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- Conversion via Twitter – The New Yorker
- Megan Phelps – Roper on leaving Westboro Baptist Church, the church notorious for picketing funerals.
(tags: religion culture Twitter homosexuality Christianity de-conversion)
- What I learned as a hired consultant to autodidact physicists | Aeon Ideas
- “A typical problem is that, in the absence of equations, they project literal meanings onto words such as ‘grains’ of space-time or particles ‘popping’ in and out of existence. Science writers should be more careful to point out when we are using metaphors. My clients read way too much into pictures, measuring every angle, scrutinising every colour, counting every dash. Illustrators should be more careful to point out what is relevant information and what is artistic freedom. But the most important lesson I’ve learned is that journalists are so successful at making physics seem not so complicated that many readers come away with the impression that they can easily do it themselves. How can we blame them for not knowing what it takes if we never tell them?”
(tags: science physics culture pseudoscience)
- THE FAILURE OF MULTICULTURALISM | Pandaemonium
- Kenan Malik argues that multi-cultural policies amount to dealing with people as a bloc lead by self-appointed (or government appointed) leaders. Yet French assimilationism hasn’t fared better: Malik blames measures taken against alienness (burqua bans) and an inability to acknowledge that racism still exists even though the goal is assimilation.
(tags: multiculturalism kenan-malik culture politics racism immigration europe)
- My Year Ripping Off the Web with the Daily Mail Online
- The Heil rips stuff off and makes stuff up, as told by a former employee.
(tags: dailymail journalism fraud)
- Charlie Hebdo victim was ‘a friend of Islam, Turkey’ – INTERNATIONAL
- “Voicing his ‘fear,’ Hürriyet columnist Ertuğrul Özkök writes about a chat he once had with Georges Wolinski, who was killed in the attack at the offices of the French satirical magazine.”
(tags: charlie-hebdo islam turkey)
- JE SUIS CHARLIE? IT’S A BIT LATE | Pandaemonium
- Kenan Malik: “The expressions of solidarity with those slain in the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices are impressive. They are also too late. Had journalists and artists and political activists taken a more robust view on free speech over the past 20 years then we may never have come to this.”
(tags: charliehebdo freedom politics satire journalism free speech liberalism charlie-hebdo)
- Paris attacks: unless we overcome fear, self-censorship will spread| Nick Cohen | Comment is free | The Observer
- Cohen argues that Western journalists had already given in. “My friend and comrade Maajid Nawaz was a jihadi before he converted to liberalism and understands the totalitarian mind. He says that people still do not realise that radical Islamists do not just want to impose their taboos at gunpoint. They want to “create a civil war” so that European Muslims accept that they can only live in the caliphate; to encourage the rise of the white far-right so that ordinary coexistence becomes impossible. If they win one demand, as they are winning in Britain, then they will up the tension and move to another.”
(tags: censorship charlie-hebdo islam free speech islamism)
- The cult of death and the psychopaths it ensnares – Telegraph
- “Islamist terrorists believe they are a pure elite, destined to survive the cataclysmic conflict of civilisations they desire to bring about. That is why Isil’s magazine is called “Dabiq” or Ark. Ideally, as the Egyptian president has courageously commented, they would like to witness an all-out war between 1.6 billion Muslims and the other six billion inhabitants of our planet, but for the time being they’ll just be the vanguard of it.”
(tags: islam islamism terrorism)
- dear US followers
- “NO ONE, I repeat literally NO ONE in France ever considered Charlie Hebdo as racist. We might have considered the drawings tasteless, but NOT racists. For the very simple reason that WE FUCKING KNOW OUR POLITICS. So, when you see the covers of the journal out of context and without understanding french, you’re seeing maybe 10% of what there’s to see.”
(tags: charlie-hebdo racism culture france)
- If Europe is to overcome Islamist terror, it needs to fight for the values it holds dear | Comment is free | The Guardian
- “For many on the left, tolerance comes easily. But economic disarray has sapped the will to defend our principles of rationalism and individual liberty.”
(tags: terrorism left islamism europe culture)
- Imperfect Tenderness | The Comics Journal
- Interesting round-up of reactions to CH’s cartoons.
(tags: charlie-hebdo satire cartoons racism irony)
- Charlie Hebdo: the danger of polarised debate | Gary Younge | Comment is free | The Guardian
- “Those who claim that Islam is “inherently”violent are more hateful, but no less nonsensical, than those who claim it is “inherently” peaceful. The insistence that these hateful acts are refuted by ancient texts makes as much sense as insisting they are supported by them. Islam, like any religion, isn’t “inherently” anything but what people make of it. A small but significant minority have decided to make it violent.”
