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Today’s Kindle Sample #14

17 Mar

guanxi-networking“I would strangle everyone in this room if it somehow prolonged my son’s life.” That’s what I blurted into a microphone during a panel discussion on ethics. I was laughing when I said it, but the priest sitting next to me turned sharply in horror and the communist sitting next to him raised her hand to her throat and stare daggers at me. Why was I on a panel with a priest and a revolutionary communist? Long story – not very interesting: we were debating the future of ethics with special attention to the role of religion. The interesting part, however, is that at some point, after we all shook hands as adults and I was on my way home, I realized I meant it – I would choke them all. Well, of course, one can’t be entirely sure that one’s action will follow one’s intentions. The best laid plans of mice and men, and all that. But, given some weird Twilight Zone scenario wherein all their deaths somehow saved my son’s life, I was at least hypothetically committed. The caveman intentions were definitely there.

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Someone Please Say, No!

17 Mar

compliance-movie1The joy of indie films is the surprise that comes from low expectations. Compliance (2012) is the best film I’ve seen in 2013. It was also one of the most disturbing, infuriating thrillers, perhaps because it’s so reminiscent of the Milgram experiments, I’ve ever had to endure.

According to the film, in the decade leading up to 2004, more than 70 cases were reported of a man, pretending to be a police officer or some other authority figure, who called a fast-food restaurant and requested strip searches of employees. Each incident shared a similar pattern: The purported officer claimed to need help to solve a case, which required a manager to remove a female employee’s clothing and, in some cases, perform sexual acts on her.

The film is based on one such event, which occurred at a McDonald’s in Mount Washington, Ky., in 2004. In Zobel’s version, Dreama Walker stars as Becky, a blond, teenage employee of “Chickwich,” a fictional fast-food restaurant in Ohio, and Ann Dowd stars — in an epically nuanced, Oscar-worthy performance — as her well-meaning manager, Sandra.

Early in the film, Sandra receives a call from a man claiming to be a local police officer named “Officer Daniels,” who explains that Becky has been accused of stealing from a customer. Officer Daniels then instructs Sandra to remove Becky’s clothes, her belongings, to help him “find the money,” and then — well, it just gets worse from there.

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Acupuncture Doesn’t Work – In Any Culture

17 Mar

Acupuncture ClinicTime is pushing needles.

Needles may not seem like the best tool for treating stress, but acupuncture could be tapping into basic biological systems that keep stress under control.

Fine, it’s a peer-reviewed journal. It’s far from claiming acupuncture will cure a disease. But, it’s one study.

Acupuncture is a topic that comes up infrequently in my daily life, interacting with students or even family members, but how do you tell someone it’s bunk (via SGU #400) diplomatically?

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