Pope Francis Is Beloved. His Papacy Might Be a Disaster.

Bruce Kirkpatrick
The New York Times


Here is a look at the state of the Catholic, Orthodox, Episcopal, and a bit of Protestantism among each other, and how this author views the effect Pope Frances is having. . Certainly, few will accept entirely his views, but it gives me and others a different insight into this Christian world. Worth reading. Rare for the NY Times.

Pope Francis opened the Holy Door to mark the opening of the Catholic Holy Year, or Jubilee, in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican in 2015.CreditMax Rossi/Reuters

The conversation has become predictable. A friendly acquaintance — a neighbor, a fellow parent, our real estate agent — asks about my work. I say I’ve been writing a book about the pope, and the acquaintance smiles and nods and says “Isn’t he so wonderful?” or, “That must be an inspiring thing,” or, “I have a friend who would love to read it.” And then eventually I find myself saying, uncomfortably, “Well, they should know that it’s not entirely favorable.”

A pause, puzzled and slightly crestfallen. “But you’re writing about the nice pope?”

The consistency of these exchanges is a testament to the great achievement of Pope Francis’ five years on the papal throne. He leads a church that spent the prior decade embroiled in a grisly sex abuse scandal, occupies an office often regarded as a medieval relic, and operates in a media environment in which traditional religion generally, and Roman Catholicism especially, are often covered with a mix of cluelessness and malice.

And yet in a remarkably short amount of time — from the first days after his election, really — the former Jorge Bergoglio has made his pontificate a vessel for religious hopes that many of his admirers didn’t realize or remember that they had.

Pope Francis celebrating a Mass in Rome in February.CreditRemo Casilli/Reuters

Some of this admiration reflects the specific controversies he’s stirred within the church, the theological risks he’s taken in pushing for changes that liberal Westerners tend to assume Catholicism must eventually accept — shifts on sexual morality above all, plus a general liberalization in the hierarchy and the church.

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It’s OK to shoot down drones says Swiss Legal experts

‘It’s OK to shoot down drones’ say Swiss legal experts (but only Swiss drones?)

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'It’s OK to shoot down drones' say Swiss legal experts
File photo: Andrew Turner
If a drone is invading your personal privacy you are entitled to shoot it down and aren’t liable for damages, according to new findings by Swiss lawyers.

Drones are increasingly popular with private individuals in Switzerland for recreational use and to take aerial videos.

But the remote-controlled craft can also be used by for spying on individuals or taking unauthorized photos – for example of people sunbathing on their balcony.

Until now legal opinion has held that victims of drone surveillance cannot defend themselves.

But Basel lawyers Jascha Schneider-Marfels and Sebastian Kaufmann say that according to their interpretation of the law, people who are being spied upon by drones are justified in shooting them down, 20 Minuten reported.

“A drone pilot who goes against the law by invading people’s personal privacy can expect that the person affected will defend themselves – whether with a high pressure water jet or a net gun,” Schneider-Marfels told the paper.

If a private detective uses a drone to spy on an adulterous couple or a jilted lover takes topless photos of his ex on her balcony this constitutes an attack on the personal sphere in which case self-defence is justified, the lawyer said.

There would be no liability for damage caused to the drone.

“Personal rights outweigh property protection rights in such cases,” Schneider-Marfels said.

But a drone must not be brought down where injury could be inflicted to people in the area, he said.

In February a company in the south-eastern canton of Graubünden unveiled a net gun designed to bring down small drones. 

The compact defensive weapon which resembles a pistol fitted with a large silencer has a guaranteed range of up to 30 meters and operates by “shooting” nets that entrap drones, bringing them to the ground.

Also in February, police in Geneva said they were training two eagles to take down rogue drones.

The plan is for the eagles to be fully operational by the end of the year.

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Sweden Plans to Ban All Religious Schools

After lax immigration policies have enabled a flood of Muslim immigrants from war-torn countries such as Syria and Iran to take up refuge in Sweden, the European country must now contend with several troubling issues.

Among those is the rise of Muslim schools in Sweden who are engaging in acts such as segregating male and female students on the bus and in the school. Instead of speaking out against these specific incidents, Swedish officials have instead moved to ban religious schools entirely.

Thanks to this new policy, 70 religious schools must now close their doors. This includes 59 Christian schools and 11 Muslim schools. What’s worth noting is the fact that one religious school in Sweden – its sole Jewish school – will be allowed to remain open for the reason that Muslim students refuse to integrate with Jewish students, and having a Jewish school still in place will prevent Muslim-Jewish integration from becoming an issue.

The way in which Sweden is handling the problems posed by certain Muslim schools is sickening. For 1,000 years, religious schools have existed in Sweden. Now, they are being forced to close their doors for good.

Sweden officials believe that they have a problem with religion, when in reality it is a problem with immigration that is to blame for the issues they are facing.

For more information on why Sweden is banning religious schools, be sure to check out the video below.


~ Liberty Video News

Posted in childhood rearing, christian education, culture differences, Education, education methods, Islam, politics, refugees, religious exclusion, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

90% of Chinese transgenders threatened and insulted, received ‘therapy’: survey

Apple News Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 Instagram YouTube Thursday, Mar 29, 2018

Chinese news from China newspaper

90% of Chinese transgenders threatened and insulted, received ‘therapy’: survey

(Global Times)    08:32, March 29, 2018

Transgender people in China are not well-received by their families, and 83 percent of respondents of a survey said they were abused by their parents.

The survey, published by Guangzhou-based NGO Trans Center and sent to the Global Times on Wednesday, includes 113 transgender respondents from 21 provinces, municipalities and cities in China.

Eighty-three of those surveyed said they were abused by their parents, some by other relatives such as grandparents, uncles and siblings, the survey shows.

Nearly half of the respondents were between 19 and 26 years old.

A transgender woman, who requested anonymity, told the center that her parents not only verbally abused her, but also threatened to kill her, or kicked her out when she had no income at all, and was forced to shave her hair and nails.

The survey shows almost 90 percent of transgender people were threatened or insulted by others and received “therapy” to “cure” them. About 1 percent were even forced to have sex with others.

The 2017 Chinese Transgender Population General Survey Report released by the Beijing LBGT Center also found that while most transgender people would like to receive hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery (SRS), they cannot, and around 71 percent said that safe, reliable hormone therapy or drugs are difficult to get. Many of those who would like to get SRS, around 89 percent, said they could not because of economic conditions and parents’ attitude.

It is hard to officially ban LGBT conversion therapy as many people in China still believe sexual minorities are sick, Peng Xiaohui, a sexologist at Central China Normal University in Wuhan, Hubei Province, told the Global Times.

He suggested the group should continue to campaign and provide psychological and legal help to those people.

The organization said that an anti-domestic violence law is urgently needed for transgender groups, because most of them are being abused by their parents, while the current anti-domestic violence law focuses on couples.

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The most fascinating 58 minutes I have seen and heard

You have to listen to him and then see if you can find any problems with his analysis.  Have fun.

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The world’s most impactful scientific researchers

Clarivate Analytics names the world’s most impactful scientific researchers with the release of the 2017 Highly Cited Researchers List

The rise of China in publication output and influence demonstrates a dramatic development

News provided by

Clarivate Analytics

Nov 15, 2017, 00:01 ET

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Clarivate Analytics, the global leader in providing trusted insights and analytics to enable researchers to accelerate discovery, today released its publication of its annual Highly Cited Researchers list.  The citation analysis identifies the most frequently cited researchers as determined by the extent to which their papers have supported, influenced, inspired and challenged other researchers around the globe. It identifies authors who have consistently won peer approval from international researchers in the form of high citation counts.

For more than two decades the Web of Science has served as the basis for regular listings of researchers whose work is cited at a level markedly higher than average for their fields. Clarivate Analytics now presents the latest updates to these listings: the extensive roster of 2017’s Highly Cited Researchers, based on work published and cited over the last decade.

Key findings show:

  • More than 3,300 Highly Cited Researchers in 21 fields of the sciences and social sciences. 130,000 papers aligned to 900 institutions were selected this year.
  • The USA fields the highest number of authors, at 1,661, a 13% increase on the 2016 listing. The UK ranks second with almost 350 entries.
  • China is gaining fast, in third place, with the highest increase of any nation, showing a 34% jump to 237 authors.
  • Several authors -147 in fact – are credited for Highly Cited Papers in more than one field of research.  Twenty authors appear in three fields.
  • Finland (25%) & Singapore (21%), whilst their respective overall totals of authors listed are <30, also posted notable percentage increases since 2016.
  • In terms of notable institutions on the list:
  1. Harvard University, USA tops the institutional table with 109 entries, followed by,
  2. Stanford University, USA  has 64
  3. Germany’s Max Planck Society, lists 47 authors
  4. The Chinese Academy of Science boasts 45 entries

The two-part study also spotlights a ranking of Hot Papers that quickly accumulate a high number of citations soon after publication. The list of emerging research trends features 21 researchers who, since 2014, have each published at least 14 Hot Papers, according to citations tallied as of December 2016.

Michael Grätzel of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland and Henry J. Snaith of Oxford University, UK share the top spot with 29 Hot Papers for multiple fields of research.

