Society & Culture

Pope Francis calls for Abortion Forgiveness during the Jubilee of Mercy

Beginning 8 December 2015 and set to run to 20 November 2016, to mark the Year of Mercy, will be a Jubilee Year as declared by Pope Francis. Within this period the Pope will formally allow priests to forgive abortions. Typically a Jubilee, or Holy Year, occurs every 50 years. It’s observed by both Jews and Christians. With respect to Roman Catholicism, there are two type of Jubilees. An ordinary Jubilee, observed after a set number of years (typically every 25 or 50 years), with the first proclaimed by Pope Boniface VII in the year 1300. There are also extraordinary Jubilees which can be proclaimed by the Pope to mark an extraordinary event. This tradition began in the 16th century, and such extraordinary Jubilees can last from several days to a year in length. It is the latter case, in that it will be the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy as ...

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MegaBots Crowdfunding for a Fistful of Dollars

It began with the American creators of a giant fighting robot, called MegaBot Mk.II, challenging the Japanese creator of another giant robot, called KURATAS, to a duel. Naturally if there are two giant robots, what else are they going to do but fight? Steeped in the cultural history of giant robots, as a matter of honour Japan promptly accepted the robot duel. Meaning the fight is on like Tron. So much hype, but it now needs to deliver. However, there’s a twist to the saga unfolding. MegaBots are calling upon the American people for help with this fight. Beyond patriotism alone, it’s the guerrilla warfare of donations that is crowdfunding. With MegaBots asking for an initial US$500,000, and up to US$1.5 million, via a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter for fighting upgrades for their robot. Mainly because the Japanese Suidobashi Heavy Industries’ CEO Kogoro Kurata agreed to the robot duel not ...

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Orcs Crowdfunding to Destroy Minas Tirith

Perhaps because it’s easier to destroy than create, there’s an attempt to destroy Minas Tirith before it can even be realised. Unrealisable. Inconceivable, as well. Whether made from the slimes of the earth or being from corrupted Elves, a group of purported Orcs are making their own crowdfunding attempt to: Destroy Minas Tirith. The Orcs want to raise via crowdfunding, £1 million to destroy Minas Tirith, the capital city of Gondor. Compared to the £1.85 billion Tolkien fans want to crowdfund the building of the White City, it’s a strange fate that they should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. Such a little amount. Now it may be that the forces of Mordor seeking to destroy Minas Tirith are not Orcs alone. Or even the Uruk-hai. They may have a cave troll. Or worse, an internet troll. They could also be Olog-hai, and able to ...

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Tolkien Fans Crowdfunding to Build Minas Tirith

A team of Tolkien fans are taking it upon themselves, with the help of some crowdfunding, to build the fictional city of Minas Tirith from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Called Realise Minas Tirith, the crowdfunding campaign is seeking a trivial (compared to the wealth of Smaug) £1.85 billion to create “a beautiful, inspirational and fully-functioning replica of Peter Jackson’s depiction of Minas Tirith,” as was seen in the director’s LOTR films. Two locations for building the real-life Minas Tirith, both in southern England, are currently being considered. If made, the recreated capital city of Gondor, Minas Tirith, would feature both residential and commercial properties, to span across the five tiers of the city. Those contributing to the crowdfunding campaign could buy such properties; and if the funding goal is not reached all pledges will be cancelled, with pennies and gold coins to be returned in full. Sounding the ...

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LEGOnd of Zelda: Hyrule Castle built from LEGO

Nintendo fan. Zelda fan. LEGO fan. Combining the three, which some might suggest creates some form of Golden Power, could also lead to 19-year-old Joseph Zawada. Who built the Hyrule Castle from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess entirely out of LEGO. Brick. By brick. By brick. Some two and a half years in the making, no doubt it required the combination of power, wisdom and courage to build the Hyrule Castle from LEGO. Displaying his Hyrule Castle at the recent BrickFair in Virginia, USA, Joseph Zawada talks about his creation in the Beyond the Brick interview below (Midna provided no useful instructions): Hopefully Ganondorf doesn’t revive and destroy Joseph’s LEGO Hyrule Castle in the process. And since it was based on the Twilight Princess version – Zawada’s favourite game in the Zelda franchise – playing an ocarina probably won’t reassemble the LEGO bricks like the chopped up signs in ...

