In case you have not heard by now, an Air France flight from Brazil to France has was lost over the South Atlantic several hundred miles off the cost of South America. All passengers are believed lost and the cause of the apparent crash has not yet been determined. While this is a sad and tragic event, it seems that some are already making up sensational stories to grab attention.
According to the Portugese newspaper Jornal de Notícias, several passengers on board Air France Flight 447 sent text messages to family members shortly before the plane disappeared from radar screens in Brazil. The flight was scheduled to arrive in Paris at 11:10 CET on June 1, 2009.
The messages included “I love you” and “I’m afraid.” So far authorities in Brazil and France have yet to find the wreckage of the plane which disappeared from radar at approximately 01:30 GMT on June 1. There were 228 people on board the plane.
This story has apparently been circulating on Norweigian and Portugese media outlets. It hasn’t made it to any major English language news sources (that I know of) as of yet. This is exactly the kind of tear-jerking, morbid, dramatic news that sells papers. It is the kind of legend that gets better and better over time. (No doubt someone sent a text message asking that in their memory an e-mail chain letter be started.)
The problem: This almost certainly simply did not happen. It couldn’t have happened. The aircraft in question was at least 400 statute miles from shore when it is believed to have first experienced trouble. That makes it effectively impossible that a cell phone could have gotten a signal from any land-based cell towers. Even sending a message via a cell phone when over land is a hit or miss proposition. The aircraft’s metal structure makes getting a good signal difficult and an aircraft may come in and out of cell site coverage within seconds.
It’s possible that a satellite phone could have sent a text message from the region, but satellite phones and messagers require clear line of sight to the satellite to communicate and would not be able to send a message from within an aircraft. Satellite signals are weak to begin with and the aluminum skin of the aircraft would make sending a text message effectively impossible, except in the extremely unlikely circumstance that a passenger had a straight shot at the satellite out their window. Even if this were the case, the South Atlantic is not well covered by satellite service and no handheld satellite phones have extensive coverage in the area except for Iridium, which is a very large phone that one is unlikely to have on their person.
It is final: Christians have lost their right to claim that one cannot be moral without belief in their God. Gone, see ya, good bye, sayonara! Because what has become crystal clear is that their religion and their institutions provided a sanctuary for immoral behavior, made it possible and covered it up when it happened, as the new Irish report on abuse clearly demonstrates. Here are some important things to keep in mind the next time a religious person tries to play the morality superiority card (emphasis mine):
After a nine-year investigation, a commission published a damning report Wednesday on decades of rapes, humiliation and beatings at reform schools for Ireland’s castaway children.-run
The investigation of the tax-supported schools uncovered previously secret Vatican records that demonstrated church knowledge of pedophiles in their ranks all the way back to the 1930s.
Wednesday’s five-volume report on the probe — which was resisted by Catholic religious orders — concluded that church officials shielded their orders’ pedophiles from arrest amid a culture of self-serving secrecy.
“A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys. Children lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from,” Ireland’s Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse concluded”
I do genuinely believe that it would have been a further step towards our healing if our abusers had been named and shamed,” said Christine Buckley, 62, who spent the first 18 years of her life in a Dublin orphanage where children were forced to manufacture rosaries — and were humiliated, beaten and raped whether they achieved their quota or not.
The report found that molestation and rape were “endemic” in boys’ facilities, chiefly run by the Christian Brothers order, and supervisors pursued policies that increased the danger. Girls supervised by orders of nuns, chiefly the Sisters of Mercy, suffered much less sexual abuse but frequent assaults and humiliation designed to make them feel worthless.
Tom Sweeney, who spent five years in two Christian Brothers-run institutions where he was placed for truancy, says he suffered sexual abuse and beatings. He also has bitter memories about more everyday humiliations — such as being forced to wrap his urine-stained sheets around his neck and parade in front of other children when he’d wet his bed.
I’m a little late to the game, but this is just too much fun.
[Originally posted at: Newsweek]
If you prefer to keep a little magic in your life—by which I mean believing in the possibility of UFOs—then read no further. For I am going to tell you about the latest UFO hoax.
You may remember the sightings of a UFO over Morristown, N.J., in January, which was blogged about and even captured on video that has been posted to YouTube as clips from TV broadcasts.
It was all a hoax, as the perpetrators reveal in this month’s issue of eSkeptic.
Last November, write Joe Rudy, who describes himself as “an avid reader of Skeptic magazine” who teaches science and gives private music lessons, and Chris Russo, who works in sales and says he “intends to continue his quest to spread reason and truth, one pseudoscience at a time,” the two 20-somethings were sitting around discussing pseudoscience and the many people who believe one or another form of it. “We had always had a strong interest in why people were so easily fooled by such irrational superstitions as psychic ability, spiritual mediums, alien abductions, and the like,” they write. So they “set out on a mission to help people think rationally and question the credibility of so-called UFO ‘professionals.’”
[Read the rest of this post at: Newsweek]
I just don’t know what to say… But WOW!
I’m leaning towards this being a Poe, but I’d love to hear the ideas of others on what is going on here…
Here’s what I’ve learned from my sources.
personally in his lair, the 5th circle of Hell. He tortured my
soul.. for what seemed ages, before I was rescued. Luckily the memory
of the actual pain that was caused to me, was erased from my mind. I
was returned to my body after my rescuers broke the chains that held
However, the Christ that has incarnated on Earth, is not the same Jesus
Christ from 2000 years ago, it is a different soul, but with the same
strength, the same abilities and probably even more.. because the battle
that is going to be fought in 2012, between the Christ and His forces, and
Satan and His forces, will be unlike anything this planet has ever seen.
