Not sure what to think but

The report showed that security officials and intelligence agencies believe that a priority for Britain is improving its ability to detect biological attacks, treat victims and decontaminate attack sites.

“Biological will get easier from a terrorist point of view,” Mr Farr said.

The Telegraph have an article on the fear of potential bio-terrorism threats in the UK and I am torn between worrying about it as a positive threat or the doctor in me going “You know, the vast majority of major killers are hard to get hold of and culture and honestly are either easily vaccinated for or treated and that modern quarantine procedures reduce the ability to spread plague like diseases”.

We have been burned in the past but I would rather this not be a case of someone crying wolf and this be a response to a genuine threat.

A Correction – Pakistan/India

A correction, I reported incorrectly that 8 soldiers were dead, the news is that 2 soldiers are dead.

However while the deaths has reduced the story is even more moronic and insane than I previously thought.

You know how we say that WW1 was caused by the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

Well this was caused by an old woman illegally relocating her house. You see the Indian Border was a slap dash arrangement created by warfare with Pakistan and indeed an unwillingness to pursue a unified India in the face of “Hindu-Muslim Super Riots” (An estimated 1 million people died due to riots across India and roughly 6 million were displaced by border reshuffling making it the biggest refugee situation and riot simultaneously).

So basically this old lady’s kids moved village earlier, then India built a surveillance system post Kargil to stop Pakistan from doing the same thing that they did the last time (AKA sneak infantry in to run a guerilla warfare campaign). The system caught her movements but the Indian army didn’t really do anything to stop her. She already moved into Pakistan.

So India built a surveillance post near the village but rather than face to Pakistan it faced towards the village itself. To stop “Indians from going over to the Pakistani side”. The issue for the villagers being that this border NEVER existed before. It’s like someone drawing a line around New York tomorrow and started shooting people from New Jersey if they crossed it. These people don’t know why the line exists and what it means to the two countries involved.

But this observation post is illegal, neither side can build such posts. So Pakistan began shooting across the border. This created a deadly game of “armouring up the post to survive such attacks” and counter fire which finally has led to this, a raid across into India with 2 dead soldiers with one being mutilated.

The hawks are sharpening their claws and their dogs are hungry for blood. I hope India and Pakistan can stop this vicious cycle of stupidity, because no one wants two nuclear powers to go to war especially over some granny wanting to be with her kids. Especially when one of them is the already unstable Pakistan.

The Problem of Morality

Jack Kerwick’s article on Atheism and the Problem of Morality got me thinking. Why do people think atheists have a problem with morality. Well apart from the fact it is a typically carpenter god orientated article it’s filled with some of the standard and sadly all to common notions about our morality.

Morality is one of the things that religion claims as it’s sole domain and there are problems with dogmatic morality as we shall see.

Where was God when Adam Lanza went on a shooting spree at an elementary school in Newtown,Connecticut that left 20 children and six adults dead? 

It’s a distasteful choice of example. But I can field this quite easily. But not to begin with. To begin with we should examine why the notions in this article are wrong. It’s not my ideal choice of example but it’s the one Jack begins with. So let’s delve into Jack Kerwick’s article… [Read more…]

Let them Eat Rice and Beans

I understand Americans have a festival dedicated to eating food tomorrow. But spare a thought for those on food stamps.

Fox News Certainly hasn’t. Apparently, Andrea Tantaros thinks the food stamps would make a great diet for people to go on. In that vein, I should sell untreated water as a great way to lose weight through amoebiasis.

That being said? At least she isn’t Sean Hannity whose “Poor People Should Eat Rice and Beans” stance has a rather unfortunate “Antoinettey” feel to it (Sean Hanntoinette?).

Qu’ils mangent de la brioche… That ended rather well.


If you vote for ignorance you just breed more…

Apparently the Republican Party is planning to run with Rubio for 2016.

