RationalWiki:What is going on in the world?/January 2011

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January 2011[edit]

8Wikipedia is six three times more liberal male than the American public. The Wikimedia Foundation promises to deal with this; on the list of annoyances to be dealt with are freedom, openness, and egalitarianism, which are "compounding" the problem.
14Junior Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) has failed to toe the party line one too many times; hence, any wingnut running against him in the primary has been guaranteed some money to play with.
3We thank you for accepting this lobbying money which has been a presentation of the National Football League
22In Egypt, the forced shut down of Al Jazeera demonstrates that "the repressive powers of central government are still functioning." Who knows? Maybe somebody will point out that nearly every American cable company has blacked out Al Jazeera for years, demonstrating that the repressive powers of monopolistic corporations are still functioning.
8One of the worlds greatest film composers, John Barry, passes on at the age of 77.
19Captain Obvious department: Oral sex leads to sex.
14It seems these days everything that's fun gives you cancer.
24What is it about religious people? They spend all their time moralising about how we live our lives whilst all the while beating and raping their families behind closed doors.
25If you can't shut idiotic birthers up, make money off them!
26*Sniff* God bless *sob* America.
40The House Republicans' solution to the "problem" that the government will fund abortions for rape and incest victims? Redefine the words "rape" and "incest".
18NASA commemorates all its lost astronauts on the anniversary of the Challenger Explosion.
10Meditation is life brain changing.
-6Professor values?
13Man 1, God 0. (I couldn't put it any better than the headline!)
17Tea Party? Who -me? No!
2460% of US biology teachers teach evolution "cautiously", 12% advocate creationism, and 40% "personally don't accept evolution", a survey finds. How to teach the teachers to teach? PS Even on Ars Technica, a tech/science website, the comments thread is madly depressing.
16Two men who distributed leaflets entitled, "The Death Penalty?" are to become the first people prosecuted in the United Kingdom for distributing material intended to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.
20Rabbis to Glenn Beck and Roger Ailes: Enough with the Nazi references! UPDATE: Fox responds: These people are nothing but Soros funded, left wing publicity seekers.
34Same shit, different country. Sometimes I just hate humanity.
14Anonymous? Err... no.
5Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-New York): Travesty! Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) did not tell people what they wanted to hear, instead taking the unthinkable step of giving a gloomy speech and being pessimistic about the U.S.'s future.
9Truth or bollocks? Cold Fusion rears its ugly head once again. In deference to its 'discoverers', I'm going to say it's almost certainly coglione.
22A female polar bear lost her yearling cub and one-fifth of her body weight swimming 400 miles over 9 days looking for ice that had not melted due to climate change.
10Most memorable word from the State of the Union address? "Salmon".
12Michele Bachmann made her own "Tea Party" rebuttal to the State of the Union address. Not surprisingly it was bizarre in itself, calling for reductions in federal spending (except calling for increases in federal energy spending) and rails against the stimulus (then calls for government spending money to "create good-paying jobs in the U.S"). The noticeable issue, in a comic show of solidarity, Fox refused to air any part of it. CNN was the only cable network to air her rebuttal.
9The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission returns its report into the causes of the financial crisis, calling it an avoidable disaster. Who is to blame? In no particular order: Alan Greenspan, Ben S. Bernanke, Henry M. Paulson Jr., The Clinton Administration, The Bush Administration, The Obama Administration, Timothy F. Geithner, The financial sector (who spent $2.7 billion on lobbyists between '99 and '08 and $1 billion on bribes campaign contributions), The Securities and Exchange Commission.
2Jesse Ventura has sued the DHS and TSA over the use of full-body scans at airports.
8Birthday.gif - Happy 30th Grandad! - Birthday.gif
3A challenge to federally funded school chaplains. (From Australia)
7Michele Bachmann gets an early start on presidential grandstanding by holding a "news event" from which news is missing.
