Christian parents who objected to their children being taught about other religions in a mandatory new Quebec school course have suffered a serious setback with a ruling this week that the teachings do not infringe their religious freedoms.
Quebec Superior Court Justice Jean-Guy Dubois dismissed a bid by parents in Drummondville, Que., who said the course on ethics and religious culture introduced across the province last year was undermining their efforts to instill Christian faith in their children. “In light of all the evidence presented, the court does not see how the … course limits the plaintiff’s freedom of conscience and of religion for the children when it provides an overall presentation of various religions without obliging the children to adhere to them,” Judge Dubois wrote.
“What parents were demanding was the right to ignorance, the right to protect their children from being exposed to the existence of other religions,” he said. “This right to ignorance is certainly not protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Freedom of religion does not protect the right not to know what is going on in our universe.” He said the course is aimed not at instilling religious values but at trying “to explain to these children the diversity in which we now live in Quebec.”
Can somebody explain the C in C6H12O6 ?
How many bits does it take to kill a human?
The H1N1 virus has been comprehensively disassembled (sequenced) and logged into the NCBI Influenza Virus Resource database. For example, an instance of influenza known as A/Italy/49/2009(H1N1) isolated from the nose of a 26-year old female homo sapiens returning from the USA to Italy (I love the specificity of these database records), has its entire sequence posted at the NCBI website. It’s amazing — here’s the first 120 bits of the sequence.atgaaggcaa tactagtagt tctgctatat acatttgcaa ccgcaaatgc agacacatta
Remember, each symbol represents 2 bits of information. This is alternatively represented as an amino acid sequence, through a translation lookup table, of the following peptides:MKAILVVLLYTFATANADTL
In this case, each symbol represents an amino acid which is the equivalent of 6 bits (3 DNA-equivalent codons per amino acid). M is methionine, K is Lysine, A is Alanine, etc. (you can find the translation table here).
So how many bits are in this instance of H1N1? The raw number of bits, by my count, is 26,022; the actual number of coding bits approximately 25,054 — I say approximately because the virus does the equivalent of self-modifying code to create two proteins out of a single gene in some places (pretty interesting stuff actually), so it’s hard to say what counts as code and what counts as incidental non-executing NOP sleds that are required for self-modifying code.
So it takes about 25 kilobits — 3.2 kbytes — of data to code for a virus that has a non-trivial chance of killing a human. This is more efficient than a computer virus, such as MyDoom, which rings in at around 22 kbytes.
It’s humbling that I could be killed by 3.2kbytes of genetic data. Then again, with 850 Mbytes of data in my genome, there’s bound to be an exploit or two.
If you think the wingnuts in the USA can’t get any more batshitinsane, well, read this…
Parents across the country are rebelling against plans by President Barack Obama to speak directly to their children through the classrooms of the nation’s public schools without their presence, participation and approval.
The plans announced by Obama also have been cited as raising the specter of the Civilian National Security Force, to which he’s referred several times since his election campaign began, but never fully explained.
“He’s recruiting his civilian army. His ‘Hitler’ youth brigade,” wrote one participant in a forum at Free Republic.
“I am not going to compare President Obama to Hitler. We’ll leave that to others and you can form your own opinions about them and their analogies. … However, we can learn a lot from the spread of propaganda in Europe that led to Hitler’s power. A key ingredient in that spread of propaganda was through the youth,” wrote a blogger at the AmericanElephant.com blog, where the subject of the day was a national “Keep-Your-Child-at-Home-Day.”
and if that doesn’t make you go “what?”, try Buchanan’s apology for Hitler.
American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. and its subsidiary Pharmacia & Upjohn Company Inc. ( hereinafter together “Pfizer” ) have agreed to pay $2.3 billion, the largest health care fraud settlement in the history of the Department of Justice, to resolve criminal and civil liability arising from the illegal promotion of certain pharmaceutical products, the Justice Department announced today.
Pharmacia & Upjohn Company has agreed to plead guilty to a felony violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act for misbranding Bextra with the intent to defraud or mislead. Bextra is an anti-inflammatory drug that Pfizer pulled from the market in 2005. Under the provisions of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, a company must specify the intended uses of a product in its new drug application to FDA. Once approved, the drug may not be marketed or promoted for so-called “off-label” uses – i.e., any use not specified in an application and approved by FDA. Pfizer promoted the sale of Bextra for several uses and dosages that the FDA specifically declined to approve due to safety concerns. The company will pay a criminal fine of $1.195 billion, the largest criminal fine ever imposed in the United States for any matter. Pharmacia & Upjohn will also forfeit $105 million, for a total criminal resolution of $1.3 billion.
In addition, Pfizer has agreed to pay $1 billion to resolve allegations under the civil False Claims Act that the company illegally promoted four drugs – Bextra; Geodon, an anti-psychotic drug; Zyvox, an antibiotic; and Lyrica, an anti-epileptic drug – and caused false claims to be submitted to government health care programs for uses that were not medically accepted indications and therefore not covered by those programs. The civil settlement also resolves allegations that Pfizer paid kickbacks to health care providers to induce them to prescribe these, as well as other, drugs. The federal share of the civil settlement is $668,514,830 and the state Medicaid share of the civil settlement is $331,485,170. This is the largest civil fraud settlement in history against a pharmaceutical company.