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Ethics

Feminism

  1. What is feminism?
  2. Why isn’t there something called ‘masculinism’?
  3. Are people in your country totally fair and equal to women and men?
  4. What do you know about the history of feminism?
  5. What have feminist movements achieved in your country?
  6. Do you think feminism sometimes has an unfair image?
  7. Why do you think relatively few women belong to feminist movements? Can men be feminists?
  8. What important things should men know about feminism?

Responsibility

Part I, questions for discussion:

  1. What is responsibility?
  2. What should a responsible friend/spouse/parent/sibling/grandparent be like?
  3. What are the responsibilities of parents? Should parents support their children financially while they are studying at university?
  4. Do you agree that in Russia there are many adults living in dependence on their parents?
  5. How should kids be raised so that they become responsible and not live off their parents?

Cheating in School

Reading: 

There have always been kids that have chosen to cheat in school, but today’s tech gadgets have made it easier and more common than before. With the majority of teens and tweens carrying cell phones, answers to test questions can zing around a classroom in minutes. Here are some examples of the ways teens are cheating at school:

Morality, Empathy and Altruism

Morality

  1. What qualities does a high-minded person have?
  2. Do we need religion to be people of good morals? Are we obliged to religion for the existence of morality?
  3. The vision of morality is different in various cultures. Why?
  4. Is it necessary to create universal moral values? If so, what should they be like?

Respect and Tolerance

Respect

  1. Who do you respect most of all? Why?
  2. What qualities should person have to earn your respect?
  3. Have you been in a situation when you didn’t respect a person, but he/she did something that made you change your attitude to him/her? What did he/she do?
  4. Have you been in a situation when you weren’t respected by someone, but afterwards earned his/her respect? What had changed?

Are men and women treated equally in this country?

Questions for discussion:

  1. Do you believe that you are supposed to act in certain ways and do certain things depending on who you are, a man or a woman?
  2. How has the attitude to women's role in the society changed in the past century? Has it ever changed at all for that matter?
  3. What patterns of behavior are considered to be appropriate for men but inappropriate for women?
  4. Do parents have different expectations for their sons and daughters in their families?

Doctor, make me feel good!

​Questions for discussion:

  1. Are you interested in the way our body works?
  2. Have you ever wanted to become a doctor or a nurse?
  3. Why do some people choose the profession of a nurse, not a doctor?
  4. What do you think is the hardest thing in working as a doctor? As a nurse?
  5. What is a good and a bad doctor? How do you find out that a doctor is good?

Teenagers: Why do they rebel? (revised)

Teenagers say what REALLY annoys them about their mothers

Singing in the car, trying to be one of the gang and Facebook friend requests: Teenagers give their (toe-curling) views on what REALLY annoys them about their mothers

  • Joe Lawrence, 17, from London, is sick of his mother Julia singing in the car
  • Olivia Becci, 17, from London, wants her mother Anna-Maria to stop trying to be one of the girl gang when her friends come over to her house 
  • Seth Daker, 18, from Ripponden, West Yorkshire, wants his mother Nicky to stop sending him friend requests on social media including Facebook and Twitter

Is Empathy Overrated?

Reading: While it may result in tremendous good, empathy can also be narrow, biased and surprisingly insensitive, argues psychology professor Paul Bloom.

Does empathy make the world a better place? It certainly looks like it. After all, empathy drives people to treat others’ suffering as if it were their own, which then motivates action to make the suffering go away. I see the bullied teenager and might be tempted initially to join in with his tormentors, out of sadism or boredom or a desire to dominate or be popular, but then I empathize — I feel his pain, I feel what it’s like to be bullied — so I don’t add to his suffering. Maybe I even rise to his defense. Empathy is like a spotlight directing attention and aid to where it’s needed.

Pets

Dog's dinner: DNA clue to how dogs became our friends

Dogs have been dining on human food scraps since the early days of their domestication, it appears.

Our canine companions developed the ability to digest starchy foods during the farming revolution thousands of years ago, according to DNA evidence. Scientists think dogs may have been domesticated from wolves when they came into settlements, scrounging for food. Modern dogs can tolerate starch-rich diets, unlike their wolf cousins, which are carnivores.

Copyright and Internet Piracy

2317 New Editions from Amazon by Decades

Our Lost Culture: What We Lose From Having Killed The Public Domain

Yesterday, for Copyright Week, we wrote about transparency (and the lack of it in making copyright law). Today's issue is the public domain. While we just wrote about the lack of new works going into the public domain this year (as happens every year in the US), I've seen some copyright maximalists asking why this is a big deal, since all the works listed are readily available to purchase. This is uninformed in the extreme. In the past I've suggested that everyone interested in these issues owes it to themselves to read James Boyle's excellent book, The Public Domain, and I'll reiterate that recommendation now. Not surprisingly, the book is available online for free, though you can also purchase a copy, which is a worthwhile investment. 

Junk Food Ban

Talking Points

Privacy

Questions for discussion:

  1. What is privacy?
  2. How do you maintain your privacy at home? At school?On the Internet? When using Facebook? When you travel? When talking on the phone?
  3. What are the reasons why privacy is important for you?
  4. To what extent do public officials have a right to privacy?

Euthanasia

Questions for discussion:

  1. What is the difference between euthanasia and suicide?
  2. Is there a difference between euthanasia and murder?
  3. Does a family member or a doctor have the right to turn off a life support machine?
  4. How long should doctors keep someone alive who is brain dead?

Is envy eating us alive?

