On the Right to be Wrong


“Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong.”

– John Diefenbaker

North Korea and the Status Quo


It could be argued that North Korea qualifies as a failed state. The regime is so unstable and insecure it requires a totalitarian grip on every citizen in order to survive. The government aspires to control every aspect of life to ensure the perpetuation of its power. It mainly achieves this by indoctrinating its citizens from birth and maintaining an atmosphere of fear and constant battle against invisible foreign enemies.

In reality, the allegedly perfect regime is ludicrously incompetent and inconsistent. Supposedly, there is housing for everyone, but no citizen can choose where to live. Supposedly, there is schooling for everyone, but no one can choose what they want to learn. Supposedly, there is universal healthcare, but there are no medicines to cure patients. On the one hand, individual initiative of any kind is stamped out, on the other hand, the government cannot provide basic necessities for its citizens, most importantly, food. On top of that, dissenters, nonconformists, critics and others who are considered traitors to the regime are regularly imprisoned, tortured or executed, often together with their entire family. (The list of known human rights violations is too long to go into any further.)

This begs the question, with such a tenuous grip on power, how does the North Korean regime manage to survive?
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At the 2016 Republican National Convention, it was illegal to bring a tennis ball to the convention centre in Cleveland, Ohio, but not a gun.

Two of the villages in the Champagne region of France are called Dizzy and Bouzy.

“T. Eliot, top bard, notes putrid tang emanating, is sad. I’d assign it a name: Gnat dirt upset on drab pot toilet” is a palindrome.

Steve Eichel protested against ‘pseudo-credentialing’ by acquiring a PhD in psychology from a mail-order university for his cat Zoe Katze.

In 13th century Italy, the Catholic Church forbade people wearing the colour blue.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Pasta Myth?


“Oil stops pasta from sticking.”


Ruling:
Half true. In most cases it will effect the water more than the pasta.

Analysis:
Adding a little dose of oil does not prevent the pasta from sticking, but it can stop the water from foaming or boiling over. However, this can also be achieved by making sure you use a large pot and also by reducing the heat a little (but still maintaining a boil).

Adding a substantial dose of oil to the pasta water can prevent sticking to some extent, but at a great price. Pasta that’s cooked in oily water will become oily itself; sauce does not stick to oily pasta, which does not absorb the sauce and is left mostly flavourless.

See other: Mythconceptions?

Forced Anal Exams


In the last five years, forced anal examinations on men and transgender women accused of consensual same-sex relations have been reported in Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Lebanon, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, and Zambia. These examinations have the purported objective of finding ‘proof of homosexuality’.

Needless to say, this treatment is not only a cruel, inhuman, and degrading practice that may in some cases amount to torture, it also of no evidentiary value since these exams are rooted in discredited 19th century theories that (male) homosexuals can be identified by the tone of the anal sphincter.

– Courtesy of hrw.org (Human Rights Watch)

“The only people who are obsessed with food are anorexics and the morbidly obese, and that in erotic terms is the Catholic Church in a nutshell.” – Stephen Fry

Conversations: Intellectual Integrity


Galene
We can argue that it is now a moral necessity for scientists to speak honestly about the conflict between science and religion, but even the National Academy of Sciences has declared the conflict illusory:

At the root of the apparent conflict between some religions and evolution is a misunderstanding of the critical difference between religious and scientific ways of knowing. Religions and science answer different questions about the world. Whether there is a purpose to the universe or a purpose for human existence are not questions for science. Religious and scientific ways of knowing have played, and will continue to play, significant roles in human history…. Science is a way of knowing about the natural world. It is limited to explaining the natural world through natural causes. Science can say nothing about the supernatural. Whether God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral.

Sappho
This statement is stunning for its lack of candor. Continue reading