Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Should Evolution be taught in schools? (Real question and answers)
Should Math be taught in schools? (Spoof, but ... not that we can tell)
Blogger.com, who's hosting my blog, assures us bloggers that we can upload gif files but obviously, this isn't working. If all you see is a photo and not a movie, please click this link: http://i.imgur.com/npuFh.gif. Sorry! (And thank you, Neb!)
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
From an article by Michael Snyder in Black Listed News (http://alturl.com/dbkf8)
"In 2011, America is for sale and the communist Chinese are eager buyers. The Chinese government is using sovereign wealth funds and Chinese state-owned enterprises to buy up economic assets and huge tracts of land all over the United States". This is a phenomenon that is happening all across the United States, the most recent instance being in Texas: State-owned Chinese energy giant CNOOC is buying a multibillion-dollar stake in 600,000 acres of South Texas oil and gas fields, potentially testing the political waters for further expansion into U.S. energy reserves.
From the Cannonfire blog (http://cannonfire.blogspot.com/2011/06/china-says-buy-american.html):
"The Chinese want to build a city -- a big city, nearly 50 square miles in size, near the Boise, Idaho airport. It gets worse: The Chinese will be allowed to import labor to work in the businesses in that city. Yep, they've finally figured out a way to "outsource" domestic retail jobs!
So how do you promote "Inward Foreign Direct Investment"?
Well, you do things like offer massive tax breaks to Chinese state-owned companies and you actively encourage immigration from China.
The following is a quote from an article on the New American website and it explains how a visa program known as EB-5 would help facilitate Project 60....
Specifically, “The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service administers an immigrant investor visa program called EB-5. The program grants foreigners permanent U.S. residency in exchange for helping create U.S. jobs.” This prong will facilitate the immigration of Chinese nationals into the United States for the purpose of establishing a Chinese industrial beachhead in Idaho, under the guise of creating U.S. jobs.
In fact, the state of Idaho is actually touting the EB-5 program on their website that promotes Project 60.
Yes, Chinese state-owned companies would probably hire a small number of Idaho citizens. But as I have written about previously, the idea would be for "special economic zones" to be set up inside the United States that would be very similar to the "special economic zones" inside China.
We are being colonized. One can only hope that our Chinese overlords will allow us to build railroads and run laundries".
Saturday, June 25, 2011
This year, it's Yoda, a 14-year-old Chinese crested and Chihuahua mix. The 2-pound dog was found abandoned behind an apartment building by Mrs. Schumacher who first thought the pooch was a rat.
I don't know... To me he looks kinda cute. Especially compared to 2005 winner Sam, another Chinese Crested, who was so ugly that even the judges recoiled when he was placed on the judging table.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
The Guardian online (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jun/20/shrek-virus-beautiful-people?INTCMP=SRCH) reported today that due to a software malfunction nicknamed Shrek, 30,000 ugly people managed to join the dating website Beautiful People. Normally all applicants to Beautiful People are vetted by a panel of already Beautiful People and, if they are ugly, they are not allowed to join. But due to a "disgruntled former employee", ugly people managed somehow to join. Luckily, the mistake was caught on time and now the uglies have been thrown out and the Universe is whole again.
Now the most obvious question is: why would anyone want to joint an elite club and risk the heartbreak of being rejected? To me, it sounds like a masochistic attempt to relive the painful episode of one's youth where one was not allowed to sit at the Cool Table, or hang out with the Popular Kids, or join the cheerleaders or the top fraternities/sororities, etc.. Apparently, the rewards are worth it. Members of BeautifulPeople.com enjoy:
- Glamorous parties and a jet set global network
- Access to the most beautiful people locally and from around the
- Approaches by leading film and TV companies
- Potential contracts from top modeling agencies
- Extended professional networks, through partnerships between
BeautifulPeople.com and leading businesses.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Late last week, international headlines were made with the sensational story of a dog being stoned in a Rabbinic court in Jerusalem after a judge realized it was a deceased lawyer reincarnated.
