News From Around The Blogosphere 5.20.11

May 20, 2011

1. The Catholic Church figures out who’s really to blame for their child abuse cases – A study commissioned by the completely unbiased the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has come out suggesting that all that child fucking the Catholic Church is so addicted to is really the fault of 1960’s hippies. It also apparently retroactively explains all that church sex abuse we know about from the 19th and early 20th centuries too. Amazing thing, that free-love 60’s movement!

2. CDC prepares for zombie apocalypse – In conjunction with Zombie Awareness Month, the CDC recommends planning ahead for a zombie invasion much as you would any other disaster. Of course, the point of this is to get people thinking about how to protect themselves from any disaster. The idea is rather brilliant. By framing it around zombies, they’ve gotten massive media attention, which they would not have if they were warning people about, you know, actual real threats people should be prepared for…which is waaaay less interesting to the media than who got kicked off Dancing with the Stars this week or what Lady Gaga is eating for breakfast. Steven Novella also discusses this story here.And don’t forget:  Cardio, beware of bathrooms, seat belts, double tap.

3. 60 Minutes discusses dangerous, anti-government Sovereign Citizens cult – Wasn’t familiar with them before but even a brief Google search turns up enough evidence that these people are nuts. And what’s really sad is that many people are calling the 60 Minutes piece biased and are actually defending these crazies simply because the Sovereign Citizens exploit anti-government, libertarian rhetoric.

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News From Around The Blogosphere 5.2.11

May 2, 2011

T-Minus 19 days until The Rapture.

And T-Minus 20 days until Family Radio and Harold Camiping are mocked mercilessly.

1. Another actor turns against Scientology – Actor Michael Fairman has been expelled from the cult and was officially designated a “Suppressive Person”:

Fairman is not leaving the organization quietly. Posting his expulsion letter at Marty Rathbun’s blog, Fairman blasts Scientology for dismissing him after he had spent years promoting the church with work in its videos and television commercials. Despite all that work, the SP letter vaguely accuses Fairman of various deficiencies, such as “financial irregularities.”

“I have been debt free since early 2010, and am supporting two households.
I make car and insurance payments on my Mercedes…So what ‘financial irregularities and out-exchange’ are they fucking talking about?” Fairman writes.

They also amusingly charge him with being a “squirrel,” which in Scientology-speak means he continued to practice Hubbard’s methods outside of church control. It seems that Fairman, like Rathburn, still believes in some of the methods of Scientology, but has grown disgusted with its management.

2. Friendly Atheist jokingly stumbles onto the best billboard campaign idea yet – Actually, I came up with this idea as a serious proposal last year. It seems great minds think alike. My idea was what I called the “Isn’t it about time you read the whole thing?” Campaign, where an atheist organization put up billboards illustrating or quoting specific inconvenient and unpleasant Bible passages with a big headline reading, “Isn’t it about time you read the whole thing?” How much fun would it be defending such a billboard on Fox News? you could simply respond that you’re just trying to get more people to read the whole Bible, so what’s wrong with that? Of course you can also make your own billboard, advertising your own atheism.

3. Pastor caught molesting woman during demon-banishing service – This happened in South Africa, and it’s just one of those titles that says it all, doesn’t it? You can read the details in the link above. I’m suddenly reminded of the “put the devil back into hell” story from The Decameron.

4. Atheists in Spain double practicing Catholics

The number of young people practicing Catholicism has plummeted, from 29.2% in 2002 to 10.3% in 2010, according to the Youth Institute of Spain (Injuve). Also, the number of non-believers (19.1%) and atheists (9.6%) have increased nine points and three points, respectively. Non-practicing Catholics are the majority, making up 45% of the total.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This is a battle we can win.

5. Comparing the necessary funding for SETI to other expenses – The other day I reported that Search for Extraterrestrial Life (SETI) is being defunded in the U.S. SETI’s funding equalled $2.5 million a year. Now Phil Plait has broken down the equivalent costs to demonstrate what it would mean to continue to fund possibly one of the most important science programs out there:

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News From Around The Blogosphere 3.10.11

March 11, 2011

1. Mind-controlling fungus creates army of zombie ants – If the mimic octopus is the most interesting fauna I’ve ever heard of, then this newfound fungus species Ophiocordyceps camponoti-balzani has to be the most interesting flora I’ve ever heard of. It literally takes over the ant’s mind and forces the ant to find “a location ideal for the fungi to grow and spread their spores.”

2. 21 Philadelphia Catholic priests suspended on suspicion of child abuse – Several have already been indicted on charges of rape and assault on minors. But what’s most shocking is how callous the church is treating the scandal.

3.Compete with a computer in Rock-Paper-Scissors – Not content just beating us in Jeopardy, computers have set their sights on beating us in the ultimate human competition, Rock-Paper-Scissors. Click the link to play.

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News From Around The Blogosphere 11.9.10

November 10, 2010

1. Large Hadron Collider causes mini big bang

“The Large Hadron Collider has successfully created a “mini-Big Bang” by smashing together lead ions instead of protons.”

