Archive for January, 2012

Blasphemy Redux

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Kenan Malik has posted some thoughts about "blasphemy" that he addresses at the recent CFI conference. In my opinion, the concept of blasphemy should rightly include ANY statement attributing any characteristic, act, or opinion to any god or gods. But what offends ME more than any of that is the suggestion that communications which are merely offensive […]

What is Wrong with SOPA and PIPA?

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

 Clay Shirky says it pretty well. (And in Canada, Michael Geist and Howard Knopf give good coverage of the legal issues for us). These proposed laws reverse the burden of proof with regard to alleged copyright violation. This both takes away the right of due process and has the effect of adding prohibitive costs onto […]

The Myth of Japan’s Failure

Friday, January 13th, 2012

This article at makes some interesting claims which may raise questions about how we should measure national economic success. But I don't know how to either judge its validity or figure out what are the lessons we should take from it. All in all, it's somewhat intriguing but quite frustrating. So I hope that it […]

Rethinking the Growth Imperative

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

 Kenneth Rogoff (formerly chief economist at the IMF and now at Harvard) has found the sense to ask: "does it really make sense to take growth as the main social objective in perpetuity, as economics textbooks implicitly assume?" And he correctly identifies a major driving force behind the growth that does happen in the fact that […]

Taking Offense

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

When certain Muslims voiced their offense, various others took offense in turn. Hmmm. Actually I agree with all but the last line of the following excerpt from the  Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Association: “Once a particular act is deemed to be offensive to another, it is only good manners to refrain from, at the very least, […]

Help Preserve the Canadian Public Domain

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Michael Geist calls on us to ' Speak Out on the Trans Pacific Partnership Negotiations'. My brief letter to the provided response address (consultations@ was as follows: Re COPYRIGHT ISSUES Please take note of my very strong opposition to any agreement which either extends the term of copyright protection for existing works, or extends […]

A Darwinian Approach to Moral Philosophy

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Michael Ruse is someone whose name is often mentioned and he presents this 'Darwinian Approach to Moral Philosophy' at the ' Talking Philosophy' blog as a summary of his apparently sometimes controversial views. So I think I'll read it fairly carefully... My first problem is in his second paragraph with  I come away with the […]

Not Much Love Among Philosophers

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

 Stephen Downes led me to this interesting dust up. Apparently Clark Glymour, a philosopher at Carnegie Mellon who can actually be "taken seriously" by computer (and other) scientists was offended that his dep't got a low ranking in a recent academic ratings game and hit back with a polemic "manifesto" belittleing some other branches of his subject (though […]