Saturday, December 6

Pornography, public acceptance and sex related crime: A review

this should get the old wrinklies  into a tizzy. Availability of sexually explicit material does not (gasp, shock, horror) increase sex crimes. And in some cases has even decreased sex crimes. See this paper.

A vocal segment of the population has serious concerns about the effect of pornography in society and challenges its public use and acceptance. This manuscript reviews the major issues associated with the availability of sexually explicit material. It has been found everywhere it was scientifically investigated that as pornography has increased in availability, sex crimes have either decreased or not increased. It is further been found that sexual erotica has not only wide spread personal acceptance and use but general tolerance for its availability to adults. This attitude is seen by both men and women and not only in urban communities but also in reputed conservative ones as well. Further this finding holds nationally in the United States and in widely different countries around the world. Indeed, no country where this matter has been scientifically studied has yet been found to think pornography ought be restricted from adults. The only consistent finding is that adults prefer to have the material restricted from children's production or use.

curious, eh?

Friday, December 5

What an evocative photo


not that one uses a fountain pen any more…but still, amazing imagery :)

Thursday, December 4

The Criminalization of Abortion in the West

this was an interesting book review that I read today…

I quote

The argument of this book is that abortion, including miscarriage by assault and infanticide (p. 5), came to be treated as a “crime” in the modern sense — “wrongdoing requiring lawful retribution from the hands of publicly appointed officials” (p. 4) — in the period 1140–1250 (pp. 1–2). The introduction sets out this thesis and the crucial problematic: when do the sources for law and society in the West first conceptualise a clear distinction between crime on the one hand and wrongdoing that is not criminal, such as “tort” or sin, on the other? It is a debate that has long engaged scholars of medieval canon and English common law.

a fascinating argument. the author talks about abortion being criminalised in the mid 12th century with the rise in the emergence of universities and jurisprudence studies.

As for myself, i am firmly of the belief that its the choice of the mother whether or not to abort. And yes, whilst you can quibble over whether or not at which time period the baby becomes viable, the fact remains that the mother is responsible and accountable. So end of. But curious how this is all religiously mandated. For example, you wouldn't find any of these issues relating to non Judeo Christian backgrounds, at least not that I have read about it. If you believe in the cycle of life and rebirth, then when you die is merely a waystation…fascinating…

this book goes on my to be read pile :)

Tuesday, December 2

I have no ancestors of that gifted people

I don't have to tell you about the holocaust son. But remember that pretty much the entire German population with very few very honourable exceptions supported or agreed or kept quiet whilst this was happening. It's unfair to hold them just up for scrutiny. Jews have been persecuted for centuries not least here in the UK. If you get a chance son, visit the Jewish museum in London. We've got tons of books on this, including a mildly controversial book, Hitler's willing executioners. Then you can read about how common people turned brutal. And it can happen anywhere. Eternal vigilance son.

But that's not the point which I wanted to bring out. It's the letter writing which I wanted to point to, son.
It's a letter of note. Polished English. And it's a highly intelligent put down. Very smart very very intelligent. Normally I don't recommend writing letters or emails when angry. Then you'll end up writing the best email you'll ever regret. Never do that. If you get upset over an email, by all means, draft a letter but DONT send it. Store it in draft and then send it next day after sleeping over it. Anger is very expensive son. Extremely expensive. It costs huge amounts, not just to you. It has a destructive ability that vastly overpowers the immediate benefit of hurting the other. See people who get angry and you know what their weaknesses are. You know how to control them by observing their anger.

So whilst I can appreciate the intellectual aspect of this letter, I disagree that he should have sent it. How will it change the mind of the publisher? He's going to get pissed and it doesn't help.

There's a time and place for anger. This isn't it. Then again, if he hadn't sent it, then I wouldn't have been able to share this with you :)



Letters of Note: I have no ancestors of that gifted people

via Instapaper

Monday, December 1

Sing your heart out


The first time I heard about Paul Robeson was on a song from Calcutta Youth Choir. He is an amazing man, kids.

take a look at his life. A big sportsman, a strong lawyer, political activist, etc. etc. Amazing chap. But look at what he says...

“Hard-working people, and poor, most of them, in worldly goods—but how rich in compassion! How filled with the goodness of humanity and the spiritual steel forged by centuries of oppression! There was the honest joy of laughter in these homes, folk-wit and story, hearty appetites for life as for the nourishing greens and black-eyed peas and cornmeal bread they shared with me. Here in this little hemmed-in world where home must be theatre and concert hall and social center, there was a warmth of song. Songs of love and longing, songs of trials and triumphs, deep-flowing rivers and rollicking brooks, hymn-song and ragtime ballad, gospels and blues, and the healing comfort to be found in the illimitable sorrow of the spirituals.”

Paul Robeson

That's the important thing, kids. Song. Sing. You need to sing out loud, not just in the shower. Like Dada and I used to dance to the songs of Belafonte. How Diya and I dance and sing to the Disney songs. Sing out loud, kids, that's a way of being human. It exposes your emotions, makes you think and feel. As Paul says, songs of love and longing, songs of trials and triumphs, deep -flowing rivers and rollicking brooks, etc. etc.

I grew up with listening to songs in Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu, Punjabi. They were about love, they were about rivers, they were about Indian nationalism. Even now I get goose bumps when I listen to the Indian national anthem.

but you kids have grown up in the UK and are British. Your songs are going to be different, the songs which you love are going to be relating to different aspects such as the Queen or love or culture or etc. etc.

but don’t forget to sing, not just listen to songs, kids, sing your heart out. Even if it’s the barney song :)



Sunday, November 30

Hunger Feeds More The Hungry: Evidence On Cognitive And Affective Empathy

a rather interesting paper here

We investigate experimentally the impact of cognitive and affective empathy on behavior. A
novelty of the study is that we do so directly without invoking responses to questionnaires, but
by manipulating the state of hunger of participants in the single-shot Dictator game during
the holy month of Ramadan. Our sample consists of male workers in the Sepaahaan (car
battery) manufacturing factory in the city of Isfahan in Iran. We find that, only, affective
empathy amplifies altruistic behavior. More specifically, hungry dictators transfer more money
to hungry recipients than fed dictators. The difference is statistically as well as economically

and there’s a great quote from the old master, Adam Smith. I quote:

How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his
nature which interest him in the fortune of others and render their happiness necessary
to him through he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it.
Adam Smith

the use of hunger during the Ramadan time is quite interesting. Despite them being hungry, the donors will pay more in an altruistic manner. The fact that they are hungry themselves attenuates their unselfish behaviour, good to be human, eh?