I Could Not Make This Up, Even if I Tried (part one)
…. humans and the need for education
A recent survey of the American public revealed some interesting (if not sad… but not unexpected… findings)
According to the Borowitz Report, in a new poll released Wednesday, (July 2nd, 2014), people rank President Barack Obama as the worst President since the Second World War, and also blame him for starting the Second World War.
While the respondents slammed the President for his handling of the economy, Iraq, and a host of other issues, his perceived role as the primary cause of the Second World War was the biggest drag on his numbers.
Even more troubling, when compared to the three leaders of the Axis powers during that war, President Obama polled at the bottom of the list, finishing far behind Emperor Hirohito of Japan.
“Fair or not, the American people hold the President responsible for starting the Second World War,” Davis Logsdon, a political-science professor at the University of Minnesota, said. “If the President hasn’t gotten his version of the story out, there’s only one person to blame for that: Barack Obama.”
In other poll results, the most popular President in the survey was Ronald Reagan, widely credited with ending the Second World War.
…. the mind boggles.
The Confederation Bridge spans the Abegweit Passage of the Northumberland Strait to link Prince Edward Island with New Brunswick. (Photograph by Louis Helbig)Circular and semi-circular melt patterns where aerators in an ice-covered water treatment…
In honour of Canada’s birthday
What is in a law? ( part one)
There is a gap between law and power. Ignorance is no excuse…. One is guilty in the eyes of the laws even if one does not know the laws. Power cannot assert itself as ( naked violence), it must be sustained ( by the elite and the masses) with this mystical aura of the law. In doing so, when it violates it’s own regulations ( as so often it…or we….do), this violation can be grounded in the mystical abyss of the unknowable/invisible law.
The laws of.. What if’s. Human kinds perfect (self) déception.
Creativity is Unusual Stuff:
It is subversive…
It mistrusts what it sees, what it hears.
It dares (and cares) to doubt…
It acts (even if it errs)…
It infiltrates perponcieved notions…
It rattes established certitudes….
It incessantly invents new ways, new vocabularies…
It provokes and changes points of view.
The Real Black and White of this Blue and Red thing….
How About We Agree on The Gray/Grey?
It seems we have a bit of an epidemic on our hands… it is not something that is necessarily that new in its deceiving ways, but it seems at the this moment in time, it is (in some parts of our globe more than in others) more overtly being displayed.
The epidemic I speak of is the twisting of facts to fit whatever it is one is speaking about.
Take for example recent events in the United States. Not to pick on that country in particular (for it does occur the world over in many different instances and in many different ways be if for religious, political, personal philosophical reasons.. what have you), but it seems that when a person running for the office of steering the self professed “leader of the free world”, then one may want to lead by example, and understand the real facts…. Or suffer the consequences of a population that (in my humble opinion) has become disillusioned with the whole process and mirrors the leaders in their own person interactions and way of looking at others around them. In short, take out a mirror and take a long hard look at what you see.
….but I digress
Recently, it was discovered that a certain person had given a speech in which he bemoaned the 47% of the population of his country that was lost to him (in terms of votes), as they were dependant on the state for their welfare and so would never vote for one whom wanted to sever the teet that they suckle so earnestly
But a strange thing always occurs when one speaks about things in such generalities… A little thing called “facts” gets in the way, and like them or not, spin them as you will, if one is not so easily swayed by the emotional thought (and understands the personal place it is coming from), then one (hopefully), would look beyond the rhetoric to see the truth, and the truth of the matter is this:
Anyone whom follows world politics knows of this idea of what has been called “red and blue states” in the USA, and in recent times the divide has become more pronounced and deeper than since the inception of that country.
So why not take a look at these red states a bit closer and examine those whom are voting for the person whom speaks about such a large number of people whom are not “taking personal responsibility” and see themselves as “victims”, and would never vote for him. Who are the many who vote for the man who speaks about the loss of so many?
*Statistically, in these so-called red states obesity is higher because there is less physical exercise being done. More junk food is eaten, which leads directly to more strain on the health care system (another so call… crutch… in the eyes of many in that country).
