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Dogs, rats, sex, books. Good things in life, right? - Tactical Ninja

Mar. 9th, 2011

09:49 am - Dogs, rats, sex, books. Good things in life, right?

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This is really interesting. It's an article about Dan Savage and his impact on the cultural dialogue about sex, written by a Lutheran minister. It's surprisingly balanced and explores some concepts, particularly around Savage's focus on sexual ethics and honesty, that I hadn't considered as a reader of his column for several years. It also critiques his placement of sexual fulfilment above other forms of fulfilment - an idea that I'm interested in because I've personally never been able to separate sex from other parts of a relationship - in my experience a lack of sexual fulfilment in one or other partner tends to either come from deeper relationship issues or lead to deeper relationship issues. So yeah, gonna think on that one.

I found myself wanting to give the writer extra cookies for being open minded, because he's a minister. Which is silly - I don't actually believe that one should have cookies for not being bigoted. Yet, there are so many Christians out there shouting bigotry and intolerance really loudly, that when I come across one that is not doing that I want to reward them for it. I am working on not feeling this way because it's an unfair assumption for me to make about Christians.

On another sexual ethics related note, if you're at all interested in honest negotiation outside the historical sexual norms, you should probably read The Ethical Slut. It's a bit dated now but still plenty relevant and lots of food for thought in there.

My birthday is coming up, and this book just got released in paperback. I WANTS IT. Just saying, no reason, lalala...

Speaking of books, there's a debate going on in a community I read about kids and ereaders. Apparently there are kids' books available for ereaders (duh) which are interactive and interesting, and even have voice available - so if your kid is obsessed with a story you can read it to them once or twice and they can then push the button and get the disembodied ereader voice to read it to them 375 more times.

Pause here to get the picture of the cocaine rats self administering till they die of starvation out of my head.

Anyway, there seems to be a perception that while allowing your child to use an ereader is acceptable, children should also learn how to use, handle and care for paper books. I wonder about this - I can see how a similar argument could be made as the one TAFKARF makes about learning to write by hand. What, exactly, is the reason why we need to be able to write by hand these days? And will the need to have knowledge of books become less and less relevant? This from someone who doesn't yet own an ereader. But when I do, you'll know that books are going the way of the dodo. Cos I'm that cutting-edge.

But yeah, do you reckon that actual physical books will ever become so unnecessary that kids won't need to learn about them?

Right, back to the cocaine rats. Did you know that story is a myth? You will if you read the link I posted up there. In order to produce a situation where a rat will self-administer cocaine fatally, it has to be "tethered, alone in a small plastic box with nothing else to do, raised in isolation from other rats, trained to inject cocaine, and hooked to a constant feed of cocaine through a permanent IV ... If rats are given acess to sweetened water, adequate food, raised in families and given activity options, they do not fatally administer the cocaine, their daily dosages are much lower, and they tend to remain healthier.".

Apart from debunking the myth, I find the list of conditions required to produce dangerous drug-taking behaviour in rats really interesting. While the conditions are extreme in the experiments, they are reflections of the kind of backgrounds you might find represented among a group people exhibiting dangerous drug-taking behaviour. It's interesting to note that for the rats, whose environments were controllable and who are generally less complex than people (they don't have an economic system for a start), including even one 'opposing reinforcer' such as sweetening their water or allowing them a period of socialising with other rats each day, consistently reduced the rats' self-administration of cocaine.

I think this research has interesting implications for my own (potential) study on the habits of 'successful' drug users vs 'problem' drug users. But I don't want to give cocaine to rats so that might have to be part of the bibliography!

First was back to normal last night, including having recovered the muscle tone in her hind legs (which were all floppy and collapsey on Monday night*). She's bright eyed, perky and enjoying the lump of food (with antibiotic hidden inside mwuahahaha) that she's getting twice a day. There's currently no blood coming from her nostril but she's still hissing like a steam train. No news from Massey or the lab yet.

* Her tail is long enough to touch the ground when it's completely relaxed, like a fox's, but normally she holds it clear. On Monday it was not only hanging straight down, but she kept collapsing and sitting on it, which she normally doesn't do. ;-/


[User Picture]
Date:March 8th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
I dunno eh, I'm a christian and I don't think it's THAT unfair to make that assumption about a lot of other christians. At the very least I understand when people do.
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[User Picture]
Date:March 8th, 2011 10:03 pm (UTC)

It is my observation that those christians that make the most noise on the intarwebs seem to be making bigoted noise more often than not, which doesn't gel with my experience of christians IRL, sadly.
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[User Picture]
Date:March 8th, 2011 10:07 pm (UTC)
Nor does it gel with mine, which is why I think it's an unfair assumption to make.

Yet, those noisy bigots have had an impact because I have to actively stop myself from making the assumption because of them. It bothers me that this happens.
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[User Picture]
Date:March 8th, 2011 11:14 pm (UTC)
Eventually the world will become such a shithole that books will be phased out because of a complete lack of resources to produce them. I have a Kindle and will keep buying paper books, as do 99% of those who own an e-reader. Book people are book people and the original medium dies hard, especially when so many books are not available in any sort of online format. Eventually e-readers could make books the equivalent of vinyl or cassette tapes. Eventually...

It just stands to reason. Every other method of media disbursement has changed. We no longer use 8-track tapes. We no longer are forced to watch television exclusively on the family set. We can download movies from our Wii. It stands to reason the way books are delivered will change, too, either because technology demands its due or because we are eating the earth as fast as we can. So eventually, kids will only know about books the way they know about other antiquities - via seeing them in controlled settings. Libraries will become museums. Unlikely that will happen for at least two to three more generations but eventually it will. Or so I predict...
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Date:March 9th, 2011 02:35 am (UTC)
Re: Christians and our perceptions of them. I like to say there are two kinds of Christians: Right-wing whackjobs and Jimmy Carter Christians. False dichotomy, yes, but it's a useful illustration. Another way to think of it is Old Testament v New Testament; WWJD? is a valid question here. Jesus would throw money-changers out of the temple, care for the needy, love thy neighbor, and judge not. I digress. One might say to any Jimmy Carter Christians who object to being lumped in with the whackjobs, "Hey, you've let them control the discourse and define what it means to be Christian in Western culture; you have only yourselves to blame when we heathens paint you with that brush." But that wouldn't be very Christian of me.
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