Friday weblinks – some things for the weekend
If you’re one of those people who likes to save up stuff for the weekend, like washing the car, deafening the neighbourhood with a cacophony of power tool noises (note to my neighbours: SHUSH!), or tackling that annoying stain on your carpet, here’s an excuse to procrastinate; some weblinks to amuse, annoy or inform you.
The Islamic states are destroying the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as applied to freedom of expression. Yesterday the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution aimed at restricting criticism of religion, or ‘religious defamation’. They’re aiming to silence any criticism of Islam, anywhere.
You may have read about Google Street View, which allows you to take a virtual tour of British cities, and the fuss a few people have made about being caught on camera. spEak You’re bRanes, “a collection of ignorance, narcissism, stupidity, hypocrisy and bad grammar” found on the BBC’s Have Your Say website, has found some examples of street view paranoia, such as; “one my my colleagues is clearly visible on Street View, his face is blurred but it’s obvious who he is.” Who’d have the time to go looking for colleagues with blurry faces? If you’re offended by bad language, skip this one.
The No.10 petitions website finally agreed to allow a petition against Cardinal Murphy O’Connor getting a peerage, so why not sign it? Here’s why you should, in case you’ve forgotten.
Once upon a time, wealthy people used to pay clerics to say prayers for their recently deceased relatives, to save them the bother. The idea was to speed the dead through purgatory and on to heaven ASAP. Now you can pay $4.95 a month to have virtual prayers said by computer; a snip for busy devout people. New Humanist, not to be outdone, is offering a new Too Busy to Blaspheme service, or “computer-aided cursing.”
We haven’t any thoughts for the day on BBC Radio Suffolk for a while, since they were cut to weekends only, but you can listen to some Thought for the World podcasts, courtesy of the Humanist Society of Scotland. The thinkers include BHA President Polly Toynbee, philosopher Nigel Warburton, Ariane Sherine, and comedian Stewart Lee.
Stewart Lee‘s Comedy Vehicle on BBC2 (Mondays, 10pm) has been worth watching. He’ll be ranting about religion in the next couple of weeks. If you’re not familiar with Lee, he was responsible for Jerry Springer: the Opera, which upset Stephen Green of Christian Voice, amongst others.
Tomorrow, Saturday 28th March, you might want to switch off your lights for an hour at 8.30pm as a vote for the Earth, against the effect of human activity on the planet.
During his first visit to Africa recently, Pope Benedict outraged many with his pronouncement that HIV/Aids was “a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even increase the problem”. Now the medical profession has firmly contradicted the pope. The Lancet, the prestigious medical journal, says that the Pope’s recent comments that condoms exacerbated the problem of HIV/Aids were wildly inaccurate and could have devastating consequences. I’m inclined to wish that the pope’s father had worn a condom.
Those atheist buses are still causing controversy and stimulating the little grey cells around the world, including Seattle, where an atheist group is placing ads with atheist quotes in the city’s buses.
BHA Vice-President Dr Evan Harris MP has been in the news today with his private members’ bill that aims to end discrimination in the British Royal Family. Although it’s not part of Dr Harris’s proposal, it’s hard to see how this could work without disestablishment, or, as Dr David Starkey has pointed out, couldn’t we have a Catholic as head of the C of E, a role held by the monarch?
I conducted a funeral the other day where a teenager asked me to say that her gran is an angel, looking down from a cloud. Since the highest clouds are about 45,000 feet above us (I write as member No. 2812 of the Cloud Appreciation Society), I guess she doesn’t imagine heaven’s very far away. Go a bit further, and you won’t find any angels.
That’s enough for now. No more procrastination for me. Things to do, kitchen to tidy, washing to dry. Have a good weekend.