Is the Chinese Language a Superstition Machine?

How ambiguity in language can create unique taboos. BY JULIE SEDIVY Every year, more than a billion people around the world celebrate Chinese New Year and engage in a subtle linguistic dance with luck. You can think of it as a set of holiday rituals that resemble a courtship. To lure good fortune into their lives, they may decorate their homes and doors with paper cutouts of lucky words or phrases. Those who need a haircut make sure to get one before the New Year, as the word for “hair” (fa) sounds like the word for “prosperity”—and who wants to … Continue reading Is the Chinese Language a Superstition Machine?

Tigers found to assist farmers and livestock owners by protecting domesticated animals from other threats

 by: Jessica Dolores (Natural News) There have been a lot of stories about tigers and other predators attacking people and livestock. While this may have created a negative perception of tigers, a new study asks us to reconsider: In a paper in the journal Biological Conservation, researchers from Bhutan found that farmers and livestock can actually benefit from having tigers live near them. Tigers that live in the deepest habitats push two other predators — leopards and dholes (a type of wild dog) — away and closer to human villages and agricultural places. Despite the setup, this doesn’t endanger the people and the livestock. In … Continue reading Tigers found to assist farmers and livestock owners by protecting domesticated animals from other threats

Christopher Hitchens on Animal Rights, Our Human Hubris, and the Lesser Appreciated Moral of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”

Art by Ralph Steadman from the special 50th anniversary edition of Animal Farm. “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.” BY MARIA POPOVA We call the natural world beyond us our environment — a term I find troubling in its connotation of that which surrounds us and revolves around us: It exudes the hubristic ecological Ptolemism that has long placed us — misplaced us, rather — at the center of all life. Only in the second half of the twentieth century, thanks to scientists like Jane Goodall who have revolutionized our understanding of non-human animals and illuminated the rich consciousnesses of other … Continue reading Christopher Hitchens on Animal Rights, Our Human Hubris, and the Lesser Appreciated Moral of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”