Man Successfully Flies With Custom-Built Bird Wings

Nederlands: Scheveningen Circusplein. Kunstwer...
Nederlands: Scheveningen Circusplein. Kunstwerk "Icarus" (1999) van Jan Steen, detail. The Hague/The Netherlands. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Using videogame controllers, an Android phone and custom-built wings, a Dutch engineer named Jarno Smeets has achieved birdlike flight. Smeets flew like an albatross, the bird that inspired his winged-man invention, on March 18 at a park in The Hague. “I have always dreamed about this. But after 8 months of hard work, research and testing it all payed off,” Smeets said on his YouTube page.” (via

To rule out god, first get to know him

This is a symbol intended to encompass polyamo...‘ “Give me the child until he is seven, and I will show you the man.” This Jesuit maxim epitomises how many of us perceive religion: as something that must be imprinted on young minds.

The new science of religion begs to differ. Children are born primed to see god at work all around them and don’t need to be indoctrinated to believe in him (see “The God issue: We are all born believers”).

This is just one of many recent findings that are challenging standard critiques of religious belief. As we learn more about religion’s biological roots, it is becoming clear that secularists are often tilting at windmills and need to rethink.

Another such finding is that belief in a god or gods does appear to encourage people to be nice to one another. Humans clearly don’t need religion to be moral, but it helps (see “The God issue: Religion is the key to civilisation”).

An interesting corollary of this is a deeply held mistrust of atheists (see “In atheists we distrust”). In fact, atheists might consider themselves as unrecognised victims of discrimination. In a recent opinion poll, Americans identified atheists as the group they would most disapprove of their children marrying and the one least likely to share their own vision of American society. Self-declared atheists are now the only sizeable minority group considered unelectable as president.

Such antipathy poses a dilemma for opponents of religion, and may explain why “militant atheism” has failed to make headway.’ (via New Scientist).


The new issue of New Scientist, of which the piece linked above is the foreword, is “the God issue,” and is worth your time if you ever think about religion and its impact, or grip, on us, whether you believe or not.

What to call the particle formerly known as Higgs?

One possible way the Higgs boson might be prod...“Earlier this month, organisers of a physics meeting requested that the Higgs boson – the still-hypothetical particle thought to endow other particles with mass – instead be referred to as either the BEH or scalar boson. The name change might seem esoteric, but it hints at a complex past – and trouble ahead over credit for the boson, if it is found.To understand, rewind about 50 years.” (via New Scientist).