Friday, November 29, 2013

Titan hopes that gluttony is a minor sin

Titan is back with you again and would like to share a picture of our cosmic visitor comet ISON which is whipping around the Sun. It has apparently come through the experience although probably not intact which was hardly to be expected. Here is its reappearance as seen by the SOHO spacecraft. Titan and XKCD hope that an object lesson has been learned in the Oort cloud, although ISON is not the first sun-grazer to have discovered the danger of its ways.
Oort Cloud                

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

This week it is Titan's turn to promote a charity. His choice is the project of the joint Israeli-Palestinian organization, Combatants for Peace C4P. They can be supported through the Web site of Global Giving. Since settlers think it is fun to beat up Palestinian children, the aim of C4P is to provide a place where children can play safely.  Ten year old Abir Aramin was murdered by an Israeli soldier who was granted impunity by the army with the collusion of the courts.  Let us act so that there will be no more Abir-like victims of military blood lust.
 Abir's Garden Playgrounds for a Safe Place to Grow

Combatants for Peace (C4P) are building playgrounds and organizing children's theater programs in memory of Abir Aramin, who tragic death  touched so many hearts. The playgrounds, all connected with a Palestinian kindergarten or elementary school in the West Bank, are constructed by professionals with Israeli and Palestinian former combatants working together to help. Now, the C4P teams are coaching children's theater programs at each school to help youth raise awareness of their village's story.

Singer Arik Einstein PR
Singer Arik Einstein
Famous and popular Israeli singer Arik Einstein died late Tuesday of an aortic aneurysm  after being hospitalized in critical condition earlier in the evening. A singer, songwriter and actor, Einstein occupied an unparalleled place in the history of Israeli music. He was considered the  link between Israel's tradition of folk music and the emergence of rock-n-roll. Chemi Shalev provides an appreciation of his work in Haaretz. Thousands mourned him and followed his funeral cortege to the Trumpeldor Street cemetery.His songs accompanied an entire generation that grew up in Israel. Einstein will be missed, although the obsession of the media with his passing went far beyond good taste and proportionality. Haaretz makes an effort to pick out his ten best songs-an impossible task- for the choice is of the individual. Pick up this link and see what you like best. He suggested changing the world, not a bad idea.


Many of the Darfuri women and girl refugees spoke of ongoing rape and other forms of sexual violence © Amnesty International
In the conflict zone of Darfur in Sudan, the incidence of rape and sexual abuse of women and girls is monstrous. Amnesty International sent a researcher to the region. His report is now out and it is
chilling. The refugee camps over the border in Chad are mainly populated by women and children since the men have been systematically killed by the militias that prey on the population. We quote from the report: Many women and girls are raped when they go out to fetch firewood. One man told me that “sometimes you see a woman come back with torn clothes after disappearing for a few days. You can guess what happened. The problem is that nothing can be done about this.”

What these women’s traumatic accounts show is how the Sudanese government has utterly failed in its international legal obligations to prevent, protect against and punish these fundamental human rights violations, some of which may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity for which individuals can be held criminally responsible. Sudanese authorities must also exercise due diligence to prevent and punish these violations, whether by state or non-state actors.

Women’s human rights are often forgotten and treated as a
secondary concern, both in and outside of conflict situations.
Despite efforts by the international community to address the
violations and abuses committed against women and girls in
Darfur, rape and other forms of sexual violence remain a
constant threat. This particularly due to the climate of
pervasive and widespread impunity. More needs to be done to
address the effects of this on-going crisis and to protect
women and girls from this continued violence that has lasted
for a decade. It ia clear that not only has the Sudanese
government failed these people, but the UN, the OAU and the
international community in general must bear the burden of
shame for these atrocities.

Titan was relieved to see that the 6 powers managed to work out an acceptable deal with Iran. In reality, we have no doubt that Iran will, if it still chooses, attain nuclear capability, but at worst, Iran and Israel will live in a state of MAD, Mutual Assured Destruction, as the US and the USSR plus China did for decades and as India and Pakistan do today. What he is ranting about is the blathering  by Israel which is no more than a transparent ploy to distract attention from what is going on in the West Bank, to create a diversion from the failed negotiations and to blunt the effect of European sanctions. Yuck says Titan and he has a strong stomach.

