Archive for November 26th, 2011
Granted that the one they chose to censor isn’t a typical, dull, dry Bible that you actually have to read to get to the good parts. This one is gaily illustrated with photographs of Lego™ dioramas for every juicy story. Years of work went into developing the Brick Testament as an online presence.
Then a paper publisher got interested, and more work went into producing several volumes (Available on Amazon).
But Walmart refused to distribute the books as is, full of literal illustrations of the stories in the Holy book, including the sexual parts. So the publisher persuaded the author to pull the most explicit scenes. And they produced a new volume specifically for Walmart and its clientele.
But after an initial small order, Walmart felt that even this censored version of the Bible was still too graphic, and refused to carry the volume. The other Bibles they sell, all of which include even the stories and scenes excised from the Brick Testament, are still for sale.
The problem: Girls can’t get to school. Solution: Buy them bicycles.
Three years ago the state’s new chief minister Nitish Kumar adopted a “gender agenda” and set about redressing his state’s endemic gender imbalances in an attempt to boost development in one of India’s most backward states. His vision was to bring a sense of independence and purpose to his state’s young women, and the flagship initiative of this agenda is the Mukhyamantri Balika Cycle Yojna, a project that gives schoolgirls 2,000 rupees (about £25) to purchase a bicycle.
The project’s results so far have been extremely promising: in those three years in Bihar alone, 871,000 schoolgirls have taken to the saddle as a result of the scheme. The number of girls dropping out of school has fallen and the number of girls enrolling has risen from 160,000 in 2006-2007 to 490,000 now.
How much information does each sperm carry? How much sperm in an ejaculation? An Austrian Facebook page offers answers: each sperm carries DNA worth about 37.5 MB of data. If you assume that an ejaculation contains 200 – 300 million sperm that means that each ejaculation is a loss of 7153 TB to 10,729 TB.
Have these factoids ready for your next cocktail party.
At Orion Magazine, Bill McKibben has noted a trend in energy production, information, health care, banking and (believe it or not) farming:
[W]e’re moving, if we’re lucky, from the world of few and big to the world of small and many. We’ll either head there purposefully or we’ll be dragged kicking, but we’ve reached one of those moments when tides reverse.
This movement to the small and many is a democratic movement, and McKibben’s comment about the “tides revering” refers to the fact that “small and many” will be resisted by those who can profit by confiscating and retaining large-scale control:
In our world, most of those people are not actually persons—we call them corporations. But their power over our democracy is very real, and on the farm and on the trading floor and in the hospital ward they’re doing their very best to block the transitions we need. Their money, earned under the old bigger-is-better paradigm, gives them great power to block change: just look at how skillfully the fossil fuel industry has used the Tea Party to stifle legislation that would speed the transition to renewable energy. Watch Big Ag write the next Farm Bill—it won’t be pretty.
Mark your calendars for The Fourth-of-January, the antipode of The Fourth-of-July.
The Fourth-of-January will be a new national date of remembrance. This new occasion will be about the United States of America, but there won’t be any fireworks and it’s not going to be a happy occasion. In fact, as happy as the Fourth-of-July is, the Fourth-of-January will be the diametric opposite. Citizens will somberly recognize the Fourth-of-January by gathering together to watch mock funerals wind through their city centers, where they will mourn the death of democracy. An American flag will be placed prominently on the hearse, serving as a symbol of the deceased.
On the Fourth-of-January, American citizens will actually bury these American Flags to recognize the fact that ordinary citizens of the United States have no meaningful input in how their federal government is run. At the destination of the funeral procession, citizens will carve these words onto the tombs:
Here lies Old Glory, destroyed by Citizens United and by the unwillingness politicians to pass a Constitutional Amendment and enabling laws to remove private money from the American political system.
States Constitution, lest they become deluded that federal politicians are public servants of ordinary citizens. It will be a day when, instead, mourners read proclamations that the existence of vast amounts of money in the political system has made it impossible to meaningfully debate even the simplest of political issues. It will be a day when Americans recognize that big corporate money has turned America’s politicians into psychopaths. It will be a day when Americans remind themselves that their every year their politicians spend more tax dollars to air-condition soldiers’ tents in the Middle East than they allocate for the total budget of NASA, to explore the mysteries of outer space.
The Fourth-of-January will be a date when Americans consider renaming of all of their major holidays based on fact that quest for corporate profits now dominate all celebrations, and that America’s news media celebrates this fact. On the Fourth-of-January, Americans will recognize that, contrary to the will of the People, America has become unstoppably addicted to warmongering, and that it has become a nation that doesn’t treasure safe food, medicine, chemicals, air and water. It has become a nation that allows big banks, fossil fuel companies, telecoms and insurance companies to write national laws that cause massive financial damages to the People. On this new Day of Remembrance, Americans will pause for a moment of silence to recognize the brutalizing and almost unstoppable financial and political power of America’s corporate-military-prison-industrial-Complex.
The Fourth-of-January will recognize that laws passed contrary to the wishes of the majority of citizens have resulted in sub-standard schools, catastrophic national debt, state sponsored torture, spying on citizens, governmental secrecy and abuses inflicted on citizens and journalists who are attempting to exercise their Constitutional rights. On the Fourth-of-January Americans will recognize that their highest court has become deaf to the needs of the People, and that the “rule of law” is rapidly becoming available only to those of significant financial means. The Fourth-of-January is a day when we warn our grade school children that much of what they are reading in their American civics textbooks is stunningly false.
The Fourth-of-January will be celebrated every year unless and until the corrupting force of private money is removed from the American political system.
[Photo credits: Derivative work funeral photo by Erich Vieth, incorporating flag photo by Tarajane at Dreamstime.com (with permission) and Original funeral photo, which is a public domain work. Corporate flags photo by Erich Vieth, photo taken at the 2011 downtown St. Louis Fourth of July celebration].