21 December 2011

Newtonmas 2011 Comic- Our heroine takes a fall

A few things happened after yesterdays Newtonmas Card photoshoot.

So there I was, down the bottom of the cliff while Spitfire went off to jump out of her cake. HA!, so she says, I'll catch up with her in a short while. 
Newton was not the first of the age of reason. He was the last of the magicians, the last of the Babylonians and Sumerians ... Isaac Newton, a posthumous child born with no father on Christmas Day, 1642, was the last wonder child to whom the Magi could do sincere and appropriate homage... Why do I call him a magician? Because he looked on the whole universe and all that is in it as a riddle, as a secret which could be read by applying pure thought to certain evidence, certain mystic clues which God had laid about the world to allow a sort of philosopher's treasure hunt to the esoteric brotherhood... He regarded the Universe as a cryptogram set by the Almighty—just as he himself wrapt the discovery of the calculus in a cryptogram when he communicated with Leibniz. By pure thought, by concentration of mind, the riddle, he believed, would be revealed to the initiate.
— John Maynard Keynes

19 December 2011

Have a Happy Solstice or Christmas or Newtonmas

To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one age. 'Tis much better to do a little with certainty, & leave the rest for others that come after you, than to explain all things by conjecture without making sure of any thing.- Sir Isaac Newton

10 December 2011

I think this is Deviant Art page 3

       I have had even more pictures done, I generally just look in the Deviant Art Forums on who is having a special, or just search Commission, on the front page search and cut the results down to the last week. Sometimes I find people having specials, and if I like their styles, I might order a commission.

When they ask for a back story I usually just say do an image search for "The Dirty Pair".

I don't usually go in for a bust picture, normally I prefer a full body one.
As done by 8jessica7.deviantart.com

I call this one "Have you seen my Pistol?" The artist was charging $2 US!  eroma.deviantart.com

I actually asked for a pin up style picture, and I added a list of suggestions. It was only when I looked at the picture, and the incomplete robot, and then her email address ending in .it, did I realise she was probably a good Catholic girl and English was not her strong point....Ha!
         I called this one Space Ranger Plasma and the Incomplete Robot.
  As done by vp-artworks.deviantart.com

There are only two styles of portrait painting; the serious and the smirk. - Charles Dickens

Even more pictures from Deviant Art

So here I have a few more Portraits I have had done by Artists from DeviantArt 

As you can see, I don't have much confidence in her waving that Light Sabre around.

Here I am with Gospeed Racer (I promised her I would do this years ago) as done by deliriumlina.deviantart.com

I wasn't going to get a Chilbi Style portrait, but I liked how http://cacandy1988.deviantart.com/  did them.

And lastly a $5 special from http://ewgraphics.deviantart.com

I paint German artists whom I admire. I paint their pictures, their work as painters, and their portraits too. But oddly enough, each of these portraits ends up as a picture of a woman with blonde hair. I myself have never been able to work out why this happens. Georg Baselitz

30 November 2011

Battlefield America

Dear USA citizens,
                 You know how you keep going on about being the "Land of the Free", in spite of other counties actually being more free than you eg Norway, Demark etc.

You might want to read how the National Defense Authorization Act will allow the US military to arrest and hold you in detention without charge anywhere in the world, including the US mainland.
You know all those civil right you thought you had? This is the Counter-Enlightenment, and it's coming for you.

  There's a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people. Commander William Adama - Battlestar Galactica

Burzynski Clinic in a tizz

      So the big news in Skeptic and medical blogging circles is the Burzynski Clinic, and the bizarre emails from Marc Stevens, to a number of skeptical bloggers.
Burzynski claim that Marc was hired for his SEO skills, and I will admit that he has been a remarkable success in raising the Burzynski Clinics profile, but Marc doesn't seems to have a big profile himself, as I can't find him via Google, and his Yahoo Answers profile has been deleted.

It all started off with this story From the Quackometer  how he saw a story in the Observer about how Peter Kay was raising money to send a child to the Clinic for treatment. Its certainly a worthy thing that Peter is doing, but as Le Canard Noir said, it's probably all for nought.

Among the others who got the nasty emails was Rhys Morgan a local hero for taking on the Miracle Mineral Solution, also known as bleach, and having it banned in the UK.