*Pregnancy rates among young women aged 15-17 is statistically higher in states that are see as “red”, meaning it seems that those in blue states tend to have more protected sex than those in red… a strange dichotomy for this idea of personal responsibility.
*Smoking rates are higher in red states, as are cases of death from drunk driving.
*In fact “the average score of the five reddest states (Wyoming, Oklahoma, Utah, Idaho and Alaska), is worse on each of the six measure of irresponsibility than the average score of the five bluest (New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and Hawaii): more obesity, smoking, Chlamydia, teenage pregnancy, drunk driving and firearms assaults. In the latter three measures, the “reckless” share of the population is almost twice as high among the reddest states vs. the bluest.
*Despite this battle cry of getting government off our backs… the red states in the United States receive the most federal transfers (Alaska, Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virgina and N/SDakota topping the list), while blue states like New York, New Jersey, California and the New England states are net contributors to the federal government and actually subsidize everyone else.
So what does any of this mean? Well, it seems to mean that people are easily dissuaded by a message of little substance and that instead of looking in the mirror and taking personal responsibility, they seem to buy into this hypocritical stance (or are still caught up in this outdated and more and more unreachable idea of the American Dream)… and why wouldn’t they… the person running for the party they vote for cannot even see whom his own party base is.
Politics, it has been said, breeds strange bed fellows, and in the case of the United States and the bedfellows of the rich and the poor, (whom seem to think that the person whom actual cares for their welfare is the bad guy) has always been something that makes me scratch my head in bemused misunderstanding and amazement.
…. But it does make for damn good TV.
(statistics taken from the article “Mitt Romney Rejects His Natural Voters by Jeffrey Frankel.)
Humans Vs. The Environment: The Easter Island Effect:
Long long ago on a small little island in the far away southern Pacific Ocean there was a culture that lived on a place called Easter Island. The natives of Easter Island chopped down all their trees to build ever-larger monuments to themselves and their granduer. But what they failed to see beyond their own sea of self arrogance, was in doing so they destroyed their entire ecosystem and so soon perished, never to be heard from again.
The entire human civilization is now pulling an Easter Island on a global scale.
There seems to be a battle brewing, one of what is really to blame for all of the woes of our planet (excluding the fact that there are those whom see nothing wrong in the first place).
The former states basically that due to the pure numbers of our species, damage is laid upon our planet as we need more of everything to survive. Proponents of this idea of thought believe human activity is responsible for much of the damage, and that a reduction in population would automatically result in both less ongoing damage and a greater opportunity for the Earth’s systems to heal themselves. In short, drop the religious thoughts and male oriented thinking of being dominant and stop having so many babies.
The latter say the problem lay not in the amount of people on the planet but in our consumption habits. They point to the relative consumption patterns of industrialized and developing nations (where for example an American consumes 30 times as much of the world’s resources as a person from Bangladesh), and so their thoughts on this matter lay in the idea that restraint in consumption trumps restraint in population growth. In short stop buying shit you don’t really need.
No matter what side of the fence you may rest on, overpopulation, over consumption or perhaps a combination of the two, one thing is for sure taking place, and deny it as much as one wants, all evidence points to this fact: We are (as a species) in overshoot.
A species is said to be in overshoot if the resource requirements of its population exceed the carrying capacity of its environment — in other words, its needs exceed the ability of its environment to supply those needs sustainably over the long term. Humanity is already in overshoot, (estimates range by at least 25% and perhaps by as much as 100% or more).
A reduction in population would help to redress the balance. It would reduce the pressure on the planetary ecosystems we depend on and give them a chance to recover. Unfortunately, as we can all see at the present time, there is no sign that our population will stabilize within the next 40 years, let alone start to decline. As a result, the ecological changes we are inflicting on the planet we need for our survival logically will most likely increase as the years go by. For a species that is already in overshoot, this is a very ominous prediction. As we run into resource limits such as Peak Oil, the underlying damage we have done will assume ever greater importance as our degradation of the world’s carrying capacity is progressively revealed and the damages and changes we see now will only be multiplied as time marches on.
So what is our species to do?
It seems the first logical step is to understand that there is a problem in the first place. The time for people to ignore what is happening has passed us by. No religious belief, no ideas of the domination of our species, no thoughts of our inherent right to succeed in our free market consumption free for all can mask the fact that the planet (in many ways) is dying… and as the planet goes, so does our species.
