Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Should we be worried?

I found this headline in the religion section of Yahoo news today: Netherlands sets plan against extremism. Is it “extremism” to attempt to curtail religious extremism? Is it a violation of people’s freedom of religion or is it necessary steps society must take to support democracy and protect against theocratic rule? Shouldn’t other groups prone to extremism be included?

Islam is spreading in Germany rapidly. According to the German channels, RTL & 3Sat, there are about 4,000 new Muslim Germans every year. More than half of the number are women. There has been a phenomenal growth of Islam in the United States and many western nations. There were 945,000 Muslims living in the Netherlands on January 1, 2004, double the amount in 1990, and has been steadily increasing. Many sympathize with Muslims and even fight for their rights to their “faith” and way of life. On the other hand, many also fear that with the steady growth of Islam in Europe and other parts of the world may be just the start of serious conflicts and social unrest that will continue to grow as more and more religious fundamentalists increase in population and are elected to positions of power.

Since leaving the Dutch parliament, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has made further statements in support of restrictive immigration policies. She made her statements on this subject on 1 November 2006 in the television program Aspekte on the German TV station ZDF. She said that she feared that Muslim immigrants, once in the majority, would introduce Sharia legislation. Here is Ayaan Hirsi Ali Interviewed On Swedish Television

Dutch parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a native of Somalia who emigrated to The Netherlands in the early 1990s, is no stranger to controversy among her fellow Muslims. Living in the West, she felt free to publicly criticize Islam’s treatment of women.

But that freedom came at a price. In 2004, a short film Ali scripted called Submission was shown on Dutch television. In the film, naked women veiled with see-through shrouds painted with verses of the Quran kneel in prayer, telling their stories as if they are speaking to Allah.

The film’s co-writer and director Theo Van Gogh was later stabbed to death by a Muslim radical. A letter pinned to the body with a dagger threatened Ali’s life. Since then, she has been under the constant protection of body guards.

The danger hasn’t stopped her from remaining outspoken about her beliefs. Ali calls her new collection of essays, The Caged Virgin, an “Emancipation Proclamation” for women and Islam.

From NPR

Do we wait and see what happens in time? Is there a problem or are many free people just fearful and paranoid? According to women like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, there is good reason for concern and action to curtail Islamic extremism now.

Monday, August 27, 2007

There's No Place Like Home

I'm back and will be posting something soon.

No matter where I go, or what cool places and people I see, there is NO PLACE LIKE HOME!
I love my home.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

On the road again . . .

Off to help our daughter move from one city to another out east. She has moved every year for the past 7 years she has lived on her own. Hopefully she will stay put for longer than a year this time. I have a housesitter in the real world, and people "blogsitting" to keep the trolls at bay. I will check in when and if I can. Will be back on Monday!
In the meantime, here's some vintage Canned Heat . . .

Monday, August 20, 2007

What a sonic boom looks like

Credit: Ensign John Gay, USS Constellation, US Navy

Explanation: Is this what a sonic boom looks like? When an airplane travels at a speed faster than sound, density waves of sound emitted by the plane cannot precede the plane, and so accumulate in a cone behind the plane. When this shock wave passes, a listener hears all at once the sound emitted over a longer period: a sonic boom. As a plane accelerates to just break the sound barrier, however, an unusual cloud might form. The origin of this cloud is still debated. A leading theory is that a drop in air pressure at the plane described by the Prandtl-Glauert Singularity occurs so that moist air condenses there to form water droplets. Above, an F/A-18 Hornet was photographed just as it broke the sound barrier. Large meteors and the space shuttle frequently produce audible sonic booms before they are slowed below sound speed by the Earth's atmosphere.

Cluster Crash Illuminates Dark Matter Conundrum

Credit: X-ray: NASA / CXC/ U. Victoria/ A. Mahdavi et al.
Optical/Lensing: CFHT/ U. Victoria/ A. Mahdavi
et al.