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US Lawyer Demands Trial By Combat, Game of Thrones-Style

Richard A. Luthmann, a Staten Island attorney accused of aiding a client to commit a fraudulent transfer, wants to settle it legally with trial by combat. Luthmann has requested that the New York State Supreme Court let him settle the case with a fight to the death, with his court filing stating: “Defendant invokes the common law writ of right and demands his common law right to Trial By Combat as against plaintiffs and their counsel, whom plaintiff wishes to implead into the Trial By Combat by writ of right.” Apart from Luthmann being a more than minor fan of the Game of Thrones television series, where trials by combat aren’t uncommon, the US lawyer also claims that trial by combat has never officially been outlawed in America. Reported by The Wrap, Luthmann wrote: “Since [1776], no American court in post-independence United States to the undersigned’s knowledge has addressed the ...

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Vegemite and the Spread of Homemade Alcohol in Dry Communities?

Vegemite, it’s the great Australian spread. With a taste which ranges from being described as enjoyable, to being compared to dirty and worn pureed work boots. Depending on who is asked. And as it turns out, the dark and salty, and ultimately yeasty spread that is Vegemite, is also reportedly being used to make alcohol in parts of Australia. Which is of particular concern to the 19 dry communities in Queensland and in various other areas in Australia, where the sale of alcohol is prohibited or restricted. Statistics related to alcohol consumption in Australia, including the impact of alcohol consumption related to health are readily available. Alcohol has been linked as a contributing factor in cases of domestic violence, child abuse and anti-social behaviour, including within Aboriginal communities. However, it is reported that proportionally fewer Aboriginals drink alcohol than do other Australians, and media reports of alcohol abuse in Indigenous ...

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Killer Seagulls Really Aren’t That Killer

Seagulls can be annoying. Rats can be annoying. Both may even be considered pests. But what happens when a seagull is photographed swallowing a rat whole? A pest war with each side doing their best to exterminate one another could be the answer. “Freddie Seagull ate my baby” pic.twitter.com/QEbMho7a1P — Martin Abrams (@Martin_Abrams) July 26, 2015 However, if it’s reported in the tabloids, like the Daily Star, then it’s humans and especially babies that need to be concerned about these all-devouring seagulls. Especially if the apparent expert cited is Simon Prentis of the Gull Awareness Group. As Prentis states: “If somebody were to leave a baby sleeping in a pram or push chair and it was unattended, the worst could happen. “I would not wish it on anybody but we’re headed in that direction.” The anti-seagull campaigner has put up an online petition to reinstate the £250,000 budget for research ...

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Japan Accepts Challenge to Fight Giant Robots: Kuratas and MegaBot Mark II to Duel

Following the USA challenging Japan to duel of giant fighting robots, the good news is: Challenge accepted, from the Japanese Suidobashi Heavy Industry. It looks like MegaBots Mark II versus Kuratas is actually going to happen. Talk about a prompt reply. Dozo. Much respect. Science fiction is fast becoming science faction. With the two robots set to duel, the Japanese have their own, cooler, twist on the upcoming robot battle though, and rightly so. Kogoro Kurata, the creator of Kuratas, notes that “building something huge and sticking guns on it” is all rather “Super American”. Further saying: “But you know, we really need… MELEE COMBAT. “If we’re gonna win this, I want to punch them to scrap and knock them down to do it.” Which as anyone versed in giant robot battles knows, guns and projectile weapons are all well and good from a distance, but the battle doesn’t truly ...

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Robot Wars: USA Challenges Japan to a Duel of Giant Fighting Robots

Separating technology and pop culture is often no mean feat these days, especially when it involves robots. Times that by two if it involves giant robots fighting to the death. Or the dysfunction, more correctly. In this particular case, the American MegaBots has challenged the Japanese Suidobashi Heavy Industry, to a robotic duel of epic proportions. This is not some backyard or hobbyist robot war with tiny machines, maybe packing a circular saw. Instead, this is potentially a battle of giant, humanoid mechs fighting it out. Science fiction, the future is here-style. If the challenge is accepted, which surely it will be, because it would be dishonourable for the Japanese to do otherwise, then two robots each standing around 5 metres (15 foot) tall are set to duke it out in June 2016. Again, that’s provided Suidobashi Heavy Industries accepts the thrown down gauntlet. Taunt. As MegaBots’ challenge video states: ...

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