THE   FOCUS

January 15, 2010
Volume 6, Issue 3
Published by the Center For Atheism (CFA)
Editor: David Birnkrant
 
The Focus provides links to articles collected from major newspapers and magazines, and is emailed weekly.

This Week in Atheism is a cable show that discusses the articles featured below, every Wednesday at 6:30 PM (EST), Manhattan Cable station 57. 
Live streaming is available at: 
http://www.mnn.org.

Comments, suggestions and subscription:
info@centerforatheism.org.


 
The Center for Atheism (CFA) was established by the New York City Atheists as a separate and independent national organization to propose, develop, and be a catalyst for new national activities supporting the objectives of atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, skeptics, secularists and separation-of-church-and-state advocates. 

CFA will accept and review suggestions from individuals and other secular organizations that will foster our goals.
 
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FEATURED ARTICLES

Irish atheists challenge new blasphemy laws | World news ...
Secular campaigners publish series of anti-religious quotes and say they will challenge law if charged with blasphemy...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/01/irish-atheists-challenge-blasphemy-law

Without God, Without Leader, Harlem Atheists Have Faith in Future
The Uptowner
By Joshua Tapper on Jan 4th, 2010 Once a month, Harlem atheists, along with a smattering of outerborough residents, gather at the Adam Clayton Powell State ...
http://theuptowner.org/2010/01/04/without-god-without-leader-harlem-atheists-have-faith-in-future/

ATHEISM

Atheist Ireland protests blasphemy law by publishing book of ...
A group of Irish atheists are using the words of Bjork and Mark Twain to protest a blasphemy law that went into effect on New Year's Day...
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/01/02/2010-01-02_atheist_ireland_protests_blasphemy_law_by_publishing_book_of_religious_quotation.html

Irish atheists challenge blasphemy law
BBC News
An atheist group in the Irish Republic has defied a new blasphemy law by publishing a series of anti-religious quotations on its website. ...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8437460.stm

Irish Atheist Group Challenges Ireland's Blasphemy Law - Sphere News
An Irish atheist group has published a series of quotations on religion in an attempt to challenge a blasphemy law that went into effect on New Year's Day...
http://www.sphere.com/world/article/irish-atheist-group-challenges-irelands-blasphemy-law/19300648

Irish Befuddled By New Blasphemy Law
NPR
"Atheism in Ireland would be a very minority occupation," says William Reville, an academic at University College Cork who has campaigned for the continued ...
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122225249&ps=cprs

New Year's Partiers, Preachers Clash in 'Sin City'
Sphere
Joshua Burgess, 23, of Tel Aviv spent more than a half hour arguing with preacher Mark Czikalla of Anaheim about "intelligent design," a belief held by some ...
http://www.sphere.com/nation/article/preachers-partiers-clash-in-las-vegas-on-new-years-eve/19300094

BOOKS, FILM, THEATRE, TV, YOU TUBE

Bertrand Russell on atheism 1959 - Atheist Nexus
Tim Minchin Interview: Atheism, Comedy and Religi… Awkward Questions about Jesus ... You need to be a member of Atheist Nexus to add comments! ...
http://www.atheistnexus.org/video/bertrand-russell-on-atheism?xg_source=activity

Ex-priest Uhl hopes to help with 'doubts and questions'
Arizona Daily Star
He decided on a philosophy of "friendly atheism." Uhl writes that he hopes his book will supply people with "doubts and questions" with a way to "reconcile ...
http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/323457

Attempt to Break New Irish Blasphemy Law
New York Times (blog)
On the Web site Blasphemy.ie, Michael Nugent, a writer and co-founder of Atheist Ireland, wrote that his group was trying hard to break the new law because ...
http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/04/new-irish-blasphemy-law-broken/

YouTube - 'Atheist' Nations Are More Peaceful
"Peace Is Non-Theistic" by• http://www.youtube.com/EpochOfReason#p/a/u/1/ CQ11996Qvnc"Vision of Humanity groups together a number of interrelat...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdtwTeBPYQA

Controversial Darwin Biopic 'Creation' Coming to U.S.
Wired News
as Darwin's faithful wife, is sure to rile up anyone who still thinks evolution isn't Earth's proper intelligent design. ...
http://www.wired.com/underwire/2010/01/first-look-creation/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Findex+%28Wired%3A+Index+3+%28Top+Stories+2%29%29

10 More Blasphemous Quotations the Irish Might Ban
Wired News
That ludicrous political maneuver was promptly answered by Irish advocacy group Atheist Ireland, which published a list of 25 blasphemous quotes from Frank ...
http://www.wired.com/underwire/2010/01/10-blasphemous-quotations/

EVOLUTION, CREATIONISM, I.D.

