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Wolfgang Alexander Moens
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A Bit Of Fry And Laurie Friday: Her Lesbotic Tendencies Are A Matter Of Public Record

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a. A Bit of Fry & Laurie

b. A Bit Of Fry And Laurie Friday: Her Lesbotic Tendencies Are A Matter Of Public Record by +Mallory Ortberg.
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"As a clinical geneticist, Paul James is accustomed to discussing some of the most delicate issues with his patients. But in early 2010, he found himself having a particularly awkward conversation about sex.

A 46-year-old pregnant woman had visited his clinic at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia to hear the results of an amniocentesis test to screen her baby's chromosomes for abnormalities. The baby was fine — but follow-up tests had revealed something astonishing about the mother. Her body was built of cells from two individuals, probably from twin embryos that had merged in her own mother's womb. And there was more. One set of cells carried two X chromosomes, the complement that typically makes a person female; the other had an X and a Y. Halfway through her fifth decade and pregnant with her third child, the woman learned for the first time that a large part of her body was chromosomally male. “That's kind of science-fiction material for someone who just came in for an amniocentesis,” says James.

Sex can be much more complicated than it at first seems. According to the simple scenario, the presence or absence of a Y chromosome is what counts: with it, you are male, and without it, you are female. But doctors have long known that some people straddle the boundary — their sex chromosomes say one thing, but their gonads (ovaries or testes) or sexual anatomy say another. Parents of children with these kinds of conditions — known as intersex conditions, or differences or disorders of sex development (DSDs) — often face difficult decisions about whether to bring up their child as a boy or a girl. Some researchers now say that as many as 1 person in 100 has some form of DSD [...]"
The idea of two sexes is simplistic. Biologists now think there is a wider spectrum than that.
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"[...] Words, even more than music, enable us to transcend our immediacy, allow us to be human in a fuller sense. Humans are storytelling animals, the only creature on earth that tells itself stories to understand what kind of creature it is, what kind of world it lives in, and what kind of creature it wants to be, and what kind of world it wants to live in.

But more than that: words, stories, books allow us to enter other people’s worlds, other people’s imaginations, understand their hopes, desires, aspirations. The gift of the writer to the reader, as the novelist Aminata Forna has evocatively observed, is to take him or her on a journey, to reveal to them something that they had not seen before. And the gift of the reader is to accept that invitation, to be open to the discoveries that we may stumble upon on that journey.

We live, however, in a world constrained by borders: not just physical borders or national borders but also cultural borders, borders of the mind and of the imagination.

In his memoir Joseph Anton, Salman Rushdie recalls his father reading to him ‘the great wonder tales of the East’ – the stories of Scheherazade from the Thousand and One Nights; the animal fables of the ancient Indian Panchatantra; ‘the marvels that poured like a waterfall from the Kathasaritsagara’, the famous 11th-century Sanskrit collection of myths; the ‘tales of the mighty heroes collected in the Hamzanama’ that tell of the legendary exploits of Amir Hamza, uncle to the Prophet Mohammed; and the ancient Persian classic, The Adventures of Hatim Tai. Rushdie’s father ‘told them and retold them and remade them and reinvented them in his own way’. To grow up ‘steeped in these tellings’, Rushdie writes, was to learn the ‘unforgettable lesson’ that all stories ‘belonged to him, just as they belonged to his father, and to everyone else’.

Yet, Salman Rushdie’s own story shows how, for many, stories don’t belong to everyone. [...]"
I gave a talk at the launch at London's Institut Français of Libraries without Borders, the charity inspired by Patrick Weil that aims to increase global access to books and libraries. Also speakin...
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a. to imagine, to hope, to transcend, to transform

b. Kenan Malik: Kenan Malik (born 1960) is an Indian-born English writer, lecturer and broadcaster, trained in neurobiology and the history of science. As a scientific author, his focus is on the philosophy of biology, and contemporary theories of multiculturalism, pluralism and race. These topics are core concerns in The Meaning of Race (1996), Man, Beast and Zombie (2000) and Strange Fruit: Why Both Sides Are Wrong in the Race Debate (2008).

