How Morality Changes in a Foreign Language

[Why does it matter whether we judge morality in our native language or a foreign one? According to one explanation, such judgments involve two separate and competing modes of thinking—one of these, a quick, gut-level “feeling,” and the other, careful deliberation about the greatest good for the greatest number. When we use a foreign language, we unconsciously sink into the more deliberate mode simply because the effort of operating in our non-native language cues our cognitive system to prepare for strenuous activity. This may seem paradoxical, but is in line with findings that reading math problems in a hard-to-read font makes people less likely to make careless mistakes.]

Read the full story | Scientific American

 

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The Truth Hurts only the First Time, they Say. Here is One Inconvenient Truth

During the Holocaust, many Lithuanian Jews were not killed in Nazi death camps, but by their neighbors, usually shot or even beaten to death. In all, 90 percent of an estimated 250,000 Jews perished, wiping out a community that had been part of Lithuanian life for five centuries.

So it may come as a surprise that in Vilnius, the country’s capital, there is a thriving Jewish community center (including a cafe serving bagels), an expanded new Jewish Museum and fully functioning synagogue — beneficiaries of a Western-looking government that encourages Litvak Jews to return and has proposed to declare 2019 “The Year of the Jew.”

Long before Poland aroused controversy this year with a law making it a crime to blame Poles for complicity in the Holocaust, Lithuania has had an even broader such law on its books. Since 2010 Lithuania has criminalized “denial or gross trivializing” of either Soviet or Nazi genocide or crimes against humanity.

Efraim Zuroff, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi hunter, said that the center had the names of 20,000 Lithuanians who participated in the Holocaust but that only three were ever prosecuted and convicted — and of those, none ever served jail time. “It’s a joke,” he said.

“Until recently, Lithuania was really the locomotive pulling this whole train of Holocaust distortion in Eastern Europe,” he said. Now Poland, Hungary and Ukraine all have engaged in trying to minimize the Holocaust, he said.

“If everyone’s guilty, no one’s guilty,” he added….

Read the full article here:

Onis “Tray” Glen, EPA Administrator of Region 4, Alabama, New York Biosolids, Colorado Farmers | And Another Pile of yet the Same.

[Thirty years ago, the treated remnants of a city’s sewage—known as “biosolids” to those in the industry—usually went into the ocean. But in 1988, the government realized this wasn’t the best idea and gave municipalities three years to figure out where else their sludge could go. In addition to finding a new place to put it, the EPA ruled a portion of the biosolids had to be used in a way that would benefit the environment.

New York City, which already had a population over 7 million, had been dumping its sewage 106 miles out in the ocean. (This was an improvement on the 12 miles out it was dumping sewage in 1987, but still not ideal.) A solution needed to be found, and fast.

So the city decided to turn the sludge into fertilizer. The EPA ruled that, after treatment, biosolids are perfectly safe to use on plants, and often, are better for the plants than chemical fertilizers. They are rich in nutrients that help plants grow, and the application of biosolids to the soil has been known to stimulate root growth and help the soil better retain water.

Although they accepted sludge from other locations, states feared the material from New York City would be disease-ridden and toxic. Alabama outright rejected the biosolids, and in Oklahoma, even after farmers begged for the material, a plan to ship 1150 tons of biosolids to the state was defeated due to public outcry. “No part of Oklahoma will be sacred,” wrote Tim Cagg, the chairman of Concerned Citizens for a Clean Environment. “These profit seekers will not be around when we must clean up the damage in years to come.”

Eventually, some farmers in Colorado said they would try it. Just before before Earth Day 1992, 17 train cars filled with several thousand tons of big city biosolids left the station and headed to a new life on Lamar, Co. farms. “At first people wanted to flee the land when they found out New York’s sewage was on the way,” farmer Douglas Tallman said at the time. Tallman’s enthusiasm for the product got him nicknamed “Sludge Judge” in local politics.

