Monday, 3 August 2015

Bleached Part of Bathroom Wall Cannot Be Pee! It's a Sign From God! Duh!

There's this white mark on the wall of a bathroom in Mali and some genius(!!!!!!) has managed to convince people it's actually a mystical picture of a praying man - a message from God.
Thousands of people in Mali's capital, Bamako, are flocking to see what it believed to a religious sign on a wall that suddenly appeared last weekend.

Many believe the white image on the outside wall of a toilet shows a man praying, interpreting it as a message from God.

Riot police have been deployed to keep an eye on the crowd as people queue day and night to see the mark.
That's right, riot police. Politicians and dignitaries along with pilgrims from neighboring countries have all paid visits to this holy shrine.
The BBC's Alex Duval Smith in Bamako says people do not have to pay to see the mark but are leaving money in a bucket, which the Traore family say they will give to the local mosque.

Naturally, a naysayer like me would look at the position of the spot - say, relative to the guy pointing at it on the right - and wonder if someone's just been peeing on the wall.
The trick to using urine for bleaching is allowing it to stand, encouraging the development of ammonia by allowing the urine to react to the air. The resulting ammonia is the cleaning agent, rather than the urine itself. Once ammonia has developed, garments can be dipped in the urine, or small amounts of the liquid can be used to treat spots and stains. To full wool, people traditionally poured stale urine over wool in a large vat, and people walked on the wool, agitating it and allowing the urine to penetrate to clean it.
What would I know though? It's obviously a message from God. The supreme creator of the entire universe is communicating with mankind via a spot on a bathroom wall in Mali.

I suppose it's better than the usual public washroom communications I run into...

This is, of course, both hilarious and deeply tragic. The fact that people are so willing to see a miracle in a spot on the loo wall points out just how desperate many in Mali must be. Skeptic Leo Igwe points this out in a piece he wrote over at the Malawian Maravi Post.
Obviously the conflict in Mali has worsened living conditions in the country deepening situations of poverty and misery. Many people across Mali are in dire situation and are desperately looking out for signs of Allah's presence or at least some covert intervention. Under such circumstances, patches of paint or cement can easily translate into 'true signs' of Allah's manifestation and protection.

I mean, Skeptics in Mali, where are you?
In the piece, he also asks how this stain could possibly be seen as a religious sign and why it must be an Islamic one rather than a Christian one.

Why indeed.

These are things to contemplate on the loo.

(Top image source)

Sunday, 2 August 2015

The Next Time They Come Knocking?

I'll admit that I've been so busy lately with the podcast, housework and family life, that I've missed several important stories. I yearn to focus my satire and cynicism at some big fat juicy targets - but I just don't have time.

I did have time to watch this video Twitter user @KissMyAssparagus sent me earlier today.

(Image source)

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Acceptance of Evolution On The Rise in Western Canada

There's an interesting write up by Mario Canseco over at the Vancouver Observer about the ever-declining belief in creationism in Alberta and British Columbia.
The notion that God created human beings in their present form within the last 10,000 years is endorsed by just 17 per cent of British Columbians. The proportion of creationists climbs to 27 per cent among people who reside in the North and the Southern Interior, but drops to 16 per cent in Metro Vancouver and nine per cent in Vancouver Island (where Lunney’s soon-to-be-extinct riding is located).

Across the province, only one-in-four residents (26%) think creationism —the belief that the universe and life originated from specific acts of divine creation — should be part of the school curriculum in British Columbia. Once again, the numbers jump in the North and the Southern Interior (36 per cent want to see creationism taught in schools), but remain low in Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
All this comes from Insights West's Survey on Evolution and Creationism in British Columbia and Alberta.
Results are based on an online study conducted from May 7 to May 9, 2015, among 814 adult British Columbians, and an online study conducted from May 1 to May 3, 2015, among 801 adult Albertans.
Here's a screenshot from the study results, summarizing the numbers.

It's about what I expected.
Going back to this year’s Insights West poll, age provides an added layer of analysis, and a window into what the research may show a decade from now. Almost two thirds of residents aged 18 to 34 in both British Columbia and Alberta (64%) believe that Adam and Eve should stay away from the classroom. It is also important to note that the proportion of residents who think creationism should “definitely” be taught in schools is particularly low: just 16 per cent in Alberta and 12 per cent in British Columbia. 
This is good news, coming from the province which produced the likes of James Lunney.

(image source)

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