Thursday, February 28, 2008


I've just been tagged by a couple of nice people, T&A and Fiery, and as I have a few minutes up my sleeve, even though I'm not wearing sleeves, thought it would be fun to get it done.

Here are the rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book with more than 123 pages.
2. Go to page 123 in the book.
3. Find the first 5 sentences.
4. Post the NEXT 3 sentences.
5. Tag 5 people.

Next to me are a pile of books purchased early last year when we first started looking at Atheism.

There is Richard Dawkins a plenty...."Unweaving the Rainbow"..."The Extended Phenotype"..."The Blind Watchmaker" and the one closest to me is "The Selfish Gene". Of all of the books this is the only one I actually started to read after the God Delusion....but it's heavy going and I have to admit I didnt even get to page 123....and as its the closest one, this is a bit I havent even read, and it interests me, so I may get back to this book quite soon...

"I am treating a mother as a machine programmed to do everything in its power to propagate copies of the genes which ride inside it. Since you and I are humans who know what it is like to have conscious purposes, it is convenient for me to use the language of purpose as a metaphor in explaining the behaviour of survival machines.

In practice, what would it mean to say a mother had a favourite child?"

OK thats the three sentences, but I thought it may have whet your appetite as well, so here's another little bit up to the end of the paragraph...

"It would mean she would invest her resources unequally among her children. The resources that a mother has available to invest consist of a variety of things. Food is the obvious one, together with the effort expended in gathering food, since this in itself cost the mother something. Risk undergone in protecting young from predators is another resource which the mother can 'spend' or refuse to spend. Energy and time devoted to nest or home maintenance, protection from the elements, and, in some species, time spent in teaching children, are valuable resources which a parent can allocate to children, equally or unequally as she 'chooses'."

Interesting and thought provoking, but out of context like this, perhaps a little difficult to grasp....get the book, oh and thanks to Richard Dawkins for allowing me to promote this book :-D

I'm looking at who has already been tagged, and hey its all over, all the people I want to tag have been tagged....dont worry, you know who you are and I'll get you next time ;-)

Just thought of something.....maybe Reg Golb is still lurking, now just for interests sake...whats the closest book to you Reg?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Two stories of brainwashed people caught my eye today, both are excruciating examples of what people will do when they are unable to think logically for themselves.

This one is loopy! Its about the phenomenon called mass trance which is apparently pretty common in Indonesia.

LINA says she was 17 the first time she was possessed by an evil spirit. "My older sister went down first. She was screaming and her body went rigid and she couldn't move. Then the spirit came into my body, too," the former cigarette-factory worker recalled.

Reports of schoolchildren, young women and factory workers going into mass trances or speaking in tongues are common across Indonesia's vast archipelago.

# National television this month showed 11 students and five teachers in a mass trance in a classroom. About 50 female workers at a garment factory near Jakarta were reported to have gone into a collective trance last June, weeping and jerking their bodies around.

"Every society has some kind of culturally appropriate place for trance experiences, usually in religious settings," said Tanya Luhrmann, a Stamford University anthropologist.

"There appears to be a contagion element to trance, but it really requires some kind of willingness on the part of the individual," she said.

Religion, education and development have done little to budge widespread acceptance of the supernatural in Indonesia.

I was semi-stunned by the methods they used to bring some schoolchildren out of it......

When more than 30 students at Kalimantan's Pahandut Palangka Raya High School fell into a trance in November, they blamed a spirit in a nearby tree.
During the morning flag-raising ceremony, one of the girls started screaming and couldn't move. Soon her friends joined in until more than 30 of them were screaming and fainting, the deputy principal, Friskila said.

Some of the girls woke from the trance after a student played a Muslim prayer ring tone on her mobile phone. Others were taken by their parents to local witchdoctors.

"Often they are people who are very religious or under pressure. They were also from low socio-economic backgrounds," she said. Eko Susanto Marsoeki, the director of Malang's Lawang Psychiatric Hospital, said overwork was closely linked to mass trance incidents in factories. "Often it is a form of protest that will not be dealt with too harshly," he said.

Then there is this sad tale of what believers in sorcery do to one another.

A pregnant Papua New Guinea woman hung from a tree after being accused of sorcery gave birth to her baby while struggling to free herself, local media reports.
Nolan Yekum and her husband Paul were dragged from their house and hung from a tree by fellow tribesmen who accused them of sorcery after the couple's neighbour suddenly died.
Their ordeal occurred in Kilip village near Banz in Western Highlands Province, PNG's newspaper The National reported today.

The woman and her newborn baby girl, her third child, were doing well in Mt Hagen Hospital after two weeks in hiding, the report said.

I keep wondering, how will logic and reason ever penetrate these cultures?

Thursday, February 21, 2008


This story from the BBC gives a hint, which for me just confirms, the utter confusion of...yep you guessed it..... 'deeply religious' people.

Seems we have a very long way to go before some people get their heads around the fact that earthquakes are caused things as opposed to sky-daddy things!

Israeli MP blames quakes on gays

An Israeli MP has blamed parliament's tolerance of gays for earthquakes that have rocked the Holy Land recently.

Shlomo Benizri, of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Shas Party, said the tremors had been caused by lawmaking that gave "legitimacy to sodomy".

Israel decriminalised homosexuality in 1988 and has since passed several laws recognising gay rights.

Two earthquakes shook the region last week and a further four struck in November and December.


Mr Benizri made his comments while addressing a committee of the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, about the country's readiness for earthquakes.

He called on lawmakers to stop "passing legislation on how to encourage homosexual activity in the state of Israel, which anyway brings about earthquakes".

Israeli court rulings in recent years have granted inheritance rights to gay couples and recognised same-sex marriages performed abroad.

Last week, Israel's attorney general ruled same-sex couples could adopt.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


This is an eye opener.

Read this the old saying goes...'dont poop in your own nest' ...but it seems like we've done it big time now....and have done for a long time......its shocking!!

"IT has been described as the world's largest rubbish dump, or the Pacific plastic soup, and it is starting to alarm scientists.
It is a vast area of plastic debris and other flotsam drifting in the northern Pacific Ocean, held there by swirling ocean currents.
Discovered in 1997 by American sailor Charles Moore, what is also called the great Pacific garbage patch is now alarming some with its ever-growing size and possible impact on human health."

Charles Moore's Algalita Marine Research Foundation has a crew of six currently on a voyage to the area again to see first hand whats happening there.

They have a blog going here and they post everyday.

Its worth following and I hope it creates worldwide interest and some sort of action, although it sounds like its way out of control!

Monday, February 4, 2008


I had a dream, I dreamt we had a holiday....I’m sure now that it was just a dream *sigh*

Since we started back at work on the 14th we’ve been totally snowed under because so much work has rushed in the door. Although it’s nice to be ‘wanted’ it is also overwhelming to receive so much work at one time.

Customers using new technology continue to misunderstand their products, or have accidents or just don’t understand how to use the bloody thing.

Snippets of reasons why their said object no longer works....”my cat peed into the keyboard, twice, she’s never done it before!’....bad cat.....smelly keyboard.....’I put it on the front seat of the car, then I had to brake suddenly and it hit the dash and all the knobs are smashed off’....duh....’I let my brother use them and now they don’t work’.....and on and on and’s been a continuous stream and frankly I’m sick of it :-o

Time to post something onto my lonely unattended blog and to catch up on all the blogs I love to read!!

I know I have neglected my blog, something I promised myself I wouldn’t do way back in the I’ve rattled around and managed to find just one good thing that caught my eye. I’ve read it a couple of times now, it’s a long read, 8 pages, well worth it. A really thought provoking article in the NYTimes by Steven Pinker (the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University) called “The Moral Instinct”and its about the science of morals.

Just one other thing....
This really made me laugh...vending machine for marijuana...medical reasons only...prescription required....up to one ounce a week....never thought I’d see the day....:-D

Work things will start settling down a bit soon (well here's hoping) and the feeling that I have a life beyond work may eventually start to seep back into my brain :-D