|Venus and Moon at dawn|
For starters, let us refer you to the Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights action blog. Over a year has gone and by without Miriam, we continue to realize what we have lost. She got us into the human rights struggle. Please act on behalf of people who are so much in need of support in their trials and tribulations at the hands of oppressive regimes and corporations.
© Dominick Tyler
Pollyanna is ranting this week about the plight of women in Somalia where rape is the norm and the security forces, who are among the worst offenders, enjoy complete impunity. Human Rights Watch has published a report on the issue and has called upon the government of Somalia to take steps to curb the widespread sexual violence to which women in Somalia are subjected.The 72-page report, “‘Here, Rape is Normal’: A Five-Point Plan to Curtail Sexual Violence in Somalia,” provides a road map for the government and its international donors to establish a comprehensive strategy to reduce rape, provide survivors with immediate and urgent assistance, and develop a long-term approach to end these abuses. The report focuses on improving prevention, increasing access to emergency health services, ensuring justice, legal and policy reform, and promoting women’s equality. A summary of the report is provided by AWID.
The police are worse than indifferent to these cases. We quote:
Maryam, a 37-year-old single mother who was gang-raped in her makeshift shelter, was the only survivor Human Rights Watch interviewed who attempted to file a police report. The police officers at the station humiliated her after she bled from injuries sustained during the rape.
“Before they let me go, they told me I had to wash the floor where I was bleeding,” she said. “I sat down, they gave me a brush and I cleaned the floor.” She never returned to the police station to pursue the case or report a second gang rape three months later.
Pollyanna thinks that it is totally wrong and unethical for someone to pretend to put out real meteorological predictions that are false and are just designed to enhance hits on a Web site and thus get more ad money. The prediction of a huge storm in the US next week by a huckster named Kevin Martin has been exposed as a hoax by El Blogo de Weatherdudeo writing in the Daily Kos. This sort of panic spreading is pernicious and even if it may be protected free speech, it is important that the truth be put out to protect people. Please read the blog and reassure your social circles that there is no storm to fear.
The Oscars will be handed out Sunday night. We like Nebraska, but it may not be the front runner. Here is a prediction for whatever it is worth. . Here is a list of the nominees.
GOODIES FROM SCIENCE
A BIOLOGICAL CLOCK FOR MEN
We have long known that it is not a good idea for women to postpone maternity. It now appears that men too have a biological clock. A new study of over 2 million children in Sweden over a long period shows that children of older fathers are vulnerable to a range of disorders.
Comparing children of a 45-year-old dad to those of a 24-year-old father the study indicated:
autism was more than three times as likely
a 13-fold increased risk of ADHD
double the risk of a psychotic disorder
25 times more likely to have bipolar disorder
2.5 times more likely to have suicidal behavior or problems with drugs
lower scores at school
The results were published in JAMA Psychiatry.
LUNA IS ABUSED
A large meteorite crashed into the moon this week and created a burst of light visible to the naked eye on Earth.
OLD EARTH CRUST
|This zircon, which is about twice the width of a human hair, is now confirmed to be the oldest bit of the Earth's crust ever discovered. It was found in the Jack Hills region of Australia. (Courtesy John W. Valley/University of Wisconsin-Madison)|
A piece of ancient zircon found in Australia indicates that the crust of the Earth was solid slightly less than 4.4 billion years ago. This has implications for the origin of life since solid crust is needed for viable life. During the Hadean era (named for its hellish conditions) the Earth was too hot and the surface molten. If the crust indeed had formed so long ago, maybe life is older than the 3.4 billion years indicated by the fossil record. The result was published in Nature Geosciences. The use of tomography to track the mobility of radiogenic lead was the key to the experiment and Pollyanna says this is cool.
CLOVIS CULTURE IS THE FIRST
|Example of a Clovis fluted blade (Photo : Virginia Dept. of Historic Resources/ Wikimedia creative commons )|
What If? Assuming that you have a spaceship in orbit around the Earth, could you propel your ship to speeds exceeding escape velocity by hitting golf balls in the other direction? If so, how many golf balls would be required to reach the Moon?
—Dan (Kanta, Ontario) Fun answer indeed. Cheers Randall.
Kids get in trouble at school by shooting their mouths off. Hadass picked up a story from Facebook that gives an example.
Then we have Cynthia:
We have not visited SMBC for a while. Maybe that was a good idea...