Updates on Stuff

For those who are aware, yes my laptop was damaged and stopped working.

It is a sort of freak accident. A tiny amount of water got into the case. Looks like the metal case of the laptop causes water to condense from the humid air when I move from my room to go out. This caused a couple of shorts that mean that the motherboard needs replacing.

The blog will still run, albeit without my photographs. I did have posts on cases that people may find interesting and indeed see cases that are simply extinct in the west due to our medicine. I normally do smaller posts from my tablet when I have downtime at work and send them when I have internet anyways.

I am meeting Hera next week and she is loaning me her laptop until mine gets repaired. While the cost of the repair is unknown, I should be able to manage a new motherboard and blog income should ablate any costs [Hera can simply send my ill gotten big pharma gains to me via Western Union]. Please bear with the serious blandness of this blog until then.

If Children are Pakistan’s Future, then the Taliban wishes for the Past

Let us get this out of the way. This was an act of terrorism. A school shooting in Pakistan has left 141 peopled dead. A 132 of them were children.

One of the problems with religion is how it deals with the good and the bad. There is little nuance or understanding. If an action is good by the dictates of scripture or the people who keep it, then irrespective of the effect, the act is considered good.

Militants from the Pakistani Taliban have attacked an army-run school in Peshawar, killing 141 people, 132 of them children. Most seem to have been executed in this deadly terror attack on schools. It is the deadliest attack in Pakistan to date with 7 terrorists killing so many innocent people. Students describe fleeing from assailants. There are stories of bravery, not of the attackers. Who is brave? The man who kills children with a gun, or the man who protects them without? If we are to appreciate Islamic Martyrdom then the teachers who gave their lives to shield students and give them more time to run are true heroes. Not these cowards who seek to deny children an education.

It takes decades to train a teacher, it takes seconds to take one away. One of the major reasons for the attack seems to be women worked there. Many of the teachers who died were women.

The Taliban claim that the school was targetted in response to military operations after hundreds of Taliban fighters died in recent offensive in the Waziristan and Khyber region

The potent mix of Islam, theocracy, totalitarianism and ignorance have driven the Taliban. To them a gun is nothing more than a device to kil. The metallurgy and chemistry that powers the device is alien to them. They are a cargo cult in that aspect. To them, an education is dangerous. It’s true. Avicenna (the famous one)  said a man can either have faith or knowledge. If you have no way to get knowledge then faith is all you have. You are now forever a slave to an ideology that would burn teachers and doctors alive.

One of the things that I find abhorrent due to my culture is the killing of teachers. To Hindus, a teacher carries more respect than the gods. Part of that rubs off in my absolute abhorrence towards the murder of so many. Pakistan is not alone in playing host to this depravity.

Reports out of Iraq and Syria mention the murder of around 150 women whose only crime was to refuse to marry people they were captured by as ISIL seeks to be as vile as humanly possible. The Boko Haram kidnapped more people today too.

What we are seeing is people who insist that they are 100% right. Whose ignorance and hate is supported using scripture. Islam has a problem. A terrible one. One that it cannot control. Our role in this is that we laid the foundations and our fears is that such hate will appear on our shores. Our response in this sad and trying time is to learn from Australia.

We have to fight these fanatics. This maggot minded starved fanatic breed must be opposed not just by us and through the use of secular values but also by Muslims who agree with us that these fanatics are fucking crazy. Yes the religion is nuts, everyone’s is. Hell? The punishment for adultery in Hinduism is not stoning but getting savaged to death by wild dogs. Every religion has these mad rules, progress is LEAVING those rules.

Christianity is no different. What it lacks and always has lacked is the opportunity. It has shown us that its fanatics are capable of horrors too, it’s just that we have chained the beast of  fanatics under the walls  of secularism and constantly fight their advances.

So what does this mean? This brutal attack may well be a watershed for a country long accused by the world of treating terrorists as strategic assets. Pakistan can no longer afford to maintain its purely Islamic stance and the lack of popular consensus and large amounts of sympathy have proven to be a stumbling block. When the army began campaigning against the Islamic Fundamentalists who once made up a significant part of Pakistan’s strategy towards the destabilisation of Kashmir, the political protection of these fundamentalists was quite vocal. Now it may not be the case. Even the most religious people can understand that a system that thinks the murder of children as a divine and acceptable message from a god is probably not the good guy

Children who escaped say the militants then went from one classroom to another, shooting indiscriminately. One boy told reporters he had been with a group of 10 friends who tried to run away and hide. He was the only one to survive. Others described seeing pupils lying dead in the corridors. One local woman said her friend’s daughter had escaped because her clothing was covered in blood from those around her and she had lain pretending to be dead.

