A woman in South Australia who murdered her two-year-old son because she believed he was “possessed by evil spirits” was found “not guilty of his murder due to mental incompetence” and has now been released. I can only assume she no longer believes in evil spirits. The media have conveniently omitted what religion she belongs to.
My question is this: what made her mentally incompetent?
Is it the believing in evil spirits or the murdering of her son?
It can’t be the murder aspect. If you believe in evil spirits and you are convinced that your son is possessed by them, wouldn’t murdering him be a rational response? That would make you competent.
I can only conclude that the court found that the mental incompetence was regarding the believing in evil spirits in the first place. And if believing in evil spirits makes you mentally incompetent, surely believing in good spirits holds equal stead?
Personally I agree – believing in spirits makes you kooky.
I meet people all the time who believe in evil spirits and are walking around in the community.
Not just Christians, either – Hindus, New Agers, Mahayana Buddhists, etc.
Now if all of these people living in society are mentally incompetent – for the same reasons as the woman from South Australia – what is to be done? I’m being serious. What should we do when, say, 80% of the population is defined (by the legal system, no less) as mentally incompetent? Should we mandate psychiatric help for them? I realise that not all of them are dangerous – but some obviously are and as a direct result of this belief in evil spirits.
What about politicians who believe, such as Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey? Should people who are mentally incompetent be allowed to work in politics? Should they allowed to be CEOs of companies? Should they be allowed to be parents?
These questions will keep me up at night.
My first podcast in several months is a bit of a rant and a bit of science – a basic primer to help you understand yesterday’s announcement of the discovery at CERN of a “Higgs-like particle” and a rant on why it’s important that we all try to understand the basics of physics and the hard sciences. I’m so sick of the MSM dumbing down announcements like this and I was hugely disappointed last night to see even the host of the 7:30 Report asking dumb questions. The internet is supposed to make us SMARTER, not DUMBER, people.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
“Big Bang Theory a Bust” is the way News Corp is peddling this two-year old story about Roger Penrose’s “Conformal Cyclic Cosmology” model for explaining concentric circles of cosmic background radiation. Why run the story two years late? I have no idea. But it’s the headline that is the true story.
It’s obviously written by a sub-editor to a) be sensationalist and b) discredit science in the minds of the general public. I’ve already seen people in Facebook picking up the story and using it to start discussions about how science is equal to faith.
Very similar to the HeraldSun’s approach to the now-discredited neutrino experiments out of CERN last year.
Sensationalist and anti-science. Of course, any intelligent person understands that the scientific method is a process of refinement – one experiment or, in Penrose’s case, theory, in no way “upends” or “busts” anything, especially not time-tested theories such as the Big Bang or the speed of light being the speed limit for relativity.
But I’m pretty sure News Corp cares not about such things as accuracy. It’s about sensationalist yellow journalism and trying to discredit science. Why would they want to discredit science? Because it helps them rally the Christian Right vote. Fox News has turned itself into a profitable political power house in the USA by pandering to the Christian Right, anti-science demographic and it looks like News International wants to try the same trick here in Oz.
I’ve been fascinated with cellular automata since reading “New Kind Of Science” by Stephen Wolfram about ten years ago (wow… where did that decade go???). These days I have a couple of Conway’s Game Of Life apps on my iPad. The video below is a great example of how life-like complexity can arise out of a few simple rules.
(via jwz where it’s definitely worth reading the comments on this post for a laugh)
I was just thinking tonight about St Michael’s Grammar School in St Kilda. I remember back in my Ozemail days, around 1996 or 97. We – along with Microsoft and, I think, Cisco and Compaq – had set-up St Michael’s as a pilot school for all of our latest technology. The classrooms were all networked, there were laptops everywhere, it was all quite exciting. If you had told me then that fifteen years later, many schools would still be lacking a basic internet understanding, I wouldn’t have believed you.
Last week my kids attended interviews at the high school in Brisbane they will be attending next year. Their mother and I went along. The interviews went well – I was quite proud of my youngsters asking very grown up questions about the school and curriculum during the course of the interview – and as they drew to a close I asked the teacher whether or not the boys’ curriculum would be available on the school’s website.
“Ah no,” she replied.
“Well I like to be keep abreast of what they are working on,” I said. “How will I find out what the curriculum is?”
“You’ll have to email the teachers,” she replied.
“Each of them individually?” I asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
“Are their email addresses up on the website?” I inquired.
“Ah no,” she replied.
“Well how do I get their email addresses?” I asked.
“Well they should hand them out to the kids on their first day,” she replied. “Otherwise, you can ask them when you have the first Parent-Teacher meetings a couple of months into the year.
