Dec 30th, 2009 by ravi
Video: D. S. Wilson and Dennett at the CUNY Graduate Center

What is religion?

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Dec 22nd, 2009 by ravi
What you listen to: the good, the bad and the ugly
The Good

Classical music and conservative talk shows aren’t as popular as they seem (particularly juicy: classical music fans “don’t tune into classical radio nearly as much as they claim”). Similarly for “smooth jazz”: “Clear Channel jettisoned such programming from eight of its stations after dismal ratings”.

The Bad

If Kenny G is dead, Celine Dion is thriving. As are “oldies” and country. Which leads to…

The Ugly

Men make up 34.7% of soft rock listeners and 40.1% of light rock (“adult contemporary”).

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Dec 22nd, 2009 by ravi
BBC | World ‘failed Gaza over Israeli blockade’ – aid groups

Aid agencies have strongly criticised the international community for failing to help bring an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

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Dec 22nd, 2009 by ravi
BBC | “Thou shalt shoplift’ says priest

Speaking to his congregation on Sunday, Father Jones said: “My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift.

“I do not offer such advice because I think that stealing is a good thing, or because I think it is harmless, for it is neither.

“I would ask that they do not steal from small, family businesses, but from national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices.

“When people are released from prison, or find themselves suddenly without work or family support, then to leave them for weeks and weeks with inadequate or clumsy social support is monumental, catastrophic folly.

“We create a situation which leaves some people little option but crime.”

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Dec 17th, 2009 by ravi
Advances in Christian advertising

Mary and Joseph billboard from St Matthew-in-the-City church in Auckland

The billboard is intended to challenge the stereotypes of the Christmas conception story, but it has been described as offensive to Christians

Brilliant and ballsy ad!

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Dec 16th, 2009 by ravi
Real worth: bankers vs cleaners

Hospital cleaners are worth more to society than bankers, a study suggests.

The research, carried out by think tank the New Economics Foundation, says hospital cleaners create £10 of value for every £1 they are paid.

It claims bankers are a drain on the country because of the damage they caused to the global economy.

They reportedly destroy £7 of value for every £1 they earn.

[…]

Eilis Lawlor, spokeswoman for the New Economics Foundation, said: “Pay levels often don’t reflect the true value that is being created. As a society, we need a pay structure which rewards those jobs that create most societal benefit rather than those that generate profits at the expense of society and the environment”.

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Dec 15th, 2009 by ravi
The great chocolate divide

Anyone who grew up outside the USA already knows that chocolate in the US is a strange beast in comparison to other parts. Now we know why. To summarise what makes the US version the wonder that it is: less cocoa solids, more sugar, more additives/substitutes. Oh, and also cheaper.

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Dec 15th, 2009 by ravi
BBC: Food labels advice change over Palestinian territories

UK food labels are set to distinguish between goods from Palestinians in the occupied territories and produce from Israeli settlements.

[…]

Manuel Hassassian, Palestinian general Delegate to the UK, said: “We welcome this. We have been calling for this for two years, since we began lobbying major British supermarkets when we discovered that they were routinely selling products marked ‘produce of the West Bank’ which were in fact the produce of illegal settlements.

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Dec 11th, 2009 by ravi
You might be a sceptic… but more likely not

These days scepticism is all the rage. There are climate sceptics, 9/11 sceptics, loud-mouthed sceptics (Dawkins), incoherent sceptics (Hitchens), radical sceptics, nihilists, those who spell it with a ‘k’ … the list is large. So here is a flowchart to help you determine where you stand w.r.t the fashion of the day.

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Dec 9th, 2009 by ravi
Cartoon: Religious Fervour Takes Its Annual Toll

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