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John Thomas
Works at DET/DEECD
Attended Marian College, Ararat
Lives in Victoria, Australia
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Pope Francis of Assisi?

Unlike Thomas Aquinas, Francis of Assisi was a friend of animals. True to his adopted name, Pope Francis seems to be a friend of animals too. At least, that is the hope of Peter Singer whose persuasive arguments have given weight to the animal rights movement and changed the eating habits of many professional philosophers. (According to a 2012 poll, professional philosophers are 10 to 20 times more likely to be vegans than the general population and 8 to 10 times more likely to be vegetarians.)

In this Project Syndicate piece Singer argues that Pope Francis has made "the strongest statement against harming animals ever made by a pope in a document as authoritative as an encyclical."

What do you think about the status of non-human animals? Do we humans have "dominion" over the animal kingdom? Do we have "stewardship" over it? Or should we go as far as Singer and give equal weight to the suffering of all sentient beings regardless of their species? 
Pope Francis’s historical encyclical on the environment has received considerable media attention for its uncompromising call for action on climate change. Less noted has been the fact that it also contains the strongest statement against harming animals ever made by a pope in a document as authoritative as an encyclical.
jamie doherty's profile photoJohn Thomas's profile photoAnnabelle Short's profile photo
+jamie doherty  Yes John. My late uncle had Alpha-1 Anti-Trypsin Deficiency (A1AD) which which one form form piZZ gene allele) is common in Denmark (Scandinavian countries) whereas the less severe for PiSS gene allele is found in Italy Spain and Latin America. Those who do not have A1AD have the piMM ) A1AD is a fault affecting gene 14 and those who are severely affected produce less than 20% of normal levels of Anti-Trypsin.
which means that the protective covering of the lungs and are less able to fight infection which damages tissue. They have progressive emphesema at a young age. Others develop lover disease as a result of A1AD.
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John Thomas

General Discussion  - 
Is Data Driven Production & Marketing Hurting Music?

This fascinating piece, by +Derek Thompson from The Atlantic, explores the impact of technological change on our tastes in music and on music itself. 

Record companies can now track download and search data to predict which new songs will become popular well before they become hits. 

Successful hits are being mimicked by other performers, and it's a recipe that seems to work, whilst also reducing the variety of music we hear.

A 2012 examination of 464,411 popular recordings around the world between 1955 and 2010 concluded that pop was growing increasingly bland, loud, and predictable, recycling the same few chord progressions over and over. It seems we humans prefer the familiar to the unfamiliar.

In what is clearly a hit driven business, the top 1 percent of bands and solo artists now earn 77 percent of all revenue from recorded music.
In 2000, a Stanford Ph.D. named Avery Wang co-founded, with a couple of business-school graduates, a tech start-up called Shazam. Their idea was to develop a service that could identify any song within a few seconds, using only a cellphone, even in a crowded bar or coffee shop. At first, Wang, who had studied audio analysis and was responsible for building the software, feared it might be an impossible task. No technology existed that could disti...
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John Thomas

Samsung  - 
Samsung v Apple Patent Battle Update

Samsung finds powerful friends in its patent battle with Apple.
Is Samsung doing what Britishers did to their colonies when it used to be a real power ? Seems that way. In the ever-continuing lawsuit between Samsung and Apple over allegations by the latter on f...
keith olszewski's profile photoJoseph Kennedy (jskennedy19)'s profile photo
Glad to see support from the tech sector against this bad business practice. Many others in the CE industry have been calling for patent reform. Without naming crApple, these individuals have noted (correctly so) that patent trolling hurts innovation. Even the threat of litigation is enough to stop newcomers from creating innovative products that might cause a massive well funded lawsuit against them. Props to the good guys!
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Open letter on the Border Force Act: 'We challenge the department to prosecute'
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Why is the best political commentary satirical?

In Australia I suspect it's because biting irony, such as in this piece from New Matilda, is the only thing that keeps coverage of the sorry state of Australian politics and the nation's depressingly parochial and ill-informed popular sentiment bearable. In the US the likes of Jon Stewart and Jon Oliver are masters of insightful satire, and it seems that many Australians are now deciding that it's better to laugh than cry too.
Turns out that inside every storm in every teacup lies a cloud with a silver lining. I am, of course, referring to yesterday’s news that Kevin Andrews, the Minister for Obedient Hair and Defence, announced that he would be boycotting the ABC’s favourite faux left-wing program, Q&A. “I was asked to go on next Monday evening and I said that I wouldn’t. I thought I should take a stand in this instance,” Andrews told media. I think I speak on behalf ...
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Unexpected view ...

... of our neighbours' courtyard from the third floor of our apartment near Montmartre - striking architecture and a quiet courtyard in a busy part of Paris.
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St Kilda Gets a Makeover

IMO, Melbourne's bayside is one of the (many) great places to live in the world. Good to see some new investment to keep to so.
Great to see the revitalization of St Kilda being taken so seriously. 
ST KILDA is set for a makeover amid concerns that parts of the popular seaside suburb are in decline.
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Want to do good? Then go earn lots of money!

That's one of the initially paradoxical messages of the Effective Altruism movement. This interesting piece by +Joseph D'Urso looks at some of the young people in the movement and some of the interesting career choices they've made. When you think about it, if you are lucky enough to be a person capable of earning a lot of money, then it's hard to imagine a better way to do good than to go and earn the big money so that you can give lots of it away.
By Joseph D'Urso LONDON, July 27 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Investment banking doesn't rank highly on most people's lists of ethical career choices, but ...
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It seems to me that we have the rational intuition that not caring about other people’s states of consciousness is arbitrary, unfair and unreasonable. This is a properly basic belief incapable of deductive proof but one that everyone recognizes when they have sand kicked in their face. 

