THE   FOCUS

February 12, 2010
Volume 6, Issue 7
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

Mexican Lower House Approves Bill to Separate Church and State
BusinessWeek
11 (Bloomberg) -- Mexico's lower house of Congress approved a constitutional amendment that formally establishes the separation of church and state after ...
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-02-11/mexican-lower-house-approves-bill-to-separate-church-and-state.html

Bible study rules for public schools proposed
Louisville Courier-Journal
Paul Simmons, a Baptist minister from Louisville and head of the local chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said he would have to ...
http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20100209/NEWS01/2090350/1008/Bible+study+rules+for+public+schools+proposed

New award recognises schools teaching both religious and non-religious belief
The Guardian
It accommodates pupils who fast, pupils who pray and pupils who cover themselves – so encouraging them to consider and debate atheist and humanist beliefs ...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/feb/09/schools-teaching-religion-non-religion-award

Inside Germany's Catholic Sexual Abuse Scandal
By SPIEGEL Staff
The Catholic Church in Germany has been shaken in recent days by revelations of a series of sexual abuse cases. Close to 100 priests and members of the laity have been suspected of abuse in recent years. After years of suppression, the wall of silence appears to be crumbling...
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,676497,00.html

US science professor 'told students homosexuality is a mental illness'
PinkNews.co.uk
... Professor Lopez's lectures violate federal and state constitutional protections guaranteeing the separation of church and state. ...
http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2010/02/10/us-science-professor-told-students-homosexuality-is-a-mental-illness/

German Church Faces Child Abuse Charge
NYTimes.com - Feb 10, 2010
The Roman Catholic Church faces yet another child abuse scandal, this time in Pope Benedict XVI's native Germany...
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/10/world/europe/10germany.html

ATHEISM

Atheist group wants prayer out at City Council
ABC Action News
TAMPA, FL -- An atheist group took their requests to end prayer in city government meetings to Tampa City Council for the second time Thursday. ...
http://www.abcactionnews.com/content/news/local/hillsborough/west/tampa/story/Atheist-group-wants-prayer-out-at-City-Council/_hmHoO-9NUeM5QsQ-Od8pg.cspx

Atheist group renews call to end public prayer
Tampa Tribune
The nonprofit group Atheists of Florida wants the city to halt the pre-meeting invocations, arguing that council members are violating the Constitution by ...
http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/feb/04/atheist-group-renews-call-end-public-prayer/

Atheists Denounce Call to Criminalize Homosexuality in U.S.
Opposing Views
An Atheist civil rights group today denounced a statement by a representative of the American Family Association that gay and lesbian Americans should be ...
http://www.opposingviews.com/i/atheists-denounce-call-to-criminalize-homosexuality-in-u-s

Athiest billboards appear in Sacramento area
San Francisco Chronicle
Atheist and agnostic groups in the region have bought roadside space in an effort, they say, to tell fellow nonbelievers they are not alone. ...
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2010/02/09/state/n204519S06.DTL&type=business

Furor Over Atheist Display At State Capitol Continues ...
A conservative activist and Illinois comptroller candidate filed a federal lawsuit against Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White late last week over an ...
http://cbs2chicago.com/local/atheist.display.at.2.1459640.html

Atheist groups spread message on Sacramento-area billboards
Modesto Bee
A coalition of atheist and agnostic groups has bought billboard space to tell like-minded individuals they are not alone – but not in the godly sense. ...
http://www.modbee.com/1623/story/1042291.html?storylink=omni_popular

BOOKS, FILM, THEATRE, TV, YOU TUBE

Marcus Brigstocke at the Vaudeville Theatre, London
Times Online
Are there any atheists in the house? On the opening night of his West End run, Marcus Brigstocke is taking a straw poll. His new stand-up show, ...
http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/stage/comedy/article7016646.ece

Crackle.com's 'Best of Penn Says: Religion' DVD Now Available on Amazon.com
PR Newswire (press release)
In this up close and personal web series, Penn the Magician, Inventor, Philosopher, Social Critic and Celebrity Atheist discusses, teaches, and tears apart ...
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cracklecoms-best-of-penn-says-religion-dvd-now-available-on-amazoncom-83823867.html

EVOLUTION, CREATIONISM, I.D.

