News From Around The Blogosphere 10.4.10

October 4, 2010

1. British schools imposing Islamic veil on girls – Just when France has banned the burka, Islamic schools in Britain have introduced a new dress code policy requiring girls to wear the niqab.

Moderate followers of Islam said yesterday that enforcement of the veil was a “dangerous precedent” and that children attending such schools were being “brainwashed”.

Wow. Even the moderate Muslims are condemning it. I guess there’s a first time for everything. There certainly weren’t any moderate Muslims condemning extremists on Sunday’s episode of This Week with Christiane Amanpour.

2. One word:  jetpack – Forget plastics. After decades of being denied the flying car and robot butlers, the commercially available jetpack may finally soon be here.

3. Nothing like sex under the influence of placebos – A small study of 50 women suggested that when given a placebo instead of tadalafil (which incidentally is an erectile dysfunction drug–shh, don’t tell them), many women said their sex lives significantly improved.

The women, ages 35 to 55 and all premenopausal, had all been diagnosed with female sexual arousal disorder. But after a few weeks on the placebo, the women as a group reported less distress and more fun in their sex lives.
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News From Around The Blogosphere 9.24.10

September 25, 2010

1. Bra designed to double as two emergency respiratory devices -

Caught in a disaster? You’d better hope you’re wearing the Emergency Bra. Simply unsnap the bright red bra, separate the cups, and slip it over your head — one cup for you, and one for your friend.

Dr. Elena Bodnar won an Ignoble Award for the invention last year, an annual tribute to scientific research that on the surface seems goofy but is often surprisingly practical. And now Bodnar has brought the eBra to the public; purchase one online for just $29.95.

“The goal of any emergency respiratory device is to achieve tight fixation and full coverage. Luckily, the wonderful design of the bra is already in the shape of a face mask and so with the addition of a few design features, the Emergency Bra enhances the efficiency of minimizing contaminated bypass air flow,” explains the eBra website.

What troubles me however is that they claim to be working on a counterpart device for men and I’m not sure I want to put something that’s been sitting on my junk on my face that isn’t a part of the female anatomy.

2. Saint candidate was once temporarily banished from Catholic Church – Mary MacKillop was a 19th century Australian who was being considered for sainthood. But it it seems that in 1871, she was temporarily banished by the Church and thrown out into the street. The reason why was that tried to report priests for–you guessed it–raping children! Everyone by now knows the Catholic Church hates tattletales. So they transferred the pedophile priests to a new diocese (like they always do) and kicked Ms. MacKillop out as punishment for squealing. Some things never change.

3. Texas Board of Education or Ministry of Truth? – The latest Orwellian plot being by the infamous Texas Board of Ed., who largely determine which textbooks are acceptable for use by the rest of the country, is to weed out all those textbooks promoting “pro-Islamic, anti-Christian half-truths and selective disinformation.” Ugh! Fortunately, the Texas Freedom Network has documented the falsehoods in their claims, and is closely monitoring the hearings. Hopefully, they’ll stop them before students are forced to learn that 2+2=5.

4. Six people arrested for burning their own Korans – From 1984 references straight to Fahrenheit 451:

In a joint statement, Northumbria Police and Gateshead Council said: “The kind of behaviour displayed in this video is not representative of our community as a whole.

“Our community is one of mutual respect and we continue to work together with community leaders, residents and people of all faiths and beliefs to maintain good community relations.”

Mutual respect…except when people make demonstrations they don’t like apparently. Regardless of how people might feel about book burning, it’s not a crime. I’ve been forced to defend more assholes this year than probably any other year in my life and I’m getting sick of it. Free Speech is not open to debate. It’s non-negotiable!

5. Canadian university student one-ups Leonardo Da Vinci - Da Vinci once designed a wing-flapping vehicle intended to make man airborne called an omithopter but he never actually built one, let alone flew one.

Todd Reichert, an engineering student at the University of Toronto, made history by sustaining flight in his ornithopter — named Snowbird — for 19.3 seconds and covering 475.72 feet. Snowbird is made from carbon fiber, balsa wood, and foam. The 92.59 pound vehicle maintained an average speed of 15.91 miles per hour.

Suck on that, Da Vinci!

6. 70 Zimbabwe children die within two weeks because of anti-vax religion – The children died of measles. Most the children who died belonged to this particular anti-vaccine sect. This story manages to demonstrate the dangers of possibly the two most destructive ideological forces on the planet, religion and anti-vaxxinationism. Individually, they can be quite destructive but combine the two and you end up with 70 kids dying in two weeks from completely preventable diseases.

