By Sacrificing Himself Coastguard Douglas Munro Saved 500 Marines From Being Slaughtered

The United States Coast Guard was founded on a tradition of taking small boats into dangerous conditions to save lives. This skill made Coast Guard coxswains an indispensable part of the Pacific Theater during World War 2. Combining with the US Navy during wartime, Coast Guardsmen proved their worth time and time again as they expertly handled small landing craft in and out of almost any situation. No man better exemplifies this prowess than Douglas A. Munro.

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/world-war-ii/douglas-munro-saved-500-marines.html

How Political Correctness Chills Speech on Campus

This spring, Syracuse University will host an international conference with a theme, “The Place of Religion in Film,” that made one of its organizers think of Shimon Dotan.

The award-winning filmmaker, who sits on the faculty of New York University’s graduate school of journalism, recently finished a feature length documentary,The Settlers, that chronicles the history and present state of the religious settler movement in the West Bank, where more than 400,000 Israeli Jews live on occupied land.

The film is “one of the first close-up views of the motives and personalities in a group that rarely opens up to outsiders,” The New York Times noted. Variety ravedthat its festival presence is assured, and said that it is gripping enough to break out to wider audiences.

But despite an invitation to show The Settlers at “The Place of Religion in Film” conference, and interest on the part of the filmmaker, the screening will not take place. As happens so often in academia these days, campus politics got in the way.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/09/what-it-looks-like-when-political-correctness-chills-speech-on-campus/497387/

Something is wrong with dark matter

For decades, scientists have tried to work out the properties of dark matter and, while we don't know everything, we know a lot. From astronomical observations, we know there is five times more dark matter in the universe than all the "billions and billions" of stars and galaxies mentioned in Carl Sagan's oft-quoted phrase. We also know that dark matter cannot have electrical charge, otherwise it would interact with light and we would have seen it. In fact, by a process of elimination, we know that dark matter is not any known form of matter. It is something new. Of this, scientists are sure.

However, scientists are less sure about the details.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/07/opinions/dark-matter-analysis-lincoln/index.html

It’s time to stop talking about racism with white people

As reports of police overreach and brutality in the black community become more and more commonplace in mainstream news, many black people are feeling a strange combination of frustration and relief — relief because the shootings of unarmed citizens have become part of a national discussion, but frustration because, time and time again, we hear the same dismissive and deflective responses from white America:

“There must be more to the story.”

“If you people would just do what you’re told.”

“Cops have a hard job.”

“White people get shot too.”

“He was just another thug. Good riddance!”

“Why do you people make everything about race?”

“What about black on black crime?”

“All lives matter.”

I’ve grown too disillusioned to be relieved and too numb to be frustrated. I’m just tired.

I’m tired from sacrificing millions of once healthy brain cells reading through the comment sections of race-based web articles — thread after thread, chock-full of black folks trying to navigate oblivious whiteness. At some point, we really need to ask ourselves: Why even bother?

A thought experiment to tease out religious attitudes to abortion

Thought experiments are very helpful in philosophy for clarifying first principles and making complex issues easier to comprehend, so in an effort to better understand why Eileen was 'pro-life', I thought I would try one. She could always tell me to bugger off, and go back to her plate of lamb, if she wanted to.

http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/a-thought-experiment-to-tease-out-religious-attitudes-to-abortion-1.2754430

Diversity, disability and eugenics: an interview with Rob Sparrow

Australian bioethicist Rob Sparrow has written extensively on topics ranging from political philosophy and minority rights to the ethics of war, robot ethics and even the ethics of nanotechnology. Yet he is arguably best known for his work in bioethics. While in one sense part of a mainstream bioethics academy, Professor Sparrow often provides a refreshingly unique perspective and challenges establishment opinions in the field. As Richard R. Sharp has noted, “Sparrow’s scholarship exemplifies the value of the intellectual gadfly – even when that work ruffles a few feathers among the bioethical elite.”

In the following interview Professor Sparrow and BioEdge’s Xavier Symons discuss current controversies in bioethics and, in particular, questions surrounding genetic diversity, the elimination of disability, and the so-called new eugenics.  

http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/diversity-disability-and-eugenics-an-interview-with-rob-sparrow/11951

Bay Area biologist’s gene-editing kit lets do-it-yourselfers play God at the kitchen table

BURLINGAME — On the kitchen table of his cramped apartment, Josiah Zayner is performing the feat that is transforming biology.

In tiny vials, he’s cutting, pasting and stirring genes, as simply as mixing a vodka tonic. Next, he slides his new hybrid creations, living in petri dishes, onto a refrigerator shelf next to the vegetables.

And he’s packaging and selling his DIY gene-editing technique for $120 so that everyone else can do it, too.

http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/01/11/bay-area-biologists-gene-editing-kit-lets-do-it-yourselfers-play-god-at-the-kitchen-table/

The French “Red Zone” Is So Dangerous, It Still Is A No-Go Area 100 Years After WWI

The Zone Rouge (Red Zone) is a region near Verdun, France spanning some 460 square miles of mostly virgin forest – at least on the surface. It’s teeming with history, making it a major tourist attraction and a source of income for locals — yet no one lives there and nothing is built there.

Despite its draw, access is restricted because not everyone who goes in comes out alive. If they do, there’s no guarantee that they’ll do so with all of their limbs intact. Of those who do come out (whole or otherwise), death sometimes takes a while to catch up.