March 9, 2010

Competition Asked What Message We Should Send to Outer Space
We were vaguely expecting the entries to be uplifting and spiritual—messages of interstellar peace and love, that sort of thing. But how wrong we were! Almost 1,000 suggestions came flooding in from all over the globe, but they painted a picture of a planet that is such a miserable place to be that you wouldn’t blame ET for legging it back to his distant star. (Robert Colvile, Telegraph)

More on Sacred Values
Adam Waytz: What truly distinguishes sacred values from secular ones is how people behave when asked to compromise them. When people are asked to trade their sacred values for values considered to be secular—what psychologist Philip Tetlock refers to as a “taboo tradeoff”—they exhibit moral outrage, express anger and disgust, become increasingly inflexible in negotiations, and display an insensitivity to a strict cost-benefit analysis of the exchange. (Scientific American)

Rick Santorum’s Stance on the Teaching of Evolution
If Rick Santorum actually believes what he says about his own religious beliefs, that “A Catholic is required to form his conscience in accordance with the church’s teachings,” I guess he will be changing his stance on the teaching of evolution, and I can think of no better place to make a public pronouncement on the topic than to the Iowa Christian Alliance. After all, the teachings of his church are crystal clear on the issue. (Michael Zimmerman, The Huffington Post)

World Bank Hopes Online Game Will Empower Africa
The Urgent Evoke game—classified in the emerging “alternate reality” genre—straddles the online and physical worlds. Players, a few hundred of whom are in Africa, earn points and power-ups by completing real-world tasks like volunteering, making business contacts, or researching an issue, then submitting evidence of their work online. At the end of the game, designer Jane McGonigal expects some players to have business plans about how they will improve the world. (John Sutter, CNN)

“Faith-Healing” Parents Each Get 16 Months in Prison
The judge who sentenced the Oregon couple to prison for the death of their son says members of their church must quit relying on faith healing when their children’s lives are at stake. “The fact is, too many children have died unnecessarily—a graveyard full,” Judge Steven Maurer said. “This has to stop.” (Abby Haight, Associated Press)

Category: Field Notes

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