Sense and Function

Politics, Philosophy, Art, Media, Environment, and Economics
OCTOBER 5, 2013 4:07PM

The GOP Shutdown

A delighted GOP shuts down the US Government - Picture: CNN
In a vain attempt to attack Obamacare as it rolled out its insurance exchanges, on October 1st, House Republicans decided to shut down the most powerful government in the world, calling on the Senate and the/Read full post »


What are the problems with healthcare in the US, and what is the Affordable Healthcare Act doing about it? How much will Obamacare cost?

Most people like the Affordable Care Act, once it is explained to them. But the US media has had five yearsRead full post »

A no junk mail sign from Mississauga, Ontario Want to stop junk mail? Reclaim your mailbox?

If the idea of cutting down all the advertising mail you get doesn't seem like a breath of fresh air, think of it this way: what would you do if you… Read full post »
In The Genetic Roulette, Jeffrey Smith gathers evidence that GE foods cause serious damage in animals, including humans. Others argue that they have evidence that GE / GMO corn is linked to cancer and bone loss.

Nevertheless, when we try to consider the health effects of genetically engiRead full post »
In assessing health impacts of GMOs, we are not looking at the whole picture. The practice of using GM foods is a fundamental change in the way weRead full post »

Are electric cars more or less polluting than gas cars? The answer is emphatically: less. This article explores why. Nevertheless, this is not quite the right way to look at it, since when powered by renewable energy, electric cars can produce zero emissions. This brings up a larger task:Read full post »

Animation of GOES infrarared satellite data, showing cloud top temperature (UWisconsin) To what extent is Hurricane Sandy related to global warming or climate change? As Jonathan Foley said, "“Would this kind of storm happen without climate change? Yes. Fueled by many factors. Is storm strongeRead full post »
Courage is perhaps the most powerful force for knowledge and wisdom, as we are reminded by Malala Yousafzai, the 14 year old Pakistani girl whose outspoken thirst for knowledge led the Taliban to attempt to execute her. Her bravery should leave educators both humbled and embo… Read full post »
OCTOBER 14, 2012 8:11PM

How Technology Changes Ethical Life


The standard idea about technology is that it doesn’t control us. This is expressed in a sentence that, though few people have ever actually heard it, somehow everyone already thinks they’ve heard somewhere: “The computer does not impose on us the ways it should be used.†The
Read full post »
OCTOBER 11, 2012 12:57AM

The Lucky Butterfly



The Lucky Butterfly 

By a Grade 2/3 class in a Canadian public school
(All names have been changed except for Ms. Mogford)



The butterfly came out of its chrysalis late. The chrysalis was open,Read full post »
Better: a big LIE made of little tiny truths at weird angles to each other.

Coal plants are closing because they are ancient, inefficient, and falling apart. Yet a Fox News article appears to claim that regulations are shutting down the coal plants.
JULY 16, 2012 6:54PM

Why Cloud Gate, Chicago?


Cloud Gate, or, the Bean

Let’s play a game: What are the top three symbols of Chicago? One of them will probably be "Cloud Gate," the beautiful polished steel shape in Millennium Park, at the heart of Chicago. What is it/Read full post »
Picture possibly by Builder Levy, possibly in Memphis, 1968.
The white men are not wearing the sign. Intentional or accidental, this makes the point that the military presence underlines.


A writer for the debate section of the Chronicle of Higher Education (CHE) wrote an… Read full post »
Most Canadians are unhappy with the Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and his Conservative government, and his popularity has fallen dramatically since the winter. There is now a petition on the internet for a popular vote of no confidence. Go and sign it if you agree that Harper should not be… Read full post »
Most Canadians are unhappy with the Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and his Conservative government, and his popularity has fallen dramatically since the winter. There is now a petition on the internet for a popular vote of no confidence. Go and sign it if you agree that Harper should not be… Read full post »
JULY 7, 2012 12:26PM

In Unbearably Hot Air



EPA chart of weather shifts over the last century.

The record-breaking heat wave sweeping the USA, killing crops, buckling roads, and stoking record forest fires is probably aided and abetted, if not caused by climate change"This is what global warming looks likeRead full post »
The Climate Channel We continue to languish in crop-killing sweltering heat, the third day in a row of heat above 100 degrees in Chicago, which is causing roads to buckle, and record heat is fueling the largest forest fires in at least a decade in Colorado. In responRead full post »
In the 2012 Republican Primaries, Mitt Romney has caught a lot of heat from his competitors about his wealth. They argued that through his private equity firm, Bain Capital, he was the cause of a lot of job loss, and a tax dodger.

It got so… Read full post »
In discussing the Weather Channel's failure to relate the record heat wave to global warming on a thread on the Weather Channel, Steve Snyder had this to say:

"Ok, so there is global warming going on. It has probably happened 1000's of times over the millions of years… Read full post »
I posted recently about what I think is an epidemic of thoughtlessness. This epidemic may always have been this bad, but with the spread of electronic media there are good reasons for thinking it might be worse now, not least because there are so many more opportunities for distraction, which/… Read full post »
JULY 2, 2012 12:14AM

Wall Street, Castrated?



Banks are backed into a corner, and the boom years aren't going to come back soon. A recent article in the Times, entitled “Is This the End of Wall Street As They Knew It?†makes the claim that "Banks have always had occasional bad/Read full post »
The Babes of Sucker Punch. Not pictured: The Sucker.

The geek-sexpoitation flick Sucker Punch, for all its focus on babes, swords, and guns, was meant, in part, to be a criticism of the rampant sexism in Geek culture. But the director of 300 and WatchmenZack Snyder,/… Read full post »
MAY 12, 2012 12:36AM

The Attack on Black Studies




On reading this genuinely revolting article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, I feel compelled to sign this petition challenging the CHE at least to withdraw the article, and at most, to discipline its author. The author, Naomi Schaefer Riley, was responding to a&n/… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
MAY 11, 2012 11:01AM

Dear White Men Defending Black Studies,


Picture possibly by Builder Levy, possibly in Memphis, 1968. 
The white men are not wearing the sign. Intentional or accidental, this makes the point that the military presence underlines.

A writer for the debate section of the Chronicle of Higher Education (CHE)… Read full post »
MAY 3, 2012 7:58PM

10,000 Views!

10,000 Years = The Long Now I just noticed that this blog passed the 10,000 view-mark today. All that since I started the blog at the very end of November, 2011. Thanks, everybody: keep reading, writing, and reposting!

Mark

Also, go check out the Long Now website,/…

Read full post »