Links for March 17th

Minister won’t confirm belief in evolution

Canada’s science minister, the man at the centre of the controversy over federal funding cuts to researchers, won’t say if he believes in evolution.

“I’m not going to answer that question. I am a Christian, and I don’t think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate,” Gary Goodyear, the federal Minister of State for Science and Technology, said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

Pope says condoms are not the solution to Aids – they make it worse

The Pope courted further controversy on his first trip to Africa today by declaring that condoms were not a solution to the Aids epidemic – but were instead part of the problem.

In his first public comments on condom use, the pontiff told reporters en route to Cameroon that Aids “is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, and that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems”.

Ten Things You Don’t Know About Pluto

Pity poor Pluto.

Sure, it reigned as the last planet in the solar system for more than 70 years, but then it was stripped of that title by the International Astronomical Union in a manner so profoundly dumb that I’m still wondering what they were thinking. I do think that the definition of planet can be debated, and that Pluto plays its part, but the IAU really screwed the pooch with the way they did it.

Whether you call Pluto a planet, an iceball, or an animated dog, it’s still a very interesting object. And today, March 13, 2009, marks the 79th anniversary of the announcement of Pluto to the world (and in Illinois it’s officially Pluto Day), so what better time to talk about it?

Four pioneering web innovations

UK web firms are out in force at South by South West Interactive, hoping to raise their profile, find new investment and new partners. Here are four companies flying the flag for UK digital innovation.

Introduction to CalDAV Support – Google Calendar Help

With CalDAV support in Google Calendar, you’ll be able to view and edit your Google Calendar events directly in other calendar applications, such as Apple iCal or Mozilla Sunbird. Any changes you make in other calendar applications will automatically appear in Google Calendar the next time you sign in (and vice versa). If you use other calendar applications while offline, changes you make will be saved and updated in Google Calendar when you get back online.

Where do Satan et al. publish, anyway?

[…]this is an actual abstract for a paper given at the 2004 Baramin Study Group conference. Just try to read it without laughing out loud.

Darwin’s Five Bridges: The Open University Annual Lecture 2008

Professor Richard Dawkins’ lecture, presented to an invited audience at the Natural History Museum, will investigate if Darwin was the most revolutionary scientist ever, and examine the evolutionary theories of his contemporaries.

Richard Dawkins suggests that there are four “bridges to evolutionary understanding” and illustrates this with four claimants to the discovery of natural selection: Edward Blyth, Patrick Matthew, Alfred Wallace and Charles Darwin.

The fifth bridge of evolutionary understanding is identified as modern genetics – which he terms digital Darwinism.

Vatican backs abortion row bishop

A senior Vatican cleric has defended the excommunication in Brazil of the mother and doctors of a young girl who had an abortion with their help.

The nine-year-old had conceived twins after alleged abuse by her stepfather.

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re told Italian paper La Stampa that the twins “had the right to live” and attacks on Brazil’s Catholic Church were unfair.

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