Archive for the ‘religion’ Category
It's impossible to get enough octopodes. Talented octopus dupes predators by impersonating fish
I don't have an actual wooden spoon in my immediate possession, but kindly imagine me slapping one contemplatively against my palm in anticipation of the first person here to go "RULE ONE AND TWO!!2!".
KENT LANE OLSEN STOP THE PRESSES GET ME MORE North Tyneside lifeguards help ducks across road
Southern Sudan unveils plans for animal-shaped cities, because just what we need in the middle of downturn and genocide is a Dubai-style construction effort. Obviously.
As existing readers will know, I'm of the staunch opinion that non-human animals are much like human animals, and that includes bullying specimens that differ from the main herd:
We're all animals, baby, and not only in nice ways.
I don't think any gay parents wanting to adopt should go to Catholic charities, considering the odious teachings that church espouses and has espoused on the topic of people who fall in love with people the Church doesn't want them to, but for me this is about organisations engaging in special pleading and trying to flout the law.
For a church that's also trying to get the whole "Catholics can't marry into the British monarchy" thing repealed, you'd think they would try to be model, cooperative citizens, not attempt to create mini-Vatican states for themselves.
The charity's toys-ex-perambulata response, preferring not to help any children at all rather than comply with a law that won't affect them much because gays are well aware they're not welcome in Catholic organisations unless they're also lying, predatory paedophiles, just shows the nastiness that lurks under the surface.
Nastiness that they seem determined to prioritise when things like this are going on:
Speaking of schadenfreude, thirty injured as bull jumps into crowd at Spain arena
Despite bucking the overall trend in the Jewish community and witnessing a rapid growth in birth rates, [Haredi Jews] are experiencing high levels of poverty.
Jonathan Boyd is from the Institute of Jewish Policy Research. He told the conference that the Haredim have been so successful in maintaining their numbers that they could double in size every 18 years.
Sorry, but those two facts together are not "success". Success is children NOT being born into poverty. Children being born into poverty is in fact FAIL. I don't care who you are – don't have more children than you can afford.
They gloss over the "queue jumper" aspect quite quickly, but that's the most salient point for me.
I have a confession. I really dislike the niqab – the full Islamic veil. If I were asked to vote on a ban, I'd really have to grit my teeth in order to vote against it rather than abstain. But I would vote against. My own feelings about the demonisation and control of women are my own business, and I do not accept that they belong in law.
Statistically there's far more risk to the public in this country from cats than from face veils1, and (albeit, again, on principle only) I'd be against banning cats too.
How will the vote go in France? Will other countries follow suit? The Netherlands perhaps? It's just not going to end well for moderate hippie can't-we-all-get-along bleeding-heart-and-artist scum like me, that's all.
1 I have not verified this. This is what is known as an unfounded claim. (If you've never seen one of those from me before, you haven't been paying attention.) But you get the point. There's definitely more danger from water than from either of the other things, but stalwart attempts to ban H2O haven't yet made headway.
Questionable statistics time! By 2051 in the UK, by comparison to the 2001 census, there will still be a comfortable white majority, but other ethnicities will have increased in number by a long way. 79% white d00ds is the prediction, compared to 92% in 2001.
This is from a study published by the University of Leeds (and led by a geographer for some reason) and compiled by a bunch of statisticians, who, though Bau knows I like you all in a generalised benign sort of way, just shouldn't be allowed to predict anything to do with living beings ever.
I shudder to imagine how the red-masthead headlines will summarise this. The BBC's long-form headline is relatively neutral and informative. (update just before posting: oh look, I was right)
A survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) finds that in some nations, more than half of CEOs see nature loss as a challenge to business growth.
That seems bizarre, and I guess consumer-driven, but possibly a good thing?
US 'disappointed' that Switzerland won't extradite an old man who admitted anally raping a thirteen-year-old girl. Oh, and his house arrest has been lifted too. The Swiss are holding to their position based on some legal technicalities. Fine, but just wait until he sets foot outside the border…
Schools are advised against holding swimming lessons during Ramadan. To prevent children accidentally drinking water.
