Friday, March 20, 2009

The pope: condoms don't help against HIV

It is perhaps old news that the Catholic Church is not a fan of condoms; however, they are rarely as blunt about it as the other day. Pope Benedictines, a man who seems to be dreaming of past times (medieval times), has now publicly announced that condoms is not the way to go if you want to stop HIV. Indeed, the pope is even claiming that condoms make the problem worse because people have more sex.

What evidence does he have for this claim? None, of course, the Catholic Church does not seem to know what evidence means. Their method for finding the truth is asking the pope and whatever he says is the truth, never mind that there are numerous studies showing that the pope is simply wrong in his statement.

Rarely does the distinction between the scientific method and the catholic (or religious) way become so clear. Do you want to trust what the pope says just because he is the pope, or do you want to trust people who have actually gone out and looked at the effects of condom use? Know that choosing the latter will make you a heretic in the eyes of the Catholic Church. Religion or Science? Irrationality or Rationality? Your choice...

Monday, March 16, 2009

States in bad shape = religiosity

A recent Gallup poll has shown an impressive positive correlation between how religious the inhabitants are and how bad they are of. In other words, this means that if you have a nation that is in a poor state, then your people are likely to turn to religion for guidance, or meaning or whatever you would like to call it. There is of course another possibility namely that first a people become religious, and then the state starts to tear apart. I personally don't believe in the latter possibility, rather, as I have argued here, I think that religion is where people who have lost meaning try to find their answers.

This gallup poll should also be seen as an important piece of information in the debate on whether religion makes people happier. There are indeed a few studies that have looked at this, and they tend to show that people who have religion, everything else being equal, are happier than people who are not religous. 

This gallup poll shows, however, that on a global scale, religious people are not happier than non-religious people (assuming that the average citizen in Bangladesh or Congo kinshasa are not as happy as the average American or Swede). 

Good, free, applications for Nokia N95, symbian & java

Here is another post which may not exactly fit the profile of my blog however I know that many people are looking for good programs to their mobile and I have tried many different programs.

Below I have listed my favorites (some I have mentioned previously).

From Beta labs (free programs from Nokia)
1. Sports Tracker (application can be found at beta labs). This program I have written about before here. Basically it lets you record all of your training activity and it works very nicely with the GPS - allowing you to see exactly where you are. The most neat features you will detect when you run the same track more than once. When you do this you can compete with yourself, see how far ahead (or behind) you are compared to last time (or another time if you prefer). For me this is a great motivator...

2. Audiobook player. I have briefly mentioned this application before as well. It allows you to reduce the size of an audiobook to about one fifth, and the audiobook player that you install on the phone can keep track of where you are in many different books simultaneously. I use this application to listen to all my teaching company courses in the car or in the kitchen. Well done beta labs!

3. Wellness Diary. Yet another application from beta labs. This little program will keep track of and plot graphs on any health related variable including but not limited to, hours of sleep, steps per day, calori intake, waist circumference, weight, hours of exercise, stress etc etc. This app also works great with both sports tracker (see above) and step counter (see below). When you start wellness diary it will automatically import data from step counter and sports tracker.

4. Step counter. This is a very simple app which consumes very little energy. It simply counts every step you take and keep track of the records. This will alow you to see when you are getting lazy which, I have to admit, I have been the last couple of weeks.

1. Gmaps mobile (can be found a This application is absolutely amazing. It works like google maps and you can easily search for a company on the selected region and then get the number and adress. It also provides a navigation function (without speech), however, you have to pay for traffic fees. The program also is fast and convenient in every way imaginable.

2. Gmail mobile (also at Good applicaiton which will make it easy to check your email if you are using gmail.

From other sites (see for instance getjar or freeware symbian)
1. Fring. This program is a bit slow and seem to have a few bugs however, it has allowed me to do skype calls directly from my mobile phone (an internet connection is required). This makes it affordable to call to my family in Denmark. Also integrated is msn messenger but I cannot write very fast on my mobile phone.

2. Energy profiler. This program lets you see, in real time, how much energy the phone is consuming. It also shows the total capacity of the battery and an estimation of how long the battery will last if the average energy consumption remain the same.

Stop watch. Good to have since it is not on the phone when it comes from the store.

Smarshopper. This is another very simple but very useful piece of software for people like me who like to use their memory resources on philosophical speculation rather than remembering to buy toilet paper. When you have entered something you want to buy it will remember that item. You can then make a mark next to all the items that you want to buy which then results in a list. Click on the items in the list and they will dissapear again.

Skyfire. This is my favorite mobile internet explorer. It is superior in that the experience is much more similar to surfing the net on a PC, and you are able to watch pretty much any video on the net.

Getjar apps. Good application for finding other applications.