THE   FOCUS
centerforatheism.org
              
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
         
 
              
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
 
 
         
              

MARCH 4, 2011
Volume 7, 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: 
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Comments, suggestions and subscription:
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FEATURED ARTICLES 

Atheist soldier complains about spiritual fitness test, rating 
FayObserver.com 
As an atheist, the Fort Bragg soldier didn't see any way he could honestly answer the questions and receive a passing score. Immediately after finishing the ... 
http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2011/01/16/1062025?sac=Home 

Atheists angry over Army's 'Spiritual Fitness' test 
KSL-TV 
But the things Griffith really questioned were whether it was possible for an atheist like himself to even pass a Spiritual Fitness test and whether the ... 
http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=14030222 

ATHEISM 

Wire: Mark "No Religion" Campaign Begins - The 2011 Australian Census 
The Inquisitr 
It will be a first for any western democracy and is an indication of the steep upward trend in Atheism and Agnosticism of the last decade,” he said... 
http://www.inquisitr.com/95904/wire-mark-no-religion-campaign-begins-the-2011-australian-census/ 

Atheists kick off 'Honest to Godless' census campaign 
thejournal.ie 
Atheist Ireland will ask Irish people to resist the habit of ticking the 'Roman Catholic' box on the Census if they no longer believe in the faith. ... 
http://www.thejournal.ie/atheists-kick-off-%E2%80%98honest-to-godless%E2%80%99-census-campaign-2011-01/ 

The power of reason 
Cyprus Mail 
A few weeks before coming back, he hit on the idea of creating an atheist group in Cyprus –only to find that such a group already existed on Facebook. ... 
http://www.cyprus-mail.com/cyprus-freethinkers/power-reason/20110116 

New Alabama Gov. Criticized for Christian-Only Message 
ABC News 
"We live in a country that is hugely diverse," said David Silverman, president of American Atheists, the country's oldest atheist civil rights group. ... 
http://abcnews.go.com/US/alabama-gov-robert-bentley-criticized-christian-message/story?id=12648307 

BOOKS, FILM, THEATRE, TV, YOU TUBE 

Reviewing “The Moral Landscape” by Sam Harris 
Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 
To the extent that the New Atheism is a genuine social movement, Harris deserves much of the credit for it. In 2004, he made a dramatic breakthrough when ... 
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/blackford20110114 

A Doctor in the House — Again; Freud's Last Session Reopens in NYC Jan. 14 
Playbill.com 
By Kenneth Jones The popular Off-Broadway production of Freud's Last Session, Mark St. Germain's "what-if" play about a fictional meeting between atheist ... 
http://www.playbill.com/news/article/146644-A-Doctor-in-the-House-Again-Freuds-Last-Session-Reopens-in-NYC-Jan-14 

A leather chair, a laptop of death, a vexed decision 
The Age 
That's bizarre, especially if you are an atheist. Hey, people, live and let live.'' As you may have guessed, Taylor is an atheist and euthanasia is the ... 
http://www.theage.com.au/national/a-leather-chair-a-laptop-of-death-a-vexed-decision-20110117-19u17.html 

EVOLUTION, CREATIONISM, I.D. 

Antievolution legislation in Missouri 
National Center for Science Education 
... who previously introduced a string of unsuccessful antievolution bills — HB 911 and 1722 (which called for equal time for "intelligent design" in the ... 
http://ncse.com/news/2011/01/antievolution-legislation-missouri-006421 

Settlement in the Gaskell case 
National Center for Science Education 
And he recommended students read ... critics [of evolution] in the intelligent-design movement." Gaskell filed suit against the university in July 2009, ... 
http://ncse.com/news/2011/01/settlement-gaskell-case-006427 

A second antievolution bill in Oklahoma 
National Center for Science Education 
The only topics specifically mentioned as controversial are "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning. ... 
http://ncse.com/news/2011/01/second-antievolution-bill-oklahoma-006439 

Kentucky Academy of Science on the ark park 
National Center for Science Education 
To help to defend the teaching of evolution in the long term, Phelps argued, "you can improve the way you teach the scientific method, evolution, ... 
http://ncse.com/news/2011/01/kentucky-academy-science-ark-park-006420 

SCIENCE 

Self-Assembling Structures Open Door to New Class of Materials 
ScienceDaily (Jan. 15, 2011) — Researchers at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University have demonstrated bio-inspired structures that self-assemble from simple building blocks: spheres... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110113141629.htm 

Living Cells Used to Create 'Biotic' Video Games 
ScienceDaily (Jan. 14, 2011) — The digital revolution has triggered a wild proliferation of video games, but what of the revolution in biotechnology? Does it have the potential to spawn its own brood of games? Stanford physicist Ingmar Riedel-Kruse has begun developing "biotic games" involving paramecia and other living organisms. He hopes the games lead to advances in education and crowd-sourcing of laboratory research while helping to raise the level of public discourse on bio-related issues... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110114100955.htm 

Best Way to Measure Dark Energy Just Got Better 
ScienceDaily (Jan. 14, 2011) — Dark energy is a mysterious force that pervades all space, acting as a "push" to accelerate the Universe's expansion. Despite being 70 percent of the Universe, dark energy was only discovered in 1998 by two teams observing Type Ia supernovae. A Type 1a supernova is a cataclysmic explosion of a white dwarf star... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110113145054.htm 

New Technique Could Pinpoint 'Galaxy X': Satellite Galaxies Located Based on the Ripples They Create in the Hydrogen Gas 
ScienceDaily (Jan. 14, 2011) — Planet X, an often-sought 10th planet, is so far a no-show, but Sukanya Chakrabarti has high hopes for finding what might be called Galaxy X -- a dwarf galaxy that she predicts orbits our Milky Way Galaxy... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110113131425.htm 