The Israeli newspaper Maariv was the first to carry the story that alleged that a stray dog wandered into a "Beth Din" financial court in the extremely Orthodox area of Meah Shearim, and refused to leave the courtroom. The piece stated that at this point a judge "decreed" that the dog was the reincarnation of a secular lawyer who has been deceased for 20 years. The report continued, stating that the judges then "ordered" the local children to stone the dog to death, which the children attempted to do before the dog managed to escape.
Every major news media outlet in the world ran this story which prompted extreme criticism, not only of the court and the alleged partakers in this horrific event, but of Israelis and Jews in general. It was all re-posted thousands of times on facebook and twitter, and was even the "most read" story on the BBC. This prompted thousands of comments, many of which stated the opinion that dogs are better than Jews.
Well, after all this uproar, we learn that this story is false and did not actually take place.
What in fact happened that day in the ultra-Orthodox courtroom was that a stray dog wandered in, (much to the delight of the children present), and the city dog catcher was called upon to remove the stray.
That's the big story.
Maariv has since run a retraction and apology, which most news outlets have not reported on, despite the mass amount of attention the initial false claim garnered. It is safe to say that a large percentage of the millions of people who read about this story are still under the impression that "Orthodox Jews stone reincarnated men disguised as stray dogs".
Maariv stated: "On 3rd June 2011 we published an item headlined 'Meah Shearim: A Bet Din (religious court) instructed that a dog be stoned.' In the article it was reported that a complaint was made to the police by the Israeli animal protection society against the Rabbinical Court for Monetary Matters in Jerusalem.The article also brought a categorical denial of this accusation from the head of the court, Rabbi Yehoshua Levin. According to him, workers from the municipal authority collected the dog from the court. The headline of the article did not reflect the full story and we apologize to the court and its members for the distress caused."
An official statement from the court said: "There is no basis for stoning dogs or any other animal in the Jewish religion, not since the days of the Temple or Abraham. The female dog found a seat in the corner of the court. And the children were delighted by it; there were hundreds outside the court. They are used to seeing stray cats but most have never seen a dog before. The only action we took was to dial the number of the Jerusalem Municipality to get the people in charge to take it away."
"There was no talk of reincarnation, a lawyer has never been mentioned, either now or 20 years ago, and there was no stoning. Such inventions are a kind of blood libel, and we wonder why the inventor of the story did not continue to describe how we collected the blood of the dog to make our matzah."
The blood libel refers to the anti-Semitic notion that claimed that Jews attacked Gentiles to use their blood to make bread during the Jewish feasts, a claim that has been a major cause of anti-Semitism throughout the ages.
One onlooker did state that when the dog refused to leave, a judge asked some kids to chase the dog away. The man confirmed that "they didn't issue an official ruling." The man claims that some of the kids outside were asked to throw something at the dog to make it go away. While this is not an animal-activist's dream, it is certainly not on the same level of the initial claim which portrayed the court members as demented, superstitious and vicious towards animals.
Reports indicate the dog is fine and has not been harmed.
Pékin — Les idéaux révolutionnaires de Mao Zedong en ont encore pris un sacré coup cette semaine. Un club privé réservé aux riches a été découvert à l'intérieur de la cité interdite de Pékin, sur les murs de laquelle est accroché le célèbre portrait géant du président défunt. Selon la presse chinoise, au moins un «banquet nocturne» du club a été organisé, à l'abri des regards, dans le «palais du bonheur achevé», un superbe pavillon soustrait aux regards des millions de touristes qui visitent l'ancienne cité impériale chaque année. Les 500 membres de ce club privé devaient s'acquitter chacun d'un droit d'entrée d'un million de yuans (152 000 $).
À un moment où l'écart des revenus entre les riches et les pauvres n'a jamais été aussi grand depuis la fondation de la République populaire, l'affaire a fait scandale. Elle a été dévoilée, la semaine dernière, sur le microblogue d'un présentateur de la télévision officielle CCTV, avant de faire le tour de l'Internet. «La cité interdite qui naguère appartenait au peuple, est devenu un repaire de riches», s'indigne un internaute.
Après avoir démenti pendant plusieurs jours «ces rumeurs infondées», la direction du Musée de la cité interdite a admis hier l'existence de ce cénacle de nantis qui dégustaient des mets de souverains sous les charpentes ornées du dragon impérial. Des photos sur Internet montrent des membres du club en goguette vêtus d'habits princiers. Ces libations se seraient déroulées à l'insu de la direction, assurent toutefois les responsables du musée.
