Bad things are bad for you. As are good things.


It’s all bad news this week, I’m afraid. Literally. Not only does it look bad and sound bad, but it also has bad effects on you. It’s all-round baaaaaaaaad. First of all — and you’re not going to be hugely surprised by this — the Daily Mail thinks that a leisure activity engaged in by millions of people every day is dangerous. To wit: watching television makes you fat. But what is breathtakingly shocking (or, more accurately, mildly distracting) is the reason why. Apparently, watching bad news on television makes you increase your food intake by a whopping 40%.

It’s just as well that websites like the Daily Mail focus solely on reporting good news. Continue reading “Bad things are bad for you. As are good things.”

Euphemistic congress

Everybody knows that it is perfectly acceptable to say anything you like about religion. Anything. Go on, try it. Nobody will care one way or the other. After all, for as long as the history of human civilization has been recorded, it has been characterized by nothing other than back-to-back episodes of pacifistic religious tolerance, featuring heart-warming collaboration across religions and between atheists and believers. I’m pretty sure about all of this. In fact, having racked my brain, I can think of absolutely no controversies at all. None whatsoever. Uh huh.

So when scientists investigate religion, they can proceed in the knowledge that everything they discover will be greeted by believer and atheist alike as representing little more than benign, banal, and dispassionate trivia. That’s why scientists never need to pussyfoot around the subject, or to give any thought to how they might choose their words in order to avoid causing offence.

But maybe things are changing.  Continue reading “Euphemistic congress”

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