Christianity’s faith-based freakout: Why atheism makes believers so uncomfortable

Rather than respecting the right of atheists to disbelieve, christians are constantly forcing them to fake it

By , ALTERNET

Why do so many religious believers want atheists to lie about our atheism?

It seems backward. Believers are always telling atheists that we need religion for morality; that we have to believe because without religion, people would have no reason not to murder and steal and lie. And yet, all too often, they ask us to lie. When atheists come out of the closet and tell the people in our lives that we don’t believe in God, all too often the reaction is to try to shove us back in.

In some cases, they simply want us to keep our mouths shut: when the topic of religion comes up, they want us to tell the lie of omission. But much of the time, they actually ask us to lie outright. They ask us to lie to other family members. They ask us to attend church or other religious services. They sometimes even ask us to perform important religious rituals, like funerals or confirmations, where we’re not just lying to the people around us, but to the god they supposedly believe in.

Why would they do this?

Read more ⇒ SALON
See more ⇒ http://www.salon.com/2014/04/28/christianitys_faith_based_freakouts_why_atheism_makes_believers_lose_their_minds_partner/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

The Muslim Call Girl Who’ll Marry You First

By Nico Hines

An hour with London escort Kamillah is $450. But for $100 more, she’ll enter into a nikah mut’ah—a temporary marriage that some Shia say makes sex outside of marriage permissible.
LONDON—The Kim Kardashian of Islamic call girls is blazing a trail for British Muslims who are embracing a traditional form of marriage to absolve themselves of the sin of premarital sex.

By entering into a nikah mut’ah, a temporary marriage for as little as an hour, sex between two lovers suddenly becomes legit in the eyes of Allah, at least according to some generous Shia interpretations. Plenty of other scholars argue that the practice, which was laid out in the Quran, had already been rejected during Muhammad’s lifetime.

To Kamillah, a London escort with 80,000 Twitter followers, nikah mut’ah is merely an optional extra available for less than $100. On an extraordinary online photo page, she puts Kim Kardashian’s butt to shame in a “break the Internet”replica shot. Her backside and just a hint of her left breast are obscured only by baby oil, while her head is modestly covered by a traditional veil.

Indeed, the $450-an-hour escort wears a veil or hijab in most of the photographs on her booking site, even when a nipple is squarely in the center of the frame. Thus, civilizations collide in 21st-century London.

Among the reviews on the Trip Advisor-style site, a satisfied customer concludes: “Allahu Akbar! Had the best mutah experience everr.”

Another recent client was an undercover reporter for The Sun newspaper. Using the name “Fairuza,” Kamillah told him that her quickie marriage, quickie divorce service was in great demand. “It’s very popular,” she explained.

The biggest concern for Kamillah, who says she is half-Iraqi, half-Iranian, was apparently the fear that Romanian and Eastern European call girls were muscling in on her turf by pretending to be Middle Eastern and offering the same ceremony.

While there is a debate among Shia clerics about the permissibility of mut’ah, it is completely outlawed for Sunnis. Kamillah told The Sun: “I did it with one Saudi who converted to Shia Islam only so he could do mut’ah. He did it just for that reason.

“He was in London for two months. I was his wife for the two months. I lived with him and I wasn’t allowed to be with any other man. He paid very good money. He is coming back next year and we’ll do it again. It’s common for Arabs to do it.”

Nikah mut’ah is used in varying degrees of openness all over the Shia world. Iranian officials suggested last year that it should be used more frequently by Westernized couples who wanted to avoid committing adultery—a crime punishable by death.

In Britain, young Muslims are coming to similar conclusions, not just for sex but if they want to experience a Western boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, which is otherwise haram, or sinful. Omar Farooq Khan, former president of the Islamic Society at Bradford University, told the BBC Asian Network that the practice had become common on campus and was seen by many as halal, or permissible. “Definitely nikah mut’ah is on the rise now…Students are educated people so obviously they look around for a solution to their problems from an Islamic perspective,” he said.

Read more » The Daily Beast
See more » http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/25/the-muslim-call-girl-who-ll-marry-you-first.html

Flight in 2030: Super quiet Progress Eagle concept plane has three decks, generates its own power and boasts a 314-ft wingspan

By RICHARD GRAY FOR MAILONLINE

Aircraft in the future could feature three decks, generate their own power and be 75 per cent quieter than current aircraft, according to designs for new concept plane.

The Progress Eagle would have capacity for around 800 passengers and would run on hydrogen fuel rather than the high-grade aircraft fossil fuels used today.

The Airbus A380, currently the world’s largest passenger airliner, carries around 525 people.