The primary school my kids currently attend love to send paper notes home with the kids. Of course, these usually end up buried in school bags and we don’t find out about them until it’s way too late. Why aren’t they emailing us with information we need to know? I understand that not every parent has access to the internet, even in 2012, but surely the schools can take the same approach as most of the utility companies now and ask me if I want to receive notifications by email or paper? Wouldn’t that save schools significant dollars each year in printing costs?
Another example – my kids are on their Year 7 school trip to Sydney and Canberra this week. What system did the school put into place for notifying parents that the kids have arrived and are okay? Well it works like this. First, one of the teachers on the trip sends a text message to TWO parents. Then the rest of the parents are supposed to text THOSE parents asking for updates. I kid you not. Even the kids’ soccer team sends out weekly text blasts to all of the parents advising updates to this weekend’s game. It isn’t rocket science.
I haven’t had anything to do with school IT for many, many years, but I can’t believe it is 2012 and we still don’t have laptops (or, better still, iPads) in the hands of every school child; that every classroom isn’t connected by wifi; that a year’s worth of lesson plans aren’t posted on the school’s website for students and parents to peruse in advance; and that all schools aren’t using blogs, email, Twitter and text messages to update parents about stuff they need to know.
I just scanned through the ALP’s education policy document and it doesn’t seem to mention much about investing in internet infrastructure.
Am I being unreasonable?
I’m still reading this book about LBJ’s involvement in JFK’s assassination (LBJ: The Mastermind of The JFK Assassination by Phillip F. Nelson) and it introduced me to one part of the CIA’s history I either didn’t know about or have forgotten – something called OPERATION MOCKINGBIRD.
Mockingbird isn’t some conspiracy theory – like MKULTRA and the 638 attempts at assassinating Fidel Castro, it’s a genuine part of CIA history. MOCKINGBIRD has been written about in detail since the late 70’s, but it’s one of those pieces of U.S. history that isn’t talked about much in the mainstream media. Why? I assume because they would prefer people don’ t know about it as it would make them ask too many questions, such as “how do we know the CIA isn’t controlling the media today as well?”
It’s also one of those events in history that should help us all realize that we’ve been manipulated and lied to by the government and the media in the past so it’s entirely rationale to believe they might be manipulating and lying to us still today.
SO WHAT WAS OPERATION MOCKINGBIRD?
Basically Mockingbird was a CIA operation that ran from the 50’s through to the 70’s and which used the U.S. corporate media to deliberately spread lies to the American people and international readers (and media).
Carl Bernstein, one of the guys who broke the Watergate scandal, wrote in Rolling Stone in 1977 that Mockingbird was the story of:
How Americas Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency
Bernstein goes on to explain that the most powerful people in the US media were happy to work with the CIA:
American publishers, like so many other corporate and institutional leaders at the time, were willing to commit the resources of their companies to the struggle against “global Communism.”
The CIA basically had the co-operation of the news media to publish lies about foreign governments (e.g. Iran, Guatemala, Cuba, Indonesia), designed to indoctrinate the American people to believe the official stories and to look the other way while the CIA illegally overthrew governments and started civil wars. News organisation involved in Mockingbird included:
CBS, Time and Life Magazine, New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Star, The Miami News, The Louisville Courier-Journal, The Copley News Services and The Christian Science Monitor.
Of course, these same news organisations were used to promote the official version of JFK’s assassination (the “lone gun” theory) and completely ignoring the evidence tying LBJ and the CIA to the hit or the massive holes in the Warren Commission’s official report.
The MOCKINGBIRD story has lots of twists and turns. For example, the story of Mary Pinchot Meyer. Her husband, Cord Meyer, worked for the CIA and was heavily involved in MOCKINGBIRD. Her sister married Ben Bradlee, publisher of The Washington Post. Her best friend married James Angleton, chief of the CIA’s counterintelligence division. In the late 50’s, Cord Meyer decided to leave the CIA. Not long after, one of their sons was killed by a mysterious hit-and-run accident outside of their home and Cord changed his mind. Cord and Mary divorced in 1958. In 1961 Mary started having an affair with JFK, whom she had known since she was a teenager and had lived next door to in Washington for several years before he was President. According to Timothy Leary, the father of the LSD movement, Mary told him she and JFK were smoking marijuana together and taking LSD. She said this was part of a plan she had to influence the President to bring about world peace.
After Kennedy’s assassination, Mary called Leary and said “They couldn’t control him any more. He was changing too fast…They’ve covered everything up. I gotta come see you. I’m afraid. Be careful.”
A year later, two days after the Warren Commission’s report was released, Mary Meyer was shot to death. One bullet to the heart, another to the head. The man charged with the murder was found innocent, despite an eye-witness testimony. Meyer’s private life (who her ex-husband was and that she had been sleeping with JFK) was kept not only from the courtroom but also from the attorneys involved.
In 2001, several months before his death from lymphoma, when asked who killed his ex-wife, Cord Meyer said “The same sons of bitches that killed John F. Kennedy.”