News From Around The Blogosphere 12.12.08

The War on Christmas in Washington’s capitol is over. . .and it looks like we might have won – Totally unprepared for the number of applications they’d get for displays, Olympia officials have been forced to put a ban on all further displays until further notice so they can rethink this policy. And according to a spokesman for the Department of General Administration, it was the atheist display that seems to have kicked open the door for everyone else to want a display. Now if these officials have any sense at all they’ll have learned a valuable lesson from this and just opt out of allowing religious displays on public land in the future. So to quote the lyrics of the same Buffy song that skeptic Daniel Loxton cited in his essay, “Where Do We Go From Here?”:

“The battle’s done and we kinda won. So we sound our victory cheer. Where do we go from here?”

Amanda Peet defends vaccines on NPR – I’m happy that I haven’t blogged about this issue in awhile because there hasn’t been any major developments lately but I get so few chances to mention a good news story on this issue. Thank you Amanda Peet for continuing to be awesome.

But it can’t all be good news in the world of woo. The Air Force is using ‘Battlefield Acupuncture’ for pain relief – And apparently this is just one of many “alternative” treatments they’re giving soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Walter Reed hospital is using yoga to combat PTSD. Yeah, why give the soldiers medicine that actually works? After all, it’s not like our entire nation depends on these guys for survival, right? This is disgraceful and I hope those responsible end up in Abu Graib.

When skepticism leads to an awkward situation – This includes a hilarious story of how expressing one’s skepticism about something as obviously bogus as homeopathy can lead you into trouble in a social setting.

TECHNOLOGY:

Rise of the Fembots - Her creator calls her the “perfect woman.”  She can read English and Japanese, carry on a simple conversation, do math, figure out what you’re eating and drinking, and she knows the time and weather conditions all over the world. And though she wasn’t built as a sexual partner, apparently she could be tweaked to be one:

“Her software could be redesigned to simulate her having an orgasm and reacting to touch as if she is playing hard to get or being straight to the point.”

And there’s a very creepy video too.

The Dream Machine - Not only are the Japanese well ahead of us in the Fembot department but they’re also working on trying to create visual imaging of dream.

Christian leader resigns because of his almost-tolerant views of homosexuals – While opposing gay marriage Richard Cizik, Vice-President for governmental affairs at the National Association of Evangelicals, has the audacity to support civil unions for gays. He also accepted Global Warming. So obviously he had to go. He resigned his position. Afterall, this is the same organization that was once headed by the male-escort-loving Ted Haggard.

AND NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:

scientist-use-in-case-of-emergencyWhistling Orangutans And Evolution of Speech – “Throughout history, human beings have used the whistle for everything from hailing a cab to carrying a tune. Now, an orangutan’s spontaneous whistling is providing scientists at Great Ape Trust of Iowa new insights into the evolution of speech and learning.”

Boy Or Girl? It’s In The Father’s Genes – “A Newcastle University study involving thousands of families is helping prospective parents work out whether they are likely to have sons or daughters.”

HUMOR:

Edward Current’s PrayerMax 5000:

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