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Beautiful New Zealand X: New Zealand Ascending

A new time lapse film by Martin Heck of Timestorm Films came out this week. ‘New Zealand Ascending’ It took sixteen weeks of production time and 185,000 photos to make a film of less than seven minutes. The result, as always is beautiful. New’s Zealand’s Māori name is Aotearoa, which means “Land of the Long White Cloud”. That’s particularly appropriate for this... read more

Trump’s Immigration and Refugee Executive Order is Being Used to Recruit Islamist Terrorists

Donald Trump spent his election campaign making statements like this one from a 7 December 2015 press release. Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on. There were even calls for a Muslim registry.   Those statements and others like them morphed into the recent executive... read more

Simon’s Cat: Valentine’s Day with Extras

Valentine’s Day was yesterday in New Zealand, and I was going to post these then, but I was having a Bad Day so it didn’t get done. I was having a Bad Day before I even remembered it was Valentine’s Day, but that made it worse of course. I’m quite sure many more people have a Bad Day on 14 February than a good one. I’m equally sure that for many Valentine’s Day is the... read more

Widespread Child Sexual Abuse in Australia’s Catholic Church

The Australian government set up the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2013. There were ongoing revelations in the media of institutions moving alleged abusers moving from school to school rather than reporting them to the police. Further, some people, usually senior church, government, and law enforcement figures, allegedly hadn’t tried to stop further abuse... read more

Cool Spy Animals

As so often, it was reader and science communicator Amy Carparelli (@AmyAmylou1993 on Twitter) who brought this to my attention. John Nolan is making animatronic animals at his studio in London for use as spy animals. They’re for use in the filming of an upcoming documentary series. Spy Pup by John Downer The first is a meerkat pup, which the video says has taken months to design and build. They... read more

The Authoritarian Left and Misdirected Animosity in the Atheist Community

The worldwide atheist community is growing every day. In northern Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand this trend has been obvious for some time. The 2015 Pew Research Center Report ‘The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections 2010-2050‘ says: During the next few decades, the number of religiously unaffiliated people around the world is projected to grow modestly,... read more

Doomsday Clock Moves Closer to Midnight

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists made this significant and serious move last week. However, there’s so much going on at the moment I didn’t find time to write about it. Then, the first thing I saw on CNN today was: Breaking News: Trump Administration Puts Iran on  Notice. General Michael Flynn, the US national security advisor said, “As of today, we’re officially putting Iran... read more

Why Trump’s Refugee Ban is Stupid

In short, it’s stupid because refugees are the safest of all immigrants to the country and it creates animosity where relationships most need development. Once again, Trump is building walls where he should be building bridges. Trump’s Executive Order During the election, Donald Trump made all sorts of promises that appealed to a certain constituency. They had had a fear of Muslims whipped... read more

Jim Bakker: “Trump’s Critics Look Demon-Possessed”

Televangelist Jim Bakker has had a chequered history. His career started with the dreadful Pat Robertson, and he had a lot to do with making him so popular. Originally, he was a strong proponent of the prosperity gospel and at one point was said to be receiving US$1 million/day. He then had a dramatic fall from grace which ended with him in prison and his first wife, the well-known (late) Tammy Bakker... read more

Trump Formally Withdraws the United States from TPP

On Monday, Donald Trump signed three memoranda. As a result of the first, the US is no longer part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The second imposes a freeze on hiring federal employees, except for the military. The third order pulls funding from international organisations that discuss or perform abortions. All three policies are damaging to the United States. Imposing a freeze on federal... read more

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