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 3.3.10

March 4, 2010

1. Atheist Pete Stark replaces Rep. Rangel as Chair of House Ways and Means Committee – Although it’s not necessarily a permanent seat, this is a big deal as this is one of the most powerful committees in Congress and has jurisdiction over taxes, Social Security, unemployment benefits, and Medicare.

2. Science journalists give creationists another easy target – Last year there was much publicity surrounding a certain alleged “missing link” fossil that was found even though there’s no such thing as a “missing link” and the whole concept is over a century out of date. And really, the find wasn’t even very significant, though I admit that for a few hours even I was fooled by the media hype into thinking that it was. Well it gave even more fuel to the creationists and now they’re going to get even more as this once media hyped “missing link” may not even be a human ancestor at all.

Speaking of hype. . .

3. An atheist is accused of insulting religion in John Lennon Airpoirt in Liverpool – I like how Blair Scott summed this up on his Facebook page:

Basically, he is being accused of blasphemy. How are his fliers any more offensive than religious tracts? No vandalism was committed and nothing was destroyed. He left papers in the prayer room. The fact that his jurors swore on the Bible should be automatic grounds for a mistrial if his lawyer is any good.

I don’t think he could get a mistrial over the Bibles in court but everything else there I agree with. The guy’s being punished for doing what we all know religious people get away with all the time in John Lennon Airport of all places. Imagine that.

4. Eight-limbed Indian boy needs a doctor to remove parasite – You just can’t improve on that headline. But how dare the Telegraph not posting a picture of young Deepak Paswaan.He was born with the arms, legs, and butt of his parasitic twin protruding from his chest. That alone entitles him to membership in the X-Men.

Of course religion has to stick its ugly nose in this. Some think it’s intelligent design while others think it’s the work of the devil:

Some people see eight-limbed Deepak Paswaan as the reincarnation of the Hindu god Lakshmi, but to others he is the devil.

The worshippers bring offerings of money and flower garlands to the seven-year-old in his village of Bihar, in north-east India, but the more sinister throw stones at the little boy in a bid to remove the devil from his tiny body.

Yes, it’s clearly the devil’s most diabolical plan to date.

News From Around The Blogosphere 9.16.09

September 16, 2009

monkey-frustrated1. Sam Noble Museum of Natural History apologizes for hosting creationist film premiere. . .sorta – Actually, it’s more like an excuse. . .and they’re still going ahead with the premiere. . .because of free speech. Funny, but I don’t remember anything in the First Amendment saying museums can’t discriminate regarding who they rent out their space too. Maybe David Irving should try and book a Holocaust denial lecture there. After all, they don’t discriminate.

reincarnation2. What’s the harm in believing in reincarnation? – It turns out that some Hindus believe that if your organs are removed, you may be reincarnated with them missing. So lots of them are deciding not to donate organs!! Ugh!

3. The atheists of Liberal, Missouri – It seems that there was once a town in Missouri that was founded as an atheist-only community. For countless reasons, the experiment failed, not least of which being that it wasn’t a very good idea in the first place.

4. Ten Commandments tablet goes up in Louisiana park – It’s right across the street from a public high school and allegedly the tablet and its installation was paid for by a former city councilman, A.T. Furr:

Mayor Harold Rideau supports it, adding “We’re a Christian-based community.”

He’s in for one hell of a lawsuit.

Pink Panty Protest

February 16, 2009

India’s Hindu fundamentalist group Sri Ram Sena is super anti-women’s rights. They’ve attacked women who went to popular bars or wore ‘decadent’ clothing and have recently threatened anyone celebrating Valentine’s Day in India. So those in India without sticks up their asses organized and formed a group called the “Consortium of Pub-going, Loose, and Forward Women.”

Now the organization has begun a new initiative to protest Sri Ram Sena this Valentine’s Day by sending its leader thousands of pairs of pink panties:

Congratulations Australia for kicking measle ass

February 16, 2009

Unlike numerous other parts of the world that are suffering measle epidemics due largely to anti-vaccine hysteria, Australia has made measles their bitch by all but eliminating measles completely:

High take-up rates of the infant measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine has led to the elimination of the endemic measles virus in Australia, immunisation experts say. Researchers from the University of Sydney, writing in the Bulletin of the World Health Organisation, claim that in 2005 and 2007, Australia satisfied the main criteria of having a low level of measles infection, with less than one case per million people.

Way to go, Australia! Now unfortunately, there have been some obstacles along the way:

A total of 125 cases were reported in 2006 – equivalent to six cases per million – but more than half of these were attributed to a outbreak linked to the tour of a foreign spiritual group.

