mindstalk: (atheist)
A friend shared this https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/christmas-jesus-christ-birthday-25-december-brits-ignorant-nativity-christianity-bethlehem-a8094496.html for reasons of his own; I find it notable as a case of a newspaper trying desperately to find pearls to clutch. The tone is of shocking British ignorance about Christmas, but it only makes sense if you assume that every single Briton should know about it. "Almost one in ten didn't know!" "Only 8 in 10 knew!" If you instead consider that nearly 8% of Britons claim non-Christian religions[1], and 25% no religion at all, and the possibility that some people will troll pollsters with dumb answers, then 80-90% of Britons knowing the basics about Christmas and Jesus's life is pretty damn good. The only things that fell below that level were Maundy Thursday, which I've barely heard of myself, and Jesus probably knowing Greek, which I'd grant is non-obvious to the average person knowing little about the ancient world.

I wonder if pollsters have done calibration questions, like "can you name the Queen?"

]1\ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_UK


2017-Jul-23, Sunday 10:43
mindstalk: (Default)
why planes need bathroom ashtrays. if someone lights up anyway, they still need to stub it out.

Hadith revision https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/06/islam-manuscript-discovery-istanbul/531699/

military equipment makes cops more violent https://boingboing.net/2017/07/01/cops-are-civilians.html

Captain Kirk avoiding fights https://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?806084-Star-Trek-What-do-Command-officers-actually-do&p=21209328#post21209328

Japan's housing creativity. Houses depreciate rapidly even though they're better made than before, and have little resale value; the flip side is freedom to build your house as you please, without worrying about property values. http://www.archdaily.com/450212/why-japan-is-crazy-about-housing

A full employment plan: http://democracyjournal.org/magazine/44/youre-hired/

Oslo working on banning cars in the center: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/06/this-city-found-a-clever-way-to-get-rid-of-cars-and-it-isn-t-a-ban-09e6e018-84d0-4814-9f0e-37085eaa9218/

Andrew Jackson, Trump, and the Borderers. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/04/trump-and-the-borderers/477084/

If the media covered alcohol like other drugs: https://www.vox.com/2015/6/15/8774233/alcohol-dangerous


2015-Jan-12, Monday 13:52
mindstalk: (YoukoYouma)
Economics profession swings left http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-01-07/economics-stars-swing-left

Cracked on prostitution myths. Anecdotal, but consistent with studies I've read and possibly linked to in the past. http://www.cracked.com/article_21862_5-ways-life-as-prostitute-nothing-like-you-expect.html

Pew on the religions of Asian-Americans. Christian 42%, 26% none, 14% Buddhist, 10% Hindu. http://www.pewforum.org/2012/07/19/asian-americans-a-mosaic-of-faiths-overview/
As a group, they range from the least religious unaffiliated to the most evangelical Protestants. Majority of Korean-Americans are Protestant; I think back in South Korea only 25% are Christian, with 50% having no religion.

Idea on why Charlie Hebdo was attacked:
"France is a country of 66 million, of which about 5 million is of Muslim heritage. But in polling, only a third, less than 2 million, say that they are interested in religion. French Muslims may be the most secular Muslim-heritage population in the world (ex-Soviet ethnic Muslims often also have low rates of belief and observance). Many Muslim immigrants in the post-war period to France came as laborers and were not literate people, and their grandchildren are rather distant from Middle Eastern fundamentalism, pursuing urban cosmopolitan culture such as rap and rai. In Paris, where Muslims tend to be better educated and more religious, the vast majority reject violence and say they are loyal to France.

Al-Qaeda wants to mentally colonize French Muslims, but faces a wall of disinterest. But if it can get non-Muslim French to be beastly to ethnic Muslims on the grounds that they are Muslims, it can start creating a common political identity around grievance against discrimination."

Westeros-world map updated for Worlds of Ice and Fire http://awoiaf.westeros.org/images/1/10/WorldofIceandFire.png
GRRM deconstructing war, dark Daenerys (spoiles for whole series https://meereeneseblot.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/untangling-the-meereenese-knot-part-iv-a-darker-daenerys/ )
Dornish vengeance (ditto) https://meereeneseblot.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/water-gardens-and-blood-oranges-part-iv-it-ends-in-blood/

no to Boston Olympics

experience of black atheists http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/12/black-atheists-representation/

Attack on Titan/Frozen AMV https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXR0WIbubB0

Saudi Arabia and 9/11 http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/new-questions-raised-about-u-s-saudi-relationship-1.2890528

America's poor vs. those in other rich countries http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2015/01/05/america_s_poor_vs_the_rest_of_the_world.html
mindstalk: (Default)
I ran across two "bad Catholics" links today. One on an alleged gay network within the Vatican (paging Dan Brown), the other on the founder of the ultra-conservative Legion of Christ, a priest who sexually abused his own children... children which he shouldn't have on account of being a priest. (By a mistress, not by a dead pre-priesthood wife.)

