Scene-stealing squirrel

This squirrel, photographed in Banff (Canada), is the latest internet phenomenon:

crasher squirrel_1

The photo is from the Globe and Mail. Jackson and Melissa Brandts were taking a photo of themselves in a scenic location, when the squirrel developed an unwonted interest in their camera. The Brandts were able to take a series of photos of the interloping squirrel because the camera is equipped with a remote-controlled shutter.

Melissa submitted the photo to a National Geographic competition. From there, the photo was picked up by BuzzFeed, which started a photoshop contest for its readers.

Here are three of my favourite entries from BuzzFeed:

photoshopped squirrel

(click to enlarge — or proceed to BuzzFeed and scroll through dozens of entries)

So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish

Don't Panic

Post by nebcanuck, Stephen’s son.

After joining in on the blogging world here at i, Pundit last summer, it would seem that it is time for me to move on. So when you don’t see any more posts around here from me, don’t panic… it was a thought-out decision.

It’s come about as a result of a couple of factors. The first — chronologically — was that Dad decided not to focus on his book. The initial reason for my joining the blog was to ease the burden on Dad, so that he could spend some time writing larger material. The plan shifted over time, partly because I wasn’t really that great at keeping up with his phenomenal writing pace, and partly because Dad let go of the idea of the book he had in mind.

The second factor is one of shifting tastes. For some time now, I’ve been moving away from blogging as a medium of expression. My hockey blog has been stagnant for some time, and my posts here have largely been short ones. Perhaps it’s because I’m fairly limited on time, and perhaps it’s because of the heavily-saturated blogosphere, but I never felt that I had found a true niche. As I came to accept that, the motivation to blog decreased. Truth is, when it comes to the blogging world, I’m just as happy to be a reader and commenter, instead of a person who is followed. Thus, in a move to minimize my faux commitment to blogging, I’ve removed my hockey blog and will be ceasing my role here.

There was one other factor worth mentioning, though I don’t wish to dwell on it overmuch at this point. When my dad posted two commentaries on Robert Wright’s views on religion, this decision of moving away from i, Pundit became much more important to me. The simple fact is, I belong to that class of people that is referred to as the “religious right” nowadays. I believe that Truth, by nature, is (at least somewhat) exclusive, and that Jesus Christ as a figure spoke directly to the point that he was the only means to reconciliation with God. Now, I am happy to distance myself from some figures within that movement, in that I don’t believe in creating a homogeneous Christian society, and neither do I believe that there is always a clear cut-and-paste answer to every one of life’s questions. There are substantial questions — including the most-prominent Problem of Evil — which I don’t claim to have an answer for. But those differences do not negate the fact that outside of Christianity, there is no other religion which speaks truly to the nature of God, the damage of sin, and the only means by which God can accept men into his presence — Christ.

With that being said, I know that my religious opinions are far more conservative than most of the readership here. I respect and encourage a diversity of opinions in the world. Do I think it’s wrong to express that God is only a means to a happier society? No. Do I think the concept itself is wrong? Yes. And unlike political differences, which are of secondary importance, I consider God’s nature to be the most important thing a person can ever consider. So, I can’t in right conscience promote anything but, either directly or indirectly.

Rather than attempting to sway readers’ opinions in a series of posts — something which I don’t pretend I have the power to do — I would rather step back from the blog, and focus on other means of evidencing Christ in my life. I would hope that people who know me can attest to my desire to show how much of a difference God has made in my life. I can’t support the thought that God is simply a concept to a better world, because of that difference. Neither can I fight it on such an impersonal forum.

Thus, thanks for the time that you’ve had me around. But it’s time to say “Good bye.”

Little eyes in the sky

What kids say:

Hey, mommy! The trees look like broccoli!

— when our plane has just taken off.

Now we’re back on earth!

— when our plane has just landed.

And of course, she had to share the extraordinary view with her pal.

stuffed toy looking out plane window

Health industry corrupts scientific journals

Here’s a précis from Slate magazine, referring to an article in the New York Times:

The NYT fronts new court documents that shine a light on the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on medical literature. Wyeth, a pharmaceutical company that sold nearly $2 billion of its hormone drugs in 2001, paid ghostwriters to produce 26 scientific papers that advocated the use of hormone replacement therapy in women. The articles were published in medical journals between 1998 and 2005 and all made a point of emphasizing benefits of taking hormones.

The articles, which were signed by top physicians who often did little or no actual writing, failed to reveal Wyeth’s involvement in the process. Of course, the question now is how common is this practice. “It’s almost like steroids and baseball,” said a doctor who has conducted research on ghostwriting. “You don’t know who was using and who wasn’t; you don’t know which articles are tainted and which aren’t.”

This is a very serious infraction of an unwritten code of ethics. Science is an evidence-based discipline, which is not supposed to cook the results to suit a client with deep pockets. We know that the pharmaceutical industry (like the tobacco industry) is capable of manipulating research. But when scientific journals become the mouthpieces for such research — as the doctor says, people can no longer trust what the journals are saying.

Capitalism corrupts. Absolute capitalism presumably corrupts absolutely.

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