British arms manufacturer BAE Systems is designing "environmentally friendly" weapons, including "reduced lead" bullets, "reduced smoke" grenades and rockets with fewer toxins, The Sunday Times said.
Other initiatives include developing armoured vehicles with lower carbon emissions, safer and more sustainable artillery and even recycling or composting waste explosives, the newspaper added.
"Weapons are going to be used and when they are, we try to make them as safe for the user as possible, to limit the collateral damage and to impact as little as possible on the environment," Debbie Allen, BAE Systems' director of corporate social responsibility, was quoted as saying.
But Symon Hill, from Campaign Against Arms Trade, described the policy as "laughable".
"BAE is determined to try to make itself look ethical but they make weapons to kill people and it's utterly ridiculous to suggest they are environmentally friendly," he told the newspaper.
BAE Systems' policy is reportedly endorsed by Britain's Ministry of Defence, which defended the concept of "green munitions" as not a contradiction in terms. The US Army already has its own sustainability website.
For more details, see The (London) Times.
Scene: Eating sushi
Keith: I once ate some sashimi on top of some sliced radish. I was going to eat the radish afterward, but then I thought: "I don't want to eat that. It's been touching raw fish."
Background: This summer, my part-time employer Google began stocking its refrigerators with fresh peanut butter and celery sticks, which became my favorite afternoon snack until I noticed I was putting on weight.
The following conversation took place with my husband last night.
Ellen: Remember my telling you last month that my pants felt tight after I started eating the peanut butter at Google, so I stopped eating it? My pants no longer feel tight.
Keith: So peanut butter must have an effect on elastic.
I recently expressed skepticism over specific claims of differences between men's and women's brains, including that women use 20,000 words per day, while men use 7,000. This has now been debunked by Mark Liberman at Language Log in a series of posts:
- < a href="http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/003419.html">Neuroscience in the service of sexual stereotypes
- Sex-linked lexical budgets
- Sex and speaking rate
I found out about these posts from the always interesting Mind Hacks blog.
I recently finished reading Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Robert Hare. As the title suggests, psychopaths are qualitatively different from other people, literally having no conscience. The book (and another on the subject, The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout) convinced me that this difference really exists. Before that, I assumed that all people who behaved differently from me just had different values or loyalties.
According to Hare, psychopaths have no difficult lying or even contradicting themselves in the same conversation. He gives the following beyond satire examples (pp. 125-127):
When asked if he had ever committed a violent offense, a man serving time for theft answered, "No, but I once had to kill someone."
A woman with a staggering record of fraud, deceit, lies, and broken promises concluded a letter to the parole board with, "I've let a lot of people down....One is only as good as her reputation and name. My word is as good as gold."
A man serving time for armed robbery replied to the testimony of an eyewitness, "He's lying. I wasn't there. I should have blown his fucking head off."
When asked, "Did you actually carry around in your briefcase blank power-of-attorney forms?" his reply was, "No, I didn't carry them around, but I had them in my briefcase, yes."
[Convicted serial killer Elmer Wayne Henley answers an interviewer by saying]: "I'm not a serial killer." The interviewer than says, "You're saying you're not a serial killer now, but you've serially killed." Henley replies, with some exasperation and condescension, "Well, yeah, that's semantics."
Men, Women, and Sex
Recently, I ridiculed the idea that men think about sex two thousand times as often as women do (once a minute vs. once every couple of days). According to my highly scientific polls, 52% of men think about sex at least once a minute while more women think about sex every few days (27%) than do one or more times per minute (18%). The majority of women (55%), however, think of sex an intermediate amount. It looks like the sex sex difference is greater than I thought but less than the article implied. Still, I'm going to invest in divorce futures.
I also had a survey on whether to run personal items in this blog. Most people said yes, although a few would prefer that I stick to the "beyond satire" theme. For those people, you can use this bookmark or this feed to only get items tagged beyond satire. Let me know if you have any problem with them.
Background: My husband Keith is a coffee addict, and I try to remember to accomodate him on our morning commute. (We don't have a coffee maker at home.)
Ellen (while driving car): Would you like me to stop at the coffee shop?
Keith: Yes, that would be great, although it's not necessary. I could jump out of the car while it's moving.
Background: My eyes aren't straight, and I lack depth perception, which doesn't particularly bother me. (I try to look on the bright side, such as that even regular movies look as 3D as real life to me, and I could still be a space ship pilot.) Most people don't notice it, but some people think I'm not looking at them when I am.
When a new colleague seemed unsure whether I was directing questions at him, I explained that my eyes aren't straight. Another colleague exclaimed: "You have strabismus? Me too!" and gave me a high five. When I later told Keith, he said it would have been funny if our hands had missed.