Read the emails between Rhys and Marc, two other names stick out Azad Rastegar and Renee Trimble. They both work at the clinic. They both have copies of these emails and they say nothing, only a retweet from @AzadRastegar on twitter from a patient who does seem to be getting better.

Regarding medical side of the treatment the mighty David Colquhoun covers it here   

Now it really get interesting as the Burzynski Clinic have finally released a statement. It mentions attorneys will be contacting UK based bloggers about alleged defamatory statements.
This would be rather interesting to see going to Court as the Burzynski Clinic would probably be in breach of the 1939 Cancer Act.

So basically Bloggers says the Clinic can't really cure cancer, The Clinic has only anedotal evidence that it does, the Clinic takes bloggers to Court in the UK, so the Clinic will actually have to prove in front of expert witnesses that it can cure cancer. I can't really see that the NHS and the UK Cancer Research  leaving this alone.

Martin Robbins who is the Science writer for the Guardian has just posted this to his Google+

Just got this follow up for the Burzynski lawyer. As I thought, he was straight with me, but the situation behind the scenes seems very confused. In any case, the below seems pretty clear now... I've not seen the press release, and I'm out of the country s will just post this as is...

"The clinic issued a press release on the blogosphere issue which was sent to your paper.  It covers the relationship between it and Marc Stephens It turns out some of the issues are more complicated that I had first thought. But the bottom line is that the clinic did hire Marc Stephens and one of his main tasks was to stop the dissemination of false and misleading information, and he initiated contact with at least some of these web sites with the knowledge of the clinic. As stated in the press release, the clinic is still going to pursue having these web sites remove misstatements or misleading omissions of fact. For the time being, these bloggers have managed to make this about threats by the Burzynski clinic rather than whether the information on these sites is truthful, accurate and fair. We're hoping that somewhere down the line, the media will focus of these issues."



 As I write this the most excellent Jen McCreight takes a stick to some of the claims and references in the statement.

So it looks to me that the clinic has scored an own goal.

"The highwayman demands 'your money OR your life,' but quacks demand 'your money AND your life!'" -anon

26 November 2011

Whatever happened to Milan Brych?

Long time ago in the dark days of a gerrymandered Australian state, there was a State Premier called Sir  Joh Bjelke-Petersen. Miracles did he promise, and never delivered, such as a steam powered car and a cure for cancer.

The supposed miracle worker was Milan Brych ( Born 11 December 1939), a refugee from Czechoslovakia, who moved to New Zealand in 1968, and he was able to convince then that he was an actual doctor, and then to the Cook Islands 1977 when he was being investigated by the NZ Medical Council. 

In 1978 Sir Joh invited Milan Brych to move to Queensland to set up practice, this was headline news at the time, and very controversial. I suspect that if it wasn't for the Deputy Premier Dr Llew Edwards actually being a medical doctor, and being totally opposed to a quack doctor setting up in the state, this would have occurred.

He eventually moved to the US, was arrested for fraud in 1983 and sentenced to 6 years jail. Afterwards he disappeared and seems to have dropped out of sight.

There is a very comprehensive and unfortunately very badly done website here at what used to be called The Milan Brych Underground Website (MBUW). The original domain has expired and it's really hard to navigate, I also don't think it has been updated since 2002, so I guess the design can be excused as it's ten years old and probably done in Microsoft FrontPage (bleh).

He was the subject of two books around that time:-
Milan Brych: the cancer man by Australian journalist Frank Quill (out of print)
Cancer and Milan Brych: Cure or Con?  by Michael Guy (1978) available to read online at the MBUW website

The  Courier-Mail have a recent summery on the visit of Brych to Queensland and his visit with Sir Joh.

The MBUW also has some pictures of  graves of those who didn't survive, the locals call it the Brych Yard
(Updated 2006!)

Edit 9/7/2012
Lots of page views recently due to the Cancerman TV show made in New Zealand.

I still suspect that Milan Brych is in Switzerland.

"very devious person, very cunning and quite callous to the well-being of society, particularly when a great deal of money is involved." - Judge David S. Aisenson (describing Milan Brych)

25 November 2011

Dawkins asks David Cameron a question

Over here at The Guardian
I think it shows just why David Cameron doesn't get it. John Maynard Keynes was real.

Richard Dawkins, ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author
Why do you support faith schools for children who are too young to have chosen their faith, thereby implicitly labelling them with the faith of their parents, whereas you wouldn't dream of so labelling a "Keynesian child" or a "Conservative child"?