Explanation: Huge clusters of galaxies are surely colliding in Abell 520 but astrophysicists aren't sure why the dark matter is becoming separated from the normal matter. The dark matter in the above multi-wavelength image is shown in false blue, determined by carefully detailing how the cluster distorts light emitted by more distant galaxies. Very hot gas, a form of normal matter, is shown in false red, determined by the X-rays detected by the Earth-orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory. Individual galaxies dominated by normal matter appear yellowish or white. Conventional wisdom holds that dark matter and normal matter are attracted the same gravitationally, and so should be distributed the same in Abell 520. Inspection of the above image, however, shows a surprising a lack of a concentration of visible galaxies along the dark matter. One hypothetical answer is that the discrepancy is caused by the large galaxies undergoing some sort of conventional gravitational slingshots. A more controversial hypothesis holds that the dark matter is colliding with itself in some non-gravitational way that has never been seen before. Further simulations and study of this cluster may resolve this scientific conundrum.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Chinese crap

"China's problems with lead in consumer products
go far beyond tainted toys."

I wrote about this a long time ago, about how most of the products we buy are made in China, and it's nearly impossible to find anything made in the U.S.A. and even the wood the Amish make their furniture from is probably from China. It's not just toys where the problem lies, it's in FOOD and food additives that we put inside our bodies.
Toys just 1 danger imported from China

Rules against dangerous chemicals are tough to enforce in a country where a thriving underground industry makes substandard food, medicine and other goods.
By The Associated Press

China's problems with lead in consumer products go far beyond tainted toys.

From playthings to paint to gasoline, Chinese companies use lead in a wide range of products, and experts say China's children are suffering the health consequences.

Beijing has prohibited leaded gasoline in recent years and has tightened standards for other goods. But enforcement is spotty, and lead is still so common that researchers say up to one-fifth of Chinese children tested had unsafe levels in their blood.

"The central government many times has regulations in place, but given China's size, a lot of things don't get implemented at the local level," said Jamie Choi, a campaigner in Beijing for the environmental group Greenpeace.

In China's latest product-safety incidents, Mattel is recalling nearly 19 million Chinese-made toys made with lead paint or with powerful magnets that children could swallow. The U.S. toy giant said its supplier, Early Light Industrial, hired a subcontractor for painting that violated Mattel's rules by using paint from an outside source instead of Early Light.

On Wednesday, managers at Early Light's Hong Kong headquarters and its factory in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen didn't respond to phone calls seeking comment.

An official of a trade group, the China National Light Industry Council, argued that responsibility for meeting foreign standards should not lie with Chinese manufacturers.

"The quality of Chinese-made toys with American brands should be the responsibility of the American brand owner, not the Chinese manufacturer," said Zhang Yanfen, the secretary of the council's panel on toy standards.

Spokespeople for China's Health Ministry and product-safety agency, and the China Toy Association, an industry group, all declined to comment.

The lead menace

Lead was long added to paint to make colors brighter and to gasoline to lubricate engine parts, but exposure can harm children and cause brain damage. The United States and other countries have banned leaded gasoline and limited use of lead paint to ship hulls and in other settings where children are unlikely to come into contact with it.

China has joined developed countries in tightening controls on lead after long ignoring the health and environmental cost of its 28-year-old economic boom. But the rules are difficult to enforce in a society with a thriving underground industry producing fake and substandard food, medicine and other goods. And lower-level authorities often are reluctant to force changes that might hurt local companies.

Sale of leaded gasoline was banned in 2000. But inspectors found it was being made by clandestine factories as late as 2004 for use in older vehicles, according to the State Environmental Protection Administration.

Effects are widespread

Lead's health effects are being widely felt.

In the most serious case, 877 villagers near a lead smelter in the northwest's Gansu province, including 334 children under 14, suffered lead poisoning, according to state media.

The smelter's owners ran it at night with its pollution-control gear turned off to save money, news reports said. They said some children might suffer permanent brain damage.