The population of the world will eventually begin to recede, but we don’t have the luxury of waiting for that time to happen. Consumption patterns of us all needs to be address and readdressed on an individual basis. Waiting for governments to lead will never work.
The earth’s resources are limited.
All persons whom ever existed have and do consume some part of these limited resources.
Humans are altering the environment
Humans like to have babies
Governments have never made laws and changes. The general population has. Nothing comes from a government that does not start from the people (be it one, one hundred or one hundred million)
Try not to forget that the next time you think… I am only one person, what can I do?
Have a few minutes of time to waste between reading tweets, timelines and pins? Why not waste your time on worperhect.
A half joking/half serious, but very interesting idea for writing in an alternative fashion, word perhect takes the idea of post it notes to an online vain. Limited in what you can write on, it is good fun for a few minutes in your onlife life.
Like a Child being taught a lesson, know when to say enough is enough…
The G-20’s decision in November of 2008 not to let any systemically relevant bank perish may have seemed wise at the time, given the threat of a global financial meltdown. But that decision and bad policies by central banks and governments since then, has given over-indebted major banks the power to blackmail their rescuers – a power that they have used to create a financial system in which they are effectively exempt from liability.
Big banks’ ability to extort such an arrangement stems from an implicit threat: the financial sector – and with it the economy’s payment system – would collapse if a systemically important bank were ever pushed into insolvency.
But it is time to call the bankers’ bluff: maintaining the payment system can and should be separated from the problem of bank insolvency.
Above all, the G-20’s decision to prop up systemically relevant banks must be revisited, and governments must respond to the banks’ threats by declaring their willingness to let insolvent banks be judged accordingly.
A market economy (as so many countries tout their systems to now be) must rest on the economic principle of profit and loss. This is not about whether this type of system is right for our species… or in fact even really works… this is about facing up to the realities of what we have today and understanding what we need to do.
An economy with neither bankruptcies nor a rule of law that applies equally to all is no market economy. The law that is valid for all other companies should apply to banks as well.
Half empty? Half Full? Pessimist? Optimist? Let’s ask a person of Physics
Traditionally, the optimist sees the glass as half full while the pessimist sees it as half empty. But what if the empty half of the glass were actually empty—a vacuum? (Even a vacuum arguably isn’t truly empty, but that’s a question for quantum semantics.)
The vacuum would definitely not last long. But exactly what happens depends on a key question that nobody usually bothers to ask: Which half is empty?
For our scenario, we’ll imagine three different half-empty glasses, and follow what happens to them microsecond by microsecond (well not really but in a sense)
In the middle is the traditional air/water glass. On the right is a glass like the traditional one, except the air is replaced by a vacuum. The glass on the left is half full of water and half empty—but it’s the bottom half that’s empty.
We’ll imagine the vacuums appear at time t=0.
For the first handful of microseconds, nothing happens. On this timescale, even the air molecules are nearly stationary. For the most part, air molecules jiggle around at speeds of a few hundred meters per second. But at any given time, some happen to be moving faster than others. The fastest few are moving at over 1000 meters per second. These are the first to drift into the vacuum in the glass on the right.
The vacuum on the left is surrounded by barriers, so air molecules can’t easily get in. The water, being a liquid, doesn’t expand to fill the vacuum in the same way air does. However, in the vacuum of the glasses, it does start to boil, slowly shedding water vapor into the empty space
While the water on the surface in both glasses starts to boil away, in the glass on the right, the air rushing in stops it before it really gets going. The glass on the left continues to fill with a very faint mist of water vapor.
After a few hundred microseconds, the air rushing into the glass on the right fills the vacuum completely and rams into the surface of the water, sending a pressure wave through the liquid. The sides of the glass bulge slightly, but they contain the pressure and do not break. A shockwave reverberates through the water and back into the air, joining the turbulence already there
The shockwave from the vacuum collapse takes about a millisecond to spread out through the other two glasses. The glass and water both flex slightly as the wave passes through them. In a few more milliseconds, it reaches the humans’ ears as a loud bang. Around this time, the glass on the left starts to visibly lift into the air.
