Saturday, May 31, 2008

Toilet trouble, Vatican bans female priests again, Gaza Fulbrighters

The news services and blurbs report that the single toilet in the International Space Station broke down and the astronauts and cosmonauts have to use the one in the emergency Soyuz capsule. Pioneers and explorers have had that problem before.

Now that really wasn't a problem when Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue or when Magellan sailed around the world. They can just do what nature requires at the rear of the ship!

We have building codes on Planet Earth that legally requires architects and engineers to calculate the number of toilets in a building depending on the number of occupants. Now why didn't NASA and the Russian Space Agency ever thought of adding a spare toilet?

The closest analogue to the astronauts problem on Earth is when you go camping and you can't do your thing in the bush. (There are some camp grounds that prohibit doing it in the bush!) You find that the humus toilet is kaputt! So you have to do it in your car!

The Vatican has just reiterated its ban on ordaining women as priests by informing would be transgressors that the ordaining bishop and female ordinand would incur excommunication latae sententiae. In English that means automatic excommunication. Perhaps the most popularly known sin in the Catholic Church that would incur that penalty is "a person who procures a completed abortion." Another latae sententiae excommunicable sin is when a priest is chismoso and breaks the seal of the confessional.

Nonetheless the decree has been greeted with a big yawn (except from schismatic groups such as Roman Catholic Womenpriests). The popes have repeatedly said in the last 30 years or so that the Church has no authority to ordain women anyway. So according to the Church if you want to be a female priest then join a church that can ordain you.

Nonetheless despite John Paul II's embargo on discussions on women ordination, everyone will talk about it. Bans have always the opposite effect!

According to CNN, the US government has cancelled Fulbright scholarship grants for 8 Gaza residents. The cancellation was in response to Israeli restrictions on travel to and from the Hamas controlled area.

Critics have lambasted the US government saying that Fulbright is the most prestigious publicly funded scholarship grant in the US and this development gives a black eye on the program. The program aims to "Foster leadership, learning and empathy between cultures" as envisioned by its founder US Senator J William Fulbright.

Israeli government officials have however promised to extend assistance to the 8 Gaza scholars for them to leave their area.

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