Dark future for wrong psychics
There are many things to dislike about end-of-year celebrations — the pressure to make New Year’s Eve memorable, the shameful amounts of money wasted on fireworks, drunken renditions of Auld Lang Syne. But perhaps the most annoying tradition is the value placed on predictions made by psychics.
According to a 2009 Neilsen poll, 49 per cent of Australians believe in psychic powers, despite — it must be pointed out — a distinct lack of supporting evidence.
However, as 2010 draws to a close, we have a unique chance to put some of these beliefs to the test by reflecting on the accuracy of psychic predictions made at the start of the year. After all, the rest of us face performance reviews at this time of the year, so why not critically appraise clairvoyants as well? Read full story from haroldsun.com
January, New Year and the Compitalia
For many people, after the December festivities January comes as a quite a gloomy anti-climax. However, Classical Pagans (i.e. those following a Roman/Greek pantheon) perceive the world with somewhat different eyes.
Subsequent to the festivities of Yuletide and the Midwinter Solstice, or Christmas – if one subscribes to the more recent Christian ethos, we swiftly arrive at the start of another contemporary year. I accentuate the word ‘contemporary’ because calendars have so frequently changed over the centuries.
The bucolic, pre-Christian, Celtic land dwellers regarded the period we now call Halloween (originally Samhain) as the end of summer and commencement of winter. It marked the start of the New Year.
When we disregard the ‘man-made’ calendar and take a long look at nature’s moods, this old agricultural method of time calculation begins to make a great deal of sense. Read full story from ufodigest
Secular Coalition Calls for Email Campaign to Mayor-Elect Gray
December 29, 2010 (Washington, D.C.) – The Secular Coalition for America (SCA) is calling for an email campaign by all D.C. residents to let Mayor-Elect Vincent Gray know that discrimination in any form, for any reason is unacceptable.
The efforts come one day after SCA went public with the decision from the mayor-elect’s transition team to exclude a secular representative for atheists, agnostics, humanists, and other nontheistic Washington, D.C. residents at his first official inaugural event—an ecumenical service entitled “One City … Praying Together” at 8 a.m. Sunday, January 2, 2011. Read full story from richarddawkins.com
Seven arrested for killing man over witchcraft
Seven people were arrested at Thabine village outside Tzaneen on Thursday after a man accused of practising witchcraft was stoned to death, Limpopo police said. Read full story from thenewaga.co.za
Man banished from Busia village over witchcraft
RESIDENTS of Buwhera village in Buyanga sub-county in Busia district have banished a man from their village for allegedly practicing witchcraft.
Robert Barasa, 24, was banished from the village after a meeting held at Buwhera on Tuesday. Karim Sityabude, who is field operations chief of the Uganda traditional healers Busia Chapter, was present at the meeting. Read full story from newvision.co.ug
Yes, Virginia, Hellenes Have Christmas Traditions
Two decades ago, Ann Landers did a column about how various cultures celebrate Christmas. Halfway down her list was this gem: “If you are Greek Orthodox, your sect celebrates Christmas on January 7.” Several people wrote back that 1) the Orthodox church is not a sect — it is the original church from which the Catholic one split after the Schism of 1054 and 2) only the so-called Old Believers track Christmas by the Julian calendar.
I was reminded of this when I was leaving work a week ago, and a colleague asked, “Should I wish you Merry Christmas? I heard you Greeks don’t celebrate it like we do.” As those who read my posts know, I’m an atheist who misses many of my culture’s old customs, particularly those that thrum with pagan echoes. So I’m going to put my tour guide’s hat briefly on, and tell you what we Hellenes do around the time of the winter solstice. Read full story from huffingtonpost.com
Need a Job? Losing Your House? Who Says Hoodoo Can’t Help?
Jennifer Forness, a 39-year-old in Groton, Conn., felt her life falling apart earlier this year. Her husband announced he wanted a divorce. She lost her job as a store clerk. She developed health problems from the stress.
Then one night she discovered a website selling products for hoodoo—an ancient belief system based on spells, potions, balms and curses that slaves developed long ago in the Deep South. Ms. Forness ordered several items and instructions for performing certain rituals. She also had a telephone session with a hoodoo “doctor” who specializes in employment matters. Read full story from wsj.com
Forecasters keep eye on looming ‘Solar Max’
PARIS, France — The coming year will be an important one for space weather as the Sun pulls out of a trough of low activity and heads into a long-awaited and possibly destructive period of turbulence.
Many people may be surprised to learn that the Sun, rather than burn with faultless consistency, goes through moments of calm and tempest.
But two centuries of observing sunspots — dark, relatively cool marks on the solar face linked to mighty magnetic forces — have revealed that our star follows a roughly 11-year cycle of behaviour.
The latest cycle began in 1996 and for reasons which are unclear has taken longer than expected to end.
Now, though, there are more and more signs that the Sun is shaking off its torpor and building towards “Solar Max,” or the cycle’s climax, say experts. Read full story from google.com