Really? Rubio? I won’t mock his love of rap music as a positive message (Some of it is positive, but mainstream rap is extremely entrenched in overt misogyny and violence and the glorification of such.) The Republicans need some cool and honestly if the best they can get is trying to attempt to look streetwise through listening to rap then fine.

However what really gets me is this.

In specific?

GQ: How old do you think the Earth is? 
Marco Rubio: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.

Recorded History is more than 10,000 years if you count Cave Paintings. This is basic high school science. Your economy also grows through scientific discovery and if you don’t believe in a particular science then you fail to see it’s value. The Amish may not appreciate the Large Hadron Collider or an MRI machine or a good honest calculus. You really shouldn’t make them in charge of anything that involves this.

Neither should Marco Rubio be in charge of a country if he thinks that the world was created in 7 days or 7 eras when science has clearly answered that question.

If you want more evidence for his ignorance?

GQ: You talk a lot to young Republicans. Recently I met a Republican who said, my kids are in high school and there’s a prom. There’s straight kids, gay kids. It’s no big deal to them. And he says, my party, the Republican party, has to stop putting these social issues out there and talking more about stuff that effects people.
Marco Rubio: I think that’s unfair. A significant percentage of Americans feel very strongly about this issue. What I’m hearing is that it’s ok for one side to express their view and the other side needs to be quiet. There are a very significant number of Americans that feel very strongly about the issue of life, about the issue of marriage and are we saying that they should be silenced or not allowed to speak or voice their opinion? There’s a way to do that that is respectful and productive. There are things we’ll always disagree on, but it doesn’t mean we go to war over them or divide our country over them. We agree to disagree, but we continue to work together on the things we all know that we have to do.

There are also a significant amount of americans who think black people should go back to being treated as animals and slavery was a good thing. Does this mean that we should give them a platform?

The issue of “Abortion”, not life. Is clear cut. Even if you removed the legal restriction between normal and late abortion, then you probably won’t get a massive boom in abortions becoming late term. Most women will still get them early rather than leaving them till the 24th week… It’s probably one of those stupid things like Cigarette Advertising where they were advertising the crap out of products that were already household names and had already reached maximum saturation in the population. Kids smoked because it was rebellious. Adults smoked because they got the habit as kids. None of them ever saw an advert. When they banned the adverts most companies realised they were burning money on advertisements. If we removed the legislation controlling abortion we would probably save money through reduction of bureaucracy and improve service to women.

Gay Marriage does not Affect Straight Marriage. The fact that people need to be told this is insane.

You can voice your opinion, but as long as you do we are perfectly within our rights to call you stupid.

You don’t have any choice in the USA because your choices are Right Wingers and Crazy people. You cannot logically vote for the republicans because the stuff they want is racist, sexist and straight up homophobic… Even if they made sense economically they have no platform because people will vote on these non issues. That’s right. These things aren’t issues that the state should be handling. Abortion is a medical procedure and is between a woman and her doctor. Gay marriage is what happens between two gay people. We waste so much time and effort discussing these non-issues that it’s like deciding whether you should buy a red tie with blue stripes or a blue tie with red stripes while you are being mauled by a tiger.

And for the love of god! This man doesn’t know basic history or hasn’t learnt anything outside a bible. Vote for him and you got yourself a second GW Bush Jr. Only with a nicer tan.

Hags of Lag – Leeeerroooooyyy Jeeenkins

Remember the attempt to shame Colleen Lachowicz (the Democratic Candidate for State Senate in Maine)? It basically involved “attempting to portray her in a negative light due to her hobby”.

Her hobby being World of Warcraft. In particular her choice of playing as a Orc Rogue (and a high level one at that too). Nothing was taboo, every single tired stereotype of gamers (I am surprised they didn’t actually go for sexist and racist since that’s the one problem we all face) was pulled out. In particular the one where the apparent keystrokes involved in the rogue WoW mechanic of backstabbing somehow translated to real life backstabbing skills either political or actual.

