End of life for pets

Anyone who has loved a pet dreads the time when the pet seems to be suffering so much that you feel that the humane thing to do is euthanasia. But that decision is never obvious nor easy because there will be very bad days when you think that the time has come that are followed by better days and you are grateful you did not go through with the decision. This up-and-down can go through many cycles and you never get over the guilt of finally making the fateful and irreversible decision.
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Film review: The Death of Stalin (2017)

I had been eagerly anticipating the release of this film ever since I heard about its debut in England lost November. This is because it is the creation of Armando Iannucci, who has a string of successful political satires such as the British TV series The Thick of It, the American TV series Veep, and the transatlantic comedy film In The Loop (2009) that dealt with how the American and British governments colluded to sell the phony case for the invasion of Iraq. Iannucci is a writer of sharp insight and dialogue and the topic of this film, dealing with all the political infighting for power immediately following the death of Stalin, got rave reviews on its release.
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The little-known story of the San Antonio Four

I have written before about cases of people who were incarcerated for long periods of time even though they were innocent of the crime. On a broadcast of the radio program Latino USA I recently learned of the case of four women who were convicted of Satanic sexual abuse and rape of two young nieces of one of the women. This was at the height of the hysteria over Satanic acts perpetrated on children in day care centers and the like.
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Pursuance Kickstarter project begins today

I linked to the press release earlier. This is a project for social change activists to find and work together more effectively on common interests. It can be roughly described as follows:

  1. Pursuance is an encrypted toolbox for activists, by activists.
  2. Pursuance is a new way to organize online: more secure, more structured, and more fun.
  3. A pursuance is a sort of organization or group with a name and a mission that guides all the activity within that pursuance.
  4. So what’s it like to use Pursuance? You log in, click on one of the pursuances you’re a member of, and then you see a hierarchy of tasks as well as a simple list of what’s assigned to you. You can then create new tasks, assign them to others, assign tasks to other pursuances(!) to leverage their unique expertise, plan and prioritize with others via text chat or video chat, and more.
  5. The ultimate goal of Pursuance? Accountability. How? By building software and a network of people around it, thus unleashing a vast and formidable ecosystem of opposition to institutionalized injustice.
  6. Feature set: each pursuance includes task management, chat rooms, and integrates with other tools for providing video conference functionality and crowdsourced journalism and research tools. You can invite other people to your pursuance by skill set.
  7. Pursuance is an encrypted toolbox for activists, by activists. Populated by invitation and running on an integrated suite of digital tools, all designed to allow activists, researchers, journalists, artists, coders anyone with talent and a little time to collaborate on projects large and small, working within customizeable project groups called pursuances, aimed at achieving results with impact.
  8. We are building a global federation of activism projects.

If you think it is worthwhile, then any contribution is welcomed. You can donate here. That link also contains short videos that explain more how the system works.

How a child can have DNA from three people

Jennifer Barfield, a professor of assisted reproductive technologies at Colorado State University, clearly explains how it can come about and what led to the development of the technology that has made it possible. The key point is that in addition to the DNA that comes from the father and the mother, the fertilized egg also contains mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) that plays a vital role in producing energy.
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Einstein’s controversial views on race

Albert Einstein’s travel diaries that he maintained on his travels in China and Japan and Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in 1922-1923 have just been published and they contain descriptions of what he saw that are deeply at odds with the enlightened views we normally associate with him. He makes statements that can at best are described as xenophobic and at worst as racist.
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Preferential voting in Maine wins

In 2016, Maine voters in a referendum chose to institute preferential (also called ranked choice) voting in their state for all elections, something that I have long advocated as the most democratic way of voting. Naturally the two main party establishments dislike the idea because it lessens their control over who should be the party nominee for general elections and also because it enables third party candidates to show their true strength since their supporters need no longer fear that their vote will be ‘wasted’ by going to a candidate who was unlikely to win.
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