Tag Archives: religion

Curing Religious Feelings, Re-thinking Female Sexuality and Nazis on Meth

Stories that have grabbed my attention over the last day or so.

Curing Religious Feelings

It’s all about the brain. One day we should be able to use fMRI tools (or their descendants) to identify psychopaths before they hurt someone and offer to cure them. Can we also use neuroscientific tools to help cure religious fundamentalists? I’m not sure they would willingly submit to be cured and we can’t ethically force them. Would you stop believing in imaginary gods and monsters if you could?

An Oxford University researcher and author specializing in neuroscience has suggested that one day religious fundamentalism may be treated as a curable mental illness.
Kathleen Taylor, who describes herself as a “science writer affiliated to the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics,” made the suggestion during a presentation on brain research at the Hay Literary Festival in Wales on Wednesday. In response to a question about the future of neuroscience, Taylor said that “One of the surprises may be to see people with certain beliefs as people who can be treated,” The Times of London notes. (source)

Women Are Horny After All

I didn’t need journalist Daniel Bergner to write a book to tell me that my wife has a massive sex drive. She reminds me every day! He’s written the book anyway –  “What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire”. According to the research he did for the book, many popular ideas about women’s sexuality is wrong, wrong, wrong. For example, they aren’t made for monogamy any more than men are. And women become physically aroused to a much wider array of visual stimuli than men, even though they deny it. Read the interview. (source)

Nazis On Meth! 

No, that’s not the title of the sequel to Iron Sky, it’s the story about meth was invented by a German in 1938 and then distributed by the millions to Nazi soldiers. Makes me wonder what impact that might have had on their early successes – and their eventual downfall? We know Der Fuhrer didn’t partake of alcohol or cigarettes, but did he use meth?

…the Wehrmacht, Germany’s World War II army, distributed millions of the tablets to soldiers on the front, who soon dubbed the stimulant “Panzerschokolade” (“tank chocolate”). British newspapers reported that German soldiers were using a “miracle pill.” (source)

Gatsby

We saw The Great Gatsby in 3D last night. It wasn’t the complete disaster I expected from the bad reviews and the stories about its troubled production, but I didn’t like it. I’m generally not a fan of Baz Luhrmann. I loved Strictly Ballroom, but all of his films since Romeo + Juliet have been too over-the-top for my tastes. I don’t mind CG effects if they are required – sure, go ahead and use them in The Avengers if you must. I just think character-driven stories don’t need them. We also saw Joe Wright recent adaptation of Anna Karenina a few months ago and I’m sure it also used CG, but it was used much more carefully, enhancing the story rather than over-powering it. That’s my two cents, anyway. Chrissy, on the other hand, loved it.

 

Who Is The New Doctor Going To Be? 

The BBC has announced Matt Smith is retiring at the end of the year. Who will be the new Doctor (no, not John Hurt). My tip is Ben Whishaw

stephen merchant for doctor who!

(he was Q in the latest Bond film), although he might be too big now. Cumberbatch is definitely too big – and he turned it down four years ago anyhow. It will probably be someone totally unknown. If I could choose, it would be Stephen Merchant.

Yeah the last season has been pretty dreary. It’s had a few cool moment (John Hurt) but nowhere near as cool as the first season of Eleven or the first couple of seasons of Ten.

 

How does the CEO of Evernote use Evernote?

Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote, shares how he organises his personal install of Evernote.

 As of the time of this answer, I have about 9,000 notes in my Evernote account divided among 45 notebooks. However, the majority of these notes are in my single, default notebook. (source)

A little disappointing to those of us who obsess over getting the right combination of Notebooks & Tags. At least he has more notes than I do (6617).

 

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Mormons “just more modern, not more crazy”

I totally endorse this rant by Penn Jillette. Sure, what Mormons (and Scientologists) believe sounds batshit crazy to most of us. But is it really any crazier than what mainstream Christians, Jews or Muslims believe? Hell no. “Just more modern, not more crazy”, as Penn says.

I’m as confused as Penn is about how otherwise intelligent-sounding people can just spout crazy stuff and act like it’s totally normal. It’s especially scary when you hear it from politicians, the people who are supposedly running the country. Surely there should be a sanity test that you have to pass before you can be elected to public office.

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No Illusions Podcast 08 – Dominion Over Fowl

Tonight we try something we haven’t done in a long time – Chrissy joins me on the podcast. We lit up a Perdomo Lot 23, sat outside on our deck, and talked about a lot of things including:

– Why comics are like classical music (I recommend reading DMZ and KICK-ASS) and admire the work of Aussie Ben Templesmith
The head of Australia’s Reserve Bank is ANOTHER crazy Christian running the country
– The rise of Dominionism in Australia
More evidence that evil oil companies are paying a small handful of scientists to oppose climate change
The very small list of scientists who actually oppose climate change
The very LARGE list of scientists who support climate change

If you enjoyed this show, you can stay in touch by following Chrissy and Cameron on Twitter or by joining our Facebook page.

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The Golden Rule and Geeks Who Care

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhHJ4DRZNZM&w=480&h=295]

I just watched this recent TED video of religious historian and author Karen Armstrong talking about the importance of the Golden Rule and how we need to re-engineer a world based on compassion. It’s excellent and I highly recommend it.

Speaking of compassion, I’m re-launching my charity “Geeks Who Care” in Brisbane this month and I’m hoping some people will join us for the first Brisbane catch-up. The idea of GWC (which I tried to get off the ground just before I left Melbourne in 2008) is that geeks have a special skill-set that I think can be used to improve people’s lives in ways that mere mortals cannot. We know how to make the interwebs work, how to promote things via social networking, how to build websites, make podcasts, refurb PCs, build mesh networks, etc. I want to see geeks doing more when they get together than just nerding out about new tech. We need to be giving back to the society that let’s us be geeks in the first place. So, anyway, details of the Brisbane meeting are here (yes it’s a Facebook page) and if anyone wants to gets stuff started in other cities, go for your life. Let’s share idea and learnings as we go.

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Chatting with a Mormon Missionary

Angie – you are my new hero.

Angie goes online and chats with Mormon missionaries – then posts the whole discussion on her blog, complete with witty and acerbic asides. You go, girl.

Angie the Anti-Theist: Chatting with a Mormon Missionary: Take 8.

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