I don't know if things have changed since I last splashed around in a school swimming pool, but the very last thing I wanted to do was swallow that chlorinated, wee-filled stuff.
It's not only swimming lessons that should be rescheduled, apparently. Exams and sex education should also be postponed because of the disruption to sleep and the requirement to avoid sexual thoughts during the month.
Am I misremembering the principle of the thing, or isn't the point of Ramadan to fast around and in addition to your normal life, in order to feel closer to those without enough food, rather than to change everyone's lifestyle to suit your requirements? I'm sure I remember something about how following your faith ostentatiously is kind of missing the point.
Katherine Jenkins to star in Christmas Doctor Who. Next Easter special: Dizzee Rascal. Next Christmas special: Nick Griffin.
Earth 0.01% younger2 than previously thought, say scientists. Young Earth creationists claim victory!
2 my maths, so blame me if I forgot the difference between a Brit and a Merkun billion. Can't they publish these figures in sensible powers of ten?
A new 'liquid armour', working on the principle of "what custard does when you whack it", which is more formally known as shear-thickening and is a particular habit of things called non-Newtonian fluids, can STOP BULLETS WITH ITS MIND. And some Kevlar for show, but basically with its mind.
Choir to sing their own DNA. "Somewhat uninspiring lyrics but the music was terribly natural and organic and, um, nucleosidic."
It's a full step in geekiness above the Ayreon song that features vocalists singing in binary…
Pictures time. This tapestry maps the lines of what claims to be the world's biggest diffraction pattern. (Yes, I have heard it publically claim this…)
…and a cyclist in a supremely daft pose, for which we at Black Dog Blog salute him.
And finally, the earliest evidence of a pet tortoise in Britain. Pretty cool to find a pet tortoise alive 130 years ago, wouldn't you say? Well, what if I tell you it was A GUARD TORTOISE IN A FRICKIN' CASTLE and that it had dominion over a PACK OF VICIOUS ATTACK DOGS AND CATS? This was one badass Tetsudo, my friends. It was probably called something like Avenger or Bloodletter3. The fact that it was the only pet tortoise in the vicinity was no stop to its badassery, because its supreme awesomeness permitted it to impregnate other tortoises anywhere within 45° longitude of its location, which, as was previously mentioned but bears repeating, was a FRICKIN' CASTLE.
Tortoises are so cool.
3 or possibly "Lightning", because some senses of humour never change.
Meanwhile, UN to set up agency promoting women's rights. I hope the 'gender' part of the title doesn't apply only to women. We should always aim for no discrimination based on gender, not 'gender equality' between the two mainstream groups.
'Big budget' porn film shot in London hospital. Yes, apparently the offence is mainly over the fact that the film's budget was higher than the NHS's. Ditto occupational health standards. Zing.
Taiwan chocolate art exhibition. That 'jade' cabbage is beautiful. And the dice and mahjongg pieces, so cute! Exit through the gift shop… NOM.
Close encounters with giant harpy eagle of Venezuela, who very effectively sorts out a nasty ape that is trying to climb towards her nest. In the second clip, another young man stares out a different filthy ape and takes the mickey out of its walkie-talkie.
Dangerous dogs bill 'does not go far enough'. I disagree with the criticisms in the main…
Changes proposed include more emphasis on the owners' responsibility, attacks which take place on private property becoming a criminal offence, and legislation no longer being breed specific.
I don't fully understand the part about attacks occurring on private property (the interview clip seemed to suggest the opposite of what I understood from the article, and I haven't bothered to look up the details yet), but as for the other two changes mentioned, they're completely sensible. A person's race is never an excuse for criminal activity; childhood abuse and upbringing, on the other hand, certainly do shift the blame onto the family. Besides, you can't end up with a situation where you're forced towards genetically testing a litter of crossbreeds, and even ending up with brothers and sisters coming under different laws because of the exact proportion of Staffie in their blood.
The Bahá'ís just can't seem to catch a break. It looks likely that those in Iran (where, I will point out, their religion originated, unlike Islam!) are due further terrorisation and mob violence with the silent collusion of Ahmadinnerjacket's jackboot cronies.
