Jesus and Mo

The author of Jesus and Mo hits the rhetorical nail on the head. You can’t insult an idea.

A cartoon shows four panels of Jesus and Mohammed in bed, reading and talking

Associated Press censors itself

Apparently, right-wing pressure has caused the Associated Press to remove a picture from its library. Read Conservative values: opportunism and cowardice. Because we mustn’t offend anyone! The picture is a work of art exploring the edges of sacrilege. Sorry, people, this is the real world. You do not have a right to remain comfortably unchallenged at all times.

So in case you’re wondering what it looks like, the golden image of Immersion (Piss Christ) is here.

A crucifix with Christ on the cross in a golden glow from the urine he's submerged in

Piss Christ by Andres Serrano (1987)

The image is from Wikipedia, which has a discussion of the picture and its provocative title.

What is “Judeo-Christian”?

I think it’s an attempt to claim the respectability of an ancient religion for its heretical successor.

Posted in religion. Tags: . 2 Comments »

An orangutan has some human rights in Argentina

For the first time ever–as far as I know–a court has ruled that a great ape has some human rights

Sandra the orangutan

Sandra the orangutan

. This occurred in Argentina.

Religion confuses children about factual vs. fictional

image014Here’s an interesting study: Children exposed to religion have trouble telling fact from fiction.

…children who went to church or were enrolled in a parochial school were significantly less able than secular children to identify supernatural elements, such as talking animals, as fictional.

In other words, they are gullible. That’s not what we want for our children before we send them out into a sometimes cruel world. Unless they can evaluate who is likely telling the truth and who is telling a comfortable lie, they are in for some rude shocks.

In memoriam: Frederick Sanger

250px-Frederick_Sanger2Frederick Sanger, the only Briton to have won two Nobel prizes, has died. He worked in biochemistry, studying DNA and proteins. His first Nobel prize was awarded for being the first to sequence a protein, insulin. At the time, it required years of work to do so.  He found that it was made up of two peptide chains: all proteins are one or more peptide chains. He spent nearly ten years removing one amino acid at a time from the end of the protein and identifying it, then going on to the next.

Winning the prize enabled him to afford better facilities and gather bright students around him. His second prize was for an ingenious and efficient way of discovering the sequence of nucleotide bases in a molecule of DNA or RNA. The linking of base pairs gives the molecule its ladder structure. The Sanger method cuts the molecules at different places, sorts them by weight (and therefore length) and identifies the base on the end using fluorescent dyes of different colours. According to Wikipedia, he used the method sequence human mitochondrial DNA (16,569 base pairs) and bacteriophage λ (48,502 base pairs). His method was used to sequence the human genome and many others.

His work allowed us to understand the genetic basis of mutations and diseases and was important for the development of better vaccines. Frederick Sanger was also honoured with the Order of Merit for distinguished service in science as well as several other awards.

The Telegraph has quite a nice obituary: Frederick Sanger.

Feminism 101

Here is a good new resource about feminist issues in the high-tech field: Finally, a Feminism 101 blog.

%d bloggers like this: