Take Home Exercise: Giving Back to Marriage Bigotry

Over at The Data Lounge, a recent post with a bright, new idea for those struggling with what to do in light of the push for gay marriage, and (more especially) the push back against it. They report from one gay NYC man who has just had enough:

I no longer recognize marriage. It’s a new thing I’m trying. Turns out it’s fun. Yesterday I called a woman’s spouse her boyfriend. She says, correcting me, “He’s my husband”, and I say, “I no longer recognize marriage.” The impact is obvious. I tried it on a man who has been in a relationship for years,

“How’s your longtime companion Jill?”
“She’s my wife!”
“Yeah, well, my beliefs don’t recognize marriage.”

Fun. And instant, eyebrow-raising recognition. Suddenly the majority gets to feel what the minority feels. In a moment they feel what it’s like to have their relationship downgraded, and to have a much taken-for-granted right called into question because of another’s beliefs. Just replace the words husband, wife, spouse, or fiance with boyfriend, girlfriend, special friend, or longtime companion.

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What is Experimental Philosophy? The Video!

In this short video, Eugene Mirman gives an answer to this question that takes you through one of the best-known “experiments” in the newly developing field of experimental philosophy–one developed by Josh Knobe, whom you can see at Bloggingheads.TV at length in conversation with John Horgan about experimental philosophy back in February.

[Sorry, no captions for this video but there is a transcript below the cut. Despite all the developments on captioning at the “front end” via Youtube, we still haven’t found a systematic way to caption that we can afford, time or money-wise, at the “back end”. But we’re still working on it. …]

Manypetunias asked way back when–How is experimental philosophy different from social psychology?–a question you might have after watching this video. Short answer: mostly because the sorts of intuitions that it probes, at least in cases like these, are those that feature in classic philosophical issues (in this case, moral responsibility). X-phi-ers, despite burning the armchair of traditional philosophical analysis, typically are still interested in the questions as their more sedentary predecessors. They just don’t want to sit down!

h/t to Experimental Philosophy, and also congratulations on a vid that will promote interest in the question: What is x-phil?.

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Disabled? Watch This And You Won’t Think So.

Further proof that people categorized as “disabled” can be amazingly talented and easily surpass the skills of those categorized as “abled”. Continue reading

YouTube Supporting and Promoting Captioning

Image of "What's New" section on the front page of YouTube.  It features a link for "Captioning & Subtitles"

Image of the "What's New" section from the front page of YouTube.com. Featured first is a link to "Captions and Subtitles". Below is a link to "Video Annotations".

On a recent visit to YouTube I was pleased to notice that the ability of the site to support captioning or subtitling is being promoted on the front page in a section titled “What’s New”.  Clicking on the link takes you to a page where you can learn about the captioning system in general; basically, how to attach captioning to videos that belong to you and how to turn captioning on for those videos that captioning has been provided for.

A link from this first page will take you to a page with details about adding and editing captions.  It is here that you find out YouTube will allow you to attach captions to your video in any format you would like; however, they only promise to fully support captions formatted as Continue reading

Genetically Engineered Machines

The IGEM logo, machine-like letteringMegablogstar (and What Sorts member) Gregor Wolbring has recently returned from the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition, and has an interesting report over at his fortnightly column The Choice is Yours on IGEM 2008 that begins

IGEM is a competition that tries to address the question: “Can simple biological systems be built from standard, interchangeable parts and operated in living cells? Or is biology simply too complicated to be engineered in this way?” Its broader goals include:

  • enabling the systematic engineering of biology;
  • promoting the open and transparent development of tools for engineering biology; and
  • helping to construct a society that can productively apply biological technology.

Gregor also supervised a team from Calgary in this year’s competition, and has broader reflections on IGEM and it’s connection to human practices (or lack thereof). You can get the whole shebang from Gregor right here.

Freeheld, Laurel Hester, and Garden State Equality

h/t WoC PhD; sorry no captioning for any videos in this post.

Laurel Hester was a long-serving police officer whose final years of her life were spent fighting for the rights that heterosexual couples can take for granted. Cynthia Wade’s award-winning documentary, Freeheld, tells that story.

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Talking about cognitive disability and moral philosophy

As readers of this blog will know, in September there was a relatively large, special topic conference called “Cognitive Disability: A Challenge to Moral Philosophy”, organized by Eva Kittay and Licia Carlson (and I think Sophia Wong), held in New York City.  In some recent comments here, Shelley Tremain has said the following about the roster of speakers for this conference, particularly the inclusion of Peter Singer and Jeff McMahan:

I would like to know when disability theorists, activists, and our allies came to regard it as beneficial, indeed, laudable, to have Peter Singer and Jeff McMahan speak about disabled people, especially cognitively disabled people. … Giving this kind of attention to nondisabled white, male bioethicists whose awful, dominant views about disabled people are in the public domain (and quite familiar to many of us) serves to further marginalize the work of authors in Disability Studies who are attempting to unravel the misunderstandings and prejudices the views of the former entail for concrete human beings; it marginalizes disabled theorists; it marginalizes feminist disability theorists.

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