At the other end of the country, a study of 5,000 children in Dongguan, a boomtown near Hong Kong, found that 22.1% had lead in their blood in excess of safe levels, according to the newspaper Yangcheng Evening News.

Dongguan is home to hundreds of factories that produce low-cost furniture, toys and other goods for export to the United States and other markets, often under contract from foreign clients.

Globalization has added to the range of possible sources of lead contamination.

In China's southeast, environmentalists say villages where residents dismantle discarded computers, TVs and other electronics from the United States and other countries by hand for recycling are contaminated with lead and other metals.

Environmentalists are lobbying Beijing to ban the use of lead in consumer goods.

Greenpeace's Choi said the group also wants to see foreign companies make sure their contractors obey regulations.

"With the strong pressure that multinationals give Chinese suppliers to supply cheaper products, while trying to meet the demands of these companies, it happens that often they will neglect environmental regulations," said Choi. "Multinationals should know that coming in."

Sunday Non Sequitur

Click on image to enlarge

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Research reveals sharks have genes for fingers and toes

Interesting article about this latest research:

How Sharks Hide Their Fingers

By Charles Q. Choi, Special to LiveScience
16 August 2007 01:21 am ET

The genetic potential to create fingers and toes apparently existed ages before animals even crawled onto land, dating back to the distant common ancestors of sharks and humans, research now reveals.

The research focused on a group of genes that control how and where body parts develop in animals, including people. Scientists investigated the activity of these "Hox genes" in embryos of the spotted catshark.

Unexpectedly, they discovered that a spurt of genetic activity that helps digits such as fingers and toes develop in limbed animals was seen in shark embryos as well.

"Genetic processes were not simple in early aquatic vertebrates only to become more complex as the animals adapted to terrestrial living. They were complex from the outset," said developmental biologist Martin Cohn at the University of Florida at Gainesville.

So why don't sharks have fingers?

Although the genetic program needed to create digits might exist in sharks and many other kinds of fish, they only activate it briefly, said University of Florida graduate students Renata Freitas and Guangjun Zhang. In other words, people and other limbed vertebrates use this ancient recipe from their genetic cookbook and extend the cooking time.

Humans and other land animals ultimately descend from bony fish. Sharks, on the other hand, possess skeletons made of cartilage, not bone. This suggests the genetic potential for fingers and toes existed more than 500 million years ago, in the last common ancestor of bony and cartilaginous fish. This is more than 135 million years before digits debuted in the earliest limbed vertebrates, as amphibians struggled to adapt to land.

These findings might not only shed light on the evolution of animals on Earth, but also could provide insights on ways to cure human birth defects, which affect about 150,000 infants annually in the United States. For instance, when a particular Hox gene is mutated in humans, "it results in malformations of fingers and toes," Cohn said.

In a parallel study, researchers at the University of Chicago found this genetic potential in paddlefish, a primitive living descendant of early fish with the first bony skeletons.

Cohn and his colleagues detailed their findings in the Aug. 15 issue of the journal PLoS ONE.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Ghost orbs

I know several people who believe ghosts exist, and that they make "appearances" as orbs sometimes in photographs and videos. What is it with humans that makes them want to believe in supernatural stuff so badly?

The Tail of a Wonderful Star

Click on image to enlarge
Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, GALEX, C. Martin (Caltech), M. Seibert(OCIW )

Explanation: To seventeenth century astronomers, Omicron Ceti or Mira was known as a wonderful star, a star whose brightness could change dramatically in the course of about 11 months. Mira is now seen as the archetype of an entire class of long-period variable stars. Surprisingly, modern astronomers have only recently discovered another striking characteristic of Mira -- an enormous comet-like tail nearly 13 light-years long. The discovery was made using ultraviolet image data from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) satellite. Billions of years ago Mira was likely similar to our Sun, but has now become a swollen red giant star, its outer layers of material blowing off into interstellar space. Fluorescing in ultraviolet light, the cast off material trails behind the giant star as it plows through the surrounding interstellar medium at 130 kilometers per second. The amount of material in Mira's tail is estimated to be equivalent to 3,000 times the mass of planet Earth. About 400 light-years away toward the constellation Cetus, Mira is presently too faint to be seen by the unaided eye, but will become visible again in mid-November.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Religion and culture behind Texas execution tally

Link: DALLAS (Reuters) - Texas will almost certainly hit the grim total of 400 executions this month, far ahead of any other state, testament to the influence of the state's conservative evangelical Christians and its cultural mix of Old South and Wild West.

