Saturday, 22 February 2014

08:26 – Another science study, this one confirming something that ordinary people have known for about 30,000 years now: Dogs can detect emotion in human voices, study shows

Humans and dogs have lived in mutualistic symbiosis for more than 30 millennia. It’s facultative symbiosis, yes, but at times it approaches obligate in either or both directions. Of course we can understand each other and are each sensitive to the other’s moods and emotions. Without Canis lupus familiaris, H. sapiens sapiens might never have achieved civilization.


10:40 – Talk about inflation. The 56-quart (53-liter) Sterilite bins that we’d been buying at Home Depot back in November and December and early this year for $5.97 each are now $6.97 each. That’s 16.75% inflation. With the eight we brought home today, that takes us up to 23 of them, which should suffice.


11:04 – In Arizona right now, we have some people—mostly religious-right Republicans—trying to do the right thing for the wrong reasons. They’re opposed by another group of people—mostly gay rights groups and Democrats—trying to do the wrong thing for the right reasons. The issue is presented as whether businesses should be forced to serve everyone who wants to buy their products and services, regardless of the personal religious beliefs of the owners. Across the country, there have been numerous prosecutions and lawsuits lately targeting businesses owned by religious people who refuse to, for example, provide a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding. A pending Arizona bill, supported by governor Brewer, would allow such businesses to refuse to provide goods or services to some customers, based on the religious beliefs of the business owners.

As much as I support gay rights, I have to side with Governor Brewer here. But she has not gone far enough. Personal religious beliefs should have nothing to do with it. Any business should be completely free to choose which customers it serves, based on any criteria that business owner chooses. If a restaurant, for example, wants to exclude gays (or straights) or blacks (or whites) or men (or women), that’s the owner’s right. Any owner who exercises such criteria is ignorant and stupid, but we have a Constitutional right to be ignorant and stupid.

The problem, as is nearly always the case, is that most people conflate discrimination by governments with discrimination by individuals and private companies. The government should never be free to discriminate against any citizen for any reason whatsoever. The government should not even be keeping data on age, sex, race, and other labels. Individuals and private companies, on the other hand, should be completely free to discriminate (or not to discriminate) for any reason or for no reason at all. It’s their business, not the government’s.