Scientists celebrate evolution on Darwin's birthday
USA Today
12 celebrations noting the bicentennial birthday of evolution's icon all over the globe. Perhaps not as many events will come this year, for the 201st ...
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/columnist/vergano/2010-02-05-evolution-darwin_N.htm

School's sacking of Christian science teacher divides town in Bible belt
The Guardian
Out poured accounts of lessons on evolution mingled with creationist theories about "intelligent design", a euphemism for the hand of God, of questions ...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/feb/10/brand-cross-christian-science-teacher

SCIENCE

Whole Genome of Ancient Human Is Decoded for the First Time ...
NYTimes.com - Feb 11, 2010
Using a swatch of hair, researchers analyzed the genome of a man who lived on the western ... Ancient Man in Greenland Has Genome Decoded ...
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/science/11genome.html

Scientists Demonstrate World's Fastest Graphene Transistor; Holds Promise for Improving Performance of Transistors
ScienceDaily (Feb. 7, 2010) — In a just-published paper in the magazine Science, IBM researchers demonstrated a radio-frequency graphene transistor with the highest cut-off frequency achieved so far for any graphene device -- 100 billion cycles/second (100 GigaHertz)...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100205113551.htm

Early Abuse Tied to More Depression in Children
ScienceDaily (Feb. 7, 2010) — Although children can be depressed for many reasons, new evidence suggests that there are physiological differences among depressed children based on their experiences of abuse before age 5. Early abuse may be especially damaging due to the very young age at which it occurs...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100205081811.htm

How the Butterflies Got Their Spots
ScienceDaily (Feb. 6, 2010) — How two butterfly species have evolved exactly the same striking wing colour and pattern has intrigued biologists since Darwin's day. Now, scientists at Cambridge have found "hotspots" in the butterflies' genes that they believe will explain one of the most extraordinary examples of mimicry in the natural world...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100205213102.htm

Quantum Computing Leap Forward: Altering a Lone Electron Without Disturbing Its Neighbors
ScienceDaily (Feb. 6, 2010) — A major hurdle in the ambitious quest to design and construct a radically new kind of quantum computer has been finding a way to manipulate the single electrons that very likely will constitute the new machines' processing components or "qubits."...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100205162953.htm

Where Did Today's Spiral Galaxies Come From?
ScienceDaily (Feb. 6, 2010) — Galaxy morphology, or the study of the shapes and formation of galaxies, is a critical and much-debated topic in astronomy. An important tool for this is the Hubble sequence or Hubble tuning-fork diagram [1], a classification scheme invented in 1926 by the same Edwin Hubble in whose honour the space telescope is named...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100204101719.htm

Craters Young and Old in Southern Highlands of Mars
ScienceDaily (Feb. 6, 2010) — The Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera has imaged craters both young and old in this view of the Southern Highlands of Mars...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100203084258.htm

'Zen' Bats Hit Their Target by Not Aiming at It
ScienceDaily (Feb. 5, 2010) — New research conducted at the University of Maryland's bat lab shows Egyptian fruit bats find a target by NOT aiming their guiding sonar directly at it. Instead, they alternately point the sound beam to either side of the target. The new findings by researchers from Maryland and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel suggest that this strategy optimizes the bats'...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100204204319.htm

Madly Mapping the Universe
ScienceDaily (Feb. 5, 2010) — To map our home planet, Google Earth depends mostly on satellite imagery for land surfaces and sonar imagery for the sea floor. Maps of the Universe likewise depend on different kinds of detectors for different kinds of features. Maps of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), for example, depend on measuring minute differences in the temperature of the sky...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100204101826.htm

Engineers Aim to Make Air Travel Greener
ScienceDaily (Feb. 5, 2010) — Carbon emissions from air travel could be reduced thanks to a new collaboration between engineers from the Universities of Bath and Bristol and the aerospace industry...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100203111811.htm

Computers That Use Light Instead of Electricity? First Germanium Laser Created
ScienceDaily (Feb. 5, 2010) — MIT researchers have demonstrated the first laser built from germanium that can produce wavelengths of light useful for optical communication. It's also the first germanium laser to operate at room temperature. Unlike the materials typically used in lasers, germanium is easy to incorporate into existing processes for manufacturing silicon chips...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100204144555.htm

Dinosaur Had Vibrant Colors, Microscopic Fossil Clues Reveal
ScienceDaily (Feb. 5, 2010) — Deciphering microscopic clues hidden within fossils, scientists have uncovered the vibrant colors that adorned a feathered dinosaur extinct for 150 million years, a Yale University-led research team reports online Feb. 4 in the journal Science...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100204144422.htm

Physicists Kill Cancer With 'Nanobubbles'
ScienceDaily (Feb. 5, 2010) — Using lasers and nanoparticles, scientists at Rice University have discovered a new technique for singling out individual diseased cells and destroying them with tiny explosions. The scientists used lasers to make "nanobubbles" by zapping gold nanoparticles inside cells. In tests on cancer cells, they found they could tune the lasers to create either small...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100204204438.htm