"A lot of evangelical Protestants not only believe that capital punishment is permissible but that it is demanded by God. And they see sanction for that in the Old Testament especially," said Matthew Wilson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Now, why would an all-powerful god not just take care of the nasty job of executing these people himself instead of having humans break his laws and kill another person for breaking his laws and killing another person? (So many vicious circles in this god belief!)

Better question yet, if this god is all-powerful, omniscient, and omnipresent, knowing past, present and future, then why allow these humans to be born and live in the first place if they are only going to cause trouble for society anyway???

But I am sure that believers in all of their creativeness will make up whatever answers they want that supports their barbaric desires to see someone die (and the more violent the better), and revenge will make them feel good. It’s not much different than the stoning that goes on in the Middle East that is justified via the Qur’an. The mentality of the crowds that cheer and praise god for his “almighty justice” is just as twisted as the person who is being put to death for their premeditated murderous acts.

It seems that for too many people, religion makes them more revengeful and driven to support violence and back it all up with their ancient mythology books. I am not saying that murderers, serial killers and psychopaths should walk around free, but the way these delusional people believe that their imaginary friend wants them to do his dirty work is almost as crazy or terrible as the murderer themselves.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Real Meteor Captured On Camera in Perth, Australia, 2005

More Christian bigotry

A megachurch in Texas canceled a memorial service for a Navy veteran 24 hours before it was to start because the deceased was gay.

Funerals are for the living to provide a time to grieve their loss, provide closure and to say goodbye to loved ones. For many Christians, dogma comes before compassion and wanting to comfort the living. I wonder how many people walked away from religion after hearing about this story. I am certain that many who have been "fence-sitting" have turned their back on the church in exactly the same way the church turned their back on this man's family and friends. But the family should realize, they don't NEED organized religion, or religion at all for that matter. Screw the bigots and the self-righteous who put their dogma ahead of human beings! People, whether you believe in a god or not, can have meaningful memorial gatherings without the help those who don't give a shit anyway.

Church learns vet was gay, cancels memorial

ARLINGTON, Texas - A megachurch canceled a memorial service for a Navy veteran 24 hours before it was to start because the deceased was gay.

Officials at the nondenominational High Point Church knew that Cecil Howard Sinclair was gay when they offered to host his service, said his sister, Kathleen Wright. But after his obituary listed his life partner as one of his survivors, she said, it was called off.

“It’s a slap in the face. It’s like, ’Oh, we’re sorry he died, but he’s gay so we can’t help you,”’ she said Friday.

MORE . . .

Goat crowned king of Ireland at fair

Gotta love the Irish!

In reality, a goat could do as well as some of our world leaders have done.

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Jimmy, a feisty white mountain goat, was crowned king of Ireland on Friday at one of the country's oldest fairs.

Dating back centuries, the Puck Fair is an annual festival of drinking, music and dancing celebrated in the town of Killorglin in southern Ireland.

Each year a male goat is caught in the surrounding mountains, paraded through the town to a beat of drums and pipes, and then placed in a 40-feet (12 metre) stand where he reigns as king for three days.

The origins of the fair are not totally known, but it always falls on August 10-12.

One theory suggests mountain goats alerted residents of the town to an impending attack by leader Oliver Cromwell's forces in the 17th century.

Another says it may have pre-Christian links due to the goat being a pagan fertility symbol like the god Pan.

"Its origins go way back to the mists of time," the fair's financial controller Declan Falvey told Reuters. "There is a mingling of fact and fantasy."

