News From Around The Blogosphere 1.4.11

January 4, 2011

1. Pakistani governor slain for opposing blasphemy laws – The governor of Punjab province, Salman Taseer, was shot dead by his own bodyguard because he was an outspoken critic of religious extremists and called for the end of the death penalty for the crime of blasphemy.

2. Jesus infects hundreds with sexually transmitted disease – Hundreds of New Yorkers may have been exposed to hepatitis A when they attended Christmas Day services at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Massapequa Park in Long Island while receiving communion. Individuals exposed to the disease should receive vaccination within two weeks of exposure. Made up authorities are still unsure if this is connected to the non-existent Muslims who got gonorrhea from Mohammed.

3. Vaccine against cocaine high successful in mice

“Our very dramatic data shows that we can protect against the effects of , and we think this approach could be very promising in fighting addiction in humans,” says the study’s lead investigator, Dr. Ronald G. Crystal, chairman and professor of at Weill Cornell Medical College.

He says the antibody produced in lab mice by the binds to, and sequesters, cocaine molecules before the drug reached the brains of these animals — and prevents any cocaine-related hyperactivity. The vaccine effect lasted for at least 13 weeks, the longest time point evaluated.

4. Power Balance admit fraud – The manufacturers of PowerBalance were forced to admit to the Australian media that there is no scientific evidence supporting their claims that their bracelets improve strength, balance, and flexibility.


5. Romania passes bill requiring witches to pay taxes

“witches, astrologists, embalmers, valets and driving instructors are now considered by labor law to be working real jobs, making it harder for them to avoid income tax”

Meanwhile, in Ghana…

6. Ghana continues to burn ‘witches’ alive

Elderly women are used as scapegoats for all ills in large parts of Ghanaian society – leading to exile, and sometimes murder

Six people are currently appearing before a magistrate at Tema, near Accra, for allegedly burning a 72-year-old woman to death, in the belief that she was a witch.

In both cases, anyone with the slightest knowledge of dementia would recognise symptoms of the disease from the accounts given of the behaviour of the women. They were where they were not supposed to be, and when they were asked what they were doing there, they could not explain themselves. This is because dementia sometimes robs its victims of the ability to speak coherently.

It is absolutely insane that this is still going on in the 21st century.

7. Earth-like planet said to have 100% chance of life? – That’s the claim being made about Gliese 581g. But given the lack of fanfare and the number of times we’ve heard this kind of claim before,I think I’ll wait to hear what more experts say before accepting this “100 percent” figure without any actual evidence at all to justify it.

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News From Around The Blogosphere 12.8.08

December 9, 2008

Gattaca dubbed in Japanese – If you’ve never seen the Science Fiction film Gattaca, it’s about a near-future society where social, economic, and professional class is determined by ones genes. Well Japan’s moving in that direction except that their conclusions have no actual scientific merit. 4 bestsellers in Japan promote the new myth that blood type determines personality and offers guidance on what decisions one should make. Essentially this is another classic example of dressing up astrology-like voodoo in the clothes of science. They’re appropriately referred to as “blood horoscopes.”

Superstition is on the rise – I have some issues with this article. For instance, he cites the recent Baylor study, suggesting that it showed superstition was higher among the non or less religious, which is the common misconception. Religion itself IS a superstition, and the primary reason the more religious don’t believe in or participate in other superstitions is because religions tend to form monopolies on the supernatural. Those claiming access to other forms of supernatural tend to be viewed as either evil witches, devil worshipers, or mislead by trickery.

Though to be fair, I know plenty of atheists who believe all sorts of nonsense.

Kangaroo Cousins – Scientists in Australia have discovered that the kangaroo genome is remarkably similar to humans’.

Vampires take over Romania – Okay, not real vampires but close, creationists. These vampires have their own crosses. Romania is no longer teaching evolution in schools. Romania, you’re as dead to me.

A brief history of creationism

Atheist sign comes to Illinois


thestupiditburnsDramatic irony at its finest – Here’s what came out of the mouth of one person who was protesting the atheist sign in the Washington state capital:

“The No. 1 thing is, we want the state of Washington and the governor to represent everyone in the state,” said the Rev. Kenneth Hutcherson, the pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond. “But just because you must represent everyone in the state doesn’t mean that you put up with intolerance from the people that you represent.”

Chasing out the Jews – Washington State Senator Jim Dunn (R) — a Christian — made this appalling comment yesterday:

“It is time to chase out all the Jews and evildoers,” Dunn said.

There has been no backlash. Actually he didn’t say that. What he said was:

“It is time to chase out of the house of God all the unbelievers and evildoers,” Dunn said.

I’m told this is supposed to be much better.

The Flying Car–on sale next year – What would you do for one?

Is body language junk science?


scientist-use-in-case-of-emergencyAmazon Butterflies: Evolution Favors Mutualism – “Many studies of evolution focus on the benefits to the individual of competing successfully – those who survive produce the most offspring, in Darwin’s classic ‘survival of the fittest’. But how does this translate to the evolution of species?

A new article considers an aspect of the natural world that, like survival of the fittest individual, is explained by natural selection: namely, mutualism — an interaction between species that has benefits for both. The work shows that some species of butterfly that live alongside one another have evolved in ways that, surprisingly, benefit both species.”

Spider Love: Little Guys Get Lots More – “Big males outperform smaller ones in head-to-head mating contests but diminutive males make ten times better lovers because they’re quicker to mature and faster on their feet, a new study of redback spiders reveals.” With a title like that, I had to post this one.

Flying Spaghetti Monster Nativity Scene:

We miss ya, John: