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intaglio's Journal
intaglio's Journal
December 9, 2012

More photos of my workplace (Pic heavy)

I have posted before about my terrible workplace My workplace; damp, untidy, dated buildings and have - at great risk to myself - taken some more in the past week.

I hope you enjoy and, again, apologies for the quality.

Some poor soul has to live in this shanty with straw for a roof

Cottage near St Mawgan

And then someone else has to endure the claustrophobic approach to this house

again near St Mawgan

But as these 2 shots indicate there is no escape for the agoraphobic

At Trugo Farm near Newquay

Bodmin Moor in contrasting light

Some might find these scenes of rural decay at Boscastle worrying

Boscastle Valley

Tumbledown kitchens at the Old Manor

New bridge and Harbour Lights chapel (now a tea room)

In the same village the harbour lies quiet

Boscastle Harbour

Perhaps because the harbour entrance is a little difficult to navigate

Boscastle Harbour entrance

In case anyone is in doubt, the original conceit of this thread is sarcastic. I love my workplace and am lucky enough to have a job that takes me round some of the most beautiful parts.

December 1, 2012

My workplace; damp, untidy, dated buildings ...

Just a few photos taken over the past couple of days. Apologies for the quality - I was at work.

Behind the supermarket in Penryn

Some sort of foreign influence here - The Egyptian House in Penzance

Needs a good gardener, A wild valley near Cury

Tide's our out Poldhu

Christians are everywhere - humph, St Mellanus Church, Mullion

August 6, 2012

How I lost my faith (x post with Atheists Agnostics)

Twelve years ago I was a mild mannered, self described agnostic.

I had been such an agnostic for years. If asked I would say that I was truly a skeptic, full of doubt but willing to receive a revelation.

Eleven years ago my mother died but in the final days, and aware of her impending end, she asked my sister and I to have a non-religious celebration for her funeral. To an extent it shocked me for while she had always expressed doubt about biblically based Christianity there was never any hint that she had discarded more than that. Yet here was this middle class British woman, born in the 1920s, conventionally educated, uninterested in theologies and philosophies, asking that we mark her passing, not with a pastor and prayers for her salvation but with a simple eulogy and a request not to mourn. What is more she was doing this in the very face of death.

It started me thinking, and thinking is dangerous to the status quo. Looking back I realised how unusual my mother and her mother had been and how ill conceived my view of them had become (the full story of that is a tale for another time).

Thinking is dangerous, something known to all faiths who respond by carefully partitioning thinkers away and only passing on what the faith leaders regard as acceptable to their theology and that faith. It was fatal to my faith because I saw that my use of the term "agnostic" hid that frightening demon atheism. In truth I was using the term agnostic as a conceit, a concealment and, if I was wrong, a defence in the face of vengeful but forgiving deity.

How was it a conceit? Essentially I, the agnostic, was saying, "I am open to receiving revelation, not like those atheists" but any atheist is just as open to such revelation as the agnostic. Equally the theist of another faith can fall to a revelation of god, look at the story of Paul. The whole point of revelation is that a god can grant it to anyone and in such an overpowering manner that it overcomes all objection; yet they/he/she/it does not grant such visions except to those already primed to accept them without question.

How was it concealment? When I said I was agnostic to another person you are leaving the door ajar to them bringing me into their particular faith, saying "I'm a blank sheet waiting for your god to write upon it - perhaps with a little help from you, friend". I was denying being one of those fearful atheists who can never be converted (see above) and waving a false flag to avoid conflict.

How was it defence? Essentially I was preparing an argument to make to a creature I did not believe existed. No agnostic believes in any god or gods for if they do they are not agnostic. Agnostics have no faith, have had no revelation and would deny that there can be physical proof of a deity; how is that not atheism?

There was another way in which this was a defence, it was a fragile armour against the fear of death and the fear of an afterlife. Here was where my mother led me; a Boudicca knowing that she would end but leading those who needed such a guide. Dying she led me into battle against my fears and they crumbled. She did not know this for she had died and in death was victorious.

April 29, 2012

A giant of a man

Yesterday was Trevithick Day in Camborne, a recent innovation where the ingenuity if Cornwall's native son, Richard Trevithick, is celebrated.

For those who do not know Trevithick was a mining engineer and inventor. A huge man for his day (6'2&quot he is celebrated in legend for his strength, it is said he threw a miners sledge hammer over the beam of the engine at the Dolcoath mine (a height of over 40 feet). His primary achievement however was the development of high pressure steam as the driving force for engines. This allowed him to develop the first practicable "chariot" or steam powered carriage in 1801.

The tale of the first epic ride is told in the song "Goin' up Camborne Hill (comin' down)" but the song is only half the tale for, in what seems to have been Trevithick's usual impulsive way, the test was undertaken without any prior warning or, seemingly, intent. It was a success, but a few days later on another test run the engine broke so Trevithick and his companions sent for help and retired to a local inn for a meal of goose and, no doubt, some beer. Unfortunately no one damped the fire in the boiler which ran low on water, overheated and burnt the engine to the ground. This may have led to Trevithick's later invention of the fusible plug which made steam boilers self damping.

On Trevithick Day a reproduction of that first chariot is run through the streets where its predecessor was first tested. In the pictures of that device below the smaller gentleman at the front is steering the beast by brute force leverage on the front wheels.

Trevithick's later career also shows his considerable inventiveness. He was the first man to run passenger locomotives but his engines were not matched by the rails on which they ran allowing the Stephensons, father and son, to claim the title of "Father of the Railways". Trevithick also seems to have lacked business acumen for virtually all of his business projects ended in failure.