Initially, only three or four farms volunteered to take the waste. But then the farmers started to notice some changes. One farmer’s wheat crop yield increased by a third after using biosolids. The sludge also appeared to keep away aphids, prairie dogs, and other pests. Soon, there was a waiting list for farmers who wanted to get their hands on New York biosolids.

New York kept producing, and the farmers kept buying. Trains were now running twice a month to Colorado. The longest train the state received was 153 cars of the stuff. At its peak, 10,000 acres a year were being covered with sludge from the big city, but the demand was so great, 50,000 to 75,000 acres could have been covered if there had been enough product.

The one problem, though, was the cost. Shipping waste on a rail line wasn’t cheap, and the city started looking for other options. Despite demand, in 2012, the train stopped running….] New York City’s Poop Train | Mental Floss

So, how is this connected to Alabama? Because the New York Poop train started transporting biosolids once again. Last year.

[The treated sewage – euphemistically known in the industry as “biosolids” – has plagued residents with a terrible stench, flies and concerns that spilled sludge has leaked into waterways.

“On a hot day, the odor and flies are horrific,” said Charles Nix, mayor of West Jefferson, a town near the landfill that accepts the waste. “It’s better in winter time but if the wind blows in the wrong direction you get the smell. It’s like dead, rotting animals.

Last year, Big Sky Environmental, a landfill west of Birmingham, got permissionfrom Alabama authorities to accept sewage waste, despite objections from residents. Initially, the waste was taken down from New York and New Jersey to a rail spur near West Jefferson, where it was loaded on to trucks that rumbled through the town toward the landfill…. Jefferson county, where West Jefferson sits, decided the use of the rail spur was a violation of zoning laws, so the transport operation shifted the the nearby town of Parrish, which in turn sought to eject the malodorous cargo. Amid the squabble, the sewage sludge backed up in railcars in Birmingham, causing the mayor’s office to complain about the “death smell”.

The outsourcing of New York and New Jersey’s waste to Alabama revived memories of the “poop train” that ferried New York’s waste to farmers in Colorado until 2012. Since the Environmental Protection Agency decided in 1988 that it was not a great idea to simply pump it into the ocean, where to put New York’s fecal matter has become a constant challenge – the city creates around 1,200 tons of sewage every day.

Billions of gallons of raw sewage still spills into New York harbor each year but the waters around the largest US cities are significantly cleaner than in the 1980s and the metropolis has touted its water treatment processes. Last year, it quietly decided Alabama should be the resting point for some of its waste.

Stung by the outcry, New York has severed its links to Big Sky Environmental, although city officials failed to answer questions on how much sewage was still being transported to other states…. Around 7% of New York City’s treated sewage went to the Alabama landfill, according to a city spokesman, adding that a recent inspection by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management found “no odor or leaks”.] Alabama Kicks up a Stink Over Shipments of New York Poo | The Guardian

Now, let’s bring Onis Trey Glenn into the picture.

[The guy who oversees the whole Southeastern arm of the Environmental Protection Agency – the man charged with making sure your water is clean enough to drink and your air doesn’t smell like the caboose of a North Birmingham poop train – is on the job.

Oh, man. I’m kidding. You need to worry. You sooo need to worry.] EPA Director Paid by “Poop Train” Conductor | Alabama.com

[Back in August 2017, Onis “Trey” Glenn was appointed as EPA Region 4 administrator, which oversees the agency’s mission in eight states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. You may recall that Glenn was the director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management from 2005–2009.

While he was pushing for the job as director of ADEM, Glenn approved invoices for engineering firm Malcolm Pirnie (which has since changed its named to Arcadis). It just so happened that at the time, Malcolm Pirnie executive Scott Phillips was chair of the Environmental Management Commission and therefore responsible for selecting the next ADEM director. In 2007, the Alabama Ethics Commission unanimously concluded that Glenn violated state ethics laws in order to get the job at ADEM, though he ultimately escaped criminal charges.

