Unfortunately, I didn’t due anything all that blasphemous today…at least no more than usual. But aside from repeating my denial of the “Holy Spirit’s” existence, the one unforgivable sin in the Bible, I figured I’d just repost this new article from Ayaan Hirsi Ali titled “It’s time to fight back against death threats by Islamic extremists” and the following two videos about the importance of free speech:
‘Firefly’ stem cells may help repair damaged hearts. No, these aren’t cells from actual fireflies but cells so named for their ability to glow like fireflies and contains the same enzyme that makes fireflies glow. But I think the coolest part of this story is this:
The “firefly” stem cells glow brighter and brighter as they develop into healthy heart muscle, allowing doctors to track whether and where the stem cells are working.
So essentially we can now track the stem cells and see exactly what they’re doing. Kinda takes all the mystery out of it.
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- ‘Firefly’ stem cells may help repair damaged hearts (eurekalert.org)
Gotta love that headline. In 1989, Tracy Wigginton killed a man. According to Lisa Ptachinski, her girlfriend at the time, Wigginton had vampiric tendencies and killed the man for the purpose of drinking his blood. She was only one of the four people accused to plea guilty and so there was no need for a trial.
On the night of the murder, Wigginton, Ptaschinski and two other women lured 47-year-old Edward Baldock to a park on the banks of the Brisbane River. There, Wigginton stabbed him 27 times, nearly severing his head
In 1991, Wigginton was given a life sentence with a minimum of 13 years. Since then four parole applications have been denied. And now after serving 20 years, she’s been denied parole again.I’d say she needs a minimum of seven more years so she’ll have served at least one year for every stabbing.
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.
1. 5 Worries Parents Should Drop, And 5 They Shouldn’t – Notice how vaccine injuries didn’t make the list, but that car accidents made the number one spot. Maybe the anti-vaxxers should campaign to get rid of cars instead. After all, are cars not filled with toxins? Do they not cause millions of deaths every year?
2. Man charged with pretending to practice witchcraft – No, it wasn’t Christine O’Donnell. An Ontario man charged people money in exchange for allegedly promising to perform magic to solve any and all of his customers’ problems. Yeah, he should have realized that scam had a short expiration date.
3. Teaching robots to lie, cheat, and deceive – OH COME ON! Just the other day I had a little fun by referencing all the classic destructive robots of science fiction from the Cylons to the Terminators to the Replicants, to the machines of The Matrix when news came out about an artificial human skin for future robots that was sensitive to touch. But now comes a story about programmers giving robots the ability to lie. It just makes referencing how science fiction writers have foreseen that scenario going terribly wrong way too fuckin’ easy.
4. Pastor Terry Jones billed $180K for security surrounding protest – Damn it! I hate when I have to defend assholes. But here we go again. The Florida pastor who successfully manufactured the bullshit Koran-burning controversy is being billed for the increased security added to public places in response to fears that he’d single-handedly provoke an Islamic fundamentalist terror attack. That is fuckin’ bullshit. If that survives a court decision, it would set a horrible precedent that would greatly undermine free speech. Terry didn’t shout fire in a crowded theater. Whatever one may think of book burning, he had every legal right to burn any book he wants, so long as he owns it. And in fact, he didn’t burn a single book, merely claimed that he would. And if anyone should be held accountable, it should be the Islamic fundamentalists who are so insane, they provoke people into spending $180K on extra security every time some Islamic critic gets attention for stirring shit up. But if anyone else were to be deserving of blame, it’d be the media who turned this small town pastor’s little stunt into international news. There’s no reason I should have even heard of Pastor Jones, let alone Muslim radicals in the Middle East. Make no mistake. It was the media’s love of sensationalism that drove this story, not the actions of some redneck asshole.
So often I hear about alleged Big Pharma conspiracies that involve the highest levels of government and the entire mainstream media, etc. And when I challenge those claims, I’m always always accused to being a shill for Big Pharma.
But when Big Pharma really is involved in a conspiracy, I’m more than happy to report about their misbehavior, as are the appropriate government agencies and media. One such case has arrived once again. This time the FDA has caught Johnson & Johnson contracting people to go to specific stores to buy out specific boxes of defective Motrin rather than make it public and issue a recall. Now it’s not that the defective Mortin was dangerous; it was just ineffective. But the point is that Johnson & Johnson didn’t issue a recall and allowed customers to continue to buy a substandard product while they secretly attempted to buy up as many boxes as they could find.
This is disgraceful. But what I want to emphasize here is that this is an example of when the system works. The FDA did its job and mainstream media covered the story. Neither made any attempt to protect “Big Pharma.”
“You have a degree in baloney!” This was an hilarious response from a character on Futurama to someone claiming to have a degree in homeopathy but it seems somewhat appropriate as a response to Carl Drews, the lead author on a study that attempts to explain scientifically how Moses could have appeared to have parted the Red Sea.
What I guess can be said to be the “positive” thing about this study is that at least it’s trying to demonstrate that an alleged “miracle” could be legitimately explained naturally. It also gives me hope that Drews may next scientifically explain how Luke Skywalker was able to successfully hit a tiny exhaust port without a targeting computer. Of course the problem I’m getting at here is that every facet of the Moses story was almost certainly made up. It’s a fucking fairytale that doesn’t require naturalistic explanations for its magical events any more than we need to scientifically explain Harry Potter. And given Drews is himself a Christian, it doesn’t give me much hope that science-izing the Biblical accounts will change many people’s minds.
