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Monthly Archive: September 2011

Sep 30 2011

State-sanctioned murder

Reports are coming in that a US drone strike in Yemen has killed Anwar al-Awlaki. If confirmed, this would mean that the US government has murdered a US citizen purely on the orders of president Obama. The media are relaying the anonymous and self-serving claims of the intelligence community that al-Awlaki was a top al …

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Sep 30 2011

Sexism in the atheist community

It is fairly obvious that women are a minority in the atheist community. The high-profile atheists tend to be men, even though there are many women who are making important contributions to atheist thought. This naturally raises the question: Is the atheist movement sexist? Is the atmosphere at atheist gatherings hostile to women? Are female …

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Sep 29 2011

Lioness saves her cub

I am a sucker for animal stories that have happy endings. Another example of altruism in the animal kingdom.

Sep 29 2011

Lewis Black has a good rant

The Daily Show with Jon StewartGet More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook Note that this was before Nancy Grace had her ‘wardrobe malfunction’.

Sep 29 2011

The strange case of disappearing color in films

If I walk into a room where someone is watching a film on TV, I can always tell immediately whether the film is a recent one or from a few decades ago, even without clues about the actors. But I would not have been able to explain how I knew this. It turns out that …

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Sep 28 2011

Reading your brains

A new study reports that fMRI machines can roughly reconstruct the images of film clips that test subjects have been viewing. What I found interesting was that the reconstructed images, while retaining the general shape of the original, seemed to replace the details with what to me seemed like the details of another image.

Sep 28 2011

Brave Saudi women

It looks like scores of Saudi women are challenging the absurd ban on them driving and are willing to bear the barbaric punishment for doing so, which consists of a lashing. I am not sure if any woman has actually received that punishment or whether fear of international embarrassment has prevented the government from actually …

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Sep 28 2011

The seductive appeal of the mega-rich politician

During the 2008 presidential election and for a brief time during the current election, there was a boomlet of support for billionaire mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg and for windbag Donald Trump to run for president. They were part of an enduring pattern in American politics in which some people yearn for a rich …

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Sep 27 2011

Five minutes with Philip Pullman

The popular BBC series probes the author’s views on writing and religion.

Sep 27 2011

Interfaith dialogues and projects

Religions view each other with either condescension or suspicion. This can make for contentious public discourse and, as we all know, frequently escalates into open hostilities. In order to avoid having things get out of hand, one periodically finds attempts by well-meaning people who think that the problem is due to religious people being ignorant …

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