Gadfly

​Climate and Sexuality

July 1st, 2015

To Pope Francis: How About The Sciences Of Climate—And Sexuality?

In his encyclical on climate prepared for one billion Catholics Pope Francis urged them — and the rest of the world — to study and consider what an overwhelming majority of scientists say about the condition of the earth we are supposed to have dominion over. The pope seems to have the habit of not mincing words about our home: “The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In…

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​An Exciting World: Dementia Cures And Sexy Transplants

June 24th, 2015

We Live In Exciting Times….A Writer’s Dream

I’m a news junkie. It’s been a wonderful week to live in a world with instant communications dominated by presidential candidate The Donald-I’m very-rich with real hair, and the encyclical by Pope Francis which urges us to save the environment so the poor can survive in a world of hyperconsumption. Guardian George Monboit wrote a rather poetic article Why We Fight For The Living World: It’s About Love, And It’s Time We Said So:…

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American Medicine

June 17th, 2015

Doctor Henry Jekyll Meets The Evil Health Insurance Agent Mr. Edward Hyde

Robert Louis Stevenson, author of many 19th Century action-packed thrillers such as Treasure Island and Kidnapped, wrote these suspense-filled stories from his sickbed, where he was plagued with “bloody lungs,” probably tuberculosis. While doing some research for a column about our bizarre, scam-filled, and often totally baffling health care “system,” I thought of another Stevenson novel, The Strange Case…

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​Dreams and Nightmares

June 10th, 2015

Whatever Happened to the Idea of the Common Good?

I have always been a faithful reader of Lloyd Omdal’s columns because he can pick a problem apart and submit a reasonable solution with a dollop of humor without preaching. But the former N.D. Lt. governor and retired UND prof was very serious in his May 24 Forum column “’Dream’, is Fast Fading.”

He wrote: “The American Dream is slowly fading as the size of our dependent population grows. North Dakota has thousands of…

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Blood moons

June 3rd, 2015

Blood moons and blood days at the National Rifle Association corral

There is a blood moon “gospel” of sorts among Christian fundamentalists that prophecies the Rapture, or the End Times, will begin to take place if there are four blood moons (eclipses) within one and one-half years.

According to old records, four blood moons around 1493 supposedly marked the expulsion of Jews from Spain -- and the European discovery of America. Another four heralded the founding of the state of Israel…

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​Maxims

May 27th, 2015

“If You Don’t Know Where You Are Going…”

A reader recently sent me a marvelous computer -- animated video of our rover Curiosity landing on Mars in November of 2011. The depiction of the separation of various rockets, the bizarre complexities of the landing, the parachutes, the rover container bouncing across the sparse Mars landscape, the unfolding of the parts, and then the awakening of that marvelous creation of humans was simply amazing. Particularly for a young farm boy who…

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​Cold Showers

May 20th, 2015

Hot And Cold Showers For The Dirty Hapless Homeless

James Hilton wrote “Lost Horizon” in 1933 with the theme that World War I with the introduction of flying machines and the machine gun, the 1929 stock market crash, and the resulting Great Depression, would send the world into a disastrous maelstrom. So in order for a few to gain inner peace and a sense of purpose, Hilton created the mythical Shangri-La based in a Tibetan monastery in the Himalayas. Hilton hoped that after the…

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The Great Mystery: How Our Brain is the Epicenter of Our Universe

May 13th, 2015

When 1976 Olympic decathlon champion Bruce Jenner, a real hunk of a muscular man, came out 39 years later with the statement “for all intents and purposes, I am a woman” in a rather spectacular TV interview, he also emphasized the mysteries of the brain. Jenner admitted his brain is more female than it is male. Why? Is it because of a wound? Is Satan playing games? Is it because of messed-up neurons and bad electrical connections? We don’t have a clue—yet. He was just a very young…

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​Babel Babble

April 30th, 2015

The Planet’s Tower of Babble

At last count the 7 billion descendants of Adam and Eve – or of Pithecanthropus erectus – who presently inhabit the earth try to communicate with one another through 7,000 languages.

Three billion use one of the top twenty languages in this order: Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi, Arabic, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, Japanese, Punjabi, German, Javanese, Wu Chinese, Telugu, Vietnamese, Marathi, French, Korean, Tamil and Italian. In contrast the…

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​Prisons of the Mind and Body

April 26th, 2015

Of Crippled Mice and Men

A few years ago conservative Republican judges on the US Supreme Court chastised their liberal counterparts for citing foreign legal cases in their written opinions because courts in other countries had nothing intelligent to offer American jurisprudence. We can learn nothing from civilizations that have lasted much longer than ours? The arrogance and resulting stupidity is absolutely astounding. The New York Times published an article recently that sanely and…

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