Connections are being drawn between animal abuse and other kinds of violence (New York Times Magazine)
“…Thrown together for two weeks at Brooklyn Supreme Court with 22 other jurors, I was struck by how rare it is now in American life to be gathered, physically, with an array of other folk of different ages, backgrounds, skin colors, beliefs, faiths, tastes, education levels and political convictions and be obliged to work out your differences in order to get the job done.
America could use more of that kind of experience. As it is, everyone’s shrieking their lonesome anger, burrowing deeper into stress, gazing at their own images — and generating paralysis.” — Roger Cohen (New York Times op-ed)
“More than half of babies born today in rich nations will live for 100 years as earlier diagnoses and better treatment of illnesses such as heart disease extend lives, scientists estimate.
Life expectancy increased by three decades or more over the 20th century in countries such as the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Canada and Japan, and that trend will continue, according to a review published today in The Lancet medical journal. Without any further improvement in longevity, three- quarters of babies will mark their 75th birthdays, the Danish and German researchers wrote.” ()
“This summer could come to be known as the summer when baby boomers began to turn to the obituary pages first, to face not merely their own mortality or ponder their legacies, but to witness the passing of legends who defined them as a tribe, bequeathing through music, culture, news and politics a kind of generational badge that has begun to fray.” (New York Times )
‘It got nowhere near the publicity and caused nowhere near the stir of his 1995 essay “Bowling Alone,” about Americans’ increasing social isolation. But more recent work by the Harvard political scientist Robert D. Putnam is perhaps more controversial: his finding (2007 lecture here) that ethnic diversity isn’t an unqualified good — that diversity, “at least in the short run, seems to bring out the turtle in all of us,” as we withdraw from collective life, hunker down in front of the TV and distrust people around us, regardless of skin color.’ (New York Times )
A number of scientists argue that we have a so-called ‘behavioral immune system’ that functions to protect us against strangers who might carry germs against which we have no immunity. (Discover)
I have long believed that tribalism is inborn, but I had focused mostly on the cognitive limits of reciprocity and trust. This is another, intriguing, idea.