Cette initiative n'a toutefois rien de singulier. Dans un pays ou 60 % du PIB est concentré entre les mains de 0,03 % de la population selon le Bureau national des statistiques, les clubs de millionnaires foisonnent. L'un des moins connus est tout simplement l'Assemblée nationale populaire (le Parlement chinois). Les 70 députés les plus riches (sur un total de 2987), disposent d'une fortune combinée de 493,1 milliards de yuans (plus de 80 milliards de dollars), révélait en mars le Hurun Report. Cette colossale concentration de milliardaires est d'une ampleur sans commune mesure. Aux États-Unis, les 70 membres les plus fortunés du Sénat et la Chambre des représentants cumulent quant à eux à peine 4,9 milliards de dollars... soit 16 fois moins que leurs «homologues» chinois.
(via Le Devoir/Libération)
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Un tribunal rabbinique de Jérusalem a condamné un chien errant à la mort par lapidation, rapporte le site israélien Ynet. Les juges soupçonnaient le chien d’être la réincarnation d’un célèbre avocat laïque qui les avait insultés 20 ans auparavant.
Selon le site Behadrei Hadarim cité par Ynet, le chien avait pénétré dans le tribunal rabbinique en charge des litiges économiques du quartier ultra-orthodoxe de Méa Shearim, effrayant les visiteurs du tribunal et refusant de partir malgré les efforts de ces derniers.
Un des juges s’est alors rappelé qu’un célèbre avocat laïque qui avait insulté le tribunal il y a 20 ans avait été maudit par les juges, qui avaient fait le vœu de voir son esprit se réincarner dans celui d’un chien, considéré comme un animal impur dans le judaïsme traditionnel souligne BBC News. L’avocat en question est mort il y a quelques années. L’AFP souligne que certaines écoles de pensée judaïques croient en la transmigration de l’âme.
L’un des juges, qui n’a toujours pas digéré l’offense, aurait donc condamné l’animal à la mort par lapidation, et recruté des enfants du quartier pour exécuter la peine. Mais le chien a finalement réussi à s’échapper.
Le responsable du tribunal, le rabbin Avraham Dov Levin, a démenti avoir appelé à la lapidation du chien, mais un membre du tribunal a confirmé l’information à Ynet:
«Elle a été ordonnée par les rabbins à cause du tort qu’il avait causé au tribunal. Ils n’ont pas rendu de décision officielle, mais ont donné l’ordre aux enfants du quartier de lui jeter des pierres pour le faire partir. Ils n’ont pas considéré cela comme un acte de cruauté envers l’animal, mais plutôt comme un moyen approprié de «se venger» de l’esprit qui avait pénétré le pauvre chien.»
Toujours selon Ynet, un membre du conseil municipal de Jérusalem a envoyé une lettre au ministre de la Justice pour qu’il «s’occupe des criminels». L’organisation de défense des animaux Let Animals Live a déposé une plainte à la police contre le rabbin Levin. Peta, une organisation similaire américaine, a déclaré dans un communiqué cité par l’agence de presse israélienne Ma’an:
«En condamnant un animal innocent à une mort douloureuse pour une raison aussi absurde, le tribunal rabbinique s’est non seulement complètement décrédibilisé, mais a également violé un des principes les plus importants du judaïsme qui interdit d’infliger une souffrance à quelque créature vivante que ce soit.»
Question: Ces hommes étaient déjà cons et la religion a renforcé leur connerie, ou ces hommes étaient normaux et la religion les a rendus supercons? L'oeuf ou la poule?
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
We all know the joke (By we, I mean: cool people): The Dalai Lama is walking in New York and seeing a hotdog vendor, stops to order lunch. He asks the vendor: "Make me one with everything". /LOL/ /LOL/ He gets his hotdog, eats it, pays and waits for his change. He asks the vendor: "Where's the change?". The vendor replies: "Change comes from within." /Badaboum//LOL/ /LOL/
Funny joke, right? Guaranteed success if you tell it to a Buddhist, right? Some Australian TV anchor managed to screw it up.
