Archive | July 2011

Update on Oslo

At least 80 people have been killed outside of Oslo at a youth camp supporting the governing party. According to the BBC, the suspect appears to be a 32-year-old who is possibly a neo-Nazi.
The Beeb has an article on Norway’s far right here.

At the moment, I don’t know if there IS a connection between the two events. So I am not going to speculate on that yet.
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UPDATE: the death toll has risen to 94 – some of these may been due to exposure or drowning.
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UPDATE (24/07/2011): The suspect, Anders Behring Breivek, has been charged with terrorism. It appears that he is a Christian fundamentalist, and published an utterly sick 1500-page manifesto. Interestingly enough, almost none of the news sites I’ve seen refer to him as a “Christian terrorist” – which is exactly what he is.

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Oslo Explosion

Live updates. So far (16:58 GMT), 2 people have been confirmed dead and several injured. It would have been worse if today wasn’t a Friday and there were less people in the building.

According to the Beeb, nobody has claimed responsibility for this yet. However, they mentioned that it could be – but not necessarily is – related to the fact that Norway has troops in Afghanistan as part of ISAF. Another possibility could be deranged environmentalists, as the department of energy and oil was hit quite badly.

Either way, it was entirely wrong. There isn’t a single place I can think of that deserves that, but if there is a list of such places, Norway isn’t on that list.

UPDATE: I’ve decided to wait until tomorrow before I make any more posts, once as many of the facts are in as possible.

The Shuttle’s Successors

From the Beeb, a list of the potential successors to the Space Shuttle. They’re all MUCH smaller than the orbiter part of the shuttle itself, and they won’t be around for a few years, at least.

When Ireland thumbs it’s nose…

If it wasn’t clear where the Vatican stands on any legal matters, then this remark from the Pope should make it clear:

Standards of conduct appropriate to civil society or the workings of a democracy cannot be purely and simply applied to the church.

In other words, “Secular laws do not apply to us.”

Our Taoiseach made a speech about this, it’s availablehere. He’s a practising Catholic, and for him to stand up and say all that, they must have finally gone too far (which they had already). It is not just a few bad apples – the institution as a whole is to blame.

This is not to say that ALL the members of the church are evil – far from it. But the upper levels of the hierarchy have only acted to cover their arses and protect the church. An example is this line:

opening up these cases to secular authorities “risked contravening canonical law”

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NOBODY is above the law, or should be – but heads of religion seem to think they are.

The worst threat to (any) faith

While looking on Pharyngula, I came across this post by PZ where some Christian apologist in the States calls the Internet “The Greatest Threat To Christianity (TM)”.

One or two commentators on Pharyngula remarked that people probably said this about the printing press. Interestingly enough, Martin Luther used the printing press, but he hated the implications of the knowledge spreading, as indicated by this line from Table Talks: “Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but–more frequently than not –struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.”
I wonder what Guthenberg himself would have said about this?

Atlantis on it’s way back

Atlantis is returning from the ISS for the last time. Once it gets back on the ground, it is being retired as the last shuttle, and put on public display at the visitor centre at Kennedy.

In the short term, NASA doesn’t have a way to get stuff into space, except for asking the Russians if they can use the Soyuz rockets. In the longer term, they hope to have their own rockets again. Perhaps a new space race will start up in a few years, and if so, it will probably lead to more efficient rockets and spacecraft.

Murdochs vs MPs

If you can get BBC Parliament, tomorrow at 19.30 they’ll be showing Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks in front of a group of MPs – hopefully being verbally chewed up. More information here, including the questions they will be asked.

Murdoch Senior has taken out full-page adverts in a lot of newspapers with an apology. I’m going to quite Penn & Teller: BULLSHIT!