His work contains a forthright defence of the values of the 18th-century Enlightenment, which he sees as having been distorted and misunderstood in more recent political and scientific thought. He was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize in 2010.

c. Images: The paintings are from a series on libraries by Jacob Lawrence.
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"[...] He was so maimed -- with wounds to his head, face and neck -- that police identified him through the voter identification card he was carrying.

His death was the second time in five weeks that someone was killed in Dhaka for online posts critical of Islam -- but they are hardly the only two who've paid a steep price. In the last two years, several bloggers have died, either murdered or under mysterious circumstances. [...]"

End #Blasphemy ; _Links below!_
Washiqur Rahman, the latest victim of violence targeting secularists, was killed by two religion students in Dhaka
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Is this an example of the "moral compass" that atheists apparently lack?
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Three-dimensional acoustic levitation (also: Acoustophoresis) is a method for suspending matter in a medium by using acoustic radiation pressure from intense sound waves in the medium.
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Why do animals #sleep ?
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* #BAHFest  is the Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses*: a celebration of well-researched, logically explained, and clearly wrong evolutionary theory. Additional information is available at
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"[...] J. Hari: I think one of the most important things to say about [the revision of drug laws] is that it’s not an abstract conversation. Too often when we talk about the alternatives to the drug war, people start using this slightly weird and arid philosophical tone of voice, where it’s all kind of hypothetical. There’s no excuse for hypothetical conversations on this subject. The alternatives have been tried, they are being tried across the world, and the results are in, and they are unambiguous.

So I could talk about a few places, and Portugal is one. In 2000 Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe. One percent of the population was addicted to heroin, which is kind of extraordinary. Every year they tried the American way more and more: They arrested and imprisoned more people, and every year the problem got worse. One day the prime minister and the leader of the opposition got together and in effect said, “We can’t go on like this. We can’t have more and more people becoming heroin addicts. Let’s figure out what would genuinely solve the problem.”

They convened a panel of scientists and doctors and said to them (again I’m paraphrasing), “Go away and figure out what would solve this problem, and we will agree in advance to do whatever you recommend.” They just took it out of politics. It was very smart. It was as if Obama and Boehner agreed in advance to abide by whatever the panel on drug reform said. It’s hard to imagine Obama and Boehner agreeing on the time of day, but grant that thought for a moment.

The panel went away for a year and a half and came back and said: “Decriminalize everything from cannabis to crack. But”—and this is the crucial next stage—“take all the money we used to spend on arresting and harassing and imprisoning drug users, and spend it on reconnecting them with society and turning their lives around.”

Some of it was what we think of as treatment in America and Britain—they do do residential rehab, and they do therapy—but actually most of it wasn’t that. Most of it, the most successful part, was really very simple. It was making sure that every addict in Portugal had something to get out of bed for in the morning. It consisted of subsidized jobs and microloans to set up small businesses.

Say you used to be a mechanic. When you’re ready, they’ll go to a garage and they’ll say, “If you employ Sam for a year, we’ll pay half his wages.” The microloans had extremely low interest rates, and many businesses were set up by addicts.

It’s been nearly 15 years since this experiment began, and the results are in. Drug use by injection is down by 50%, broader addiction is down, overdose is massively down, and HIV transmission among addicts is massively down.

Compare that with the results in the United States over the past few years [...]"

"[...] Switzerland, a very conservative country, legalized heroin for addicts, meaning you go to the doctor, the doctor assigns you to a clinic, you go to that clinic every day, and you inject your heroin. You can’t take it out with you. I went to that clinic—it looks like a fancy Manhattan hairdresser’s, and the addicts go out after injecting their heroin to their jobs and their lives.

I stress again—Switzerland is a very right-wing country, and after its citizens had seen this in practice, they voted by 70% in two referenda to keep heroin legal for addicts, because they could see that it works. They saw that crime massively fell, property crime massively fell, muggings and street prostitution declined enormously.

I think one of the really important things, particularly in winning the debate in America, is to look at what arguments won in these places and what arguments didn’t. We found that in the places that successfully decriminalized or legalized, liberty-based arguments for ending the drug war were very unpopular. I’m philosophically sympathetic to the argument that it’s your body and you’ve got a right to do what you want with it. But it turns out that’s a politically toxic argument—people really don’t like it, and it only works with people who already agree.