“The rise of China in publication output and world share in internationally influential journals indexed in the Web of Science has been a dramatic development during the last 20 years,” notes David Pendlebury, Senior Citations Analyst at Clarivate Analytics. “What we are now seeing is China’s increasing presence among most cited authors and papers, especially in the physical sciences. This year, the number of Chinese scientists in the Highly Cited Researchers list is 237, 34% more than last year. That makes the nation third in number of highly cited researchers behind the USA and UK. China’s output of materials science papers is now more than twice that of the United States, and it is capturing a greater and greater share of top cited papers in the field. In some fields China has not only caught up, but it is now powering ahead.”

The methodology that determines the who’s who of researchers draws on the data and analysis performed by bibliometric experts from Clarivate Analytics.  It uses Essential Science Indicators, a unique compilation of science performance metrics and trend data based on scholarly paper publication counts and citation data from the Web of Science, the premier web-based environment of scientific and scholarly research literature totaling over 33,000 journals.

The 2017 Highly Cited Researchers list can be seen in its entirety at https://clarivate.com/hcr/.

Read the 2017 Highly Cited Researchers report, featuring the Hottest Papers and the researchers behind them visit: http://bit.ly/2hs7nzp.

Clarivate Analytics
Clarivate™ Analytics is the global leader in providing trusted insights and analytics to accelerate the pace of innovation. Building on a heritage going back more than a century and a half, we have built some of the most trusted brands across the innovation lifecycle, including the Web of Science™, Cortellis™, Derwent™, CompuMark™, MarkMonitor® and Techstreet™. Today, Clarivate Analytics is a new and independent company on a bold entrepreneurial mission, to help our clients radically reduce the time from new ideas to life-changing innovations. For more information, please visit clarivate.com.

Media Contact
Jennifer Figueroa
Clarivate Analytics  – USA
+ 1 203 824 6261

SOURCE Clarivate Analytics

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Modern Warm Period Not Unprecedented, Chinese Academy Of Sciences Study Finds

  • Date: 23/08/17
  • Chinese Academy Of Sciences

    Modern Warm Period Not Unprecedented, Chinese Academy Of Sciences Study Finds

    • Date: 23/08/17
    • Chinese Academy Of Sciences

    “We found four warm epochs,” says Prof. Quansheng Ge. Data show records for the periods AD 981–1100 and AD 1201–70 are comparable to the present warm period.


    2,000-year temperature reconstruction in China. Credit: Yang Liu & Jingyun Zheng

    A great deal of evidence relating to ancient climate variation is preserved in proxy data such as tree rings, lake sediments, ice cores, stalagmites, corals and historical documents, and these sources carry great significance in evaluating the 20th century warming in the context of the last two millennia.

    Prof. GE Quansheng and his group from the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, collected a large number of proxies and reconstructed a 2000-year temperature series in China with a 10-year resolution, enabling them to quantitatively reveal the characteristics of temperature change in China over a common era.

    “We found four warm epochs, which were AD 1 to AD 200, AD 550 to AD 760, AD 950 to AD 1300, and the 20th century. Cold periods occurred between AD 210 and AD 350, AD 420 and AD 530, AD 780 and AD 940, and AD 1320 and AD 1900. The temperature amplitude between the warmest and coldest decades was 1.3°C,” said Prof. GE.

    The team found that the most rapid warming in China occurred over AD 1870–2000, at a rate of 0.56 ± 0.42°C (100 yr)−1; however, temperatures recorded in the 20th century may not be unprecedented in the last 2000 years, as reconstruction showed records for the period from 981 to 1100, and again from 1201 to 1270, were comparable to those of the present warm period, but with an uncertainty of ±0.28°C to ±0.42°C at the 95% confidence interval. Since 1000 CE—the period covering the Medieval Climate Anomaly, Little Ice Age, and the present warm period—temperature variations over China have typically been in phase with those of the Northern Hemisphere as a whole.

    They also detected some interactions between temperature variation and precipitation change. The ensemble means of dryness/wetness spatial patterns in eastern China across all centennial warm periods illustrate a tripole pattern: dry south of 25°N; wet from 25°–30°N; and dry to the north of 30°N. For all cold periods, the ensemble mean drought/flood spatial patterns showed an east to west distribution, with flooding east of 115°E and drought dominant west of 115°E, with the exception of flooding between approximately110°E and 105°E.

    The general characteristics of the impacts of climatic change historically were negative in the cold periods and positive in the warm periods. For example, 25 of the 31 most prosperous periods in imperial China during the past 2000 years occurred during periods of warmth or warming. A cooling trend at the centennial scale and social economic decline run hand-in-hand. The rapid development supported by better resources and a better environment in warm periods could lead to an increase in social vulnerability when the climate turns once more to being relatively colder.

