Demonstrating the power of a union

Most people were taken by surprise that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver handed down the maximum penalty that he had the power to levy unilaterally ($2.5 million fine and lifetime ban from the NBA) to Donald Sterling, and also called for the other owners to force him to sell his team. Most observers had expected something a little less than the maximum, say a limited period of suspension.
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How will the Cliven Bundy story end?

I’ve been wondering how the impasse with rancher Cliven Bundy will end. While the government seems to be perfectly willing to give immunity from prosecution to the one-percenters, it cracks down hard on ordinary people who violate the law, such as the outrageous case of a recent widow whose home was seized and sold because she had not paid a $6.30 interest fee that she said she was not even aware of. That is how an oligarchy maintains control of a society.
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Private speech and public consequences

There have been some interesting nuances following the Donald Sterling uproar. Commenter jaytheostrich wondered in a comment on my post yesterday as to whether Sterling’s free speech rights were being violated because he was being punished merely for something he said, and whether it was legal to do so. Another commenter Suido responded by providing a link to an excellent cartoon by xkcd that seems to settle the freedom of speech issue in a pretty convincing way.
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The flip side of the religious freedom argument

We have seen many examples recently of religious people claiming that their religious freedoms are being violated because they cannot practice discrimination or they wish to avoid complying with laws that they object to. But now comes a curious reversal in which religious people are suing because they are being prevented from being inclusive and accepting
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Evolution of animal intelligence

Animal intelligence is a fascinating topic and there have been many attempts at studying it. Many of the individual studies look at one or other specific trait that we associate with intelligence in one species and the traits studied can differ from species to species, making general conclusions hard to arrive at. Ed Yong reports on a massive multinational study that looked across many species at one aspect of intelligence (self control) as demonstrated by two specific tasks. (You can read the paper on which his article is based here.)
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