September 10, 2011

Laura Dekker in Australia

Filed under: General,Sports by Branko Collin @ 11:23 am

Two weeks ago ‘sailor girl’ Laura Dekker reached the shores of the Northern Territory of Australia, and not a moment too soon.

Her boat Guppy was in desperate need of repairs as both the genoa and the rudder had broken down. In Darwin she re-united with her father who had flown in to celebrate her sixteenth birthday (September 20). From that day on she has about a year and week to complete her global circumnavigation if she wants to become the unofficial record holder of being the youngest person solo sailing around the world.

In the past months Dekker sailed past the country of her birth, New Zealand (she has dual citizenship), even though she professed a desire to visit. Says

Her manager, Australian Lyall Mercer, [said] today Dekker did not take her New Zealand nationality lightly and had especially embraced it since starting to feel “disconnected” from The Netherlands after courts there stopped her from embarking on her trip when she was 13.

“Yet she has failed to find any support from New Zealand, unable even to source a New Zealand flag that she wants to fly from her boat ‘Guppy’ for the duration of her trip,” Mercer said.

I wonder if there is not more to that story. In August 2009, Elsevier reported that the New Zealand authorities had threatened to seize Laura’s boat for reckless behaviour if she ever entered one of the country’s ports while sailing alone.

The best place to follow Dekker’s exploits is still her blog, which she keeps in both English and Dutch. Dekker spends her days playing the guitar, writing her book, and reading. Still no word on if she has ever touched her homework.

See also: more stories about Laura Dekker.

(Photo of an entirely unrelated boat by the US Navy)

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October 6, 2010

People who lack control believe in God over Darwin

Filed under: General,Religion,Science by Orangemaster @ 11:51 am

“People who feel like they have no control over their lives are more inclined to believe in religion (and therefore ‘creationism’) than Darwin’s theory of evolution (‘darwinism’), as compared to people who feel they have control over their lives.”

This conclusion and the research leading up to it by Bastiaan Rutjens, Joop van der Pligt and Frenk van Harreveld of the Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA) is to be published next month in Deus or Darwin: Randomness and belief in theories about the origin of life. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 46, November 2010, pag. 1078-1080).

Darwin’s theory of evolution is a theory based on facts and is by no means complete, while the ‘theory’ of God having created the world is much older, a fascinating read with little or no facts. There is no clear winner, but then again maybe unicorns really exist too. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around how we’re able to send people to the moon, but still make crappy ballpoint pens that blob.

The research showed that one of the main reasons for rejecting the theory of evolution is its randomness. People who need control in their lives are not big fans of randomness and are more likely to adopt a theory with less randomness as supplied by most world religions. Oh and don’t forget the unicorns.

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February 24, 2009

Send back those unsollicited creationism folders

Filed under: Religion,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:57 am

The year 2009 is the year of Charles Darwin, the English father of the theory of evolution. Some Christian man with methinks way too much time and money on his hands printed up a big, colourful folder about how God made the Earth in six days and all that jazz. I haven’t seen it yet, true, but I’m looking forward to it. Needless to say, thousands of people are insulted at receiving unsollicited storytelling folders in their mailboxes, especially since they did not order it. A campaign entitled Terug naar je maker (Back to your maker) is encouraging folks to sing a petition and send the storytelling folder back to its maker, the man from Urk, a village known for its religious views and alcoholic youth.

Forget about the holes in Darwin’s theory’s (so I’ve heard), forget trying to follow the Bible, a book almost nobody can read in its original language (angels are male and female, a theologist Ph.D. friend who reads Aramaic used to tell me) and don’t get into this silly debate that just muddles the pain of the financial crisis. Just think that some zealot wasted tens of thousands of euro when he could have helped out in his community and thought it worthy to kill trees to tell us something we can read on our own good time or not in the Bible.

The more you need to convince others, the more you need to convince yourself. You could have opened a school in Africa somewhere with that money. Shame on you.

For the locals among you, print this out (the real stickers are sold out!) and put it on your mailbox:


You can also sign the petition here (in Dutch).

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