Archive for December, 2011

Partying on New Year’s Eve?
December 28, 2011

Don’t drink and drive-and don’t ride with anybody who does. Tipsy Tow offered by AAA: you don’t have to be a AAA member, from 6pm-6am on New Years Eve/day, they will take your drunk self and your car home for FREE. Save this number… 1-800-222-4357. Please reblog this if you don’t mind.

Good info! Be safe, everyone.


December 23, 2011

It will yet be the proud boast of women that they never contributed a line to the Bible.

George W. Foote

Book Review: God Is Not Great, Christopher Hitchens, 2007
December 21, 2011

Given the author’s unfortunate passing only days ago, the temptation to write a review overflowing with praise is one I shall have to resist. It is only fair that I confess that I also agree wholeheartedly with his core atheist beliefs, so that may generate bias as well, but there you are.

This book is not merely an argument for atheism, or against theism (or deism), it takes the case much further than that. As the subtitle makes clear (“How Religion Poisons Everything”) Hitchens intends to demonstrate that belief itself is dangerous. Religion, he contends, has done harm both to individuals and society itself wherever and whenever it is practiced.

That’s a bold claim, encompassing as it does all of (recorded) human history and the entire worldwide spectrum of faiths. Hitchens makes a surprisingly effective effort, taking you all over the globe through his eyes as a journalist, and through history via his extensive study of philosophical and religious texts.

As for readability, the book varies. The book is at its strongest when Hitchens relates his own experiences. It is filled with riveting anecdotes from war-torn regions and harrowing times. However, when discussing ancient tomes or turning to classical knowledge from antiquity, Hitchens can be somewhat didactic, and I found these passages harder to wade through.

Overall, though Hitchens makes strong points, I think he fails to make his overall case, that it is religion itself that is at fault for every one of the woes he brings up, and not simple human greed or ambition. His erudition and intelligence are everywhere on display, though, and it is a pleasure to see the world through his keen eyes.

Hitchens’ brilliant mind is now sadly lost to us, and though neither he nor his work were perfect, I highly recommend giving it a read to expose yourself to his passion and searching intellect.

December 20, 2011

Help get word out, SOPA hearing NOT delayed until next year. Hearing moved to 21st so it passes quietly

December 20, 2011

The Old Testament is the rich, drunk uncle of Christianity. They want to turn to it when they need something but distance themselves from it when it embarrasses them.

J. David Clarke

December 20, 2011

The foolish reject what they see and not what they think; the wise reject what they think and not what they see.

Huang Po

The Framework
December 19, 2011

(NOTE: This is Part 5 of a series on diet and lifestyle change.)

You are ready to work on the very framework of your new life. You have everything you need, now we get to the materials and the basic work itself.

Lots of science shows that more frequent, smaller meals are the key to weight loss. Personally, I have found portion control to be the single most effective part of changing my diet. It takes eating a great deal to even reach a weight above 250 pounds, and I often found thin people were surprised at how much I actually ate. So eat less, eat a normal amount at meals, a sensible portion. You may find you lose weight, initially, doing this alone! I know I did.

Reduce the fat content of your meals. Do it when you SHOP, so that you don’t have to be tempted with high-fat items at home. Buy only items where the FDA label says the ratio of “calories from fat” to “total calories” is less than say, 1/4 to 1/3. No need to be too much of a stickler, there’s “wiggle room”, but this a general guideline.

Many diets cut carbohydrates. I don’t personally believe in this approach, with the exception of “unnecessary” carbs. Don’t fill up on breads you dont need, desserts, lots of sugar, etc. Its just empty caloric intake that you don’t need.

Avoid high fructose corn syrup if you can. HFCS trains your brain to respond to a sweeter flavor than other sweeteners, including plain sugar. When first cutting it out, you may find that foods don’t taste as good as they did before, but you need to let yourself reaclimate, it’s the only way to escape this diabolical trap of the food industry. While your at it, avoid unhealthy artificial sweeteners like Aspartame, found in virtually all diet beverages. Its terrible stuff, I invite you to research it further.

Personally, I like to have a meal replacement bar for breakfast. There are many out there now which have good flavor and are quick, filling, and healthy. I like Special K’s best.

Snack on healthy fruits and vegetables when possible. I like baby carrots as a snack, they are crunchy and flavorful and if you want to have a SMALL amount of fat-free ranch dressing on them, that works too. You don’t have to abandon all your salty or sweet snack impulses though, there are good options of baked chips and low far cookies out there, great strides have been made in those in recent years.

Drink lots of water throughout the day. This will keep you from feeling too hungry, and has immense benefits in and of itself. Not to mention hydration is good when you exercise more, as you surely should. A plan of regular daily exercise, such as walking, even if for only a short duration, will have great benefit to your health.

(I feel it necessary to add that you should of course consult your doctor before starting any diet/exercise plan. He/she can help you tailor the framework of your new home to fit you far better than I could.)

Lastly, one of the most beneficial tools in dieting is a plan which allows you to create an ongoing food plan and adjust what you wat based on your intake. Weight Watchers is such a plan, and I have made great use of as well. Find one right for you.

Your house will be up and built before you know it, and next you will weatherproof it to make it even more secure.

Read the story:
Religious believers distrust atheists more than they do members of other religious groups, gays or feminists, according to a new study by University of B.C. researchers. The only group the study’s participants distrusted as much as atheists was rapists, said doctoral student Will Gervais, lead author of the study published online in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. That prejudice had a significant effect on what kinds of jobs people said they would hire atheists to do. “People are willing to hire an atheist for a job that is perceived as low trust, for instance as a waitress,” said Gervais. “But when hiring for a high-trust job like daycare worker, they were like, nope, not going to hire an atheist for that job.” The antipathy does not seem to run both ways, though. Atheists are indifferent to religious belief when it comes to deciding who is trustworthy. “Atheists don’t necessarily favour other atheists over Christians or anyone else,” he said. “They seem to think that religion is not an important signal for who you can trust.” The researchers found that religious believers thought that descriptions of untrustworthy people – people who steal or cheat – were more likely to be atheists than Christians, Muslims, Jews, gays or feminists. Gervais was surprised that people harbour such strong feelings about a group that is hard to see or identify. He opines that religious believers are just more comfortable with other people who believe a deity with the power to reward and punish is watching them. “If you believe your behaviour is being watched [by God] you are going to be on your best behaviour,” said Gervais. “But that wouldn’t apply for an atheist. That would allow people to use religious belief as a signal for how trustworthy a person is.” Religious belief is known to have a variety of social functions. Past research has found that common religious beliefs can promote cooperation within groups. Gervais started his line of inquiry about the exclusion of atheists after seeing a Gallup poll that suggested the majority of Americans would not vote for an atheist presidential candidate. Gervais and his colleagues conducted a series of six studies on a group of 350 American adults and a group 420 UBC students. But even in more secular Canada, distrust of atheists ran high. “We see consistently strong effects,” he said. “Even here in Vancouver, our student participants still say atheists are really untrustworthy.”
Really?  Atheists being grouped together with rapists as the least trustworthy?  I’m assuming pedophiles and adulterers are among some of the most trusted? I H8 RELIGION

December 4, 2011

Atheists, rapists top list of people religious believers distrust the most, UBC study finds