30 April 2013

Quote for the day -- being on the wrong side

"I say all this to say that if I regret anything it is my pose of powerlessness -- my lack of faith in American democracy, my belief that the war didn't deserve my hard thinking or hard acting, my cynicism. I am not a radical. But more than anything the Iraq War taught me the folly of mocking radicalism. It seemed, back then, that every "sensible" and "serious" person you knew -- left or right -- was for the war. And they were all wrong. Never forget that they were all wrong. And never forget that the radicals with their drum circles and their wild hair were right."

Ta-Nehisi Coates

This thought occurred to me some time ago:  On any controversial issue, if you're not sure which side you should be on, check which side most of the people wearing dress shirts and ties are on.  That's the side that's wrong.  It works in at least 95% of cases.

28 April 2013

Video of the day -- Reach for the Stars

Much to my dismay, the Faye Kane video of Will.i.am's "Reach for the Stars" which I posted three weeks ago seems to have vanished from YouTube.  However, I found another very good video of the song, mostly using (apparently) NASA video.

Back in the days of the Wright Brothers, who would have thought we'd be doing this kind of thing barely a century later?

Here's Will.i.am talking about the song.  He seems a hell of a lot more aware than most entertainers -- or people in general -- these days.

Link round-up for 28 April 2013

You can now buy this car, built to a truly classic design.

Yes, I'd say these pictures need some explaining.

A household in Weatherford, TX experiences a home invasion with a difference.

Here's the best cartoon on the Bush Library.

Gosh, who would have thought this sign might be controversial?  (found via Republic of Gilead).

Faye Kane recalls the sixties (NSFW blog).

No, you flaming idiots, Chechens are not Czechs.

Here's the evolution of God in one picture.

Christians at the Hilltop Conference in Virginia pledge to fight against women's rights by mumbling to themselves and not eating (hey, it's their choice of tactics).

Swallowing the Camel blog has a round-up of fake dead aliens (don't miss the funny comments by semi-literate alien believers).

I'm not sure who gets to vote in Prospect's poll on leading world thinkers, but they made an excellent choice for #1 (and for #5).

Natural selection in action:  Faith-healing believers lose a second child after relying on prayer rather than medicine (sent by Ahab).

If you're ever in Oklahoma City, stop in at Grandad's Bar.

Ron Paul's new think tank is a menagerie of crackpots.

Exercise in Futility takes on Buddhism, a religion too much neglected by Western atheists.

A Republican state legislator claims the Boston bombings were a government conspiracy.  And there's more nuttiness where that came from.  More intemperate rhetoric here.

LadyFreethinker looks at five historic horrors caused by religion.

West, TX blogger Yellowdog Granny remembers the first responders. The explosion was yet another case of corporate lies (found via Lady Atheist) and inadequate regulation.  Then there's this.

Don't believe the lies -- the deficit is already under control.

Is that South Carolina creationist science test that's going around for real?  Stay tuned.

A lot of Republicans aren't happy with Rubio.

An Idaho pastor attacks the slavery-abolition movement.

Here's a Republican talking sense on Social Security. And here are a few trying to move forward on gay marriage.

A public school in Mississippi is being sued for flagrant First Amendment violations (found via Republic of Gilead).  And this Indiana university evidently missed hearing about Kitzmiller v. Dover (found via Lady Atheist).

Another school tries to silence a rape victim in order to protect a star athlete.

Wales loses its oldest oak tree to a storm.

Britain's austerity-strangled economy stumbles again, heading for a triple-dip recession.  France, too, is sacrificing itself to the insane dogma.

Donald Trump is still making an ass of himself in Scotland.

Christian violence against gays continues in France.

Greece exposes German hypocrisy on loans.

Australia is changing.

Religious faith burns brightly in Chile.

This Dubai rapist chose the wrong victim to attack.

More assimilated than they knew:  Jihadists from cushy modern Britain wimp out at the rigors of terror training in Pakistan.

Climate change is displacing populations in east Africa.

Nanocrystal arrays may give artificial skin a sense of touch -- another step towards artificial bodies.

27 April 2013

Video of the day -- strangled minds

24 April 2013

Know the enemy -- the mechanism of death

A couple of weeks ago I linked to this article about British doctor Sam Parnia, who specializes in resuscitation of patients thought to be hours beyond the point of death.  Yesterday a reader sent me this one, which explores the phenomenon further.