8An example of lies, damned lies, and statistics: It is reported that the number of people in poverty in the U.S. is now higher than it ever was, but conveniently not mentioned is that this is partially because the population of the U.S. is now higher than it ever was.
15Update: Congresswoman Giffords has been move to a rehabilitation facility in Houston, and remains in the Intensive Care Unit there, treating a fluid buildup in her brain.
12At least 35 people are killed in an apparent suicide bombing of Moscow's Domodedovo Airport
10Gender discrimination run amok. "Obnoxious bigotry" from one gender has led to "flagrant discrimination" against the other. Thank goodness Conservative MP Dominic Raab is there to stand up for poor, oppressed men everywhere.
10Control a sophisticated satellite while in orbit above the Earth? There's an app for that!
19CNN's Erick Erickson calls for mass armed uprising and bloodshed if Roe v. Wade is not struck down.
11Chinese-American law professor stumps for Tough Parenting Techniques, sparking off fears that the Chinese are using them to teach their children to be übermenschen; never mind that the Chinese increasingly consider such techniques to be backwards and outdated.
9Keith Olbermann [1] leaves MSNBC. Apparently it has nothing to with the coming takeover by Comcast.
9Libertarian represents ex-dictator in bid to get bread-and-circuses money humanitarian aid funding released.
14Harry Reid makes a "gaffe" by suggesting that >gasp!< Chinese Paramount Leader Hu Jintao is a dictator.
17Even in the wake of the Shellacking, voters prefer Barack Obama to Michele Bachmann by an 18-point margin.
17Over 100 mafia members arrested in crackdown on organized crime
12Michele Bachmann will be giving a stand-up routine rebuttal to Pres. Obama's state-of-the-union address on Tuesday.
17Bank of America is purchasing domain names critical of the company and its executives, perhaps anticipating a WikiLeaks disclosure.
8This will get the 2012 apocalypse nuts going: Astronomers believe that Betelgeuse will go supernova by the end of 2012. (The last supernova as bright as this one is predicted to be was the supernova in 1054 CE that created the Crab Nebula, not to mention mass hysteria throughout Europe that the Second Coming was imminent.) So, which movie reference do you prefer? Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! or should we just cue the John Williams music? Cold shower: Rumours of Betelgeuse's death have been grossly exaggerated. Just like the last time.
8Were the Tunisian riots aided by the use of social networks, such a Twitter and Facebook?
-13Talentless twat of a radio presenter asks school kids to email in for exam best wishes; and they do! jump to 0:40 if your seconds are precious
21Koran-burning Pastor banned from UK
16Report: Students learn squat in the first two years of college, as they are too busy partying and professors are too busy doing research to teach them properly. "Shocking and disturbing," says Prof. Richard Arum, the report's chief researcher.
8Barack Obama writes an editorial promising to cut regulations that stifle job creation, such as those that target small businesses.
12Besieged Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi under fire again, this time for allegedly paying a minor for sex and pressuring the police to cover it up. "The charges against me are totally unfounded, actually laughable. The police officer denies I put pressure on him. And the minor denies she had sex with me and asserts she presented herself as a 24 year old."
39Newly-discovered Vatican letter warned Catholic bishops in Ireland that "'mandatory reporting' [of pedophiles to the police] gives rise to serious reservations of both a moral and canonical nature". It further threatened that, should pedophiles be reported to the police, in violation of what's evidently the Catholic moral code, the Vatican was likely to overturn their attempts to defrock said pedophile priests, which might be "highly embarassing and detrimental" to the bishops attempting to stop the outrages. This happened at least once, with the pedophile restored to the priesthood, and able to rape again. Does Catholicism even have any moral high ground to lose anymore?
17In Gardena, California, a student who has brought a gun to school several times got "caught" with it when he dropped his book bag on the floor and the gun discharged, injuring two classmates. And while some are asking how he repeatedly got the gun past security, will any gun control advocates point out that the NRA and other gun rights advocates have consistently insisted that it is impossible for the largely defensive weapon of gun to discharge accidentally?
10Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier returns to Haiti. UPDATE: It doesn't go well for him.
11Out of plutonium and the Mr. Fusion is on the fritz? Don't just travel through time, teleport in time using quantum physics.
22Alabama Governor-elect makes a stirring speech saying that all Alabamans, black and white, should love and care for each other. But non-Christians can fuck off.
19Rather than apologise or back down about her use of the term "Blood Libel," Sarah Palin proves the old adage, "If a hole is in the wrong place, then no amount of digging is going to put it in the right place". Update: Palin's polling plummets, but is it a permanent thing, and far more importantly, can I shake the need to use alliteration in a WIGO?
12It has been ruled that corporations are people with free speech. Can they also get married or run for Congress?
-2New EU school calendars mark Yom Kippur and Eid al-Adha but not Christmas or Easter. The Catholic News Agency gets in an awful snit and a French wingnut party circulates a petition that (due to a dodgy translation) decries the removal of "all references to christianism."
13Another story of man forced to leave a religious cult at the cost of losing his family and livelihood (not in some US Bible-Belt state, but Buckinghamshire, UK).
10A personification of the state of U.S. mainline Christianity: A Baptist-raised convert to Congregationalism who is studying at a Catholic seminary under the mentorship of a Lutheran pastor.
3Remember Miss Teen South Carolina? Now Miss America (well actually Miss Nebraska, but she did win) takes inane, blathering, and factually incorrect commentary, like the absurd suggestion that there should be any official secrets, to a new level.
12Guns don't kill people - the thing you were trying to shoot does.
8Italian man shot in the head during New Year's celebrations sneezes bullet out through right nostril.
13Astronomers have made a one trillion pixel image of the universe containing 500 million cosmic objects and covering a third of the night sky. Bonus - It is free to all! Bonus 2 - Video zoom
18Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, "President for Life" of Tunisia, flees the country.
15Some commentators have stopped blaming right-wingers, atheists, left-wingers, white Christians, nihilists, etc. for the Giffords shooting and started blaming Jared Loughner's ex-girlfriend, who they claim "broke his heart." (Six years ago.)
9History professor gets a phone call from the FBI after lecturing on the need to "de-colonize" the U.S. by using Luddite tactics to return the land to how it was in Hiawatha's time.
18If you're an astronomer, how do you make the world's astrologers have a collective identity crisis? Perform an astronomical survey that shows that the earth, moon, sun and stars have shifted their positions so much over that past 2000 years that (a) the start and end dates of each zodiac sign has changed, and (b) there is now a THIRTEENTH sign! A list of the new start/end dates and the new 13th sign (called Ophiuchus) appears here. TEE HEE!
15The dead have risen! And they're giving to the Tea Party!
11The Roman Catholic Church is going to make the Pope John Paul II a Saint because there's clearly only one possible reason a nun recovered from her Parkinson's Disease.
12Jimbo Wales on Wikipedia at 10: It's too complicated for new users to edit, he wants to attract more women, people confuse it with Wikileaks, and they raised money quick because people were sick of his ugly mug on each page.
7To help Wikipedia celebrate 10 years', here's a handy list of their biggest blunders and hoaxes over that time.
20Ohio School Board takes two years and $900,000 to fire a "teacher" who taught creationism against their orders, and even burned a cross into a students arm. (If you really care, The Panda's Thumb has been covering this from the beginning.)
17Wikileaks is sued by a Florida man on the grounds that the site's recent revelations scared him.
15President Obama invited John Boehner to fly with him on Air Force One to the Tucson memorial service. Boehner declined. He instead attended a partisan fundraiser "reception" for his choice to replace Michael Steele as chair of the Republican National Committee.
20Republican legislators find several House committee names to be politically incorrect. "Labor" is changed to "workforce" and "civil rights" are removed.
16Archeologists find the world's oldest winery in a cave in Armenia. Considering that the winery dates back 6000 years, do you think certain people will start believing that on the Seventh Day, God got smashed?
