The Crucible

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'Distraction-free shopping'

I wandered by a Target today and saw a guy sitting outside, registering people to vote. Target hasa policy for a while to provide what they call "distraction-free shopping" to their customers. Basically no person or group, regardless of reason or cause, can position themselves in front of the store to solicit anything. Not signatures, not Girl Scout cookies, not donations, nothing.

According to their official policy, "We ask all solicitors and petitioners to respect our policy by ceasing their activities and leaving our property. However, frequently they refuse to comply. We partner with local law enforcement agencies to assist us in having unwanted solicitors and petitioners removed from our property."

I've never seen anyone removed from the front of a store before. Instead what happens is there is usually a big angry red sign stating that what this person/group is doing is against store policy.

I'm curious about everyone's thoughts on this policy or similar policies other businesses have enacted. Should the store call law enforcement to remove people? What about the people who are knowing violating the store's policy?

Animal animism?

Alligators are fascinating creatures. Survivors from the age of dinosaurs, they and their crocodilian kin are the closest living relatives to birds. The mother alligator fiercely defends her nest, and protects her hatchlings for up to three years. In zoos, gators have been known to live for upwards of 70 years.

Alligators communicate with each other in a variety of different ways. Baby gators in distress will ‘chirp’ to summon their mother, and sometimes even unrelated alligators will also respond to the call. Adults employ a range of vocalizations, hisses, roars, and bellows when confronted with danger or when defending their territory.

Gators also have the ability to hear and emit ultra-low frequency vibrations, which are inaudible to the human ear, yet travel for great distances. The force of these ultra-low frequency rumbles literally make water droplets leap off the gator’s back, an effect known as the ‘water dance.’ The alligator uses these long-range signals to announce its presence to distant gators, advertising its availability to potential mates and warning off potential rivals.

Interestingly however, the alligator seems to be easily confused by other sources of ultra-low frequency vibration. Thunderstorms often trigger the rumbling response in gators, as do large vehicles or other heavy machinery. Here’s an article about a guy who got some gators horny with a tuba serenade.

How important is history (and knowledge thereof)?

I'm somewhat of an amateur history buff, specifically the tumult of Irish history but also other places. Several things fascinate me, how much there is always left to know, even of events you thought yourself perfectly familiar with, and also the apparent general level of ignorance of one's own and world history amongst people.

I suppose it's just one of those things which I find interesting that others don't but it chagrins me when I hear or read commentary on a current or historical event that displays a distinct lack of knowledge of the historical context. The events of the past obviously have very real repercussions on the present and it serves us well to know how things have happened, that the world, its structures, its people didn't just spring into existence on the day we were born. I understand that we all only have finite time in which to find out about stuff. I think wikipedia has been a boon for those casually interested in historical events.

Finally, we are 100% crime-free!

Calm down, all you lawyer-types; it's only a hypothetical.

Anyhoo, what do now? We have a legal system to dismantle, law enforcement officers to re-employ and a lot of judges to keep in hookers and blow.

You are wondering how this happened? Well, a drug has been developed that exaggerates a person's empathy sufficiently that even a complete sociopath no longer wants to cause harm or distress to another living thing.

This'll further entail all prisons, probation services and other related lines of work to eventually be phased out, leaving another swathe of unemployed people.

Do we start this drug program, or would it upset the apple-cart too much?

ps. The drug has already been tested on Charlie Manson, who has now become an avid fan of reality tv shows, and an impressive adept of knitting.

Atheists: Would you be sad if your child turned out to be religious?

I was in a discussion about raising children without a particular religion, with the thought that they should be allowed to choose when they are old enough. There was some discussion about the difference between raising them neutral and raising them specifically atheist. One atheist said that she is doing the latter, and would be sad if her children turned out religious. Which makes sense...certainly religious people are disappointed if their children turn out not to be believers.

Since so many mellos are atheist, I thought I'd ask you, would you have similar feelings?

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