The AWWA-QG Progress Eagle was dreamed up by Barcelona-based designer Oscar Viñals as part of his vision for how travelling by air could be in 2030.

His design uses six hydrogen fuel engines – one to drive a central screw-type engine at the rear to achieve the thrust needed to take off along with five superconductive engines.

Once it reaches the right altitude, however, the central engine turns off and starts to generate electricity from the airflowing through it.

Solar panels would also help to generate electrical power that the aircraft uses while it is in flight. Mr Viñals said that the aircraft would produce zero carbon emissions and would also be far quieter than current airliners.

Excess energy stored in the aircraft’s batteries could be recovered by special electrical storage trucks on the ground when it lands.

The cockpit itself is located on the second deck and includes beds an office and a workroom.

According to Mr Viñals the aircraft would be made from lightweight materials like carbon fibre, aluminum, titanium and ceramics.

He said the wingspan would be 96 metres (314 feet) with the option of folding a section of the wings to make the aircraft easier to manoeuvre in airports.

An Airbus A380 has a wingspan of 80 metres (262 feet) and a Boeing 747 is 64 metres (209 feet) across.

Read more » Daily Mail
See more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2982691/Flight-2030-Super-quiet-Progress-Eagle-concept-plane-three-decks-generates-power-314-ft-wingspan.html#ixzz3UpmNJvIm

BP CEO gets 25% pay rise while profits drop

banksBP Chief Executive Bob Dudley was given a 25 percent rise in total pay and bonuses in 2014 despite a drop in profits at the oil major, according to the annual report.

Dudley’s remuneration rose from $10.17 million in 2013 to $12.74 million last year, according to BP’s annual report released Tuesday. He also received $9.8 million in share awards. In January the company cuts its capital spending program and imposed a salary freeze, weeks after axing hundreds of jobs in Scotland and thousands more globally as a result of falling oil prices and profits. BP has frozen the pay of its 84,000 workforce around the world after a nearly 50 percent fall in crude prices since last summer.

BP’s chief will receive a deferred bonus package of $3.4 million. There was no bonus in 2013 as BP was facing aftermath of the disastrous spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Dudley’s base salary increased only by 3 percent to $1.8 million. His annual bonus fell to $1million last year from $2.3 million in 2013; this was partly due to his decision to defer $1million for three years. The chief executive will see no salary increase in 2015 in line with the company’s pay freeze and spending cuts.

In February BP’s workers went out on strike in the UK, seeking tighter regulations to prevent worker fatigue, a reduction of non-union contract workers, and wage increases for its members.

Shareholders have criticized BP for its executive pay packages. Dudley’s pay for 2013, which tripled over 2012, has been criticized by some shareholders as well. Nevertheless, it was approved by the majority of the shareholders, with the company arguing it can retain top talent only by paying its executives competitive salaries.

Read more » http://rt.com/business/237617-bp-dudley-remuneration-rise/

400 men cut their testicles off believing it would help them meet God

NEW DELHI, Feb 27, 2015: An Indian spiritual guru-turned- movie-star allegedly convinced up to 400 men to castrate themselves because it would bring them closer to God.

The procedures are thought to have taken place around the year 2000.

However, victims are only coming forward after overcoming initial fears of speaking out against the widely-beloved Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who has around 40 to 50 million followers worldwide, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Known as “the guru in bling” and worth an estimated US$40 million (RM140 million), Gurmeet reportedly urged his followers that having their testicles removed would allow them to meet God and speak with Him directly.

Witnesses of the castrations say they were conducted at a hospital owned by Gurmeet’s spiritual organisation, the Sydney Morning Herald added.

Several witnesses have agreed to testify in court, possibly putting an end to his history of avoiding conviction.

See: http://elitedaily.com/news/world/men-cut-balls-off-believing-theyd-meet-god/948597/

Read more: http://www.therakyatpost.com/world/2015/02/27/400-men-cut-their-testicles-off-believing-it-would-help-them-meet-god/#ixzz3T3Jiq2tF

Hillary Clinton rebrands Obama’s frat house as her own

Opinion writer

The 2016 campaign has acquired an unexpected story line in its early stages: All Madam President’s Men.

As Hillary Clinton begins to staff her nascent presidential campaign, a paradox has emerged. When she ran in 2008, she played down her potential to make history as the first woman to be president, but her campaign was run by a woman and dominated at the top levels by women. This time, Clinton is properly emphasizing her path-breaking role, but she’s relying on the old-boy network — in large part by taking over President Obama’s heavily male campaign apparatus.

Her campaign chairman: John Podesta. Her campaign manager: Robby Mook. Her chief strategist: Joel Benenson. Her pollsters: Benenson, John Anzalone and David Binder. Her top media guy: Jim Margolis. John, Robby, Joel, John, David and Jim join former Obama hands such as Jim, Jeremy and Mitch, who have already been boosting Clinton’s candidacy in the super PAC world.

