Wednesday, May 31, 2006


I can't think of anything else to say about this story:
Before President Bush touched down in Pennsylvania Wednesday to promote his nuclear energy policy, the environmental group Greenpeace was mobilizing.

"This volatile and dangerous source of energy" is no answer to the country's energy needs, shouted a Greenpeace fact sheet decrying the "threat" posed by the Limerick reactors Bush visited.

But a factoid or two later, the Greenpeace authors were stumped while searching for the ideal menacing metaphor.

We present it here exactly as it was written, capital letters and all: "In the twenty years since the Chernobyl tragedy, the world's worst nuclear accident, there have been nearly [FILL IN ALARMIST AND ARMAGEDDONIST FACTOID HERE]."
Whoops, Apocalypticism!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Pic is coming

That picture from our little get-together is coming, it's just a little slow because, when I got back to Ohio, my PC didn't work. The replacement should be arriving soon...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Dolphin Suffrage Now!

Dolphins have names, "making them the only animals besides humans known to recognize such identity information, scientists reported on Monday."
"It's a very interesting finding that encourages further research, because they are using whistles as referential signals -- that's what words are," said Sayigh, of the University of North Carolina Wilmington. "Dolphins appear to be using these arbitrary signals to identify another dolphin."

As a general rule, I don't agree with animal rights activists. Dolphins are an exception: I think it's possible they should be treated as moral agents with rights, and that the only reason we haven't recognized them as such is our inability to communicate with them. Their cognitive abilities are impressive: Tool use, self-awareness, and now the use of verbal names. Perhaps more importantly, the stories of human divers in trouble being rescued by dolphins, who sometimes go so far as to attack sharks to keep them away from the humans, suggest at least the possibility of moral development, in addition to cognitive development. Given the possibility of moral agency, I'm inclined to treat dolphins as sort of provisional-persons: I can't really grant them full person-hood without more evidence, but at the same time I think we ought to avoid really egregious abuses, such as hunting them for food/sport, just in case.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Unnecessary Travel

Just to let the Madison contingent of my fan base know, I will be up in Wisconsin for the weekend of May 19-21. If anyone wants to get together, we'll probably try to hit Madison at some point. I'll be fresh from seeing "Spamalot" on stage in Chicago.