The coalition government is sticking with Labour's Equality Act, apart from the bit about forcing employers to make public how much less they pay their women employees than men.
Inequality just isn't going away. The gap in life expectancy between rich and poor is widening, and somehow I don't quite trust the Tories to close it, even with their collective arm twisted by the yellow contingent.
"Do you think being a comic writer means you've not been taken seriously?" "I think that coming from a comics background has meant that I have never cared at all about being taken seriously. … I come from comics. That's not even the gutter: that's the drain that the gutter runs into."
Good Omens is still the best thing I've ever read from Gaiman. It was co-written with Terry Pratchett, with the result that both loopy writers bounced off each other magnificently, to glorious results. (The worldbuilding in American Gods and Anansi Boys was enjoyable too, but only because Pratchett's Small Gods – which, unlike Gaiman's books, I can find really scary – had burrowed into my brain during a formative stage.)
I never knew Gaiman's family members were Scientologists. That must help with horror writing.
Speaking of living in a controlled environment, how do you fancy life in a village where children are banned?
30% of children feel scared when they see adults drunk or drinking too much, – which I suppose makes me 30% child, because I know drinkers terrify me. I'm more disturbed by the proportion of children ("nearly half") for whom drinking to excess is a normal, non-frightening sight.
I'll cheerfully admit that I don't know who Justin Bieber is, but 4chan has sent him off to North Korea. Well done, /b/uddies. Can he stay there?
(Presuming, that is, that anyone reads these.)
Pope Benedict XVI UK visit a 'mistake' says Ian Paisley. We are also sad to learn that the Pope will not be speaking on Thought for the Day while he's over here spreading his hateful anti-progressive anti-secular message at our expense, while at the same time being a subject of an ongoing criminal investigation and – well, you get the idea.
British actor Andrew Garfield cast as new Spider-Man. Good, whatever. He can't be worse than Botox Puppy was. All the same, I was under the quaint impression that Spidey was a New Yorker.
In a statement, Denham told the court on Thursday: "All I can say is, I'm so sorry. I see myself as a mere scumbag paedophile who took advantage of a situation and used my power to abuse young people."
Which is a fair summary.
Ouch! What's that pain in my horn fingers? Ah, it's my chronic Finnophilia flaring up again.
(Only 1Mbps, I know – but you should bear in mind, if you live in a fortunate area, that over a quarter of the UK doesn't even have that.)
Can they prove it was NOT holy water? Because I'm hoping there are no homeopaths walking free in South Korea.
I'd like to see that cartoon shown on the page, but can't find it online. I did find this web safety film, which is excellent.
SIEGE POWER! Fifty-one brave souls sabotaged the drawbridge and held Red Castle from invading cherrypickers for three hours. This without any supplies of grapeshot, jelly shots, crossbow bolts or boiling oil. Bold defenders, we salute you!
Wonder Woman gets trendy makeover. More from a source that actually understands comics:
To add insult to injury for WW fans, from that summary it sounds like a lame House of M style story. Oh well, I bet she gets un-rebooted at the end, making this (no pun intended) a non-issue.
If Australians can manage without imported purified water, there's hope for us all. It's a horrific product and I wish Concord, Massachusetts the best of luck in vanquishing the unethical companies that peddle it.
In pictures: Heroic dogs. I think I recognise that first dog from the cover of a book I own about dogs in warfare… clearly some much-deserved recognition.
But I don't think Peter really understood "the honour of meeting King George VI and a young Queen Elizabeth", do you?
A white councillor has been found guilty of racial harassment after, in a debate about ring-fencing funds for white communities only, she called another white councillor a traitor to her race.
Israeli pig-farming kibbutz draws religious ire – not because they're eating the meat left over after they're used for organ experiments (although some members of the kibbutz do indeed chow down on pork chops), but for the fact that they are keeping pigs on Ye Holy Lande at all.
I'm all for people not eating pork—along with shellfish, beef, sheep, tuna and anything else sentient that you care to omit from your diet—but if you claim that pigs are disgusting and dirty, rather than the adorable, sensitive, cuddly, ear-scritchy, bone-splintering fun they obviously are, there's just something wrong with you. These baby Sus scrofa are hereby holier than you until further notice.