"Comparing John Maynard Keynes to Jesus Christ shows, in my view, why Richard Dawkins just doesn't really get it. I think faith schools are very often good schools. Why? Because the organisation that's backing them – the church or the mosque or the synagogue – is part of the community. And it brings a sense of community and the backing of an institution to a school. The church was providing good schools long before the state got involved, and we should respect the fact that it's not just the state that can provide education but other bodies, too."

13 November 2011

Domininist Fantasy 2012 If This Goes On—


         I used to love reading Robert Heinlein as a teenager, much as I used to love to watch Star Trek, it was reassuring that someone thought the future was going to be a better place, and it was just a few engineering challenges away.

One of Heinliens first stories was  "If This Goes On—" first serialized in 1940, and rewritten for his 1953 book Revolt in 2100.

The story is set in a future theocratic American society, ruled by the latest in a series of “Prophets.” The First Prophet was Nehemiah Scudder, a backwoods preacher turned President (elected in 2012). You can get the T-shirt here:

So lets play Pick the Scudder :-

  • Michelle Bachmann
  • Newt Gingrich, 
  • Jon Huntsman Jr., 
  • Ron Paul, 
  • Rick Perry, 
  • Mitt Romney 
  • Rick Santorum


Thanks to David Brin for reminder.....

"When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, 'This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,' the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything —you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him." Robert Heinlein

11 November 2011

Warning signs of fascism


      I am blatantly stealing this from Stephen Sumpter at http://www.latentexistence.me.uk/

This list was created in 2003 by Laurence W. Britt and published in Free Inquiry Magazine. He took these characteristics from Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia.
  1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism
  2. Disdain for the importance of human rights
  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause
  4. Supremacy of the military/avid militarism
  5. Rampant sexism
  6. A controlled mass media
  7. Obsession with national security
  8. Religion and ruling elite tied together
  9. Power of corporations protected
  10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated
  11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts
  12. Obsession with crime and punishment
  13. Rampant cronyism and corruption
  14. Fraudulent elections
The original article contains longer explanations and references. Fascism Anyone? – Laurence W. Britt

It certainly seems that most of the English speaking world is on track for most or all of the above.

Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power. - Benito Mussolini

07 November 2011

40 Day of treats is over

The gang at 40 Days of Treats have done a great job.

But there are reminders of  those in the past who didn't have the luxury of the social progress that we mostly enjoy at the present time. 

The pictures below are of Cross Bones Graveyard in Southwark London that I took a day or so ago, in it's early days it was called the Single Womans Graveyard, it's where the unwanted people in as far back as 1600 were interred. Unwanted, unloved, the refuse of a cruel society where they were non-people. Mostly it contains the remains of orphans, babies and prostitutes. I found it extremely moving looking at the ribbons, the keys and trinkets left at the gate.

This is what happened in the past due to lack of birth control,... unwanted babies, turning into unwanted people, living in poverty. 

In the late 1990s the Museum of London excavated 148 remains, while estimating this was less than 1% of the total number of burials  at this site. Their was also an episode of BBC History: Cold Case S01E04 movie you can watch here called Crossbones Girl where they take the bones to a "Face Finder" to reconstruct her appearance.

                                                                  Redcross Way

                                                                  The plaque on the gates

                                                          The gates covered in tributes

A small box behind the gates

                                                                        Inside the gates

Today, young single mothers are still more likely to live in poverty than any other group in society, this is why access to abortion is so important, and in the years past, this is where they would end up. 
More Pictures from the BBC

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of" - Confucius

06 November 2011

Woman and more Internet Abuse


I blogged back in August about how much abuse Rebecca Watson was getting, as I barley register on any ones radar so I just get comments on how I should read my bible.
In the last few days it's become much more clear about how much the torrent of hate towards woman bloggers writers has become

Helen Lewis-Hasteley kicks it off at The New Statesman 

Laurie Penny has a article in the Guardian on the amount of abuse she get.

While Caroline Farrow and I are on opposite sides of the Theological fence (well pretty much every fence really) her writing in this article on the abuse she gets from woman as well as men is extremely good.  

