World conflict and problems other than Israel-Palestine.

When my friends or intellectuals start up a debate on Israel...I bring up North Korea. When someone apologises for Palestinian terrorism I talk about child soldiers in Africa. When I hear someone defend everything Israel does...I get into ruthless drug cartels in Latin America and their sex-slaves, bullying and assassinations or I bring up death penalties for apostasy and blasphemy in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. When people criticise American aid to Israel I change the topic to Female Genital Mutilation.

It's not that I don't care about the deaths in Palestine and Israel. I sympathise. In the past I spent hours and hours on the topic both in activism and intellectual engagement But I believe that the news space and intellectual air time that this story gets is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out of proportion. These other conflicts and problems worry me more. They effect a broader group of people. Their problems are less irreducibly complex. The narratives change. I learn a lot when I read about these problems. I can imagine that at least one of the conflicts I mention will improve dramatically in the next ten years. Discussion about North Korea, Child Soldiery etc. involve less recycled material and less scripted and repeated conversation.

Does anyone else feel that the Israel-Palestine conflict eats up a disproportionate amount of intellectual air time? What other world conflicts or problems greatly concern you? What world conflicts or problems can you envision improving in the next ten years?

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Yes, it's subject to interpretation. No, you don't have an obligation to end every instance of suffering, unless you are omnipotent. You have to pick and choose. The US picks and chooses all the time; I happen to disagree with the policy of always siding with Israel no matter what they do.
If you're into cats, go do that. I'm sure it's corny but I think that if 6 billion people each do one tiny thing to make the world better, things would be vastly different.

But if you have an obligation at all, then doesn't it seem rational that you should figure out which instance of suffering is the most egregious and fight that one?

Also, if you limit it to actual suffering in the present tense, then that rules out fighting, for example, overfishing the oceans.

Yes, that would be the rational approach. But some choices are emotional ones; some causes speak to me. I don't care much about cats, but I love dogs and have one we found as a puppy by the highway 4 years ago who is sleeping beside me right now.

There's also the issue of capability. I can't solve the problem of millions of kids starving every year, but I can and do sponsor a child through an international charitable organization.

Every day I use my education and training (2nd career, btw) to treat mentally ill people because I think everyone deserves dignity and respect, and the system is too full of cracks.

I'm sure there are bigger more important causes I could get behind but these are mine.

I agree that there are many other problems in the world.  Which of them is more important than the others is of course a matter of opinion and debate.

The Israel/Palestine/Arab conflict does have the potential, however, to embroil others.  I don't think too many nations are willing to go to war over female genital mutilation, or many of the other local problems.

Please don't misunderstand me.  I decry all of the problems you have brought up, but I think that along with the Russia/Ukraine conflict, the Israel/Palestine conflict has the potential of expanding exponentially.

"...conflict has the potential of expanding exponentially."

Maybe that is the answer Davis is looking for.


Do you think that is a possible reason why trouble in the Middle East gets so much air-time is the potential for WWIII?

Every conflict has the potential of expanding exponentially. I see no notable trends over the last 60 years of conflict in Israel-Palestine that would suggest a future major international conflict. The place has become small peanuts and no one...not even their neighbours wants to touch the place with a 10km long pole. I'd put my money on Pakistan, Nigeria, Indonesia and Columbia per sparking major regional conflict. Though it sure would be swell if none of this came true.

I see what you're saying. I'm curious Gallup what global problems or conflicts get your attention the most or take up your own intellectual "air-time".

"the global problem that I'm most concerned about is the rate at which humanity is destroying the world: short-sighted energy policies, pollution and the environment."


A planet wide infection...what's the cure?

Obviously the current crop of humanity is a planetary disease headed for a global systemic collapse of some unpleasant kind.

So how does one cure a disease one is part of?

As I see it the biggest problem for the planet is the size of the human population and it's exponential growth rate. 

The obvious solution is less people.

My solution is a viral infection that would interfere with the human reproductive cycle, slowing down the rate of human reproduction IMHO would be the most humane way to save the planet and humankind.

Getting the total world population down to 100,000,000 in 80 years would be a good start.


