31 October 2006

The most popular Saint to the Italians

Is San Padre Pio. When an Italian Catholic asks a Saint to intercede, Padre Pio is the most nominated Saint. The survey was commissioned by Famiglia Cristiana, a weekly Christian magazine.

Padre Pio was quoted as favourite Saint by 31% of those surveyed. Second was Sant'Antonio da Padova, with 25%. A distant third was Santa Maria, Madre e Vergine, with 9%. San Francesco d'Assisi came next with 7%, Santa Rita with 3% & San Giuseppe and the Crucified Christ with 2% Only one in 10 nominated San Cristoforo, San Michele, Madre Teresa or Santa Chiara.

But although over 70% of Italians pray for intercession to the Saints, it would seem they are not as well informed about the Saints as this would suggest. 75% recognise San Francesco as Patron Saint of Italy, but only 37% were able to also nominate Santa Caterina of Siena as Italy's second Patron Saint, often confusing her with Santa Chiara of Assisi.

Virtually everyone nominated San Gennaro as the Patron Saint of Naples, 83% nominated San Marco of Venezia & Sant'Ambrogio of Milan. Just under half were able to nominate Santa Roslia of Palermo, whilst only 29% knew San Petronio as the Patron Saint of Bologna.

30 October 2006

Climate change - will we do something now?

So, climate change is the big story on all media today in the UK. Front page of the newspapers, lead story on news bulletins on TV and radio. Yay. People are realising that we need to act before it's too late. Because if we don't, the cost to future generations would be significantly more than the cost to our generation. Well, someone has to pay. And if the only reason people are starting to become concerned is an economical one, rather than genuine concern for the planet we live in, I suppose it's a start. The single biggest threat to mankind in recent years. Climate change is happening, and we need to do something about it.

There are lots of contributory reasons to climate change. The earth only has so much resource, and what there is we abuse and waste as if it were an unlimited source. This sentence points to one fact. There are too many people on the earth. Population is higher now than it ever has been. There are too many people, draining the earths resources. I'm not the only one to think so.

We all need to do our bit to ensure that life on our planet continues as it is meant to. Too many times I hear people say "What difference can I make on my own?" Well actually if each person made a solitary contribution, added together that can be quite a change. A popular one for me at the moment is low energy lighting. Switch your lights to low energy bulbs, and you save money on a) replacing bulbs so often as they last longer and b) on your electricity bill because they use less energy. There you go, what more reason do you need to make the change? If you join me in making the change, then your cousin makes the change, then Aunt Ethel across the road, then your parents, then your dad's best friend at work, and then his brother, and then his sister in law, then her Uncle Joe..... Can you see where the chain leads? Singular action won't necessarily make a noticeable impact. But start to add all those singular actions and you get a noticeable difference. So, what are you waiting for?

26 October 2006


I was amazed to hear that 200,000 people are reported missing in the UK every year. That's a massive amount. And it's only the reported numbers. Surely there are more than that. Where do these people go? I understand that people disappear for a variety of reasons, children runaway from abuse, adults run away from debts, families, etc. But 200,000?

From the BBC:

On 19 December, 1995, Diane Lilburn walked out of her home in Lincolnshire. She left no note for her mother and stepfather, she simply disappeared.

Her parents spent the next six years trying to find her, but with no sightings or leads their search was ultimately fruitless. Her mother Peggy had to try to come to terms with the fact her daughter might never come back.

In a last-ditch attempt Peggy contacted the National Missing Persons Helpline (NMPH), after learning about the charity from a television programme. It found her daughter within a month, tracking her down to Brighton.

Diane was reunited with her family and told them she had run away from home because she was gay.

The NMPH does an amazing job. The BBC article states how, unlike police, NMPH has no access to things like mobile phone records, bank records, etc. But they generally find 70% of missing people.

Information on missing persons organisations can be found here.

23 October 2006

Brits waste more energy than others in Europe

The UK wastes more energy than other countries in Europe, according to a report from the energy saving trust.

Top offences include leaving electrical equipment on standby, leaving mobile phone chargers plugged in and turned on, after the phone has finished charging, and leaving lights on.

Nothing more than pure laziness really. Especially when you consider most Brits prefer to take the car for short trips to the shop rather than walk.

When will people get the message? If you want to learn more about how you can do your bit, check out the energy saving trust website

21 October 2006

No arrests during ramadan

I saw a story posted on USSneverdock earlier. It is one of those stories that I really find hard to believe. One of those 'jaw-dropping, surely this can't be true' stories. Apprently, Manchester police have been told to avoid arresting arresting Muslims wanted on warrant during Ramadan. You can find the story here:

Police to avoid Ramadan arrests

Why are authorities in the UK running scared of Islamic faith? As said on the original post, Britain is going totally mad

19 October 2006

How can you justify murder?