    “Throughout China’s history,” Prof. GE added, “both rulers and the ruled have adopted strategies and policies to cope with climate change, as permitted by the prevailing geography and circumstances of the time.”

    The study is published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.

    More information: Quansheng Ge et al, Characteristics of temperature change in China over the last 2000 years and spatial patterns of dryness/wetness during cold and warm periods, Advances in Atmospheric Sciences (2017). DOI: 10.1007/s00376-017-6238-8

    Chinese Academy of Sciences, 8 August 2017


    Characteristics of temperature change in China over the last 2000 years and spatial patterns of dryness/wetness during cold and warm period

    Advances in Atmospheric SciencesVolume 34, Issue 8pp 941–951

    Quansheng Ge et al., Chinese Academy of Sciences


    This paper presents new high-resolution proxies and paleoclimatic reconstructions for studying climate changes in China for the past 2000 years. Multi-proxy synthesized reconstructions show that temperature variation in China has exhibited significant 50–70-yr, 100–120-yr, and 200–250-yr cycles. Results also show that the amplitudes of decadal and centennial temperature variation were 1.3°C and 0.7°C, respectively, with the latter significantly correlated with long-term changes in solar radiation, especially cold periods, which correspond approximately to sunspot minima. The most rapid warming in China occurred over AD 1870–2000, at a rate of 0.56° ± 0.42°C (100 yr)−1; however, temperatures recorded in the 20th century may not be unprecedented for the last 2000 years, as data show records for the periods AD 981–1100 and AD 1201–70 are comparable to the present. The ensemble means of dryness/wetness spatial patterns in eastern China across all centennial warm periods illustrate a tripole pattern: dry south of 25°N, wet from 25°–30°N, and dry to the north of 30°N. However, for all centennial cold periods, this spatial pattern also exhibits a meridional distribution. The increase in precipitation over the monsoonal regions of China associated with the 20th century warming can primarily be attributed to a mega El Ni˜no–Southern Oscillation and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. In addition, a significant association between increasing numbers of locusts and dry/cold conditions is found in eastern China. Plague intensity also generally increases in concert with wetness in northern China, while more precipitation is likely to have a negative effect in southern China.

    4. Conclusion

    In this paper we report on a number of high-resolution proxies, paleoclimatic reconstructions, and new results through CCCP2k studies attained over the last five years. The following points can be concluded from this work:

    (1) Multi-proxy synthesized reconstructions for China show significant cycles in temperature variation over the last 2000 years, including 50–70-yr, 100–120-yr, and 200–250-yr cycles. At the same time, the amplitudes for decadal and centennial variation in temperature are 1.3◦C and 0.7◦C, respectively, and centennial variation is significantly correlated with long-term changes in solar radiation—especially cold periods, which correspond approximately to sunspot minima, as well as the frequency of large volcanic eruptions. Results further show that the linear warming trend across the whole of China was 0.56◦ ±0.42◦C (100 yr)−1 for the period between AD 1870 and AD 2000. This was very likely the most rapid in the last 2000 years, although a similar warming rate also occurred in intervals between cold and warm periods before the 20th century. The warmth of the 20th century may not be unprecedented over the last 2000 years; the temperature of two peaks at AD 1080 and AD 1250 during the MCA are comparable.

    (2) Spatial patterns in the dry–wet index ensemble mean for eastern China (i.e., the mainland region approximately east of 105◦E and south of 40◦N) across all centennial warm periods correspond to a tripole pattern of dry conditions south of 25◦N, wet conditions between 25◦N and 30◦N, and dry conditions north of 30◦N. In contrast, ensemble mean spatial patterns exhibit an east-to-west distribution for centennial cold periods, with wet conditions dominant east of 115◦E and dry conditions prevalent west of 115◦E, albeit with a wetness exception around 110◦E. An increase in precipitation in the monsoonal regions of China corresponding with 20th century warming can primarily be attributed to a mega-ENSO (one significant cause of interannual-to-interdecadal variations in global SST), as well as the AMO.

    (3) Results show a significant association between the occurrences of locusts, human plagues, and long-term climate variation in eastern China, with more locusts recorded in dry and cold conditions. However, plague intensity responses to changes in wet and dry conditions are different in northern and southern China; plague intensity has generally increased with wetness in northern China, while high precipitation has historically had a negative effect in the south. These findings reported in this paper may improve our understanding of whether or not the warming observed in the 20th century can be considered exceptional within the past regional context. We have also explored changes in spatial patterns of dryness and wetness, as well as the temporal and spatial occurrences of locusts and plagues in China in response to climate warming, and our results provide insights for successful adaptation in the future. The results presented here will also be useful for further studies regarding the sensitivity of regional climate warming to CO2 concentrations, as well as climate dynamics, at decadal to centennial scales.

    Full paper

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