All entries by this author

Catherine has one son and 35,000 daughters

Dec 7th, 2014 9:53 am | By

Another one from A Mighty Girl – Dr. Catherine Hamlin.

Australian obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Catherine Hamlin has spent much of her life living in Ethiopia where she has revolutionized care for a childbirth injury called obstetric fistula. Dr. Hamlin, who celebrated her 90th birthday this year, was nominated for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her work building the world’s only medical center dedicated to providing free repair surgery to poor women suffering from this devastating condition — one that affects more than two million young women around the world.

When Dr. Hamlin first moved with her husband, Dr. Reginald Hamlin, to Ethiopia in 1959 to establish a midwifery school, they had never encountered an obstetric fistula as the condition

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Saturday puppy

Dec 6th, 2014 6:07 pm | By

Because Cute Emergency simply shoved it at me, so how could I  not.

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You’d go out—bang!—just like a candle!

Dec 6th, 2014 5:22 pm | By

About this business of all of us being just manifestations of PZ – Russell Glasser wittily quoted an apt bit of Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.

Here she checked herself in some alarm, at hearing something that sounded to her like the puffing of a large steam-engine in the wood near them, though she feared it was more likely to be a wild beast. ‘Are there any lions or tigers about here?’ she asked timidly.

‘It’s only the Red King snoring,’ said Tweedledee.

‘Come and look at him!’ the brothers cried, and they each took one of Alice’s hands, and led her up to where the King was sleeping.

‘Isn’t he a LOVELY sight?’ said Tweedledum.

Alice couldn’t

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The only male cheerleader

Dec 6th, 2014 4:55 pm | By

Oh, no.

Ronin Shimizu, a 12-year-old boy in California, killed himself after he was bullied for being the only male cheerleader on an all girl team. Does “after” mean “because” here? It’s impossible to know for sure, even if he left a note saying so, but…being bullied doesn’t generally make kids happier.

‘I heard that people called him gay because he was a cheerleader,’ one of his teammates told CBS Sacramento at the vigil.

Ronin was the only male cheerleader with the Vista Junior Eagles Cheer Team.

Contempt for girls hurts boys as well as girls. It hurts everyone. It sucks. It’s not healthy that it’s just normal for half of all human beings to be held in contempt.… Read the rest

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Welcome to Kansas City

Dec 6th, 2014 1:01 pm | By

A horrifying event in Kansas City, Missouri.

Friends of a Muslim teenager who was run down and killed in a crash that’s being investigated as a possible hate crime said they had been alarmed in recent weeks by someone driving around with anti-Islamic messages painted on a vehicle.

Police say they don’t know if there’s any connection.

Ahmed H. Aden, 34, of Kansas City, was charged Friday in Jackson County with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the crash that fatally injured 15-year-old Abdisamad Sheikh-Hussein on Thursday night at the center. Funeral services for Abdisamad are scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City.

According to a probable cause statement, Aden was driving

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“Nice try, PZ, with those last two paragraphs”

Dec 6th, 2014 12:41 pm | By

Comedy interlude.

A comment on my piece titled What should we do? at the Freethinker:

  1. Blueshift Rhino says:
    Fri 5 Dec at 4:58 pm

    Nice try, PZ, with those last two paragraphs, but you simply can’t have it both ways.

    You cannot continue to use the derisive label of “Dear Muslima” when someone argues that there are more important issues than the horror of being invited for coffee in an elevator or – even – the outrage of people disagreeing with you on the internet. Either it’s as black-and-white – we at FTB know which issues matter and which don’t, and everyone else needs to shut and listen to us – as you have been claiming for years, or it

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Police interest

Dec 6th, 2014 11:57 am | By

Los Angeles police have opened an investigation into one woman’s claims that Bill Cosby molested her.

Los Angeles police opened an investigation on Friday into a woman’s claims that Bill Cosby molested her when she was 15 years old, a department spokeswoman said.

The investigation was opened after Judy Huth, who is suing Cosby for sexual battery, met with Los Angeles police detectives for 90 minutes.

Los Angeles Police Officer Jane Kim said the department opened its investigation after the meeting.

