You wouldn’t hit a dog, so why kill one in Minecraft? Why violence against virtual animals is an ethical issue

Violence against animals in video games is ubiquitous. Players can kill or torture animals in various popular games, including Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto V. The rise of this (increasingly realistic) trend in games, along with people’s tendency to go along with it, raises important questions.


Violence against humans in video games has long been contentious—underpinned by the never-ending debate over whether on-screen violence begets the real thing. But violence against animals in video games has attracted considerably less attention.

In a recently published paper, we argue there is good reason to think violence against animals in video games is problematic—perhaps even more so than in-game violence against humans. We think game violence against animals is more likely to promote disrespect for their living counterparts.

The jury is out

In 2005, Australia banned a first-person shooter game called Postal 2, in which players could mutilate and desecrate (virtual) human bodies.

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Ethical hacker’s tips for how to protect yourself online

  • Frank Villani is a 53-year-old information security specialist based in New Jersey who’s worked in information technology for 24 years and IT security for 12 years.
  • He’s a ‘white hat’ hacker, someone who works on the inside of an organization to protect its internet systems from ‘black hat’ hackers who want to violate computer security for personal gain.
  • For personal security measures, Villani says you should change your passwords every 45 days, be careful using public ATMs, pay in cash or credit cards at gas stations, and avoid using public WiFi unless it asks for credentials or consent.
  • This is his story, as told to freelance writer Jenny Powers.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

My name is Frank Villani. In a nutshell, my job is to test what those of us in the industry refer to as IOT — ‘the internet of things’ that encapsulates anything connected to

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Amber fossils offer a window into dinosaur times but pose ethical dilemmas

When it comes to dinosaurs, many of us think of towering skeletons dominating the atriums of the world’s great natural history museums.



The discovery of a dinosaur tail entombed in amber at a market in Myanmar near the Chinese border grabbed headlines in 2016.


© Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM/ R.C. McKellar)
The discovery of a dinosaur tail entombed in amber at a market in Myanmar near the Chinese border grabbed headlines in 2016.

But it’s the tiniest fossils that have transformed paleontology over the past five years.

Some of the field’s most extraordinary discoveries have come from amber: A dinosaur tail, parts of primitive birds, insects, lizards and flowers have all been found entombed in globs of 100 million-year-old tree resin.

They offer a tantalizing, three-dimensional look at dinosaur times. The vivid creatures and plants look like they just died yesterday with soft tissue in place and details like skin, coloring, feathers, teeth, leaves and petals exquisitely preserved — details that are often lost in the crush of fossils formed in rock.

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