One final note on his life is that he went to Bolivia to help develop pumping engines for the silver mines there but was unable to recover his investment due to Simon Bolivar's first civil war erupting. Trevithick joined the rebels helping to develop a gun for them to use but with the collapse if that revolt was left penniless. Further adventures (and engineering) followed until he arrived in Cartagena (Columbia) in 1827 where a passing Briton gave him £50 to get home. That Brit was George Stephenson the younger.

April 15, 2012

The text ofPZ Myers speech to Global Atheist Convention

Read the whole thing, it is very well worth it

Link and excerpts. Note to Mods and alerters, I am quoting more than 3 excerpts but as far as I am aware Prof Myers intends this speech to be widely disseminated. If Admin thinks I have it wrong please delete.

Speech Text "Sacking the City of God" at Pharyngula

I must apologize for some topic drift — I came up with a title for this talk some months ago, but the as I was working on it, it…evolved. So what I’m actually going to talk about today is my plan to assault heaven and kill God. You don’t mind, do you?

The most brilliant thing Christianity ever did was to take that idea of the Word, that concept of identity wrapped up in an abstract set of ideas and stories, and to open it up to everyone. Aww, Rome fell? YouÕre all alone? Here, we can help you find yourself, we can give a new meaning to your life, we have a standard that you can hold high and find unity with a greater people. It’s called the Bible.

You were probably dubious and wondering what the heck I was doing saying the Bible was powerful and important, but maybe now that I’ve cited nerd god Alan Moore for the concept you’ll accept what I’m saying.

You can kill a man, you can sack a city, but Alan Moore says you cannot kill an idea. And ideas can change the world.

Ideas can change the world.

Say it again: Ideas can change the world.

Live it: Ideas can change the world.

Read the pronouncements of popes and archbishops, read the newspapers and web columns, look to the priests in their pulpits, and you’ll see something wonderful: they are reacting to the rise of the New Atheists in the same way the Roman establishment reacted to the Visigoths appearing on the horizon. I cannot blame them for being fearful; we are galloping towards the central ideas of their identity, and we aim to tear down their walls and replace their obsolete myths with change and something more vital.

Deep in their heart of hearts, they fear that a sequel to St Augustine’s City of God is in the works, and it’s going to be written by an atheist…and it will speak of a brand new world and new opportunities, it will create a new ecumene of people united under something other than the folly of faith.

Yesterday I was listening to our Christian protesters outside, and I thought, “Huh. So that’s what you get when you give a sheep a microphone, amplified bleating.” There they were, calling on everyone to deny the richness of human experience and join the flock in the narrow boring confines of the sheep pen, so mindless they didn’t even realize they were calling to the wolves.

I have a different metaphor for us, my brothers and sisters in atheism. We are not sheep; there are no shepherds here. I look out from this stage and I see 4000 pairs of hunter’s eyes, 4000 hunter’s minds, 4000 pairs of hunter’s hands. I see the primeval primate hunting band grown large and strong. I see us so confident in our strength that we laugh at our enemies. I see a people thinking and planning, fierce and focused, learning and building new tools to conquer new worlds.

You are not sheep. You, my brothers and sisters in atheism, are a fierce, coordinated hunting pack — men and women working together, and those other bastards have cause to fear us. So let’s do it: make them tremble as we demolish the city of god.

Speech Text "Sacking the City of God" at Pharyngula

Read the whole thing
January 10, 2012

Contraception's "dirty secrets" courtesy of Pharma, Medics and Religion

I found a fascinating article on "Ex-Christian Net" about contraception. Despite the source of the article and its title "15 things boys like Rick Santorum don't want you to know about your body and contraception," the bulk of the article is about modern contraception. It tells how much ignorance, profiteering and religious pressure keeps women from making an informed decision about their health.

The article is here http://new.exchristian.net/2012/01/15-things-old-boys-like-rick-santorum.html

I will post 3 extracts (Skinner, please bring back the quote or blockquote as well as the link functionality) and crosspost to GD.

Regarding religious sourced misconceptions (pun not intended)

Contraception works better than prayer for reducing abortion and saving lives. Chile is a devoutly Catholic country, and consequently abortion is illegal there without exception. For women of reproductive age, the Chilean abortion rate is 45 abortions per 1000 women each year. The U.S., most devout of all developed countries, has less restrictive laws, and better access to contraception and an abortion rate of 21/1000. The secular Netherlands, with universal healthcare and some of the least restrictive abortion laws in the world have a rate of 7/1000. Chilean women pay for the Church’s anti-contraception stance with their lives. Between 2000 and 2004, back-alley abortion was Chile’s third leading cause of maternal death.


Big Phartma (misprint intended)

Prices don’t correspond to costs. They correspond to what the market will bear. In contrast to Europe and Canada where competition and single-payer systems keep prices affordable, women in the U.S. have to pay monopoly prices for LARCs. Only one copper IUD, one hormonal IUD, and one implant currently are approved for the U.S. market. The Mirena, which retails in the U.S. for over $800 (that’s without insertion) and is slated for an increase, costs around $350 in Canada, prompting some women to cross the border for their contraceptive care


Medical Professionals

General practice doctors don’t routinely stay up to date on contraception. They would be embarrassed if you knew how out-of-date their information actually is. Research both in Canada and in the U.S. shows that family practice doctors frequently endorse misinformation about contraceptive options. For example, many think hormonal IUDs increase your risk of pelvic infection, when the opposite looks to be true. Most are unaware that today’s easily reversed LARCs are as effective as sterilization, and can be used safely by teens and young women who haven’t yet had babies.


Note "LARC" refers to long acting reversible contraceptives.

Hope this proves useful

Edited to add link to GD thread http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002149097

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