Press trips, swag, and bribery

Since bursting (hah!) onto the scene in April this year, GameBurst has quickly become one of my favorite video game podcasts, second only to the venerable Gamers With Jobs.  The show, which airs two thirty minute episodes each week, is run by James Batchelor, Neil Taylor, and Lewis Holt. Each week one of the episodes is a round table discussion on a pertinent topic, which are almost always fascinating.  A couple of months ago I emailed in a topic suggestion for the guys, and lo and behold, today’s round table tackles my topic head on with results that far exceeded [... read the rest ...]

The terrorists have won

Remember back to September 20th, 2001 – Americans were still reeling from the heartache, shock, and anger caused by the 9/11 attacks, and George W. Bush was addressing his fellow citizens to explain why al Qaeda had targeted the USA: Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber — a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms — our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other. If President Bush was correct in 2001 then the [... read the rest ...]

Facebook for law enforcement

In the aftermath of the Toronto G20 riots, police have released photographs of the ten most wanted vandals.  The ten protesters depicted in the images are all seen destroying public property, and presumably it would be fairly easy to build a case against them in court. This got me thinking:  It shouldn’t be that difficult to build a piece of software that crawls through public profiles on Facebook and uses some facial recognition software to pick out people who strongly resemble the photographs of the wanted rioters.  There is certainly a precedent for law enforcement agencies using social networking sites [... read the rest ...]

Intentional extinction

We all know that many species of plants and animals have been brought to the brink of extinction (or beyond) by the sweeping changes that humanity has imposed on this planet, and that the ramifications of losing these species is often difficult to predict or assess due to the devilishly entwined inter connectivity of even the simplest ecosystem. There are activist groups, lobbyists, and scientists who devote their entire careers to raising awareness about threatened species, and trying to preserve those that have already become endangered.  Governments, being what they are, often take measure to protect these plants and animals, [... read the rest ...]

Hardwired Morality?

Originally posted: March 4, 2004. 9:36pm This month’s issue of Discover Magazine (April 2004, vol25, no4) contains an article discussing the possibility that a person’s sense of “right” and “wrong” may not be learned behavior, but may instead be encoded into our very beings. The article is titled Whose Life Would You Save? and can be found on page 60. The study of ethics has always been a topic that I’ve enjoyed, and evolutionary ethics is my preferred theory, which is why I immediately latched on to the Discover article. Roughly speaking, evolutionary ethics is the belief that actions which [... read the rest ...]

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