February 17, 2017 / From the Editor
Every Friday, we will publish a short list of a few articles that have caught …
October 28, 2016
Every Friday, we will publish a short list of a few articles that have caught our attention. This is what we’re reading this week:
Peter Boghossian creates an app to change the atheist voice on the internet:
“I think the faithful have been propagating a narrative of the angry atheist for so long, and I think that there’s some legitimacy to that,” said Peter Boghossian, who teaches at Portland State University and has worked with inmates in Oregon, teaching critical thinking and moral reasoning. Boghossian, with the Richard Dawkins Foundation, created an app called Atheos to help us atheists change our reputation for being condescending doctrinaires. “I wanted to give people a tool, so if they’re approached by somebody, and instead of saying ‘delusional maniac’ and then swearing, they can explore the reasons for their beliefs,” he said.
30 years later, 3 men embark into the glacial mountains of Bolivia, hoping to solve the mystery of flight 980:
The thing is, even the more outlandish theories had some ring of truth. Five members of Paraguay’s prominent Matalón family, who built an empire selling home appliances, were on the flight. The wife of the U.S. ambassador to Paraguay—Marian Davis, who had continued on without her husband—died in the crash. In 1986, a criminal indictment against 22 Eastern baggage handlers revealed that, for three years, the airline had indeed been used to deliver weekly shipments of 300 pounds of cocaine from South America to Miami. (Eastern declared bankruptcy in 1989 and dissolved in 1991.)
Election Day: Floridians will vote on the use of genetically-modified mosquitos in the fight against Zika and other viruses carried by Aedes aegypti:
Cobb became interested in public perceptions of genetically modified mosquitoes because he was troubled by Oxitec’s approach in other countries. After the company conducted its tests in the Cayman Islands beginning in 2009, other researchers criticized the secretive nature of the trials. At the time, Anthony James, a pioneer in mosquito research who was leading a giant international effort to develop and test genetically modified mosquitoes, expressed prescient concern that by going ahead with the study — the world’s first known release of genetically modified mosquitoes — without the full consent of residents, Oxitec might make the public more mistrustful of all research into genetically modified organisms, even if the trials were successful.
On becoming a parent after losing a child:
Seven weeks ago, our second child was born; a son, Greta’s younger brother. They would have been exactly three and a half years apart. With his birth, I have become a father to a living child and a spirit — one child on this side of the curtain, and another whispering from beneath it. The confusion is constant, and in my moments of strength I succumb to it. I had a child die, and I chose to become a father again. There can be no greater definition of stupidity or bravery; insanity or clarity; hubris or grace.
A few reading recommendations from poet Mary Karr on prayer and personal practice:
White boards are confusing. What is their purpose in a digital age? To help you look intelligent, obviously. “I knew someone who would sit near the white board and, while people were brainstorming, he would just write down key words that he was hearing,” says Cooper. “At one point, someone asked, ‘What are you writing over there?’ He was like, ‘Oh, I am keeping track of things I think are important.’ I don’t even know if the words he wrote down were that useful, but it just made him look like he was really engaged.”