Saturday, August 18, 2018

Quote of the Day

Every animal has his or her story, his or her thoughts, daydreams, and interests. All feel joy and love, pain and fear, as we now know beyond any shadow of a doubt. All deserve that the human animal afford them the respect of being cared for with great consideration for those interests or left in peace.

- Ingrid Newkirk

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Quote of the Day

I feel I change my mind all the time. And I sort of feel that's your responsibility as a person, as a human being – to constantly be updating your positions on as many things as possible. And if you don't contradict yourself on a regular basis, then you're not thinking.

- Malcolm Gladwell

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Quote of the Day

If a king is energetic, his subjects will be equally energetic. If he is reckless, they will not only be reckless likewise, but also eat into his works. Besides, a reckless king will easily fall into the hands of his enemies. Hence the king shall ever be wakeful.

- Chanakya

Monday, August 13, 2018

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Quote of the Day

I'd tried to straighten him out, but there's only so much you can do for a person who thinks Auschwitz is a brand of beer.

- David Sedaris

Saturday, August 11, 2018

AI is getting closer to replacing animal testing

Scientists test new chemical compounds on animals because we still don’t completely understand the world around us. New compounds might interact with living cells in unexpected ways, causing unforeseen harm.

But an artificial intelligence system published in the research journal Toxicological Sciences shows that it might be possible to automate some tests using the knowledge about chemical interactions we already have. The AI was trained to predict how toxic tens of thousands of unknown chemicals could be, based on previous animal tests, and the algorithm’s results were shown to be as accurate as live animal tests.

The algorithm can predict results from nine different tests, from skin corrosion to eye irritation, which authors say comprised 57% of all animal testing done in the EU in 2011.

- More Here (here & full paper here)

Wisdom Of The Week

These days the question of what it means to be a “true” American resists rational analysis. Whatever one can say about Americans that is true, the opposite is equally true. We are the most godless and most religious, the most puritanical and most libertine, the most charitable and most heartless of societies. We espouse the maxim “that government is best which governs least,” yet look to government to address our every problem. Our environmental conscientiousness is outmatched only by our environmental recklessness. We are outlaws obsessed by the rule of law, individualists devoted to communitarian values, a nation of fat people with anorexic standards of beauty. The only things we love more than nature’s wilderness are our cars, malls, and digital technology. The paradoxes of the American psyche go back at least as far as our Declaration of Independence, in which slave owners proclaimed that all men are endowed by their creator with an unalienable right to liberty.

[---]

When Thoreau’s abolitionist friend Parker Pillsbury visited him shortly before he died and found him “deathly weak and pale,” he took his hand and remarked to Thoreau, “I suppose this is the best you can do now.” Thoreau smiled and “gasped a faint assent.” When Pillsbury then said, “The outworks seem almost ready to give way,” Thoreau whispered, “Yes,—but as long as she cracks she holds.” This was a saying common among boys skating on the thinning ice of lakes and ponds, meaning that as long as the ice cracks, winter still holds.


By his own account Pillsbury then remarked to Thoreau, “You seem so near the dark river, that I almost wonder how the opposite shore may appear to you.” Thoreau’s answer remains, for all intents and purposes, his last word: “One world at a time.”

Thoreau had an almost mystical reverence for facts, above all the fact of death. In Walden he wrote:


If you stand right fronting and face to face to a fact, you will see the sun glimmer on both its surfaces, as if it were a cimeter, and feel its sweet edge dividing you through the heart and marrow, and so you will happily conclude your mortal career. Be it life or death, we crave only reality.

Among Americans nothing has more authority than facts. Of course the contrary is also true (a quarter of Americans believe the sun revolves around the earth; more than three quarters believe there is indisputable evidence that aliens have visited our planet). Is it true that we crave reality? Yes, but we crave irreality just as much if not more. Our addiction to our television, computer, and cell phone screens confirms as much. As for death, it does not seem that today we have a knack for concluding our mortal careers “happily.”

I believe there are two immensely important Thoreauvian legacies that call out for retrieval among his fellow citizens today. One is learning to live deliberately, fronting “only the essential facts of life,” so that death may be lived for what it is—the natural, and not tragic, outcome of life.

The other equally important lesson is how to touch the hard matter of the world, how to see the world again in its full range of detail, diversity, and infinite reach. Nothing has suffered greater impoverishment in our era than our ability to see the visible world. It has become increasingly invisible to us as we succumb to the sorcery of our digital screens. It will take the likes of Henry David Thoreau, the most keen-sighted American of all, to teach us how to discover America again and see it for what it is.

- Henry David Thoreau, The True American


Quote of the Day

I recently read in the book My Stroke of Insight by brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor that the natural life span of an emotion—the average time it takes for it to move through the nervous system and body—is only a minute and a half. After that we need thoughts to keep the emotion rolling. So if we wonder why we lock into painful emotional states like anxiety, depression, or rage, we need look no further than our own endless stream of inner dialogue.

- Tara Brach