Friday, July 07, 2006

The Transhumanist Beat/Koop "Baby"

The Transhumanist Beat/Sun Ra "Pyramids"

Monday, July 03, 2006

Castro's niece fights for new revolution

From Reuteurs: "Mariela Castro is leading a Cuban revolution less well known than her Uncle Fidel's: one in favor of sexual tolerance within the island's macho society.

Castro, 43, is leading the charge from her government-funded National Center for Sex Education, based in an old Havana mansion. As director of the group, she promoted a soap opera that scandalized many Cubans in March by sympathetically depicting bisexuality. The controversial show depicted, among other story lines, the life of a construction worker who leaves his wife and children for the man next door.

Now President Castro's niece is pushing for passage of a law that would give transsexuals free sex change operations and hormonal therapy in addition to granting them new identification documents with their changed gender. A bill was presented to parliament last year and was well received, she said. It is expected to come up for a vote in December. If approved, it would make Cuba the most liberal nation in Latin America on gender issues.

Castro says her goal is to bring the revolution her uncle and father, Defense Minister Raul Castro, fought 47 years ago to the terrain of sexuality. Her group has also campaigned for better AIDS prevention as well as acceptance of homosexuality, bisexuality and transvestism. "I want to bring the revolution's humanity to those aspects of life that it hasn't reached because of old prejudices," she told Reuters. Much has changed, she says, since the 1960s when homosexuals were sent to work camps, or the 1970s when gay men and women were denied certain jobs as ''ideological deviants." "None of that exists any more," she said. "But that is not to say the same for homophobic attitudes." Cuba eliminated the crime of sodomy in 1979. Cuba is also a country where abortion is a constitutional right and divorce a simple procedure.

Castro sees herself as continuing the work of her mother, Vilma Espin, head of the Cuban Womens Federation for the past 45 years. Eighty-seven percent of the island's women are members. Espin, considered one of the most influential personalities of the Cuban revolution, is the originator of the Cuban family code adopted in 1975, which calls on men to share household chores and child care.

Castro said many people ask her if she plans to push legalization of gay marriages. "We do not know what we will propose. It depends on what we identify as homosexuals' and lesbians' main needs," Castro said. "Marriage is not as important in Cuba as in other more Catholic countries. Here consensual pairing is more important," she said, "What matters is love.""

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Welcome Back Dave Said In My Best HAL Voice

David Appell, who for my money is just as good a debunker of global warming critics as Chris Mooney and has actually worked as a research scientist, is back at his blog Quark Soup, which now has a spot on the vast Blogger/Google servers. He was supposed to do a story on what I so humorously referred to as the "Turkey Guts" people (this was a guy who claimed he could turn any trash (sewage, glass, political enemies of the state) into oil. Dave never finished that story but Discover did three stories (here and here and the final story here) and declared that the tech works, but the early models did smell bad and there were some other problems.

Oddly enough, the guy who runs that is called Brian Appel, no relation and no extra L apparently. (Not related to this I think. Tip o the hat to my evil theocratic archfoe The Bishop Ales Rarus for that find.)