This is quite a departure from Clinton’s run eight years ago, when a Huffington Post study found that eight of her 14 senior staffers and 12 of her 20 highest-paid staffers were women (including campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle, who was later replaced by Maggie Williams, and chief media strategist Mandy Grunwald). By contrast, only three of Obama’s top 12 staffers were women, and in less important roles.

This surely wasn’t Clinton’s intent, but her decision to re-brand Obama’s frat house as her own puts out a message quite at odds with her candidacy: that women can’t run a presidential campaign. “Will Hillary ’16 Be a ‘White Dude Fest’?” the Daily Beast asked last month.

Clinton world has since done some damage control, letting it be known that Jennifer Palmieri would run the campaign’s communications operation and that Grunwald would have a role. And some of the grumbling about Clinton’s early hires isn’t fair: Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills and Williams, though they don’t (yet) have official roles, are highly influential members of Clinton’s inner circle. From what I’ve heard, Clinton lieutenants were surprised by the reaction to the early slate of male hires. They say they blundered in putting out the names of several men at once and were not making a fundamental shift from the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuit to the Obama towel snappers.

Even so, this suggests a tone deafness reminiscent of Obama’s handling of the issue. A 2009 basketball game at the White House in which only men played became a symbol of an administration that excluded women from top positions. The common response — that senior adviser Valerie Jarrett has broad influence behind the scenes — is similar to the explanation of the role of women in Clinton’s emerging campaign.

Read more » The Washington Post
See more » http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/hillary-clinton-rebrands-obamas-frat-house-as-her-own/2015/02/17/1d0ab0fc-b6e8-11e4-9423-f3d0a1ec335c_story.html

‘People lose trust in EU govts’: German Euroskeptics take regional votes from Merkel’s party

The rapidly rising Eurosceptic party ‘Alternative for Germany’ has won its first seats in regional elections in the west of the country. Much of the party’s votes were gained from the ruling party of Angela Merkel, that scored its worst election result in decades. RT discusses the new trends in European politics with Paul Hampel from the Alternative for Germany party.

News courtesy: Youtube » RT

UK begins testing driverless cars with ambitions for world leadership in industry

Britain has begun testing its own driverless cars, as the government has agreed to a “light touch, non-regulatory approach” to testing the vehicles on public roads, following a six-month review of the country’s technical adaptability to driverless tech.

The UK government has channeled £19 million ($29 million) into four pilot programs across the country, it was revealed Wednesday.

A government review also pointed out that by 2030, Britain expects to become a leader in the field. Not only that – by then you’ll also be able to sit back, surf the net and completely disregard the fact that you’re on a perilous journey with hundreds of other automated vehicles around you.

Read more » http://rt.com/uk/231547-uk-driverless-cars-google/

Why ISIS Murdered Kenji Goto

People in Japan are calling Goto’s murder their 9/11.

BY

Why did ISIS execute a second Japanese hostage? Before the beheading of the journalist Kenji Goto, Japan didn’t think that it was even in a fight with the Islamic State. All Japan had done was contribute a couple of hundred million dollars in humanitarian aid to countries fighting ISIS. Then the man who has come to be known as Jihadi John, the executioner with the London accent seen in several of the group’s videos, threatened death to every Japanese person on the planet as he prepared to slaughter Goto. As a result, a political scientist at the University of Tokyo told the Times, “The cruelty of the Islamic State has made Japan see a harsh new reality. … We now realize we face the same dangers as other countries do.” People in Japan are now calling Kenji Goto’s murder their 9/11.

Continue reading

High-tech Japanese hotel to employ human-like robot staff

by Mariella Moon

Going to Japan? Here’s a bit of advice: if you’re absolutely terrified of eerie human-like robots, think very hard before visiting Nagasaki prefecture’s Henn-na Hotel that’s slated to open its doors in July. Why? Because the high-tech hotel will employ 10 robots, three of which are multilingual gynoids that look like they were shipped straight from Uncanny Valley. Kokoro, the robots’ manufacturer, calls them “actroids,” and yes, you’ve seen usfeature them in the past. Thankfully, they’re stuck behind the check-in counter as receptionists, so you can just get that part done as fast as possible. Or, you can try to flirt for a room upgrade if that’s your thing, since they can apparently establish eye contact and respond to body language.