A planet wide infection...what's the cure?

Reason it gets the most airplay is the media.

Media in this country is owned by corporations with vested interest in the mechanizations in Israel.

Most elections feature segments where loyalty to Israeli causes is questioned and being on the wrong side of loyalty to Israeli causes can equal defeat. Once again the media. Imagine a U.S. politician voicing a negative opinion of U.S./Israel relations and not being hammered by the media and winning an election.

The horror of being shot down and extinguishing almost 300 lives has taken a back seat to Israel. Russia continues to circumvent the country of Ukraine, even firing artillery into Ukraine, and the media would rather focus on Israel. Ebola epidemic in Africa? It takes the third line on the Cnn website with Israel on the first line.

Someone once said that Palestinians are like the step children of Islam. No other Islamic country will take them in and yet they will side with them in any conflict with Israel.

As far as being involved with conflicts and disasters around the world I tend to focus on what I can do near me. Can I help the homeless or give to cancer research or help another alcoholic get through another day or guide my family to attempt to live happy lives. Short of quitting my job and hopping a flight to Africa, to assist with the ebola epidemic, I just can't see that far.


"...Someone once said that Palestinians are like the step children of Islam. No other Islamic country will take them in and yet they will side with them in any conflict with Israel."

Oh so true, once I started looking into the history of the Middle East I came to understand how it evolved from desert nomads into it's current mess of oil rich nation states.

Coral reefs: As an amateur aquarist I learned about the chemistry and make up of sea water. Things like specific gravity, salinity levels, total dissolved solids, and how temperature plays a roll in coral animals ability to produce calcium from carbonates in the water.

I set up a 46 gallon aquarium that housed a sea anemone, a pair of clown fish, stony corals, and a giant clam. I plumbed the pump intakes and discharge lines through the wall and down stairs to my basement where I kept a 20 gallon sump. The sump had three chambers one of which was filled with "live Fiji rock" (harvested pieces of coral that have tons of Coraline algae attached to it) that, and the 75 pounds of live rock in the tank, helped with the natural filtering of ammonia and nitrites excreted by the fish and invertebrates. The other chambers were use to mix sea water with the effluent from a calcium reactor that introduced carbonates in the water to allow the rock and invertebrates the ability to produce calcium, and to return the water to the tank. This thing had heaters, a water chiller, (small refrigeration unit), a three way electric valve that would oscillate water through pvc lines on each side of the tank upstairs to mimic the ebb and flow of ocean current. All this was operated by a small device with a cpu that allowed me the ability to program how long the currents lasted, the precise temperature of the water; if the tank got too hot, 81degrees or higher, it would activate the chiller until the water temp dropped to 79. If it got below 77 degrees it would activate the heater until the temp rose to 79. If the calcium levels dropped it would turn on the calcium reactor until levels were back to normal. It would also control two 175 watt Metal Halide lights that mimic the spectrum of natural daylight on a coral reef and two T8 actinic blue fluorescent lights that would be the first to come on at dawn and the last to go out at dusk to mimic a day night cycle in the tank.

Any deviation in temperature, salinity, specific gravity, calcium levels, amount of daylight from the lights would spell death for the tanks inhabitants. Even with this elaborate setup I lost animals. The same holds true for a natural coral reef like the Great Barrier reef. Deviations in temperature cause the coral to bleach and die. Bleaching is the lost of the blue green algae that the coral feed on. They are produced by photo synthesis. This is what is happening in our oceans today. If you think about it, the reefs are islands of life and the ocean beyond is one huge desert devoid of most life. There is nothing out there for most forms of sea life to eat. No places of refuge, no safe places to lay eggs in the water column.

We, the planet, loses those reefs and I seriously think we are in a world of shit...

BTW: During super storm Sandy I lost power to my home for six days. Even though I had an emergency generator there was no where for me to get gasoline for it. I had to choose between heating my home during our waking hours or providing enough power to operate the lights and the heater in my coral tank. I did for the first three days and then had to ration our gasoline when the power did not come back. All the inhabitants of my mini reef died. Delicate creatures.


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