Follow twitter hashtag #stampoutmisogyny 

My only solution would be to selectively turn on revealing IP addresses in comments, just so we can see where these nasty trolls are coming from, yes I know it's far from perfect.

“When you hear men talking," said Cornelia, "all they ever do is speak ill of women. ... And I don't quite know how they managed to make this law in their favour, or who exactly it was who gave them a greater license to sin than is allowed to us; and if the fault is common to both sexes (as they can hardly deny), why should the blame not be as well? What makes them think they can boast of the same thing that in women brings only shame?”  Moderata Fonte

28 October 2011

The new war on Woman

          It's been a turbulent few months in the battle for womans rights, in the UK and the USA.

 But just in time has come a UN report from UN special rapporteur on health, Mr Anand Grover who says all states must provide safe abortion and contraception for women.

Criminal prohibition of abortion is a very clear expression of State interference with a woman's sexual and reproductive health because it restricts a woman's control over her body, possibly subjecting her to unnecessary health risks. Criminal prohibition also requires women to continue unplanned pregnancies and give birth when it is not their choice to do so.
States must take measures to ensure that legal and safe abortion services are available, accessible, and of good quality.
Absolute prohibition under criminal law deprives women of access to what, in some cases, is a life-saving procedure. Even where a clandestine abortion can be performed in a relatively safe, hygienic setting, it may be financially inaccessible for the most vulnerable women. Poor and marginalized women may instead turn to unsafe, self-induced abortions.

The complete report is here

I suspect the Queens cousin Lord Windsor will not agree.

I also suspect we will be hearing from the Rightwing  Christians and conspiracy nuts around the world that this is yet again the UN trying to take control of their country.

There has been a UK politician that has been the centre of some attention for the last few years. Her name is Nadine Dorries, as far as I can tell she became well known during the MP expenses affair, for which she was eventually cleared.

She has a blog, but she has also admitted in the past, that 70% of the content in her blog is fictional.

Recently she tried unsuccessfully to change the rules on abortion in the UK, this obviously shows she is not really on the side of woman, but working as the spokesperson of a right wing Christian anti-woman movement. Nadine Dorries wanted to stop abortion providers giving NHS-funded counselling to women. So basically the idea was that those that provide the abortions, should not give counselling as well. This argument was dismissed quite easily

She said it was about offering women more choice but was accused of trying to "import American sensationalism"  by Diane Abbott MP to the abortion debate.

The Dorries amendment would have stripped abortion providers such as Marie Stopes and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas) from offering counselling to women, MPs rejected her call to offer women the "option" of independent counselling by 368 votes to 118. There are some other advice agencies, but an investigation has shown that some of them are giving absolutely dreadful advice. 

In one centre, Skylight Counselling, a Care Confidential affiliate in Coventry, the researcher was given material linking abortion to breast cancer and infertility, and was warned about "post-traumatic stress", should she choose to have a termination.
Deliberately bad advice is common in the USA as well.

Nadine is not really keen on Dr Evan Harris, and had a bit of a chat with him on Sky News

   Other weird things this woman has been advocating is the "Just say No" method of sex education, one that has been such a failure in the USA

Young single mothers remain the most impoverished group in society, and the Anti-choice campaigners have a mantra "Support the mother". Does this ever happen? I think not. Again it's more Christian rhetoric but with no substance. Half of those who get abortions in the UK are already mothers, and will have various reasons for not wanting another child, supposedly Nadine says she can stop 60,000 abortions a year. Creating even more single mothers! What do Tories hate more than Unions? People on welfare, and then again the August riots were blamed by many on the lack of parental care, or the amount of single parent families. Soooo..we have a case of trying to have it both ways, so very strange.

As an aside, Nadine is a nominee in the New Humanist Bad Faith Award.

I'm not the only one who is not keen on her http://nadine-dorries.blogspot.com/  seems to be a bit of a fan club.

For anyone who is really interested in the numbers, the Guardian Data blog has done some visualizations on the number of abortions in England and Wales

The USA house of representative recently passed the  H.R. 358, the “Protect Life Act.” The measure, introduced by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), is to prohibit federal funds from going toward any health care plan that covers abortion services; it also would block funding from being withheld from institutions that are opposed to providing abortions.

The bill is one of two abortion-related measures introduced by House Republicans in this Congress; the other is H.R. 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” which passed the House in early May on a near-party-line vote.

On the state level, the attack continues with legal attacks on the suppliers , and Personhood laws. Here is an example:-

“SECTION 1. Article III of the constitution of the state of Mississippi is hearby amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION TO READ:
Section 33. Person defined. As used in this Article III of the state constitution, “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.”

Naturally hand in hand with womans rights is birth control, this often leads to farcical statements such as the one made by presidential candidate Ron Paul this month. But it even gets better in the race for "How much more crazy can I get" is Sen. Jim DeMint with his push to stop people talking about abortion over the Internet.

The Australian leader of the Opposition Tony Abbot hasn't decided what his Abortion position is this week.

When men are motivated by religion, it's usually the woman who get crucified first.

Comprehensive information on Abortion Laws can be found here http://www.worldabortionlaws.com/

For further information Please see Abortion Rights

More Factual information can be obtained from Education for Choice  and Reproductive rights

"No woman wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg."  - Frederica Mathewes-Green

22 October 2011

Derren Brown - The Assassin

Derren Brown, you either like him or hate him, personally I like him.

He has done some entertaining shows, but last night he demonstrated how it might be possible to make someone do something they wouldn't normally do via hypnosis. He turned someone into an Assassin (maybe).
I was interested in hypnosis for many years, well I still am, but I never really got anywhere with it.

Now I actually believe that what Derren did is possible, but only for one reason. I have (somewhere) a book called  "Open to Suggestion: The Uses and Abuses of Hypnosis" by Robert K Temple.

Temple is one of those writers that produce books on subjects that he is not expert on, but he knows enough, to make you think he might be right. I suspect the Sirius Mystery is rubbish, but his book on lenses "The Crystal Sun" is interesting, and his book "The Genius of China" was a delightful read. I've not read any of his others.

Back to "Open to Suggestion", in one chapter he is talking about psychiatrist and self taught hypnotherapist Milton Erikson, and how he was once asked to make someone do something he wouldn't do. It was observed that Erikson tried and failed, but he didn't do the normal word games and redirection that he was famous for, and this was considered odd by those who knew Erikson. 

So I'm just saying..it's possible...really...

We all get stuck in our belief systems, however sensible we think they are. To me, the New Age community is particularly guilty of not testing or challenging what it claims. - Derren Brown

New Humanist Bad Faith Awards 2011

New Humanist Magazine are running their Bad Faith Awards for 2011.

This years contestants are :-

Michele Bachmann

Anjem Choudary

Tom MacMaster 

Rick Perry 

Melanie Phillips 

Nadine Dorries

    Nadine seems to be a bit unimpressed with this nomination

Humanism is a worldview which says that reason and science are the best ways to understand the world around us. Dignity and compassion should be the basis for how we act toward others.

--American Humanist Association

15 October 2011

Gresham Lecture on AntiVax in History

A History of the AntiVax movment

 Gresham Lecture by Professor Gareth Williams on AntiVax in History
it's about 60 minutes long, but worth watching.

 This is actually a cartoon ridiculing the antivax people, as they believe they are taking on the Cows attributes

Take note at about 40 minutes where you will see chiropractors saying vertebral subluxations to be the cause of all disease, so therefor Vaccination and Germ Theory are invalid..errr yeah...right, but some still believe it.
Professor Williams also mentions a more recent anti-vaxer called Viera Scheibner,  I have saved you the google search as he recommends, just watch this from Australian 60 Minutes:-  

  Today one of the big sources of Vaccination misinformation is the Australian Vaccination Network, headed up by Meryl Dorey you can read here how Stop the AVN is combating this menace.

 “I hope that some day the practice of producing cowpox in human beings will spread over the world - when that day comes, there will be no more smallpox” Edward Jenner

Censorship in the UK, coming some time or not?

               Recently the UK Government asked Reg Bailey the CEO of The Mothers Union to have a look at the modern pressures on children.

