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SYSK Best of 2011

 Why Comparing Japan to New Orleans is Disingenuous

Much has been made of the zero reports of looting following the Japanese earthquake, the ensuing tsunami that may have ultimately claimed upwards of 100,000 lives, and the still growing nuclear crisis. This point has often been made with an wink toward racism; that is, in comparison to the rampant looting that broke out in the predominantly black, poor sections of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. See more »

 The Jonestown Cult Drank the Flavor-Aid

It is not all that often that women from Indiana I've never met change my mind about things, so I thought this warranted writing down. Such was the case with Patricia Barbera-Brown, a South Bend woman I at first took to be of the dour, humorless type, possibly with too many cats and too many cat sweaters. I came across her as part of a CBS News article from February about how she single-handedly browbeat a local Indiana Mexican restaurant chain into retracting their ad campaign. See more »

 Terror Management Theory: Yes, Virginia, you're going to die

It's not difficult to see that we humans have our hang ups. We have a long history of murdering one another when a religious or political difference arises. Key parties are just gross. Your local sports team is inferior to my local sports team. Yet, as distasteful as other cultures and opinions that counter our own may seem, they're just as much evidence that other people need to distract themselves from their inevitable deaths as we do. We all have that in common, at least, and we all tend to delude ourselves equally. See more »

 Decapitating Rats to Determine if Decapitating Rats is Humane

I once said that if you're wearing a lab coat you can pretty much do anything you want to a rat. This sentiment was shouted down via email by a number of lab researchers who listen to the podcast. Since the early 20th century, a number of states have had on the books laws that provide standards of treatment for lab animals and in 1966 lab animals finally came under federal protection in the U.S. Animal Welfare Act. Since then the treatment of animals used in experimentation has been defined and further regulated by successive measures over the following years. See more »

 Factory Farmin': Wakey, Wakey, Eggs N Bakey (Are Suffering)

I fear we are becoming jaded. Animal rights groups have virtually given up pressing a vegetarian lifestyle onto meat eaters and instead these days pick the decidedly more narrow battle of convincing us to eat meat that's raised responsibly, since those of us who aren't vegetarian have convinced them we're going to eat meat no matter what they say. Moreover, as in the past activists are using the tactic of going undercover to infiltrate major food producers, but the damning evidence they procure just isn't so shocking any longer. It's horrific, sure, but you kind of have to make yourself think about it, imagine it more clearly than we had to a decade or two ago. Like I said, jaded. See more »