20Sarah Palin has released a self-serving video addressing the Giffords shooting. In it she plumbs the depths of her stupidity by claiming that journalists and pundits who criticized her bulls eye map were "manufacturing a blood libel." BTW: Giffords is Jewish as was Gabe Zimmerman, one of her aides who was killed at the shooting. UPDATE: Many prominent Jewish Republicans are having a "muted" reaction to Palin's "blood libel" claim. UPDATE 2: In fact, some right-wing Jews are still very much in her corner.
6Fish are as clever as college students. Even non-sports-scholarship college students. Well, they both have similar deficiency with distinguishing groups of similar sizes.
9Just a few days after Andrew Wakefield's MMR-autism link was officially declared a fraud, a new study shows that children born less than two years after the birth of a sibling could be at greater risk of developing autism.
6Transparisteel suddenly real. Next thing you know, you really will be able to go "Vroom vrooom vrzzroooom!" Except: this glass is not transparent or even translucent.
12Tea Party co-founder claims that he and the Tea Party are victims of the Arizona shooting. Nothing need be added.
17Update: Congresswoman Giffords is breathing on her own, but is still on a breathing tube to prevent possible complications.
16Earlier suspicions have been confirmed: thunderstorms create antimatter — electron->gamma ray->e-/e+ pair. Holy crap!
10Another significant milestone in the search for other planets like Earth: the Kepler space telescope has detected the smallest new planet outside our Solar System discovered so far - only 1.4 times the Earth's diameter (but 4.6 the mass and hot as Hell).
29DeLay sentenced to 3 years for money laundering.
33After the Giffords shooting, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik told the press that Arizona "has become a mecca for prejudice and bigotry." Senator John Kyl called Dupnik's remarks "inappropriate." A local conservative talk radio host has called for Dupnik's resignation. (Dupnik has been sheriff since 1980.) Now, the leader of one of the largest Tea Party groups claims Dupnik is a leftist trying to deflect attention from the shooter -- who they claim is really a leftist that was targeting a centrist Democrat. And all of this is just further proof of the vitriol in American politics.
4Once again scientists confirm the obvious, women manipulate men with tears.
10Political correctness gone mad. UK Police have been banned from using the phrase “sure as eggs is eggs” in case it offends women with fertility problems. (original blog post)
10 US govt on a fishing expedition.
20Congresswoman Giffords' (alleged) shooter has his own YouTube channel filled with rambling, conspiracy theorist text-only videos. He also posted some of his MySpace photos to TwitPic -- ("Look at the gun") Maybe he was inspired by the SARAHPac webpage which showed a map of 20 Democratic congressional districts with cross-hairs over them. (This last link includes a 2010 video interview with Congresswoman Giffords. The glass door to her office building had been shattered overnight. When asked if she was afraid, she eerily said she wasn't even though that street corner had become a congregation point for Tea Partyers.)
28BREAKING NEWS (as of 12 noon Central Time, 8 January): Tucson area Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (a Democrat) was shot in the head while addressing constituents at a Tucson supermarket. (Up to 12 other people were also shot.) NPR reports that the Congresswoman's status is unclear, but she might be alive and in surgery. As of 2:15 p.m. CST, the Arizona Republic reports that she had a single through-and-through gunshot wound to the head, she is now out of surgery and one of her surgeons is "very optimistic about her recovery."
16Rep. Michele Bachmann (Wingnut-MN) begins grandstanding in an angle for the presidency. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) thinks this would be a lovely idea, on the grounds that her ideas are so absurd as to lose her the election, while the campaign would conveniently get her out of Congress.
14Former UK Justice Minister Jack Straw: (I'm not racist) "But there is a specific problem which involves Pakistani heritage men... who target vulnerable young white girls". Strangely enough, Mohammed Shafiq, director of a Muslim youth group, seems to agree on that point.
23Americans: not as religious as they say they are (and neither is anybody else, judging by these figures).
2Government study recommends a reduction in Fluoride levels in city tap water.