What we're really seeing here is that our whole long-established concept of what death is, is mistaken.

We think of death as a sudden shift from one state to a qualitatively different state, which happens at a precise instant, the exact time of which is specifiable in principle, even if it's sometimes hard to pin down in practice.  Furthermore, death is irreversible -- that is, once death occurs, a person cannot be restored to the living state, short of a miracle (literally so, since one of the miracles attributed to Jesus in the Bible is returning a dead person to life).  If a person is said to be dead and later returns to life, it means we were mistaken and the person was not "really" dead in the first place.

All of this is wrong.  It doesn't accurately describe what really happens.

In most cases, death seems to be more analogous to what happens to a machine as it stops running after the failure of some critical part.  The heart or lungs or some other critical organ stop working, due to injury, or loss of energy (due, for example, to massive blood loss from an injury elsewhere), or exhaustion from the gradual decay of aging, or for some other reason.  Other processes which depend on the failed organ begin to slow down and stop; cells and systems which depend on those processes stop functioning.  Decay sets in, in the form of bacteria which start to consume cell components once the immune system stops keeping them in check, and chemical reactions which are no longer constrained to proceed in the ways normal cellular operations require.  At some point fairly early in the process, brain function is sufficiently disrupted that it can no longer sustain consciousness -- and in any case, traumatic injury often shocks the brain into unconsciousness anyway.  Eventually, so much damage has accumulated in the cells that there is no possibility of normal function being restored.

The point is, this is a fairly protracted process.  There is no sudden moment one can point to which constitutes the border between "being alive" and "being dead".  As so often is the case in nature, what seems to us to be an absolute distinction is in fact marked by a gradual transition.  We tend to think that "the moment of death" is the point where the process becomes irreversible -- but as the linked articles show, this point varies depending on the type of technology available.  As our knowledge and machines become more sophisticated, we can restore life in cases which, a few decades ago, would have been judged past the point of no return.  There is also the question of how much "life" can be restored.  Bodies can often be kept mechanically functioning even after brain damage is so severe that consciousness cannot be restored.  Such a person is "alive" in some senses, "not alive" in others.

(People used to define death as the moment the "soul" leaves the body, but this was simply another primitive misunderstanding.  Your consciousness, or "self," or whatever term you prefer to use for it, is not a "thing" distinct from the body, it's a set of processes which your brain is constantly running.  Like programs running on a computer which is suddenly unplugged or damaged so it stops working, these processes don't "go" anywhere when your brain stops working -- they just stop.  Whether they can be set going again, and how well, depends on whether brain function can be restored and how much deterioration has happened in the meantime.)

This raises the hope that the more advanced our medical technology becomes, the later after apparent "death" it will still be possible to restore life.  If we can develop the capabilities in nanorobotics that some futurists expect, it may even be possible to reverse a fairly advanced state of decay by re-arranging the atoms of decay by-products back into the organic compounds from which they came, molecule by molecule, cell by cell -- of course, such technology could prevent most forms of death from happening in the first place.

In any event, the more we know about what death is and how it happens, the better.  Death is the ultimate enemy of humans (hence the post title), and the better we know the enemy, the more victories we can win against him, and the closer we come to achieving his total defeat.

21 April 2013

What a week! Have some cute animal videos

I think we could all use a change of pace.

Kittens watch tennis:

Baby parrots go bonkers with excitement as mealtime approaches:

Two hamsters share one wheel:

Older dog shows puppy how to go down stairs:

Link round-up for 21 April 2013

Here's a 3D Mandelbrot fractal, apparently.

Bad wizard!

Next time you're on an airplane, better hope you're not sitting next to "Mark".

Fox News names a surprise suspect in the Boston bombing.

Find the conspiracy theory that's right for you with this handy flowchart (click image to enlarge).

Gutsy West Virginia high-schooler Katelyn Campbell (pictured above) rallies opposition to yet another officially-sanctioned intrusion of religious bullying into education.  More here and especially here.  And click here to sign a petition supporting Campbell.

Religious nuts, what a bunch of wankers -- if only!

The SPLC has a listing of right-wing terrorist attacks and plots in the US since 1995 (found via Green Eagle) -- you'll be stunned at how many there have been in less than two decades.

Gin and Tacos looks at the role of idiots in state-level government.

