Stranger In An Even Stranger Land - blog by Gurdur


A blog of random jottings on events, science, renfairs, travel, reading, music, humanism, religion, atheism, and even the odd spot of gardening.

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

Hemant Mehta (The Friendly Atheist) goes off the rails on the #Manoora case

Posted 23-Dec-2014 at 06:25 PM (18:25) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 23-Dec-2014 at 07:49 PM (19:49) by Gurdur

There was a very distressing incident a day or so ago. An Australian mother, Raina Thaiday, is accused of having "stabbed seven of her own nine children, and a niece. The victims ranged in age from two to fourteen". This happened within the Torres Strait Islander community in Manoora, Queensland, Australia. The mother is charged with having murdered "three of her daughters, aged 2, 11 and 12, four of her sons, aged 5, 6, 8 and 9, and her 14-year-old niece".

Psychosis happens. Look...
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Australian politics has a Shortened blip

Posted 27-Apr-2012 at 09:30 AM (09:30) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 27-Apr-2012 at 11:31 AM (11:31) by Gurdur

Australian politics is usually on the rougher side of rough-and-tumble. Questioning of politicians by the media is often hard, and questioning of politicians by each other is even harder - especially from those theoretically on the same side.

But now a blip in all that happens. Courtesy of Mr. Bill Shorten, who is minister for the Workplace Relations Portfolio in the Australian Federal cabinet, under the current Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. Watch the video below; words fail me. Yes,...
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Such is life. Somehow.

Posted 29-Aug-2011 at 11:35 AM (11:35) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 30-Aug-2011 at 12:43 AM (00:43) by Gurdur

So I was thinking to myself, the hotel might be expensive, and it's more difficult to journey by foot between the hotel and the Greenbelt festival at the Cheltenham racecourse than I thought from looking at the map before making the trip here. But at least I'm not trapped among a million tents drowning in mud and haunted by people loudly squealing at 4am in the morning, making sure you don't get any sleep. Such is life, you think to yourself; "Such is life" is a saying invented by the famous Australian bushranger (outlaw) Ned Kelly,...
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Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

Anders Behring Breivik, the problem of evil, the demonization of the mentally ill, medicine, science and ethics

Posted 25-Jul-2011 at 07:01 PM (19:01) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 25-Jul-2011 at 07:22 PM (19:22) by Gurdur

As people struggle to cope with Breivik's deeds, they often call him "deranged" and "insane", which is simply wrong, unscientific empty name-calling, and adds to the demonization of the actual mentally ill - most of whom will never hurt anyone but themselves if anyone. Most of us can agree that Breivik is evil, but evil is a very loose concept, often misused by people, adding to the confusion. Many of us can agree that there is no point in describing natural events or sheer randomicity as evil;...
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Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

The British National Health Service (NHS) healthcare coverage - very effective at cost

Posted 08-Jun-2011 at 05:50 PM (17:50) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 08-Jun-2011 at 06:11 PM (18:11) by Gurdur

The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation in the USA aiming to promote high-performing health-care, has released a new report (from which the graphic below comes), which analyses the health-care coverage systems of Australia, Canada, Germany, The Netherlands (often wrongly called Holland; Holland is actually only part of the Netherlands), New Zealand,the United Kingdom (UK, Britain), and the USA.

The analysis ("Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: How The Performance of the U.S. Health Care...
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You CAN take it with you: funeral Apple iPads (paper ones) in China

Posted 17-Apr-2011 at 05:33 PM (17:33) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 15-Mar-2012 at 09:09 PM (21:09) by Gurdur

For a fair while in Sydney, there was a fantastic large Chinese shop in the Chinatown district of the inner city. Chinatown is not just named so for advertising; the Chinese community in Australia is well over 150 years old in continuance, and in Chinatown, you see old-age nursing homes for disabled Chinese Australians. In the nearby public library, Haymarket Library if I recall correctly, you would often see aged Chinese men reading the Chinese newspapers in there; and that was decades ago. There...
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Society, Ethics And Science Weekly blogs round-up - 03/04 April 2011

Posted 05-Apr-2011 at 02:37 PM (14:37) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 05-Apr-2011 at 03:10 PM (15:10) by Gurdur

Time for another weekly round-up! As ever, what I find around the net on society, science, ethics, religion and atheism. You can easily see a list of all my weekly blogs round-ups on this link here (using the tag "blogs round-up"). Again, as ever, I include as much info as possible, including Twitter handles and so on, so you can see not only the sources but also how to garner info yourself. The below round-up as ever also includes a fair few press reports.

