News From Around The Blogosphere 1.10.10

January 10, 2010

1. New evidence supports Egyptian pyramids being built by free workers but not slaves – What I love about this story is that it hurts three myths at the same time, the belief that the pyramids couldn’t have been built by man but had to involve extraterrestrial influence, the belief by some religious individuals that the pyramids were built by Jewish slaves, and the belief that the pyramids were built by slaves in general. Sorry, didn’t happen.

2. Violence breaks out over use of the word ‘Allah’ – The Malaysian High Court ruled to end a ban that prohibited a Catholic newspaper from using the word “Allah” when referring to God in their local-language publications because only Muslims were allowed to use that word. This of course led to Muslims “going” crazy. Shocker.

3. Apparently abstinence-only sex ed isn’t a lost cause…if you’re an ant…your species has eliminated men

The complete asexuality of a widespread fungus-gardening ant, the only ant species in the world known to have dispensed with males entirely, has been confirmed by a team of Texas and Brazilian researchers.

Most social insects—the wasps, ants and bees—are relatively used to daily life without males. Their colonies are well run by swarms of sterile sisters lorded over by an egg-laying queen. But, eventually, all social insect species have the ability to produce a crop of males who go forth in the world to fertilize new queens and propagate.

I’d love to know Dr. Tatiana’s sex advice for them.

4. Research further suggests autism is a brain connectivity disorder

Studying a rare disorder known as tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that autism spectrum disorders, which affect 25 to 50 percent of TSC patients, result from a miswiring of connections in the developing brain, leading to improper information flow. The finding may also help explain why many people with TSC have seizures and intellectual disabilities.

5. Brain Imaging May Help Diagnose Autism

Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) process sound and language a fraction of a second slower than children without ASDs, and measuring magnetic signals that mark this delay may become a standardized way to diagnose autism.

6. $cientology’s claiming its a religion again – Their futile efforts to proselytize has angered some, and so the cult is insisting that as a religion, they’re doing nothing wrong. Of course when people resist $cientology on the grounds that it steals members of other religions, the $cientologists then insist that they’re not a religion, just a self help group that welcomes all faiths. But then when it comes tax time, they’re a religion again. Besides, it says so right on their buildings. They even have “churches.” Of course $cientology churches appear from both the outsiders’ perspective and former insiders’ perspective to be no different than any secular buildings and no spiritual services actually take place.

Captain Douchebag himself

7. $cientology digs up lost Hubbard works – I smell brand new OT levels requiring more expensive course work!

More than 1,000 unreleased recordings of lectures by L. Ron Hubbard and reams of corresponding writings have been unveiled in the culmination of a 25-year project to locate, restore and transcribe lost pieces of the Scientology founder’s work.

8. British woman arrested in Dubai for being raped – That’s right. A woman was RAPED! And the authorities decided to then charge her for the crime of having had illicit sexual intercourse. Even the Bible doesn’t advocate arresting rape victims; it merely demands they marry their rapist. Though I don’t exactly know what Bible’s policy is if one has more than one rapist. This is exactly the kind of insanity that could only exist because of religion.

9. Sylvia Browne continues annual tradition of predicting upcoming year’s events – I haven’t looked back yet on her predictions last year and I never got around to making my own annual predictions for 2009 in January. I’ll have to do it this. But the psychics seem really off and vague this year. Pat Robertson’s annual yearly predictions showed a complete lack of trying and Sylvia’s no exception this year either.


News From Around The Blogosphere 12.15.08

December 16, 2008

House Resolution 847 – Proving even in an economic crisis Congress can still manage to waste more. Seriously guys, this isn’t Brewster’s Millions. Can someone please explain the point of this bullshit?

Remember the Iranian guy who recently blinded a woman by throwing acid in her face? Well his punishment is to be blinded as well. Ya gotta love the Iranian justice system, huh? Not really. As just as this punishment might seem from an safe distance, this is a preposterously barbaric and antiquated form of justice that leaves me once again wondering why that fairly accurate and still fairly accurate lyric in Disney’s Aladdin (‘where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face.’) was ever deemed “controversial.”

Teacher banned from primary school for saying Santa isn’t real? – This is the stupidest story I’ve heard all day. . .

. . .because obvious Santa is real. How else can you explain the Christmas presents, and the devoured milk and cookies?

Harry Potter sticking his broom where it doesn’t belong – I have no issue with Harry Potter. I’m not too into it but lots of other people are. And he seems to piss off a lot of religious kooks. . . and of course I love that. But one place where Harry doesn’t belong is in the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.

Talking religion with the kids from Children’s Scientology Pageant – I blogged about this show before here. Now the kids in the show are having a conversation about religion, which is hilarious. I’m also very happy to see how many critical thinkers there are in the group.

Have scientists finally solved the yawn? – The notion that yawning is a sign that an individual is tired is an almost universally accepted myth.  As far I’m aware, scientists have had several hypotheses regarding the purpose of yawning but have yet to reach a solid conclusion. But according to this article a new study suggests that yawning is primarily to regulate brain temperature.

Ghosts stop thief?

A burglar in Malaysia who decided to rob a house while its owners were out of town on vacation claims his getaway was held up for three days by a ghost that took him prisoner.

Wow. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the amazing feats of these alleged ghosts are exaggerated and that the guy’s just very superstitious. But I’ll admit, it makes a good story. But of course once again, where’s the evidence? But a ghost solving crimes sounds like a mid-season replacement show you’d expect to be coming to NBC.

The other day I mentioned that the Japanese were working on capturing dreams. I didn’t realize how close they were. They can already display images from the brain.


scientist-use-in-case-of-emergencyPesticides In Fruit-based Drinks Outside U.S. – “In the first worldwide study of pesticides in fruit-based soft drinks, researchers in Spain are reporting relatively high levels of pesticides in drinks in some countries, especially the United Kingdom and Spain. Drinks sampled from the United States, however, had relatively low levels, the researchers note.”

Brain Genes: Obesity All In Your Head? – “Is obesity all in your head? New research suggests that genes that predispose people to obesity act in the brain and that perhaps some people are simply hardwired to overeat.

A genetic study of more than 90,000 people has identified six new genetic variants that are associated with increased Body Mass Index (BMI), the most commonly used measure of obesity. Five of the genes are known to be active in the brain, suggesting that many genetic variants implicated in obesity might affect behaviour, rather than the chemical processes of energy or fat metabolism.”

Waste Coffee Grounds: Source Of Biodiesel Fuel – “Researchers in Nevada are reporting that waste coffee grounds can provide a cheap, abundant, and environmentally friendly source of biodiesel fuel for powering cars and trucks.”


Science explains nothing!

The flu is here – Get vaccinated.