Animals' Best Friend

A referendum will be held his weekend in Switzerland to decide if government attorneys should be deployed to represent animals in court cases that involve animal rights.

A referendum will be held his weekend in Switzerland to decide if government attorneys should be deployed to represent animals in court cases that involve animal rights. "Mr Goetschel is one of a kind in Switzerland. The passionate animal rights advocate fulfils the role of a state-funded public prosecutor for abused pets and farm animals in his home canton of Zurich. He represents an average of 150 to 200 abused animals a year. But if a national referendum goes his way this weekend, there will soon be scores of lawyers like him all over Switzerland fighting in courts up and down the land for the rights of animals. In contrast to the negative publicity the country has received over attitudes to foreigners and Muslims, the Alpine nation may soon win renown as the most animal-friendly country on earth. Opinion polls have indicated that 70 per cent of the Swiss population support the scheme. It is already illegal to keep lone goldfish, guinea pigs, canaries and budgerigars in Switzerland because they could become lonely and suffer as a result. Dog owners have to take training courses and from 2013 it will be against the law to keep horses tied up in their stalls. The poll has been set in motion by the campaign group, Swiss Animal Protection, which gathered the necessary 100,000 signatures to force the nationwide vote. It argues that despite big increases in reported animal abuse, the cases often fail to make it to court because they are not taken seriously enough by the local authorities."

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Saying no is hard. These communication tips make it easy.

You can say 'no' to things, and you should. Do it like this.

  • Give yourself permission to say "no" to things. Saying yes to everything is a fast way to burn out.
  • Learn to say no in a way that keeps the door of opportunity open: No should never be a one-word answer. Say "No, but I could do this instead," or, "No, but let me connect you to someone who can help."
  • If you really want to say yes but can't manage another commitment, try qualifiers like "yes, if," or "yes, after."
Keep reading Show less

Apparently even NASA is wrong about which planet is closest to Earth

Three scientists publish a paper proving that Mercury, not Venus, is the closest planet to Earth.

Strange Maps
  • Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbor must be planet two or four, right?
  • Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
  • Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbor is... Mercury!
Keep reading Show less

Why is 18 the age of adulthood if the brain can take 30 years to mature?

Neuroscience research suggests it might be time to rethink our ideas about when exactly a child becomes an adult.

Mind & Brain
  • Research suggests that most human brains take about 25 years to develop, though these rates can vary among men and women, and among individuals.
  • Although the human brain matures in size during adolescence, important developments within the prefrontal cortex and other regions still take pace well into one's 20s.
  • The findings raise complex ethical questions about the way our criminal justice systems punishes criminals in their late teens and early 20s.
Keep reading Show less