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Guilty of not correctly predicting an earthquake

No, seriously. A group of scientists and a government official in Italy have been sentenced to 6 years for not predicting the 2009 earthquake in L’Aquila. One has even said “I still don’t understand what I was convicted of”.

All I can say is “What the ACTUAL Fuck?” Earthquakes are inherently unpredictable. You might as well sue meteorologists for not accurately predicting every hurricane’s trajectory or strength! Even if they were predictable events, there would be nothing a human can do to stop it. And if they had predicted it, but it hadn’t happened, they’d be slammed for “spreading alarm”.

There IS an appeal in the works, but I still suspect this will just harm Italian scientists. Bel lavoro, Italia! You’ve just sent the wrong message entirely.

Apples’ logo is blasphemous

according to an ultra-Orthodox sect in Russia. Apparently, the bite out of an apple in their logo represents “original sin”. From the article:

Radical orthodox Christians from Russia remove Apple logotype from the company’s products and put a cross sign instead of them. The orthodox find the half-bitten apple logotype anti-Christian and insulting their belief, something that may potentially cause serious problems for Apple’s products in the country.

Interfax news-agency reports about “several” cases, where the radical orthodox, including priests, swapped the Apple logo for an image of the cross, the symbol of Jesus Christ. According to the ultra-radical orthodox activists, the bitten apple symbolizes the original sin of Adam and Eve and is generally anti-Christian. It is unknown whether the radical orthodox consider the logotype as insulting, but it looks like they do.

I don’t use Apple products, mainly because they’re a bit expensive, but this is bloody ridiculous. They’re getting worked up over a piece of fruit with a bite taken out of it and are demanding that the company change to a logo that fits their beliefs. Frankly, that’s a load of fermented leprechaun piss, especially since just about every religion’s tenents are, to some extent, blasphemy to each other. So, if the blasphemy law that the Duma are debating does become enshrined in law, would they bring charges against Apple? Would they sue anyone who doesn’t follow their beliefs exactly?

Cases like this are exactly why blasphemy legislation is such bullshite. Perhaps I should start a religion whose central claim is that vegetarianism is blasphemous and start bringing charges against veggies and vegans? Liek oMg It goes against my beliefs!!1!!!1!!!1!!!

This. Is. Not. Acceptable!

I found this video via Lousy Canuck, and it is appalling. Amnesty International put together a video of what being hooded and tortured would be like. Just watch the video (unless you have undergone torture like this, in which case I am adding a trigger warning):

This. Is. NEVER. Acceptable!
If you think it is, like one shithead who commented by saying “America should do this to all foreign people”, then why don’t you volunteer as a test subject?

Bishops can’t stop interfering

Orphelia Benson is pretty worked up over something – it turns out that Catholic bishops in the States are conducting an official enquiry into the Girl Scouts.

What. The. Fuck? Why is it any of their soddin’ business?

The new inquiry will be conducted by the bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. It will look into the Scouts’ “possible problematic relationships with other organizations” and various “problematic” program materials, according to a letter sent by the committee chairman, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne, Ind., to his fellow bishops.

No prizes for guessing…these “problematic relationships” apparently include pro-life groups, which the Scouts themselves deny taking any position on, or groups like Medicens San Frontiers who are in favour of emergency contraception; and the “problematic” materials include information on contraception. And then there’s this: they dare to let girls lead!! Oh noes!

“I know we’re a big part of the culture wars,” said the Girl Scouts’ spokeswoman, Michelle Tompkins. “People use our good name to advance their own agenda.”

“For us, there’s an overarching sadness to it,” Tompkins added. “We’re just trying to further girls’ leadership.”

(Emphasis mine)

The thing is, it’s a secular organisation, so it’s not part of the Catholic church. Know what that means? It means that the bishops have no right to stick their bloody noses in and start another little Inquisition. Is it any wonder I’ve come to despise the church in the last few years, or that I’ve started seeing organised religion as being mainly about power? Yes, I’m cynical, but if the comments on the original Yahoo News article are anything to go by, more than a few Catholics are disgusted by this as well.

I found this cartoon here – I think it fits quite well!
St Peter's Basilica

Libel reform UK

The campaign for libel reform in the UK has managed to get their campaign mentioned in the Queen’s Speech. London has a reputation as “the libel capital of the world”, in part because the country’s libel laws are so permissive, so this is definitely a step in the right direction.

There’s a petition to sign, and it isn’t restricted to UK residents/citizens! So what are you waiting for?

Petition against ACTA

Sign the petition so we can make the European Commission discuss ACTA in the open!

Hibernia college doesn’t like atheists

My jaw dropped when I read this. Seriously, Hibernia College was claiming in course notes that:

“What bothers very few of its latter-day exponents is the fact that atheist humanism produced the worst horrors history has ever witnessed, namely Nazism, Fascism and Marxism…”

Complete and utter bullshit. Hitler was NOT an atheist, in fact he regarded himself as doing a god’s work. The Fascist regimes of Franco’s Spain and in South America were supported by the Catholic Church. As for the Soviet Union and other Marxist regimes, they were totalitarian regimes which replaced the church with the state and/or personality cults – something I happen to disagree with, in part because I’m just a little irreverent about authority. The College also had

a mock examination where the student is expected to answer that it is “True” that “Atheist humanism produced the worst horrors history has ever witnessed.”

So basically the Crusades were the work of atheists and secular humanists? The Inquisition wasn’t a part of the church? And I suppose that Iran, with it’s excellent human rights record, is a secular country.

Now, replace “atheist humanism” in those notes or that exam with another religion – Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Wiccanism, etc. – and there WOULD be an outrage in the media. But because we don’t believe in a god or gods, we’re apparently acceptable targets? And then the religious ask atheists why some of us get so “angry”. If anyone wonders that…just sit down and think about it, hmmm?