News From Around The Blogosphere 4.26.11

April 27, 2011

1. God is dead – Okay, not really because there is not such entity. But Sri Satya Sai Baba, a man who millions worship like a god because he fools them into believing he can perform miracles with simple parlor tricks is dead. I must say that if not for Sam Harris, I might not have even been familiar with this shamless con artist. Good fuckin’ riddance. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving individual.

2. Scientists anoint new fly queen - If your as sick of hearing about that bloody royal wedding in limey-land as I am, you’ll probably enjoy this news item:

Masaki Kamakura, a biotechnology researcher in Japan, has identified the protein in royal jelly that turns female worker bees into queen bees, which are larger in size, more fertile, and live longer. So, like anyone else would do upon making this discovery, he tried to turn a regular fly into a queen fly. And it totally worked. It’s a huge discovery in the study of insects:

I guess that makes it the lord of the flies. Now if only we can figure out how to turn Anne Hathoway into the Queen of England. Don’t just sit there. Get on it, scientists!

3.  Measles outbreak linked to one unvaccinated person -

Nine cases in the state have been linked to exposure to one unvaccinated person who contracted the disease in Poland, according to the Salt Lake Valley health department. Epidemiologists have determined that the person exposed as many as 1,000 people this month.

Measles are so contagious that if one person has it, 90 percent of those near that individual will become infected if they are not immune.

There’s also  a major measles outbreak in Europe:

The World Health Organization said Thursday that France had 4,937 reported cases of measles between January and March – compared with 5,090 cases during all of 2010. In all, more than 6,500 cases have been reported in 33 European nations.

Another wonderful vision of a what the world will look like if ruled by anti-vaccine nuts.

4. “New” Atheist open letter strikes a nerve – The other day, Dr. Jerry Coyne wrote an open letter to the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) and British Centre for Science Education (BCSE), criticizing them for going out of their way to criticize more confrontational atheists. This led a number of such prominent atheists to responding in favor of Coyne’s position such as PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins. And now Roger Stanyard of the BCSE is firing back with a complete straw man position that just demonstrate how irrational the critics of confrontational atheists are when it comes to this one issue. His claim is that we want these organizations to embrace atheism when I don’t know anyone making that claim. I, like Myers and Dawkins, just want to see these organizations to leave religion out of the discussion entirely and remain entirely neutral on the subject. That’s all.

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News From Around The Blogosphere 12.15.09

December 16, 2009

1. Pregnant women develop empathic superpower? - A new study suggests that pregnant women may have developed a heightened ability to recognise threatening or aggressive faces, which may have evolved to ensure hyper-vigilance in mothers to be. The down side is that it may also make them more vulnerable to anxiety.

But the good news is. . .

2. There’s an app for that – The Emotional Brain Training app provides users with a brain-based emotional response training method that allegedly teaches people how to effectively process stress to reduce it to healthy levels.

Why is this awesome?

According to the American Medical Association, stress is a factor in over 75% of sickness and the World Health Organization has stated that stress is America’s number one health problem.

3. Big Foot spotted in Minnesota – I suspect that careful analysis will prove this is just PZ Myers after having been expelled from a screening of another idiotic creationist film. Either that or any other adult male on Earth walking through the forest at night.

4. New York City Atheists reach out to Spanish-speaking communities – How is it possible that Hemant Mehta scooped me on a story in my own neighborhood? Damn you, Mehta!! Ken Bronstein and company have started to have services (not sure what they mean by services) in Spanish to cater to Spanish speakers. So far attendence is small but the mailing list is growing, suggesting that that may soon change. Great idea, guys.

5. New Seattle Atheists’ display goes up in Olympia, Washington – It reads:

In this holiday season,
let us remember that
kindness, charity and
goodwill transcend
belief, creed or religion.

And might I say, this is far, far superior to the one put up by the FFRF last year. It’s not divisive but rather is positive and inclusive. It’s exactly the kind of sentiment we should be promoting. Kuddos!

6. D.C. council ignores Catholic ultimatum and votes YES on Marriage Equality – Despite the threats by Catholic-funded charities in the nation’s capital to pull their aid should D.C. vote in favor of same-sex marriage, the D.C. council voted 11-2 in favor of marriage equality.

Council member and former Washington mayor Marion Barry ran down his longtime support of LGBT rights before casting a no vote on the marriage bill, saying, “I’m not voting not against the LGBT community, I’m voting no against this particular act.”

Barry says he supports domestic partnerships and will continue to stand behind LGBT citizens, but says it was a difficult “decision of conscience” that led him to disagree.

The world has yet to hear a legitimate moral argument against marriage equality.

7. Actor Sam Elliott blames the Catholic Church for sinking Hollywood’s plans to complete the His Dark Materials trilogy on the big screen – Why this is news is beyond me. I think everyone already suspected as much. As Sam Elliott points out, the film made an incredible $380 million at the box office internationally and only suffered in the ultra-religious U.S., making a mere $85 million domestically. The total gross is plenty to justify completely the trilogy, only New Line seems to have gotten scared off by the likes of Bill “I love child rapists” Donohue and other fanatical Catholic voices.


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