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United Kingdom

Use Astrology To Save Britain's Health System, Says MP 320

An anonymous reader writes: An MP from the governing Conservative Party has said that using astrology could radically improve the performance of Britain's National Health Service and that its opponents are "racially prejudiced" and driven by "superstition, ignorance and prejudice." David Treddinick even claims he has "helped" fellow legislators through astrology.

Russian Federal Guard Service "Upgrades" To Electric Typewriters 163

Razgorov Prikazka writes "The Russian Federal Guard Service (FSO), who are in charge of protecting high level politicians like president Putin (amongst others), are 'upgrading' to electric typewriters for writing sensitive documents. They have found out that computers pose a security risk and this is their answer to it. On first sight this seems like a very pragmatic and cost-efficient thing to do. However, the FSO has its roots in the KGB and those were the ones who placed keystroke loggers on the popular IBM Selectric electric typewriter 40 years ago! So how much safer does this make them?"

Islamists In Bangladesh Demand Murder of More Bloggers 389

An anonymous reader writes "Days after the killing of leftist blogger Thaba Baba, mosques throughout Bangladesh called for a popular uprising to demand the killing of other bloggers who had held a rally calling for the death of Jama'at-e-Islami leaders convicted of war crimes. This happens in an atmosphere of ongoing tension between Left and Right, with the leftist government threatening to outlaw rightist parties while the right uses violence to quiet selected enemies."
The Courts

Texas State Rep. Files 2 Bills To Ban RFID In Schools 297

BeatTheChip writes "The day Andrea Hernandez lost her federal case against expulsion for refusing a school mandated RFID badge, Rep. Lois Kolkhorst moved to file two bills on the first day of the Texas Legislative session. Kolkhorst has sponsored several anti-RFID bills for schools over the years. This year they are HB 101 and HB 102."

Indiana Nurses Fired After Refusing Flu Shots On Religious Grounds 851

Hugh Pickens writes writes "ABC News reports that Indiana University Health Goshen Hospital has fired eight employees after they refused mandatory flu shots, stirring up controversy over which should come first: employee rights or patient safety. The fired nurses include Joyce Gingerich and Sue Schrock who filed appeals on religious grounds. 'I feel like in my personal faith walk, I have felt instructed not to get a flu vaccination, but it's also the whole matter of the right to choose what I put in my body...' adding that she has not had a flu vaccine for 30 years as a result of a choice she made because of her Christian faith. Over the last several years, hospitals have been moving toward mandatory vaccinations because many only have 60 percent vaccination rates says Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Schaffner adds that nurses in particular tend to be the most reluctant to get vaccinated among health care workers, 'There seems to be a persistent myth that you can get flu from a flu vaccine among nurses,' says Schaffner. 'They subject themselves to more influenza by not being immunized, and they certainly do not participate in putting patient safety first.' But Jane M. Orient, M.D., executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, says the scientific case for flu vaccine mandates is very weak and that there is no evidence showing that vaccinated workers are less likely to transmit virus. 'The scientific and religious concerns are in a sense backward,' says Orient. 'Advocates of the mandate are full of evangelical zeal and are quick to portray skeptics as wicked and selfish. It's like a secular religion, based on faith in vaccine efficacy and safety.'"

Belief In Hell Predicts a Country's Crime Rates Better Than Other Factors 471

An anonymous reader writes "Religion is often thought of as psychological defense against bad behavior, but researchers have recently found that the effect of religion on pro-social behaviors may actually be driven by the belief in hell and supernatural punishment rather than faith in heaven and spiritual benevolence. In a large analysis of 26 years of data consisting of 143,197 people in 67 countries, psychologists found significantly lower crime rates in societies where many people believe in hell compared to those where more people believed in heaven."

Technology For the Masses: Churches Going Hi-Tech 249

theodp writes "More and more, reports the Chicago Tribune, churches are embracing the use of tablets and smartphones during services. At Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago's South Side, the Rev. Otis Moss III preaches from his iPad. 'There was a time in the church when the Gutenberg Bible was introduced,' notes early adopter Moss. 'There was a severe concern among ministers who were afraid the printed page would be such a distraction if you put it in the hands of people in worship.' Tech-savvy churchgoers are also on board. 'In the service, when they say to pull out Bibles, I pull that phone out,' Ted Allen Miller said of using his Android smartphone at Willow Creek Community Church."

Does Religion Influence Epidemics? 547

sciencehabit writes "Whether or not they believe in God, evolutionary biologists may need to pay closer mind to religion. That's because religious beliefs can shape key behaviors in ways that evolutionary theory would not predict, particularly when it comes to dealing with disease. According to a new study, some of today's major religions emerged at the same time as widespread infectious diseases, and the two may have helped shape one another. The same dynamics may be reflected today in how people in Malawi deal with the AIDS epidemic."
The Courts

Bombay High Court Rules Astrology To Be a Science 478

neosaurus writes "In India, the Bombay High Court recently ruled astrology to be 'a time tested science more than 4000 years old.' Not only does this stretch the definition of science, it also reaffirms people's faith in pseudosciences at a broader level." At least we can know for certain the people trying to get creationism taught as science in our schools have equally wacky friends around the globe.
Input Devices

USB Is the Devil's Connection 474

Jamie handed us Satan's Data Connection. You see, sane and rational human being, the USB logo is actually in the shape of a trident, and the obvious action to Evangelical Christians in Brazil is to ban its use. Hopefully they don't mispronounce SCSI and find themselves lusting after their PCs.

Unique ID In India Causes 'Fear of the Beast' 725

bhagwad writes "India's attempts to tag everyone with an ID number has run into a roadblock is some Christian villages. Apparently the villagers fear they will be associated with the devil since according to the Bible, everyone having the 'mark of the beast' will go to hell. These people are not afraid of punishment. They relish this opportunity to prove their faith because the Bible also proclaims that they will be persecuted."

Copernicus Reburied As Hero 369

CasualFriday writes "Mikolaj Kopernik, a.k.a. Nicolaus Copernicus, the 16th-century astronomer whose findings were condemned by the Roman Catholic Church as heretical, was reburied by Polish priests as a hero on Saturday, nearly 500 years after he was laid to rest in an unmarked grave. On Saturday, his remains were blessed with holy water by some of Poland's highest-ranking clerics before an honor guard ceremoniously carried his coffin through the imposing red brick cathedral and lowered it back into the same spot where part of his skull and other bones were found in 2005."

Royal Society and Creationism In Science Classes 892

An anonymous reader writes "The Reverend Professor Michael Reiss, a biologist and Anglican priest, is the education director for the Royal Society, the venerable British science institution. He recently called for creationism to be discussed in science classes, not just in religion or philosophy classes. Science journals reacted with a world of 'WTF' and the Royal Society backpedaled furiously. Now Nobel laureates are gathering to get him fired: 'The thing the Royal Society does not appreciate is the true nature of the forces arrayed against it and the Enlightenment for which the Royal Society should be the last champion.' The blogs, of course, are loving it."

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I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky