Thursday, June 28, 2012

News, Views and Interests: Roundup

I'll be away for a few days and won't have an opportunity to post.  Here are some interesting news and issue-based sites which should keep us all entertained.

1. Australopithecine Diet

I posted the article on FB this morning.  Apparently, Australopithecus sediba had a varying diet which  included grasses, roots and shoots, but also tree bark. I love Ian Tattersal’s comment mid-way through the article regarding the controversy over some of the analysis and its implications related to our own species evolution, “Rumor has it that more specimens are on the way.” This means that the research will be robust for years to come.

2. An Atheist for President?

Looks like for the first time since Gallup began conducting this survey (1937), a majority of Americans (54%) would consider voting for an atheist for president. While atheists still lag behind Mormons and Muslims in the voter preference of those surveyed, as a group atheists have crossed the 50% threshold. This is important and bodes well for the group and its various political initiatives, re: American Atheists, Freedom from Religion Foundation, Secular Coalition for America, etc.

3. Catholic Church and its Continued Denial of Civil Rights for the LGBTQ community

The need to discriminate on religious grounds remains a key reason for the disconnect between human and civil rights, personal freedom and organized religious dogma. While most Catholics do take a more sophisticated, “live and let live” view on same-sex marriage in the United States, the Church does not.  The Vatican and the Papal media in the US and abroad still believes it has a God-given right to discriminate. Perhaps they should reign in their pedophile priests before passing judgment on others.  

4. Gorillas Use “Baby-talk” with Infants

Gorillas in the wild use a form of baby-talk with their new born infants.  This is fascinating research and has implications for our evolution, how we and other higher primate species communicate, and how primates form bonds with their young to create and transfer culture.

5. Google and the American Library Association’s Attempt to Ensure Books are Read Rather than Banned

In a joint effort, Google and ALA are spreading the word that the world of books, essentially the world of human ideas, is under constant pressure and attack because of censorship.  Most community groups attempt to block access to books stating that they “offend community standards.” The reality is censorship is about politics and power. Take a look at the books that have been banned – you will be shocked to see which books, many classics, make the list.  

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