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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Shana Tova from Pollyanna

Pollyanna is back and would like to wish all her Jewish readers and friends a Shana Tova, a Happy New Year. The blog is coming out a day earlier and is a bit shorter than usual since we shall all be in synagogue on Thursday and Friday. She also wishes to share an image of a swimming dinosaur with you.
A model of Spinosaurus, based on data published in Science today, gets rock star treatment at a National Geographic photo shoot. A feature story, including the image above, will appear in National Geographic's October issue. (Mike Hettwer/National Geographic)

This creature, larger than T. Rex, was adapted to preying on fish in water, which contradicts conventional wisdom that dinosaurs were all totally land creatures. Pollyanna is impressed.

For starters, let us refer you to the Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights action blog. Over a year has gone by without Miriam and 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.

This week Pollyanna gets to choose a charity. Her choice is Musicians Without Borders. This organization, established in 1999, is a global network organization using the power of music for healing and reconciliation in areas torn by war and conflict. Musicians without Borders develops projects in response to local needs and in cooperation with local musicians and civil society organizations. Successful projects are used to develop models, methodologies and trainings suitable for use in other regions. You are invited to donate via their Web site and while you are there, get an idea of the scope of their work and activity.

In her last blog Pollyanna saluted the editorial board of the Washington Post who decided to cease the use of the name Redskins to mark the NFL team of the city. She noted this week that Fox Sports continues to use the racist name.  We were all pleased to watch the defeat of the DC team at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles. It would be quite easy to change the name to something acceptable.

U.S. golfer Stacy Lewis after winning the women’s British Open at the Old Course in St Andrews.
Things do change in this world. The St. Andrews Golf Club in Scotland has finally decided to admit women as members. The members voted by mail to void the male only rule by a huge majority of 85%. Women had been allowed to play on the course, but could not enter the clubhouse nor influence anything. Pollyanna says cheers and it was about time.


Pollyanna has three this week.

    • The first relates to the treatment of LGBTI persons in Russia.  The homophobia is wide spread and encouraged by the government, media and church. Nonetheless, the LGBTI community in Russia is again holding its annual film festival QueerFest in St. Petersburg and Pollyanna joins all people of good will in hoping that it will succeed and not be marred by violence, as, alas, has happened in the past.
      Polina Andrianova and Anna Abramova of the Russian LGBTI organization “Coming Out”(« Выход ») in St Petersburg. © Amnesty International
    • The second is about the fierce punishment meted out to the young people in Teheran who danced the Happy song on YouTube. Iran happy video clipPollyanna agrees with Amnesty International that this action reveals the authorities’ contempt for freedom of expression. Six of those who appear in the video have been sentenced to six months’ imprisonment each and a seventh to one year, one of their lawyers said in a media interview. All seven have also been sentenced to 91 lashes. The sentences are suspended for three years.

    • The third is about climate change denial. Most recently, a scientist, Stephen Koonin, a former US Department of Energy Undersecretary of Science and more ominously a former BP employee, has published an article in the Wall Street Journal, in which, although  he admits that climate change is real and to some extent anthropogenic, his bottom line is a call for inaction. He misrepresents the results of climate modeling and makes totally inaccurate statements about the evaluation of uncertainty. It is no surprise that the Wall Street Journal would publish such an article, designed to muddy the waters. He is firmly and thoroughly rebutted by a post on Climate Science Watch accompanied by  strong replies by scientists Michael Mann, Michael MacCracken, and Howard Frumkin. Pollyanna calls pseudoscience by the likes of Koonin a dangerous example of music by Nero.

    Last Sunday 675,000 people marched all over the world to demand action against climate change. The march organized by AVAAZ was set up for the UN Conference on Climate Change taking place now. The crowd was 80 blocks long in New York City. Here are some pix from around the world.

    People's climate march in London, where thousands of people took to the streets

    People’s climate march in London, where thousands of people took to the streets. Credit: Laurence Topham/Guardian Photograph: Laurence Topham

    Emma Thompson says it best--deniers are f^*^*ing bonkers.


    Pollyanna congratulates the laureates of this year's Ig Nobel prizes. These are research projects that first make you laugh and then make you think. It is nice to know why banana skins are slippery and why some people see the face of Jesus in toast.
    Face of Jesus in toast.


    Again there is no new What If? this time because we are early this week, but we can make do with some Randall cartoons. We are told that Apple sold millions of its new phones in the first weekend.
    People should know that even these phones are not immortal.
    My Phone is Dying

    Wumo show how this works. We are giving you the link since they warn us not to reproduce their cartoons. They are just great.

    Dilbert Cartoon for Sep/19/2014

    Dilbert Cartoon for Sep/20/2014

     This cartoon reminds Pollyanna

    of an bad old  joke that caused her  to blush...

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