Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Could You Lend Me A Hand?

A young man in Nepal today chopped off his right hand as an offering to a feared Hindu goddess, state-run media reported.

“He offered special worship at the temple this morning,” the national RSS news agency said. "After the worship, he chopped off his right hand and offered (it) to the temple of Goddess Kali."

Monday, July 30, 2007

Raggedy Anno Domini

Instead of Spiderman or Bratz dolls, children in the US could soon be clutching a talking Jesus toy, a bearded Moses or a muscle-bound figure of Goliath. From the middle of August, Wal-Mart, the biggest toy retailer in the US, will for the first time stock a full line of faith-based toys.

David Socha, founder of One2believe, the company which makes the dolls, is confident the demand is there for "God-honouring" toys which reflect Christian teachings and morality.

"If you go in a toy aisle in any major retailer, you will see toys and dolls that promote and glorify evil, destruction, lying, cheating." What his company offers instead is "something faith-based that is not only fun to play with but also is solidifying a person's spiritual wherewithal and their spiritual journey", he said.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Hooray For Gastronomy

Last month, scientists at Clemson University in South Carolina determined that applying the five-second rule to dropped food will not actually prevent the food from gathering bacteria. "God made dirt and dirt don't hurt," elaborates Christopher Evans, 13. "But after five seconds, it's nasty."

Imperative to the rule's effectiveness, Kiara and Christopher say, is yelling out, "FIVE-SECOND RULE!" as soon as an item has touched the ground. It is also acceptable for a friend to yell it on your behalf.

It would seem that the Clemson research would be the death of the five-second rule. But such thinking would be based on the notion that the five-second rule is like any other rule, bound by the rule-like constraints of practicality and public good. It is not.

And On The Seventh Day, He Rested

Jesus Christ is crucified and resurrected here six days a week.

Just miles from Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld in this city's overstimulated tourist corridor, Holy Land has in its six years of operation aimed to recreate Jerusalem of Biblical times. It is often referred to as a "Christian theme park," but the park offers lectures, not rides, making it feel more like a trip to church.

Its officers prefer to call it a "living Biblical museum" and until last month, the nonprofit operation was troubled. Management changed hands, its founder left and attendance was flat. But suddenly, a savior appeared. Trinity Broadcasting Network, a California-based Christian empire with 12,500 worldwide TV and cable affiliates, took over Holy Land and its estimated $8 million mortgage.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Cyber Saving

ROME (Reuters) - Catholic missionaries have always trekked to dangerous parts of the Earth to spread the word of God -- now they are being encouraged to go into the virtual realm of Second Life [a simulation game] to save virtual souls.

In an article in Rome-based Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, academic Antonio Spadaro urged fellow Catholics not to be scared of entering the virtual world which may be fertile ground for new converts wishing to better themselves.

While the virtual world might be a refuge for some people seeking to flee the real one, it is also full of people seeking something more from life, including, possibly, religious enlightenment, he said.

Or, possibly they're just looking for a better way to kill off all those extra brain cells slowing down their processing speed... that is, something better than drinking, drugs, television or religion.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mmmm...Chili At The Drive-In

If You Say So, Sire

Norway's Princess Martha Louise says she has psychic powers and can teach people to communicate with angels.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Today's award for the Best Gut-Buster just might have to go to the CBC regardless of which story you pick. Here's yet another gem :

Ritalin may change brain chemistry in young children: study

Young children taking Ritalin for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder may experience chemical changes in their brains, say U.S. researchers... In one of the few studies to probe the effects of Ritalin on the neurochemistry of the developing brain, scientists found changes in areas linked to "higher executive functioning, addiction and appetite, social relationships and stress..."

Ritalin, a stimulant similar to amphetamine and cocaine, remains one of the most prescribed drugs for the behavioural disorder.

But wait. It gets better!

Although the drug has been on the market since at least the early-1960s, this is "one of the few studies to probe the effects of Ritalin on the neurochemistry" (!?) of the young people who make up its largest market. And despite its status as "a stimulant simlar to amphetamine and cocaine," it's prescribed mostly to hyperactive children. So what do you suppose happens when you knowingly fiddle with their neurochemistry without studying the effects of such fiddling? ...read on.

Everyone's a winner after a direct-mail marketing company... mistakenly sent out 50,000 scratch-off tickets declaring them all winners of the $1,000 grand prize. Just one of the tickets was supposed to be the grand prize winner. "Unfortunately, they missed it in the proofreading," said Jeff Kohn, Roswell Honda general manager.

Justice Is Blind

According to the CBC the Supreme Court of Canada decided on Friday that

An offender "uses" a firearm when he or she makes it known "by words or conduct" that it is available....

According to court documents, 25-year-old Andre Omar Steele and three accomplices warned residents, "We have a gun," and repeatedly told one another to "Get the gun, get the gun." If a gun was nearby and accessible quickly, then whether or not it was on the criminals was irrelevant, said the ruling Friday from Ottawa.

So from now on leave the gun in the car, but when threatening people be more cagey about it. Consider saying things like, "Don't you make me consider going out and buying a gun, now. Because one day, you might possibly be sorry."

Father Knows Best

Father and uncle given life for 'honour' murder

The father and uncle of a young Kurdish woman began life sentences last night for arranging her "barbaric and callous" murder to restore their family's "honour". Ari Mahmod, 51, recruited a gang of thugs who tortured, raped and strangled his niece Banaz Mahmod, 20, before cramming her body into a suitcase and burying it in a pit, where it lay for three months. The brothers had decided Ms Mahmod was to be killed because she had fallen in love with a man they felt was unsuitable.

She had told police on four occasions that her family had threatened to kill her, and reported a murder attempt by her father.

