Archive for March, 2008

Mark Twain, reading an obituary for himself in the newspaper, quipped, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” But at least no one tried to bring it about. Zach Dunlap was pronounced dead after an ATV accident, and his body was about to be harvested for organs, when he responded to stimuli:

Dunlap said one thing he does remember is hearing the doctors pronounce him dead.

“I’m glad I couldn’t get up and do what I wanted to do,” he said.

Asked if he would have wanted to get up and shake them and say he’s alive, Dunlap responded: “Probably would have been a broken window that went out.”

His father, Doug, said he saw the results of the brain scan.

“There was no activity at all, no blood flow at all.”

It’s important, when thinking about cases in medical ethics, to realize just how little we know.


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Feline Friday: Sasha

SashaFifteen years ago, one of our daughters’ babysitters found a beautiful, long-haired kitten in a dumpster near campus. She wanted to keep the kitten, but her parents wouldn’t let her bring it home for the summer, so we kept it for her. When she returned in the fall, she was living in an apartment that didn’t accept pets. So, the kitten became ours permanently. Sasha turned out to be a quiet, loving cat whose long fur turned her into a mobile dust mop. She’s old now, and much thinner than she used to be, but still has the soulful eyes she had as a kitten popping up from a dumpster looking for a home.

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Forbes finds that philosophy majors sometimes have an advantage:

So, you spent the last four years at college pondering man’s purpose in the universe. Now it’s time to figure out how you’re going to turn that knowledge into a paycheck every two weeks.

Have no fear. The consensus among the people with their fingers on the pulse of the job market, and those who live the success stories, is that your future is bright. And no, it doesn’t have to be at a law practice.

It would seem that most employers are keeping an open mind these days and in some instances even preferring a broad-based academic background.

Mark Charnock, president and general manager of MonsterTRAK, a division of Monster.com, said philosophy students fit a profile that employers are seeking more and more….

“First and foremost, they’re looking for ‘change agents,’ ” he said.

“They’re looking for people they could empower later and that have a broad-based background to come into the organization and sort of elicit this change within it.”

Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com, himself a philosophy and Asian Studies double major, explains the advantages of having majored in philosophy:

“You come equipped with a great set of mental muscles,” Byrne said.

“You come equipped with the ability to learn in new and unfamiliar areas. Typically, you come with the ability to express yourself well, to write well and to think deeply about problems and to sort of get outside the box of where everybody else is.”

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The Day the Music Companies Died

Charlie Martin writes an obituary, perhaps not too far in advance, for the record companies:

There is a new business model coming, one that will be built around the musicians and their works; promoting them, getting them visibility, letting people know about them. It will be good for musicians themselves, and not just the big name acts: with a potential audience of billions of people, very small acts with a tiny tiny percentage of the potential audience will still make the artists more money then they could have made in day jobs.

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More on Obama’s Speech

Lionel Chetwind, Thomas Sowell, and Marty Peretz offer perspectives on Barack Obama’s speech about his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who apparently had no more personal reason for hostility to America than Obama himself.

Perhaps the most insightful reaction I have heard to Obama’s speech, however, and the one that may portend most for his prospects in Pennsylvania, comes from a bar patron in Philadelphia, who summarized the speech as follows: “My pastor’s crazy—and it’s your fault!”

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Lydia McGrew‘s daughter discovers the essence of Gnosticism and postmodernism:

I got to the part about how the Gnostics tried to create mysteries and then told people that they could be part of their secret “club” by going through an initiation ceremony. People thought this was pretty cool and that they would be profound thinkers like their teachers if they learned this hidden knowledge, but really it was all nonsense.

To which she replied, “That’s sort of like postmodernism. Where they say that yes and no are the same thing.”

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Hillary Under Fire

Exaggeration is one thing, but confusing hugs with sniper fire? I love the euphemism “misspoke,” incidentally, as if this was some sort of malapropism.

Still, I think many people are tempted to embellish the truth from time to time, to project an image more positive, more interesting, and more dramatic to their listeners than the facts warrant. It must be an occupational hazard of politicians, who not only face that temptation every day in the course of their constant self-promotion but also face potential refutation in the form of videotape they had long since forgotten.

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