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Monthly Archive: June 2010

Jun 30 2010

Is cheerleading a sport?

In the seminar that I teach that deals with scientific revolutions, one of the difficult questions that we grapple with is how to distinguish science from non-science. In other words, if we have two boxes, one labeled ‘science’ and the other ‘non-science’, can we establish some criteria that will enable us to take any given …

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Jun 29 2010

The rotten US health care system

Just last month I went for a routine physical examination followed up by routine blood tests and a bone density scan. According to my health insurance plan, all these were supposed to be fully covered. Of course, being a veteran of the bureaucratic health care system in the US, I know that nothing is ‘routine’ …

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Jun 28 2010

What the McChrystal affair reveals about the media

One initial reaction of the mainstream media to the Rolling Stone article that got Stanley McChrystal fired as commander of US forces in Afghanistan seemed to be “Rolling Stone? Rolling Stone?” They couldn’t understand why the person in charge of the war in Afghanistan gave so much access to what they saw as a hippy-dippy …

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Jun 25 2010

The low tax rates in the US

Every year when I do my taxes, I also do a small extra calculation to see what percent of our gross family income goes as taxes. It amazes me that the number comes out to less than one third. This low rate would make sense if I were poor. But I am not. I have …

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Jun 24 2010

Bogus concern for the poor

The last few decades have seen massive giveaways to the very rich in the US that has resulted in huge increases in the inequalities in income and wealth. See these charts for how bad the situation has become. Even in the last year when almost everyone was badly hit by the economic recession, the millionaires …

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Jun 23 2010

Today Arizona, tomorrow the US

One of the things that seems obvious to me but most people seem unaware of is that the US is a country in deep decline and if no corrective action is taken soon it will end up just like many other failed empire in history, collapsing from within due to a combination of hubris, arrogance, …

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Jun 22 2010

Fashion and foot binding

The novel Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (2005) is the story of the lifelong friendship, starting from childhood, of two women in early 19th century China as each undergoes major life changes, one moving up the socioeconomic ladder, the other down. Told through the eyes of one child who begins life …

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Jun 21 2010

The great discovery of religions: Be nice to others

In the debate that is currently being waged between accommodationists (those who believe that science and religion are compatible worldviews) and new/unapologetic atheists like me who argue that they are not, the accommodationists usually argue that each area of knowledge is separate and has revealed different truths that complement each other. But what are these …

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Jun 18 2010

Liberal democracy and religion-5: Israel’s bleak future as a democracy

The brutal behavior of the Israeli government in boarding an aid flotilla and killing some of the people on board and then justifying the action may have come as a shock to some but should not. For a long time, it has been clear that Israel is sliding further and further into becoming an authoritarian …

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Jun 17 2010

Liberal democracy and religion-4: The Iranian case study

Iran provides a good case study of how unstable liberal democracies can be when faced with concerted efforts by powerful forces determined to undermine them. Americans were taken by shock when students occupied the US embassy in Teheran in 1979 and held embassy employees captive for 444 days. Ever since they have been bewildered by …

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