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Monthly Archive: February 2011

Feb 22 2011

Middle East protests

As protests escalate in countries in the middle east resulting in various degrees of repression by their authoritarian governments, a lot of nonsense is being spouted by commentators here. Juan Cole tries to set things straight by listing top the top five myths about the protests. Meanwhile in Libya, Gadhafi seems to have gone completely …

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Feb 22 2011

Why atheism is winning-5: The battle for hearts and minds

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) Although the Archbishop of Canterbury says he opposes new atheists for our ‘less tolerant attitude towards religion’, what I think is driving his concern is the fear that the new atheist message is reaching the ordinary flock. After all, atheists are currently in the minority. We have …

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Feb 21 2011

Scientists create Artificial Stupidity

The success of IBM’s computer Watson in beating two former Jeopardy champions has resulted in more dire warnings that computers will one day take over the world. However, the search for true Artificial Intelligence is not easy, with the joke amongst people working in the field is that we are always ten years away from …

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Feb 21 2011

Why atheism is winning-4: The new and decisive shift by the new atheists

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) In the previous posts, I said that it is the firm knowledge that almost everything in religious texts like the Bible and the Koran are fiction that will destroy religion. But right now that knowledge largely exists amongst a small group of theologians and philosophers of religion …

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Feb 20 2011

Remake of Casino Royale

By the creators of That Mitchell and Webb Look.

Feb 20 2011

Curveball confesses to lying about Iraq

In the run-up to the war in Iraq, the Iraqi defector known as ‘Curveball’ was the source of much of the false information that was used to argue that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction. There were doubts from the beginning about Curveball’s veracity and plenty of reasons to doubt him but these …

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Feb 19 2011

What a great idea!

The budget problem in the US is caused by the fact that people want a lot of the services that the government provides but don’t want to pay for them. That great economic genius Donald Trump knows how to solve this: tax other countries! It’s quite astonishing that no one has thought of this simple …

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Feb 19 2011

Why means testing of Social Security benefits is a bad idea

One of the ideas being floated around is to ‘means test’ Social Security benefits. i.e., to base benefits on income and wealth. Kevin Drum explains why this is already being done at some level by the way benefits are calculated and why it would be a pointless exercise to pursue any further. Paul Krugman also …

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Feb 18 2011

Circumcision

I have never understood how modern societies permit male circumcision while they rightly condemns the female variants. It seems like as long as some practice is old and stamped with the word ‘approved by religious authorities’, it is exempt from the usual protections we give children. I am glad to see that the creator of …

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Feb 18 2011

System problems

The university computer network, which includes this blog server, has been suffering major problems which is why posting has been so erratic. Sorry about that.

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