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Great response to the “mosque” “at Ground Zero” controversy

September 5, 2010

I’m typically a fan of YouTube comedian Pat Condell, who notorious for his harsh rants against religion, particularly Islam. But lately, he’s been kinda off…off his rocker. The typically witty Brit has made several videos criticizing the alleged “mosque” “at Ground Zero” that as a matter of fact is not really a mosque and not really at Ground Zero. These videos are built on loads of right-wing misinformation and talking points that have been thoroughly refuted at this point and quite frankly come across as anti-freedom.

But while Condell has disappointed me of late, another YouTube atheist whom I typically dislike, The Amazing Atheist, has made a fantastic response video. It’s so good I’ve decided to share it. Let it never be said that atheists don’t defend the rights of the religious when they really are being challenged.

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ComicCon vs. the Westboro Baptist Church

July 23, 2010

For some reason the Westboro Baptist Church decided to protest outside ComicCon. I suspect it was in hopes they’d see Summer Glau. But what I suspect they didn’t count on was the geeks fighting back:

There’s another video of what went down here.

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Lady Gaga vs. the Westboro Baptist Church

July 19, 2010
Lady GaGa concert
Image via Wikipedia

This isn’t the first time that the Westboro Baptist Church protested Lady Gaga but during their most recent picket outside one of her concerts with signs reading, “God Hates Lady Gaga,” the musician launched her own preemptive attack. Hearing about the intended protest in advance,  she posted a response on her website:

“At the risk of drawing attention to a hateful organization, I would like to make my little monster fans aware of a protest being held outside the Monsterball in St. Louis tonight,” Gaga wrote. “Although we have had protesters before, as well as fundamentalists at the show, this group of protesters are hate criminals and preach using lewd and violent language and imagery that I wish I could protect you all from.”

Calling the WBC “violent and dangerous” she warned fans not to engage them in conversation.
Ironically, “god” demonstrated his love for Lady Gaga by creating bad weather, which led to a poor turn out at the protest despite the WBCer’s claims that they believe they have immortal souls and don’t subscribe to scientific materialism.

Lady Gaga’s triumphant post-concert tweet read:

“Love and hate met in St. Louis. And love outnumbered the hate, in poetic thousands. Hate left. But love stayed. + Together, we sang.”

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This Week In God 7.16.10

July 17, 2010

1. Vatican equates ordaining women with raping children – Well I guess they’d know better than anyone. Still, I’m inclined to agree with PZ Myers, who in the above link, points out that this is a duel insult in that it manages to simultaneously downplay the seriousness of child rape and insult women at the same time. Seriously, who is running their PR Dept? Mel Gibson?

2. Vatican’s New Rules on sex abuse - No, they don’t say anything about reporting clergy rapists to the proper authorities. If they did that, who’d be left to run the Church?

Not like dusting crops

3. Answers in Genesis discover secret to faster than light travel…or not – Listen, if Scotty can’t violate the laws of physics, what would make AiG think they could:

Moreover, I have found both Scriptural and scientific support for this solution. This has led to the development of a new cosmological model which makes testable predictions. I have nearly finished writing a technical paper on this topic, which will shortly be sent to various experts for qualified peer-review. If it passes peer-review, we will publish the paper in the Answers Research Journal. This is our free, online journal. So be watching for it. If the paper gains the support of experts in the field, I may later write a non-technical article that summarizes the model.

Stop, stop. You lost me at Answers Research Journal.

4. Glenn Beck credits the Jews for saving all humanity- Well actually Count Beckula blamed them for Jesus’ death. But when you think about it:

A. Didn’t Jesus commit suicide?

B. Isn’t the central doctrine of Christianity that Jesus dying was the greatest news in history and the means on which he saved humanity? So wouldn’t that make killing Jesus be a good thing?

5. The Greatest Hoax On Earth? Refuting Dawkins on Evolution – Yup, there’s another book to add to the great big pile of inevitably unsuccessful and horribly unoriginally titled literature by Christians who have nothing new or original to say but try to  piggy-back on the success of far more successful rationalist literature like “The Dawkins Delusion?” or “The Devil’s Delusion”, “God Is No Delusion”, or “Letter To A Christian Nation: Counterpoint.” This is also the second of these books in which the publishers felt they required a Jeopardy title that’s in the form of a question. One wonders though if creationists are aware of the irony of their constantly selecting variations on the titles of successful rational books because it’s advantageous to piggy-back on traits that have already proven successful.

