WHAT SHOULD WE BE WORRIED ABOUT?

[ Wed. Feb. 6. 2013 ]

This year is the question a bit gloomy: What should we be worried about? Or: What are you worried about for scientific reasons that has not yet appeared on the popular radar?

[From a summary of ten selected answers:]

Protecting children from curses and taboo words

In the United States, public broadcast television and radio stations do not like words such as cocksucker, cunt, fuck, motherfucker, piss, shit, and tits. The point is that these words would harm the child's fragile psyche. But it is nonsense to avoid rhe public use of such words, says cognitive scientist Benjamin Bergen (University of California, San Diego). The only risk that children face when they hear these words, he writes, is that they expand their vocabulary. "And even that chance is very small, as anyone can testify who has recently listened to what happens on the playground of an elementary school. " Moreover: these dirty words derive their power precisely because they are subject to censorship. Remove the taboo and they immediately be less threatening.