Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Stick Michelangelo’s “David” on Your Blog

Stick Michelangelo’s “David” on Your Blog to Protest Censorware

What happens when the blogosphere uses so much tasteful nudity that the web is unusable for SmartFilter users? What happens when SmartFilter blocks so much content that the web is crippled for its users?

Behold the power of the Alpha Blockers.

Boing Boing blocked
Flickr Photos blocked
LiveJournal Users blocked
Blogger Photos blocked

It’s all redundant, but still.
Verbose image titles for the benefit of search bots.

Update: Look Ma, I’m on Boing Boing.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Divine Irony of ‘Intelligent Design’

The Divine Irony of ‘Intelligent Design’
(Los Angeles Times)
For the advocates of intelligent design, the loveliness of nature is a second-class road to truth. It is “merely” aesthetic. In that regard, one notices that there is no campaign afoot to teach “divine inspiration” as the basis for the sacred works of Fra Angelico and Bach. “That’s next,” you say, and maybe it is next. The point here is that it wasn’t first, and it wasn’t first for a very good reason.

Once you have made intelligence supreme, you have elevated science to the highest form of knowing. And with that move, the self-appointed champions of religious tradition paint themselves into the same corner that they would like to lead us out of. Using intelligent design as a buttress against scientific hegemony is, to borrow from a Yiddish proverb, as outrageously self-defeating as murdering your parents and then pleading for leniency on the grounds that you’re an orphan.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hindu Group Offers Rs 51 Crore For Hussain’s Head

Hindu Group Offers Rs 51 Crore For Hussain’s Head
(Express India)
“Anyone who kills Hussain for making obscene paintings of Goddess Sarswati and Bharat Mata, the Danish cartoonist, those in the German company printing pictures of Ram and Krishna on tissue paper and the French filmmaker desecrating Lord Shiva will be given Rs 51 crore in cash by the board,” its president Ashok Pandey said in a statement in Lucknow.

Yeah, and about time too. That’s $11.4 million, not something to pass up.
Am off to find Hussain’s nude paintings of the Danish cartoonist. Hey, wait a minute …

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Why Muslims Should Support Intelligent Design

Why Muslims Should Support Intelligent Design
(Islam Online)
Muslims should also note the great similarity between the arguments of the Intelligent Design Movement and Islamic sources. Hundreds of verses in the Qur’an call people to examine the natural world and see in it the evidence of God. Great Islamic scholars like Ghazali wrote large volumes about design in animals, plants, and the human body. What Intelligent Design theorists like Behe or Dembski do today is to refine the same argument with the findings of modern science.

In short, Intelligent Design is not alien to Islam. It is very much our cause, and we should do everything we can to support it.

A bit old, but still funny.

Well, if it ain’t the “God of the Bible or Yoda or Yahweh,” what are you left with? It’s obvious. No, not Him.

Besides, the flagella(tion) has always been a common theme.

Psychics Join Search for Missing Show Dog

Psychics Join Search for Missing Show Dog
(Yahoo! News)
“They are telling us that she is alive and they are telling us she is warm,” said Honi Reisman, a friend of the dog’s owners. “They are saying she’s in a building—but there are hundreds of buildings.”

There’s a whole dozen of them involved. Any moment now.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Muslim Fury at Sex Toy

Muslim Fury at Sex Toy
(The Sun)
Furious Muslims have blasted adult shop Ann Summers for selling a blow-up male doll called Mustafa Shag.


In a letter to the store, the Association said: “You have no idea how much hurt, anguish and disgust this obnoxious phrase has caused to Muslims. We are asking you to have our Most Revered Prophet’s name ‘Mustafa’ and the afflicted word ‘shag’ removed.”

Don’t worry, there’s plenty to pick and choose from.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Saintly Sinner

The Saintly Sinner
Joan Acocella (The New Yorker)
One wonders, at first, how it would help the Church’s new chastity campaign for the first witness of the Resurrection to be a prostitute. But, as noted, the Church was pretty much stuck with the Magdalene. Furthermore, the keynote of Jesus’ ministry was humility. A god who chose to be born in a stable might also decide to announce his Resurrection to a prostitute. And Luke’s sinner was not just a prostitute; she was a repentant prostitute, shedding tears so copious that they sufficed to clean the feet of a man who had just walked the dusty road to the Pharisee’s house. But the crucial gain of grafting this woman onto the Magdalene was that it gave the Magdalene some fullness as a character while also lowering her standing. The conflation was already being made by the third or fourth century, and in the sixth century it was ratified in a sermon by Pope Gregory the Great. Mary Magdalene, one of the few independent women in the New Testament, became a whore.

All Placebos Not Created Alike

All Placebos Not Created Alike
(Harvard Medical School)
In the second phase of the study, patients receiving sham acupuncture reported a more significant decrease in pain and symptom severity than those receiving placebo pills for the duration of the trials. The results of this study show that the placebo effect varies by type of placebo used.

“These findings suggest that the medical ritual of a device can deliver an enhanced placebo effect beyond that of a placebo pill. There are many conditions in which ritual is irrelevant when compared with drugs, such as in treatment of a bacterial infection,” said Kaptchuk, “but the other extreme may also be true. In some cases, the ritual may be the critical component.”

In other news, people using shampoo reported significant decrease in hair odor than ones using the real thing. *groan*

Depression May Be Lifelong Parent Trap

Depression May Be Lifelong Parent Trap
(Florida State University)
A study by Florida State University professor Robin Simon and Vanderbilt University’s Ranae Evenson found that parents have significantly higher levels of depression than adults who do not have children. Even more surprising, the symptoms of depression do not go away when the kids grow up and move out of the house.

The price you pay for warding off extinction.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Lost World Found In New Guinea

Lost World Found In New Guinea
(Science a Go Go)
New Guinea’s Foja Mountains were “as close to the Garden of Eden as you’re going to find on Earth,” said the co-leader of the expedition, CI’s Bruce Beehler. “The first bird we saw at our camp was a new species. Large mammals that have been hunted to near extinction elsewhere were here in abundance. We were able to simply pick up two Long-Beaked Echidnas, a primitive egg-laying mammal that is little known,” he added.


Iranian Paper Runs Holocaust Contest

Iranian Paper Runs Holocaust Contest
(The Jerusalem Post)
Farid Mortazavi, graphics editor for Tehran’s Hamshahri newspaper, said that the deliberately inflammatory contest would test out how committed Europeans were to the concept freedom of expression.

“The Western papers printed these sacrilegious cartoons on the pretext of freedom of expression, so let’s see if they mean what they say and also print these Holocaust cartoons,” he said.

Gee, what fun!