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- Moses’ parting of the Red Sea: New sim explains whole thing (go.theregister.com)
- Moses may not have see red when parting the sea (guardian.co.uk)
- Wind may explain Red Sea parting (news.cnet.com)
And the award for most unfortunately (or awesomely) titled headline goes to…”Samoan clerics finger homosexuals over global warming.” OH NO! They didn’t! They did. Well, I guess if you’re going to finger homosexuals, global warming is as good a reason as any…if you’re into that sort of thing.
But putting aside that awful (or awesome) title, yes, some religious nutjobs really are trying to blame climate change on the gays. But to be fair, it fits with the title of the conference in which this idea was presented: Climate Change and Creativity. Say what you will about how the idiocy of this hypothesis is only rivaled by that of the cleric who inadvertently sparked “Boobquake,” but you have to admit, it’s nothing if not creative.
However creative as it may be, suffice it to say, it lacks one moderately important ingredient…evidence:
Details of exactly how the ministers think homosexuals are pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere, thereby trapping heat around the planet, driving up the average temperature and causing massive economic and environmental dislocation are scant.
It may be that the clerics are understandably worried about rising levels of sex tourism in Samoa fuelled by cheap air travel and consequent rising energy consumption, though why this would be a gay-only problem is a mystery. But we suspect their latching onto climate change as a consequence of gayness is informed by a more biblical sense of cause and effect.
But while gays may not be dominating everyone else in air travel but this week, they do seem to be dominating the headlines as the notoriously anti-gay pastor of a 33,000 parishioner megachurch, Baptist Bishop Eddie L. Long, as it turns out, was coercing young male parishioners into sex:
Two young men in Georgia said Tuesday that the pastor of a 33,000-person Baptist megachurch, Bishop Eddie L. Long, had repeatedly coerced them into having sex with him.
In two lawsuits filed in DeKalb County, the men said that Bishop Long, a prominent minister and television personality, had used his position as a spiritual counselor to take them on trips out of state and perform sexual acts on them.
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- There must be a law (scienceblogs.com)
- “Mega-Church Bishop Eddie Long Sued for Sexually Abusing Followers” and related posts (bumpshack.com)
- Bishop Eddie Long Scandal: Parishioners Back Bishop (VIDEO) (huffingtonpost.com)
- Atlanta pastor Bishop Eddie Long denies sex claims from church members | Richard Adams (guardian.co.uk)
As I posted last week, Jeff Hawkin’s, the the ex-$cientologist responsible for $cientology’s marketing in the 80s and their volcano commercial from the 90’s, has just published a book criticizing the cult. But while Hawkins was actually quite good at his job, it seems the latest crop of in-house $cientology marketers seem to suck at it.
The cult is back with a new commercial where they promise immortality and tell viewers they “are invited. Well another former marketing chief for the organization, Steve Hall.thinks he knows why these commercials will fail to win more converts:
The challenge of trying to market Dianetics and Scientology is probably one of the most difficult assignments in the world. They are not thought of well. There’s a lot of suspicion and controversy. Most of that is generated from within because of the way the leader of the church has dealt with people, such as issues to do with internet copyright. They do a lot of lawsuits. They run full-page ads in USA Today attacking Eli Lilly (LLY) [which makes antidepressants, which Scientology opposes]. It makes people stand back. Time magazine wrote them up as a “mafia-like” organization. How do you create a want for that? It’s an almost impossible challenge.
And when the cult’s secrecy was mentioned as an obstacle, Hall responded:
It’s not deliberate. It’s just inept marketing. I think they don’t have a clue what they are doing. I’ve worked at the top ranks of management, shoulder to shoulder. They all worry constantly about the big problem that nobody understands them. But for other reasons they have not been effective at all at communicating what they do, what their beliefs are and so forth. They’re not deliberately keeping it a secret. It’s a more simple problem than that. A lot of organizations that do their own in-house marketing, they eat the product, breathe the product, 24/7, and they lose their objectivity and they don’t know how to connect with people outside. Compounding that, [founder L. Ron] Hubbard wrote in the 1970s and ’80s a few policies on how the church was to do their marketing. There’s nothing wrong with what he wrote, but that marketing know-how is circa 1975. As any creative person knows, marketing has grown by light years since 1975. By today’s standards those methods are terrible.
So thanks for the invitation, $cientology, but no thanks.
The other day, I wrote on Examiner.com a scathing criticism of Joseph Ratzinger‘s attempt to distract the media by equating atheists with Nazis as well as his role in conspiring to cover up decades of Catholic child sexual abuse. Only a few days later, Richard Dawkins gave a speech at a UK rally against Ratzinger where he basically said the same things I did, albeit, probably more eloquently than I did. You be the judge:
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- Richard Dawkins on The Pope (bligbi.com)
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- Richard Dawkins at Protest the Pope Rally (friendlyatheist.com)
- Ratzinger is an enemy of humanity – Richard Dawkins – RD.net (richarddawkins.net)