[ These are the big stories the talking heads did not notice: ]
Faith is blossoming, not just in Third World countries with poor levels of education and in Islamic theocracies, but also in industrialized nations. The US magazine American Spectator, writing about the “myth of the secular West,” calls it a “complete mystery” that so many scholars and journalists believe the people of the West are, for the most part, adherents to Darwin’s theory. Opinion polls have painted an unchanging picture for years — that religions have managed to fend off all assaults by natural science. Even now.
According to a survey completed by the European Commission in early 2005, 52 percent of the citizens in the European Union believe in God. About one in four Europeans stated that while not believing in a personal God, they did believe in “a sort of spirit or life force,” and only 18 percent outed themselves as non-believers. Germany ranked in the middle of countries surveyed, with 47 percent of respondents declaring a belief in God. According to the 2005 study, 25 percent of Germans said they believed in a higher power other than God, while another 25 percent believed in neither.
In an international comparison, these numbers still place Germany and the EU among the world’s most secular regions. In the United States, the Gallup Organization regularly polls people on questions of God and science. According to the most recent result only 14 percent believe Homo sapiens arrived in the world as a sole result of evolution. Thirty-six percent believe evolution did take place, but under the guidance of God. The largest group, comprising 44 percent, believes the Almighty himself created man in his current form — and that this occurred no more than 10,000 years ago.
[ Science explains linear, unrelated factors; religion explains a holistic view. Since we’ve ejected philosophy for being too truthful, we must depend on partial truths or lies. ]
A groundbreaking film, Demographic Winter: Decline of the Human Family, reveals in chilling soberness how societies with diminished family influence are now grimly seen as being in social and economic jeopardy. Demographic Winter draws upon experts from all around the world – demographers, economists, sociologists, psychologists, civic and religious leaders, parliamentarians and diplomats. Together, they reveal the dangers facing society and the world’s economies, dangers far more imminent than global warming and at least as severe. It may be too late to avoid some very severe consequences, but with effort we may be able to preclude calamity. Demographic Winter lays out a forthright province of discussion. The warning voices in this film need to be heard before a silent, portentous fall turns into a long, hard winter.
[ The smart people are being replaced by the disorganized people because the latter, given access to society, continue behaving as they organically have: destructively. ]
After being trained to distinguish between similar black male faces, Caucasian test subjects showed greater racial tolerance on a test designed to to measure unconscious bias.
“It’s remarkable that our brain is so flexible that 10 hours of training will affect something that is the product of your whole life experience,” said Tarr, who hopes his work will lead to race training for people working in potentially race-sensitive situations, such as police officers, social workers and immigration officials.
[ We shocked him, then hit him with a hose, and then he repeated our dogma back to us. Training is training and does not reflect reality, but we all want it to so it keeps the peace and we can keep flattering each other that we’re each Jesus, giver of things to those who cannot achieve them on their own. ]
Fidel Castro watched the U.S. inauguration on television and said Wednesday that Barack Obama seems “like a man who is absolutely sincere,” Argentina’s president said after meeting with the ailing Cuban icon.
“Fidel believes in Obama,” Cristina Fernandez said.
[ Leftists worldwide like seeing the disease spread to the USA. ]
A 73-year-old angler was reeling after a tackle shop refused to sell him a toy catapult – unless he produced ID proving he was over 18.
Great-grandfather John Payne, who suffers arthritis and walks with a limp, was told the £1.50 toy could only be sold to adults with valid identification.
[ We try so hard to be fair with our insane rules that we cannot acknowledge reality. ]
Nutrition experts predict that most Americans may be slightly more concerned with the economy than, say, their antioxidant consumption in the months ahead.
If that’s the case, the quest for a healthful and cost-conscious diet suggests Americans will be eating more meals cooked at home, upping their produce and whole-grain intake and eschewing sodium. “It’s the back-to-basics bailout diet,” says Shelley McGuire, professor of nutrition at Washington State University in Pullman.
[ Poverty is salvation. When we have the option, we do the stupid. ]
Obama’s team have removed a whole load of pages from whitehouse.gov without bothering to redirect them to newer versions of the pages. This is extremely bad practice, as those pages will just disappear from the search engines entirely, and the new versions will probably never get to the same position that they were under Bush. People with bookmarks or links to those old pages will now just be presented with an error page.
[ So much for tech-savvy: they’re on a mission to erase history. ]
A headteacher has come under fire from parents and pupils after banning two 16-year-olds from school for being ‘too blonde’.
The girls are being forced to adhere to the school’s strict dress code in order to sit a GCSE exam, but Raegan remains adamant that her hair is a natural shade of blonde.
“We are just trying to be consistent and apply the rules across the board. This code of conduct has been in place for a long time.” said the headmaster.
[ We must be fair, we must be fair, we must be fair… even if we must burn all reality to do it. ]
“Hitmen cut off commander Martin Castro’s head and left it in an ice cooler in front of the local police station,” said a statement issued by the state justice authorities.
Six bodies in police uniforms bearing signs of torture and gunshot wounds were found on Monday in a street in the state capital, Chihuahua, officials said.
Mexican police and soldiers are battling a wave of drug-related violence across the country, particularly in northern areas bordering the US, with more than 5,300 people killed last year.
[ How societies come apart. ]
Reductions in particulate air pollution during the 1980s and 1990s led to an average five-month increase in life expectancy in 51 U.S. metropolitan areas, with some of the initially more polluted cities such as Buffalo, N.Y., and Pittsburgh showing a 10-month increase, researchers said Wednesday.
The reductions in pollution accounted for about 15% of a nearly three-year increase in life expectancy during the two decades, said epidemiologist C. Arden Pope III of Brigham Young University, lead author of the study appearing today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
It is well known that particulate air pollution reduces life expectancy, said environmental epidemiologist Joel Schwartz of the Harvard School of Public Health, who was not involved in the study. But public policy makers “are interested in the question of, ‘If I spend the money to reduce pollution, what really happens?’ ” he said.
[ Now we know in numbers. Cool. I’ll invest. ]
One of the researchers, she says, was an epidemiologist who, in the process of trying to quantify his hunch, initiated a study in which social workers and police very, very intensively interviewed and background checked a long string of crib deaths that had been explained away as unexplained random respiratory failure. It turns out that his equation was able to predict, with high (but not absolute) reliability, which infants had actually been the victims of homicide or malign neglect. If the infant was a boy when the mother wanted a girl or vice versa, if the infant was born weighing less than 8 pounds, or if the mother was in any kind of economic or physical danger if this child survived, then the baby was doomed. His final estimate, from that initial study, was that seventy five percent of all SIDS cases are actually homicides. But, he admitted, just acknowledging this possibility puts us in an awful dilemma. To catch the 3 out of 4 women whose babies suddenly die that were actually murderers, we have to treat all SIDS cases as potential homicides, therefore piling yet more heartbreak and tragedy on the 1 out of 4 who just randomly went through the worst tragedy any family can know, the sudden and unexpected death of a beloved child.
[ Nature triumphs over nurture. Parents know what they want, and, like mice, they kill the kids who don’t fit the model. ]
Local police have found at least 3,000 automobiles — sedans, SUVs, regulars — abandoned outside Dubai International Airport in the last four months. Police say most of the vehicles had keys in the ignition, a clear sign they were left behind by owners in a hurry to take flight.
The global economic crisis has brought Dubai’s economic progress, mirrored by its soaring towers and luxurious resorts, to a stuttering halt. Several people have been laid off in the past months after the realty boom started unraveling.
Another such victim of the meltdown said he bid goodbye to his car in a small bylane near the airport and hailed a cab. “I was scared because a number of us were doing the same and did not want to be questioned by the police. There was no way I could afford to pay the EMI of 1100 Dhirams for my Ford Focus,” he told DNA on condition of anonymity.
