Make a Difference

Day: July 11, 2009

The Gods Are Coming Back

Crop circles with an appealing Mayan theme have appeared in Wiltshire. On second thoughts, I’m not sure that the phoenix is part of Mayan mythology (it’s Persian).

Phoenix Themed Crop Circle

Phoenix Themed Crop Circle

But the whole ‘The Mayans believed the world would end in 2012’ thing is too cool to pass up.

Actually the Mayans don’t seem to have believed that, it is just that their calendar ticks over then, like an odometer.

But there are some odd references to gods returning then, so who knows?  Well, one reference. And it’s fragmentary. But that probably just means someone tried to hide it. Or something.

This is an even more interesting circle:

Pi Crop Circle

Pi Crop Circle

It is a geometric representation of the first ten digits of Pi.

Whatever else all this means, it certainly means that there are some people in Wiltshire with mathematical and artistic talent, decent lawnmowers, and plenty of time on their hands.

No Gayness For Guru

Last week India passed legislation decriminalising homosexual acts between consenting adults. This has not been entirely popular.

The world’s most popular guru, Swami “Baba” Ramdev, (he has an international TV audience numbering about 85 million) has said a number of things that the gay community will not like. Particularly, that being gay is a defect.

Homosexuality is a curable disease and that sufferers could seek a cure. “It can be treated like any other congenital defect. Such tendencies can be treated by yoga, pranayam and other meditation techniques,” he said.

The legalisation would have a “negative effect” on the young, while increasing the prevalence of HIV/AIDs. “These are unnatural acts not designed for human beings. The decision of the High Court, if allowed to sustain will have catastrophic effects on the moral fabric of society and will jeopardise the institution of marriage itself. This offends the structure of Indian value system, Indian culture and traditions, as derived from religious scriptures.”

I pretty much agree with him. Except maybe about homosexuality being curable through yoga.

Homosexual desire, expecially if a person is only attracted to members of the same gender, is an ‘objective disorder.’

I know many gay men and women find such a view offensive.

Gay men and women should not be judged for their disorder. We are all disordered in some way. But it is still a disorder.

I have often heard arguments along these lines: ‘This is who I am’ (well, life is pretty tragic if your identity comes from only or even primarily from who you want to have sex with). ‘I can’t help these feelings, I didn’t choose them’ (quite possibly so, but neither do pedophiles or habitual gamblers choose to have the feelings they have). ‘I was made this way, so these feelings are natural, and because they are natural, they are good.’

Not necessarily. Natural is not always good. We live in a fallen world. Even for a non-Christian, knowing this is true is simply a matter of looking at the natural world.

That falleness affects all of us in different ways. It affects all of us. We are all less than we could be. So it behoves us not to judge others if they are tempted in ways we are not.

But that does not mean we should not be clear about what is right and what is wrong, or settle for saying that wrong is right.

Was Obama Checking Out A 17 Year Old’s Backside?

A picture has been circulating around the web over the last few days which seems to show President Obama stealing a longing look at a 17 year old girl’s rear end.

I don’t think Obama is a good or capable leader. But it is important to be fair, and a fair assessment of what happened is probably that it was pure co-incidence that Obama happened to be looking in that direction when Mayara Tavares walked by.

It certainly wasn’t co-incidence that Nicolas Sarkozy was looking her direction, however.

World Leaders: Tide Must Not Come In More Than 2 Metres

Well, almost. World leaders have decreed global temperature must not increase by more than 2 degrees over pre-industrial levels.

How realistic this is depends what they mean by ‘pre-industrial.’ Generally that term would be taken to mean the time prior to the industrial revolution. That is, before about 1780. That is, about the time of the Dalton minimum.

The Dalton minimum was a period of low solar activity, low temperatures (one German station recorded a fall of 2 degrees in 20 years), and the ‘year without a Summer’ (1816).

Given that solar activity is at similarly low levels now, and that global mean temperatures have been steady or declining over the last ten years, our beloved world leaders may find they don’t need to do anything at all to achieve their tide holding back ambitions.

However, according to a paper by Wilson, Hendy and Reynolds, published in Nature in 1979 (279, pp315-317), temperatures in New Zealand during the medieval warm period (which is definitely pre-industrial) were about  .75 degrees warmer than the very brief late 20th Century warm period. So we’ve still got 1.25 degrees to go!

Sunset at Second Valley

Last Monday I had half an hour to spare on my way from Adelaide to catch the ferry back to KI.

I stopped at Second Valley, which is about five minutes off the main road. It was just about sunset.

I thought you might like this photo, taken with my Nokia N95:

Sunset at Second Valley, South Australia

Sunset at Second Valley, South Australia

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