Glenn also billed his family’s private plane trip to Disney World to a PR firm — which he said he eventually paid back. It was so bad that former ADEM attorney David Ludder (who now represents Gasp on several legal matters) urged the EMC to pass a rule banning Glenn from receiving gifts from companies regulated by the agency.] Who Does Trey Glenn Work For | GASPGROUP.com

More coverage: Alabamians Are Sick of New York’s Crap | New York Magazine

 

 

Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana | No Blacks Allowed

[By removing their own kin with attachments to the black community and intermarrying with white individuals, many were attempting to reduce the levels of prejudicial hostility they had experienced since the intrusion of whites on their lands. This historical reality has had devastating effects on indigenous families that intermarried with black people among numerous tribes in the nation. The Chitimacha are a poster child for such discrimination.”

The book, Louisiana: A Guide to the State, illustrates this in a statement: “Among the Chitimacha marriage with Negroes is forbidden, offenders being ostracized and their names permanently removed from the tribal register. On the other hand, the tribe does not object to intermarriage with Caucasians.”  Are Louisiana Tribes Turning a Blind Eye to Racism? | Indian Country Today Network

Also, Louisiana’s Lost Tribe

The Refugee Crisis is About Us | Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow

was born in 1957, the same year China purged more than 300,000 intellectuals, including writers, teachers, journalists and whoever dared to criticise the newly established communist government. As part of a series of campaigns led by what was known as the anti-rightist movement, these intellectuals were sent to labour camps for “re-education”.

Because my father, Ai Qing, was the most renowned poet in China then, the government made a symbolic example of him. In 1958, my family was forced from our home in Beijing and banished to the most remote area of the country – we had no idea that this was the beginning of a very dark, long journey that would last for two decades….

Deconstructing the National Environmental Policy Act

[On January 1, 1970, Richard Nixon signed the National Environmental Policy Act which compels land managers to be accountable, transparent (not making deals in backrooms), to let sound science be a guide, to acknowledge in a forthright way what they don’t know, and to not do things by the seat of their pants or at the whim of political pressure or intimidation.
Even on a U.S. Department of Energy website, one that hasn’t yet been scrubbed by the Trump Administration, NEPA is referenced as “the Magna Carta” of environmental laws, the one that laid down the foundation, in fact, for all modern environmental laws in the land; laws that have safeguarded the health of millions of people, brought species back from the brink, ensured that water flowing from the tap is safe to drink and air good to breathe….
Today, there are several efforts underway in Congress to weaken or gut key provisions of NEPA, part of a larger fusillade of more than 150 overt and more insidious attempts to weaken the law….

NEPA has a special connection to the EPA, for the law gives the agency heft in enforcing the Clean Air and Clean Water acts and in recent years it has employed NEPA to consider the consequences of fossil fuel companies, automobiles and coal-fired energy plants sending carbon dioxide into the atmosphere contributing to human-caused climate change.
One of the first things President Trump did was sign an executive order cancelling an executive order implemented by his predecessor which had instructed federal resource agencies to study climate change, consider climate change in management decisions, make plans for adaptation, and generally coordinate across the boundaries of bureaucratic fiefdoms.
On January 28, 2018, the House Natural Resources Committee chaired by Rob Bishop of Utah, issued a press release praising legislation that would rapidly ramp up oil and gas drilling on public lands and coastal areas. Notably, earlier in January after Trump announced a sweeping change that would clear the way for more offshore drilling by rescinding Obama-era regulations, he backtracked in deciding to exclude Florida where he has a home in Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago, and where Republicans protested….] Read the full article here | MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

Fracking in Wyoming | Photo by EcoFlight, courtesy of SkyTruth

Atrocities We Have Yet to Attach to the #MeToo Scream

… as our diluted, anemic fists briefly emerging from the dusty corners of our safe spaces.

This is the official trailer of a documentary about Warren Jeffs and FLDS. Available to rent or free on Amazon, ShowTime etc. A story that we all let happen.

 

Also, a review of the documentary: