An article on the BBC website caught my eye. Apparently Orca females live the second longest after menopause in the animal kingdom. Humans come first. Why is this, biologists are asking themselves as they clasp mugs of mildly alcoholic beverages in their hands.
Apparently Orcas don’t form a nuclear family group, the children stay with their mothers. The offspring of males stay with the female’s group whilst the offspring of the females stay with the same group. Although the article didn’t mention it, I reckon that Orca mothers probably make pretty formidable grandmothers as well. Remember the Grandmother in the old Giles cartoons?
Orcas breed in their thirties and the females can then live for another fifty years. If the mother dies, studies have shown that her male offspring have a fourteen-fold increase in the chance of dying in the next twelve months whilst her female offspring have a three-fold increase in the same period. Biologists are not certain why this should be and have speculated that Orca mothers ‘assist’ with the son’s foraging and perhaps help when a male from outside the group becomes aggressive. I’m sure human fathers who have offspring in their twenties and thirties living at home could shed some light on the subject. Granted Orcas don’t live in nuclear families but if they did you can imagine some of the conversations.
‘For heaven’s sake woman, he’s thirty years old. It’s high time he caught his own seals’.
‘He’s got to learn to swim on his own fins. Stop interfering and let him sort it out himself.’
‘Maybe she isn’t good enough for him but he’s got to make his own mistakes.’
‘You don’t bring me a squid sandwich in bed first thing in the morning’.
Possibly one of the reasons Orcas don’t live in nuclear families is PMT. I mean, have you seen the teeth on the things?
The Usual Protests
No I haven’t looked at the offending clip on U Tube, I’ll make that clear to start with. Doubtless many people are rolling their eyes and muttering about Free Speech but if you portray the founder of any religion as being a bloodthirsty gay paedophile opportunist and the written foundation of the religion as being a mish-mash of other religion’s writings cobbled together by the founder’s wife then you’re asking for trouble. Granted Americans in general and the American Government in particular weren’t asking for trouble but it’s a case of being damned by association.
The fact that the protesters are attacking other western embassies as well as American only goes to show that they have been stirred up by those who think the west is anti Islam. I’m not going to go into whether or not these people are correct and if so why that might be but it’s worth remembering that most of the protesters won’t have seen the film either and are just reacting to what they’ve been told. In the majority of cases, the people who are telling them that they should be upset won’t have seen the video either. At this point I usually say don’t let the facts get in the way of preconceived ideas but in this case I have to say the video, if the reports about what it contains are true, would be both inflammatory and deeply offensive. Anybody remember seeing a confrontation between Malcolm Muggeridge, the then Bishop of Canterbury, John Cleese and was it Michael Plain arguing about ‘The Life of Brian’?
It’s also worth remembering that the countries in which the protests are being held don’t have much understanding of the concept of free speech, or free anything come to that. Oh that’s not quite correct, they have a firm grip on the concept of free handouts.
Despite attempts to blame a mystery Israeli millionaire as being behind the film it’s now clear that it was made by an Egyptian Coptic Christian living in California. There is no doubt that the Copts in Egypt are having a hard time of it right now but this certainly won’t help them. Nor will inventing verses of the Koran which purport to promote killing women and children convince anybody, apart from the already convinced, that Islam is an evil religion. I can’t find the link but one American newspaper got it about right.
‘One crazy fundamentalist stirring up other crazy fundamentalists’.
Of course, most people today associate the word ‘fundamentalists’ with Islam. I also associate them with so-called ‘pro-lifers’ who think it’s perfectly acceptable to murder doctors who work in legal abortion clinics. I haven’t quite worked out how being pro-life equates with killing people but I’m sure it’ll come to me in the end. A bit like fighting for peace, I suppose. Other examples spring to mind but let’s have a little decorum please.
I saw an article in the Jerusalem Post a few months ago. Artifacts had been found which dated back about nine thousand three hundred years, pre-dating any Israelite/Jewish influence in the area. Predictably, because the Jerusalem Post for some reason attracts American ‘evangelicals’, several people made a fuss because the Earth only dated back six thousand years or so. It says so in ‘The Bible’ apparently. The artifacts could therefore not be that old and to say they were was denying that ‘The Bible’ was the word of God. I may be wrong, but if by ‘The Bible’ the person was referring to what is widely known as ‘The Old Testament’ then apart from a few specific places where God apparently chose to hold a conversation with certain individuals nowhere does the written word claim to be ‘The Word of God’. But don’t let the facts get in the way of a preconceived idea.
The Scientologists are currently spluttering about a recently released movie which they say portrays L Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. So far, no swarms of Scientologists have stormed embassies or burnt down movie theatres , possibly because a number of movie stars happen to be Scientologists and so can earn large sums of money and donate generously to their church. Or am I just being a little cynical there?
In the meantime the Church of the Latter day Saints, or Mormons, are becoming a little nervous in case the spotlight is turned on them. Mitt Romney is an adherent, if you weren’t aware.
Just to prove that I’m unbiased, in Israel the Hareidi (ultra religious) are up in arms, or rather not up in arms, because the Israeli Government might withdraw their block exemption from serving in the IDF (Israel Defence Force) . Their mission in life is to study the Torah (The Law) and that they maintain is what will keep Israel safe, not F16s, F35s, Iron Dome anti-missile systems or German-built submarines. It says so in ‘The Bible’ (apologies to my Jewish readers but I’m not going into lengthy explanations about the Pentateuch, the Talmud, the Mishna and the Gemara). This does rather ignore the biblical precedent of Moses castigating two tribes of Israel for not taking part in a battle but hey, don’t let the facts get in the way of a preconceived notion.
Speaking as a secular person, God preserve us from preconceived notions and religious prejudices.