Dr Petra reviews it far better than I ever could here

 But basically the finding are :-

  • putting age restrictions on music videos to prevent children buying sexually explicit videos, and to guide broadcasters over when to show them
  • covering up sexualised images on the front pages of magazines and newspapers so they are not in easy sight of children
  • retailers to offer more age-appropriate clothes for children and sign up to a code of practice which checks and challenges the design, buying, display and marketing of clothes, products and services for children
  • restricting outdoor adverts containing sexualised imagery where large numbers of children are likely to see them, for example near schools, nurseries and playgrounds
  • giving greater weight to the views of parents above the general public in regulating pre-watershed TV
  • providing parents with one single website to make it easier to complain about any programme, advert, product or service
  • banning the employment of children under 16 as brand ambassadors and in peer-to-peer marketing, and improving parents’ awareness of advertising and marketing techniques aimed at children.
  •  making every customer make a decision at the point of purchase over whether they want adult content on their home Internet, laptops or smart phones, rather than receiving it automatically

Oh look, it's censor the Internet!

I have lots of knowledgeable friends in the ISP game. It's sad to say that over the last 5-6 years it's been an increasing smaller pool of ISPS in the UK to choose from. In some parts of Yorkshire you don't have any choice at all!

As Broadband has been rolled out, it's been getting more expensive to buy the infrastructure from wholesalers eg BT Wholesale, so this has been the main reason for the consolidation.

The UK government has been trying to get the ISPs to store peoples Web browsing history, and the headers of their emails for about 6-7 years now, and not much progress have been made. So it's surprising that David Cameron has promised that Web Filtering will be the default options for new accounts. But then the ISPs say, actually No, it's going to be an option.

So..it's starting to look a little less draconian, and more like a sales tactic for a system that probably any school child could get around in a few minutes.

How can you actually filter the Internet?

Currently the following methods are used in the smaller scale of businesses, schools and homes. The obvious methods are:- 

DNS Blocking:-  such as you can get via Open DNS http://www.opendns.com/ 
You could possibly get around this buy changing the DNS servers in the Network setting, or you can put different DNS servers in the local Hosts file. Or type in the IP address if you have it.

Forcing Proxy and filter list:-s eg Squid Proxy http://www.squidguard.org/
A web proxy is basically a server that intercepts your request for a web page, and either filters it, returns a copy of the page on the server to you, or asks for the page and passes it back to your web browser. This can be a bit more tricky to bypass as it should in theory intercept all web traffic

From  Fortiguard :-

Based on automatic research tools and targeted research analysis, real-time updates enable you to apply highly-granular policies that filter web access based on 78 web content categories, over 56 million rated websites, and more than 20+ billion web pages - all continuously updated via the global FortiGuard distribution network.

How to bypass an Internet filter?

You could use a web based proxy such as  www.loband.org

Using a VPN or SSL to connect to a remote server and forward all your traffic through it. This can be done via the setting on the router itself, or with some easily down loaded software on your PC, such as http://www.witopia.net 

 Something that seems to have passed under the radar has been the new standards for advertising billboards in the UK.              

 So no more Wonderbra ads.

                         GOODBYE BOYS 

“When governments start covering the eyes and ears of the whole nation, however, there is a real problem. We only need to look at those governments that have taken it to the extreme and burnt books to understand that. But there are more subtle ways to inhibit the flow of ideas that we need to be just as alert to.”
-- Kate Lundy, Australian Labor Party Senator

04 October 2011

DIY Atheist Bus slogans

Remember the Atheist Bus Campaign?  Now you can make your own slogans

Just some simple web based amusement.

“People don’t like being preached at” – Steven Green of Christian Voice condemning atheist posters on London buses.

02 October 2011

Little me is famous

Little me is famous! Well in Melbourne, thanks to Embiggen Books.

Embiggen Books on twitter asked for some suggestions to show Booksellers understand electronic books using the hashtag #bookshopsaredead

 Some responses included

"Death on the remainder pile"
"Brave New Bookshop"
"Bleak Bookshop"
"Something Digital Comes This way"
"Why I am not a bookseller"

Personally I thought my "Joy of Press" was a winner...but "We need to talk about Gutenburg" finally made the cut.

Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house.  ~Henry Ward Beecher

30 September 2011

How much is the Greek Church worth?

It's an interesting question, but like many Churches while there is one person on top, the actual grassroots are spread quite widely and not all legally bound together.
I think the suggestion of the church owning property worth up to 700 billion euros is a bit extreme.

Google has let me down in this case, and I suspect there may be a language issue as well when it comes to questioning the Greek Orthodox Church,  the best information I found written here:-

"Money sometimes makes fools of important persons, but it may also make important persons of fools." - Walter Winchell

40 days of treats

First we had Mad Nadine Dories and her attack on the rights of woman, now we have 40 Days for Life doing a prayer vigil outside the British Pregnancy Advisory Services. Some tactics new to the UK, but often used in  USA.

