News From Around The Blogosphere 3.7.11

March 8, 2011

1. 40-million-year-old mites caught fucking – It’s not uncommon to find ancient animals preserved in amber. What’s far less common is finding ancient animals preserved in middle of doing it as in a recent find where two mites were found mating. Another interesting fact about these mites are that the traditional sex roles were reversed:

“In this species, it is the female who has partial or complete control of mating,” explained Klimov, an associate research scientist at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. “This is in contrast to the present-day reproductive behavior of many mite species where almost all aspects of copulation are controlled by males.”

I think that settles it for me. When I die, I insist that I’m preserved forever in amber during sex.

2. Nano vaccines in our future

MIT engineers have designed a new type of nanoparticle that could safely and effectively deliver vaccines for diseases such as HIV and malaria.

Once again, science delivers the goods.

3. Lawsuit claims Scientology violated child labor and wage laws – If you haven’t yet read the recent 30-page New Yorker expose on Scientology, you owe it to yourself to take the time to do so. It is almost certainly the single most damning piece of literature compiled on the cult and every word of it is backed by a copious amount of evidence. I truly believe that nobody can read that article and still choose to join Scientology. According to that article, there is a federal investigation into possible human trafficking charges, relating to accusations of child labor and nearly non-existent wages for adult labor.

Now two lawsuits have been filed by former Scientologist Daniel Montalvo, who “contends his parents, who remain in the Sea Org, neglected him and breached their duty to protect him from harm by ceding his care to the church.” And like with every former member/critic, church Spokesmen Tommy Davis is retaliating with sudden criminal accusations against Montalvo that the church remarkably never mentioned to anyone until just now when he sued them first. What a coinkidink! Given all the former members that Davis and past spokesmen (who incidentally are now also harsh critics of the cult) have accused of serious and often violent crimes, I’m left to wonder if everyone in Scientology is a violent thug.

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News From Around The Blogosphere 2.7.11

February 8, 2011

1. FBI investigating Scientology for human trafficking – A recent profile on ex-Scientologist and Oscar-winner Paul Haggis in the New Yorker also discussed an ongoing FBI investigation into the allegations of abuse by Scientology’s leader David Miscavige, and the enslavement of members of  the Sea Org:

The laws regarding trafficking were built largely around forced prostitution, but they also pertain to slave labor. Under federal law, slavery is defined, in part, by the use of coercion, torture, starvation, imprisonment, threats, and psychological abuse. The California penal code lists several indicators that someone may be a victim of human trafficking: signs of trauma or fatigue; being afraid or unable to talk, because of censorship by others or security measures that prevent communication with others; working in one place without the freedom to move about; owing a debt to one’s employer; and not having control over identification documents. Those conditions echo the testimony of many former Sea Org members…

And speaking of Scientology…

Tom Cruise

2. Is fictional Unitology in ‘Dead Space 2’ related to Scientology? – The videogame’s creative director says the similarities are just a coincidence, saying the inspiration came from Carl Sagan’s “The Demon-Haunted World”, but his dismissal seems less than convincing given the similarities.

3. One flu vaccine to rule them all? – Researchers may have found a universal flu vaccine to end all flu vaccines. Though it’s worth noting that the trial had only 22 subjects, but bigger studies are in progress.

4. That time of year again for another ‘invisibility cloak’ story – Every year there’s another story about an invisibility cloak on the way with the requisite reference to Harry Potter. Here’s the latest one about a cloak that hides objects, rather than people, and without the use of metamaterials.

5. 1 in 8 U.S. biology teachers are creationists– This is a shocking statistic. Roger Ebert had an appropriate response to this on Twitter, analogizing this to the hypothetical statistic of 1 in 8 math teachers believing 2+2=5.

6. Florida court sides against anti-vax mom in custody battle – This is great news to hear a court rule so decisively against a parent specifically because their anti-vaccine beliefs directly endanger that child’s life. Hopefully, this will help set a precedent in all U.S. courts.

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News From Around The Blogosphere 5.18.10

May 19, 2010

1. Daughter of $cientology’s Australian president speaks out – Yet another child of a major player in $cientology is an outspoken critic of the cult, Scarlett Hanna, the only child of Vicki Dunstan, president of the Church of Scientology in Australia, and Mark Hanna, a former Asian/Pacific director of public affairs for the church. She grew up in the former Cadet Org, which allegedly was preparing children for eventual recruitment in the Sea Org.

“The best way I can describe it is cattle,” Ms Hanna said of their treatment. We were property of the organisation.”

. . .

She claims children of Sea Org members rarely had contact with their parents, lived in separate homes and were granted only 20 minutes each night with their parents.

2. Gay couple convicted of ‘unnatural acts’ – Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, have been in jail since December in the Southern African country of Malawi. Ever since the day after their engagement party. Their only crime is being gay.

