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October 11, 2012

The Real Problem With Pokemon And Animal Right

I played one of the Pokemon games a few years ago during my commutes. And the text is . . . problematic. I mean, you're kids who love animals and prove your love by forcing them to battle to the death or, failing death, by enslaving hundreds of them and forcing them to live in a static pocket dimension. There's some messed up morality there. The Real Problem With Pokemon And Animal Rights | ThinkProgress
In the first Pokemon: Black And White (the new game is a sequel), one of the villains is a kid who, raised among abused pok�mon, launches a campaign to end the captivity of the creatures and the practice of forcing them to participate in glorified dogfights. The mantra of his organization is “Pok�mon liberation,” a pretty clear reference to the most famous modern text on animal rights. The player character, by contrast, spends the game convincing this character that “slavery is OK if we’re not bad masters.” Moreover, the movement gets hijacked by a self-interested subordinate, who reveals the idea of Pok�mon liberation was a stalking horse for a plot to take over the world from the get-go. In short, the animal rights movement is a sham; anyone who legitimately believes the way we treat animals is immoral is a dupe for powerful, nefarious interests. You can see why that might be troubling. There’s a danger in taking this too seriously; Pok�mon is a sorta brainless kids game (that I unconditionally loved at age 12). But at the same time, it’s part and parcel of a broader culture that makes the use and abuse of animals normative at a very young age. Thoroughgoing animal welfare supporters are a distinct minority in the United States; using veganism/vegetarianism rates as a proxy for a more broadly animal-friendly lifestyle, only about seven percent of the American population qualify. As a consequence, concern about animal welfare isn’t exactly well represented in American public life; quite the opposite. Politicians sneer at concern for animals; spectacles like dogfighting and cockfighting are sadly common despite being criminalized. Even some things that may seem like advancements, like the cancellation of horseracing drama Luck after the death of three stunt-horses, remind us of the underlying brutality in the extant, legal horseracing industry.

October 10, 2012

Some dentists now using 3D imaging and maker tech to make teeth on the spot

On a very hot day two years ago I fainted and smashed out one of my front teeth. The process to get a permanent crown on it was a total farce involving four separate trips to the dentist. This technique could have prevented that. A New Tooth, Made to Order in Under an Hour - NYTimes.com
My dentist happened to be one of the approximately 10 percent who use CAD/CAM — computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing — to create a crown while a patient waits. The result is a ceramic crown that can be glued in place. You are done less than an hour after you first sit down in the dentist’s chair. Maybe you think that dentists are stuck in the technological dark ages, waving pliers and babbling about fluoride. In truth, the profession has quietly embraced sophisticated technology, and I was lucky enough to stumble upon a prime example. The process starts the same way it used to: The area is numbed, and the dentist drills the tooth to shape it for the crown. But instead of making an impression of the tooth, the dentist uses a tiny camera to create a three-dimensional image of the drilled tooth. A computer program uses that to construct an image of what the tooth will look like with the crown in place. I could see it on the computer screen — a tooth that looked just like mine would when I left the dentist’s office. Then all the details — the size and shape, the little ridges and indentations — are transmitted to a machine in an adjacent room that mills the crown from a chunk of porcelain. The result is an exact replica of what I saw on the computer screen. When the crown is ready, about 15 minutes later, the dentist glues it in. I was thrilled, if it is possible to be thrilled with a visit to a dentist.

September 20, 2012

Today's Tumblr: Apple's IOS6 maps are terrible

Yes, one day into the new iPhone and there is already a tumblr up making fun of Apple's new maps app. If you like using maps, maybe you don't want to upgrade yet. Apple ditched Google's maps in favor of their own homegrown solution and it's got some problems guys. The Amazing iOS 6 Maps

August 30, 2012

Neil Armstrong, My Grandmother, Moonwalking, and the Only Game in Town

The death of Neil Armstrong occasioned a lot of interesting...