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Protests are rare in Vietnam

Dec 6th, 2014 11:40 am | By

Saudi and Iran arrest bloggers for being rude about “the prophet”; Vietnam arrests bloggers for being rude about the government.

An award-winning Vietnamese writer has been arrested, reportedly for publishing criticism of the Communist government on his blog.

Nguyen Quang Lap was taken into custody after police searched his home in the city of Ho Chi Minh on Saturday.

His wife and his brother said police had accused him of publishing articles that went against the authorities.

Mr Lap is the second prominent blogger to have been detained recently, in an apparently renewed attack on dissent.

We have blogger privilege here in the relatively non-suppressive part of the world.

The one-party state is often criticised by rights groups for

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Jim feels loved again

Dec 6th, 2014 11:08 am | By

James Watson’s Nobel medal sold for a large sum yesterday. $4.1 million, to be exact, not counting the auction house’s cut.

Dr. Watson, 86, watched the auction open-mouthed from the back of the room with his wife and one of his sons as the bidding, which began at $1.5 million, rose steadily by $100,000 increments, eventually coming down to two phone bidders who pushed the price above $4 million.

He said before the sale that he wanted to give much of the proceeds to educational institutions that had nurtured him, to “support and empower scientific discovery.”

After the sale, he said: “I’m very pleased. It’s more money than I expected to give to charity.”

The sale also became symbolic of

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Jehovah’s Witnesses leaders don’t call police

Dec 6th, 2014 10:30 am | By

It’s the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ turn.

Two people who say that as children they were sexually abused by a leader in a Hillsboro Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation filed a $10.5 million lawsuit Monday – among the first in Oregon to accuse the religious organization of hiding decades of sexual abuse.

Attorneys for Velicia Alston, 39, and an unnamed man said the Jehovah’s Witnesses leadership continues to cover up sexual abuse against children by leaders. They say it is more than a decade behind other organizations, such as the Catholic Church, that have been forced to address their problems through many years of civil litigation.

Let me guess – they summoned Jehovah as a witness and he didn’t show?

“There is a

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“You ain’t seen harassment yet, darling”

Dec 5th, 2014 5:03 pm | By

An anti-abortion “activist” was found guilty of harassing the head of a Belfast clinic last month.

One of Ireland’s most prominent anti-abortion activists has been found guilty of harassing the head of Belfast’s Marie Stopes clinic.

A judge at the city’s magistrates court warned the Precious Life director Bernadette Smyth that she could face jail for her protests against the former Progressive Unionist party leader Dawn Purvis and the clinic.

The deputy district judge Chris Holmes said the campaign of harassment had been carried out “in a vicious and malicious fashion”.

Smyth was told she would have to pay compensation and would be barred from the area around the clinic on Great Victoria Street in Belfast.

The clinic has … Read the rest

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Abort67

Dec 5th, 2014 4:34 pm | By

Tell us more about Abort67, you ask.

Wikipedia has information.

Abort67 is a pro-life protest group in the UK known for using hardline tactics such as holding protests outside of abortion clinics, counselling people going in or out of the clinics, and displaying graphic images of aborted fetuses. Such tactics are considered unusual and extreme in the UK, although they are more common in the US. Abort67 receives financial support from US anti-abortion groups,[1] and the graphic images which they use in protests also come from the US.[2]

  1. http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/9623459.Special_report__Pro_lifers_target_Brighton_clinic/
  2. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9400183/Christian-protesters-charged-by-police-over-displaying-graphic-anti-abortion-banner.html

Of course it does and of course they do. I hate my country sometimes. It feels very disgraceful to be part of it sometimes – well, … Read the rest

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A pregnant passerby

Dec 5th, 2014 4:01 pm | By

Ben Quinn in the Guardian has details of Sunny’s encounter with the protesters and what happened next.

A video in which protesters picketing a London abortion clinic are challenged by a pregnant passerby has gone viral after being posted on YouTube.

The incident, involving protesters from the controversial Abort 67 group, was filmed by the commentator and pro-choice activist Sunny Hundal and had been watched nearly 2m times by Friday afternoon.

Hundal said he had been threatened with legal action by one of the protesters, who was brandishing his own camera and was accused of filming women coming and going from the clinic.

