Sunday, November 06, 2005

---Vatican Embraces Science, 5 Influenza Deaths in Indonesia, Riots in France, Sony Crosses the Line, Moore Lies, and Other Stories 

Cardinal Says Catholics Should Listen to Science [My Way News/AP]
Cardinal Paul Poupard, in charge of the Vatican’s “Pontifical Council for Culture”, says that members of his church should listen to “secular modern science ” to avoid “fundamentalism”. The Vatican again confesses its error in its suppression of Gallileo and others, albeit not in so many words.
It’s another strange twist in the perennial “religion vs. science” debate---among people who have negligible understanding of legitimate Christian doctrine and people who haven’t even figured out what it’s for.
For the record, science is one of the best ideas humanity has ever come up with. At its best, it is a consistent set of standards for thinking about how the Universe works, and for evaluating evidence for or against one’s conclusions. Science is a failure, of course, for the same reason that every other human endeavor has been a failure---
Its value is ultimately limited by the moral integrity of the participants.

5 Deaths from Avian Influenza in Indonesia [FOXNews.com/AP]
The deaths seem to be attributable to contact with poultry so far, not human-human transmission. The AP article does not appear to directly verify that the human outbreak is due to H5N1, although that seems to be the implication.

Rioting Spreads Across France, Intensifies [FOXNews.com/AP]
Muslims and African immigrants continue to riot across France. The immediate excuse for the violence was the deaths of two teenagers being pursued by police. Early yesterday, rioting Muslim youth gangs doused a woman on crutches in an inflammable liquid and set her on fire.

Sony Crosses the Line [Washinton Post]
Sony’s war against music piracy has taken an especially vicious turn. Its music CD’s now install “rootkit” software, a tactic typical of the most unprincipled spyware purveyors, when loaded into an MS Windows PC. The software is nearly impossible to remove once installed, and promises to deactivate your CD writer if you do something which it interprets as an attempt to make an illegal copy of Sony-distributed music.
For futher information:
SpywareInfo Newsletter on the Sony "Rootkit" scandal.
Mark's Sysinternals Blog on the Sony "Rootkit" scandal
(see also “RootKitRevealer” freeware)
Wikipedia on Rootkits

13 things that do not make sense [found on BlogsNow]
---Scientifically, that is. There are many other things that don’t make sense in general, so I shouldn’t get started on them here.

Michael Moore Owned Halliburton, Defense Stocks [NewsMax, found on BlogsNow]
Moore, who sold books to other people for money in which he attacked major corporations and in which he swore that he held no stocks in them, owned stocks in them. Michael Moore is a liar. Many other prominent, powerful, book-selling rich people are also liars---it seems to be a very popular skill these days---so I probably shouldn’t get started on them here, either.

Hayabusa Landing Rehearsal Aborted [ MSNBC.com]
An unspecified malfunction in Japan’s asteroid probe has caused cancellation of the “dress rehearsal” for later attempts to recover and return a sample from the asteroid to Earth. The probe has returned some nice pictures from orbit around the “Itokawa ”asteroid, however.

October Images From Titan [NASA-JPL]
The Cassini orbiter has returned more images from its October flyby of Saturn’s moon Titan---including some very detailed SAR images. Titan terrain features are collecting serious names now---the “giant H” is now “Fensal-Aztlan”. Try saying that really fast with your mouth full of “Cheerios”.

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