In unrelated, horror, a friend linked to this case of twisted suburbia, where two homes with back-to-back yards can reach each other via seven miles of roads. Comments note that such cul-de-sac design seems bad for evacuation or fire access: block one road and no one can get out.

Jumping yet again, we get carnivory in cows and deer and elephants and other supposedly dedicated herbivores (unlike the KFC-eating chickens I mentioned last year; chickens do eat insects after all.)

I am not a vegetarian. I'd like my meat to come from humanely treated animals but I'm not superdiligent about even that. I'm not unconflicted, I just kind of write it off with "meh, other issues, the natural world is arguably worse" and stuff like that. Nonetheless, when I see a post and comments totally mocking Pearce's Abolitionist Project, I get filled with rage.[1]

A study claims the evidence of sugar causing diabetes is pretty strong. There are truffles on my shelf I haven't eaten yet. I am conflicted.

Happy news! Former US prosecutors and DEA agents defending Colombian drug traffickers. At least it sounds happy, like "we had an attack of conscience", not "oooh, what big wallets you narcolords have".

Pretty funny though not reliable guide to the papal candidates.

Putting babies out to sleep in the freezing cold: child abuse or Nordic custom?

[1] Doubt it's possible is fine. Doubt that even if we thought we could, we'd be wise enough to do so well, is fine. A general suspicious of crazy-sounding extreme ideas is more than fine. "Ha ha he wants to abolish holocaust-loads of pain and suffering, what a doodyhead" or "But all the suffering makes things of beauty" are just terrible, IMO. Yeah, I know I risk hypocrisy here ("meat is tasty"). I'm fine with that for now, and while I poke at them I don't *laugh* mockingly at vegetarians.


2012-Sep-11, Tuesday 03:19
mindstalk: (Enki)
There's a young woman who works at a local grocery store, whom I've chatted to a bit. She's got an unusual name, about which she first said "It's Ethiopian. Long story." Her face looks a bit exotic so maybe some unusual genetics happened, but my first guess would be that she's whiter than I am, sunburn instead of tan, paleskin and redhead and all. On another day, she said her parents had converted to Rastafarianism, so given their children Ethiopians names. The logic of this escaped me; all I knew of Rasta was that it was out of the Caribbean and had a big role for pot.

I've now gotten around to looking it up. Based in Jamaica, check; Afrocentric, check; pot-centric, check; "Most of its adherents worship Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia (ruled 1930–1974), as Jesus incarnate, the Second Advent, or the reincarnation of Jesus", oh my. I didn't know that.

She's still got unusual parents. Or genes. Or adoption, I just thought of that.
mindstalk: (atheist)
I invite you to guess or recall the answers, without looking them up, and post in comments.

Answers )


2009-Dec-08, Tuesday 00:26
mindstalk: (atheist)
jsnead summarizes an article about various British ex-Jihadis and how they got that way. Good stuff. A few quotes:

{But there was an inhibiting sympathy for the victims of 9/11 -- until
the Bush administration began to respond with Guantanamo Bay and bombs.
"That made it much easier. After that, I could persuade people a lot
faster." }
{"Nobody ever said " you're equal to us, you're one of us, and we'll
hold you to the same standards," says Husain. "Nobody had the courage to
stand up for liberal democracy without qualms. When people like us at
[Newham] College were holding events against women and against gay
people, where were our college principals and teachers, challenging us?"
{Every one of them said the Bush administration's response to 9/11
-- from Guantanamo to Iraq -- made jihadism seem more like an accurate
description of the world.}
{But the converse was -- they stressed -- also true. When they saw
ordinary Westerners trying to uphold human rights, their jihadism began
to stutter. Almost all of them said that they doubted their Islamism
when they saw a million non-Muslims march in London to oppose the Iraq
mindstalk: (atheist)
Bombay House has $5.99 lunch buffet now, a big drop from the $11 during the school year. Despite the tandoori chicken last time having no actual tandoori flavor, I went back. My first impression was that the chicken was still pretty bland. This impression is pretty vague, because it was quickly swamped by the smell of chicken I would throw away rather than cooking. Mild, but present. I told the waiter, he said the chef said it was fine, I was offered another piece, which still smelled bad. I pigged out on vegetarian dishes and left. I swallowed a piece before the taste and smell really hit me; if I get sick in the next couple of days, I know where I'm placing the blame.

Bloomington Transit (the buses) had resisted taking an atheist ad, but has capitulated before a court case.
mindstalk: (atheist)
* "Jesus killed Mohammed" More on evangelicals in the military. Evangelical crusaders, in this case, waging a Christian jihad. And trying to turn the Air Force Academy into a madrasa.

* A Christian, he explained in full earnestness, “is someone who chooses to be a slave, essentially.”
Gee, sounds like... submission. Islam.

Read more... )

* Mikey's Military Religious Freedom Foundation
mindstalk: (atheist)
* The rage of the privileged. Wall Street financiers who'd be unemployed sans government bailout cry at the reduction of their bonuses and looks at whether they've been paid for wrecking the economy.

* Growing unbelievers in America
* Conservatives out to repeal civil union benefits in Washington state. This is why marriage is needed: "separate but equal" can be attacked separately.
* The NDP and economic management in British Columbia

Some of these links from Randy.
mindstalk: (atheist)
* That commie rag The Economist calls for higher taxes on the rich, suggests a financial-transactions tax, and various pragmatic and moral justifications. Actually it's a hosted debate, I'm not sure if the Economist is taking a stand, though "this house..." suggests that. Proposer is from CPER, a rare progressive think-tank; defender is a professor at the Paris School of Economics, the attacker is from Cato, one of the right-wing's hydra of think-tanks.
* The trials of having only $250,000 a year (probably an ephemeral link)

* Torture memo fun: NYTimes, and long term effects.
* The pirate economy: Why the US Navy can't win
* 10 year anniversay: the myths of Columbine

* Christianity Today article defending belief in God; I link to page 2 for the lols. The article starts by claiming a renaissance of Christian philosophy... and starts with a poor form of the cosmological argument. Page 3 invokes Roger Penrose as supposedly launching "powerful arguments against any appeal to a multiverse as a way of explaining away fine-tuning." but does not even hint as to the arguments. Then the moral argument, and the ontological argument. "Most philosophers would agree that if God's existence is even possible, then he must exist."

* 1960s D&D. Pretty awesome.
* Roman socks with sandals. The article makes fun of them, rather than wondering if sartorial fashion maybe isn't a universal absolute.

* Cheap solar methane?
mindstalk: (Default)
* Georgia Senate votes to dismantle US government. Slipped into a bill -- but the article says the resolution has passed in other states.
* Obama admin finally coughs up Bush torture memos. I'm told they make for unpleasant reading.
* War on Pubert continues: Fifth graders could face charges for viewing and showing porn on school computer
* George Will complains about denom denim. Not sure if he's being ironic.
* Gays being killed in Iraq
* The dark side of Dubai. What's a little slavery among expatriates? Dubai's media law
* Child marriage in Saudi Arabia
* Texas secession bill

* Barbary Corsairs Wikipedia. Interesting reading -- corsairs raiding Ireland and Iceland, controlling the Alps for a while, France conquering Algeria in large part to shut the pirates down.
* Texas lawmaker suggests Asians adopt easier names.
* American social mobility or lack thereof (PDF)
* An Atlantic article on a financial coup. I haven't really read it.
* Financial sector wages, deregulation, and inequality
* The Aral Desert
* Warren says he never supported Prop 8, evangelicals dismayed and confused. I think it's clear he did -- but why is he saying he didn't?
* Johann Hari on the Somali pirates, and how Somalia's been exploited
* Clarence Thomas complains about too many rights
* Gephardt says we should go slow on health care reform. Gephardt has become a corporate lobbyist. Connected?
* Illinois GOP: shoot tax increasers

* HIV denialism
* I discovered earlier that lead is now the last stable element. I'd thought polonium was the first radioactive element (after technetium and promethium) but apparently in 2003 bismuth-209 was found to be radioactive, with a half life of 1.9e19 years. This was predicted ahead of time, a triumph of nuclear chemistry.
* Charts of the nuclides. I was surprised to see that most atomic masses have only a single stable element, and none more than two.
* Joan Vinge letter, on her health, writing, and connections between her Heaven's Belt and Vernor Vinge's Zones of Thought.
* Japan and Ethiopia
mindstalk: (atheist)
Matthew 27:
50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the
bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept
53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy
city, and appeared unto many.
mindstalk: (atheist)
Hmm, when I follow actual news sites, rather than picking up random links, I get a lot more things I want to share. Funny, that.

* Leaked Red Cross report alleges torture in CIA camps.
* GOP chairman Rush Limbaugh Michael Steele hosts Bennett's radio show, comparing Obama to Nixo and denying global warming. A critique.

* Europe's crackdown on prostitution, vs. New Zealand's legalization. Despite claims, the number of women working under force doesn't seem much different. 80% of workers may be foreign but only 4% seem forcibly trafficked. High, but not the epidemic perceived.
* Self-immolation by Afghan women

* Israel's post-Gaza isolation, and Jewish anti-Zionism.

* Bill Richardson abolishes the death penalty in New Mexico but only for newly convicted criminals. So, no new additions to Death Row, but if you're already on it they'll take their chances on killing you anyway? What?
* Waterless urinals

* The most religious -- those who most believe in Heaven? -- fight hardest to stay alive, dying in more pain and further from their homes. My atheist parents died at home, in hospice. Something's wrong with this picture.
* El Salvador's evangelicals shift left. The FMLN did win, leftist president now. Time will tell if he's more like Chavez or Lula.
* US evangelicals allegedly collapsing. Christine Wicker tracks them.
mindstalk: (Default)
* Sci Fi Channel to become "SyFy". Trademarkable, but they say outright they've been moving away from science fiction.
* Tropicana OJ gets change of packaging, changes back due to protest.. Also.. I'd noticed the change and didn't like it, though didn't protest or care that much. I hadn't even noticed that the change was to look more generic.
* Package sizes shrinking.

Especially at Sahara Mart, where tofu prices are now $2.39/12 oz or $2.99/14 oz. Bfoods had $1.69/14 oz, though. I'm not sure if these used to be 16 oz packages.

* Infant hyperthermia due to parents forgetting their kids.
* Pope re-iterates ban on condom use, even in preventing AIDS.
* Arab League rejects request by the International Criminal Court to arrest Bashir, president of Sudan, on charge of war crimes in Darfur. Earlier related article.

* Economist debate: This house believes that we are all Keynesians now..

* Blind painter
mindstalk: (Default)
New survey on attitudes toward religious groups, terror, and prayer.

It's titled "Unfavorable Views of Jews and Muslims on the Increase in Europe" but this is a rather selective titling. The most dramatically hostile country seems to be Spain, but that hostility encompasses Christians as well:

Negative attitudes toward Christians in Europe are less common than negative ratings of Muslims or Jews. And views about Christians have remained largely stable in recent years, although anti-Christian sentiments have been on the rise in Spain - about one-in-four Spanish (24%) now rate Christians negatively, up from 10% in 2005. Similarly, in France 17% now hold an unfavorable view of Christians, compared with 9% in 2004.

In general, negative attitudes toward Jews and Muslims correlate more strongly with the right than the left, which would be a surprise only to those who like to make a big deal out of "Leftist anti-Semitism".

Also of interest are general decreases, sometimes quite dramatic, in support in Muslim countries for terrorism and suicide bombing, and Muslim worries about Muslim extremism. At the same time, support for fundamentalists has increased at the expense of modernizers (Q55c, pg 65 of pdf) -- though in most surveyed Muslim countries, people aren't actually praying more, and support for restrictions on employment of men and women in the same workplace has decreased (pg 64) and there's generally support for women's right to decide to wear a veil (pg 63)
mindstalk: (robot)

Walton says that this encouraged congregants who got dicey mortgages to believe "God caused the bank to ignore my credit score and blessed me with my first house." The results, he says, "were disastrous, because they pretty much turned parishioners into prey for greedy brokers."

"The pastor's not gonna say, 'Go down to Wachovia and get a loan,' but I have heard, 'Even if you have a poor credit rating, God can still bless you — if you put some faith out there [that is, make a big donation to the church], you'll get that house or that car or that apartment.' " Adds J. Lee Grady, editor of the magazine Charisma: "It definitely goes on, that a preacher might say, 'If you give this offering, God will give you a house.' And if they did get the house, people did think that it was an answer to prayer, when in fact it was really bad banking policy."

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