The name “Circumcellions” somehow sounds like the name of an advanced Star Trek alien race, or perhaps a groundbreaking association of Ancient Roman jurists. The truth is so much less, and yet, at the same time, somehow, so much more…
The word itself means “guys who hang around villages,” rather unglamorously. The Circumcellions were a Christian suicide cult of the fourth and fifth centuries. Their religious practice consisted of delivering random beatings to strangers along the road, with the purpose of goading the strangers into killing them. If that didn’t work, they just threw themselves off a cliff instead.
I think he inadvertently makes a better case for evolution. You have to stick with it to the end when he ends up trying to say that believing in evolution is the same as believing that a mousetrap can turn into a mouse, with a mousetrap snapped against his finger.
The latest attempt involves Uri Geller, the purported spoon-bending “psychic” who is trying to suppress a video on YouTube that claims Geller is a fraud and demonstrates sleight-of-hand tricks he could have used. The video was posted by the Rational Response Squad, a group of skeptics who take a scientific approach toward evaluating supernatural claims, and rely in part on YouTube to get the word out.
Geller’s U.K. company, Explorologist Ltd., sent a DMCA takedown notice to YouTube, claiming copyright in a video posted by the squad. It depicted magician James Randi, a prominent skeptic of the supernatural, showing how Geller could have performed “magic” tricks. (Some of his critics go farther, alleging that Geller is little more than a successful con artist.)
YouTube replied by suspending the relevant account.
There was one problem: Geller doesn’t seem to own the video. It’s nearly 14 minutes long, and Geller’s company apparently can claim copyright in only three seconds of it, a brief excerpt that would likely be permitted by U.S. fair use laws.
Americans are planning to spend an average of $139 on Mother’s Day gifts this year. That’s a stunning $16 billion national spending frenzy that would have horrified Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day.
Anna lobbied for the creation of the holiday as a tribute to her mother and mothers everywhere. Her efforts paid off in 1914 when President Wilson officially designated the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
Later on, after seeing her holiday cheapened by rampant commercialism, Anna denounced her own holiday. She wrote:
I wanted [Mother’s Day] to be a day of sentiment, not profit.
A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world.
And candy! You take a box to Mother â€” and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.
What will you do to route charlatans, bandits, pirates, racketeers, kidnappers and other termites that would undermine with their greed one of the finest, noblest and truest movements and celebrations?