Results tagged “Pope” from onegoodmove

Richard Dawkins' Speech at Protest the Pope March

Links With Your Coffee - Tuesday

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DOZENS of women have written to Pope Benedict asking if Roman Catholic priests can be allowed the occasional hand job.

(This has to be satire, but these days one will believe anything about Catholics and the Pope)

It is one of these events which – like the cloning of Dolly – change everything and nothing. As a proof of concept, the creation by Craig Venter et al of a bacterial cell controlled by a chemically synthesised genome is definitive. For the first time an organism exists that got its genome not from the direct replication of another organism's, but from a description of another organism's, stored in a computer – and slightly modified, at that, to include a distinguishing "watermark" that might as well be, and perhaps already is, a trademark. It's also a landmark. This is a moment in evolution, the origin of a new kingdom: the Synthetica, as artist Daisy Ginsberg has suggested we call it, supplementing nature's bacteria, eukarya, and archaea.

When a major South American pest infests potato tubers, the plant produces bigger spuds, reports a study by Cornell, University of Goettingen and National University of Colombia researchers.

In the past, I have criticised science journalists for not providing enough background in their reports. Both news stories and scientific papers obviously focus on new events and achievements, but they do so in the knowledge that new discoveries stand on giant shoulders. For this reason, when I cover new papers for this blog, I try to describe some of the research that led up to it, a tactic that fits with the growing cries for more context in modern journalism.

And yet, it’s perhaps churlish to expect this to be a routine part of science journalism when many scientists themselves don’t take up the practice. I bring this up in the light of a new paper, published today in Nature Neuroscience, about the controversial topic of acupuncture. I was going to do this as a straight write-up but actually the omissions in the paper are probably just as interesting than the science within it.

Links With Your Coffee - Monday


From the evil scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory we get some new research that will among other things help:

"To fuel and feed the planet for the future, we need new approaches," said Brookhaven scientist Safiyh Taghavi, the study's lead author. "Biofuels derived from plants are an attractive alternative energy source, but many biofuel feedstock crops are in direct competition with food crops for agricultural resources such as land, water, and fertilizers. Our research is looking for ways to improve the growth of biofuel feedstock plants on land that cannot be economically used for food production. What we learn might also be put to use to increase the productivity of food crops," she added.

Remember genetic engineering is a method not a product and no one is making the claim that genetically engineered plants will end world hunger. What they are claiming is that they can play an important role in working toward that end.

Machakos, Kenya - Fog shrouds the terraced hills, and a stream is swollen from the rain that fell overnight, but the damage of a drought that left 10 million Kenyans dependent on food aid is still evident. On many of the small farms, the ground is bare at a time when corn crops should be several feet tall.

"We had no maize because we planted and there was no rain," said Victor Mutua, who feeds an extended family of 15 from his 20-acre plot.

Poor small-scale farmers like Mutua are at the center of a battle over the future of global agriculture and biotechnology. Scientists are preparing to test in Kenya a genetically modified variety of corn that would be resistant to drought. The seeds are the product of a $47 million project funded largely by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates' foundation and using technology and breeding expertise donated by U.S. seed giant Monsanto Co.

Tim Minchin - Pope Song

If strong language offends you don't watch this video. This video does not treat the Pope with respect if that offends you don't watch it. Oh, and it reminds me a bit of this classic.

(tip to AndyO)

Lyrics below the fold courtesy of Skepchick fans Philology and Aoisha

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You're Welcome - Church Scandal Prevention

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HitchBitch and Maher on the Catholic Church


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Roadus Triptum

The Pope makes his first visit to the Holy Land with a modest agenda of bringing peace to the Middle East

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