There's an alternative to the Boy Scouts which isn't homophobic -- or gender-segregated.

I'll pray for you!

Utility companies are worried about the potential of solar power in individual hands (found via Politics Plus).

Americans strongly reject the "chained CPI" scheme to cut Social Security COLAs.

An anti-gay rally in Minnesota flops.

Churches won't give "Homeless Jesus" a home (found via Lady Atheist).

Once a rising Republican star, Marco Rubio is now widely denounced on the right for championing illegal-alien amnesty -- here's an example.

Ideology makes more fertilizer-plant explosions likely.

Theater chain Regal Entertainment cuts workers' hours to avoid providing benefits, while giving top executives massive pay increases.

Rand Paul needs a lesson in the real history of Republicans, civil rights, and the South.

If you still eat meat, read this.

The lessons of the Gosnell case are exactly the opposite of the right-wing spin.

Here's a letter from the family of marathon bombing victim Lu Lingzi.

The case for austerity policies was rooted in an Excel spreadsheet error -- and lacked credibility even before that was known.

In Britain, a bigoted teacher gets reined in.

Has the American Christian Right been fomenting anti-gay violence in France?  Conservative rhetoric there is getting scary (both links found via Republic of Gilead).

The EU continues its ruthless destruction of Portugal's economy.

New Zealand has legalized gay marriage, and Ireland will hold a referendum on doing so.

Russia has its own view of the Boston terrorist attack.

A Salvadoran woman is being prevented by law from aborting an obviously non-viable fetus -- even though the operation is necessary to save her life.  PZ Myers comments.

Turkey backslides further from Atatürk's secular vision as composer Fazil Say is convicted of blasphemy.

Kabul residents declare sympathy for Boston.

A new study provides more data on the acceleration of snow melt in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Gaining sight after being blind can take getting used to.

Here's a massively detailed map of US English dialects.

NASA has found three possibly Earthlike planets -- emphasis on "possibly".

19 April 2013

Boston murderers identified -- they're Islamotards

Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev, brothers from Chechnya, a small Muslim region in southern Russia.  Tamerlan has been killed by police and the hunt is on for Dzhokar.  (Posting a link seems redundant since every news site out there is following the story).

It was Chechen jihadists who carried out the monstrous terrorist attack on a school in the Russian town of Beslan in 2004, killing more than 300 people, most of them children.

17 April 2013

The Boston murders and the Nutty right

The wingnutosphere's reaction to the bombings in Boston has been most strikingly marked by the following three phenomena:

(1) Speculating that Muslims did it;

(2) Outrage at the non-wingnut media and internet for speculating that domestic right-wing extremists did it;

(3) Fuming at President Obama for not using the word "terrorism" in his first public statement on the subject (to their credit, PowerLine dissented).

I actually have no problem with (1) -- discussing such possibilities is perfectly legitimate as long as one makes it clear that it's just speculation -- but it makes (2) hypocritical.

Besides what I call the "Sane" and "Nutty" factions of right-wingers, there is also a smaller "Super-Nutty" faction, the Ron Paul cult.  Among these quintessential loons, the dominant meme seems to be that the Boston bombing was a "false flag" operation, something faked or staged by the government for some obscure but nefarious purpose (see for example here and here including comments, and also here and here).  Of course such insanities also erupted after Newtown and, notoriously, September 11.

Personally I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out to be Islamists or right-wing extremists, though I think the latter is a little more likely, given the April 15th date (taxes are a huge red flag with some of those people) and my sense that Islamists, unless locally-based, would be more likely to target New York or Washington.  But it's really impossible to say yet.  It could even be some isolated mentally-disturbed person with only a tenuous connection to any particular agenda.

I want to close with this already-widely-cited posting by Patton Oswalt.  Please do read it -- it's something we need to keep in mind at such times.

Update:  Snopes has a handy review page on the various myths and stories which have already begun circulating about the bombing.

15 April 2013

Video of the day -- losing their religion

REM's "Losing My Religion" remixed by Hamed Zarepoor and Arash Mohseni with scenes from Tehran.

14 April 2013

Link round-up for 14 April 2013

Murr Brewster looks at the mosquito menace.

She is risen (found via Mendip).

How secure is your security camera?

If you're afraid of wasps, don't click this link.

Who's the stupidest Republican?  Rep. Joe Barton stakes his claim.

