184 thoughts on “Open Thread For April”

  1. Just as Southerners provide a “creative” history of the US civil war, certain translators of religious texts like to “improve” them to better fit the values of today.

    Dr Mustafa Khattab -translator for sites like sunnah.com and koran.com- is embarassed about some of the holy words left behind by the prophet (PBUH).
    In chapter 18 verse 86 in the koran, he changed the translation from “he found it (the sun) setting in a pool” to “which appeared to him” (as if it was setting in a pool).

    Koran chapter 74 verse 50 has been changed from ” they (the umbelievers) were frightened asses” to “spooked zebras “.
    Presumably it is no longer acceptable for old (PBUH) to refer to unbelievers as assess, monkeys and other negatively charged animal terms and the good doctor considered zebras to be less offensive.

    -I find all this quite entertaining, like watching Mitch McConnell or Boris Johnson explain how they have done nothing wrong…

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    1. Doing this with the Quran is even more absurd than with most religious texts. It is generally understood that the Quran is to be read/recited in Arabic, and that translations of the Quran are considered commentary.

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      1. It’s beyond absurd. All religious texts are collections of fairy tales, and he wants to rewrite it to make it seem more real. There isn’t a point.

        Biblical scholars spend whole careers trying to figure out what the original versions of the books in the New Testament actually said before various people messed around with them to ‘improve’ them, and this guy is doing the opposite.

        The priest who presided over my mother’s funeral was a pretty typical big bully-boy Anglican, the type who like to play hide the salami with the choir boys, and he told me very authoritatively that the NT was first written in Aramaic. And I was thinking you dumb shit, you’re a senior priest and I’m an atheist, but I know more about the NT than you do. I didn’t actually say it, no point, but he decided to take a dislike to me anyway, maybe because he could read “bullshitter” in my facial expression when he said what he said. I took it as a compliment.

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  2. “China-US scientists create world’s first human-monkey ‘chimera’ embryo amid ethical storm.”

    That’s going to upset a few people.

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    1. It’s a joint Chinese-American research team who have created the first part-human, part-monkey embryos with the aim of transforming organ transplants. The usual suspects are going apeshit.

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      1. “This research opens Pandora’s box.”

        Yeah, well, do you know what the last thing was that came out of Pandora’s box? Hope.

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  3. “Aaaah” (stretches, sits down with a cup of nominal coffee while unwinding).
    I got the latest “laundry” novel by Charles Stross yesterday, and is looking forward to read it in the weekend.
    Quote: “any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology”.
    A member of the Brit oligarchy is a member of a cult that performs human sacrifice… so far the plot is plausible.
    The Black Pharaoh is PM… this is downright social realism.

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  4. Aliens with water phobia attacking a world mostly covered with the stuff? Sure.
    And the protagonists in “Signs” are awful, terrible dog owners that *deserve* getting killed.
    Invisible tourists are hanging around on roofs. The alien subtitles for these scenes are “Parkour! Parkour!”.

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    1. It is important for aliens to use the bent-over plant geolocation system. If they did not do that, they might land in the next town, and the result would be… them breaking into the wrong basement?

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  5. Correlations in political extremism in Sweden.
    Left-wing extremism correlates with university education and high employment.
    Islamic extremism correlates with low education, high unemployment and generally being “outside” society.
    Right-wing extremism falls somewhere in between.

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    1. That’s one of the tiresome names that post-modernist humanities scholars always reference, regardless of context. I have a major problem with his knowledge relativism.

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    2. France has only just very recently made it illegal to have sex with a child under the age of 15. How they have got away with their lack of protection of children for so long and not draw severe criticism from the EU is beyond me.

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      1. I take it as my right to comment on the internal affairs of European countries in relation to the rights of children, given that European countries obviously think that they have the right to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries on largely trumped up and fabricated human rights issues.

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      2. China interferes with Western democracies much more than Western democracies interfere with China. With regard to Taiwan, China seems to have adopted the policy known as “heim ins Reich”.

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  6. Plus even in Germany it is “limited by relationship” – for that limitation to be removed, the age is 18, as it is in most of Europe. Poland is a real outlier – at 15, anything consensual is OK. No idea what’s going on there.

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    1. Same rules in Sweden as in Poland. I started a long, loving, vigorous and mostly happy relationship with a woman 20 years my senior two weeks after I turned 15. YMMV.

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      1. No. Need to read the fine print. She might or might not have been breaking the law, depending on her relationship to you (e.g. if she was your teacher or another person in a position of authority in relation to you, it could have been illegal). I presume not. In any case, not my business. But that would not have been the case in Poland.

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      1. No, 18 is when the “limited by relationship” ceases to apply, and you need to read what “limited by relationship” means – it has nothing to do with prostitution.

        I would have thought you would be better informed on the laws in the country you live in.

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      2. I know what they mean. Under 18 there are restrictions regarding students and teachers and so on. But 18 is also the minimum age for prostitution, for the same reason: when you’re 18, you can decide for yourself.

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  7. For those interested in “powerful men totally not giving young women money for sex” there are plenty of news items about Sleaze Dude in USA. He shared photos with his colleagues in Congress.
    Not a one-time thing he did that regularly. Soo….this is the party of Moral Values and Church. And they were OK with it for years.
    .
    Prince Philip has been buried, so people in UK will be allowed to have ordinary TV programs.
    .
    BoJo is trying to weasel his way of the Northern Ireland protocol, but EU is having none of that. They have the option of not letting British court rulings having power in EU, and that would wipe out what is left of the London financial sector.

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  8. I have just finished “Dead lies dreaming, the latest “laundry” novel by Charles Stross. It was… quite the magic carpet ride.

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  9. M. R. Carey (“The Girl With All The Gifts”) has just published the third novel in the “Ramparts” trilogy.

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  10. A common asthma medicine (Budesonid, a component of Pulmicort but *not* Bricanyl) has turned out to dramatically reduce the symptoms of COVID19.

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  11. Some anti-vaxxers claim the vaccinated people will not even be human anymore since the vaccine changes the DNA.

    That sounded weird, as RNA (usially) does not affect DNA.
    Then I realised they were referring to the alien-tech computer chips injected together with the vaccine.

    If they create nanotech assemblers from substances in the bloodstream they can change DNA, essentially turning vaccinated people into pod people without passing through the pod stage.
    Those reptilian shape-shifters are very clever.

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    1. Sorted! The Elders Of Zion gave me an antidote to the vaccine. It turns out, the different conspiracies do not get along.

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