Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 3.18

  • New Bible draws critics of gender neutral language – “The 2011 translation of the New International Version Bible, or NIV, does not change pronouns referring to God, who remains “He” and “the Father.” But it does aim to avoid using “he” or “him” as the default reference to an unspecified person.” From Chupacabras.
  • Nantucket child killed in exorcism – “The woman accused of killing her 3-year-old daughter earlier this week believed God had instructed her to stick a rose in the young girl’s throat to ward off the devil, according to documents filed in Nantucket District Court.”
  • 115 year old X-ray machine comes back to life– “The antique machine still sparked and glowed like a prop in an old science fiction movie, and used thousands of times more radiation than its modern counterparts to make an image.” From cerberus40.
  • Were “incense” products containing canibimimetics ever legal in the US? – Spice is a drug that supposedly has cannibis-like effects and is often sold as incense in the US. (No word on whether it turns your eyes blue or not.)
  • Cute Animal Friday! Laura sent in this video of a slow loris with a tiny umbrella. And these rare African black-footed kittens are here thanks to science, the first to be born from a combo of frozen embryos and IVF.

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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18 Comments

  1. “Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood”? Isn’t that the kind of group you want to research, just to see if it’s a five-person circle jerk?

    EDIT: Looked at their website. There are about 5 women on their board (substantially more men). Only one woman does not list “Homemaker” amongst their careers… she lists “Pastor’s Wife”.

  2. Something about the X-Ray machine story doesn’t add up. If it took 90 minutes to make an exposure that means it is thousands of times weaker than a modern X-Ray machine. If the same film is used in each case it takes the same total dose to expose the film to the same degree. It doesn’t matter whether this dose is achieved in a fraction of a second or 90 minutes. Or did the experimenters use insensitive film from 1896 too?
    There are two ways in which ancient and modern X-Ray machines might differ. The old ones scattered radiation all round the room, irradiating other parts of the subject’s body. Modern ones use narrowly collimated beams. The other difference might be that the old machine generated a longer wavelength. This would be less penetrating and so would do more skin damage for a given total does reaching the film.
    It’s still a valuable historical experiment.

  3. That article about the girl in Nantucket is so terribly sad on several different levels. The mother certainly sounds mentally ill. It reminds me of the Andrea Yates case, but with fewer children involved. That poor little girl. I’m glad that Nicole’s brother is safe, at least.

  4. I’ve seen this video about the slow loris and I agree it’s cute but these videos are encouraging people to view them as pets. They aren’t! They’re actually endangered animals and it’s illegal to own them as pets.

    There is a huge illegal pet market for them which is responsible for putting them on the endangered species list in the first place. The Loris is often killed in the process, not just from transport but when their fangs are cut or ripped out, generally without anaesthetic or antibiotics.

    Here’s a disturbing image of how the teeth are removed, not by pulling but buy cutting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nycticebus_tooth_removal_01.jpg

    Further, even just in this video you can see that the loris has huge eyes which, while very cute, are an adaptation to their nocturnal life so placing them under bright lights like this is not treating them well.

    I urge you to not only take down the link but to remind people that the slow loris is not a pet and that by viewing them as a cute, cuddly creature we’re killing them with love (and ignorance).

  5. I usually don’t comment on the cute animals, but I have been doing some freelance work with the zoo here in Houston, and I’ve been priveleged to see first hand some of the cute animals they have there. And my reaction is Awww-laiden to say the least.

    Sheesh! I’m becoming such a softy in my old age.

  6. The bible re-writing cheesing off the conservatives cracks me up. There’s a whole gaggle of some of the nuttiest right-wing-nut-jobs over at Conservapedia, who are in the process of rewriting the bible to edit out the liberal bits. I am not kidding.

    For example, they removed the part where Jesus says from the cross, “Father, forgive them , for they know not what they do” from Luke 23:34, because it is too liberal; their Jesus would have spat on the Romans before death, I guess.

    How people can believe their holy book to be inerrant, and yet constantly muck with it, is highly amusing.

  7. Next thing for the bible: if a son or daughter does not obey his or her parents, transport him or her to the countryside.
    I suspect their aim is to change it little by little until they make it THE word of dog, This could happen by way of trans-generational amnesia… If we let them.

  8. Ugh. I try not to let language conventions bother me, and typically they don’t. But using “he” as gender neutral just really pisses me off.

    Today I read an article my religious nutter uncle linked about fracking abortion that used “he” as gender neutral. Drove me nuts. But, to be fair, it wouldn’t have driven me as nuts if the subject matter had been different.

  9. Apparently, I played far too much D&D in my youth… When I read the headline “Were “incense” products containing…” My brain automatically pronounced it “ware” as in werewolf… lol!

    I can’t imagine how anyone can kill their own child, whether their deity told them so or not. When I heard, at age 5 or so, the story about Abraham, who was told to kill Isaac, his only son (at the time) that was the reason I stopped believing. Another reason was that Abraham had about 3000 children. Knowing, even at that young age that I was a handful (ADHD), I couldn’t imagine being a daddy to that many kids.

  10. More on the Loris video: cruel, not cute: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/youtube-sensation-fuelling-trade-in-an-endangered-species-2248930.html

    Quotes:

    “The only reason the loris isn’t biting the person holding it in the video is because it has had its teeth ripped out with pliers,” said Chris Shepherd of Traffic Southeast Asia, which campaigns against the trade in primates.

    The teeth are removed because the loris, listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, can deliver a toxic bite. Mr Shepherd said: “The creature is then effectively doomed because of infection. Most don’t last very long after that.”

    […]

    Dr Nekaris said the loris in the umbrella video had suffered a head wound, most likely caused by being transported in a cage. Although the creature may look happy, it submits to being tickled as a passive defence-mechanism to deal with stress.

    The loris is a nocturnal animal and is effectively being blinded by the daylight in the videos. Disoriented, it grasps at the umbrella believing it is the bamboo of its natural terrain.

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