Daily Archives: January 2, 2012

Evolutionary Psychology is Nothing Gnu

Despite tens or hundreds of thousands of years of very strong Natural Selection, wildebeest do not arrive at the Mara River with a genetically determined brain mechanism or module that helps (much) to keep them from being eaten by the crocodiles that live in the river. Most of the wildebeest that try to cross the Mara in the annual migration have never seen a croc, or a river, before in their lives, or have encountered this situation only once. This would be a very good situation in which to evolved such a mechanism.

Where is evolutionary psychology when you really need it?

I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky in the US to merely have anti-Vaxers and Snake Handlers:

I hate stories like this because they fuel racism and make it hard to do good public anthropology. Before you read the following, do remember that even though the police were involved and paper work was filled out, it really, really, may not be true at all. I’ve seen accusations like this occur which were not based on reality, and I’ve seen them reported in newspapers.

On the other hand, things like this do happen now and then, and you might be surprised to know that they happen in the US as well as other places. OK, enough caveats:

Continue reading I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky in the US to merely have anti-Vaxers and Snake Handlers:

Debbie Goddard is a true Minnesotan

… even if she’s not from Minnesota. Because we have a saying here: “It’s good enough.” This philosophy works great. If we figure out the exact optimal amount of effort to put into something, then put in just a little bit less effort, we get the job done in a way that saves a buck or two and lets us suffer just a little bit. Like good Norwegian Bachelor Farmers should.

But perhaps that’s not what Debbie was getting at in her latest essay: Fortune Cookie Consideration: Letting Things Be “Good Enough”

…, it can be easy to focus on the flaws and ignore the successes. When I reflect on myself and on my place in life, particularly during this downer time of year, I can be pretty critical. I think of ways that I should be better, of ways that my life circumstances could be better…

Go read it.

NDAA signing statement: “Does not apply to US citizens.”

The National Defense Authorization Act probably did not authorize US police or military organizations or individuals to detain US citizens without cause or due process. The bill was written in such a way that existing statute in this regard would not be affected. But just to make sure, President Obama added a signing statement stating that the new bill would not be used that way.

Here is the signing statement.

The relevant paragraph states:
Continue reading NDAA signing statement: “Does not apply to US citizens.”

An Extraordinary Year For Gay Rights

navy girl kissing her signifant other
The first first kiss with girls.

NPR notes that 2011 was an extraordinary year for gay rights.

“In September, the end of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy allowed gay, lesbian and bisexual people to serve openly. And just this month, two female sailors became the first to share the Navy tradition of a “first kiss.”

This summer, New York became the sixth and largest state yet — along with Washington, D.C. — to allow same-sex marriage.”

This year, 2012, we have an anti-gay marriage amendment on the ballot in Minnesota. We will fight that and it won’t pass, but when that happens, it will be one of the few referendum type decisions that is pro-gay instead of anti-gay. And thus, we will continue to see a turn of the tide, a sea change, and since we are on a streak of nautical metaphors, a lot more Navy First Kisses!