So Pakistan is at a crossroads. Can it realise that it was the theocracy that helped enshrine fundamentalists that created this attack. Or will it attempt to fight fundamentalists without realising the system creates them.

Whatever it is. This will not be the last time that the innocent will pay the price for the cost of adhering to the rules of religion rather than common sense.

Barb Wire – We do Exist.

Sorry… this post isn’t about the secret fans of Pamela Anderson’s seminal work, Barb Wire but me mocking a piece from a Right Wing American Conservative Magazine that thinks Atheists don’t exist because of “Bible Reasons”.

But it does star our very own Greta Christina’s work! Dr. Don Boys (Doctorate in Bible Stuff… Not Sciences or indeed Medicine) takes umbrage to the fact that atheists exist and declares that we don’t exist.

Ergo? I am a figment of your imagination as is your entire existence which is why I am going to post something Freudian.

Oh fine! I will be serious! [Read more…]

Durian and Acid Survivors Trust International Fundraiser

I have an opportunity to eat the legendary Durian.

Many foreigners have the horror stories about this fruit. And I have heard them all. A whole bunch of people love it and claim it’s the King of Fruits. And a whole bunch of people think these people are clearly mad.

It’s infamous for it’s smell that has been likened to that of a rotting corpse. Which interests me, I figure it’s to attract flies like the Rafflesia. I am no stranger to dead people and India leaves them rather ripe. I have a surgical septic ward here where we have patients with gangrene and that is “rotting” meat. So I am ready for it’s alleged smell. But the fruit is banned from public places in parts of Singapore and Hong Kong.

So it’s a fruit with a delicious taste but a horrifyingly grotesque odour.

If you want photos? I will be in Malaysia for Christmas and I shall be attempting to eat it (or succeeding in it). Then think of this as a fundraiser for ASTI. Yes! That’s still running! Let’s see if we can get closer to the target.

Torture is for the Sake of Torture

Torture exists solely for the sake of torture, it is indeed a sad world where we assume that torture is an acceptable way to obtain confessions and information. Sarah Palin’s attempt to portray torture as harmless and “a dunking” is the sort of revisionism you see when people just want to feel better about doing something bad. It’s just water after all. A lot of the torture that the CIA (and indeed the UK government by our involvement with the extraordinary renditions) was involved in was just that. Torture.

Sure you can call it a fancy name. Enhanced Interrogation makes it sound like a particularly difficult questionnaire. No. I am afraid water boarding is torture. And hiring someone else to do it for you makes you just as responsible for the blood their hands. The Republicans have long supported torture. A lot of Americans bought into the necessity of torture. I often joke that as long as Americans have the right to own guns they will accept any real loss of freedoms and abuses from the government because they still think that the gun will protect them.  [Read more…]

Age of Kali – Uber, Rape and Indian Corruption

For many people who have been paying attention, Uber got into India and was revolutionising the Taxi Industry here in a deep way.

Here is the thing? My place is 3 Km from the hospital in Rural India. I get a bus, lifts and cycle to work. Sometimes (like today) I end up taking an auto rickshaw which is the equivalent of a New York Yellow Cab. These things are (also yellow) everywhere but  they hold a monopoly over pick up rides.

This means they don’t have to utilise a meter. They can charge whatever they feel like and if you are shit out of luck, you have to pay them. I pay around Rs. 160 a day if I have to take them. Not a large amount of money if you are converting from pounds but a sizeable amount if you live in India. To break that habit, I purchased a bicycle figuring the 4000 rupee outlay would save me money in the long term. It has. The price of showing up to work sweaty is a small one though but “India is hot and I sweat at work anyways, what’s sweating 15 minutes before I get to work going to do to me?

But along comes Uber. A non union taxi service which gave back the power of the taxi to the consumer. What we began to see was a gradual erosion of the monopoly. While I like Unions, I think  they should work towards the benefit of the service rather than simply creating a monopoly of shitty quality like in India.

But when an Uber driver raped an Indian woman? The government of Delhi banned the service, blaming it for hiding rapists. And I disagree. I was skeptical so I did some poking around the claim.

[Read more…]

On Dawkins and Jesus

It’s kind of a weird tactic hear. On the one side WND is anti-evolution and thinks the world was created 6000 years ago and that Satan made things like the Cave Paintings and Dinosaurs freely roamed the Earth. These same people often think that this wouldn’t happen if you run into T-Rex.

Unless you were a particularly unlucky pumpkin. I mean this sounds silly, but some creationists seriously ran the “T-Rex as a Veggie” argument. My response at the time was to joke that “this was the reason Christians keep getting eaten by Lions”. [Read more…]