There you go again, you call it a "rational" intuition even though it is not deducable. But according to you there is only reason and what we have evolved to be or do. So if the belief that 'other people's states of mind are to be valued' is not a product of reason as you claimed it to be before but now instead an article of faith intuited and taken as properly basic, and other people have different intuitions- then it is an arbitrary belief is it not? Plenty of other people intuit otherwise.

It seems to me that the only reasons you and Prager can provide for moral behaviour are self-interested prudential ones. If I behave myself, God will reward me. If I misbehave, God will punish me. If I sacrifice my interests for the sake of the Jews hiding in the cellar, then I am doing this because, even though the Gestapo may haul me off to a concentration camp tomorrow, that’s nothing compared to the reward or punishment God has in store for me. That doesn’t seem to adequately capture ethical motivation to me.  How do you answer the question why should I be moral?

It is not because of any reward in either this life or the next that one would do those things as a Christian. A Christian understands that he is already saved, and so his actions here do not in any way merit him his salvation. Salvation is a gift of grace alone. He is not doing good deeds to merit salvation. See the heresy of works based salvation.

Rather the Christian does those things because of his love for God and for the good which he recognizes as actual things not only intrinsically located within or determined by him. He understands that this law is written into his heart so that he can see it in the "properly basic" sense you described above.

But, like any action, killing a newborn infant can be justified by its consequences.

I think that we are done here. Reason has fled from you.

if more people lived according to Singer's rational moral principles, then the world would be a happier place with much less suffering in it, and the likelihood of another Nazi "euthanasia" program would be almost zero.

You are saying that human beings are basically just animals so why don't we just treat them like animals. And yet you get upset and disturbed when the Nazis treated their fellow human beings like animals. Something doesn't add up in your worldview.

I will leave you with a recommendation. The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. Would it be ethical to live in a paradise that depended solely on one child's continuous torture and pain? 
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John Thomas

Australian Politics Discussion  - 
Doctors & Medics Protest Against Border Force Act

“If someone is not in detention and a child is being abused, you’ll go to jail if you don’t report it. But if someone is in detention and you report it, you could go to jail. It defies logic." (Dr James Genge)
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SumOfUs has a petition going, if you feel the need to do something.
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John Thomas

Australian Politics Discussion  - 
Europe on Refugees

Perhaps with different political leadership Australia might have tried something similar to Europe's more humane approach. 
New data shows that Europe’s new plans to stop refugees and migrants drowning in the Mediterranean are making a huge difference. Find out what’s changed, and about the challenge that now lies ahead.
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The Old City of Dubrovnik - what a photogenic city!

Couldn't stop taking photos! Here's a small sample from our family excursion to Croatia.

Amazing to think that this historic and beautiful place came under direct bombardment from Slobodan Milošević's Yugoslav Army offensive in 1991. Public relations wasn't one of Milošević's strengths, and the bombardment of this UNESCO World Heritage Site helped solidify international support for Croatia's independence.
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Beautiful, absolutely beautiful👑🎩🎓👢🐐🐢🐕🗿🏥🔧🔱⏳🔝⏰🔯😇
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John Thomas

Australian Politics Discussion  - 
Means testing public education!?

Could such damaging possibilities really be considered by Australia's Coalition Government!? 
The Federal Opposition hits out at a reported Government proposal to make some parents pay to send their children to public schools.
Peter Strempel's profile photoRayna Hay's profile photo
Good! Choosing to become a parent is a personal lifestyle choice and the parents should pay for not only their kids education but child care and everything else they want or need! The bloody middle class are tax neutral due to all the tax breaks they receive for child care, school fee assistance etc. and single parents just suck the life out of everyone and the rich have all their personal assets & needs covered by company titles etc. the only people actually paying any tax are the single people with no avenue to right off or hide wealth.
With that this country is broke with no chance of a "come back" actually it's always been a poor nation as the only time the nation has been in the green was following the sell off of all assets, thanks Howie and co.
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    Teacher, Consultant, Professional Developer, 2009 - present
  • DWA Australia Pty Ltd
    Founder & Sole Director, 2007 - present
  • Easy2Learn Pty Ltd
    Founder & Managing Director, 2000 - 2006
  • Dataworks International Ltd
    Founder & Managing Director, 1997 - 2001
  • Dataworks Australia Pty Ltd
    Founder & Managing Director, 1990 - 2007
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Victoria, Australia
Australian elearning pioneer - part entrepreneur, part teacher & part geek. Google Certified Teacher.
Australian elearning pioneer, teacher and entrepreneur. Founded Dataworks in 1985 - a company which grew to become Australia’s leading curriculum software publisher. Brought Australia’s best loved children’s characters to interactive format including The Wiggles, Bananas in Pyjamas, Hi-5, Play School and others. These award winning titles broke local sales records and were licensed for resale in more than 50 countries worldwide. Sold business in 2007 and moved to Victoria's Central Highlands. Focused on helping teachers, students and school communities make the most of the transformative potential of new technologies.
  • Marian College, Ararat
  • University of Ballarat
    Diploma of Teaching
  • Monash University, Clayton
    Bachelor of Arts - Philosophy
  • Monash University, Clayton
    Master of Educational Studies - Educational Computing
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