Just like in the time when there were only God and His Angels, when one
of the angels rejected God, everyone has to make a choice now, either
you choose for Darkness and join the fight against the Light, or you will
choose for the Light and you join the fight against Darkness.
I suggest everyone chooses now, before it’s too late to choose. I have
made my choice long ago, I will join the Armies of Light of the new Christ.
I’m told I am meant to become some sort of warrior/healer, but everyone
has a task that suits their abilities. I’ve even bought a battle ready katana
on advice of my spirit guides.. just in case someone susceptible has been
influenced to attack me in my home. These things happen all the time now.
The events will be larger than any prediction in existence.. because both
sides underestimated each others power. The clash is going to be terrible.
Choose now, then educate yourself in the Light or in the Dark.
I have seen Hell, Heaven, Archangels, the most terrible demons, black
dressed armies of Darkness, the shining armor of Light Warriors, I have
seen several battles already with my own eyes, while outside of my body,
what I say is not what I’ve read somewhere, it is what I have experienced
You’re free to ignore, or to accept my words, if you have any questions,
ask me anything you want. That is what I enjoy doing, helping other people
awaken the way I have started awakening, as well as many others.
With all my love,
[Originally posted at: weird things]
When I first read about the Institute for Creation Research trying to award a Master of Science degree in creationism, my jaw found itself very comfortable in my lap. Texas’ Higher Education Coordinating Board swiftly told the ICR to forget it and the ICR cried to the media about how its academic freedom is getting stomped on by evil politicos who won’t let them issue a degree in theology and pretend that it’s science. My jaw returned to its upright and locked position, but I was still curious how exactly the ICR could even claim that it taught anything about science or the scientific method.
You see, if you get a degree in science, you have to be well versed in the scientific method. This means you should be able to form a hypothesis, observe and experiment to test it and find out whether your hypothesis is true or false. Simple enough. But the ICR teaches the very opposite; that there already is an answer and that by virtue of something existing and the personal views of our ancestors, it must be a deity. There is no hypothesis, no experimentation and, above all, there’s no research. Ironically, an organization with the word research in its name doesn’t even do any actual research about anything other than how to proselytize. And now they want to get the same certification as people who actually do real scientific work? What a sick joke!
[Read the rest of this post at: weird things]
[Originally posted at: Why Evolution Is True]
While going through the Berkeley website Understanding Science (discussed yesterday), I found something more of interest. It’s a page called “Astrology: Is it Scientific?”, which sets out a checklist of questions that the student should answer to see if astrology is indeed a science. Here’s part of the checklist:
Here we’ll use the Science Checklist to evaluate one way in which astrology is commonly used. See if you think it qualifies as scientific!
Focuses on the natural world?
Astrology’s basic premise is that heavenly bodies — the sun, moon, planets, and constellations — have influence over or are correlated with earthly events.
[Read the rest of this post at: Why Evolution Is True]
I came across this on the JREF forum this morning, and found it humorous…
For those who think I unfairly criticize religion and ignore any problems with those I agree with:
[Originally posted at: Rodibidably]
I am often quite critical of religion on my blog (with good reason I believe). However I do believe there are appropriate times and places for such criticism, and there are inappropriate times and places. For instance, if I ask a question of believers on my blog, and they answer, I try to be respectful of their views, even if I do question them to understand more about their beliefs.
On a personal level I have always believed that other can hold different beliefs than my own, including belief in god, as long as they meet certain basic criteria (some of these do tend to overlap a bit):
- They do not attempt to justify their actions based on those beliefs (flying planes into buildings or bombing abortion clinics is wrong, even if god tells you to do it)
- They are respectful of the right of others to disagree with them, and do not attempt to force their beliefs on others (don’t show up on my doorstep on Sat or Sun morning reading from your book at me, and don’t attempt to inject your religious beliefs into schools or politics)
- They do not harm to others (if you want to refuse medical treatment for yourself, good riddance; if you want to refuse medical treatment for your child, go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200)
- They do not expect special treatment based on their beliefs or treat others negatively for disagreeing with them (don’t expect me to care that you’re “saved”, and don’t discriminate against somebody who believes your book is a collection of fictional stories)
[Read the rest of this post at: Rodibidably]
It’s it nice to see a story that shows how islam is the religion of peace?
[Originally posted at: Mail Online]
All homosexuals should face stoning to death, a Muslim preacher of hate declared yesterday.
Anjem Choudary, the firebrand cleric who wants to see Britain ruled by Sharia law, said such a regime was the only way to fix the country’s ills.
Under it, adulterers and homosexuals would be killed by stoning. Asked if that would include anybody – even a Cabinet minister such as Business Secretary Lord Mandelson – Choudary responded with an astonishing diatribe.
He said: ‘If a man likes another man, it can happen, but if you go on to fulfil your desire, if it is proved, then there is a punishment to follow. You don’t stone to death unless there are four eyewitnesses. It is a very stringent procedure.
‘There are some people who are attracted to donkeys but that does not mean it is right.’
Choudary was speaking at a press conference in London arranged by Muslim extremists to justify their protest in Luton last week against soldiers returning home from Iraq.
[Read the rest of this post at: Mail Online]
For another take on this story, check out Pat Condell: