Monday, June 30, 2008

A Chance To See What Mugabe's Men Do To A Seventy Year Old Woman

From This Is Zimbabwe today:

Mike, Angela and Ben were taken by a “war vet” named Gilbert Moyo and approximately twenty thugs to Pixton Mine (Pixton Mine is currently being used as a youth militia torture camp). Implicated in the attack is a Zanu PF party member named ‘Mazambani’ and an army General.

Cold water was thrown over them before all were beaten.

Mike Campbell, who is 74 years old, was beaten with rifle butts. Mike has serious concussion and a broken collar bone and fingers.

Mike’s wife Angela (70) was thrown to the ground by the abductors resulting in a double fracture of her arm/shoulder, requiring surgery. One of the militia took burning twigs from the fire and put them on her lips.


There's photos as well.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

In Memory of Richard Vingoe

Past members of Rochford District Council will have warm memories of Richard Vingoe, who was a district councillor here until 2002. He led the small Hockley Residents Association group, who were influential on the council in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Richard sadly died last week at the age of 59, and we had a minutes silence for him at Thursday's council meeting.

He was dedicated and honest, good company to be with, and an admirable role model for anyone wanting to serve their community. I'm so sorry I'll never see him again.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Alternate Reality TV

I'm trying hard not to turn this into a Doctor Who fansite, but last night's episode - "Turn Left" - make me think hard.

I think it's the first programme I've seen on the BBC since "Threads" that includes a nuclear explosion in Britain. And without the obvious horror of Threads, it still illustrated how our country's civilisation could barely survive one nuclear bomb. I wonder if we are forgetting just how dreadful these weapons are - after all they were created in the time of farthings and 78s and Vera Lynn.

So much for classing Doctor Who as escapist.

For those who enjoyed the episode, here's a really good podcast that I've found about it.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

If...

Henley wasn't Boris Johnson's first choice of parliamentary seat- he tried to become Conservative PPC for Rayleigh, my home town, but Mark Francois was selected by the local party instead.

If that had happened, we might well have a by-election right now here instead....

DON'T Watch This

Unless you've already watched the whole of the two episodes already. This is the ending of what is probably my favourite Doctor Who story:



But you can watch this, which is the very beginning....



"Dying gives us size!" .

Maybe.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Thursday, June 05, 2008

A Disgrace To A Liberal Party?

I thought this was a liberal party, that supported the right of people to protest. Even when you disagree with them.

Especially when you disagree with them.

Doesn't seem to be happening here ......

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Border Skirmishes Between Religion and Science

Here's three American websites I've been looking at lately.

The first is CONSERVAPEDIA - the "Trustworthy Encyclopedia". For me it's an example of religion trying to trample all over science. I know that other Lib Bloggers have mentioned it before, but it's worth a second look. - or second warning. Don't think of it being a Conservative website in just political terms, they are sixteenth century or worse in what they think of science. Not only are they trying to dump evolution, they are trying to dump modern astronomy.

Here's an extract from their article on the moon:

Atheistic theories of the origin of the Moon, widely taught for decades despite lacking the falsifiability requirement of science (see Philosophy of science), have been proven false.[8] Lacking any other atheistic alternatives, some scientists assert that the Moon originated from a collision early in Earth's history which created an orbiting ring of debris from the iron-poor surface of the planet which eventually coalesced into the moon.[9] This theory, however, is contrary to key observations of the Moon, such as the relatively low levels of iron in the Moon's crust. Additional tests fail to support the atheistic theory.[10]
Biblical history records the Moon being created on the fourth day of creation week, along with the Sun.....

.....Humphreys determined that the basalt had been laid down about 370 years after creation, and the brecchia had been laid down 1840 years after creation, or about 190 years after the Flood.[19] These findings clearly suggest that the Moon, and presumably all other bodies in the solar system, have been subject to two separate system-wide bombardments, one occurring in the second or third generation after the fall of man and the other occurring well after the Flood.
Note the equivalences here:

modern accepted science = atheistic science
atheistic science = bad

A while back the Onion website did a nice piece of satire on creation science:

KANSAS CITY, KS—As the debate over the teaching of evolution in public schools continues, a new controversy over the science curriculum arose Monday in this embattled Midwestern state. Scientists from the Evangelical Center For Faith-Based Reasoning are now asserting that the long-held "theory of gravity" is flawed, and they have responded to it with a new theory of Intelligent Falling.

"Things fall not because they are acted upon by some gravitational force, but because a higher intelligence, 'God' if you will, is pushing them down," said Gabriel Burdett, who holds degrees in education, applied Scripture, and physics from Oral Roberts University.

Trouble is, the satire isn't that different to what's on Conservapedia:
Everything in the universe that has mass attracts every other thing that has mass. The mechanism which transports this force has never been observed, scientists have created the graviton, a hypothetical particle, in order to uphold the naturalistic explanation absent of a supernatural force.
They haven't found a supernatural force, but they are still hoping for one.

Turning away from Wikipedia, there's STARDESTROYER.NET a forum which invotes you to "Get your fill of sci-fi, science, and mockery of stupid people" - I think by 'stupid people' they mean the type that trust Conservapedia.

There's a lot of SF stuff here, some interesting science news, some copies of correspondence with creationists and some interesting writing. Probably the one item that would upset the Conservapedia people most is this ongoing work of fiction entitled Armageddon???? in which Satan tries to claim Earth as his own, but meets unexpected resistance from the combined armed forces of the USA, Russia, Britain, Singapore, Al Qaeda.... It also makes Gordon Brown , George Bush and especially Bill Clinton into heroes. You might say it's a case of science trying to trample over religion.

In this early extract, the Royal Navy take on a demonic sea-monster:

“Hit it again. Full power to the forward sonar transducers.” The contact had been settling down when the second pulse hit it. If anything the threshing was even worse than with the first pulse. “That’s a Baldrick, no doubt. Weapons, fire tubes one and two. Target that thing.”

Taking four tons off the extreme end of the moment arm caused Astute’s bow to dip. It didn’t matter to the torpedoes, they were already out and climbing to the shallower water near the surface. Once there, they kicked up to 81 knots and ran out to the estimated position of the target. At that point they dropped their guidance wires and dived vertically on the contact below them.

A shaped charge can penetrate six times its diameter; that gave the pair of Spearfish torpedoes a theoretical penetration of 126 inches. In fact, they did a bit better than that, blasting deep cavities in Ralaraspanathsis’s back, severing his spinal column and burning deep into his vital organs. His body tissues, vaporized by the blast, sprayed out and down, searing and cooking his internal organs and bursting open the swim bladder that kept him afloat. Crippled and dying, he felt himself floating upwards towards the surface. Confusion filled his mind, he was a herald. How could they have done this?

“Well, there’s no doubt about, we just scored a Baldrick.” A cheer went up around the control room. Ever since Prime Minister Gordon Brown had quoted ‘Blackadder’ in his initial announcement, the British had taken to calling the denizens of hell, ‘Baldricks’. It had a nice, contemptuous air about it, one that was beginning to catch on. “Number One, take the boat to the surface, we need to collect samples.”

Finally, I found the LIBERTE EGALITE TRIVIALITE BLOG described as "Random screeds about... you know... stuff, from a heathen atheist bleeding-heart liberal ex-mormon rationalist in the heart of the reddest state." It's just a.... blog, but there's some nice stuff there on Dr Who and an interesting account from the author of the blog on how science. pornography, cinnamon oil and the Mormon faith clashed in his teenage years. It's worth a look, even if only to say hi to a liberal Dr Who fan in Utah.
Chris expresses his own views on this weblog.


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