Posts Tagged: Ethics

"Occupy My Condo"

In which we re-answer questions sent to The Ethicist.

I know of someone who has lived mortgage-free for three years while the bank foreclosed on his apartment. During that time, the man paid his monthly maintenance to the building but did not pay his mortgage. His rationale: He had been in the furniture business and lost much of his income with the financial crisis, and not one of the bankers responsible for the meltdown has gone to jail. And furthermore, as a result, his apartment was worth less than he paid for it. Does any of that matter? Is strategic loan default ethical? NAME WITHHELD

You're a nosy [...]


Mad Scientist Seeks Lady To Give Birth To Neanderthal Monster

Professor George Church of Harvard Medical School believes he can reconstruct Neanderthal DNA and resurrect the species which became extinct 33,000 years ago. His scheme is reminiscent of Jurassic Park but, while in the film dinosaurs were created in a laboratory, Professor Church’s ambitious plan requires a human volunteer.

Don't worry, potential surrogate moms: The professor thinks Neanderthals might've been smarter than us, in some way or another that might come in handy when Homo Sapiens are wiped out by an upcoming apocalypse.


I Stole Some Matzo From A Jewish Bakery On Tuesday

Are you up on Moonstrips? They are a delicious type of snack food that I have been enjoying of late. Before I go any further, I should stop and tell you: Moonstrips are a type of matzo. I stole some of them from the company that makes them recently. Sort of. I’ll explain the stealing part more later.

Moonstrips are matzos but they are not plain and tasteless and cardboardy. They are delicious. (And, okay, maybe just a little cardboardy? But not in a terribly off-putting way.) Do you like everything bagels? Of course you do. You live in New York. Or somewhere else. You love everything bagels. They [...]


Facebook Now Screwing Up Your Therapy Sessions, Too

This LA Times piece on the ways that social networking and Google trails have fuzzied up the doctor-patient relationship (what with the Internet's tendencies toward dredging up issues of confidentiality, trust, boundaries, etc.) had the likely unintended effect of wanting to hit up Google and see what sort of breadcrumbs my shrink has left online over the years — although I do think that adding her on Facebook, which is apparently something that people do (??), would be something of a bridge too far. (Not that the semantics of the word "friend" haven't been ruined by years of social-shopping sites and the social rituals of high school, but [...]


If God Wanted Us To Be Vegans, Why Did He Leave Holes In Vegan Logic?

There aren’t a lot of people who specialize in spotting flaws in the ethical logic for veganism. That’s quite possibly because no one cares about obscure intellectual discourses over animal rights. I certainly didn’t while I was a vegan. After I saw the light and stopped eating animal products my first year at The University of Texas, I read bits of Tom Regan’s The Case for Animal Rights, Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation and Carol Adams’ The Sexual Politics of Meat, but I could never get into them. I rejected animal farming because it was violent, gruesome, cruel and needless. I didn’t need academic theorizing to keep me convinced.

But after [...]


Is It Acceptable To Have Children?

Choire: Hello, I have some questions, at this time of "holidays" and "family" and "everyone in Brooklyn having a second and sometimes even third child, also often having two at the same time, because IVF" (I almost typed IDF, because of the news!) and I guess my main question is: how do people talk themselves into having children when the world, at least as we know it, is going to likely end during the lifetime of these children?

Ken: So you're considering having a child. Congratulations! Brooklyn is certainly a wonderful environment for children.

Choire: It is true that once every five years I think "HA, I SHOULD GET A [...]


My Former Best Friend's Wedding

I came late to Facebook, after going through all the predictable phases: the disdain, the excuses, the stalking via “borrowed” log-in, the particular form of procrastination known as “what-would-I-put-in-my-hypothetical-profile?,” followed eventually by an ambivalent, job-search related realization that I had to bite the bullet. But before I did—before I opened the floodgates of reconnection—I knew I had to pick up the phone and call my childhood best friend. We hadn’t talked in years, but I couldn’t stand the thought of putting our past on the same level as everyone else’s, basically ensuring that our long history would be reduced to smiley, yearbook-style platitudes.


Cameron Todd Willingham's Real Last Words

I recently finished The Lost City of Z, David Grann's account of the British explorer Percy Fawcett's final journey in the Amazon basin, where Fawcett disappeared in 1925. Meticulously researched, staunchly reported and beautifully written, it covers the history of London's Royal Geographic Society, to which Percy belonged, and the 300-year quest for the mythical golden city, El Dorado, as well as the rubber trade and its effect on indigenous tribes who shoot six-foot arrows from seven-foot bows. And piranha, and electric eels and anacondas and poisonous insects that attack your eyes and maggots that fester under your skin and toothpick-sized parasite catfish that swim up your penis through [...]


"Daily Show" Writer Jason Ross On Writing For Free and Breaking Into Comedy

Since 2002, Jason Ross (@jasonjross on Twitter) has been a writer for "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," where his team has won a half-dozen Emmy Awards for outstanding writing and produced the best-selling America: The Book and Earth: The Book.

Jason Ross: Here I am.

Ken Layne: Hello, sir! I'm in the middle of the greatest consumer survey in human history.

Jason: That is a fairly low bar to clear.

Ken: Disneyland is building Star Wars Land. This will make Disneyland much more tolerable for me:

Which of the following Star Wars locations would you be especially interested in visiting at the Disneyland Resort? [...]


Resume Bias and Plagiarism

Yesterday, when the Washington Post published a terrible and vague Editor's Note about plagiarism, I looked up the articles that they seemed to be referencing as plagiarized. (Here and here.) And then I discounted them, because of resume bias, and went looking for similar stories in the paper from someone more junior or more obviously inexperienced. After all, the reporter, Sari Horwitz, has been with the paper nearly 30 years. She is a two-time Pulitzer winner. She has a Master's from Oxford!


"There is no making football safer."

Football will remain dangerous: "Here's the reality check to Peter King and all who want their violence safely commodified for Sunday: there is no making football safer. There is no amount of suspensions, fines, or ejections that will change the fundamental nature of a sport built on violent collisions. It doesn't matter if players have better mouth guards, better helmets, or better pads. Anytime you have a sport that turns the poor into millionaires and dangles violence as an incentive, well, you reap what you sow."


Public Apology: Dear Nick

Dear Nick,

I'm sorry I ate your carrot cake.

We were at college, and living off campus in the house on Bragaw Street. You had bought the cake earlier that day, when we'd all gone to Super Stop n' Shop for groceries. You'd paid for it separately and left it in the fridge while you went to an afternoon class. But our roommate Scott and I didn't have afternoon classes that day. Or if we did, we decided to skip them and stay home and smoke pot instead. Whatever the case, we stayed home while you were out and smoked pot. I got hungry, on account of the pot [...]