22 December 2013

Link round-up for 22 December 2013

Yesterday was the winter solstice.

Here's a simple chart on how to interpret the Bible.  And yes, this is pretty much the essence of fundamentalism.

Artist of the week:  dark surrealist Zdzisław Beksiński (found via Mendip).

Some Christmas traditions go back to ancient European shroom shamans.  Jesus would have hated the modern holiday.

Taking selfies isn't so new.

Buttcoin.org is an entertaining site chronicling the bitcoin scam, including problems with conversion to dollars (more here, or try selling them on eBay) and bitcoin mining computers.  There's a separate blog on home-made mining rigs -- check out the FPGA spaghetti monsterChina and some banks are cracking down; meanwhile, thieves keep busy.

Check out these pictures of abandoned places around the world.

Religious vandals strike again in New Jersey (found via Lady Atheist).  And the War on Christmas is turning violent.

Salon posts another pile of rubbish about atheism.

The Christian story of the conception of Jesus has some very disturbing implications.

Our side is winning (source here).

The Republican civil war is about tactics, not goals.  But their strategy of running against the ACA is likely to trap them as Democrats plan to run on its growing success.

Staples joins the ranks of companies cutting hours to screw their employees over -- sign a petition here.

Be prepared for the teabaggers to turn violent.

Conservatives exemplify Christian values (found via Progressive Eruptions).

The Duck Dynasty shitstorm has fundies clumsily playing the victim card and turning outright vicious (read the comments too), plus the usual confusion about freedom of speech.  But even Cracker Barrel is ditching the Duck.

The fight for an economic populist line in the Democratic party is going strong.

Banks clearly need to improve security against hackers.

Raising the minimum wage would increase employment.

Marijuana legalization is gaining momentum, and not only in the US.

A gruesome video exposes Islamic treatment of cattle.  Cutting down meat production would make a real difference against global warming.

Siberia is having the warmest winter in memory.

We're wrong to think of life as a distinct category.

Neanderthals were probably capable of speech.

Printing guns?  Bah.  Scientists in Cambridge are printing retinas.

Atheists should embrace transhumanism.


Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

Lots of good pickings here. The Salon article is one of many that tries to pigeonhole atheists into what believers want them to be.

Here's another from a site called "Diversity Chronicle:"

"Even atheists acknowledge the divine. Through acts of love and charity the atheist acknowledges God as well, and redeems his own soul, becoming an active participant in the redemption of humanity.”


When nonbelievers perform acts of love and kindness, they are demonstrating that a human can overcome his/her otherwise nasty impulses and behave like a decent human being. That's thoroughly human, not "divine," meaning someone's god inspired it.

This is true of many in the animal kingdom.

22 December, 2013 06:10  
Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

Good collection. I really enjoyed the photos of abandoned buildings all over the world. For another reason entirely, I enjoyed the article on the Tea Party, which very nicely clarifies what so many of us have known for a very long time. The TP, imo, is the biggest domestic threat to our nation since it's founding - not only to our government but to our native language.

22 December, 2013 06:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The transhumanist thing sounds good. I'll do the gene manipulation. There's no way I'm about to upload software to my body. I take it everyone reading this has used Windows. We can't afford glitches and enterprising hackers. Then you'll have the black market because you know the poor would be priced out of the Promethean future. I'll be content with being a real life Captain America that's a little smarter than Saul Kripke.


22 December, 2013 12:06  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Shaw: Thanks for the links. I have some of de Waal's books, and long-time readers of this blog may recall this video illustrating how morality is an evolved innate feature of humans with roots in primate behavior, like most of our other traits.

The Diversity Chronicle post is clearly meant as satire, but I don't quite see what the aim is. "Atheists acknowledge the divine" does sound like the kind of pablum the current Pope might indulge in, though.

Leslie: Thanks. Reading several right-wing sites as I do, I know that there are groups of nuts out there who dream of someday revolting against the government. They are far fewer than they think they are, though.

Vic78: I'll have a post on transhumanism in the next week or so (touching on the "poor will be priced out" issue too, as it happens). Atheists are a natural constituency for it, I think, because we're not encumbered with illusory supernatural alternatives like an afterlife.

22 December, 2013 15:32  
Blogger Christine Vyrnon said...

Infidel... Thanks for including the Mary piece in this round-up!

23 December, 2013 13:37  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Christine -- I knew it was a must-include item as soon as I read it.

24 December, 2013 05:57  
Anonymous Zosimus the Heathen said...

Those artworks by Zdzisław Beksiński were certainly interesting, though I wouldn't necessarily consider them "hellish" (not all of them anyway), as the author of the linked-to article did. (In a similar vein, I often have bizarre dreams which, should I describe them to somebody else, would probably be considered nightmares, but which seldom cause me any distress myself.) Interestingly, there're a couple of artists I know of (named Dan Seagrave and Wes Benscoter respectively), who do a lot of cover art for heavy metal albums, and whose often grotesque and/or surreal style is somewhat reminiscent of Beksiński's. Maybe one has inspired the other somewhere along the way!

28 December, 2013 04:52  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Surreal art often looks unnerving to those who aren't used to it. And no doubt there have been a lot of cross-influences. It's interesting to me when I discover someone like this whom I hadn't heard of before, but artists probably know much more about what other artists are doing.

28 December, 2013 05:33  

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