Around 100,000 to 150,000 visitors are expected to attend this year.

Falvey said precautions had been taken at the event, which also features separate horse and cattle fairs, due to a foot and mouth outbreak in England with disinfectant used, and mats placed wherever there were animals.

Jimmy himself will receive regal treatment, being fed regularly and checked by his own personal vet.

"At the end of 3 days, when he is dethroned, he is brought back up to the mountains and released to join his fellow nanny goats to resume his pastoral duties," said Falvey.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

If you had $4 million, would you want to spend a vacation at this hotel?

An artist's rendering of a shuttle docking with the Galactic Suite hotel is seen in an undated publicity photo. 'Galactic Suite', the first hotel planned in space, expects to open for business in 2012 and would allow guests to travel around the world in 80 minutes. (Galactic Suite/Handout/Reuters)


Fly me to the moon: space hotel sees 2012 opening

Friday, August 10, 2007

Has the world started spinning backwards?

I had to rub my eyes and read this again a second time to make sure it wasn't a spoof. Nope, it's real. The fundamentalists are trying to reverse time, back to an era when women stayed home to be good little housekeepers, and the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary wants to help by offering courses for women only in homemaking.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary offers coursework in Greek and Hebrew, in archaeology, in the philosophy of religion and — starting this fall — in how to cook and sew.

One of the nation's largest Southern Baptist seminaries, the school is introducing a new, women-only academic program in homemaking — a 23-hour concentration that counts toward a bachelor of arts degree in humanities. The program is aimed at helping establish what Southwestern's president calls biblical family and gender roles.

Coursework will include seven hours of nutrition and meal preparation, seven hours of textile design and "clothing construction," three hours of general homemaking, three hours on "the value of a child," and three hours on the "biblical model for the home and family."

Seminary officials say the main focus of the courses is on hospitality in the home — teaching women interior design as well as how to sew and cook. Women also study children's spiritual, physical and emotional development.
Flashback from the past:

Fortunately, not all religious women want to be submissive to their husbands and stay home and breed and wash diapers and mend socks while their husband dominate and bring home the bacon.

Yet the program is raising eyebrows among some Southern Baptists, who say a degree concentration in how to be a Christian housewife is not useful, and a waste of seminary resources.
However, there are those brainwashed women who like being submissive and dominated by their men because they they've been taught that is what their god wants.
Seminary President Paige Patterson, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, which has its executive committee headquarters in Nashville, said wives of seminary students asked for the homemaking courses. The program was approved by seminary trustees.

"We are moving against the tide in order to establish family and gender roles as described in God's word for the home and the family," Patterson said at the denomination's annual meeting in June. "If we do not do something to salvage the future of the home, both our denomination and our nation will be destroyed."


Stovall said the homemaking degree is one of 10 women's programs at the seminary and is "only targeted to women whose heart and calling is the home."
So, are they saying that women who choose to work outside the home, or who must work outside their homes love and care about their families less than those who have the luxury to stay at home to organize their canned goods, bake cherry pies and mend their husband's underwear?

To say that a return to Home Economics and learning to cook and sew and being obedient and submissive housewives is going to save the country is, well -- not too smart and limiting for future options.

On a personal level for these women, what good is a degree in "Homemaking" going to be if a woman finds herself suddenly left on her own to support herself and any children she might have?

Weekend video fun - Ali G on Evolution

Starry Night Sky Podcasts - Sky events in August 2007

Perseids in 1997

Star Factory

Click on image to enlargeMessier 17
Credit & Copyright: Ignacio de la Cueva Torregrosa

Explanation: Sculpted by stellar winds and radiation, the star factory known as Messier 17 lies some 5,500 light-years away in the nebula-rich constellation Sagittarius. At that distance, this 30 arcminute field of view spans almost 50 light-years. Stellar winds and energetic light from hot, massive stars formed from M17's stock of cosmic gas and dust have slowly carved away at the remaining interstellar material producing the cavernous appearance and undulating shapes. Colors in the gorgeous image were picked to emphasize light emitted by specific elements in the nebula excited by the energetic starlight. Red indicates emission from sulfur, green from hydrogen, and blue from oxygen. M17 is also known as the Omega Nebula or the Swan Nebula.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Old Faithful Below a Yellowstone Sky