Reading:

Is Envy Eating Us alive?

Have you ever been in the situation of seeing someone you perceive as an equal succeed beyond their – and your – wildest dreams? Have you ever struggled to understand how they did it, given that they are, according to you, no more talented or skilled than you? If the answer to these questions is yes, you have likely struggled with the painful feeling of envy.

The problem of choice

Reading:

Should Governments Nudge Us to Make Good Choices?

Our decisions are constantly shaped by subtle changes in our environment. Even choices that feel deliberate and conscious can be swayed by cues that we may not even notice, such as social norms or the setting of a default option. Behavioral scientists use the phrase “choice architecture” to describe the ways in which the environment influences how we decide.

Should gay marriages be legalized?

Reading:

Gay marriage declared legal across the US in historic supreme court ruling

Same-sex marriages are now legal across the entirety of the United States after a historic supreme court ruling that declared attempts by conservative states to ban them unconstitutional.

In what may prove the most important civil rights case in a generation, five of the nine court justices determined that the right to marriage equality was enshrined under the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.

Should cannabis be legalised?

Reading: 

The National Cancer Institute Says Cannabis Kills Cancer

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) updated its website to include various studies revealing how cannabis may inhibit tumor growth by killing cells, blocking cell growth, and blocking the development of blood vessels needed by tumors to grow. The institute also said that cannabis does this while protecting healthy cells.

NCI released the following statement after updating its website:

Cheating

Questions for discussion:

  1. What is your definition of cheating?
  2. Have you ever cheated?
  3. Why do you think that people cheat?
  4. Have you ever cheated in an exam?

Cloning

Questions for discussion:

  1. What is cloning?
  2. What are the advantages of cloning?
  3. What are the disadvantages of cloning?
  4. Do you think animals should be cloned?
  5. Do you think vegetables should be modified?

Pride

Questions for discussion:

  1. What is pride?
  2. Are you proud of your country?
  3. Do you feel more pride in yourself or in others?
  4. Are you proud of your heritage?
  5. Do you think you were always a source of great pride for your parents?

Genetic Engineering

Reading: 

"Genetic moderation"

WITH food security firmly on the international agenda, there's a growing appetite to look again at the opportunities promised by agricultural biotechnology.

Scientists working in this area are excited by new techniques that enable them to edit plant DNA with unprecedented accuracy. Even epigenetic markers, which modulate the activity of genes, can now be altered. The promise is to modify crops to make them more nutritious or resistant to disease.

Culture & Customs

 1. What customs do you practice? What customs do you think should no longer be practice?

2. What are your favorite customs?

3. What customs do you think should be revised?  

4. What customs (from elsewhere) do you think should be included in our culture?

5. What are the five most important values of your culture? (For example, Family)

6. What in your culture are you most proud about?

7. If you could change one thing about your culture, what would it be?

Culture Shock

1. How do you feel when you leave your home culture and enter into a completely new culture?

2. What is culture shock? Have you ever experienced culture shock?

3. What is reverse, or re-entry, culture shock? Have you ever experienced reverse culture shock?

4. What do you think is important when visiting another culture?

5. What other cultures have you met people from? What has surprised you when you've met people from other countries?

Cultural Differences

1. What do you think is interesting about your culture?
2. Do you know much about your own culture?
 3. When people from other countries think about your culture, what do they usually think of?
4. What has surprised you when you've met people from other countries?
 5. Have you looked at Internet pages from a different culture? If so, how were they different from those of your own culture?
6. What do you like about your culture?What don't you like about your culture?

Nursing Homes, Retirement Communities, Disabilities and Handicaps

Questions for discussion:

  1. Why do you think people send their elders to nursing homes?
  2. Do you think sending your loved ones to nursing homes is a kind of abandonment?
  3. Do you think we should take care of our parents when they grow old? Is it a family duty?
  4. Do you ever get tired of family duties?
  5. Does the government in your country care of people in their old age?
  6. Would you consider living in an retirement home when you're older?

Family & Alternative Lifestyles

Questions for discussion:

  1. Do grandparents help to look after their grandchildren in your country? Who should take care of old people, in your opinion?
  2. Do unmarried couples live together in your country these days? What do people in your society think about this kind of arrangement?
  3. Do people in your country ever decide to remain single and not create a family? If so, what does the rest of your society think?
  4. Is polygamy allowed in your culture? Is it OK to have more than one spouse? Would you like this life style?

White Lies & Truthfulness

Questions for discussion:

  1. Are white lies good or bad?
  2. Is a white lie still classified a lie?
  3. Is it okay to tell white lies?
  4. Does telling a white lie make you a bad person? When is a white lie acceptable?
  5. What is truthfulness? What do we mean when we say that a person if truthful?

Cultural Diversity

Reading:

Cultural Diversity: Differences in race, ethnicity, language, nationality, or religion among various groups within a community, organization, or nation. It is the mosaic of individuals and groups with varying backgrounds, experiences, styles, perceptions, values and beliefs.It is the variety of human cultures in a specific region, or in the world as a whole.

Racism

Reading: Race law debate touches emotional chord – in parliament and out

'For people who have experienced racism, it is a deeply personal debate,' says Labor senator Penny Wong.

Every so often, issues arise on the political landscape that offer a window into political representatives who are most deeply touched by them. Race is always one of them. It inspires a passion unseen on most other subjects.

Consider the Abbott cabinet where, up until now, leaks have been rare. Yet proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act inspired a wholesale leak this week.

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