This Weeks Reader November 16, 2008  

Sunday, November 16, 2008

These posts were too fun to let them die permanently, so my reader is back. I hope you enjoy the selections.

On the Trail of 2008 TC3

Civil Rights
The Conservative Devaluation of Marriage
Over the past several centuries, Western conceptions of marriage have broadened. These days, the ideals of married life include companionship, shared goals and love - the union of spirits as well as bodies. These are ideals that heterosexual married couples strive to achieve and maintain in their relationships. These are ideals that same-sex couples want to share, but continue to be denied because American society persists in viewing marriage primarily as a sexual union. Yes, sex is an important and enjoyable facet of marriage, but it is only one component of a relationship that encompasses far more than the exchange of bodily heat and fluids. Same-sex couples don’t want to get married to have sex - they’re already doing that (just as most heterosexual couples are, regardless of marital status). Same-sex couples want to get married so that they may enjoy all of the legal, financial, social and interpersonal benefits of marriage that heterosexuals enjoy. I’m still waiting to hear a good reason why those benefits shouldn’t be extended to them.

GM: General Mess
GM’s third quarter results are very telling. They burned through $6.9 billion of cash in the past three months. (Yes I know- you didn’t think we would hear the term “burn rate” again after the dot com bust). At this rate, GM will be technically insolvent in about three months. A $25B loan might float the company for about one year. Then what?

LittleBigPlanet IP-infringing levels being silently deleted
Kotaku is reporting on the clamor that began with the popular LittleBigWorkshop forum and is quickly spreading across forum communities like NeoGAF and GameFAQs. Users are reporting that copyright-infringing levels, even those with no unsuitable content, are being silently deleted. "My level was moderated (read; deleted) and now I can't re-publish," wrote one frustrated gamer. "There was absolutely nothing offensive whatsoever in the level at all and I was given no explanation as to why they moderated it or why they won't even let me republish, even after making changes."

Veterans Day
Today is Veterans Day. It's not Memorial Day. It's not a day to refuse to fight wars - some wars are necessary. What it is is a day to honestly assess the price of the war - any war - to those who fight it and come home, and to promise ourselves to do the right thing by them. Because it is the right thing. Because we owe it to them. Because we sent them into harm's way, and they were harmed, and our contract with them is to take care of them.

The Post-Election Show: Is It Time to Pop the Champagne
Just in case you missed last week’s headlines, the herd announces the election of a new American president. SI asks if Barack Obama’s election will have positive ramifications for freethinkers, humanists and atheists. OG and Chappy speak their minds and SI pulls their ideas together, then ponders whether the election results will change the role of the Religious Right in American politics.

Jealous Gods
To know more about a god, look to its creators. Why are human beings jealous? The answer, as in many things, lies in evolution. If our male ancestors were unconcerned with their mate's fidelity, they might well end up using their time and energy to raise other men's children, rather than propagating their own genes. That variant would soon die out of the gene pool. By contrast, the ancestors who jealously guarded their paternity are the ones whose genes were passed on to us. A similar principle holds for our female ancestors: those who demanded that their mate spend his effort on caring and providing for their own children, rather than the children of another woman, would be far more likely to pass on their genes than those who were indifferent. In both cases, in the brute calculus of reproductive success, jealousy wins and free love loses out.

God on Trial: The Rabbi Speaks

The Hand Scanner Of The Beast
We at Recognition Systems understand that these fads alone may not completely allay the fears of these concerned individuals and would like to offer a solution that completely eliminates any concerns regarding the “mark of the Beast” In the Book of Revelations, chapter 13, verse 16, it is written, “he forced everyone, small and great. rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead”. The Scriptures, regardless of version, consistently refer to the “mark of the Beast” being found or placed only on the RIGHT hand or forehead. Therefore, we suggest that any individual having concerns regarding the “mark of the Beast” be enrolled and use the hand scanner with their LEFT hand turned palm up.

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