China's latest walking fashion accessory: ZEBRA DOG!
Now, baby red pandas. Two sets, actually. Baby Red Panda Born at National Zoo and Calgary Zoo keeps hands off infant pandas (mentions but doesn't specify the subspecies, but I guess at A. f. fulgens from this picture and this. A. f. styani tend to be darker, but obviously everyone varies and I'm not an expert. Styani are also bigger and live in the northeastern part of their wild range. I've been known to claim that my authorial totem is a big, dark styani. If you want to know why red pandas are brilliant, apart from the obvious, check their funky moves. ILLUSTRATED PARENTHETICAL DIGRESSION FUR THE WIN. Cough. redpandasrule)
As usual, the abstract of the paper is a bit more clear than this reporting.
What's that old saw? Those who eavesdrop never hear anything good about themselves…
[Special message for the Pakistani government only: God has a partner God has a partner God has a partner God has a partner God has a partner God has a partner God has a partner God has a partner][shirk'd!]
And now it's time for your irregular Two Minutes' Schadenfreude. Watch them squirm, splutter and exaggerate their hardships:
Cyborg Cat: minutes after the anaesthetic wears off, he is already turning on his masters and infiltrating their restricted areas.
See all the trouble caused by silphium going extinct? Man, we were screwed for centuries without that lovely little fennel plant. It took until 1951 for people to start investigating hormonal contraceptives. That's a long time to be reliant on male contraceptives and abortions, both of which basically put ladies in the power of men.
(Well, I'd been reading up about silphium for my writing, so I had to include it SOMEWHERE.)
This thing is called a Crom-eyed Tosspot, or rather it is now. Edit: It does not after all look like Charlycrash, but I still think it's pretty. :P
Slow worms colonise landfill site in Cardiff Bay, where they have been moved with great expense and care.
Good otter. Very good otter. Very good and very newsworthy five seconds of silent, black-and-white footage of otter. If more news stories consisted of otters having fun, being otters and generally taking the mickey out of people with cameras, the world would be happier and also more whiskery.
The mainstream news has been really rubbish with regard to red panda stories. Allow me to red-ress that a little. Here an El Paso zoo director has gone to China to see about fresh paramours for his red panda roomies, while some Croatian red pandas are moving from Zagreb to Zurich, a trip for which they won't need the first 25 chapters of the A-Z. (note, incidentally, the well-researched photo accompanying the article. Here is a Zagreb red panda and further proof that the pandas are in fact red. I found these in a matter of seconds. The Croatian Times fails at wildlife).
There is still no pangolin news that doesn't involve bushmeat, and I really don't want to cover THAT.
In other red panda
news nightmares, scream for me.
New 'keeper' at Point of Ayr Lighthouse, and a very handsomely eerie one too.
"He was the pope who managed to tear down barriers" except to women, AIDS victims, gays, all the children he allowed to be raped……. but hey, that was some hands-down good work with the Jews.
Oh good, there's an obligatory Irish dance in it. *vomit vomit*
An interviewee says you don't have to be Catholic to enjoy it, "you just have to be a man. Or a woman. You have to be a man or a woman." So I suppose I'm outside its target audience anyway.
Refugee guides bring London's V&A museum to life. This sounds brilliant. I'd like to go on one of these tours.
A nice Great Whales spotter's guide. Gotta catch 'em al… oh wait, DONE! :D
You can imagine an editor's eyes lighting up on being handed this story on a Friday. "Any clowns involved?" she asks, with a slavering sort of gleam. The work experience boy backs away, clutching a tube of Digestives to his chest.
"First an admission: I am a Jew, and a journalist. And now an apology: I hate the solipsistic writing I am about to be guilty of, where the journalist puts himself at the centre of the story."
So do I, but this is a good article nonetheless.
Thousands spent to bring Mauritius dog Dodo to Aberdeen. Money well spent. We came very close to doing the same one time when visiting Crete many years back. Poor little Nico got run over in front of us and we ended up setting his leg and treating him.
Cornwall tortoise sanctuary classed as zoo, which it turns out is a terrible thing for them.