In response http://40daysoftreats.tumblr.com/ was created by Carmen D'Cruz and Liz Lutgendorff to cheer up the BPAS staff.  The idea is to deliver some nice things like cake, biscuits and chocolates to the staff.

  I'll be sending something.

The Guardian have picked this up on their Womans Blog

The preservation of life seems to be rather a slogan than a genuine goal of the anti-abortion forces; what they want is control.  Control over behavior:  power over women.  Women in the anti-choice movement want to share in male power over women, and do so by denying their own womanhood, their own rights and responsibilities.  ~Ursula K. Le Guin

29 September 2011

Atheist Comics

Some of my favorite Atheist cartoons and comics.

Atheist Cartoons

Atheist Eve

Jesus and Mo

Tom the Dancing bug and Godman

The littlest Atheist

Ape Not Monkey






“True, comics are a popular art, and yes, I believe their primary obligation is to entertain, but comics can go beyond that, and when they do, they move from silliness to significance.”   Bill Watterson quotes (Author Calvin & Hobbes)

19 September 2011

Chrys Stevenson asks is the ACL Dominionist?

Chrys Stevenson writes the article on Dominionism that I have in my drafts folder...but she does it much better.

Is the Australian Christian Lobby dominionist?

We are not the only ones who have concerns on this problem, who would  have guessed it's a issue in South Korea

More information can also be found on http://www.theocracywatch.org/

Good Going Chrys  :-)

 "church and state are separate, the effects are happy, and they do not at all interfere with each other: but where they have been confounded together, no tongue nor pen can fully describe the mischiefs that have ensued." Rev. Isaac Backus quoted from 1773

07 September 2011

Guest comic for Jesus and Mo

Done in Second Life by me...for http://www.jesusandmo.net/   in the Guest Comic section.

In my personal life, I'm a comic novel. But then, so are we all, because we're human beings.
Dean Koontz

31 August 2011

Secular Europe Campaign September 2011

The Secular Europe website has a summery of information of the privileges the Vatican enjoys.

It's easy to fall into the Dan Brown style of conspiracy thinking about the Vatican, but recent history has shown that it can't be trusted, and is a blight on the human race. Of course some people will always defend it, no matter if it be child abuse being the fault of modern society, Nazi gold,  or lies about condoms in Africa.

Why March? For the promotion of:

  • freedom of religion, freedom of conscience and freedom of speech
  • women’s equality and reproductive rights
  • equal rights for LGBT people in all the European Union
  • a secular Europe – democratic, peaceful, open and just, immune to the clandestine influence of privileged religious (or other) organisations
  • one law for all, no religious exemptions from the law
  • state neutrality in matters of religion and belief


  • the privileged status of the churches under Article 17 of the TFEU (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union)
  • the special status of the Vatican in the United Nations
  • state-funded faith schools
  • the economic privilege and political influence of the Vatican

The Campaign has a number of Videos up on YouTube   This one from Stephen Law is my favorite and pertinent to everyone in regards to religious based education.

Nearly 20,000 people attended the Protest the Pope rally in London last year protest against the State Visit of Pope Benedict in the UK,to demand an end to religious privileges and ask that European institutions remain secular.

The Internet (well mostly Facebook) is slowly drawing people together, protesters and activists are coming together and sharing information like never before. Secularists, Humanists and Atheists are finally finding a voice, and realising they can make a change for the better.

‘Secularism is the only way to protect people of all different religions and those with none. It is vital that everyone who believes in liberal democracy and who values human rights comes on the march in September to show their support. If you want to defend women’s rights, children’s rights, the rights of gay people, human and reproductive rights, then march with us this September and let people see that we object to the influence of religion within the law and on the state.’  - Marco Tranchino coordinator of the Secular Europe Campaign

29 August 2011

Nymwars and the propaganda of Botgirl


The Nymwars against the forces of Morder errr Google continue. Currently it still looks all very vague with Google not really seeming to know what of their executives are going to say next.


All wars produce some good artistic propaganda, and Botgirl has been a quite a bit prolific, and I would like more people to see them:-

Who is Creeper?

“Parodies and caricatures are the most penetrating of criticisms.” - Aldous Huxley