[ Illusions unravel in unsightly ways. ]
The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota filed suit Wednesday against a publicly funded charter school alleging that it is promoting the Muslim religion and is leasing school space from a religious organization without following state law.
“TIZA has received millions of dollars of taxpayer money to support what is, in essence, a private religious school,” said Charles Samuelson, state ACLU executive director.
The suit also alleges that there are prayers on the walls of the school entry and that teachers have participated in student prayer activities. Samuelson said the school has used its website to seek volunteers to lead prayers, and that it requires students and staff to dress in attire that conform to Islamic religion. He also said the school has issued a handbook instructing staff to not discuss what goes on at the school. “You cannot have a broad secrecy oath” in a school funded with public dollars, Samuelson said.
[ Wait, I thought they had “freedom” to believe whatever they wanted? Oh wait, they can’t do it as a group. That might end our freedom to believe in nothing and be lonely together. ]
Your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off. Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn’t full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy. If it sniffles, it dies. Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room with about 25 other barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps. It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned it. If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers in that day to take him/her for a walk. If I don’t, your pet won’t get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a high-powered hose. If your dog is big, black or any of the “Bully” breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door.
Those dogs just don’t get adopted. It doesn’t matter how ‘sweet’ or ‘well behaved’ they are.
If your dog doesn’t get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed. If the shelter isn’t full and your dog is good enough, and of a desirable enough breed it may get a stay of execution, but not for long . Most dogs get very kennel protective after about a week and are destroyed for showing aggression. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment. If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because shelters just don’t have the funds to pay for even a $100 treatment.
[ When the only requirement is having $25 to buy a pet, the disaster of humanity’s lack of judgment prevails. ]
For this incognito performance, Bell had only one condition for participating. The event had been described to him as a test of whether, in an incongruous context, ordinary people would recognize genius. His condition: “I’m not comfortable if you call this genius.” “Genius” is an overused word, he said: It can be applied to some of the composers whose work he plays, but not to him. His skills are largely interpretive, he said, and to imply otherwise would be unseemly and inaccurate.
[ People throw the g-word around too much, but what they don’t want to face is that very few are geniuses, while most of us are just highly trained monkeys working in the steps of masters. But that doesn’t promote equality, justice, tolerance and the notion that we can be whatever we wish or describe ourselves to be. ]
Sweden, when Andrew Brown arrived there in the 1970s, was as near as any country has ever come to a socialist paradise. Its people were, he found, bonded by a firm sense of civic duty and shared values. Everyone knew what it was acceptable to think. Society, it was agreed, would benefit more from co-operation than from selfishness. Affluence was bad for people. Failure to want social equality was regarded as a handicap to be pitied and, if possible, cured. Armed conflict was seen as wasteful and to be avoided. Sweden had avoided it for 150 years, remaining neutral in the second world war. Drunkenness was an obvious evil, so teetotalism was encouraged. Alcohol could be bought only at government stores, which were ringed with health warnings and made as unalluring as possible. It was assumed that, as time went on, the world would become more peaceful, more egalitarian and more like Sweden. That was what progress meant.
Much later he went back to Sweden and found it had changed beyond recognition. When the Social Democrats lost power their ideals had been speedily abandoned and their welfare system dismantled, to be replaced by a dogmatic distrust of state control. The railways and postal service had been privatised and private schooling encouraged. By the end of the 1990s, Sweden was no longer the safe, prosperous, tolerant country he had known. Violent crime had increased by 40%, rape by 80%. Obesity and drunkenness were common. Heroin smuggling and organised crime had created a new breed of super-rich gangsters. A large immigrant population, with a crime rate at least double that among native Swedes, was fomenting resentment and racial hatred.
[ Unrealistic people create ideas that sound good but are unrealistic, and then as a result, society decays. Ta-da! This is why you must always be vigilant against people who are unrealistic, even if they have no power yet. ]