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Weekend Coffee: August 12

There’s a lot of news this week:

• Two examples of humanism in action: Charles Feeney, a billionaire philanthropist, plans to give away all his remaining money within a few years, and a new nonprofit helps to crowdfund DNA sequencing for children with rare genetic diseases.

• Since we still have a lot of work left to do on this problem, here are two very good articles on sexual harassment: An Incomplete Guide to Not Creeping by John Scalzi, and a post on what “creepiness” means from a woman’s perspective.

• For those religions that believe the sight of a woman’s body will tempt men to lust and sin, I’ve always said that the appropriate response would be to blindfold the men and have the women lead them around, rather than forcing women to wear burdensome shrouds of clothing. Apparently someone was listening: some ultra-Orthodox Jewish men are wearing glasses that blur their vision outside a range of a few feet, to lessen the danger of seeing women in public.

• Bravo, Philippines! A proposed law to provide sex education and free contraception to the poor advances in the legislature, beating back ferocious objections from the Catholic church.

• An atheist survivor of the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado speaks out.

Whooping cough is rising to levels not seen since the 1940s, and nine infants have already died this year. This is almost certainly due in large part to the malevolent influence of anti-vaccination kookery. Vaccination saves lives, people!

• I’ve previously expressed skepticism over the effectiveness of circumcision at preventing STI transmission, but this article claims to present evidence that it does. If this holds up, I may have to rethink my opposition, although there can never be any justification for doing it without anesthesia or outside a clinical setting.

• And another topic I’ve touched on before: the U.K.’s burdensome, plaintiff-friendly libel laws. The journalist Rachel Ehrenfeld writes that a proposed fix still has significant flaws.

Daylight Atheism: The Book is now available! Click here for reviews and ordering information.


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