Archive for the ‘Academics’ Category

220px-Soda_jerk_NYWTS220px-Evening_jogger_(4488221416)US health experts and scientists are pushing for any interesting change in packaging information — the extent of exercise needed to burn off the calories of a product. If you buy a bottle of coke, for example, the table would show that the soft drink would require a 4.2 mile run or a 42 minute walk to break even. Research shows that teenagers better understand that measurement than just a calorie count

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By Mark Esposito, Weekend Blogger

Can religious beliefs actually retard our intuitions for justice and fairness? Research seems to suggest it might well. The Christian religion has imbued Western thought with the fundamental belief that God presides over a just world – one where sin is punished and rightly-held beliefs and actions are rewarded. We see this attitude in every aspect of human interaction. Today, in some sparkling sports stadium an earnest athlete is bound to thank his deity of choice for the good fortunes that befell his team or his game changing performance. By extension, the loser ( a value loaded word if ever there was one) will decry his lack of luck. From the Book of Job to Pinocchio and Cinderella, this belief in what some psychologists call “immanent justice” or “The Just Word Hypothesis” seeks to explain our plight and our success. It also hardens our attitudes about the poor, victims of crimes and those folks either buoyed or sunk by pure chance.

The Book of Job gets us into the mindset. A saintly man if ever there was one as the Bible itself acknowledges, God allows Satan to test Job with all manner of suffering to determine his worthiness. Stripped of his wealth, prestige and power, Job then loses his children and ultimately his health and vigor. Still, Job endures and never ever curses his fate – or his God. He does consult his friends for some inkling as to the cause of his travails. Their answer, which comes like a thunderclap is: “Behold,” one of them declares, “God will not cast away an innocent man, neither will he uphold evildoers” (Job 8:20). Classic “Blame the Victim” mentality from this coterie of advisers.

Puzzled but resolute, Job however concludes that despite his worldly righteousness, he can never know divine justice and according to the story prostrates himself silent before his Master’s “Just World.’ For that, he is rewarded with the resumption of his wealth and status. He even replaces his children with seven new ones. The clear message to the world however is the same: God handles the world’s justice and we are powerless to exact our own except on only the most superficial level.

Jesus himself gets in on the act in the New Testament. Addressing the multitude in the Sermon on the Mount, he has two distinct things to say about justice and our expectations of it: Blessed are…..those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled. (Matt. 5:6) and Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:10). In modern speak, “Don’t worry God will handle it in his own way and, if you let him do so, you’ll get the whole enchilada. The pearly gates, the mansions, those singing and harp-playing cherubim … you, my faithful believer, get it all.”

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220px-Mumia03-1220px-Goddard_SealThere has been some predicable and understandable objections to the selection of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the convicted killer of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981, as this year’s commencement speaker for Goddard College in Vermont. Faulkner’s widow and others have decried his recorded appearance from Mahanoy state prison in Frackville, Pennsylvania. However, as is all too often the case, politicians have responded to such good-faith objections with a highly questionable, poorly crafted law that allows victims to seek injunctions in future such cases.

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Coat_of_arms_of_Germany.svg220px-LinusPaulingGraduation1922Germany has long shown far greater foresight than the United States in the investment into science, infrastructure, and alternative energy — investments that are now giving the country huge returns as a leading economic system. With a decision of Lower Saxony, the German have now shown precisely how serious they are about keeping the country as one of the most educated in the world: they have eliminated all college and university tuition. The Germans view education as not just a right, but an essential component for continued growth.

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Walrus_alaska

This extraordinary picture from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has many scientists worried as the latest sign of climate change. These are estimated 35,000 pacific walrus ashore on a beach in north-west Alaska. As mammals, walrus cannot swim indefinitely so they use their tusks to “haul out,” or pull themselves onto an ice floe or rocks. However, the loss of sea ice has left them effectively stranded.

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220px-Musca_domestica_PortraitThis must make for some awkward moments at fly delivery rooms: “Look Honey he has your first lover’s eyes!”

Researchers at the University of New South Wales have confirmed a new form of non-genetic inheritance in flies. The research found that offspring can resemble a mother’s previous sexual partner of flies rather than the actual father. The size of offspring was determined not by the actual father but the previous sexual partner of the mother. It is an fascinating example of telegony, which dates back to ancient Greece and was once discredited under modern genetic theories.

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Anthony_WunderOfficials have informed Ohio State student Anthony J. Wunder, 21, that he will be stripped of his full scholarship as a result of his running on to the field in the second quarter of the game between the Buckeyes and the Cincinnati Bearcats. The incident went viral with pictures of assistant Buckeyes coach (and former OSU linebacker) Anthony Schlegel tackling Wunder. It appears that linebackers never truly forget their techniques or training.

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