Read more ⇒ Engadget
Learn more ⇒ http://www.engadget.com/2015/02/08/high-tech-robot-hotel-japan/

Separation of the classes – You shall not pass! 1-meter-high ‘anti-burglar’ wall raises eyebrows in French town

A mayor of a northern French town has taken a rather bizarre measure against burglars by erecting an “impassable” stone wall across one of its streets. The 1-meter tall structure caused puzzled locals to sign a petition against the drastic action.

The construction in the northern French commune of Hénin-Beaumont in the Pas-de-Calais department basically just blocks traffic. It was introduced by the town’s mayor Steeve Briois who belongs to the National Front party, La Voix du Nord newspaper reported on Wednesday.

“It is simple urban planning that has been approved by 70–80 percent of the population in the neighborhood,” the town council stated, as cited by Le Figaro newspaper.

Read more ⇒ http://rt.com/news/229543-france-town-wall-crime/

New technique fights aging, extends life of cultured human cells

The high vulnerability of cultured adult stem cells has posed a big problem for microbiological research. But a new technique, developed by Stanford scientists, can extend the life of cultured cells and offer clues to solving diseases and prolonging life.

The technique can quickly increase the length of human telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes. As a result, the treated cells behave as if they are much younger and multiply with abandon in the laboratory dish – rather than stagnating and dying. Normally, telomeres shorten with each cell division, and this is the reason a cell eventually dies.

Now we have found a way to lengthen human telomeres by as much as 1,000 nucleotides, turning back the internal clock in these cells by the equivalent of many years of human life,”said Helen Blau, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology at Sanford, in a statement. “This greatly increases the number of cells available for studies such as drug testing and disease modeling.”

Read more ⇒ http://rt.com/usa/228775-extending-life-human-cells/

New Research Reveals the Real Causes of Depression

By: Dr. Mercola

Depression is thought to affect about one in 10 Americans.1 In 2010, antidepressants were the second most commonly prescribed type of medication in the US,2 hinting at the severity of the problem.

Contrary to popular belief, depression is not likely caused by unbalanced brain chemicals; however there are a number of other biological factors that appear to be highly significant. Chronic inflammation is one. As noted in the featured article:3

“George Slavich, a clinical psychologist at the University of California in Los Angeles, has spent years studying depression, and has come to the conclusion that it has as much to do with the body as the mind.‘I don’t even talk about it as a psychiatric condition anymore,’ he says. ‘It does involve psychology, but it also involves equal parts of biology and physical health.’ The basis of this new view is blindingly obvious once it is pointed out: everyone feels miserable when they are ill. That feeling of being too tired, bored and fed up to move off the sofa and get on with life is known among psychologists as sickness behaviour.It happens for a good reason, helping us avoid doing more damage or spreading an infection any further. It also looks a lot like depression.”

One researcher even goes so far as to suggest depression should be rebranded as an infectious but non-contagious disease,4 while the author of the featured article playfully compares depression with an allergic reaction—in this case “an allergy to modern life”—considering the many environmental factors that are known to cause inflammation, from diet to toxic exposures and stress.

Scientists have also found that your mental health can be adversely impacted by factors such as vitamin D deficiency and/or unbalanced gut flora—both of which, incidentally, play a role in keeping inflammation in check, which is really what the remedy to depression is all about.

As discussed in an article by Dr. Kelly Brogan, depressive symptoms can be viewed as downstream manifestations of inflammation.

“The source itself may be singularly or multiply-focused as stress, dietary and toxic exposures, and infection… [I]nflammation appears to be a highly relevant determinant of depressive symptoms such as flat mood, slowed thinking, avoidance, alterations in perception, and metabolic changes,5she writes.

Certain biomarkers, such as cytokines in your blood and inflammatory messengers like CRP, IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-alpha, show promise as potential new diagnostic tools, as they’re “predictive6 and linearly7 correlative” with depression.

For example, researchers have found8 that melancholic depression, bipolar disorder, and postpartum depression, are associated with elevated levels of cytokines in combination with decreased cortisol sensitivity (cortisol is both a stress hormone and a buffer against inflammation). As explained by Dr. Brogan:

“Once triggered in the body, these inflammatory agents transfer information to the nervous system, typically through stimulation of major nerves such as the vagus, which connects9 the gut and brain. Specialized cells called microglia in the brain represent the brain’s immune hubs and are activated in inflammatory states. In activated microglia, an enzyme called IDO (indoleamine 2 3-dioxygenase) has been shown10 to direct tryptophan away from the production of serotonin and melatonin and towards the production of an NMDA agonist called quinolinic acid that may be responsible for symptoms of anxiety and agitation. These are just some of the changes that may conspire to let your brain in on what your body may know is wrong.”

Read more ⇒ The Mind Unleashed
Learn more ⇒http://themindunleashed.org/2015/01/new-research-reveals-real-causes-depression.html