(tags: islam religion violence charlie-hebdo)
- All You Need to Know About the ‘Learning Styles’ Myth, in Two Minutes | WIRED
- Apparently, there’s no evidence that people actually have different learning styles.
(tags: learning myths pedagogy psychology education teaching)
- Satanists want to use Hobby Lobby decision to exempt women from anti-abortion laws
- This is win. Hail Satan, and His only Son, Harry Potter.
(tags: satanism abortion law)
- Harry Connick Jr & French Rhythm Accents – YouTube
- Harry Connick Jr sorts out the audience’s clapping (from 1&3 to 2&4). Can you spot how? Genius.
(tags: music clapping afterbeat)
- Between the Hammer and the Anvil: On Countering The Ukip Cri-de-Colon
- Author shares my frustration that Labour apparently has no balls: “Every unchallenged Question Time assertion that people aren’t allowed to talk about the topics that they are themselves talking about on national television at that very moment. Every word from the party’s self-appointed detectors of the legitimate feelings of thick-headed bellends. All of it has been leading to precisely this point, at which politicians explicitly talking about sending them back are seen as engaging in respectable conjecture, and posting a picture on the internet is a sackable offence.”
(tags: ukip politics immigration racism labour)
- Why Are All The Good Guys Always Taken, Gay, Dead, Or Available? | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source
- “When you finally do come across one of the good guys out there, why does it always turn out that he’s either taken, gay, dead, or available?” Via Phil.
(tags: dating funny parody onion)
- “Everything is problematic” | The McGill Daily
- “Perhaps the most deeply held tenet of a certain version of anti-oppressive politics – which is by no means the only version – is that members of an oppressed group are infallible in what they say about the oppression faced by that group. … Let me give an example. A gay person is typically much better acquainted with homophobia than a straight person. Moreover, a gay person has a much greater stake in what society does about homophobia, so their view on the matter is more important. However, there is nothing about the experience of being gay in itself that enlightens a gay person about the ethics of sexual orientation. To take a dead simple case, you don’t have to hear it from a gay person to know that homosexuality is ethically just fine.”
(tags: politics feminism activism culture rationality problematic)
- Top Level Telecommunications: INCENSER, or how NSA and GCHQ are tapping internet cables
- Cornwall is the centre of GCHQ/NSA’s taps on undersea cables. This blog post puts the picture together from a bunch of sources. Via Bruce Schneier.
(tags: gchq cornwall cable interception nsa undersea)
- “The Culture represents the place we might hope to get to” | MetaFilter
- Mefi’s discussion of the (previously linked) recently published interview with Iain M Banks (RIP). It’s good.
(tags: metafilter iain-m-banks culture sci-fi sf science-fiction discussion)
- GCHQ’s ‘jihad on tech firms’ can only fail | Technology | The Guardian
- Blaming Facebook for Lee Rigby’s murder will only lead to a breakdown in the relationship between the police and tech companies, says Ross Anderson.
(tags: gchq facebook terrorism security lee-rigby ross-anderson)
- ▶ Founders@Google Presents: The Cultural Anthropology of Stack Exchange – YouTube
- A presentation from Joek Spolsky on the Stack Exchange sites and the culture they’re trying to promote there, contrasted with things like discussion forums, other "answers" sites, and whatnot.
(tags: discussion stack-exchange joel-spolsky internet stack-overflow culture)
- BBC News – How religions change their mind
- How do doctrinal shifts occur in various world religions?
(tags: religion christianity mormonism islam change doctrine judaism)
- I Went Down to St. James Infirmary
- An entire blog full of different versions of the song. Super.
(tags: music jazz blues)
- The Ethics of Extreme Porn: Is Some Sex Wrong Even Among Consenting Adults? – Conor Friedersdorf – The Atlantic
- Does consent make everything OK? An article summarising responses to another article about a Kink.com shoot. (In the comments, I somehow end up arguing with someone about whether St Paul thought Jesus would be back within his lifetime).
(tags: kink bdsm sex consent porn ethics)
- Against the seriousness of theology : Gene Expression
- "Theology and texts have far less power over shaping a religion’s lived experience than intellectuals would like to credit. This is a difficult issue to approach, because even believers who are vague on peculiarities of the details of theology (i.e., nearly all of them!) nevertheless espouse that theology as true. Very few Christians that I have spoken to actually understand the substance of the elements of the Athanasian Creed, though they accept it on faith. Similarly, very few Sunni Muslims could explain with any level of coherency why al-Ghazali‘s refutation of the Hellenistic tendency within early Islam shaped their own theology (if they are Sunni it by definition does!). Conversely, very few Shia could explain why their own tradition retains within its intellectual toolkit the esoteric Hellenistic philosophy which the Sunni have rejected. That’s because almost no believers actually make recourse to their own religion’s intellectual toolkit."
(tags: religion theology culture)