Rat empathy; Secret weapon against poverty; etc.

Links within this post:
Rat empathy
Secret weapon
Marriage a “luxury good?”
Hero of cancer research

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Rodent empathy is environmental and not genetic, study shows

I am very happy that the article mentions the evolutionary advantage of empathy. The study finds that tendencies toward empathy are not inherited in rats, but that rats will extend help only to other kinds of rats with which they are already socially familiar.

I am not confident in the researcher’s assertion that genetic commonality is greater across human races than across strains of rats; the study’s findings, however, are consistent with the observation that contact with members of other races, and IMO in particular participation with such persons on shared projects with common goals (such as participation on sports teams or working together on a job), powerfully helps overcome racial prejudice.

The article makes an important observation about how an individual in distress radiates negative energies that deplete the life force of an observer.  This may inform much about all the Bible says about the poor; about societal responses like the War on Poverty; about the depleted life force of people in distressed communities; and about how I became homeless.  In response to encountering a panhandler, for example, some, like Dan Rodricks, respond with pity; others, like (his nemesis) Rikki Spector, with revulsion.

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In luck we trust
The War on Poverty’s secret weapon: Marriage.
(Kathleen Parker, The Washington Post)

I’m not sure what that title’s supposed to mean. I’m also not wild about the War on Poverty or the recent hubbub about trying to stage a new one.

The article doesn’t go as far as I’d like demonstrating the value of marriage as an anti-poverty institution; I suppose in the future I’ll need to find that evidence from other sources. The author does offer a view a bit different from my own, but still basically consistent with it, of as it were the “War on Marriage” in which the forces of political correctness have engaged from the 1960s to the present. I recall my recent assertions elsewhere that marriage is not a concept among the poor and that spiritual problems (such as the sanctity of marriage) have no political solutions. It will be a mantra of The William Tell Show, that

if you don’t want the baby
enough to get married,
you don’t want the baby

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A completely different perspective:

The class divide: Marriage as a ‘luxury good’

Maybe I should just be glad for the chance now to purge this from my archive.

The “problem” posed here, as I understand it, is that exceptionally privileged young adults are basically refusing to marry below one’s station.

The demographic in question here is wholly alien to me and I must think far, far too small to be able to do anything that would count as a social trend.

The “values” in question here, likewise wholly alien to me, are even “smaller:” things are more important than people.

Good luck finding a life partner that way!

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“Naked Mole Rat, Star of Cancer Research, Honored by Science Journal”

I just can’t get over that image.

(Originally posted 01/20/14.)

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