Virginia is for lovers -- well, certain lovers.

The temperance movement of the 1890s got one thing right.

You don't need to read the whole book to know stupidity when you see it.

Support our House Democrats who are ready to defend Social Security.  Bernie Sanders sets us all straight on chained CPI (found via Kay's Thinking Cap).

Oklahoma Joe's Bar-B-Cue commits a hypocritical rip-off.

Alternet looks at the Christian Right's bizarre "you are interfering with our freedom to oppress you" scam (found via Republic of Gilead).

This odd Daily Paul post seems to be offering libertarians a dose of reality, but without reaching the obvious conclusion.

This pretty much sums up the case for religion.

Green Eagle's latest wingnut wrapup covers everything from the marriage fight to Margaret Thatcher.

Some teachers -- shouldn't be teachers.

Focus on the Family launches a campaign of sacred bullying.

Senator James Inhofe is a menace.

No, there isn't a Gosnell cover-up.

The Oglala Sioux have joined the struggle to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.

Here's a very special bird which is becoming common in Arkansas (more here).

These new guidelines will hugely improve science education in the US -- if they're adopted.

The Republican party's "rebranding" effort is off to a rocky start as the nuttiness just gets worse.  David Frum is unimpressed by the 2016 Presidential field.  Jindal has imploded and Rubio's embrace of immigration reform is getting mixed reactions from the lunatic base (found via Republic of Gilead), which is even more freaked out over the party's cave on gun control.  Democrats stand to benefit from it all.

Tea party?  Bah.  This is a tea party.

If the Nazis had conquered Britain, a secret guerrilla army was prepared to resist (found via Mendip).

This prediction of reactions to Thatcher's death looks pretty accurate (found via Mario Piperni).

Thatcher was right about this -- and this.

Prince Charles could do a real service to his country.

Global-warming denialist James Delingpole jumps the shark.

Ireland begins its inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar.

The US must not imitate Europe's deadly policy blunders.

It's been a big week for gay marriage, which is now legal in Uruguay and soon will be in France.  Gary Younge looks back at the movement's startling success.

In Peru, a billboard that does good instead of just being ugly (found via Uzza).

Where does your rice come from?

Taslima Nasreen understands Islam.

North Korea may use a missile test as a face-saving way to end the crisis it started.

Behold the inhabitants of the Mariana Trench.

Our nearest stellar neighbor has an Earth-sized planet, but it's not a very cool place.

13 April 2013

Warrior for truth

Today would have been the 64th birthday of Christopher Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, one of the defining books of the New Atheist movement.  Hitchens exemplified what made the New Atheism so vital and so successful -- he was forceful, unapologetic, and ruthlessly honest in attacking the evil and stupidity of religion, free of the sickly "respect" that religion so arrogantly demands but so utterly does not merit.

Here is Hitchens speaking in November 2010, shortly before his death -- the cancer treatments had cost him his hair but not his acuity:

One of his best performances ever, in Toronto in 2006, during a debate on a Canadian hate-speech law:

More Hitchens in action:

His memoir Hitch-22 shows the human side.  He was not afraid to put his own convictions to the test of empirical reality, as with his 1968 trip to Cuba which made clear the true nature of the regime there.

Hitchens died at 62, startlingly young by today's standards.  He died of esophageal cancer, for which the heavy drinking and smoking for which he was known are both risk factors.  If only he had managed to cast aside those powerful addictions!  He might still be among us today, with another decade or more of helping to lead the good fight still ahead of him.  As it is, his words will continue to inspire, to bolster our resolve, until the parasitic disease of religion is expunged from the minds of humans all over the Earth.

10 April 2013

Demographic delusion

I've long made a point of reading right-wing sites.  Not comprehensively or to the point of nausea, but I do read them.  The reason is that you can't understand the other side's thinking just by reading paraphrases of it by those on your own side -- you must read what they themselves have to say, in their own words, to get an accurate picture.  This is very apparent when seeing how the left is perceived from within the right-wing alternate-reality bubble.  Right-wing descriptions of leftist thinking are usually an absurd caricature which no actual leftist would even recognize.  It's because they form their picture of us not by reading what we ourselves say, but from how others within their own bubble paraphrase it.  I don't want to make that error.  In order to combat conservatism effectively, we need to understand it accurately.

