Not Basic Training

(by Lance Erlick)
While I never call the process Annabelle goes through in The Rebel Within basic training, I can see how some might come to this story with that expectation. So let me clear that up.
The society in The Rebel Within has recruitment issues to fill the ranks of its military and security forces. The government resorts to tracking (forcing) selected young girls toward security. Annabelle is one who is tracked for political reasons.
The military commander who takes on recruits for her elite unit has the dubious task of weeding out those who are only fulfilling their security obligations or otherwise will not have what she is looking for before they enter boot camp.
She puts the potential recruits through a grueling qualification process to assess the potential talent she will have to work with. Her final test, a gladiatorial fight to the death serves her purposes, but is also is a political spectacle in support of government policy.

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Female Selection Affects Male Behavior

(by Lance Erlick)

As women become more economically independent and more selective in their choice of mates, will human male behavior and habits take on a whole new category of competition for female attention as it has within various bird communities?

The club-winged manakin is a South American bird in which the female handles all parental care and needs the male primarily for having offspring.

When Richard Prum, a Yale ornithologist, studied the manakin, he found the male could “sing with its feather.” The little male bird hops “acrobatically from branch to branch” and “waves its wings over its back” “in order to attract female manakins.” The bird “produced a loud, clear tone that sounded as if it came from a violin.”

Darwin viewed this behavior as an “example of how females could cause evolutionary change simply by the influence of their mating preferences.” This could explain the peacock’s tail, which has importance to mate selection despite posing a physical danger to the animal from prey.

So, the question is whether human female choices in mates will alter human male physical and behavior development over the coming years?

(From article in NY Times August 2, 2005 by Carl Zimmer entitled A New Kind of Birdsong: Music on the Wing in the Forests of Ecuador.)

Injustice

(by Lance Erlick)

Would you rise up against injustice supported by your group when group identity is ingrained in our blood? Or do you only fight injustice that personally offends you? Tough question — no easy answer.

Attributed to Voltaire: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Another Civil War?

(by Lance Erlick

The last three elections have been so spiteful, extreme positions are pulling at the fabric of what makes us American. Political dialog, or lack thereof, is becoming more extreme, trying to force the American people to choose between two bad alternatives. It is like being given the choice of losing your right hand or your left. It’s a choice, but what about the third alternative that doesn’t involve mutilation. Continue reading