Being British, this Guardian UK story doesn't really go into the kind of detail Marquis de Sade fans might want. For that stuff, read the report over here.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

All Knowing, Huh?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Every Little Bit Helps

Wal-Mart credited for its progress on fuel efficiency

Wal-Mart's fleet of about 7,200 semitrailer trucks is already about 15 percent more fuel efficient and the company knows what changes it needs to make to meet a target of 25 percent by late next year. The annual savings in carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, would be equal to taking 67,744 cars off the road.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Fighting IN The House :

Melvin Rodney Long, 38, was arrested for the slaying of 33-year-old Matthew Sisco. According to Jasper County Sheriff Archie Dunn, Long and Sisco were drinking and doing some "recreational" discharging of a firearm inside the home when Long became upset and allegedly fired the weapon at Sisco...

Fighting FOR The House :

"I don't know how much more I can endure," said Dolores Atwood, 69, while sitting in a FEMA trailer in front of her Katrina-ravaged brick home on Dauphine Street, just north of Slidell. The Atwoods' nightmare began when they learned in 2000 that their four-bedroom, two-bath home had been sold in 1997 through a tax sale for the $1.63 in unpaid taxes, plus 10 cents interest and $125 in costs associated with the sale.

"All this should have never happened," she said. But it did, all because of the $1.63 tax bill that Atwood and her husband, Kermit, never received.

Dirty Dozen

"I call it the 12-bonk rule," says Dr Clio Cresswell, a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney's School of Mathematics and Statistics. The 35-year-old, who came to Australia from France when she was 18, says we may be better off taking a more mathematical approach to finding a partner.

"The best strategy is to test the first 12 people and then reject them all. Then, you pick the best one that comes after that. People are born with imperfections, so this is not about giving you the exact answers. But using the 12-bonk rule will give you a 75 per cent chance of success."
Dr. Cresswell mentions that her "12-bonk rule" does not require sexual relations with any of the dirty dozen, unless "sexual compatibility" is high on your list of desired qualities in a partner. In unrelated news, the up-to-date list of 237 reasons to have sex is now available.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Fête [Inter]Nationale

(Photo - Reuters)
Des militaires provenant des 27 pays de l’Union européenne étaient présents, avec leurs drapeaux et leurs uniformes. Ils formaient un détachement de 838 soldats, dont, évidemment, des Français. Personne ne manquait à l’appel : même Malte a dépêché quatre militaires.

La participation d’étrangers au 14 juillet devient une habitude, mais pour la première fois, toute l’UE a défilé ensemble.

Bobby On The Spot

(Photo - Anthony Devlin / AP)

LONDON - Britain is taking its surveillance to a new level, strapping video cameras to the helmets of its famed bobbies — a move the government says will cut down on paperwork and help prosecute criminals.

By providing dramatic footage of victims, suspects and witnesses, judges and jurors will be able to “see and hear the incident through the eyes and ears of the officer at the scene,” Minister of State for Security Tony McNulty said.

The Home Office said it was allocating $6 million to fund the devices for Britain’s 42 police forces — enough to buy more than 2,000 cameras.
This makes sense, of course, because seeing is believing. Besides, everybody knows that if there were more police available most criminals would call out instinctively as soon as they see one... "Hey officer, come here. I want to show you something!"

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Johnny On The Spot

Too much sun can do strange things to a man. Like Fort Lauderdale's mayor, for instance.

FORT LAUDERDALE -- Mayor Jim Naugle has never been shy about voicing his beliefs.He's called some environmentalists "wackos" and said people complaining about high home prices were lazy, beer drinking "schlocks."

Since the mayor can't be everywhere at once, he's come up with a great solution for all you "mile-high-club" types :

Now the mayor has shifted his attention to a robotic toilet, saying the invention could have a special edge over a traditional restroom in preventing the "homosexual activity" that he said plagues other public restrooms.

The robo-john the city might buy for $250,000 or more allows occupants to stay inside for only a short time before the door opens. Probably not enough time for "illegal sex," Naugle figures.

Of course, the story goes on to say that the robo-john is already being used in cities like Atlanta, Seattle and New York, so maybe it's not the sun but the Son driving everybody crazy. Gotta wipe now, before ... too late.

Up In Smoke

The U.S. is on the sidelines as public health officials from around the world meet in Bangkok this week to put into action a global treaty to curb death and disease caused by tobacco use. More than 190 countries unanimously adopted the treaty in 2003. Since then, 148 countries have moved to ratified it, but not the US.
Public health advocates say the Bush administration has stalled the ratification process, and is putting the United States behind the rest of world. “The only message we are sending is that we care more about protecting American tobacco companies than we do in preventing deaths from the use of tobacco,” says Matt Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, a leading U.S. anti-tobacco group.
In the United States, the treaty would require the federal regulation of tobacco, which is currently unregulated.
Regulate ... ? Oh oh.
That's not capitalism.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Conventional Cooperation

UNITED NATIONS - A long-awaited international convention against nuclear terrorism will come into force next week, nine years after it was originally proposed by Russia and 10 months after it was adopted by the 192-member General Assembly. But most of the major powers, including those with nuclear weapons, are giving it a miss — at least so far.

The new international treaty, which has 115 signatories, needed 22 ratifications before it became international law. The 22nd country to ratify it was Bangladesh. The treaty comes into force July 7.

Dr. Natalie J. Goldring, a senior fellow with the Center for Peace and Security Studies and an adjunct full professor in the Security Studies Program at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, however, expresses doubts about the effective implementation of the convention. [...]

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and at least three other countries outside the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty have about 26,000 nuclear weapons among them, of which 12,000 are on alert status.