The victims at the Lindt Café

The manager of the café and a barrister are the two hostages who were killed, The Australian reports.

The manager of the Lindt Café, Tori Johnson, 34, was one of the two hostages killed during the 16-hour siege, along with 38-year-old barrister Katrina Dawson.

Reports suggest Mr Johnson died after trying to knock the gun from the hand of Man Haron Monis shortly after 2am this morning.

That is, Monis murdered him. [Read more…]

Guest post: Upset people don’t process information well

Originally a comment by Brisvegan on Even when you are emotionally invested.

I am a law lecturer. Many of my students will go on to practice law. However, legal practice is enormously variable. Some will work in criminal law, dealing with the worst of offenders, some in family law, with distressing family breakdowns and some will work in areas like leasing or commercial transactions, which don’t require them to deal with the more traumatic sides of human experience. Each student must still study core curriculum that includes cases with very nasty facts. However, some very able students and lawyers will create a professional life that lets them avoid areas of practice that they personally can’t cope with.

I teach in an area where a bunch of cases on evidence law include details of sexual assaults. However, do I put sexual assault facts on exams? No. I can test the same knowledge without triggering sexual assault survivors by detailing assaults. [Read more…]

A one-way ticket to London please

Kunwar Khuldune Shahid tells us about a reactionary cleric who finds himself hoist by his own petard fatwa.

Pakistani pop singer turned religious cleric Junaid Jamshed has been accused of blasphemy recently. Jamshed has now taken refuge in London, rightly fearing for his life in Pakistan.

The allegation occurred after Jamshed re-enacted a hadith which suggests that the Prophet Muhammad’s youngest wife Ayesha occasionally faked illness to seek her husband’s attention. The re-enactment was entitled ‘even the prophet’s company cannot tame a woman’. [Read more…]

Now that’s a face

Last August Slate ran a piece debunking the mythmaking in the documentary Dinosaur 13, about the federal prosecution of a fossil-collector who found a 90% complete T Rex skeleton in 1990.

Dinosaur 13’s embattled hero is Peter Larson, introduced as a “brilliant paleontologist” by no less an authority on earth science than a former National Geographic photographer. In truth, Larson is a commercial collector and vendor of fossils. Paleontologists have formal training in graduate school, where they learn to excavate and document fossil finds to preserve invaluable information. Along the way, one hopes, they learn that fossils are part of the public trust, not to be hawked or pirated.

[Read more…]


It’s true, what several commenters said in response to the nightmare Deeni-doll – the Amish do have nightmare faceless dolls.

You can shop for them.

Blue John & Miriam Faceless Doll Couple

They’re rag dolls, soft and squashy for small children who like to squash things. They’re like Raggedy Anne and Andy, except…Anne and Andy have faces.

Having a taboo on human faces seems to me a wretched idea. Aversion to eye contact is a disability, not something to instill in people on purpose.

Leaving a footprint at Nazca is like leaving a footprint on the moon

Greg Laden is also outraged by Greenpeace’s vandalism of the Nazca site.

Greenpeace activists entered a restricted area in Peru, where the Nazca lines are located. They drove into the area, and walked around there, and laid out banners. The banners were then photographed from the air (from a drone, as I understand it) to produce a message supporting renewable something. I’m guessing energy. The message was not clear. Nor was the link between their big yellow banners and the sacred and ancient Nazca lines. [Read more…]

Staying within the line

Frank Foley,a Lecturer in the War Studies Department at King’s College London, explains some things about torture for the BBC.

As they came to terms with the shock of 9/11, people at the highest levels of the US government wanted to mete out a ferocious response to al-Qaeda suspects.

But let it not be said that they wanted to torture – of course not. We’re the good guys, so we don’t torture. We do something else, that’s unpleasant, but it’s not what fits under the word “torture.” Hell no. [Read more…]

Just what every child wants: a faceless doll

I saw this horror via Tehmina Kazi on Facebook. A faceless “Deeni doll” is now on the shelves.

A new faceless doll, produced in accordance with Islamic law, has been launched in Britain.

The ‘Deeni Doll’, which is adorned with a traditional hijab headdress, has no nose, mouth, or eyes, in order to comply with Islamic rulings regarding the depictions of facial features.

A doll with no face – it’s hard to imagine anything more creepy. The picture is certainly a nightmare.

View image on Twitter [Read more…]