More poor Muslims than rich westerners

Oh look. Looky there. A headline on a Guardian Comment is Free post by Ben Doherty –

Pakistan attack reveals the truth about terrorism: it kills more poor Muslims than rich westerners

Golly gee, that’s exactly what I was saying in that post on Sunday that got so many people in such a (mostly fake) rage. How shockingly ideological to make that point! Why shouldn’t terrorism kill more poor Muslims than rich westerners? Why even mention it? It’s political correctness run mad. [Read more…]

The procedure involves slicing through the cartilage and ligaments

And speaking of doing horrible things to people…The Guardian reports another one of Ireland’s grim secrets.

“Mary” was delighted to be pregnant at 23, but she was in labor for a long time, and they got worried about her heartbeat, so they called in the doctor.

When the doctor arrived, he did something Mary cannot forget. “They gave me gas and air and an injection, and took me to another room, where they tied my legs up on each side,” she recalls. “There were two nurses on each side of me. I saw this doctor at the end of my bed with a big, long silver thing. They made a hole in your private parts, and he inserted this silver thing up and cut the pubic bone and pushed it over to widen your pelvis for you to deliver your baby yourself.” [Read more…]

The next thing we knew, she was on fire

Yesterday the Telegraph reported some heart-breaking details of the slaughter at the army school in Peshawar. Be warned: they’re not happy reading.

The Taliban attackers reserved particularly horrific deaths for the adults, pouring fuel over at least three and setting them alight and killing the head, Tahira Qazi, with a hand grenade.

“Our principal showed extreme bravery,” Wasif Ali, a grade six pupil, said from his bed at the Lady Reading Hospital, where he was being treated for abdominal and head injuries. “She wasn’t afraid even when the militants were firing shots.” He said that as the firing started, she rushed from classroom to classroom, shouting at those inside to lock themselves in. Other pupils said she was trying to console them as well as protect them. [Read more…]

Arctic feedback cycle

Here’s a disquieting press release from NASA:

NASA Satellites Measure Increase of Sun’s Energy Absorbed in the Arctic

NASA satellite instruments have observed a marked increase in solar radiation absorbed in the Arctic since the year 2000 – a trend that aligns with the steady decrease in Arctic sea ice during the same period.

While sea ice is mostly white and reflects the sun’s rays, ocean water is dark and absorbs the sun’s energy at a higher rate. A decline in the region’s albedo – its reflectivity, in effect – has been a key concern among scientists since the summer Arctic sea ice cover began shrinking in recent decades. As more of the sun’s energy is absorbed by the climate system, it enhances ongoing warming in the region, which is more pronounced than anywhere else on the planet. [Read more…]

Got secularist?

The NSS is taking nominations for Secularist of the Year.

Who do you think should be the 2015 Secularist of the year?

The Irwin Prize for Secularist of the Year is awarded annually in recognition of an individual or an organisation considered to have made an outstanding contribution to the secular cause.

This year’s prize will be presented on Saturday 28 March at a lunch event in central London so please get your nominations to us by Friday 23 January.

The nomination form is right there on the page, so if you have a candidate, get to it.

 

Words are never enough, but have some anyway

So I had to read John Sauven’s* blog post about how sincerely, deeply, utterly sorry he is about the Nazca lines and how strongly he hopes Peru will just take his word for that and stop bothering them.

Words are never enough, he says in the title, and yet they seem to be all he’s offering.

Words are not enough. I know that. But I want to start by saying how deeply disappointed and sorry I am for the activity undertaken in the name of Greenpeace at the Nazca lines in Peru last week during the climate talks.

[Read more…]

If they really are as ashamed as they say they are

Peru is planning to extradite the Greenpeacers who scratched up the Nazca hummingbird site.

Castillo told the Guardian that Peruvian authorities had identified six members of the group who participated in the protest at the Unesco world heritage site last week, adding that prosecutors have filed charges of attacking archaeological monuments – a crime punishable by up to six years in prison.

But the minister said Greenpeace had refused to name all the protesters – leaving Peru no choice but to pursue it “through our legal means”.

“Greenpeace says it wants to take responsibility but in not giving us the names so that those responsible can appear before a judge in Peru it is refusing to do that,” he told the Guardian. “It’s a contradiction in terms.”

“It makes you wonder if they really are as ashamed as they say they are.”

[Read more…]