How antibiotics used in factory farming destroy our microbiomes

Good bacteria are our friends. We need to protect them.

  • More and more research nowadays links good gut flora to several health benefits, such as the inhibition of Alzheimer's to a fast metabolism.
  • Since we're over prescribed antibiotics, and because much of the meat we consume comes from animals that were fed antibiotics, we are destroying much of the good bacteria, and often at the risk — because of our diets — of replenishing them.
  • A well-rounded diet that's light in animal protein, high in macronutrients, and supplemented with a good intake of prebiotics can ensure we're keeping probiotics flourishing.

Who is getting rich off you? The insidious big data economy.

Where is your data now? Follow the money.

  • Your day to day actions on the Internet give businesses personal data that turns you into an ad target – or the opposite.
  • Facebook, for example, allowed landlords to block demographic groups such as African Americans, LGBTQ, or disabled people from seeing housing ads – a violation of the 1968 Fair Housing Act.
  • Data brokers have crossed a line, but the laws that should regulate them are outdated; just look at the billion-dollar data deal between 23andMe and Big Pharma. Is it ethical?
Keep reading Show less

When is a quarantine justified? A group of philosophers offers an answer.

Quarantines are worth the trouble to keep the next pandemic at bay but they need to be applied intelligently.

A trainee, wearing personal protective Equipment (PPE), takes part in a training session held by the military trained Civil Security (Securite civile), on checking and treating suspected victims of the Ebola virus. (JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images)
  • A new essay argues that quarantines are often needed, but require strict guidelines on when they can be used.
  • Pandemics are inevitable, and actions that can save lives must be planned now.
  • The arguments in this essay will undoubtedly be of use during the next outbreak.
Keep reading Show less

How Schopenhauer’s thought can illuminate a midlife crisis

When you're in a midlife crisis, success can seem like failure. 

Despite reflecting on the good life for more than 2,500 years, philosophers have not had much to say about middle age. For me, approaching 40 was a time of stereotypical crisis. Having jumped the hurdles of the academic career track, I knew I was lucky to be a tenured professor of philosophy. Yet stepping back from the busyness of life, the rush of things to do, I found myself wondering, what now? I felt a sense of repetition and futility, of projects completed just to be replaced by more. I would finish this article, teach this class, and then I would do it all again. It was not that everything seemed worthless. Even at my lowest ebb, I didn’t feel there was no point in what I was doing. Yet somehow the succession of activities, each one rational in itself, fell short.

Keep reading Show less

The problem with Ayn Rand? She isn't a philosopher

Why is it that people say Ayn Rand isn't a "real" philosopher? 

I have been asked, both online and in person, about why I haven’t listed Ayn Rand on any of the lists of philosophers you should know. This is the answer: Ayn Rand’s philosophical work is not taken seriously by academia because it isn’t very good, and I was focusing on philosophers you need to know.

Keep reading Show less