Life as an Extreme Sport

End of Year Reflections – Or, Why You Can Blame Carl

In my religious tradition, the end of the year is a time for reflection and contemplation; what happened over the course of the year, how will it influence your upcoming year, what lessons did you learn, how will those be implemented, and so on. It’s generally a relatively quiet thing – and yes, should be done according to the lunar calendar, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m going cultural on this one. And so, it was with reflection at the end of the year – admittedly done in an earlier time zone, since I actually spent NYE in Brooklyn with friends – that I tweeted a simple but very heartfelt sentiment: You know, Twitter basically changed my life, several times over, this last year. Almost all of the opportunities I’ve had this year, I can trace directly to being on Twitter. Now, of course, there’s the Seneca

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Power Broker Bioethicists

Alice Dreger has a new post up discussing How to be a Bioethicist. She admits, upfront, that she sort of sucks as one, and not for reasons the snarkier or more vindictive readers of this blog might assume. Rather, she sucks as a bioethicist because she has a penchant for naming names and citing her work, because she is concerned about principles, and because she hasn’t figured out how to get a staggeringly high salary, regardless of currency. (Of course, she missed the fourth reason she makes a bad bioethicist: her unfortunate affliction with XX Syndrome.) Sarcasm, and even personal issues aside, I think Dreger raises a very interesting point about North American bioethics as a whole: what I rather jokingly referred to as the advent of “power broker bioethics” before I realized that this, indeed, was actually and precisely the correct phrase. A power broker, for those of you

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Why I Don’t Like Twilight & You Shouldn’t Either

This started out as a blog comment response over on The Nerdy Bird’s blog regarding Twilight and if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I was directed to this from Nerds in Babeland’s post defending sparkly vampires, which I flailed about and responded to on Twitter, after GeekGirlCon tweeted the link this morning. Caught all that? It’s as convoluted as it sounds. What it boils down to is this: as far as I’m concerned, Twilight tells girls that their only value is in what an older man thinks of them, and it primes these young girls to accept that abusive relationships are normal, romantic and desirable, when the reality is ever so very different. I don’t have a problem with emotionally healthy and mature grown women enjoying Twilight as a guilty pleasure – a lot of people scoff at some of my guilty pleasure

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Analyzing Groupon’s Failure

I feel like people are probably expecting a comment on Groupon’s amazingly over the top, tasteless, offensive advertisement shown during the Super Bowl last night. (Why do I feel like people expect this? Well, I’m Buddhist and I am known for being cranky. It’s not really a large leap there…) So, yes, I found that Groupon advertisement to be a masterclass in what not to do. For those who missed the advert, here it is: The copy reads Mountainous Tibet – one of the most beautiful places in the world. This is Timothy Hutton. The people of Tibet are in trouble, their very culture in jeopardy. But they still whip up an amazing fish curry. And since 200 of us bought on Groupon.com we’re getting $30 worth of Tibetan food for just $15 at Himalayan restaurant in Chicago. Let’s get the basics out of the way, first. Tibet is in

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a sponge must have substance to absorb

I’m reading Barrington Moore’s Moral Purity and Persecution in History, having started it as a bit of “light” nighttime reading a few evening’s back. (Yes, I know, I need to work on my ideas of what constitutes good before bed reading, especially since I find myself getting up to grab copies of various Bibles to check references far too often for this to succeed in being relaxing reading.) It’s been an interesting read, in part because Moore appears to rely relatively heavily on Mary Douglas’s Purity and Danger. My exposure to Douglas’s work is second-hand, through Elizabeth Grosz, but even then, I feel like I understand enough of Douglas’s theory to be able to answer a question posed by Moore early on in his work. In Chapter One (page eight, so yes, very early), he discusses rules about nakedness in Leviticus. He says Mixed in with the rules about nakedness

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