News From Around The Blogosphere 5.4.11

May 4, 2011

1. Mark Geier is stripped of his medical license – For those who don’t know, Mark Geier and his son David have been “treating” autistic children with chemical castration for several years now. As far as I’m concerned, that puts them pretty much write behind Osama bin Laden on the list of worst human beings alive. Oh, that’s right. Osama’s dead. That might possibly bump father and son Geier up to worst people on Earth. So I’m delighted to hear that the Maryland medical board decided to strip Mark Geier of his medical license. You can see the official 48-page decision in .pdf format here. Also, Orac chimes in on the news here.

2. Robots learn to share -This article is deceptively more about the evolution of altruism than robots, but still pretty interesting and worth the read:

Using simple robots to simulate genetic evolution over hundreds of generations, Swiss scientists provide quantitative proof of kin selection and shed light on one of the most enduring puzzles in biology: Why do most social animals, including humans, go out of their way to help each other? In the online, open access journal PLoS Biology, EPFL robotics professor Dario Floreano teams up with University of Lausanne biologist Laurent Keller to weigh in on the oft-debated question of the evolution of altruism genes.

3. Acupuncture needle found in former South Korean president’s lung

Former South Korean president Roh Tae-woo was admitted to hospital with a bad cough and ended up on the operating table to remove an acupuncture needle from his right lung.

So let’s look at the cost/benefit ratio. Acupuncture has no benefit, and it can possibly kill you.

“I can’t figure out how the needle got into there,” Dr Sung Myung-whun was quoted as telling reporters at the hospital after the operation. “It is a mystery for me, too.”

Call me crazy, but I suspect the needle “got into there” while you were callously jabbing them into the man’s body. Just a thought. How appropriate that “woo” is in the ex-president’s name. I think comedian Dmitri Martin had the best response to acupuncture.

4. The illusion of being watched can make you a better person – We’re already well past the final nail in the coffin of the Christian view of morality, but here’s just another interesting incite into human behavior. Not only do we tend to act more morally when being watched, but we even do so when we see posters of staring eyes.

5. Facebook finally answers age-old question of who’d win in a fight: Jesus or Batman?

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News From Around The Blogosphere 6.17.10

June 17, 2010

1. Montgomery County, Maryland rejects ban on paid fortune-telling services – Few people are more passionate about protecting the First Amendment right to Free Speech than I am but there’s nothing in the first amendment that protects fraud. A court ruled that alleged “psychic” Nick Nefedro can continue to sell his services as a fortune-teller without having any responsibility to prove his claims. Now I have no issue with people saying they have psychic powers when they don’t. That’s free speech. But the moment they start charging people for their bogus services, then it ceases being a free speech issue and becomes a fraud issue. There is a very clear line here, and it’s the moment money exchanges hands for alleged services being rendered.

August Brunsman

Greg Epstein

2. Are two atheists two too many? – Recently, White House officials met with atheist representatives from a secular organization for the second time ever (the first time was several months ago). This time it was just two representatives from the Secular Student Alliance, August Brunsman and Greg Epstein. Like before, it wasn’t just White House staff meeting with atheists alone but the atheists were simply included among 110 other people invited to discuss interfaith issues. Apparently though, according to Bill Bumpas of the Religious Right propaganda site OneNewsNow, that’s two atheists too many and despite there being 110 other people being invited, this was all part of a giant evil conspiracy to athe-ize America.

I will concede though that there was one atheist too many as I don’t much care for Epstein’s views.

3. Another piece of athvertising, another controversy – The Freedom From Religion Foundation actually showed some restraint for once in Chicago and posted an ad that no reasonable person could possibly find offensive. The slogan on the ad was simply:  “SLEEP IN ON SUNDAYS.” Surely no one could be offended by that, right? Wrong. Apparently, Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church, is having none of that. And wow, if he’s this upset about such a benign ad, I can only imagine how enraged he was when he learned his Church’s highest ranking officials protected child rapists. Right? Right?

News From Around The Blogosphere 2.28.10

March 1, 2010

Film not intended for any viewers

1. Grandson of the Mask – A newborn has Jim Carrey for a grandfather. Poor kid doesn’t have a chance. Though hopefully, the kid’s parents are having him properly vaccinated against grandpa’s wishes.

2. 13-year-old escorted out of class by police for not standing for Pledge – It almost makes you want to know what they’d do if she actually committed a crime. And this was after the teacher publicly humiliated the student in class. Fortunately, the Montgomery County, Maryland school backed the student and are forcing the teacher to apologize, which is a far lighter sentence than that teacher deserves. I hope the teacher refuses and gets fired.

3. Fossils of giant plankton-eating fish a hundred million years old – 

An international team describe how new fossils from Asia, Europe and the US reveal a previously unknown dynasty of giant plankton-eating bony fishes that filled the seas of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, between 66-172 million years ago.

So for those keeping track, that’s 65,994,000 to 171,994,000 years before the existence of the entire universe, according to Young Earth Creationists.

4. Stem Cells vs. HIV

UCLA AIDS Institute researchers successfully removed CCR5 — a cell receptor to which HIV-1 binds for infection but which the human body does not need — from human cells. Individuals who naturally lack the CCR5 receptor have been found to be essentially resistant to HIV.

Yay science!

5. Mother waiting for resurrection of baby she starved to death – Ria Ramkissoon can continue to wait in prison for her 1-year-old to rise from the dead. Personally though, I wouldn’t bet on it. I blogged about this story last year and how she pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death on the condition that if her son, Javon, is resurrected, the plea will be vacated. Not only am I fine with that condition but I think we should worship her as a god if that happens.

Why did the child need to be starved?