The aforementioned spiritual group was a traveling Hindu spiritualist who gave hugs to people everywhere he went. . .in addition to giving them a deadly disease, proving once again that religion kills.

News From Around The Blogosphere 02.13.09

February 14, 2009

An end to the cold?

Researchers from the University of Maryland and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have mapped the genome of the common cold virus. This doesn’t mean that a cure is just around the corner, but it gives scientists a clearer idea of how to begin planning a cure.

And here’s the story at Science Daily.

This Drink Tastes Like Piss

India’s largest Hindu nationalist group, the RSS, is developing a new beverage made mostly from cow urine that they hope will take their country by storm. They see the popularity of non-Indian soft drinks like Coca-Cola as a corrupting force in Indian culture, so they want to bring people back to the kind of hard-line Hindu cow reverence that would inspire people to consume bovine waste as a cleansing agent.

So my choice is between Mountain Dew or cow piss? Ewww. I’ll take the cow piss.

News From Around The Blogosphere 01.19.09

January 19, 2009

What happens after $cientology chews you up and spits you out – The story of a man who managed to rebuild his life after $cientology destroyed it, and is now fighting back.

atheist-bus-battling-buses-picadilly2Attempts to Atheist bus ads in UK – The gambit they’re using is that religious people are made to feel uncomfortable riding on these buses. Funny, they’ve never acted to remove Christian ads from buses out of fear that it would make atheists feel uncomfortable. Friendly Atheist sums it up nicely:

Victoria’s Secret promotions, posters for Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and ads for pseudoscientific books like The Secret? Those are ok to have on buses. Suggest there may not be a God? That’s apparently horrendous, evil stuff that must be blocked from the public eye.

PZ Myers goes off on religious nut Gerald Warner for his absurd position on the atheist bus ads

Would you pay for something if you didn’t have to? – Regular church attendees in Austria wouldn’t, according to a recent pop psychology or quirkological study.

How to hallucinate with ping-pong balls and a radio – Also find out how to relieve pain with nothing but binoculars and feel like you have a very long nose and see beautiful imaginary images with nothing but your hand and the sun.

The Health Department has re-issued a warning that these pills could cause a diabetic coma, permanent brain injury or death.

It is marketed on websites as 100 per cent herbal, but contains ingredients such as donkey kidney and deer antler. It is also claimed to be a natural alternative to Viagra with no side effects.

Natural versus “natural” in CAMworld – David Gorski gives a proper thrashing to the sCAM folks who sell the 21st century’s answer to voodoo as if it were real medicine just labeling it “natural.”

foil-hatLately I’ve been more aggravated at grand conspiracy theorists than the standard creationists. So I was glad to read Greta Christina’s reponse to the nonsense:  What Would Convince You That You Were Wrong? It reminds me a little of a blog I wrote 2 months ago, Why I go after the grand conspiracy theorists.

In India, two 7-year-old girls married to frogs to prevent disease

The ceremony, an annual feature during the Pongal (harvest) festival, is conducted “to prevent the outbreak of mysterious diseases in the village”.

And no, the frog never turns into a prince ever!

The evolutionary roots of storytelling – This article attempts to explain why storytelling endures across time and cultures.

Chinese erection pill sends 3 to hospital – The pill was Nangen Zengzhangsu.


scientist-use-in-case-of-emergencyLanguage Driven By Culture, Not Biology? – “Language in humans has evolved culturally rather than genetically, according to a study by UCL (University College London) and US researchers. By modelling the ways in which genes for language might have evolved alongside language itself, the study showed that genetic adaptation to language would be highly unlikely, as cultural conventions change much more rapidly than genes. Thus, the biological machinery upon which human language is built appears to predate the emergence of language.” So it wasn’t the Tower of Babel!

‘Molecular Parasites’ In Human Genome? – “Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany, determined the structure of a protein (L1ORF1p), which is encoded by a parasitic genetic element and which is responsible for its mobility. The so-called LINE-1 retrotransposon is a mobile genetic element that can multiply and insert itself into chromosomal DNA at many different locations. This disturbs the genetic code at the site of integration, which can have serious consequences for the organism.”

Prehistoric Fish Reveals Vertebrate Origins – “In an article in the journal Nature January 14, Uppsala researcher Martin Brazeau describes the skull and jaws of a fish that lived about 410 million years ago. The study may give important clues to the origin of jawed vertebrates, and thus ultimately our own evolution.” So for those keeping track, that’s 409,994,000 years before the whole universe existed, according to Young Earth Creationists.