Earlier this week, I released a free iPhone app with a map of Port-au-Prince.
I based that app on the data in openstreetmap.org. It’s a community project, and here’s a nice visualisation of the response to the earthquake by the OpenStreetMap community. Within 12 hours the white flashes indicate edits to the map (generally by tracing satellite/aerial photography).
Over the following days a large number of additions to the map are made with many roads (green primary, red secondary) added. Also many other features were added such as the blue glowing refugee camps that emerge.
A lot of these edits were made possible by a number of satellite and aerial imagery passes in the days after the quake, that were release to the public for tracing and analysis.
In November I wrote about how the Catholic Church in our nation’s capital had threatened to stop dispensing charity if the D.C. City Council voted in favor of Marriage Equality. At the time it seemed far-fetched (even to me) that the Washington Archdiocese so despised LGBT people that it would punish needy children in order to preserve a dogma of intolerance. I thought these princes of the Holy Apostolic Church were bluffing or, inspired by their homo-hysteric pontiff, merely making a political statement.
I was wrong. It has happened. The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has just ended its 80-year-old foster-care program in the District of Columbia. Rather than place homeless children with loving gay and lesbian parents, Archbishop Donald Wuerl and Catholic Charities president Ed Orzechowski have announced that the Archdiocese will turn its back on these most vulnerable members of society. (It bears mentioning that their efforts to help the needy were not being financed by the Church’s immense wealth. D.C. taxpayers were forking over a cool $20 million for all this faith-based do-gooding.)
The title of a recent article from the Catholic News Agency reads: Same-sex “marriage” law forces D.C. Catholic Charities to close adoption program. You’ll note the word “marriage” is placed in quotation marks, as is common with right-wing media outlets. You’ll also notice the word “forces,” which implies coercion. Of course no one has forced the Church to do anything – but CNA is spinning the story with a bias that would make Fox News proud. Oh, those poor beleaguered clerics with their lavish vestments, art treasures, bejeweled statues, and solid gold crucifixes, morally compelled to kick unloved kids to the curb.
No one asked these Catholic leaders to condone gay unions, or perform weddings for same gender partners. What sane gay couple would want the blessing of an organization that calls them “inherently disordered?” But the D.C. City Council has every right to expect Church charities to stop discriminating if they’re going to dip their self-righteous snouts in the government trough. Gays and lesbians pay taxes. The Catholic Church doesn’t.
Well, at least it decreases the odds that these kids are going to be abused.
The Dutch government has collapsed over disagreements within the governing coalition on extending troop deployments in Afghanistan.
The rules say there are now at least 40 days to get candidate lists compiled for the elections, followed by 43 days at least to campaign. So elections won’t be before may or so.
The debate on genetically modified (GM) brinjal variety continues to generate heat. Former managing director of Monsanto India, Tiruvadi Jagadisan, is the latest to join the critics of Bt brinjal, perhaps the first industry insider to do so.
Jagadisan, who worked with Monsanto for nearly two decades, including eight years as the managing director of India operations, spoke against the new variety during the public consultation held in Bangalore on Saturday.
On Monday, he elaborated by saying the company “used to fake scientific data” submitted to government regulatory agencies to get commercial approvals for its products in India.
If there’s one company that needs urgent disbanding, it’s Monsanto.