RationalWiki:What is going on in the world?/December 2010

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December 2010[edit]

15David Cameron:The Big Society means cutting back on Government run projects and having both secular and faith-based charities provide those services instead. 'Fuck off,' says the Bishop of Leicester. Or he would have done, if he was the kind of Bishop that used that kind of language.
23University College London MRI study: Righties have larger amygdalas (the "lizard brain"); lefties have larger anterior cingulate cortices (the connector of the brain's two hemispheres.) You can thank actor Colin Firth, who commissioned the study as a joke while appearing as a guest editor on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme. (As one lefty blogger puts it: "I might have a problem with evolution if it left me behind, too.")
30Christine O'Donnell, Teabagger favourite and failed Senatorial candidate, now under federal investigation for misuse of campaign funds. Still, I suppose she could always magic up a spell to make it all go away.
18Guess who used the Canadian Health care System Saint Sarah(from Greg Laden)
10Creator of the world's first recyclers passes away. All together now, "Underground, over ground..."
14The pope mends fences with christmas address .
23Be careful of what you wish for, birther edition: Hawaii's new governor was a friend of President Obama's parents when they were in college. He's so pissed off by the birthers' claims that he wants to amend state law so that Obama's birth certificate can be shown to the public.
10Oprah underestimates Americans' stupidity.
-16Car crashes on Bush's lawn, and he wasn't drinking or driving it.
10Just in time for Christmas, our cousin Denis has arrived from Siberia.
15Pat Robertson favors decriminalizing personal possession and consumption of marijuana. No, really! Here's video proof!
7Introducing the AirPod, an "urban car" that runs on compressed air. Expected top speed: 80 km/h (50 mph). Expected range: 150-200 km (94-125 miles).
17And you thought Barack Obama actually gave a flying fuck about the environment?
11A French village may get overrun by New Age apocalypse believers.
5It's all fun and games until the ability to conduct foreign relations gets hurt.
15What's in a name? Well, when you consider the acronym for the CIA's "Wikileaks Task Force..."
14Three studies from the University of California, San Francisco, demonstrate that on average, because rich people rely less on others for help, their ability to feel empathy and read the emotions of others atrophies. An abstract for the study is available here. (Now the chicken-egg questions: Do they have reduced empathy because they are rich? Or are they rich because they have reduced empathy?)
15In 2009, one of Iran's most prominent film directors made a film criticizing the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In return, Iran has sentenced him to 6 years in prison and has banned him from writing screenplays, directing films and traveling abroad for 20 years.
10While late-autumn blizzards continue to paralyze Northern Yurp, parts of Australia have just experienced a freak snow day within 48 hours of the summer solstice.
6Hmmm. Over the last few years, there has been a spike in the enrollment of Muslim students at Catholic universities in America.
13Ignorant Americans 2: A University of Maryland study on who is more likely to believe false information about American politics finds that these people rely on a not-so-surprising source for their "information." So should we be surprised that their rebuttal contained borderline libelous non sequitur allegations about the U of M?
9There wass a lunar eclipse visible on the morning of December 21st, with some locations covered by clouds.
58With Obama's signature, DADT is gone!
14A doctor manages to punk an "integrative medicine" conference with a hoax about arse related reflexology.
20Ignorant Americans 1: In an amazing example of science confirming the obvious, the two main indicators for believing in young earth creationism: uneducated and Republican.
8The European Court of Human Rights: there is “no human right to abortion” stemming from the European Convention on Human Rights.
8WIGO EcuRed? Cuba's answer to Wikipedia starts up, then crashes. (Cuba launches Wikipedia rival and DNS Web Performance: Cuba's Version of Wikipedia Crashes on Launch) Apparently no English version, but you can get here
5Alcohol saves the day again. Update Likely to be fake.
20The GOP has resolved to not vote on any bills in Congress – anything at all – until the Democrats cave in to their tax demands. Unfortunately for a small portion of unusually good Americans, this includes a bill to take care of the health care woes of 9/11 first responders. Outraged at the hypocrisy of a party known for exploiting 9/11 whenever it serves them not actually doing anything positive about it, Jon Stewart brings the rage for pretty much an entire episode of his show.
12A woman with severe amygdala lesions cannot feel fear. (As reported in Current Biology possibly the only scientific abstract ever to contain the phrase "[we] took her on a tour of a haunted house")
17The pope enjoys an acrobatic strip tease.
13Julian Assange update: At about 6:30 p.m. GMT, he was released on bail.