Tip 1: It's never a good idea to tell a play-on-word joke to a person who's not fluent in the language of the joke. Even if he gets it, it will never be as funny to him as it is to you.
Tip 2: It's worse when you laugh at your own joke.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Sunday, June 05, 2011
In reaction to this act of rebellion, an "Iqal Campaign" has been organized on Facebook (an iqal is the black cord used to hold in place the traditional headscarf worn by Saudi men): men are invited to stand along the itinerary of the women who will participate in a driving rally planned for June 17th, to intercept them and whip them with iqals. After all, like they say in Saudi Arabia, a woman driving a car is like a fish on a bicycle*.
And if that doesn't work, I suppose the next step would be to stone those uppity women. That will learn them!!
* Just kidding. Actually, female fish are not allowed to ride bicycles in Saudi Arabia.
A l'occasion de son 50ème anniversaire, Amnesty International propose une application/jeu de Mobigame pour iPhone et iPad, appelée Bulletproof. Le jeu, vendu 0,99 $ sur iTunes, consiste à arrêter les balles tirées par un peloton d'exécution sur un prisonnier.
Vos téléchargements contribueront à aider Amnesty International à préserver son indépendance financière et donc à continuer sa lutte pour la défense des droits humains.
Pour télécharger l'application, disponible en allemand, anglais, espagnol, français et italien : http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bulletproof/id431368009?mt=8
Thursday, June 02, 2011
The World Health Organization had a recent meeting in which the feeble data suggesting a possible link between cell phones was reworked and massaged, and have now come up with a press release in which they announce that maybe possibly cell phones could increase the frequencies of certain kinds of cancers. My doubts are massive. My willingness to accept this conclusion is not helped by arguments like these.
"What microwave radiation does in most simplistic terms is similar to what happens to food in microwaves, essentially cooking the brain," Black said. "So in addition to leading to a development of cancer and tumors, there could be a whole host of other effects like cognitive memory function, since the memory temporal lobes are where we hold our cell phones."
Is anyone out there really chatty? Could you call up my microwave breakfast burrito and yak at it for a while? How long do you think it will take, I'm getting hungry?
That is simply sensationalistic nonsense. No, your cell phone doesn't cook your brain. When was the last time you saw someone with a cell phone burn on their face? "Cooking" has rather more obvious effects than the kinds of subtle, difficult-to-detect, epidemiological results the press release describes. There could be a real effect — you are, after all, holding a small transmitter of electromagnetic radiation right next to your skull — but previous studies have been all over the map and lack any consistency, but generally fall on the side of no observable effect. People have done things like stick cell phones on top of petri dishes of cultured human cells, and nope, the cells don't cook, they live and thrive just fine, and most studies report no change in cellular activity (some have reported a slight increase in activity).
Maybe this one, representing a coalition of many researchers in many countries gathering together to share data, has finally found a smoking gun? I don't know. One problem here is that all we've got is a brief press release, no data, with a promise of a scientific paper to be published in The Lancelet Oncology in a few days. Here, almost nothing is reported: they have a one paragraph conclusion.
The evidence was reviewed critically, and overall evaluated as being limited among users of wireless telephones for glioma and acoustic neuroma, and inadequate to draw conclusions for other types of cancers. The evidence from the occupational and environmental exposures mentioned above was similarly judged inadequate. The Working Group did not quantitate the risk; however, one study of past cell phone use (up to the year 2004), showed a 40% increased risk for gliomas in the highest category of heavy users (reported average: 30 minutes per day over a 10‐year period).
"Limited" and "inadequate" are the strongest words they use to describe their own data. They mention one study with the strongest effect…in other words, they highlight the outlier. That's odd and makes me instantly suspicious.
Also, I recognize those numbers: this is a reworking of the INTERPHONE study from last year, in which the final conclusion was that there was no credible evidence of a cancer risk. What happened? Why has their assessment changed? There is no explanation. That study had methodological problems that an epidemiologist for Nature summarized this way:
"There are standard criteria for assessing whether data from epidemiological studies show causality or not," says Swerdlow. "The results for this study don't get close to passing the standard tests for whether the results show causation."
I'm going to agree with Orac on this one: not very likely. Show me some new evidence, maybe I'll change my mind.