Lifes Worth Knowing

Force Feeding: December

In Force Feed, Jon, Justin on December 1, 2011 at 12:02 pm

When Jon and I initially discussed ways for us to keep our intellects challenged in a world full of diapers and burp cloths, we hatched the idea of this blog, which would become an outlet for us to explore new ideas. But we also wanted to take it one step further and continually challenge each other to come into contact with thoughts and ideas that we normally wouldn’t. We didn’t want to each write about our own interests, never crossing into the other’s realm, we wanted something that would purposefully bring us somewhere new.

So we devised  a plan that would help us do all of that – with this being our inaugural attempt.

Welcome to our monthly force feeding. Each month, on the first of the month, we will each pick a topic for the other to explore. The goal is to put together a meaningful and informative post on that topic within 10 days. It’s not a book report, it is an exploration of new ideas that might lead to a new thought or new way of understanding. We put no limits on what the topics could be – just that they would challenge the other writer to go somewhere he otherwise wouldn’t have gone. The hope is that it should provide some entertaining contrasts, and give us the opportunity to seek out something new.

Justin’s Force Feeding #1 – Mass Extinction Crisis

In case you haven’t heard, the human population recently climbed up and over the 7 billion member plateau. Predictably, this milestone was commemorated by a litany of articles and reports investigating the significance of this huge number. Some found that life expectancy has increased or predicted an even larger move toward urbanization in the immediate future. Many used the event as a way to scrutinize our energy and resource consumption. Others took the opportunity to speak out on social issues like birth control and gender equality.  As his first force feeding, I am tasking Justin to analyze the significance of our rise to 7 billion people in regards to how it will affect declining animal populations worldwide.

It is no secret that natural ecosystems are stressed, perhaps more than ever before.  Our generation could realistically witness the extinction of coral reefs, polar bears, lions, tigers, and gorillas, to name a few of the headliners. According to the American Museum of Natural History nearly 70% of biologists believe we are currently experiencing the single fastest mass extinction event in the history of life on Earth. In 2002, the UN issued a report warning that 25% of mammal species could face extinction within 30 years. That was almost 10 years ago.

And so, Justin, what consequences could we see as a result of this extinction crisis? Is it reversible? If so, how? And why isn’t this a bigger social/political issue?

Jon’s Force Feeding #1 – US Foreign Aid

In addition to his stumbles, gaffes, and allegedly drunken speeches, Rick Perry has distinguished himself from other Republican candidates in the recent debates by staking out a position that even Tea Party darling Michelle Bachmann finds ludicrous. He recently stated that “it’s time for us as a country to say no to foreign aid to countries that don’t support the United States of America.”

His position then, is that the United States foreign aid budget would start at zero – and then be allocated to countries in proportion to their “support” for America.

If foreign aid is such a big issue for Rick Perry, why do most Americans know next to nothing about it? What does he know that we don’t?  The question posed here becomes a complex one, Why do we have a foreign aid budget, what was it designed to do, and who gets the money? If Rick Perry is ready to do away with foreign aid because it’s wasteful, what exactly are we “wasting” our money on”?

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