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This is certainly a fascinating find and I hope people pay attention to the fact that Dr. Irving Finkel refers to the Babylonian flood story, of which the story of Noah and his ark is believed to be one iteration of many. More importantly, the clay tablet describes the vessel which was used to survive the flood as being a coracle, which is a roundish vessel more common to that era and location. The idealized story of a boat which was some 300x50x30 cubits is nothing but mythology.

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Teaching Creationism in the U.S. public school system

For some reason, a significant segment of the U.S. population is determined to pass on the false notion that there is controversy when it comes to major scientific facts. The folks over at Slate created a nice graphic illustrating the states in the U.S. where school teachers are afforded some protection, via state law, when it comes to teaching the scientific “controversy”.

(Source: Slate)

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Another day, another parent in the United States, worried that their precious, impressionable middle school child, will see the words sexual intercourse written down on a piece of paper, and be overcome by a wave of sexual desire, that would make them seek to hump every living thing within sight. 

When will parents in this country come to terms with the fact their children need to be given pertinent information on how to navigate very obvious sexual landscape they live in. A world where teen sensations like Selena Gomez are singing, “When you ready, come and get it”. These are the same teen sensations that have their music branded as being appropriate for the young people.

People like Mark Ellis need to realise that these kinds of curricular programs are necessary for the development of their children. I am willing to stake money that Ellis’s thirteen year old daughter would not receive any appropriate sex education, were it not for the school district’s efforts.

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Justine Sacco Finally Apologises

So finally after hours of keeping people on tenterhooks, Justin Sacco released a formal apology this morning for her nasty and very insensitive tweet.

“Words cannot express how sorry I am, and how necessary it is for me to apologize to the people of South Africa, who I have offended due to a needless and careless tweet. There is an AIDS crisis taking place in this country, that we read about in America, but do not live with or face on a continuous basis. Unfortunately, it is terribly easy to be cavalier about an epidemic that one has never witnessed firsthand.

For being insensitive to this crisis — which does not discriminate by race, gender or sexual orientation, but which terrifies us all uniformly — and to the millions of people living with the virus, I am ashamed.

This is my father’s country, and I was born here. I cherish my ties to South Africa and my frequent visits, but I am in anguish knowing that my remarks have caused pain to so many people here; my family, friends and fellow South Africans. I am very sorry for the pain I caused.”

Unfortunately, like all apologies relating to this kind of thing it seems empty, hollow of meaning, a furtive attempt to show contrite.

Sacco’s tweet and subsequent apology highlight the fact that racism is not a thing of the past. I mean if we put aside her profession as a public relations person, I would assume assume that her background (father being South African, being born in SA and visiting frequently), would make her more sensitive to issues in South Africa and Africa in general. But no, Ms Sacco grew up as clueless and entitled as any sheltered, white person growing up in an industrialized western nation.

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Absurd Christmas Carol Lyrics: Do You Hear What I Hear

So, the holiday season is with us yet again. And radio stations across the land, are bombarding our ears with tales of Christmases long ago. Everywhere you go, you have to hear about chestnuts roasting, sleighbells ringing and snowmen being built and named Parson Brown.

Anyway, today I was listening to another favorite, ‘Do You Hear What I Hear’, when I heard the following lyric:

A child, a child
Shivers in the cold
Let us bring him silver and gold
Let us bring him silver and gold

What kind of monster gives metals to a child shivering in the night? A blanket, yes. Firewood, most certainly. Matches, why not? But hunks of metal? Come on. I know baby Jesus is the King foretold, but I am sure he could have done without the hunks of metal, at a time when he was trembling from what I imagine to be chilly night air. 

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Uganda Gets Tough on Homosexuality

I see Uganda is up to its old shenanigans again, in attempting to criminalize natural human tendencies. As if the African nation has nothing less important to worry about, other than how adults are rubbing their genitals together.

According to recent news, Ugandan policy makers have passed a law that punishes aggravated homosexuality with possible life imprisonment. I suppose we should be somewhat thankful that this is the result of public debate and scrutiny as the first version of the bill proposed a few years ago, prescribed death for the same “crime”.
Most amusing to me about the Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill, is that it “provides for protection, assistance and support for victims of homosexuality”. As if somehow, an adult who engages in a consensual same-sex relationship may be a victim. Meanwhile Uganda does suffer from real issues stemming from sexual violence against women and children.
Another fascinating aspect of the law is that it requires a person found to be violation of aggravated homosexuality will be subjected to an HIV/AIDS test. As if somehow, suffering from the diseases drives a person to commit homosexual acts.
The utter ridiculousness of the law is overwhelming to me. Ethical and immoral perspective of the law aside, there is the question of enforcement. How do Ugandan authorities intend to watch over people and investigate people accused of engaging in homosexual behavior? Will they hook them up to some kind of EKG machine, show them pictures of a same-sex couple going at it and if there is some kind of response, the person is guilty?
The “Honorable” (can you imagine anyone less deserving of the title?) David Bahati. Is obviously a pox on the fledgling democracy that is Uganda. While I do not wish ill on anyone in particular, a part of me does imagine him choking on a bone and expiring. 
You would think that parliamentarians and cabinet officials, like the so-called Minister of Ethics and Integrity (Simon Lokodo), would attempt to address substantial issues like, the extensive amounts of corruption that pose an continual and serious threat tot he economic development Uganda. But nooooo, they are more concerned some some ‘gay bandito’ will choose to act on his natural impulses. Oh the horror!
But when all is said and done, I should not be surprised. Simon Lokodo, a former catholic priest, appointed to deal with the issue of ethics and integrity, told Stephen Fry during an interview, that he preferred a male to rape a female, because that was the natural order of things. His exact words were, “But let them do it [rape] the right way”.

(Source: USA Today)

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Michael Power, was a promotional spot developed by Guinness in the late 90s. I remember being in middle school and getting super excited about these promotions. Now that I watch it gain, I can only hope Guinness fired the ad executive who developed this spot, which must have cost a small fortune. Michael Power, journalist, explorer, hero and overall Guinness chugalug.  

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Oh, if only I could speak as effectively and eloquently as Sam Harris. This is a video mash-up where Harris ponders the issue of morality and the Christian god.