Monthly Archives: June 2019
This is really just a local nature report, so don’t expect a punchline. We’re promised a heatwave from Europe this weekend. The papers were, of course, immediately blaming it on climate change, but you may recall that Irving Berlin’s Heatwave appeared in 1933, during the dust bowl years, and the Martha and the Vandellas song of the same name came out in 1963, and depended on people picking up the allusion. In fact 1962-3 was, in Britain, notably cold and snowy, and it wasn’t nearly as hot a summer as those I remember from the fifties. It’s called “weather.”
Peter Ridd is an Australian geophysicist who has spent a lifetime studying the Great Barrier Reef, and recently won a court case against his dismissal from James Cook University, in which the judge was utterly scathing about the dirty tactics used to muzzle his academic freedom of speech and to discredit him as an individual.
Chasing up, for interest, references to the 1908 “Tunguska Event” (now most commonly thought to be a meteroric or cometary air-burst), I came across this recent piece in Physorg.
Abortions in the UK have gained the dubious honour of reaching the 200,000 per year level, as the BBC reports. When I was last working, a decade ago, they were hovering around the 180,000 mark.
I wrote my book God’s Good Earth to counter the assumptions amongst both “conservative” Christians on the one hand, and secular and theistic evolutionists on the other, that the natural world is full of a morally problematic thing called “natural evil.”
I’ve been making bets with people that if the warnings about catastrophic global warming and sea level rise come true in the next twelve years, I’ll buy them a holiday in the Maldives. But in fact, though I fully expect the Maldives will still be a tropical paradise destination then, the aim of the UK government to make us unilaterally “carbon neutral” by 2050 will probably put such holidays beyond the reach of all but renewable energy billionaires in their private jets.
Pope Francis has reportedly endorsed the opinion of “Vatican experts” in revising the Italian wording of the Lord’s Prayer so that it reads (in English translation, of course!) “Do not let us fall/be abandoned into temptation.”
Yesterday I posted a piece on a news report about the World Health Organisation’s recategoration of “gender identity disorder” as “gender incongruence,” and was taken to task by a new commenter, Nick Townsend. I’ve decided I can give a more adequate response to his well-argued post in a new OP rather than in the limited format of the comments software.
My pastor drew my attention to this BBC article last week. I’m not entirely sure how much this is new news, and how much old news repackaged, in that I have been aware that “gender identity disorder” has been rebranded in various national indices of medical disorders as a “gender dysphoria.” The “news” seems to be the ratification of this by the “World Health Assembly” last week, so it will appear in ICD-11, the international gold standard of diagnostic categores, as “gender incongruence, a marked and persistent incongruence between a person’s experienced gender and assigned sex.”
Longstanding (and longsuffering) readers may remember that I often like to delve in the story of any interesting new species I come across, and I virtually always find that they are exceptions to the evolutionary rules. The most recent is this handsome plant that has appeared, apparently for the first time, in my ongoing wildflower meadow project.