I heard a story on the radio on my drive home. A man, David March, helped his wife to commit suicide. Mrs March suffered from MS and had often expressed her wish to end her own life "While she could." She did not want her condition to deteriorate to the stage where she felt her quality of life was not worth living.

Mr March returned home one evening to find his wife had taken an overdose and put a plastic bag over her head. Mr March tightened the bag, and shortly after his wife died.

This is the story as I heard it on the radio this evening. I really feel for Mr March, how difficult times must have been for him since his wife's death. I hope the end of the court case brings some closure on the episode to Mr March and he can live a serene life for himself.

But the story raises a point to me. Is it ever right to kill someone? I don't want to make Mr March the subject of my question, the story is just to illustrate one of the many combinations of "but what if?" when it comes to assisted suicide.

I can't see how it is ever justified to take the life of another human being, no matter what the circumstance may be.

"But what if that person is ill?" "But what if that person wants to die?" "But what if I have had enough of this life?"

I can't justify it. Can you?

Pope urges opposition to 'deviant love'.

At a national convention of the Catholic church today, Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholics to oppose moves towards leagalising 'weak and deviant' unions.

He urged them to fight "with determination ... the risk of political and legislative decisions that contradict fundamental values and ethical principles rooted in human nature"

The Pope said they had to defend "the family based on matrimony, opposing the introduction of laws on other forms of unions which would only destabilise it and obscure its special character and its social role, which has no substitute".

In another section of his speech, the Pope stated that the Church had to say "'no' to weak and deviant forms of love".

He said the Church wanted instead to say "'yes' to authentic love, to the reality of man as he was created by God".

In his address to the Catholic convention, the Pope was also applauded when he said the Church had to continue to defend "life in all its phases, from conception until natural death".

He said the Church did not want to be "a political agent" but wanted to help shape social policy.

17 October 2006

Goblins & giants

It has been predicted in a report today that humans will divide into two distinct sub-species in 100,000 years from now.

Descendants of the genetic upper class would be tall, slim, healthy, attractive, intelligent, and creative, whilst the "underclass" humans, will evolve into dim-witted, ugly, squat goblin-like creatures.

The forecast has been made by Dr Oliver Curry, after spending two months investigating the ascent and descent of man over the next 100 millennia. He suggests within a thousand years humans will evolve into coffee-coloured giants between 6 and 7ft tall. But Dr Curry said centuries of sexual selection was likely to create more and more genetic inequality.

The logical outcome would be two sub-species, "gracile" and "robust" humans.

Dr Curry said: "Things could get ugly, with the possible emergence of genetic 'haves' and `have-nots'."

Other predictions included:

  • Physical appearance, driven by indicators of health, youth and fertility, will improve.
  • Men will exhibit symmetrical facial features, look athletic, and have squarer jaws, deeper voices and bigger penises.
  • Women will develop lighter skin, large clear eyes, pert breasts, glossy hair, even features and smooth hairless skin.
  • Racial differences will be ironed out by interbreeding, producing a uniform race of coffee-coloured people.
  • Improved nutrition and medical science will see people growing taller and fitter, while life-spans are extended to 120 years.

15 October 2006

Italian hand expressions

It's one of the wonders of the Italian language. As well as having a beautiful melodic language, Italians talk with their hands. If you ever wondered what those gestures mean, watch the video clip below. (Beware, contains a few strong words):

Freedom of expression

Wearing a cross for religious reasons is a personal thing. The right to express yourself by wearing a cross should not be restricted by your employer. As long as you complete your tasks in a professional manner, the fact that you wear a crucifix is irrelevant.

It is a symptom of the screwed up society we live in that people assume Christianity offends, and do all they can to remove it from every day life, but bend over backwards to accomodate every other religion or fad cult for fear of upsetting the followers.

So people rename Christmas to 'Winterval'. Even though most followers of different religions aren't bothered by Christmas and even join in the celebrations. I propose we rename Divalli. I'm open to suggestions on what we rename it to.

13 October 2006

Italian MP's are ignorant

Le Iene is one of the better programs on Italian TV. It airs on Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset network. This week the show was not allowed to transmit a report where they had proven that some Italian MP's had recently taken drugs. Out of 50 MP's, 16 had taken canabis, 4 had taken cocaine.
The MP's were set up. They believed they were going to participate in a TV interview. The makeup artists were not applying make up. They were taking sweat swabs for testing. The Italian privacy authority did not allow the show to air the report.

So, instead, they interviewed MP's outside Italian parliament and asked them some general knowledge questions. Several MP's were unable to answer questions on Darfur. Another failed to answer the question "What is Guantanamo?" When told it is a US terrorist prison camp the MP replied it was in 'Iraq or Afghanistan'.

More than one MP was convinced Nelson Mandela was from South America, whilst another was clueless as to why he had won his Nobel.