It was in that context that I ran across a link to an article titled "Demographics favor the GOP -- unless they blow it".  This seemed so jarringly at variance with conventional wisdom that I simply had to take a look.  Is there some huge flaw in our grasp of demographic trends that we've somehow failed to notice?

As it turns out, no.  The article makes two major points:

(1) Population is migrating from blue to red states, shifting the balance of electoral votes and Congressional seats in favor of the latter.

(2) Highly-religious people (the Republican base) have more children than secular people, so the former will grow in numbers relative to the latter over time, tipping the balance of the "culture wars" back toward the right.

The problem is that both of these trends have been ongoing for quite a few years now, and they are not having the effect the right-wingers apparently expect them to.

It's true that migration is increasing the populations of some red states, but it's also turning those states distinctly purple.  Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina have become swing states, and even Texas may come within reach in the next electoral cycle.  Most states in the South have large black populations (and Texas has a large Hispanic population); add in an influx of more liberal migrants, and what had been a red state becomes competitive.

As for the religious advantage in birth rates, this has been true for decades and was certainly true for the period from 2000 to today.  Oddly enough, though, during that period the non-religious percentage of the US population has grown explosively, now standing at 20%.  That's not because of atheists or secularists out-breeding fundamentalists, obviously.  It's because of increasing numbers of people abandoning religion, a trend which has accelerated as the public face of religion is increasingly a fundamentalist face, disfigured with ugly, cranky, bigoted attitudes which look ever more outdated as social attitudes change (people under 30, even self-identified Evangelicals, are much more accepting of gays than the older generation, for example).  Religious and secular people aren't separate species that "breed true".  They're people with different ways of thinking, who can change those ways of thinking, and the change is pretty consistent in direction.

A somewhat similar phenomenon is happening with the "gender gap" as Republican state legislatures devise new ways of degrading and humiliating women who seek abortions.  Women are not becoming a bigger percentage of the population, but the Republican party is getting more proficient at offending them.

There's no reason to expect these trends to stop, much less go into reverse.  If the right-wingers are counting on demographics to save them, they're ignoring the evidence of what's actually happening on the ground.

07 April 2013

Video of the day -- the sky is no longer the limit

Created by Faye Kane.  Definitely use fullscreen.

Update:  The original video was deleted from YouTube, but re-uploaded here.  It's a lower resolution version but still worth using fullscreen.

Link round-up for 7 April 2013

Bill Maher gets it right.

Behold a right-wing blogger in ecstasy.

Flathead Lake, Montana, is quite a sight.

See the six kinds of conservative on one handy chart (found via Mario Piperni).

Count yourself in for the atheist census (found via Lady Atheist).

Is it tragedy or tradition?

"Pro-lifers" offer death threats (found via Lady Atheist).

Best headline of the week!

They're beautiful but dumb.

Congress needs more diversity.

American women are in menacing waters (found via Squatlo Rant).

Lady Gaga turned down $1,000,000 to perform at the RNC (I'm amazed that passel of prudes invited her at all).

Donald Trump is dropping his lawsuit against Bill Maher (background here).

How did these people get the right to steal a dead baby?

For once Gary Bauer makes an interesting point: if Republicans were honest about their economic agenda, it would be even less popular than the religious-nut stuff.

Oh crap, are these textbooks real???

Some conservatives aren't happy to see Mark "Appalachian Trail" Sanford running for Congress in South Carolina.  The race could be a pick-up for us.  Here's more on Sanford's hypocrisy.

For-profit prisons create domestic terrorists (found via The Immoral Minority).

Despite the national party's (hypocritical) "re-branding" meme, state-level Republicans continue down the Taliban path.  Michael Tomasky thinks they'll eventually ditch the fundies (found via Republic of Gilead), but that's kind of hard to imagine when the fundies pretty much are the base.

Here's a good illustration of the distribution of income growth in the US since 1966.

At last there's a move afoot to get rid of the draconian, anti-business "2257 laws".

Blog Fodder has a round-up of dumb conservative quotes.

"Hate the sin, love the sinner" is still bigotry (found via Republic of Gilead).

Right-wingers went bonkers over Google honoring César Chávez last Sunday -- and some of them can't tell one Chávez from another.

Lewis Taylor of Arizona is released after 42 years in prison for a crime he almost certainly didn't commit.

If Cruz runs for President, he'll face his own birther problem.

