Religion, Political Opinions, and Sex Life Info to be Passed to Officials for Britons Travelling to the U.S.

From The Guardian:

Highly sensitive information about the religious beliefs, political opinions and even the sex life of Britons travelling to the United States is to be made available to US authorities when the European Commission agrees to a new system of checking passengers.

The EC is in the final stages of agreeing a new Passenger Name Record system with the US which will allow American officials to access detailed biographical information about passengers entering international airports.

The information sharing system with the US Department of Homeland Security, which updates the previous three-year-old system, is designed to tackle terrorism but civil liberty groups warn it will have serious consequences for European passengers. And it has emerged that both the European parliament and the European data protection supervisor are alarmed at the plan.

Word of the Day – Jeremiad

From Wikipedia:

A Jeremiad is a long literary work, usually in prose, but sometimes in poetry, that bitterly laments the state of society and its morals in a serious tone of sustained invective, and always contains a prophecy of its coming downfall.

The word is an eponym, named after the Biblical prophet Jeremiah, and is inspired by the tone of his surviving literary works, the Book of Jeremiah and the Book of Lamentations.

Soviet Snowmobiles

From English Russia:

The snowmobile Sever-2 (North 2) was developed in 1959 in Helicopter Design Office of N. I. Kamov. It was created from the legendary Soviet automobile Pobeda (Victory).

Firm skis and powerful aircraft engine AI-14 (260 horse-powers) made possible to move on snow or ice at a speed of 30-35 kilometers per hour. Sever-2 was able to function at extreme temperatures, about 40-50 degrees centigrade.

These snowmobiles delivered passengers and mail through the various areas of the Soviet Union, such as Siberia, the Far East and Kazakhstan. They also serviced settlements along the rivers Amur, Lena, Ob’ and Pechora.

Weekly World News Shutting Down

Luckily, the people who got their news from the Weekly World News can still turn to Fox…

While it isn’t strictly a genre publication, and it does bill itself as “The World’s Only Reliable Newspaper,” the editor has decided that this announcement does fall within SFScope’s purview:

American Media has decided to suspend publication of Weekly World News, both the print publication and the web site. No reason was given at press time, although reliable sources do tell us that management turned down at least one offer to buy the publication.

Daily Dose of Ingersoll

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All of these gods had gods for fathers and their mothers were
virgins. The births of nearly all were announced by stars,
celebrated by celestial music, and voices declared that a blessing
had come to the poor world. All of these gods were born in humble
places — in caves, under trees, in common inns, and tyrants sought
to kill them all when they were babes. All of these sun-gods were
born at the winter solstice — on Christmas. Nearly all were
worshiped by “wise men.” All of them fasted for forty days — all
of them taught in parables — all of them wrought miracles — all
met with a violent death, and all rose from the dead.

The history of these gods is the exact history of our Christ.

This is not a coincidence — an accident. Christ was a sun-
god. Christ was a new name for an old biography — a survival —
the last of the sun-gods. Christ was not a man, but a myth — not
a life, but a legend.

I found that we had not only borrowed our Christ — but that
all our sacraments, symbols and ceremonies were legacies that we
received from the buried past. There is nothing original in
Christianity.

The cross was a symbol thousands of years before our era. It
was a symbol of life, of immortality — of the god Agni, and it was
chiseled upon tombs many ages before a line of our Bible was
written.

Baptism is far older than Christianity — than Judaism. The
Hindus, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans had Holy Water long before a
Catholic lived. The eucharist was borrowed from the Pagans. Ceres
was the goddess of the fields — Bacchus of the vine. At the
harvest festival they made cakes of wheat and said: “This is the
flesh of the goddess.” They drank wine and cried: “This is the
blood of our god.”

The Egyptians had a Trinity. They worshiped Osiris, Isis and
Horus, thousands of years before the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
were known.

The Tree of Life grew in India, in China, and among the
Aztecs, long before the Garden of Eden was planted.

Long before our Bible was known, other nations had their
sacred books.

The dogmas of the Fall of Man, the Atonement and Salvation by
Faith, are far older than our religion.

In our blessed gospel, — in our “divine scheme,” — there is
nothing new — nothing original. All old — all borrowed, pieced
and patched.

Then I concluded that all religions had been naturally
produced, and that all were variation, modifications of one, —
then I felt that I knew that all were the work of man.

Robert Green Ingersoll – “Why I Am An Agnostic”