6. Creationists reframe lack of accreditation – The Institute for Creation Research was denied the freedom to issue degrees by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. But nobody seems to have told whoever writes their website, which claims they offer a Master of Christian Education (M.C.Ed.) degree. According to their FAQ page:

11. Is ICR’s School of Biblical Apologetics program accredited?

Due to the nature of ICR’s School of Biblical Apologetics—a predominantly religious education school—it is exempt from licensing by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Likewise, ICR’s School of Biblical Apologetics is legally exempt from being required to be accredited by any secular or ecumenical or other type of accrediting association.

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News From Around The Blogosphere 7.13.10

July 14, 2010

1. Church sued because world didn’t end – Two members of Australia’s Agape Ministries donated $1.4 million under the belief that doomsday was coming. But when the doomsday came and went without incident, they demanded their money back since it their generous gift was predicated on the church’s lies of impending doom.

2. Muslim Cleric calls for death to ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day’ cartoonist – Although we must take Anwar al-Awlaki‘s threat seriously, I suspect nothing will happen to Molly Norris, the subject of his outrage. Even he’s got to realize that the golden age of the West folding under the threats of Islamofascism are over. That was the indeed the whole point of Everybody Draw Mohammed Day in the first place. They can’t get all of us and there’s safety in numbers. Further, like a quicksand, every recent attempt by Muslim fundamentalists to quash “blasphemy” has only causes them to sink even faster. These scare tactics no longer work and only end up blowing up in their own faces (no pun intended, Muslim suicide bombers) in the Internet Age.

3. 2012 survivalist nut appears on Wife Swap -Yup, it’s another doomsday-related news story:

Dawn, a staunch 2012 believer, makes her adopted clan — a family whose daughter is a golf prodigy — train for the end of the world. “Apocalypse training” apparently means wearing matching camo shirts and making your dog don a flotation vest. Amazing television.

You can see a clip of this in the link above.

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Wishing I was in Vegas right now

July 11, 2010

This weekend almost every atheist and skeptical big name you can think of is in Las Vegas. From all over the world, they’ve converged on The Amazing Meeting 8 (TAM8), a several day long conference celebrating all things skepticism. It’s gotten bigger every year. Last year’s TAM7 surpassed 1000 attendees. This year I hear it’s got 1300.

I’ve never been to a TAM and this was supposed to be the year I started attending. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do it this year though. However, I vow to attend TAM9 next year. Until then though, I’ll have to settle for The Friendly Atheist‘s Live-Blogging descriptions of the entire conference, thus far found here, here, here, here, and here.

UPDATE 7.11.10 – and here’s the link to the Live blog from the last day of TAM8.

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Institute for Creation Research blames the victims for atheist billboard vandalism

July 2, 2010

Christine Dao of the ironically named Institute for Creation Research knows who’s responsible for the constant vandalism of atheist and secular advertisements, the atheists themselves:

While vandalism should not be condoned, these recent events shed light on what some Americans will do when they feel that their freedom of speech is threatened. An atheist spokesman in North Carolina said their message is needed to “let people know we exist and that there’s a community here.”

Yet he failed to mention the concerted effort of atheist groups to stop religious Americans from freely exercising their religion. Not content with having the freedom themselves to worship or not as they see fit, militant atheists increasingly seek to shackle the beliefs of their fellow citizens through their own distorted interpretation of “separation of church and state.”

It is perhaps not surprising that some of those fellow citizens object.

Friendly Atheist sums it up nicely here:

I look forward to Dao’s next posting, where she says that rape is wrong, but if a woman wears revealing clothing, she’s just asking for it.

This bitch seriously has the audacity to say it’s the atheists’ fault because they should have expected Christian hypocrisy. Well I agree that we should expect Christian hypocrisy. I’m just shocked she would admit to it.

And as for the claim that we’re trying to steal their religion, that’s just asshole dumb. No one is stopping Christians from freely expressing their beliefs. Rather our goal is to protect the rule of law that keeps government bodies and public resources from being exploited to promote sectarian ideologies. Now if the religious were smart, they’d want to keep the separation between church and state because it keeps government from meddling in religious affairs. You see, it works both ways.

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