Guess what? Colleen won.

I think the title is apt for the kind of planning that went through the GoP’s think tank when they started their campaign to knock her down by her hobby.


Age of Kali – No Honour For Old Men

India is changing. It’s not changing in a small way, it’s changing fast. It’s doing what took centuries for western nations to achieve in decades. But this means that there is a massive dichotomy between the two faces of India. Fast moving development of cities is not and cannot really be matched by the countryside. The resources and the willpower simply isn’t there.

You are trying to create centuries of growth to people who do not have the centuries of corresponding education and cultural change to adapt to the new growthy. You are supplying Ghenghis Khan with a nuclear weapon. We should remember, India and Pakistan are not natural “countries” they used to be a massive area called “India” that consisted of different countries with ever changing borders courtesy of feudalism and medieval warfare. The culture of India and Pakistan and Bangladesh diverged under a century ago. People are alive today who were born before the partition and independance.

Part of progress is the change of demography from a agricultural society to a more urban one. Most of western society lives in cities. Roughly 5 to 10% live in the countryside while the rest are entirely based out of towns and cities. In India and Pakistan roughly 70% are based in the countryside. The democratic power of India is not in the hands of the cities or towns. The power lies in the village and in rural economics. Politicians often come from these backgrounds. The problem with this is what I said earlier…

[Read more…]

Don’t Stop Reporting II

I didn’t really do a blog post celebrating a year of A Million Gods, but today’s events kind of reminded me of when I started.

Today Marie Colvin and Remie Ochlik were killed in Homs as part of the Bashar Al-Assad Government’s offensive on the Syrian people. It is rumoured that they were killed as a deliberate attack on  journalists.

This reminded me of when I wrote about the sexual assault of Lara Logan. It’s almost precisely a year to the day…

I deeply admired Marie Colvin’s work across the world particularly in areas such as Sri Lanka and the work of Remie Ochlik is frankly astounding considering his age. The world is a poorer place for the loss of these people.

I feel that this event shows the level of the brutality of the fighting in Syria and the indiscriminate shelling of civilians. Her final report was about a child dying as no one could treat him. It does make your eyes prick between bath and pre-lunch beers. But we so quickly forget that there is a world of suffering.

The war journalist and photographer brings war to life. We forget that in this day and age of easy publishing the value of a professional observer in the ground has reduced. Their lives are more unsafe than ever since a press pass is no longer the protection it once was. We shouldn’t forget their sacrifice and the best way we can do that is by being aware of the international world rather than the latest celebrity gossip. And by acting on this information. The information to put pressure on the Syrian government is in our hands. The question remains is whether we actually use it to try and create a democratic society in Syria or do we go back to our beers.

Modern Slavery

It’s been a long while since I was back home, I am a Mancunian and I do miss it all the time. But things seem to have changed since I left.

This is frankly despicable, it’s not a scheme that encourages labour, it’s a scheme that encourages slavery. You know that thing where you work and you don’t get paid for it? These individuals are working 30 or so hours a week (6 hours for 5 days) and should be  taking home roughly £30 a day rather than £50 for an entire week.

This isn’t a back to work scheme, this isn’t even an internship that encourages people to work for any and all jobs such as small businesses. This is a massive scheme benefiting multi-billion pound enterprises by providing them part time labour under the guise of keeping people working and teaching them the skills they need to be productive members of society.

If the government were honest about this being a system to encourage people to work, this scheme would apply to any business of any size rather than just big retail chains. And ultimately they are working for less than minimum wage.

That in my book is slavery, and it actually hurts the economy since paying these individuals a minimum wage would just mean more money is being ploughed back into the economy since it is very difficult to save on minimum wage and it is much easier to just spend it on things in the hear and now. Like food, clothes and entertainment.

Until then, it’s just a shocking way that the UK is giving big businesses a monetary boost. By all means, give people money for doing a job, but don’t take money away from them for not.