Speed of evolution faster than thought, say scientists (Roundup)
Monsters and Critics.com
Berlin - A team of German and US scientists has discovered that genetic mutation - the basic process of evolution - occurs much faster than previously ...
http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/europe/news/article_1522740.php/Speed-of-evolution-faster-than-thought-say-scientists-Roundup

'Lifeless' prion proteins are 'capable of evolution'
BBC News
"This means that this pattern of Darwinian evolution appears to be universally active. "In viruses, mutation is linked to changes in nucleic acid sequence ...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8435320.stm

Top Ten Evolution Creationism Stories of the Year
Kansas City infoZine
And the public's understanding and acceptance of evolution continues to be discouraging. Local, national, and even international polls show that many ...
http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/39311/

Center sued for canceling anti-Darwin film
UPI.com
31 (UPI) -- The California Science Center has been sued for canceling a film that attacked the science of evolution and promoted intelligent design, ...
http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2009/12/31/Center-sued-for-canceling-anti-Darwin-film/UPI-55461262299672/

White Lizards Evolve in New Mexico Dunes
New York Times
By HENRY FOUNTAIN The White Sands of New Mexico are a good place to study evolution in progress. One reason is that the terrain, gypsum dunes white as a ...
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/05/science/05oblizard.html

Using a Virus's Knack for Mutating to Wipe It Out
New York Times
By CARL ZIMMER Evolution is a virus's secret weapon. The virus can rapidly slip on new disguises to evade our immune systems, and it can become resistant to ...
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/05/science/05lethal.html

Origin of a Translation
Egypt Today
Organizations such as the Seattle-based Discovery Institute encourage schools to tell students that a belief known as intelligent design could explain the ...
http://www.egypttoday.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=8788

Ongoing evolution among modern humans
Washington University in St. Louis News
Human anatomical evolution continued after they lived 30000 to 40000 years ago. * The team was led by Priscilla Bayle of the Muséum National d'Histoire ...
http://news-info.wustl.edu/news/page/normal/15261.html

400-Million-Year-Old Footprints Force Rethink of Evolution
FOXNews
And they left behind distinctive footprints, which have turned back the clock on the evolution of these landlubbers. A track of fossilized 'hand' and 'foot' ...
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/01/06/million-year-old-footprints-turn-evolutionary-clock/

SCIENCE

How the Moon Gets Its Exosphere
ScienceDaily (Jan. 2, 2010) — Several decades ago scientists discovered that the Moon, long thought to have no atmosphere, actually does have an extremely thin exosphere. Scientists generally believe that the ions that make up the lunar exosphere are generated at the Moon's surface by interaction with solar photons, plasma in the Earth's magnetosphere, or micrometeorites...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091230183710.htm

Earlier Bedtimes May Help Protect Adolescents Against Depression and Suicidal Thoughts
ScienceDaily (Jan. 2, 2010) — A study in the Jan. 1 issue of the journal Sleep found that adolescents with bedtimes that were set earlier by parents were significantly less likely to suffer from depression and to think about committing suicide, suggesting that earlier bedtimes could have a protective effect by lengthening sleep duration and increasing the likelihood of getting enough sleep...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100101011828.htm

Will Higher Global Temperatures Make It Easier for Viruses to Jump Species?
ScienceDaily (Jan. 2, 2010) — An interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Idaho soon will begin investigating whether viruses that have adapted to higher temperatures -- similar to increases due to global warming -- can jump species more easily...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091231114110.htm