Javon Thompson was possessed by an evil spirit, Ramkissoon was told, because he didn’t say ”Amen” during a mealtime prayer. Javon didn’t talk much, given his age, but he had said ”Amen” before, Ramkissoon testified.

My nephew just turned 1 years old and he’s never said Amen…or anything. I guess it’s a good thing Ria Ramkissoon isn’t his mother.

6. India’s ‘untouchables’ declare their own religion – So now there’s a religion specifically for the poor. Might I recommend they open it up to the rich and preach a prosperity gospel and demand that their gods need cash.

News From Around The Blogosphere 12.5.09

December 5, 2009

1. Waiting For Godot – Another case of religion leading to child abuse:

Over three months in 2006, as her five children grew more emaciated and listless by the day, Estelle Walker made no move to find a job, no effort to scrounge up a meal, her kids told a jury yesterday.

“We were supposed to wait for God to provide,” said Walker’s oldest daughter, now 21. “And that’s what we did.”

At one point, the daughter said, she and her siblings went 11 days without food. When police were at last summoned to the Sussex County cabin by neighbors, investigators found the children so malnourished they had difficulty talking.

Remember kids, if food’s not here in 40 days and 40 nights…just wait longer.

2. YouTuber potholer54 debunks ‘ClimateGate’ –

3. Hospital workers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia fired for not vaccinating? – Of course the anti-vaccinationists will use this to push as some sort of proof of forced vaccination as they’ve done before. But hospital workers are under different standards than the public. It’s about patient safety. Patients don’t go to hospitals when they’re healthy; they go when they’re ill. So they depend on healthy, vaccinated hospital staff to not be carriers of disease. It’s not rocket science. Hospitals often require proof of lots of vaccinations before a new employ even starts the job.

Universities too. I think I had to get an MMR before going to NYU. They might have also required another vaccine. And the school I’m about to attend for a paralegal certificate program required me to submit records that I’d gotten my MMR. And because I have already been vaccinated, I just needed to get the NYU health center to send them over. And of course those with compromised immune systems can get exemptions from all these instututions.

So why did these hospital employees refuse their vaccines? What else? Jesus:

“I am a Christian, and my religion prohibits me from receiving vaccines,” said Tyrika Cowlay, who was a lab technician.

Really Tyrika? Show me where it says this in the Bible. Cause you and I both know it says no such thing. So grow the fuck up, you pansy. You don’t want to get vaccinated? Get a job at the Sizzler and stay away from the already sick, you lunatic. As Phil Plait says, that’s like an orthodox Jew taking a job at a pork rendering factory. But I prefer to say, it’s like an Amish person taking a job at Microsoft.

4. Tulsa and Baltimore get atheist billboards – They both have the same slogan:

But not all Muslims are evil

August 17, 2009

Okay, to balance out my last post where I called Islam pure evil for literally legalizing the rape of women in Afghanistan, here’s a story of a Muslim politician in Maryland who is actually refreshingly progressive about church and state and gay marriage.

Saqib Ali is a practicing Muslim is a practicing Muslim who was elected to the state legislature in Maryland who even though he personally opposes gay marriage because of his evil religion, is willing to put his own beliefs aside and actually represent the people he serves:

My stance on this issue isn’t politically expedient. I am the first Muslim in the legislature. Homosexuality is strictly forbidden in Islam. As such I have evinced much grief from my most conservative supporters.

But I recognize that I represent people of all faiths and no faith at all. If I tried to enforce religion by law — as in a theocracy — I would be doing a disservice to my both constituents and to my religion.

FINALLY! A religious guy gets it. And he’s Muslim of all religions. Yes, while everyone is free to believe whatever nonsense they want, when you’re in public office, you represent people of all faiths and no faith at all. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Thank you, Saqib Ali. Can you please try to explain this to the Christian wackos in our government, like a certain Ms. Fallen?

Who would Jesus hire a hitman to kill?

April 25, 2009

Kevin Jerome Pushia

Kevin Jerome Pushia is like a lot of pastors. He befriends the developmentally disabled. He persuades them to list him as a beneficiary on insurance policies. He then hires a hit man with $50,000 in church funds to rub them out  so he could collect life insurance money. You know, the way Jesus would have.

And he’s quite organized too:

A terse notation in Pushia’s planning calendar for Feb. 5, the day after [Lemuel] Wallace was found dead in a Leakin Park bathroom stall from multiple gunshot wounds to the head and back, reads: “L.W. project completed,” police said.

Well it’s safe to say religion is not to blame for this, though perhaps Pushia’s plot was made all the easier given his trusted position in the church. Though that’s purely conjecture on my part.

I’ve got just 4 words for Mr. Pushia:  “Movie Rights” and “Call me.”

Mom in ‘Amen’ murder case pleads for ‘resurrection clause’

April 2, 2009

I blogged about the case of the religion–err, I mean “cult” that starved a kid because they didn’t say ‘Amen.” Well now the mother, Ria Ramkissoon,  has pleaded guilty to starving her son. But there’s one rather hilarious catch:

A Maryland woman involved with a group described as a religious cult pleaded guilty in the starvation death of her son, but insisted that the charges be dropped when he is resurrected.

I’m all for that clause. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that if that happens, then not only should the charges be dropped, but this woman should be worshipped as a fucking god if that happens. I look forward to the long wait to see if this kid resurrects.

“She certainly recognizes that her omissions caused the death of her son,” Silverman said. “To this day, she believes it was God’s will and he will be resurrected and this will all take care of itself. She realizes if she’s wrong, then everyone has to take responsibility … and if she’s wrong, then she’s a failure as a mother and the worst thing imaginable has happened. I don’t think that, mentally, she’s ready to accept that.”

I don’t know about you but I’m thinking it’s probably the latter.