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News Briefs 28-03-2006

Data, for your mind to filter…

  • The Eye of God returns! Sounds dramatic doesn’t it.
  • Satanic art of the Catholic Church exposed. Apparently.
  • Weird science: the Financial Times review of Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near (Amazon US).
  • Could Ethiopian skull be the missing link?
  • Brighter sun adds to fears about Global Warming.
  • Whale song reveals sophisticated language skills.
  • Study finds that, among Europeans, German people are the most intelligent.
  • Meet Benjamin Radford, the ‘real Ghostbuster‘ (he’s a CSICOPian). Oh dear, even he trots out the “why haven’t psychics found Osama Bin Laden” line. Must have been top of the talking points memo at the last CSICOP monthly meeting….
  • Have you seen the ghost boy in Three Men and a Baby? A good example of how easy it is to mistake one thing for another I guess.
  • Australian aborigines built underground water reservoirs.
  • Egyptian Museum in Cairo ‘finds’ the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut. Perhaps a spring clean is in order Zahi?
  • What can we expect from quantum computers?
  • has a video feature on the future. I would be more excited if I could watch them on my retinal implant.
  • First launch from New Mexico spaceport nears.
  • Artificial Gravity generator now possible?
  • First images beamed back by Mars probe.
  • Team readies for Venus arrival.
  • Oh my god, they killed satire. Is religion winning the battle against free speech?
  • Here come the God-killers. Interesting how this meme has jumped out in the past month, from Bering in this article to Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins and others featuring in news or releasing books on the topic.

Quote of the Day:

Science can destroy religion by ignoring it as well as by disproving its tenets. No one ever demonstrated, so far as I am aware, the non-existence of Zeus or Thor— but they have few followers now.

Arthur C. Clarke

  1. Great articles
    I liked the Catholic Church article on Satanism in the church..I found the name Rape of the Soul particularly apt.What the church used to do to young people was exactly that.
    The pedophile priests I always put down to the training they received in the Seminary where they had to go over and over with a confessor all aspects of their sexuality so that instead of it being a part of life it became a huge issue that had to be focused on at all times so that they could discuss it with the confessor.
    A young man, probably still a teenager in a Seminary would have his sexuality disected and discussed to an extent that must have been extremely confronting.
    They had to be broken by the confessor and then they were able to be priests.
    No wonder they are all confused.

    I wish the Powers That Be would leave South Park alone.Although I always knew chef was a pedphile, the way he talked to those children.I would love to see the episode in question.

    Greg, you have a retinal implant? I didn’t know.I hope it works well for you and you suffer no ill-effects.
    I am still having dreadful eye trouble after my surgery.


    1. Und du?
      Oh well, here we go again.

      First off, thanks to Greg for posting the initial link and to Andrew for posting a link to the full article. Your efforts are appreciated.

      Now, as for Professor Lynn’s study…

      I’m concerned for the loss of Portugal. I have carefully examined the Times’ list and could not find Portugal. Of course, I’m only partially German so maybe I’m just not smart enough to find Portugal. It used to be somewhere to the West of Spain.

      On closer inspection, I also see that Iran was not included. Whoa! Did somebody kick the Iranians out of the club? Why wasn’t I told? And what happened to Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan? Did they get kicked out of the club too? Not that I’m criticizing Professor Lynn’s work. I’m sure he was conscientious in all aspects of the study. I’m simply concerned that so many peoples got kicked out of Europe and no-one bothered to tell me.

      I do have a few more questions concerning the “study”.

      a. Who constituted the class “Europeans”?
      b. Did they study only indigenous Europeans or all residents?
      c. Were Maltese included?
      d. Were the “Northern Irish” counted as Irish, Scots or British?
      e. Were Magical folk included or did this study apply only to Muggles?
      f. Who did they classify as “German”? Prussians? Goths? Silesians?
      g. Why did they bother?
      h. Does anyone really care.

      Then there are Professor Lynn’s comments concerning, “a hitherto unrecognised law of history” [that] “the side with the higher IQ normally wins, unless they are hugely outnumbered, as Germany was after 1942”.

      What? I can’t believe that a scholar of Richard Lynn’s standing could possibly have said this. I suggest that his assertion is an “unrecognized law” because it is balderdash. Is Professor Lynn actually suggesting that those who lose wars do so because they are somehow “less intelligent” than the victors?

      Well, Professor Lynn has at least succeeded in getting his name back in the papers. So sad an end to what was once a good mind and great scholar.

      Michael Scott
      An Fhírinne in aghaidh an tSaoil

      1. To start a war
        is not generally the sign of a high intelligence; history shows any number of examples of countries and indeed empires which began the wrong war and disappeared as a result. There are possible exceptions, of course; Hitler would have looked a great deal brighter if he’d known when to stop, if he could have.

        That being said, I like your theory that some things are unrecognized laws because they’re balderdash…suddenly much of Human history just falls into place. Come on, stop trying to suck the light out of everything.


  2. And another thing…
    Regarding that link about the ‘ghost’ in Three Men and a Baby, if it’s the same cardboard cut-out seen in the second image then why do they differ? Looking closely, the cut-out has a black jacket, white shirt, top hat, light-coloured trousers and has his arms pointing outwards.

    Yet as close as I can look at the first image the ‘ghost’ does have a white shirt, could be construed as wearing a black jacket, might be wearing a small hat, but has black trousers on and as far as can be distinguished from this side of the curtains, does not have his arms pointing outwards.

    1. I would go so far as to say
      I would go so far as to say that the first “ghost” image is quite shorter than the second. The fist image appears to be leaning slightly forward while the second seems to be leaning to it’s right. The shirts appear to be different lengths and possibly the Jacket is at a different angle. There is a possibility that it is a cut out. Or some jokester. Clearer images would help. However I do think that for inside shots a sound stage would have been used.
      As for South Park well who knows perhaps the ratings are falling.

      Oh yeah “I aintnt ded”

  3. Egyptian Museum ‘spring cleaning’
    The Egyptian Museum in Cairo is quite a capharnaum.

    You get in there and you see endless lines of piles or all sort of things, generally sorted by types but that give the museum more of the feel you would get in a dusty warehouse or an old barn or back country flee market.

    And the number of objects there, small or large, is quite staggering.

    One would automatically wonders how much attention each one of those objects has actually received and how clearly their place in history is actually understood.

      1. Cairo Museum examples
        Sure Bill,

        The museum is quite large and contains many large rooms.
        In these rooms, you will find assortments of object types, usually grouped together in a room.

        For instance, in one such room, you will find countless numbers of small (perhaps up to 12 inches long or so) sarcophagus. These will be crammed on top of crude tables. Between each of those tables, there will be passages to allow movement. Interestingly, all those objects are usually not protected at all (not in any sort of casing).

        In another room, you will find full sized sarcophagus, all piled up one in front of the other, with several being laid down on sturdy tables that put them approximately at chest height.

        There are so many of all these objects that looking at them one by one, just for the sake of really examining them instead of just walking by, that it would require weeks, if not months of being there on the site; let alone actually studying them with the trained eye of a specialist.

        I am sure that there are countless numbers of objects in there that have been long forgotten.

        There are even back areas of the museum where you get a mixed bag of all kinds of objects all haphazardly heaped in what seems to be a total lack of organization. Possibly ‘new’ finds that have not been sorted yet but, given the tightness of the available remaining space if any, it might just be that there is so much of it that they are clueless as to how to give them a spot.

        I can only imagine what the basement must look like.

        The place might be more reminiscent of a sort of cavern of Ali Baba than a museum.

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