After Hundal himself confronted the protesters, who have been heavily criticised for displaying graphic imagery outside

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So fuckin wrong

Dec 5th, 2014 3:49 pm | By

Sunny Hundal catches a great challenge to anti-abortion protesters outside a clinic. The video has gone viral.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMy-V1TIoHIRead the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Host to an uptick

Dec 5th, 2014 3:41 pm | By

Rose Eveleth at the Atlantic reports on Twitter’s new moves to improve its practices on harassment. (Rose Eveleth herself got considerable harassment from people enraged at the objections to Matt Taylor’s shirt.)

It’s no secret that Twitter is currently playing host to an uptick in targeted harassment. The site has long provided an easy way for people to lob hostile and threatening messages into someone’s timeline, but things seem to be getting worse, not better. Gamergate targets like Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, and Breanna Wu have all been inundated with death and rape threats that have forced them to cancel talks and flee their homes. After her father’s death, Zelda Williams—Robin Williams’s daughter—quit the social network after sustained harassment.

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A tradition that is frequently overlooked

Dec 5th, 2014 3:05 pm | By

James Croft writes – in a guest post at Friendly Atheist – about atheism and humanism and

  1. their failure to do enough about racism
  2. what some humanists have been doing about racism

He thinks they should be doing more, and that what the humanists are doing is important.

I stress our engagement because it is representative of a long tradition of Humanist passion for social justice — a tradition that is frequently overlooked even by Humanists themselves. While many of us can reel off the names of a few prominent individual activists who have been Humanists, few know that there is a history of organized social justice work that is explicitly Humanist, motivated by Humanist values and supported by Humanist

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Rebranding

Dec 5th, 2014 12:09 pm | By

The New Republic has abruptly disintegrated, NPR reports.

We have more news today on The New Republic, which on Thursday announced that it was cutting its publication schedule, moving its headquarters from Washington, D.C., to New York and rebranding as a digital media company – decisions that prompted the departure of editor Franklin Foer and longtime literary editor Leon Wieseltier.

The majority of the magazine’s masthead resigned today, including senior editors Julia Ioffe, Noam Scheiber, executive editors Rachel Morris and Greg Veis, and contributing editors Anne Applebaum and Jonathan Chait. (You can find the full list over at Politico.)

It has emerged that Foer resigned after discovering that TNR’s owner, Chris Hughes, had already hired Gabriel Snyder,

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Discrepancies

Dec 5th, 2014 11:31 am | By

The Washington Post has done a big investigation into the Rolling Stone account of a gang-rape at the University of Virginia and has found a lot of discrepancies and holes in the story.

A lawyer for the University of Virginia fraternity whose members were accused of a brutal gang rape said Friday that the organization will release a statement rebutting the claims printed in a Rolling Stone article about the incident. Several of the woman’s close friends and campus sex assault awareness advocates expressed doubt about the published account, and the magazine’s editors also apologized to readers for discrepancies in the story.

Naturally Sommers is rejoicing.

The Post continues.

Will Dana, Rolling Stone’s managing editor, also released a

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Big blue dot

Dec 5th, 2014 10:56 am | By

Orion took off and went 3,600 miles up and orbited twice and came back, dropping into the Pacific 600 miles off the coast of California. It sent some snaps.

The view from up there:

Here’s Earth as seen from #Orion during its flight out to a peak altitude of 3,600 miles away from the planet.

There’s also a very cool (very meta) snap of the ISS crew watching the launch.

A snap on the way back down:

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A pattern of impunity

Dec 5th, 2014 10:36 am | By

The BBC reports that some UN boffins have expressed worries about this pattern we seem to be developing in the US of failing to indict cops who kill unarmed people.

“I am concerned by the grand juries’ decisions and the apparent conflicting evidence that exists relating to both incidents,” UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsak, said in a statement.

A trial process would ensure the evidence is considered in detail, she said.

“The decisions leave many with legitimate concerns relating to a pattern of impunity when the victims of excessive use of force come from African-American or other minority communities.”

They do, yes. The Eric Garner case, especially, is horrifying. He wasn’t rushing at anyone, he was … Read the rest

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