Friday, 11 January 2013

Daily digest #1

Due to a recent addition to the family taking up a lot of my previous spare time, and a distinct bifurcation in my areas of interest, I have decided to change the way I use this blog to make it easier for the people of each discipline to browse the information contained here.

Atheism and secularism are still my raison d'être for my blogging, but my interest in local politics and current affairs is in the ascendant right now (I plan to run for either the local town council or the county council in the May elections), so I shall be producing a daily post that lists the issues that are important to me from both subjects side by side and will let my reader be the judge of what it is you wish to read and how you would like me to proceed with it. If there is anything listed below that you would like me to expand upon, please leave a message in the comments. Likewise, if there is something you feel I have missed, please bring to my attention below and I shall try my best to squeeze out a post on it.

I suppose there is a degree of laziness in this approach, but I prefer to see it as a method of sorting out the wheat from the chaff and actually giving my reader some feedback on what it is they want to see here, so please do let me know what you think.

Atheism / Secularism Local /Cornwall
How to make the UK a secular state

By RobertCallan316 posted on January 11, 2013 02:58AM GMT

"There's not many things that I can say that I'm not proud of being a British citizen. This country has done me well as a 19 year old atheist  but the one thing that deeply saddens me is that we are not a secular state, and still have bishops of the church of England having a say in issues that should be kept separate from them. What can the British people who believe this to be wrong do to try and put a stop to this so we can truly say that we promote reasonable thinking and in the UK?"
There are some good answers in the comments section. Here's mine;

"I particularly like comments #1, #2 and #5, but the crux of the matter is, what are you prepared to do about it?
It is all well and good saying what you want and demanding it from your political representatives, but there is no substitution for becoming the leading voice in the field you wish to influence.

Obviously, we cannot all do that, but it is not for the lack of opportunity. Myself, I will be running for councillor in either my local or county elections in May this year. I have no idea how successful my campaign will be, but I am sure that in getting the word out to people I know I am making a bigger impact on the electorate than any party political wonk that you could hope to have represent you.

You appear to know what you want, make a stand and explain your position to the largest number of people that will listen. It's hard work, but imagine the satisfaction of garnering even a minority share of the vote. It will make it all worthwhile"
Famous Christians - Martin Luther

Rosa Rubicondior is one of my favourite bloggers. She consistently turns out well-researched and concise posts on biblical criticism.

This post is the second of her - what I presume will be a recurring theme - 'Famous Christians'.

The first post in the series confronted theist's claims that Hitler was an atheist, by quoting a number of his clearly Christian/Catholic line of thinking.
New supermarket will pay £250,000 for Penzance's improvements

"Am I reading this correctly? Penzance businesses are being asked to part with an extra 1- 2% on top of their business rates? Or is it taken from that they already pay?

Apropo the £249,500 from Sainsbury's;

1. On what will the £130,000 be spent on town improvements?

2. What 'events' will benefit from the £25,000?

3. Who or what will be marketed and promoted with another £25,000?

4. What will a £49,500 town centre co-ordinator do, and how will this person be selected?

5. Notwithstanding its name, what will be the objects and methodology of a Business Improvement District (BID)?

It's great seeing these sort of numbers coming towards Penzance town centre, but what do they all mean exactly. At present they seem like nothing more than sound-bites."

Call to restrict numbers of second homes

"Like Mr Wallis, I have no particular objection to second/holiday homes but feel that with the housing waiting list being at the level it is, there is a need to balance the books.

Homes lying empty for the majority of the year - whilst not immoral by any means - is not conducive to a thriving community. By making second/holiday home owners apply for some sort of planning permission, the council has the opportunity to have some control over how housing needs are managed. Private homes that are occupied are not affected at all.

If a second/holiday home is found to be empty for the greater part of the year, owners should - at least - be encouraged to rent it out on a more regular basis so that the communities in which these properties exist don't wither and die in the quieter times of the year. Perhaps the council could offer owners an incentive to rent out their properties for a 12 month period, so that in the short term, at least, people will have somewhere to call home.

Housing is perhaps the biggest challenge facing Cornwall, and from where I sit it appears to be an almost insurmountable problem in the short-term. The council must outline a definitive, coherent, sustainable and environmentally-conscious plan for the next 20-30 years if the problem is to be faced at all."

Town gets tough on dog mess in parks

"As a new owner of an English Springer Spaniel puppy, the issue regarding dog fouling on parks and pavements has become all the more real to me of late. Laws have been in place since 16 July 2010 to deal with the problem, but little seems to be done to enforce them." See my whole post


I have other interests beyond these two main subjects, of course, so I shall place funny, interesting or sometimes downright weird links here.

One of my bug-bears about my local council, is their apparent indifference to a rugged policy for dealing with the housing crisis we are facing. What with Cornwall's idyllic coast and countryside, I don't think we are doing enough to encourage investment in green technologies on any level. 

I particularly like the idea of 'container villages' (I shall write a more in-depth post about this sometime in the future), but for now here is a link to what can done with the humble shipping container.

The grammar Nazi in me runs deep, and I am always drawn to posts that explain an unknown area of the subject that, hitherto, I was unaware of.

This article by the Oxford University Press explains 'suppletion', where the future, present and past tenses of verbs can take on quite different forms from one another.

A good case in point (as the cartoon above shows. You may need to click to embiggen to see it in better detail.) is why is the past tense of 'go', 'went' rather than 'goed'?

What do you think of the new approach? Is there anything you would like me to approach with more consideration? What else on this site do you think needs changing? Leave a comment below to let me know.

n.b. I am working on a new site that will further delineate between my increasingly diverse interests, but for the time being this blog will have to suffice. I'll let you know more when the roll-out date approaches.

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