, a draft resister] said this very calmly. I hadn’t known that he was about to be sentenced for draft resistance. It hit me as a total surprise and shock, because I heard his words in the midst of actually feeling proud of my country listening to him. And then I heard he was going to prison. It wasn’t what he said exactly that changed my worldview. It was the example he was setting with his life. How his words in general showed that he was a stellar American, and that he was going to jail as a very deliberate choice—because he thought it was the right thing to do. There was no question in my mind that my government was involved in an unjust war that was going to continue and get larger. (bold by ed.)

Posted by John Venlet on 02/08 at 05:55 PM
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Hypothetical Roots of Placentals

Yesterday’s science news stories included one on the alleged finding of the first ancestor of all placental mammals, which includes, naturally, humans.  I’ve read two articles on this bit of evolutionary news.  One, put out by LiveScience.com, was titled Meet Your Mama: First Ancestor of All Placental Mammals Revealed.  The other, put out by the New York Times, was titled Rat-Size Ancestor Said to Link Man and Beast.

If reading just the headlines to arrive at a conclusion as to the validity of this finding, I’m inclined to give a bit more credit to the New York Times in the accuracy department, because they utilized the word “said” in their headline, but that’s about it.  As to the conclusiveness of this finding, well, I about laughed out loud when I read this paragraph from the LiveScience.com article.

The study was so thorough that the team, made up of 23 scientists from around the world, was able to speculate on the appearance of this hypothetical ancestor inside and out, from its brain and inner ear bones to its ovaries and even what its sperm may have looked like (it sported a head and tail like modern-day sperm cells do).

Yeah, the study was so “thorough” the scientific team “was able to speculate on the appearance of this hypothetical ancestor,” and “even what its sperm may have looked like…” (bold by ed.)

Posted by John Venlet on 02/08 at 05:12 PM
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