Gay-marriage supporters have adopted the red equals sign as a symbol.  The other side has this.

Leonard Zeskind explains American "white nationalism" to the British.

It's not only Cyprus -- a much bigger island nation is awash in shady Russian money.

Baboons find refuge -- in Yorkshire.

Britain's Conservative government raises taxes on the working poor and offers tax cuts to millionaires.

Lord Christopher Monckton, Britain's leading crackpot, tries to encourage his fellow nutbars in the US.

Out in the Irish countryside there's a pretty cool house.

Here's the control room of a German submarine from 1918.

The EU's tormenting of Cyprus "was not a bailout. It was a collective punishment."

Here's a protest that should get noticed.

Major non-Western countries are turning away from the floundering euro as a reserve currency, while the threat of more bank robberies imperils investor confidence.

China is getting impatient with North Korea.

What the hell does Kim Jong-un have against Austin, Texas?

China doesn't have gay marriage yet, but it does have ghost marriage (found via Mendip).

If Ali Al-Khawahir can't come up with one million riyals in blood money, he faces a barbarous punishment (found via Preliator pro Causa).

Atheist bloggers in Bangladesh are threatened and arrested.

Tourism to India declines as the country's massive rape problem goes public.

Sri Lanka has a honkin' huge spider.

Elephants fight for a baby in these dramatic photos.

Sex must have been rather a problem for dinosaurs.

The great American drought is just getting worse.

Andean glacial ice that took 1,600 years to form has melted away in just 25.

Are you dead?  Sam Parnia may be able to help you.

Europe is upgrading the LHC for even more fundamental research.

Here's more on the purpose of the US brain-mapping initiative (and more here).

05 April 2013

Bullies -- blind and oblivious

The Cyprus banking nightmare is the latest example of the arrogance, bullying, and flat-out imperial rule which the southern nations of the European Union increasingly suffer at the hands of the conservative German government which dominates the EU.  Yet I see little sign that the German people want to repudiate this evil, even though Merkel's party may lose this year's election for other reasons.  Too many Germans and other northern Europeans have a stance of arrogant contempt toward Greeks, Italians, and other southerners, seeing them as lazy and unproductive and in need of a dose of Germanic discipline to get their act together.  It reminds me of the attitudes some Americans have towards Latin America.

Never mind that northern Europeans mostly misread the roots of the south's economic problems (which lie not so much in debt as in the euro currency which prices their exports out of the market -- and in the austerity policies then imposed by the EU as a condition of bail-outs, locking the south into a death spiral of economic contraction which drives deficits up).  Never mind that the relentless imposition of austerity, rising unemployment, and now confiscation of savings echoes "the belief that the end justifies the means.....that deliberate deafness to suffering" rebuked in the post below, and seems more driven by deliberate cruelty than by economic thought.  What strikes me most about the north's contempt for the south is its oblivion of historical memory.  They have forgotten the roots of their own civilization.

What language do words like "austerity", "economy", "democracy", and hundreds of others, without which we couldn't even talk about these issues, come from in the first place?  From the language of the people who, on European soil, originated those concepts -- indeed, originated the very concept of a concept -- at a time when most of Europe's north and west was uncharted wilderness.  Whence comes the very alphabet in which speakers of German, English, and other Germanic languages commit their disdain of the south to text?  From the people whose huge cities held dozens of libraries when the ancestors of today's ruling clique in Berlin were illiterate savages.  Today's soaring European civilization rests upon, and utterly could not exist without, its Greco-Roman foundations.

After the thousand years of darkness that followed the fall of Rome, it was mostly men with names like Galileo, Bruno, Da Vinci, Dante, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Donatello, who launched the Renaissance that led Europe out of that darkness.  Again the north was the apprentice of the south.

Modern Western civilization is not the property of any one group, of course.  As far as I know I don't have any meaningful trace of Italian or Greek ancestry -- but I lay claim to that heritage, because being a Western person isn't about ethnicity or ancestry, it's about what kind of culture and values you have.

Yes, today Europe's Germanic-speaking north leads the continent, and stands far above most of the globe, in civilizational achievement, and it deserves admiration for that.  But it should not forget that it stands so high because it stands on the shoulders of earlier giants -- and those giants were of the south.

02 April 2013

Video of the day -- the fruits of arrogance and dogma