Fastest Movie in the World Recorded: Method to Film Nanostructures Developed 
ScienceDaily (Jan. 14, 2011) — When we catch a cold, the immune system steps in to defend us. This is a well-known biological fact, but is difficult to observe directly. Processes at a molecular level are not only minuscule, they are often extremely fast, and therefore difficult to capture in action. Scientists at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB) and the Technische Uni-versität Berlin (TUB) now present a method that takes us a good step towards producing a "molecular movie." They can record two pictures at such a short time interval that it will soon be possible to observe molecules and nanostructures in real time... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110112110430.htm 

Trapped Sunlight Cleans Water 
ScienceDaily (Jan. 14, 2011) — High energy costs are one drawback of making clean water from waste effluents. According to an article in the journal Biomicrofluidics, which is published by the American Institute of Physics, a new system that combines two different technologies proposes to break down contaminants using the cheapest possible energy source, sunlight. Microfluidics -- transporting water through tiny channels -- and photocatalysis -- using light to break down impurities -- come together in the science of optofluidics... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110111132519.htm 

Fruit Fly Nervous System Provides New Solution to Fundamental Computer Network Problem 
ScienceDaily (Jan. 14, 2011) — The fruit fly has evolved a method for arranging the tiny, hair-like structures it uses to feel and hear the world that's so efficient a team of scientists in Israel and at Carnegie Mellon University says it could be used to more effectively deploy wireless sensor networks and other distributed computing applications... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110113141559.htm 

New Telescope Is Exploring Solar System 'Outback' 
ScienceDaily (Jan. 14, 2011) — In the outer reaches of our solar system lies a mysterious region far more remote and difficult to explore than the Australian outback. It remains the only part of our solar system not visited by spacecraft. Called the Kuiper Belt, this area beyond Neptune is home to the dwarf planets Pluto, Eris, Makemake, and Haumea. It also harbors thousands of smaller objects that form a second, icy asteroid belt (or more appropriately, comet belt). In this realm of perpetual twilight, the distant sun looks like just another bright star... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110113102156.htm 

Rotational Motion in Living Cells: New Tool for Cell Research May Help Unravel Secrets of Disease 
ScienceDaily (Jan. 14, 2011) — Advancements in understanding rotational motion in living cells may help researchers shed light on the causes of deadly diseases, such as Alzheimer's, according to Ning Fang, an associate scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory and faculty member at Iowa State University... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110113131429.htm 

SEPARATION CHURCH / STATE 

City Council members have different approaches for meeting invocations 
Annapolis Capital 
He's a practicing Catholic who believes in the separation of church and state. "It's not essential to operating the people of Annapolis's business," he said ... 
http://www.hometownannapolis.com/news/can/2011/01/16-44/Collision-of-private-beliefs-public-policy.html?ne=1 

Essex County to continue praying 
Plattsburgh Press Republican 
The Speakout writer said the prayers violate the church and state separation in the US Constitution. But county lawmakers said they believe no such issue ... 
http://pressrepublican.com/0100_news/x71342270/Essex-County-to-continue-praying# 

Lake Forest to consider 'In God We Trust' 
OCRegister 
The Orange County chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State is encouraging people to speak out Tuesday night against adopting the motto ... 
http://www.ocregister.com/news/council-284526-rudolph-city.html 

Cherokee votes to keep graduations at church 
Atlanta Journal Constitution 
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the organization that asked Cherokee to move the ceremony, claims church ceremonies expose students to ... 
http://www.ajc.com/news/cherokee/cherokee-votes-to-keep-810545.html 

Schools chief warns principals that moment of silence could be back 
Chicago Daily Herald 
... schools since 2009, after Buffalo Grove atheist Rob Sherman and his daughter Dawn, now a Buffalo Grove High School senior, challenged the law in court. ... 
http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110114/news/701159915/ 

Judge rules on moment of silence in Illinois schools 
KFVS 
A federal injunction barring the moment of silence had been in place for two years after an atheist filed a lawsuit. A US District Judge overturned the law ... 
http://www.kfvs12.com/Global/story.asp?S=13849994 

County Board committee will recommend no Ten Commandments at Courthouse 
Harrisburg Daily Register 
The proposal piqued the interest of Rob Sherman, an atheist activist who spoke in opposition at the last County Board meeting. The committee met Tuesday ... 
http://www.dailyregister.com/news/x684394895/County-Board-committee-will-recommend-no-Ten-Commandments-at-Courthouse

Moment of silence back at school, for now 
Riverside Brookfield Landmark 
The teenage daughter of atheist activist Rob Sherman filed a lawsuit claiming the law was unconstitutional. In 2009, Gettleman overturned the law, ... 
http://www.rblandmark.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=7007 

Moment of Silence Back in D115 Schools 
Yorkville Patch 
Rob Sherman, a parent, talk show host and atheist activist, challenged the law on the grounds that it mandates prayer in public schools. ... 
http://yorkville.patch.com/articles/moment-of-silence-back-in-d115-schools 

Deciding Lake Forest vote: 'In God We Trust' not about religion 
OCRegister 
Bruce Gleason, founder of Backyard Skeptics, an atheist group from Villa Park, had lobbied the council to vote 'no' on the motto adoption. ... 
http://www.ocregister.com/news/city-284726-lake-forest.html?nstrack=sid:992065%7Cmet:102%7Ccat:3165555%7Corder:2 

Students take part for the first time since law was suspended 
Chicago Tribune 
Contending that the 2007 law overstepped the bounds of church and state separation, a suburban teenager and her atheist-activist father sued the state two ... 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/ct-met-moment-of-silence-0119-20110118,0,744948.story 

MISCELLANEOUS 

None 

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