An extremely worthwhile campaign to reform the UK’s insane laws against insulting people. Used mostly to suppress free speech now.
Surprisingly important skill that most of us are bad at. In a nutshell:
- Don’t ramble on—terminate the sentence at the question mark.
- Get comfortable with silence.
- Start with “who, what, when, where, how, or why” for more meaningful answers.
- Don’t fish for the answer you want.
- Stop nodding if you don’t understand—ask a follow-up instead.
- If you get a non-answer, approach it again from a different angle.
- Rephrase the answer in your own words.
- Don’t be afraid to ask dumb questions.
(Image by Sappymoosetree – Creative Commons)
Bed bugs a re a terrible pest that is now present in up to 30% of US homes. Researchers are desperate to find a way to kill them, as they are very resistant to insecticides.
A physical trap approach might be the solution, thanks to a Balkan folk remedy.
“A material designed to mimic the hooked hairs found on leaves could help trap and control bedbugs, the Journal of the Royal Society Interface reports. The US scientists were inspired by a traditional Balkan remedy that used kidney-bean leaves to combat the pest. Infestations have increased worldwide, partly due to pesticide resistance. An ensnaring solution could sidestep this.
…The researchers were inspired by an age-old remedy formerly used in Bulgaria and Serbia where kidney-bean leaves were strewn on the floor next to beds to trap the bugs. The greenery was burned the next day. Bedbugs have no evolutionary link with bean plants – although the general idea that plants have developed to trap insects like aphids and spider mites is known. “
From Denmark comes this grim story of a father driven to commit desperate and illegal acts to kidnap back his son, awarded to him by the Danish courts, from his mother in Austria.
Yet another case of fathers driven to desperation by biased courts.
A court in the Austrian city of Graz has halted the trial of a Danish man accused of kidnapping his son from his estranged wife after he failed to show up for the court hearing yesterday morning. According to Austrian news bureau APA, the case cannot be completed while he remains absent.
Thomas Sørensen’s lawyers had expected him to turn up for the case but told the presiding judge that he was concerned about the possibility he would be sentenced to prison. Sørensen was given a one-year suspended sentence last year for unlawful imprisonment, child abduction and serious assault for going to Austria and taking his son, Oliver, who was five at the time, out of the car belonging to his Austrian mother, Marion Weilharter, while she was dropping the boy off at kindergarten. A co-conspirator held Weilharter down while Sørensen grabbed Oliver and subsequently drove him back to Denmark.
…The Danish courts have already ruled in favour of Sørensen and consider the case closed, but the courts in Austria gave sole custody to Oliver’s mother Marion Weilharter.
Just watched an extraordinary program on DR2 (Denmark).
Reality TV star Thomas Blachman (of X Factor fame) has launched a new series to raise awareness of the feminization of society, what he characterised as “the dickies society”.
The format is somewhat unconventional:
Blackman and his guest sit on a couch in a black room, and a series of female models present themselves to them, disrobe, and stand there stark naked whilst Blackman and his guest discuss them, their bodies, lust, society etc.
I did not really understand most of it, but my wife tells me the discussion was very interesting and not sexist at all. Quite the opposite, Blackman and his guest were thoughtful, open about their own vulnerabilities, and very respectful to the models.
None the less, it has all gone off in Denmark. They are debating the show on the local equivalent of “Panorama”.
Even though I am not a believer myself I have a tremendous respect for religions and religious people. For example, I absolutely love the spiritually themed On Being radio show.
I have noticed an upsurge in interest on the theme of the “positives” of religion, beyond those of faith and avoiding hell.
David Sloan Wilson, for example, has long argued that religion plays an important role in social organising and other eusocial matters. His book Darwin’s Cathedral was a fascinating exploration of this topic.
I recently heard an interview with Alan De Botton on the On Being radio show. He has an organisation called “school for atheists”. The idea is to take the very best of religion and make it available to the non-religious. I like this idea. I used to complain to my wife that I wished there were a secular church, somewhere I could go on a Sunday morning to sing hymns speak to like-minded people and enjoy all the benefits of a community of faith – but without the faith. My father, who was a lifelong atheist, used to regularly attend church because he loved the hymns and he loved the people who went to church, Even though he did not believe in the articles of faith or in god.
Like father like son I suppose?
Maybe this is why I don’t like the militant atheists like Richard Dawkins. They fervour is as repulsive to me as the zeal of the religious bigot. There is something frothy and unseemly about Mr Dawkins anti religious diatribes.
Don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely no time for religious bigotry in any form. But if you do give any year to religious folks, you will be very surprised to find that the vast majority have very well thought out positions that are consistent with having a considered life and, I suppose, faith.
There is also something refreshing about the sincerity that I so often see in the writings and speaking from religious people. They make no apology for believing what they believe. There is a quality of knowing what you’re getting. Okay this all sounds deeply patronising and in some ways obviously ludicrous. Perhaps I should modify what I’m saying to apply not to “religious people”, but to the religious people that I tend to encounter on my travels both across the Internet and in real life.
This post actually started out as an entirely different post. I was going to write about The Orthosphere, but that was sidelined by my long-winded pean for for the faithful.
What is the The Orthosphere?
Who We Are and What We Believe
Ortho: Right, correct, straight. As in orthodoxy (right teaching), orthogonal (literally, right-sided; thus, right angled; so, perpendicular, independent) and orthognomon (right knowledge, right indicator (as of a carpenter’s square or a sundial)).
Sphere: A domain, especially of influence. Thus,
Orthosphere: A domain of Christian orthodoxy independent of conventional conservatism.
We are Christians: Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox. We believe our religion is true, and we take the Bible and the Church Fathers as our guides to the faith. We do not innovate religiously, for that is folly.
We affirm our respective traditions where they disagree with the other branches of Christianity, but we do so respectfully, for we have much in common (catholic or mere Christianity) and our enterprise has as much to do with society as with religion.
Socio-politically, we can be called “traditionalist conservatives” or “Christian reactionaries.” Since we agree that Modernity—the fundamental principle of contemporary Western Civilization—is radically defective, we are branded “far-right.” In truth, we affirm what was regarded as self-evident by the vast majority of mankind until well into the Twentieth Century: Religion is true, authority is valid and good, man and woman differ in essential ways, and so on. If affirming reality puts us at the rightmost end of the political spectrum, as the world construes politics, then so be it.
We recognize that the societies of the West are radically disordered, and it is our desire that they move toward a more proper order, one which acknowledges Christianity. Although we are Christians, our primary concern here is not with how individual souls are to be saved from the wrath of God, but rather with how society ought to be ordered. Therefore both Christians and friendly non-Christians are welcome at the Orthosphere.
I cannot sign up to the belief in the Bible or many of the other things that members of this sphere believe, but I do follow this blog because I do believe that there is something valuable to learn from these traditionalists. I am a classic Western liberal who has spent his life fighting for, and arguing in support of, the Western Enlightenment and all that it entails. I am a Democrat, I believe in women’s rights, I believe in gay rights, I question all authority, I am a sceptic and doubter to the point of disbelief in God. That said, I’m open to learning and challenging myself by listening to and reading what the authors here The Orthosphere has to offer.
More: The Orthosphere