Clearly, I need to do more shopping at IKEA. I have enemies who deserve presents, and since they tend not to be very bright, it’s good that the instructions are so simple and clear.
Nick Cohen gets it exactly right.
A few weeks ago Margot Wallström, the Swedish foreign minister, denounced the subjugation of women in Saudi Arabia. As the theocratic kingdom prevents women from travelling, conducting official business or marrying without the permission of male guardians, and as girls can be forced into child marriages where they are effectively raped by old men, she was telling no more than the truth. Wallström went on to condemn the Saudi courts for ordering that Raif Badawi receive ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes for setting up a website that championed secularism and free speech. These were ‘mediaeval methods’, she said, and a ‘cruel attempt to silence modern forms of expression’. And once again, who can argue with that?
CNN has followed up on their documentary about atheists with a set of interviews. The money quote:
The biggest misconception about atheism is that atheists are a just a bunch of angry white men who want to destroy religion and who don’t have high opinions of most religious people. A relative handful of atheists fit that description, and they make a lot of noise, but that’s not representative of atheists.
Here’s a great list of 9 things many Americans just don’t understand — I’ve distilled it down to just the main headings, but you should read the whole thing.
It’s not just because they are lucky enough to live in one of the most spectacular landscapes on the planet. It’s also because they’re great model organisms, guinea pigs — the zebrafish of humanity. They represent a small, isolated population with a well-documented history and excellent medical records, so they’re just the people you might want to do in-depth genetic studies on.
I get asked that question so often. My usual answer is, “I don’t know, probably.” (It’s also a good answer if they ask, “does this prevent cancer?”) That’s safe to say, because just about anything can be found associated with cancer, if you look hard enough. I’ve read enough papers to know that if you can find a study accusing a food to be of the devil, you can find another one saying it’s angelic. And there will probably be some feckless mass media organ screaming CAUSE or CURE.