My new desktop image
click on image to enlarge

Credit & Copyright: Wally Pacholka (Astropics.com)

Explanation: You don't have to be at Yellowstone to see a sky this beautiful, but it helps. Only at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA, would you see the picturesque foreground of the famous Old Faithful Geyser erupting in front an already picturesque sky. Old Faithful Geyser, visible in the foreground, is seen propelling a stream of hot water over 30 meters in the air. This happens predictably for a few minutes about every 90 minutes. Also predictable are the brightest orbs that populate the nighttime sky, although those visible at any one time keep changing. Visible far in the background sky of this mid-July image are the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy on the left, and the bright planet Jupiter on the right. Jupiter is the brightest celestial object in the entire image. Old Faithful has been erupting at least since the late 1800s.

Monday, August 06, 2007

8th wonder of the world

I am the only one in my family who has never flown in an airplane. I have never had any reason to, but I do have a fear of flying in a plane. However, I am thinking now it may be safer than driving over all the many bridges and overpasses I have to cross on a daily basis. I have always experienced anxiety when sitting in my vehicle on a bridge crowded with cars in a major traffic jam, and feeling it "bouncing" ever so slightly as cars in the oncoming lanes whiz by. I thought I was being paranoid by thinking, "I hope this thing holds up." Now I don't think I was being paranoid after all. We take too much for granted.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

"Quiverfull for God"

While this is a free country, and people can do whatever they want as long as it's within our established laws, there has to be something mentally screwed up with women who want to keep popping out babies like a freakin' rabbit! This woman in Arkansas just gave birth to her 17th child, and she says she wants MORE!

The Duggars have a family website promoting their bizarre family sideshow. The opening paragraph "About us" states:
Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar married July 21st, 1984. At that time, they chose to use the birth control pill. They thought, “We don’t want children right now. We can’t afford them. We want children in our timing, when we’re ready.” Four years later they decided to have their first child. Then, Michelle went back on the pill, but she conceived and had a miscarriage. At that point they talked with a Christian medical doctor and read the fine print in the contraceptives package. They found that while taking the pill you can get pregnant and then miscarry. They were grieved! They were Christians! They were pro-life! They realized that their selfish actions had taken the life of their child.
Selfish? Selfish because of the need to plan for the right time to have a child? How selfish is it to keep popping out babies in a world that is over-populated and resources are becoming more and more precious? To keep having children for no other reason but to keep reproducing is incredibly selfish and irresponsible.

Another point I have a more personal beef with is Mrs Duggar's claim that birth control pills are somehow like abortion. And if that Xian doctor told her this, he should have his license revoked. How about the millions of women who DO use contraceptives, and don't have any problems having children at all? How about the women who didn't use birth control pills, like me, and had stillborn babies, miscarriages, and other complications even though they do all the right things? Again, this is just another example of the religious trying justify their own selfish desires and to give excuses for the stupid and irrational things they do and believe.

What really burns me up is that these people have a 7,000 sq. ft. home TAX EXEMPT! They have all these kids and use much more of the community resources and benefits, and let others pay for their quiverfull family cult. This is what they call "financial freedom".


Now for some Monty Python...Every sperm is sacred!