Religion's latest victim

3. 15-year-old Jehovah’s Witness dies after refusing blood transfusion – Yup, just another day for religion. So next time someone tells you about all the good done in the name of religion, remind them about Joshua McAuley, one of countless victims of religious ignorance.

4. Thousands flock to Vatican to back pope over abuse – Yay child rape!! If this story doesn’t demonstrate the evil of religion, then nothing ever will. Here are thousands of people who are quite literally showing their support for child rapists and those who protect them from prosecution because they refuse to accept the fact that their church is responsible for unspeakable human atrocities. This really is the ultimate Milgram authority experiment. If they can justify at least half a million child rapes, what else are these people capable of justifying?

5. Dark Horse releases atheist superhero comic – Move over, S.H.I.E.L.D. There’s a new acronym saving the day in comic books, S.H.O.O.T. That stands for the Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce. I must admit that I don’t really get the concept. It’s an atheist team who fight demons and ghosts, etc. that they don’t believe in, but appear to exist anyway. If they’re fighting them, why wouldn’t they believe in them? Are the monsters they face supposed to be physical manifestations of someone’s imagination or something?



Another devastating week for Scientology…and it’s only Monday

March 29, 2010

Tonight Anderson Cooper began his week-long expose on $cientology, Scientology: A history of violence. Last year saw a series of exposes on the cult from the local California news on KESQ-TV but those were only about 10 minutes each night. And of course the St. Petersburg Times in Florida has been running a long series of reports for the last several months. But now we’re talking about CNN! And not only that but each installment of Cooper’s series will be hours long.

Additionally, Cooper’s savvy enough to put the focus in the right place, less on all the Xenu stuff and more on the actual reported abuses. The reason this is important is that many people have already heard at least a little bit about the Xenu stuff and a lot of religious moderates and liberals have started to be turned off by the mockery of $cientologists’ “beliefs,” naively thinking the issue is just about a weird, goofy religion. It’s not. $cientology is not a religion and bares virtually no resemblance to one. Alleged $cientology churches look remarkably like office buildings inside and out and no actual prayer or meditation takes place in their “churches. ” $cientology is more of a multi-level marketing scheme that figured out long ago that they can get away with a lot more by wearing the costume of religion. But whenever being a religion is inconvenient such as when religious people accuse them of being anti-Christian or whatever, then they conveniently switch their tactics and insist that it’s all just a self-help program and that members are free to be both $cientologists AND Christians, etc.

But the real story about $cientology is not a religion gone wild (I know. It’s redundant). No, the real story is the slave labor and child labor that goes on in the Sea Org, the psychology denialism, the bogus medical treatments, the disconnection policies, the mind control tactics, the nearly forced abortions, the cruel and unusual punishments to enforce discipline, the whole Orwellian nature of the cult.

And not only will all this including interviews with former members be seen in living rooms across the country (and by tomorrow around the world via the internet) but as I’ve reported before an anti-$cientologist film is getting big press in Germany, where the cult is officially regarded as a criminal organization. In response, $cientology has rather amusingly announced their plans to make a rival film.

But something tells me they won’t be hiring J.D. Shapiro to write the script. Shapiro was the unfortunate individual responsible for writing the origin screenplay for Battlefield Earth. Shapiro, possibly the only non-$cientologist involved in the film, now apologizes for the film and humorously recounts how he got involved in the project, his weird experiences with members of the cult, how he got fired from the project, and how he had little to do with the most objectionable parts of the film. Also included is the transcript of the speech he gave when he bravely accepted the Razzie award for the film.

Oh yeah, and the AP has picked up the story about Marc and Claire Headley’s lawsuit against against $cientology over the treatment they received in the Sea Org.

All this pretty much guarantees that this will be in the hall of fame of worst weeks in the cult’s history.


Scientology vs. everybody

March 28, 2010

Not since Eminem have I seen one party with so many enemies. After decades of pissing off almost everyone now they’ll incur the wrath of Anderson Cooper. CNN has announced Thursday that it will debut the first of Cooper’s four part series – “Scientology:  A History of Violence” on Monday. This series will primarily focus on the recent string of accusations from former members of physical abuse that took place during their time in the Sea Org.

Cooper says he’s already fielded e-mails from church members “complaining about the series, and accusing me of attacking the church, its beliefs, its membership, and its activities.” (He added: “Given that the emails are all very similar in content, I assume this is some sort of organized email campaign.”)

No shock there. A source at CNN tells me: “We have heard from their lawyers.”

And $cientology isn’t the only one who can file lawsuits. Former members Marc and Claire Headley of the Sea Org are suing the cult on charges of slave labor. And these aren’t lower ranking members but people who literally devoted their life for decades to “the church.”

And another high-ranking former Sea Org member in New Zealand, Aaron Saxton, is continuing to speak out and reveal the truth about this mysterious paramilitary force known as the Sea Org.

It seems that $cientology is it’s own worst enemy. It’s an ouroboros swallowing its own tail.