stupid american

On How I Didn’t Have an Ethical Dilemma

January 5, 2010

I was thinking about a job that a friend of mine has, and how I don’t really like it.  I was trying to sort out why I thought it was ethically wrong, and then I went on a little rabbit trail about how maybe it was actually morally wrong.  And then I realized that I didn’t really know the difference.

So I looked it up.

In short, morals just belong to you.  They depend on what you think and how you view the world.  They usually don’t fluctuate easily.  Ethics, on the other hand, are determine by the people you associate with–socially, nationally, whatever.

The example given on WiseGeek (yeah, I know) is that of a criminal defense lawyer.  Although his moral sense may make the crime seem offensive to him, his ethical sense will drive him to defend the criminal in order to uphold the judicial system.

Okay. That seems to be the common knowledge about it.  However.  There’s always a however.

There seems to be some general online dissent (oh no!  online dissent!) about the etymology of the words.  So… I tried the “Online Etymoligical Dictionary” out. Ethics comes from the Greek, ethos, meaning “custom” or “moral character.” So that sounds societal.  But it also sounds personal. Morals comes from the Latin, moralis, meaning “proper behavior in society” or from the Old French, meaning “temperment.”  And that sounds societal and/or personal too.  Which means that, uh, they’re pretty much the same.

You can get crazy philosophically too, and break it down into descriptive ethics, normative ethics, or metaethics.  But.  Let’s not.  I prefer the first definition.

Suffice it to say, but the end of this whole thing, I didn’t care much about that girl’s job anyway.

Also.  Yeah, I seem to have blogged.  Let’s see how it goes.


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March 18, 2009

True story: two summers ago, I saw a Compsognathus.  I mean, I thought it was a Compsognathus, because it was the size of a chicken.  Of course no one believed me.  But maybe it was a Hesperonychus elizabethae?

In related news, it turns out that some dinosaurs may also have been fuzzy.  Not like real fuzz though, but like the little bits of leftover feather you find on a turkey (and get really grossed out by.)

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Does it count as a “chimp” if it weighs more than I do?

March 17, 2009
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I promise to go back to actual learning and not just linking dumb articles soon, but who doesn’t want to read about a chimp attack?

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Daily Schmaily

March 16, 2009
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Something about twelve hour work days – I’m pretty sure I’ve learned new stuff every day, but the blog suffers.  Alas,  here’s an article that freaked me right out: HIV/AIDS on the rise in DC.

I also can say that I was not surprised by this one: Obama’s popularity decreases.

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CopOuts Abound

March 10, 2009
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Read this article if you want to know about the future of education

Obama on charter schools and merit-based pay

Cat Pee!

March 9, 2009

Fact: It is unlikely that I will spend enough time learning anything of value in the next two weeks.  So here’s some trivia…

Cat urine glows under a black light.  Fresh stuff is bright yellow and old stuff is pale yellow or green.  Pretty!

Posted in trivia

Learn it Yourself

March 8, 2009

Seriously, I learned how to make one of these this weekend, and I’m going to do it regardless of the time and effort it takes:

Han Solo cast in chocolate/carbonite

Famous People Deciding Not to Be More Famous

March 5, 2009

A little tidbit that almost sneaked (snuck?) past me in the news today:

Sanjay Gupta (you know, from CNN), who has been Obama’s main choice for surgeon general just withdrew his name from consideration.  It’s not a hot seat for policy making, but with Obama’s big healthcare plans, it would be a great place for America to see a trusted face.

Gupta turned down the job, claiming he wanted to spend more time focusing on medicine and his family.

More on that from NPR if you are interested

Also, as it turns out, sneaked or snuck is just fine.

I Totally Failed Geography

March 4, 2009
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Plagiarised directly from this site:

  • Portland, Oregon, where it rarely snows, is about 130 miles farther north than Toronto, and over 200 miles farther north than Boston.
  • If you combine England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, then together they are a bit smaller than the deceivingly large state of Michigan.
  • France is about 30% larger than the state of California.
  • About two-thirds of Africa is in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • Rome, which is located in the center of Italy, is located at the exact same latitude as Chicago.

Posted in trivia

Because I Saw Slumdog Millionaire Today…

March 3, 2009
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From the 1800s, India was ruled by Great Britain.  In 1947, they gained independence as the Republic of India.  At this time, the sub-continent was divided into Hindu India and and Muslim Pakistan.  And, as situations like this always breed discontent (cough-Israel-Palestine-cough), war broke out between the two separate countries, largely focused on the territory of Kashmir (cough-Gaza-cough.)  It’s been a roller-coaster of tension between the two countries since.  Most recently they were involved in some peaceful talks, but at the end of 2009, India called a pause in the peace process.

One thing that makes the hostility between India and Pakistan so important is that they are both nuclear states.  (Mom, don’t click that link!)  In 2006, George W Bush made an agreement with India to share US nuclear technology in exchange for India’s cooperation in allowing their nuclear program to be more closely monitored.  Bush also approved a law allowing India to buy nuclear reactors and fuel for the first time in over thirty years.

India’s economy, in contrast to much of the world, is doing really well right now.  This is in large part due to the fact that their huge population 1.2 billion (spread over 1.2 million square miles) allows them to outsource workers internationally (which you probably know if you ever had to call someone about a computer problem.)  The Bollywood Industry also serves to bolster the economy.  But despite the country’s overall well-being, there is still widespread poverty throughout the rural areas, primarily because of the caste system that keeps people from rising socially or amassing wealth.

Okay, that’s really just scratching the surface, but I’m calling it a good start.

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