The Dotted Dunes of Mars

Credit & Copyright: Malin Space Science Systems, MOC, MGS, JPL, NASA

Explanation: What causes the black dots on dunes on Mars? As spring dawned on the Northern Hemisphere of Mars in 2004, dunes of sand near the poles begin to defrost. Thinner regions of ice typically thaw first revealing sand whose darkness soaks in sunlight and accelerates the thaw. The process might involve sandy jets exploding through the thinning ice. By summer, the spots expanded to encompass the entire dunes that were then completely thawed and dark. The carbon dioxide and water ice actually sublime in the thin atmosphere directly to gas. Taken in mid-July, the above image shows a field of spotted polar dunes spanning about 3 kilometers near the Martian North Pole. Today, the future of Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity remains unknown windy dust storms continue to starve them of needed sunlight.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Phoenix Mars lander: Hunting for Habitats

The Phoenix Mars Lander blasted off before dawn this morning, precisely on time, hurtling through the clear moonlit sky aboard an unmanned Delta rocket.
Aerospace Writer MARCIA DUNN of the Associated Press reports that "The Phoenix Mars Lander won't be looking for evidence of life on Mars but rather traces of organic compounds in the baked and moistened samples, which would be a possible indicator of conditions favorable for life, either now or once upon a time.

If organic compounds are present on Mars, they're more likely to have been preserved in ice. That's why NASA is aiming for the planet's high northern latitudes, where ice is almost certainly lurking just beneath the surface."

Here is a YouTube video by JPL regarding the Phoenix Mars Lander:

Friday, August 03, 2007

George Carlin on religion

I've posted this before, but each time I watch this it is as funny as the first time, and right on the mark.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Intelligent design malfuction . . . "Embryo formation error"

Seven-legged lamb born in New Zealand

Veterinarians are going to put this animal down because of it's severe deformity. Poor thing. What purpose could there possibly be for this if creationists think this is the intentional work of an "intelligent" designer?

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A lamb with seven legs was born in New Zealand but so badly deformed that it was to be destroyed, a local newspaper reported.

The lamb was born with an extra set of front legs and three back legs, the Ashburton Guardian newspaper, at Ashburton on the South Island, reported.

Farmer Dave Callaghan found the lamb in his field. Two of its legs hung useless behind the forelegs. The lamb walked using its two forelegs and three healthy hind legs.

"I have never seen anything like that," he said.

Veterinarian Steve Williams said the lamb was also hermaphrodite, and was missing a part of its bowel so was unable to pass feces.

He said it was this latter problem, rather than the fact it had seven legs, that meant it would have to be destroyed.

"It's quite a happy bright wee lamb, he's just slowly going downhill really," Williams said. "To keep it alive is probably inhumane really."

Williams said he believed an error during embryo formation had resulted in the lamb’s being born polydactyl — with many legs — a condition that occurs once in several million sheep.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

More religious nuttiness

Man cuts off hand for Hindu goddess offering

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - A 23-year-old Nepali man cut off his right hand after morning prayers and offered it to Kali, the
Hindu goddess of power, the Annapurna Post local daily said on Wednesday.

Rajesh Tajpuria, who runs a drug store in the southeastern town of Rangeli, is undergoing treatment at a hospital, it said.

More than 80 percent of Nepal's 26 million people are Hindus who frequently sacrifice animals such as goats, buffaloes and roosters in temples.

Norway's Princess to teach how to talk to angels

Image from: Angels in America

Having money and coming from an affluent family does not immunize one against delusion. Norway's Princess Martha Louise announced on Tuesday that she is clairvoyant and wants to help people by teaching them how to talk to angels.

Funny how all these wonderful things must be TAUGHT to others instead of the supernatural being just tapping them on the shoulder and saying "howdy". And it's also interesting that belief in supernatural beings must be worked at so hard to retain via churches, fervent praying, study of ancient books, listening to pastors say the same things over and over again, week after week- sermon after sermon. Then, it can be so easily threatened or lost by merely associating with "heathens". And then there is the "evangelizing" and the extreme need and desire to get others to believe and share in the delusion. It's like the story of Peter Pan...if you can get more people to believe then it will make it even MORE real in their own minds. "If you believe in fairies, clap your hands!"

Princess Martha claims that she has talked to angels her whole life. King Harald and Queen Sonja and the Royal Palace have declined to comment. They probably hope that interest and attention to their goofy daughter will just fade in time.

Full story: OSLO (Reuters) -