23A lesson in double standards. White actor plays black character: Racist to do it. Black actor plays white character: Racist to criticize it.
14Seventy-one year old woman beats off attacker with frying pan. Don't mess with little old ladies.
20Fox News pushing a specific agenda on climate change? NEVER! They only present the news in a Fair and Balanced™ manner, don't they?
19SoccerNon-marital sexBoozeQatar. Spot the odd one out. And if you're gay and want to go to see the World Cup in 2022, well FIFA boss's official advice seems to be 'Don't have sex'. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present Sepp Blatter - Tosser of the Year.--User:Stunteddwarf
17House passes bill repealing DADT. Apparently this is to send a message to the Senate to pull the butt-plug out of their arse and get on with it.
10Goldman $ach$ forces Colbert to Cave in.
8Don't mess with the NRA.
-13Mark "Facebook" Zuckerberg is Time's "Man of the Year" (with an awful cover photo)
-4A deranged man armed with a pistol entered a school board meeting, spray-painted a "circled V" sign on the wall and took the school board members hostage. Later, he started shooting at them, but missed, and committed suicide after exchanging gunfire with the security chief.
13 Department of Lost Things: Amelia Earhart possibly found. Dead, obviously.
10WTF department. Because there've only been 3 cases since 1984, Switzerland wants to repeal its "obsolete" incest laws.
11Halliburton, facing charges in Nigeria for bribery, tries to sweep the whole thing under the rug — by offering a much bigger bribe.
10WikiLeaks cables fabricated by media and used as propaganda. Is nothing sacred?
123:25pm: Julian Assange granted bail. Now able to buy own copy of TIME Magazine. 3:36pm: Swedish prosecutors plan to appeal. They have two hours to lodge that appeal. 4:55pm:Tick, tock, tick, tock. A half-hour still on the clock but the word from Jim Sciutto is that Swedish prosecutors aren't appealing, even in bikinis. 5:36 "the Swedish authorities clearly will not spare any expense to keep Mr Assange in jail." *sigh*
14The present Glorious Leaders of China, being sore about the conferral of the Nobel Peace Prize upon a designated unperson, are throwing a tantrum by boycotting the ceremony and coming up with their own prize, the Confucius Peace Prize. (They have of course never been at war with Eastasia, and certainly never led a campaign along the lines of "KILL CONFUCIUS!".)
5Already Silvio?
9"I'm not a witch" and "I'd like my life back" tie for the year's top quote
18Bad Loser (n) (1) Joe Miller
3The beginning of the end... or end of the beginning?
9"Pastor" Terry Jones is planning to come and make speeches for the English Defence League, a racist organisation which goes around shouting about Islam. The Home Secretary seems likely to say, "No thanks."
6Richard Nixon, friend to the Jews, Irish, Italians and Blacks.
4Get Well Soon Richard, so our Afghanistan policy can. UPDATE: Ambassdor Holbrooke, who helped create the Dayton Accords has died.
10Memo to Jenny McCarthy: Research by the University of California, Davis links autism to mitochondrial dysfunction. (Note that the only use of the word "vaccine" occurs in the comment section.)
9Horse: meet stable door. Seriously; have the military only just decided to ban "removable media?
12Indians continue to be tarred by the Islamic terrorist brush because of their dress as the TSA give sari-wearing Indian ambassador "enhanced" screening - for the second time in three months.
5New neo-con Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has hockey commentator and political hack Don Cherry give an (unsmiling) inaugural introduction-rant to all the left-wing pinko kooks.DON CHERRY and ROB FORD "...for all the PINKOs out there, that ride bicycles..."
12The plot thickens. Assange's accuser is a Cuban CIA collaborator.
11"Religious fanatics" destroy the 2000-year-old Holy Thorn of Glastonbury.
12Don't ask don't tell does stay.
13How does the Chinese government respond when one of its citizens wins a Nobel? Dissident Crackdown!
-1Facebook: Hey everybody! Look at our cool new layou... oops.
11Another article about wrongful foreclosure and the people it hurts. They find themselves "trapped in an alternative banking world worthy of the Twilight Zone." In one story, a woman crashed into a man's car. He filed a lien against her house. The bank foreclosed on her house, then on his house because of the lien.
24WikiLeaks supporters have launched "Operation Payback" against PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, the Swedish prosecutor's office, the Swiss bank that has frozen Julian Assange's accounts, and other targets.
13A bug in Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and older versions of Safari and Google Chrome lets unscrupulous website operators sift through your browsing history. Among the websites identified as doing this are YouPorn, Perez Hilton, PixMac, Morningstar and Wired. YouPorn operators probably thought that none of its users would have the guts to come forward and sue them. They were wrong.