The arguments that work well in persuading the people we still want to reach are order-based arguments. I think the Swiss heroin referenda are good models for that. Basically, what they said was drug war means chaos. It means unknown criminals selling unknown chemicals to unknown users, all in the dark, in our public places, filled with disease and chaos. Legalization is a way of imposing regulation and order on this anarchy. It’s about taking it away from criminal gangs and giving it to doctors and pharmacists, and making sure it happens in nice clean clinics, and we get our nice parks back, and we reduce crime. That’s the argument that will win. And it’s not like it’s a rhetorical trick—it’s true. That is what happens.

S. Harris: And the virtue of that argument is that it separates the problem of drug dependency from all the associated criminality and chaos that isn’t intrinsic to the act of taking drugs, whatever one’s level of dependency. [...]"
Sam Harris, neuroscientist and author of the New York Times bestsellers, The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, and The Moral Landscape.
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“Literature is necessary to politics above all when it gives a voice to the one who doesn’t have a voice, when it gives a name to the one who doesn’t have a name, and especially to all that political language excludes or tends to exclude …

Literature is like an ear that can hear more than Politics; Literature is like an eye that can perceive beyond the chromatic scale to which Politics is sensitive.”

Italo Calvino, The Uses of Literature
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The anatomy of #discovery : a case study: "[...] Let us restrict ourselves here to the quite serendipitous, experimental discoveries, those that take place quite unexpectedly. A few examples will clarify what I mean.

First, take Fleming’s chance observation of destruction of bacteria by penicillin, which apparently must have flown in through a nearby open window in his untidy laboratory. Or consider Bequerel’s discovery of radioactivity in which the chance juxtaposition, over a weekend, of a photographic plate, a key and pitchblende (uranium ore) created an image of the key, when the photographic plate was developed. Even better perhaps, the “experiment,” that many people would have wished to have been present to see, when Roentgen put his hand between his X-ray tube and the detection screen and saw, to his astonishment, the image of the bones in his hand. It is revealing of the character of discovery that subsequently Roentgen conducted further experiments in private, rather than expose himself to the ridicule of the scientific community if he turned out somehow to be imagining, rather than imaging, things. Fear of failure and doubt of their results are not confined to experimentalists. Both Schrödinger and Dirac have both recorded the same sensations in their respective paths to the discovery of quantum mechanics and anti-matter.

We have obviously no choice but to admit that chance plays an important role in scientific discovery. But there is much more to it than that. [...]"

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Graham Norton and Eurovision 2013 presenter Petra Mede host a special concert to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest.
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Amnesty International: 25-year prison sentence for criticizing royal family.

The conviction and sentencing this morning of a Thai businessman to 25 years in prison for posting messages allegedly critical of the royal family on Facebook [...] and shows the urgent need for Thailand to amend its outdated lèse majesté law, [...]

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"[Polio] is a disease that has been relegated to our collective history with astonishing speed — so fast, in fact, that it no longer frightens us. “When I tell someone I had polio, there’s often a bit of a distant look as they search for something to connect it to,” Broderson says. “Many had a relative or neighbor at one time. Really young people have no idea what it is or means.”

It’s probably time that we change that. You should know polio. Its story is horrifying and magnificent, a testament to both the capacity of humanity to work together for good, and mankind’s relationship with the killers among us. We are so close to wiping it from the planet — an end goal that no one even dared to ponder when the vaccine was created. But there are pockets of resistance where polio is exploiting political strife and sowing the seeds of its own resurgence. With an outbreak brewing fresh in Pakistan, the stakes are enormously high. We have watched polio emerge, rise to ubiquity, and fall dramatically; we have seen everything but its final breath. And we would be remiss to welcome it back through ignorance and apathy.

[...] A strange bat in the daytime. A rusty nail. An unsafe drunken hookup. Rats in the deserts outside Las Vegas. These are the homes of our monsters. They’re all out there, right along side measles, scurvy, whooping cough, and polio; it’s just now they no longer scare us. Because now we know we can win.

But let’s not get too smug about that.[...]"
We’re so close to eradicating it, but here’s the block: Superstition, suspicion — and the C.I.A.
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There is also Post Polio Syndrome which still affects many.
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Have him in circles
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