Video of Virus in Action Shows Viruses Can Spread Faster Than Thought Possible
ScienceDaily (Feb. 5, 2010) — New video footage of a virus infecting cells is challenging what researchers have long believed about how viruses spread, suggesting that scientists may be able to create new drugs to tackle some viruses...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100121141102.htm

New Hubble Maps of Pluto Show Surface Changes
ScienceDaily (Feb. 5, 2010) — NASA has released the most detailed set of images ever taken of the distant dwarf planet Pluto. The images taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope show an icy and dark molasses-colored, mottled world that is undergoing seasonal changes in its surface color and brightness...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100204234213.htm

SEPARATION CHURCH / STATE

Tensions Over Faith-Based Office Erupt in Public Spat
Wall Street Journal (blog)
Barry Lynn, director of the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State, pens a Huffington Post column amplifying his comments in a Wall ...
http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2010/02/05/tensions-over-faith-based-office-erupt-in-public-spat/

Proposed Hebrew-language school dealt a setback
Los Angeles Times
... voiced concern that the school would be a religious institution, targeting Jewish students, and possibly violating separation of church and state. ...
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-hebrew-charter5-2010feb05,0,3412591.story

Board won't resist court
Winston-Salem Journal
The American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State backed the citizens who sued. Plyler is considered the swing vote ...
http://www2.journalnow.com/content/2010/feb/06/board-wont-resist-court/

Councils differ on policy for prayers
Hi-Desert Star
... of the Jewish Defense League, along with Gandara, who was raised Catholic, claimed that the sectarian prayer impeded the separation of church and state. ...
http://www.hidesertstar.com/articles/2010/02/06/features/doc4b6d24df7afc9868952777.txt

Religious garb ban repeal advances
The Register-Guard
But several civil liberties advocates warned that passing the bill would blur constitutional separation of church and state. Steven Griffith, a former ...
http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/news/cityregion/24432668-41/religious-teachers-ban-bill-wearing.csp

Signs from above in Tampa Bay debate existence of God
Tampabay.com
Activist Terry Kemple, whose public policy group was behind last year's 10 billboards calling the separation of church and state a "lie," criticized the ...
http://www.tampabay.com/news/religion/signs-from-above-in-tampa-bay-debate-existence-of-god/1071537

Georgetown High students told they can't pray before school
South Carolina Now
... DC, “Americans United for the Separation of Church and State” indicating that a community member was handing out religious literature to students on the ...
http://www2.scnow.com/scp/news/local/grand_strand/article/georgetown_students_told_they_cant_pray_before_school/102969/

Georgetown School District to form student prayer club
South Carolina Now
Earlier this week the national organization Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, AU, voiced concerns to district officials after ...
http://www2.scnow.com/scp/news/local/grand_strand/article/georgetown_school_district_to_form_student_prayer_club/103222/

Windsor Board Votes Against Using Church For Graduation
Hartford Courant
... under the threat of a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. ...
http://www.courant.com/community/windsor/hc-windsor-graduation-0209.artfeb08,0,2993108.story

Georgetown School to restart prayer sessions Tuesday
Myrtle Beach Sun News
The district addressed a complaint from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State over the distribution of religious materials on campus by ...
http://www.thesunnews.com/news/breaking_news/story/1307851.html

Muslims split over Marseille's mega-mosque
CNN International
... national debate in France as to how far it is willing to accommodate its growing Muslim identity without undermining the separation of church and state. ...
http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/02/10/marseille.mosque/

School allows prayer group to form club in Georgetown
Myrtle Beach Sun News
2 after a complaint was filed by a national organization, Americans United by Separation Between Church and State. The group complained because local ...
http://www.thesunnews.com/news/local/story/1308755.html

MISCELLANEOUS

Religion, spirituality not associated with better cardiovascular health
Chicago, IL - Increased religious involvement, including more frequent prayer and meditation, is not associated with an improved cardiovascular risk profile or reduced cardiovascular disease events, a new study shows [1]...
http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=Religion%2C+spirituality+not+associated+with+better+cardiovascular+health&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&fr=yfp-t-701

Devout Atheists Make Pilgramage To Las Vegas
The Spoof (satire)
"This is even better than our annual trip to New Orleans during the Mardi Gras", stated devout atheist Jones Smith (not his real name). ...
http://www.thespoof.com/news/spoof.cfm?headline=s3i68564
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