It really is pretty shocking. But I'd bet if you were to blindside MP's from England, or America, or pretty much anywhere with some general knowledge questions they would fail too. Without a script most politicians are lost.

09 October 2006

Ecological debt

Today marks the day that the earth enters into ecological debt. There is a parameter that is used to measure the resources the earth can provide on a yearly basis. Those resources measured for this year have already been used.

Using this measure, which is provided by an independent organisation based in the UK called New Economics Foundation, it was first calculated that 'Eco debt day' happened in 1987, on the 19th December. Since then the day has been anticipated on a yearly basis. And this year it arrives at the beginning of October.

This is significant. It shows that humanity lives in ecological balance with the earth for just three quarters of the year. And if nothing is done to remedy this, Eco debt day is only going to come round sooner & sooner each year.

There is something we can do, but the question we need to ask ourselves is, "Do we care?"

We need to use less of the earths natural resources, and we need to use more renewable resource. Lets do it now, before it is too late.

08 October 2006

We're doomed

Seriously. There are so many nut jobs out there in this big old world of ours, all who think they are the ones who are right in their interpretation of the word of God. It's clear, it's not God who is the cause of most of the wars & conflicts, it is the people who twist the words in the Bible for their own purpose. Take a look at this video clip. I've not heard of this woman before, and I hope I never have to hear from her again. Whatever it is she is spouting, it's clear there is no christian thought or compassion in what she says. When I hear the words from people like her, and words from similar nutters from other religions, I just despair.

06 October 2006

Fast day for CAFOD

There are a lot of good charities out there, doing work that would only be noticed if they stopped doing it.

Every year CAFOD organise two 'fast days'. A day where you go without, to give to those who don't have.

One fast day is during lent, the other during harvest. Today is the fast day for harvest. They make it really easy. All you are expected to do is miss a meal. For most this would be lunch, but depending on your circumstances you could miss breakfast or dinner. CAFOD ask that you donate what you would normally spend on one meal, and they will pass on that money to help people in a region of the world where they don't have access to the luxuries we in western civilisation take for granted.

This year CAFOD are focusing on a small village called Lushebere in DRC. You can read more about it here:

CAFOD fast day

Anyone can join in with the fast day. It's not proper fasting, you are giving up one meal. How you do that, and whether you do it properly is a matter for you. I guess you don't even need to fast if you prefer not to, just donate what you spent on a particular meal.

05 October 2006

Jesus camp

I heard this story a few days ago and saw some items on the net, but this is the first video clip I've seen. Honestly, I'm astonished. It's shocking the way these kids are being fed religion. Believing in Christ and following an honest, truthful, fulfilling life is not reflected anywhere in this clip.

It's a news piece about a documentary aired in America. Whether the documentary is one sided and gives an unbalanced view of this whole set up or not, I couldn't comment. Ive not seen the whole program yet. Take a look at the clip. Make up your own mind.

No more room in UK prisons

Prisons in the UK are almost full. Of 80,000 places available, only around 160 remain available.

When I first heard the story, and I heard the 80,000 figure, I immediately thought "That's not many" After all, this is a country with around 56 million inhabitants. 80,000 prison places is not a lot.

So who's fault is it? Surely the responsibility lies with the government? Law enforcement ultimately lies at the governments door. It would seem we need more prisons, but I assume building more is a lengthy process. UK prisons are full, now. We don't have time to wait. Doesn't mean they shouldn't start building two or three more though

In the meantime, I assume that we will have to put up with prisoners being released early, & criminals knowing that being sent to prison is becoming less & less likely, as there is no room for them.

Poor management by the government all round, it seems. But I suppose we are used to that by now, from Blair's government.

04 October 2006

Pregnant teenagers 'smoke to get small babies'

I couldn't believe this story when I heard about it. But apparently, teenage girls smoke during pregnancy to ensure they get a smaller baby.

I find it outrageous, disgusting, shocking, amazing that teenage girls would consider putting their unborn baby at harm in this way. For their own selfish ends, really. They believe that by having a smaller baby it will hurt less when they give birth.

Well, the facts are, smoking during pregnancy 'can' mean a smaller baby. As well as affecting the childs growth potential, not to mention the harm that child suffers as it develops, all the chemicals and nicotine and other horrible elements from tobacco smoke passing through to the child from the mothers blood, the increased risk of asthma in the child and other breathing difficulties.
But having a smaller baby does not guarantee a less painful childbirth. If you don't want the pain don't get pregnant. It's a simple enough solution, that even todays dumbass teenagers should be able to understand.

More than outrage, disgust, shock and amazement, though, I just feel so sad that teenagers who get pregnant have so little understanding of what they are doing that they are ignorant of the harm they do to their unborn child. It's a very sad situation. If they are so ignorant of such basic facts, how can they ever be ready to be a parent?