NASA's Mars Rover Spirit Has Uncertain Future as Sixth Anniversary Nears
ScienceDaily (Jan. 2, 2010) — NASA's Mars rover Spirit will mark six years of unprecedented science exploration and inspiration for the American public on Sunday. However, the upcoming Martian winter could end the roving career of the beloved, scrappy robot...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091231144656.htm

Explaining Plasma Motion Around Saturn
ScienceDaily (Jan. 2, 2010) — Understanding the motion and source of the plasma around Saturn is important for understanding the dynamics of the magnetosphere. Pontius and Hill present a theory that describes plasma transport in Saturn's magnetosphere, including processes that add new mass to the plasma and those that remove momentum from the plasma without changing plasma mass...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091230184120.htm

Quelling Casimir: Scientists to Control Quantum Mechanical Force
ScienceDaily (Jan. 1, 2010) — Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory are developing a way to control the Casimir force, a quantum mechanical force that attracts objects when they are only hundred nanometers apart...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091210153657.htm

Looking Back in Time 12 Billion Years With New Instruments on Herschel Space Observatory
ScienceDaily (Jan. 1, 2010) — An instrument package developed in part by the University of Colorado at Boulder for the $2.2 billion orbiting Herschel Space Observatory launched in May by the European Space Agency has provided one of the most detailed views yet of space up to 12 billion years back in time...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091230154511.htm

A Facial Expression Is Worth a Thousand Words
ScienceDaily (Dec. 31, 2009) — Communication is a central aspect of everyday life, a fact that is reflected in the wide variety of ways that people exchange information, not only with words, but also using their face and body. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany, found out that we are able to recognize facial expressions in motion...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091223215119.htm

Partners Sculpt Each Other to Achieve Their Ideal Selves: If Successful, Relationship Goes Well
ScienceDaily (Dec. 31, 2009) — Is that really Bob? You've seen him hundreds of mornings for the last 10 years at local coffee shops. Since he started dating Sara, he looks you in the eye -- and smiles. Sara takes every opportunity to let coffee shop cronies know that Bob is her guy and to gush about how funny he is. And he is. Who knew...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091216144143.htm

Lithium-Air Batteries Could Displace Gasoline in Future Cars
ScienceDaily (Dec. 31, 2009) — In excess of seven million barrels of gasoline are consumed by vehicles in the United States every day. As scientists race to find environmentally sound solutions to fuel the world's ever-growing transportation needs, battery researchers are exploring the promise of lithium-air battery technology...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091230024401.htm

Marseillevirus -- A New Member of the Giant Viruses
ScienceDaily (Dec. 31, 2009) — After Mimivirus, Mamavirus and the virophage, the group of giant viruses now has a new member called Marseillevirus...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091230113210.htm

SEPARATION CHURCH / STATE

Buncombe County Commissioners decide not to decide prayer question for now
Asheville Citizen-Times
The debate raises issues of freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and culture as well as questions about what is legal or practical. ...
http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20100103/NEWS01/301030030

Ladlad: Gay not immoral
Inquirer.net
... religious doctrine when it equated homosexuality with immorality—a violation of the Constitution's guarantee of the separation of church and state. ...
http://politics.inquirer.net/view.php?db=1&article=20100105-245569

Resident who asked Issaquah School Board to drop pledge asks City Council to ...
Issaquah Press
Atheist Michael Newdow brought on the case after his daughter was taught the pledge in a California school district. The ruling was reversed on a procedural ...
http://www.issaquahpress.com/2010/01/05/resident-who-asked-issaquah-school-board-to-drop-pledge-asks-city-council-to-follow-suit/

Jersey City gay community reacts to Senate gay marriage defeat
The Star-Ledger - NJ.com
“We are fighting for civil marriage rights, not religious marriage,” he said. “There is a constitutional separation of church and state in this country, ...
http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2010/01/jersey_city_gay_community_reac.html

Segars-Andrews: Separation of Church and State - Topix
Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, sees it as part of a troubling trend. ...
http://www.topix.com/forum/city/charleston-sc/TJ9FLEE8KU9E0KERC

MISCELLANEOUS

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