Finding all the worms!...
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Rating: 5 votes, 5.00 average.

Spring is here, and science too! The birds and the bees, and the very discreet orchids!

Posted 23-Mar-2011 at 06:45 PM (18:45) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 23-Mar-2011 at 07:08 PM (19:08) by Gurdur

Spring is here, and in Britain they've seized the chance to wear the usual-suspect inappropriate clothing. It's time for the birds and the bees, and science too! With added underground orchids, all being terribly discreet. I last blogged about my own orchids here, and I noted another blog posting (Shireen Gonzaga on the EarthSky blog) about underground orchids here, but now in the last few days, Jennifer Frazer of the blog The Artful Amoeba has made a really interesting blog post on biology science...
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Rating: 4 votes, 4.00 average.

A girl's best friend?

Posted 09-Feb-2011 at 03:56 PM (15:56) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 09-Feb-2011 at 05:32 PM (17:32) by Gurdur

A long while back, a book came out in Australia of cartoons - if and only if I remember rightly - titled "There's No Place Like Home", by Mary Leunig. It's possible it was only published in Australia. One representative cartoon of hers is shown at below right.

In that book (again if and only if I remember rightly), there was a cartoon showing a woman at the kitchen sink chopping up a cucumber,...
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Sigh. Cardinal Pell, Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, tries trolling

Posted 29-Nov-2010 at 10:47 PM (22:47) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 29-Nov-2010 at 11:06 PM (23:06) by Gurdur

Cardinal George Pell, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, has yet again tried his utmost at trolling, rather distastefully doing it on Sunday 28 November 2010 at "a Mass to install the former Defence Force chief General Peter Cosgrove as chancellor of the Australian Catholic University", as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.

''A minority of people, usually people without religion, are frightened by the future,'' Cardinal Pell, the Archbishop of
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Volcanos! Auckland, New Zealand, up for the chop before Ballarat, Australia; Eifel still quiet if gassy

Posted 18-Oct-2010 at 02:55 AM (02:55) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 18-Oct-2010 at 03:04 AM (03:04) by Gurdur

New Zealand NZ TV3 recently showed a fictionalized documentary on a volcanic eruption right in the Auckland Volcanic Field, a large area which includes the city itself. The TV drama was apparently good stuff, but not yet available on YouTube. I did find a much earlier fictional documentary, apparently made in 2006; the video is down below. Scientifically seen, the Auckland Volcanic Field should pop sometime soonish, give or take a thousand years or so; its immediacy probably beats the volcanic...
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Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

Sunday/Monday blogs round-up - 17/18 October 2010

Posted 17-Oct-2010 at 08:27 AM (08:27) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 17-Oct-2010 at 05:57 PM (17:57) by Gurdur

As ever, ten blog posts (or topics with more than one blog post on them) found to have been posted in the last week or so, in the wider blogosphere. All quite random - keep in mind, I may totally disagree with any one blog post mentioned here, but I felt it worthy of mention for whatever reason.

Ben of Ben's Prison Blog is pretty bloody honest about life and people behind bars at least in the posts where he answers questions put to him by blog readers, in: "Any Answers? cont..." (ignore...
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Blues done by Kim O The Concrete Jungle - are friends electric, again

Posted 22-Aug-2010 at 02:00 PM (14:00) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

I've blogged before about the music of a friend of mine, Kim O The Concrete Jungle, who is a member of the Hangout and Hub boards, and who lives down in Sydney, Australia. He's just done some new self-recordings. Here's a link to my previous blog post on Kim and his music, and here's a link to Kim's own official website. Now here below are the videos of his new self-recordings, enjoy!

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Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

Australia now has woman Prime Minister, and woman Governor-General, Julia Gillard and Quentin Bryce

Posted 25-Jun-2010 at 02:57 PM (14:57) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

So as the result of a leadership spill, Kevin Rudd was told by his own party, the Australian Labor Party (ALP), presently in power in the Federal government level, that they would no longer have him as prime minister (PM), and he was replaced by Julia Gillard.