29Starting as they mean to go on? Two GOP congressmen break the rules before they're even sworn in.
20Showing a marvelous lack of creativity, and just a fair bit of spite, the Republicans name HR2 the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.
-7 Constitution in Exilers exile parts of the Constitution
6Male pattern baldness may not be caused by testosterone levels. A study by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine shows that stem cells in the scalps of bald men seem to go dormant with age.
10On December 23, a farmer shot an animal that resembled the legendary chupacabra. Kentucky wildlife officials now believe that it was just a raccoon with alopecia. Yeah, sure. Next thing you know, they'll say that Bigfoot is just some tall guy in a fur suit.
12The American conservatives' anti-gay bigotry is threatening the unity of the social and economic conservatives.
11Ecstasy might be making a comeback... as a possible treatment for autism and PTSD. Original paper.
-7Remember the good old days, when teachers taught and students studied, or at least finger-painted? Well, they're long gone. Welcome to the brave new world of the iMaginarium, where kindergarteners are seated in front of iPads and teachers have another excuse not to work.
-4Andrew Grice: For the crime of attempting to resolve the U.K. budget crisis, the Liberal Democrats seem liable to be nearly swept out of Parliament at the next election. Ain't politics grand?
10Corpus Christi cum excremento et hepatitis A. Amen.
6The new U.S. House of Representatives, running low on budget items to cut, is targeting federal highway spending for the first time. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce warns that this will cost jobs.
31It's official: Andrew Wakefield's so-called "study" linking the MMR vaccine to autism was "based not on bad science but on a deliberate fraud" that was "on the scale of Piltdown man, BMJ (neé British Medical Journal) editorial says." (as reported in The British Medical Journal)
15Signs that we've reached the tipping point? Or just a handful of freaky coincidences? In less than a week since New Year's Day, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky and Sweden have all experienced clusters of mass bird die-offs. (This just in: You can add East Texas to the list.) Arkansas and Maryland have also experienced mass fish die-offs. So have New Zealand and Brazil. Also, it was just announced that the populations of four species of American bumblebees have declined by 96% over the past few decades.
15Dick Cheney officially becomes one of the undead.
5The Doctor marries his own daughter. Confused you may be.
11So the Republicans in the House intend to accomplish nothing for the next 20 days.
24Hideous undead creature targets America's youth.
20Firefox overtakes Internet Explorer in Europe.
10New edition of Huckleberry Finn to eliminate the "n-word". The culprit is one Berkeley-educated professor who was too squeamish to say the word.
12Recent archeological findings in Crete indicate the possibility of sea travel 124,500 years before Noah did it.
11Goodbye Net Neutrality.
11An anti-lobbyist crusader has announced her intention to become a lobbyist. She justifies her actions in the same manner as any liberal commie bum True-Blue ConservativeTM, by insisting that "the system" forced her to do it.
13Sliding poles at fire stations are now to be eliminated as a safety lawsuit hazard. Obviously it is more dangerous to slide down a pole than to run into a burning building.
10The Dominican order is getting back to its roots with a new crop of radical young nuns.
9"Carbon market" collapses, suffering from a lack of legislation to create it out of thin air.
9US Navy Captain is inspired by Michael Scott (or David Brent).
22Republican Steve King: "Hey, kindergarteners! What do you think about abortion?"
13The Tournament of Roses parade starts off the deification of Ronald Reagan.
14You would think that with God on their side -- after all, He came up with the $172 million initial investment, didn't He? -- the owners of this Noah's Ark theme park would be able to turn a profit without the Commonwealth of Kentucky kicking in $37 million in state tax incentives.
16A new cancer test can detect one single cancerous blood cell among one billion healthy cells.
6 Where's the one place Mexicans have succeeded in keeping out the drug traffickers? Lucha Libre.
-4The most anticipated cinematic event of the past 12 months is finally here!!
20Brazil swears in its first female president. The women of the United States continue to wonder when their time will come.