Religion and little people from strange planets

The number of confirmed exoplanets stands at 3,500, of which, scientists believe, at least some are potential Earths, with very similar characteristics. This poses a theological and philosophical conundrum for many religions, especially Christianity, which focuses on mankind and teaches that God created man in his own image, exclusively on our one small planet. So …

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More on ataraxia

The British philosopher and author Prof AC Grayling comments that “Passion suggests something active to us,” he says. “But if you look at the etymology of the term, it’s passive – it’s something that happens to you – like love or anger or lust – that was visited on you by the gods. Unlike passion, …

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Climate change: Canadian town destroyed by fire

A wildfire that forced residents to flee the small town of Lytton in British Columbia continued to burn out of control last Thursday, fueled by three days of record high temperatures in Canada. The town’s inhabitants were told to abandon their homes with just minutes’ notice on Wednesday after a day when the temperature soared …

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Hot news

Tropical Storm Claudette was moving through southeastern Louisiana yesterday (Saturday) morning. It’s bringing heavy rain and high winds, and coastal Mississippi and Alabama, as well as the western Florida Panhandle are at risk of flash floods later in the day, the National Hurricane Center said. By Sunday, Claudette is expected to become post-tropical. Meanwhile, the …

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Getting more serious about climate

Recently, the tipping point concept has found a new application in climate science as a way to explain, and possibly engineer, social change. The way changes in attitude creep along at a glacial pace before suddenly bursting forth to take root across society is a classic tipping point. This process is useful because it moves …

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Siri

Every tech company with voice-activated computer assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Assistant promises to protect privacy. But it turns out that Apple has been allowing its Siri voice assistant to transmit highly personal recordings of people without their knowledge as part of a project that transcribed portions of Siri …

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Q – Anon : patriots???

“Are Republican leaders really willing to throw in their lot with demented conspiracy theorists? “The answer, for the moment, would seem to be yes. President Trump tacitly endorsed the far-right QAnon cult the other day, saying its followers were patriots who “love our country” and, more importantly, “like me very much”. When a reporter pointed …

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Microplastics are everywhere

Tiny pieces of plastic that pollute the environment can be produced by simply opening a plastic bottle or tearing a food wrapper. Microplastics are between 0.001 and 5 millimetres in size and are usually either produced directly, or form when large plastic debris breaks up. We now know that millions of tonnes of microplastics are …

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Are there any available aliens out there?

Since E.T has yet to show up on our planet, estimating the number of alien civilisations in our galaxy might seem a premature – and rather futile – exercise. But that hasn’t stopped the authors of a new study from claiming that across the entire Milky Way, there are probably just over 30, each with …

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Background of a famous dispute (and murder)

Analysis of the ice in an Alpine glacier has shed unexpected light on the murder of Thomas Becket, Henry II’s “turbulent priest”, 900 years ago. Scientists from the University of Nottingham have been tracking historical levels of airborne pollution by analysing the chemicals that were trapped in layers of ice as the Colle Gnifetti glacier, …

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