News From Around The Blogosphere 10.17.08

THIS DAY IN GOD:

Bill Donohue’s lame spin on trying to get YouTube to put age requirements on viewing videos of host desecration – Now he’s saying:

“we do not object to making fun of Catholics, or for that matter Catholic beliefs and practices, just so long as they are made in good taste”.

This led PZ Myers to bring up that Webster Cook, the student who unwittingly began Crackergate and was the first victim of Donohue’s wrath, didn’t make fun of Catholics or Catholicism at all. He merely took the Eucharist with him instead of eating it? The only thing tasteless I here was the cracker.

Oh, and for the record, the age-requirement on YouTube is a joke. It asks you if you’re over 18 and any idiot can figure out that they can view the content by simply pressing the button that affirms they are 18. If that’s all it takes to appease Donohue, I wish he’d said so sooner.

Edmond, Oklahoma officials trying to tear down wall between church and state – The Edmond Visual Arts Commission in Edmund, Okla. wanted to spend $3,900 of taxpayer money to put a sculpture of Jesus in front of a Catholic gift shop:

June Cartwright, chair of the commission, told the Associated Press that the sculpture was viewed simply as a piece of art and is not a religious endorsement.

“It’s a piece of artwork,” Cartwright said. “It doesn’t state that it is specifically Jesus. It is whatever you perceive it to be.”

Um, no. That’s Jesus no how much I want it to be Angelina Jolie naked. Fortunately, the mayor has decided not to spend taxpayer money on this. But am I the only one amused by the fact that Jesus is depicted playing with kids when this was to go up in front a Catholic gift shop? Or that the sculpture is titled, “Come Unto Me?” I guess Jesus is a fan of the money shot.

Lately Evolution-deniers have been quite predictably been exploiting the recent statements by lone scientist Steve Jones that humans are no longer evolving. They’re saying see, even the “evolutionists” are admitting that there’s no evidence of human evolution (how they interpreted that from Jones’ actual statement is beyond me), but Jones is a minority opinion on this matter. Here PZ Myers argues why “that is impossible.”

Speaking of PZ, the man rocks! – His blog has got an enormous readership and I contacted him earlier today and asked if he’d plug stopjenny.com and he came through.

sCAM using bogus biomedical boards and bogus medical organizations to sound legitimate – I’m reminded of “Healthy Directions,” the sham medical organization that named “Dr.” Rashid Buttar among the top 50 doctors in the country.

Gnomes return to Argentina – That’s right, Argentinians have reported more sightings of a black-clad, sideways-stepping “midget monster” in a pointy hat. So if you see something that looks kinda like a dog and barks kinda like a dog, you’ll know that it’s really a gnome. I sense some implausibly blurry video coming on. Here’s the earlier video from last March:

And the latest blurry video can be found here.

The future is looking bright without electricity - Flexible sheets of light owe their luminance to compounds known as organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs may make household lamps obsolete.

ATHEISM DISCRIMINATION:

Conservative columnist Melanie Phillips has figured out cause of all the world’s woes: atheism -

“I see this financial breakdown, moreover, as being not merely a moral crisis but the monetary expression of the broader degradation of our values – the erosion of duty and responsibility to others in favour of instant gratification, unlimited demands repackaged as ‘rights’ and the loss of self-discipline. And the root cause of that erosion is ‘militant atheism’. . .”

It goes on for the longest run-on sentence in human history. Oh, and she’s also a denier of evolution, the safety of vaccines, and global climate change. The Trifecta!

Actor Mark Wahlberg is reported as being “still rattled” by a 2004 fan-charging incident – Why did actor Mark Wahlberg have a screaming fan pulled off of him by security guards? According to Wahlberg:

“The only thing that was a bit disturbing was she had a pin (badge) on that said ‘God is not real’ and that was upsetting to me. But I still pray for her to this day. Hopefully she’s changed her mind.”

Wahlberg is reported as having a small chapel in his Hollywood mansion.

Pete Stark

Pete Stark

The New York Times publishes an article addressing the seeming lack of atheists in politics. Here’s a direct link to the article:

Only one of the 535 members of Congress, Representative Pete Stark, Democrat of California, publicly identifies as a nontheist, according to the Secular Coalition of America, a lobbying group based in Washington. For that matter, the coalition has existed for only three years and runs with two staff members and an annual budget of about $300,000. As both presidential candidates ardently court religious voters, atheist support is considered so controversial that several Democrats writing on the atheist blog Petty Larseny quipped that the best way to hurt the Republicans was to form a group called Atheists for McCain.

Actually, there are at least 22 members of Congress who admitted to Lori Lipman Brown that they did not believe in a god but only Stark was willing to be outed. But I have to say that that Atheists for McCain would be a great idea if McCain’s candidacy wasn’t sunk already. We’ll have to remember that though for the next election.

AND NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:

Emotion And Scent Create Lasting Memories – “In a series of experiments with sleeping mice, researchers at the Duke University Medical Center have shown that the part of the brain that processes scents is indeed a key part of forming long-term memories, especially involving other individuals.”

Radical Advances In Optical Technologies? – “A new research field called transformation optics may usher in a host of radical advances including a cloak of invisibility and ultra-powerful microscopes and computers by harnessing nanotechnology and “metamaterials.”

Einstein’s Relativity Survives Neutrino Test – “Physicists working to disprove “Lorentz invariance” — Einstein’s prediction that matter and massless particles will behave the same no matter how they’re turned or how fast they go — won’t get that satisfaction from muon neutrinos, at least for the time being, says a consortium of scientists.”

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