In most elevators installed since the early 1990s, the “close door” button has no effect. Otis Elevator engineers confirmed the fact to the Wall Street Journal in 2003.
Similarly, many office thermostats are dummies, designed to give workers the illusion of control. “You just get tired of dealing with them and you screw in a cheap thermostat,” said Illinois HVAC specialist Richard Dawson. “Guess what? They quit calling you.”
In 2004 the New York Times reported that more than 2,500 of the 3,250 “walk” buttons in New York intersections do nothing. “The city deactivated most of the pedestrian buttons long ago with the emergence of computer-controlled traffic signals, even as an unwitting public continued to push on.”
I noticed a link to this site posted up today from fightthefaith, I have seen this site before and actually was thinking about posting something recently on it. For a fee Christians can be paired up with Atheists or non-believers so that if/when the rapture happens the Atheist will take care of their pets, who of course can’t be saved. Do you think it’s right for Atheists to take advantage of the gullibility of Christians? Obviously the church has already been doing it for hundreds and hundreds of years, but is it right for Atheists to exploit that too?
I have a confession to make. When I read about the United Nations panel’s decision to remove sexual orientation from an anti-execution resolution, I sat down and I wept.
The resolution has contained a reference to lesbian and gay people since 1999. Today, it was announced that this has changed. Other groups are still covered, including those facing persecution on the grounds of religion. But not us.
According to Pink News, “the vast majority of countries in support of the change were African or Arabic” - ie, those countries with the worst records on human rights abuses against lesbians and gay men, countries where gay people are regularly stoned, flogged and publicly executed.
As I sat there, wiping the tears from my eyes, I was reminded of a night more than twenty years ago, when I came home to my flat in Kennington to find my flat mate Vaughan in floods of tears because the government had just passed a law banning “the promotion of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”. It was the first time in living memory that laws relating to homosexuality in the UK had actually gone backwards.
I’ll admit that I didn’t appreciate the significance at the time. I was young, gay, and committed to having fun. It embarrassed me to see a grown man weeping over something so intangible to me as a change in the law. Gay politics meant very little to me then. It took Section 28, and Vaughan’s subsequent death from Aids, to change that. I’ve been a political animal ever since.
It’s strange, isn’t it, how we somehow assume that things will only get better? Especially those of us in the “progressive” West? I have American friends who were genuinely shocked when Proposition 8 was passed. Then again, I’ve met lesbians and gay men from the Middle East and Africa who have told me such horror stories, I’m amazed that they find the strength to keep on fighting.
And it’s for them that I found myself crying earlier. Because what this change in the law says is that it’s okay for homophobic regimes to continue murdering people on the basis of their sexuality. And while it angers me to think that the UN could allow this to happen, it doesn’t affect me in the way that it affects them.
This is a sad day for the international LGBT community. And a shameful day for the UN.
“… [Political] success on television is not, unfortunately, limited only to those who deserve it. It is a medium which lends itself to manipulation, exploitation and gimmicks. It can be abused by demagogs, by appeals to emotion and prejudice and ignorance.”—
“We’d like to believe that most of what we know is accurate and that if presented with facts to prove we’re wrong, we would sheepishly accept the truth and change our views accordingly.
A new body of research out of the University of Michigan suggests that’s not what happens, that we base our opinions on beliefs and when presented with contradictory facts, we adhere to our original belief even more strongly.
This seems intuitively obvious to me, especially these days when so many refuse to see the truth. I think the ability to alter one’s world view in order to conform to reality is an evolutionary survival trait…which means that most republicans and tea-partiers are headed for extinction. Trouble is they’re fully capable of taking the rest of us with them.
Some people grouse about health costs and wonder why the federal health overhaul hasn’t offered much relief, but Frank Albanese, owner of Local Color cafe in Pike Place Market, isn’t one of them.
Along with tax credits created by the new law, a new state program that’s federally funded will make it possible for him to insure his low-wage employees for the first time since he opened the cafe seven years ago.
Now, Albanese said, insuring employees is not only affordable, it’s doable — and “doable means we’re going to do it.”
Albanese is part of the Main Street Alliance of Washington, a growing coalition of small-business owners, several of whom gathered at Local Color on the recent six-month anniversary of the federal law to talk about how it’s helping them.
The alliance counts more than 2,000 small-business owners across the state, in every congressional district, said Leanne Clarke, another small-business owner, who chairs the group. Members have met with President Obama and other promoters of the federal overhaul, and some say they’re getting fed up with all the sniping from critics.
Science and religion are two windows that people look through, trying to understand the big universe outside, trying to understand why we are here. The two windows give different views, but they look out at the same universe. Both views are one-sided, neither is complete. Both leave out essential features of the real world. And both are worthy of respect.
Trouble arises when either science or religion claims universal jurisdiction, when either religious or scientific dogma claims to be infallible. Religious creationists and scientific materialists are equally dogmatic and insensitive. By their arrogance they bring both science and religion into disrepute. The media exaggerate their numbers and importance. The media rarely mention the fact that the great majority of religious people belong to moderate denominations that treat science with respect, or the fact that the great majority of scientists treat religion with respect so long as religion does not claim jurisdiction over scientific questions.