March 2009

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Debaptise Yourself!

I’ve just found out about this great story from The Feethinker (thanks Joe!). Apparently, in just the last week alone, 1500 people in Britain paid for Certificates of Debaptism from the National Secular Society! Indeed, this has prompted Religious Intelligence to run a poll asking if Anglicanism should provide a service for people to annul their baptism (as Rome already does, apparently)—be sure to cast your vote! The atheist movement really is starting to gather strength across the world, isn’t it?

My next couple of posts on climate change are going to be pretty serious, so I thought I might throw in a bit of humour first. And what better way to do it than to create your own atheist bus slogan? Yes, that’s right: the atheist bus campaign has now set up an atheist bus slogan generator, so you can create your own custom atheist bus slogan! Feel free to create your own, then please post it here.

While Australia’s new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is infinitely greener than John Howard was (Howard simply didn’t care about climate change at all), I am nevertheless disappointed with the fairly weak emissions targets that his government has set, and the push toward alternative energy (particularly solar in what must be the sunniest nation on earth) could be a whole lot stronger. This is especially so when we need grand new projects to create employment; business sees environmentalism as the enemy of profits and jobs, but this is a very shortsighted and overly simplistic view in my opinion.

In the mean time, the Maldives have vowed to become carbon neutral within a decade, by totally eliminating their dependency on fossil fuels, and switching completely to solar and wind energy. Even though the total cost of this plan will be worth more than their entire annual GDP, it will save them a lot of money in the long run: it should pay for itself in ten years, then after that their energy costs will be cut dramatically from what they are now (as they are currently dependent on oil imports to supply their energy needs). Hopefully they won’t be the only country who does such a calculation.

So why is a country of such modest means (and carbon footprint) as the Maldives leading the way in climate change initiatives? Basically because they—like other low-lying island nations—will be the first countries to be seriously effected by global warming, as predicted sea level rises will mean they are threatened with being under water in the not too distant future. They want to set an example that other nations will follow, in the hope that they will be able to avert this threat to their very existence. As we are such selfish and shortsighted creatures, nothing motivates us like our own self-interest. Read the rest of this entry »

Please Explain!

Although I’ve written about Twitter before, the recent rumour that Google was looking at buying them—after they’d already rejected an offer of $500 million from Facebook—has prompted me to write another article about the apparently insane market evaluations of these web 2.0 companies.

Now Google was supposed to be interested in Twitter because of their search capabilities, which apparently was the main reason they bought YouTube—Google just wants to control all the different ways people can search for things on the internet, even if they don’t make money in themselves. I guess there’s a logic to that. But in the case of Facebook, we have a massively popular web 2.0 darling that still can’t make money, wanting to buy another massively popular web 2.0 darling that doesn’t have any source of revenue at all, to the tune of $500 million! Yet even though they have no revenue (or even an actual business model), Twitter not only rejected Facebook’s offer, they also managed to raise another $35 million in venture capital!

Surely I can’t be the only person who looks at this and wonders what the hell is going on here? Isn’t the massive investment in these web 2.0 companies that haven’t found a way to make money yet just like the bubble all over again? And all this at a time when it is so hard for people to get capital for longstanding, legitimate businesses? Something just doesn’t add up here. Is there some rule of doing business on the internet that I’m missing here? If so, I’d really like to know what it is! Read the rest of this entry »

Well I think it’s high time we had a little comic relief, so as I’ve just seen Ghost Town—and I enjoyed The Office and Extras—I thought it would be appropriate to post this video of Ricky Gervais talking about the Bible. The Bible is a very easy target for comedians, as it is just so patently absurd—it is totally unbelievable that any educated adult could accept what it says literally, yet so many do! It’s utterly incredible how people can switch off their normal critical faculties when it comes to religion.