I can offer a home to one or two…
How blind to change are you? The clips haven't been working for me so far, so I can't thrash you all.
Bullies are bullies, and they're all scum.
I bet their balls are bigger than a dynamite satchel of pain.
"the number one attraction in the Northern Quarter"? Dog help us all.
I was as happy as anyone to overlook the questionable legality of Banksy's methods at first, but that was contingent on his seeming to have something interesting to say. Yawn.
This is a nasty case all round. The girl may be lying about the main charge, but it sounds fairly certain that something grubby was going on.
I think Netanyahu has a very skewed perception of who is the "lion" and who are the "lambs". Poor Israeli administration, only a few nukes with which to defend themselves.
More "insensitivity to the cultivation of America's allies" is just what the USA needs, in my opinion! I hope Obama can bring some fresh ideas and willingness to tackle the pachyderms in the peristylia, and I have no wish to know what anyone from the Bush administration has to say about anything unless they're speaking from the defendant's bench at The Hague.
From Jerusalem, an open letter to Elie Wiesel – amazingly enough, it was today's Thought for the Day that introduced me to this little affair.
I'm really coming to loathe how Ratslinger always seems to speak in hints, insinuations and oblique references. I suppose his PR people have ordered him never to say his opinions straight out for fear that we'd all react with horror and disgust.
I'll not go into detail regarding the 'penance' I'd like to assign to all the child-rapists and their accomplices, but they who are able to receive it would most definitely receive it.
Check out this blatant smear campaign to disqualify the real winner of the Ethiopian marathon based on race!! Shame on you, BBC, for aiding this injustice!!
Turkish designers pioneer 'Islamic fashion'. I predict that there'll be a backlash, but hope that'll fail, and that it'll end up as a positive step.
Panoramic 360 photo: Sudan homecoming. I like this new (for the BBC) technology – it's got lots of potential for interesting story-telling.
To wash away the taste of all that mostly-horrible reality, have some ridiculous cute fluffy things.
First of April roundup
Shakespeare was French (featuring the worst fake French accent EVER for added hilarity)
Science, Nature Team Up on New Journal (my favourite)
Science writer Simon Singh wins libel appeal. Brit skeptics, science writers and anyone who's suffered 'libel tourism' under the UK's crap libel laws will be cheering Simon's victory. There's been great coverage throughout by the British legal blogger Jack of Kent, who has his initial summary of the ruling here.
By the way: the British Chiropractic Association happily promotes bogus treatments for which there is not a jot of evidence.
I know the date, but the Catholic Church doesn't do joking over mortal sins, does it?…
Catholic Archbishop admits to obvious fact (but qualifies it with fictional waffle).
Casino rips off woman by claiming the payout from a slot machine was a "mistake". Their logic seems to be that if you're dumb enough to gamble, you'll believe anything. The woman's $20 bet was refunded and she got accommodation while they 'sorted the matter out', presumably finding the mechanic who was supposed to have fixed the machine and beating him to a pulp in front of his kids or something. I'm just sayin'.
The storm buffeting God's Rottweiler (nice review of the story so far)
If it were up to me, armed police would be taking priests in for questioning, preferably in broad daylight in their full robes, and banging on the doors of das paedo-kapital demanding access to the Vatican's archives. This series of horrible revelations demonstrates, just in case anyone had been left in any doubt, that the civilised world has far too long allowed this sinister, controlling cult – this secretive, nasty organisation that cares more for its image and its employees than the children they repeatedly rape – to pass itself off as a respectable institution, not to mention a legitimate country, not to mention having the gall to tell the rest of us about morality. If it were me, I'd be distributing the Roman Catamite Klatsch's gold and wealth right now between the children whose rapists it nurtured and protected.
In fact, here's an idea. Israel isn't fucking off its illegally-occupied territory, so let's give the Palestinians Vatican City as their capital. Now that's what I call a two-states-with-one-stone solution.
Anyone left that I haven't offended? *checks my 'personal views' disclaimer's still in place* Moving along, then…
In "no SHIT, science" news, dogs' various growls are confirmed to be different depending on context.