The site of the collapsed supermarket in Riga, 25 November
Rescuers searched for bodies amid the rubble for days after the collapse
The collapse of a supermarket in Riga, Latvia caused the death of 54 people. While the investigation into the catastrophe is going on, the Prime Minister of Latvia has resigned as an act of acceptance of political responsibility. We salute his integrity and compare him to the Israeli ministers who blithely ignored calls for their resignation in the wake of a forest fire that claimed 44 lives and for which the firefighting services that came under their purview were woefully unprepared. It is nice to know that somewhere accountability still exists.

Titan is pleased to see that four adults have been charged in the teenage rape case that sent shock waves across America and around the world. One of them, the superintendent of schools, has been charged with the felony of obstruction of justice. Two teens had already been convicted in March of raping a 16-year-old girl at a party in August of 2012. We are waiting for action to be taken against the football coach himself, but are not holding our breath.

During the Cold War the FBI pursued a Communist under every lamp post. The idiocy reached its height in the investigation of Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre
Albert Camus
Jean-Paul  Sartre
at the behest of J. Edgar Hoover himself. The suspicion was that existentialism and absurdism were just communism in disguise.  In Slate we are told of the tracking of several other writers and intellectuals. One might imagine agents infiltrating a philosophy seminar disguised in turtlenecks and smoking Gauloises. In Israel we had a Minister of Education staking out lecture halls and allegedly paying students to snitch on subversive professors such as a teacher of dramatic art talking about the little Iago or Eichmann lurking in all of us including a soldier at a roadblock. Indeed, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, a statement often erroneously attributed to Jefferson , but nonetheless true.


 Titan says cheers for the medical team from Israel that went to
help out in the aftermath of the super typhoon that hit the
Philippines. They did a good job in an isolated town. NBC
reports and gives them high praise. We can be proud of our
humanitarian doctors.

A woman has been ordered by a rabbinical
court in Israel to have her son circumcised under penalty of a
large daily fine. Initially the rite had to be postponed
because of a medical problem and then the mother, with the
agreement of the father, decided against it. Now they are
getting divorced and the rabbinical court insists on the
circumcision of the child. The case is coming up for a Supreme
Court hearing soon and Haaretz summarizes the arguments well in
its editorial. The arguments of the rabbis are ridiculous and
would be funny if the issue were not so sad. They claim
“Removing the foreskin prepares the spiritual soul to receive
the yoke of the kingdom of heaven and to learn God’s Torah and
His commandments.”

Another explanation they gave for rejecting the appeal related
to the public battles against circumcision in Europe and the
United States. “The Israeli public sees this as another
expression of anti-Semitism, which must be fought,”
they wrote.

Somehow human rights have to trump religious customs. Indeed,
as Rabbi Yoffe of the US Reform Movement writes, most Jews
approve of the ancient rite but reject the custom of sucking the blood orally. The purpose of this practice is to clean the wound, but the problem is that any sore on the mouth of the mohel will transmit an infection – often herpes – to the infant, who has an undeveloped immune system. And health officials in New York City estimate that a small number of babies have become very ill and a few have died from such infections, one last September. Indeed it is wrong to try to prohibit circumcision as in Germany and San Francisco, but it is equally wrong to impose it.

The Haifa District Court sentenced three of the attackers of Jewish terrorist Eden Natan Zada to two years in prison. In August 2005, Natan Zada murdered four Shfaram Arab residents and was beaten to death by an angry mob. Two other defendants also received jail time, while one was given probation.

When he was killed by the mob Zada was already in police
custody. Indeed the outrage of the mob is understandable, but
it is impossible to say that they killed him in self-defense.
Titan agrees with the court "No self-respecting society will
tolerate lynching even if the person committed a heinous
crime," the verdict read. "Revenge is for God; punishment is
for the judiciary."
On the other hand, in view of the fact that
the Jewish terrorists who killed Arab mayors were pardoned by
act of the Knesset, we think that President Peres should think
seriously of pardoning these people before the end of their
terms in prison.


What If? comes up with something quite out of the ordinary this
How close would you have to be to a supernova to get a
lethal dose of neutrino radiation? (Overheard in a physics department) 

The answer is interesting to physics people and everyone,

We love Cynthia's grandpa, for good reasons. It must be empathy.
Barney & Clyde Cartoon for Nov/28/2013

We have not visited SMBC for a while and we think this is
appropriate for our profession:

Cheers for our friend Wally who found a way to serve his country:
The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animations and more    
The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animations and more

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