Julia Gillard, Australia's very first woman PM, was duly sworn in by the Governor-General (GG), who is Australia's first woman GG, Quentin Bryce....
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More on alcoholism, and on Alcoholics Anonymous in regard to atheism and secularism

Posted 14-May-2010 at 09:27 AM (09:27) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 14-May-2010 at 09:48 AM (09:48) by Gurdur

I would just like to stress a couple of points from my last blog post (on alcoholism and on Alcoholics Anonymous) and to broaden them.

Often the alleged "spirituality" of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is used in accusations against it, yet I personally know several recovered alcholics who are longterm attenders of AA meetings, yet are still very atheist indeed. The invocation of a higher power in AA can simply mean invocation of one's own subconconcious, or just "letting go" of problems...
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Newspapers, digital journalism, atheists and the media, and everyones' obligations as concerned citizens

Posted 01-Apr-2010 at 12:09 AM (00:09) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 01-Apr-2010 at 02:52 AM (02:52) by Gurdur

This blog post of mine is for those who want to be effective rather than self-indulgent, and who want to accomplish positive things as concerned citizens and for atheism as a movement in relation to the press and other media. Many atheists are useless at relations with the press, often because they're simply not interested in having good relations with the press, but instead more interested in a kneejerk fashion expressing self-pity, victimhood and emo, as when Ophelia Benson opined that, "The...
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Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

A response from Stuart Bechman, President of the Atheist Alliance International, to the Open Letter from grass-roots atheists to the 2010 Global Atheist Convention, Melbourne, Australia

Posted 12-Mar-2010 at 07:56 AM (07:56) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 14-Mar-2010 at 08:54 AM (08:54) by Gurdur

Stuart Bechman, President of the Atheist Alliance International (AAI), has very kindly answered the Open Letter from grass-roots atheists to the 2010 Global Atheist Convention, Melbourne, Australia. His response is given in sections, together with our replies, and then the entire message from Stuart Bechman is below at bottom.

Originally Posted by Stuart Bechman
.... As a key person who was involved in planning both the AAI October 2009 convention (Burbank, CA, USA) and the March 2010 Global Atheist Convention (Melbourne,
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Rating: 8 votes, 4.50 average.

An Open Letter from grass-roots atheists to the 2010 Global Atheist Convention, Melbourne, Australia

Posted 10-Mar-2010 at 10:29 PM (22:29) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 12-Mar-2010 at 10:20 AM (10:20) by Gurdur

This letter is initially sent in the names of Gurdur (Tim Skellett, an Australian living in Germany) and Never (an American living in the USA), as admins of the two boards, the Hangout and the Hub, though it is also sent after consultation with a good many others. If you approve of this letter, please make a Comment to it here below to say so (guests are able to post comments here now), and please make this Open Letter known wherever you can. Please note that the Comments line below is for those...
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Rating: 8 votes, 5.00 average.

Dialogue, respect, contempt, semaphore signals from all along the watchtower

Posted 04-Mar-2010 at 09:58 AM (09:58) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 04-Aug-2010 at 12:38 PM (12:38) by Gurdur

Dialogue is rather a difficult area. In my more cynical moments, sometimes I espouse one theory of mine that the less communication is actually understood between humans, the better they get along with each other. For example, if Urrr-urrrghh the caveman meets Zonka while out hunting berries and caribou, and Zonka says, "Whacka guacamole zonk zonkitty zonk Zonka grrzuzzzhack! Ghishka waska zappo ghrrsisshzzk!" to Urrr-urrrghh, and of course Urrr-urrrghh does not understand Zonka's language, then...
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Posted 23-Feb-2010 at 11:27 PM (23:27) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 18-May-2013 at 03:18 PM (15:18) by Gurdur

Here in Germany, we've just gone through Karneval, which means Ostern (Easter; Easter is named after the Old English name of the goddess Wikipedia link for Ēostre Ēostre, also called Ēastre or Eoaster, of Wikipedia link for Anglo-Saxon paganism Anglo-Saxon paganism) is coming up after the Lent period, and the German habit of hiding painted Easter eggs (Osterei, Ostereier, = Easter egg, Easter eggs) around the gardens for children to seek, and 40 days (if I remember rightly) after that is Pfingsten, Pentecostal Sunday (all of these are dated by the lunar calender...
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