7Remember the Armenian Genocide deniers who filed a "free speech" lawsuit? The shysters representing them are now comparing a professor expressing an opinion to the Index Librorum Prohibitorum and the No Fly List.
16A socialist author refers to Jesus (positively) as a wine-guzzling vagrant and precocious socialist. Her book is assigned for reading in a high-school; a student's parents get all offended and pull him right out of school.
39A victory for the rational world - Creationism and ID out of Louisiana textbooks
11A Chinese publisher, unable to find the original text of Grimm's Fairy Tales anywhere, used a Japanese version instead, and somehow got through the entire translation AND editing AND publication of same without realizing that this version was an extremely dirty retelling that needed to be pulled off the shelves ASAP.
10US to host World Press Freedom Day in 2011. They would also like you to know that they've always been at war with Eastasia.
18From an Indiana divorce court: When both parents were self-professed Christians, they had joint custody. Now the husband is an agnostic, and the court has suddenly reduced his visitation time to four hours per week.
19Julian Assange has been detained in London. UPDATE #1: Bail denied. UPDATE #2: And what Swedish sex crime did Assange allegedly violate? In Sweden, mutual consent to sex includes the woman's (or women's -- hey, it's Sweden after all) exclusive right choose to use or NOT use a condom. The Swedes call violations of this law "sex by surprise," which carries a 5000 kronor (about $715) fine. (Wait! He's being held without bail and threatened with extradition for the equivalent of a high-level misdemeanor?)
6Even more trickling down is coming.
31Teabaggers: Whaaa! Our taxes are too high! Reality: Tax in America is at a 60-year low.
16His website DNS has been turned off, his PayPal account closed, he's been charged with a sex crime on an international warrant, and now his bank account has been frozen. Has Julian Assange annoyed somebody or something?
18Russians decide that, as things stand, they have little chance to get their Лучсмерти™ (DeathRay™) into orbit, and so decide to build and launch a pod to take care of orbital space debris as well as the odd rogue comet.
13From the same people who brought you Kentucky's Creation Museum - a full scale replica of Noah's Ark.
12Who will be arrested by Interpol first? Richard "The Dick" Cheney or Julian Assange? Pass the popcorn!
5Minnesota's GOP governor Tim Pawlenty defends his decision to pardon a convicted sex offender who is now accused of molesting the daughter he conceived with one of his underaged victims whom he later married.
11Russians take Palin to task, calling her a traitor for being so unrefined as to criticize the democratically elected leader of her country. How does "REAL AMERICA" feel?
14Atheists invoke their right to advertise
13"You betcha I'm milking my publicity for all it's worth, but questions from the media? No! I got to talk to the nice people. And where's our music and where's our good enthusiasm?" Y'all can fuck off now.
12"The Rise of the Sheconomy": Women now hold half of all jobs in the U.S. and have control over 51% of private wealth.
10Wikileaks' domain name "killed" by US hosting service, due to DDoS attacks on the WikiLeaks domain. Gee, I wonder where those came from? UPDATE: A few hours later, the Swiss came to the rescue by providing Julian Assange an academic web address. The new address, which can't be Googled yet because it's still a bunch-of-numbers IP address, is located here.
8"Like to sleep around? Blame your genes." Or as S. E. Cupp at Fox News so delicately puts it: "Don't Blame Me, My 'Slut Gene' Made Me Do It."
87:44pm: Tell us what you know, Joe!
13In news likely to be of scant comfort to the UK, 2010 is likely to be among the top 3 warmest years on record.
26It's life, Jim, and completely unlike how how we know it. As reported in Science. NASA press release.
8Here's why you should Google your name every now and then. A college student recently Googled his name for the hell of it and found that he was wanted for a murder that he didn't commit.
7Some observers have begun to doubt that the U.N. can deal with global warming. Hopefully this means that some creationists will soon start to doubt that the world is 6,000 years old.
17NASA to announce an " astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life."
13I don't normally copy-paste headlines - otherwise what's the fucking point of a WIGO? But in this case I can't beat El Reg's headline:
9"Mercury 'turns' wetland birds homosexual" (No, not the planet if you were wondering about astrological weirdness, and not the former lead singer of Queen either)
9Nude calendar of a very famous girl leads to trouble.
14What came before the big bang? Tentative evidence and a hypothesis from Sir Roger Penrose suggests a cyclic universe, with things happening before the big bang that can still be felt today.