2. Spain’s LGBT community prepare to welcome Pope with kiss-in – Organisers are using Facebook to grow a  ‘queer kissing flashmob’ intended to congregate in front of Barcelona’s cathedral on Sunday:

“No placards, no flags, no shouting and no slogans. Only kissing allowed,” the Facebook page reads.

3. Liberty Counsel announces its 8th annual “Naughty & Nice list” – This is the Christian group that tries to discourage people from shopping at those evil stores that have the audacity to use “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” in their advertising. Here’s the official list. I plan on shopping only at the “naughty” stores and passing on the “nice” ones.

4. Skeptics in India launch their own paranormal challenge – Inspired by the James Randi Educational Foundation’s Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge, skeptics in India are offering 50 Lakh rupees (about $112,000) to anyone who can definitively prove under proper scientific conditions that ghosts exist.

5. American Atheists puts up their first billboard and it’s going to be in NYC – The billboard is going up near the Lincoln Tunnel on the NYC side on November 23rd and will remain there for one month. I’m not all that crazy about it as I’d rather we dropped the whole holiday season schtick and addressed something of more substance, but I don’t hate it either. Here’s what it will look like:

 

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Italian Catholics against the human body

October 24, 2010

Over the weekend, I came across two news stories that seem to share a theme. The first is the story of Ileana Tacconelli, 28-year-old Italian model turned teacher who may now lose her job because she is “too sexy to teach.

Seriously.

So despite Tacconelli’s being completely qualified to do her job, the administrators at St Carl Catholic School in Milan are under pressure to fire the former Miss Abruzzo after a single clearly crazy mother withdrew her 12-year-old daughter on account of Tacconelli’s former life as a model.

One mum said: ‘She is not fit to teach young children. She is too sexy and it is too distracting.’ 

Too sexy? Fortunately, men like sexy women, so Tacconelli has gained the support of dads at the school who have formed a pressure group to save her from their wives.

Suffice it to say, if this were an American school, this school would be facing a 6 or 7-figure lawsuit they’d almost certainly lose unless the jury were entirely made up of sexist men.But it’s a Catholic school in Italy, so it can get away with anything…especially since young boys are around.

The other story I came across also involved Italy and also involved prudishness where the female body is concerned. An Italian seaside town is planning to pass a ban on miniskirts and “other revealing clothing” :

“Nothing too revealing” is the new policy Mayor Bobbio wants to enforce, says the BBC’s Duncan Kennedy in Rome.

That means a tough new dress code which would effectively outlaw everything from miniskirts to low-cut jeans when people walk around Castellammare di Stabia, our correspondent adds.

Mr Bobbio, from the centre-right People of Freedom party, says he wants to target people who are “rowdy, unruly or simply badly behaved”.

"I really think Musictown is torn on the revealing garment issue. "

So he wants to crack down on girls he personally considers to be naughty.

Oh, and there’s more:

There will also be a ban on sunbathing, playing football in public places, and blasphemy, if the proposals are approved at a council meeting on Monday.

In other places they have banned sandcastles, kissing in cars, feeding stray cats, wooden clogs and the use of lawn mowers at weekends.

And I suspect they’ll also soon try to pass bans on stepping on cracks, wearing pockadots, and putting squirrels down your pants for the purposes of gambling.

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Richard Dawkins condemns the Pope

September 20, 2010

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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News From Around The Blogosphere 8.10.10

August 10, 2010

1. Einsteinian physics an evil liberal plot? – That is according to Andy Schlafly of Conservapædia. I suspect this is all part of a Jewish plot. Step 1: Kill Jesus and save the world. Step 2: Fool otherwise good Christians into accepting demonic Relativity. Step 4:  Profit. Muhahaha!

2. Anne Rice’s departure from the Catholic Church may signal the beginning of the end – Former Christian William Lobdell looks at the statistics and it’s looking more and more like Anne Rice is just part of a growing number of Christians growing disillusioned with organized religion.

3. Wiccans offer low, low price for booty-enhancement spell casting – Now I know there’s no such thing as magic, but for only $8.95, how can I afford not to pay someone to chant magic spells to increase the size of my ass. This one is full of win.I just don’t want to know where the magic wand goes.

4. Thought-controlled artificial arm reaches human testing phase – DARPA may have successfully produced an artificial arm as good as the one Anakin had in the Star Wars prequels.

5. Another Catholic child abuse case determined to be ‘credible’

A review board for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has found allegations of child sexual abuse against the Rev. David Dzermejko “credible,” and Bishop David Zubik has sent the case to Rome.

Vatican officials will decide if he should have a church trial or if the evidence is strong enough to permanently remove him from ministry without further hearings.

Wow, that’s some justice system they got going on there.

6. Pastor arrested for anti-demon protest – Pastor Donald Crosby of Kingdom Builders Church of Jesus Christ decided to protest outside Warner Robins High School because of the school’s “”Demon” nickname and mascot.” The mascot honors a World War II fighter squadron nicknamed the “Screamin’ Demons.” Yes, he’s protesting a celebration of World War II American heroes.

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