The air pressure is trying to squeeze the glass and water together. This is the force we think of as suction. The vacuum on the right didn’t last long enough for the suction to lift the glass, but since air can’t get into the vacuum on the left, the glass and the water begin to slide toward each other. The boiling water has filled the vacuum with a very small amount of water vapor. As the space gets smaller, the buildup of water vapor slowly increases the pressure on the water’s surface. Eventually, this will slow the boiling, just like higher air pressure would. However, the glass and water are now moving too fast for the vapor buildup to matter. Less than ten milliseconds after the clock started, they’re flying toward each other at several meters per second. Without a cushion of air between them—only a few wisps of vapor—the water smacks into the bottom of the glass like a hammer.
Water is very nearly incompressible, so the impact isn’t spread out—it comes as a single sharp shock. The momentary force on the glass is immense, and it breaks.
When the bottle is struck, it’s pushed suddenly downward. The liquid inside doesn’t respond to the suction (air pressure) right away—much like in our scenario—and a gap briefly opens up. It’s a small vacuum—a few fractions of an inch thick—but when it closes, the shock breaks the bottom of the bottle.
In our situation, the forces would be more than enough to destroy even the heaviest drinking glasses. The bottom is carried downward by the water and thunks against the table. The water splashes around it, spraying droplets and glass shards in all directions. Meanwhile, the detached upper portion of the glass continues to rise
After half a second, the observers, hearing a pop, have begun to flinch. Their heads lift involuntarily to follow the rising movement of the glass. The glass has just enough speed to bang against the ceiling, breaking into fragments…
The glass has just enough speed to bang against the ceiling, breaking into fragments…
which, their momentum now spent, return to the table
And so my dear half empty/half full thinkers… the lesson of this little tale? : If the optimist says the glass is half full, and the pessimist says the glass is half empty, the physicist ducks
Lessons on how to not be selfish in Death:
A person should be buried only half a meter, or two feet, below the surface. Then a tree should be planted there.
One should be buried in a coffin that decays so that when you plant a tree on top the tree will take something out of their substance and change it into tree-substance.
When you visit the grave you don’t visit a dead person, you visit a living being who was just transformed into a tree.
You say, “This is my grandfather, my grandmother, my spouse, my daughter, my co-worker, my friend., the tree is growing well, fantastic.
You can develop a beautiful forest that will be more beautiful than a normal forest because the trees will have their roots in graves
You can give back to a planet you take so much from. You can continue the cycle of a planet we seem to have forgotten need a complete cycle to be healthy.
In essence, you can go on and live (again) in life.
And now for a few words… (Part one)
…on the idea of freedom
I know of but one freedom… and that is freedom of (ones) own mind.
People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use
Freedom is a package deal - with it comes responsibilities and consequences
Freedom is that instant between when someone tells you to do something and when you decide how to respond
The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion
Freedom is the will to be responsible to ourselves
Humanity is free at the moment it wishes to be
Humans fight for freedom, then they begin to accumulate laws to take it away from themselves
Liberty means responsibility. That is why most humans dread it
Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err
Freedom is an illusion. A state of mind that created by a species that has this thing we call reason. As such we automatically think we are better than others, not just the animals, but those around us. Not as good looking, as smart, as successful, as rich. Our freedom has cost us connection. We say we fight for freedom, yes, but we most often mean we fight for our idea of what that means. Is that wrong? Is that right? That is for you to decide.
The moment one thinks about their idea of free… another is repressed…. and the cycle continues.
What is in a Word? Part Thirty-five
We have all heard things in our lives that we just assume as true, or take on as part of our thinking because they are the commonly percieved notion of all things. But just because they are a commonly held notion, does that really make them true? From the mundane to the deeply held convictions that guide ones life. Misconceptions are everywhere.
Why not read a few of these commonly held notions of our species and ask yourself which ones do you see as … fact….
Searing meat does not “seal in” moisture, and in fact may actually cause meat to lose moisture. Generally, the value in searing meat is that it creates a brown crust with a rich flavor.
Adding cooking oil to pasta that is being boiled is widely believed to prevent the pasta from sticking. However, oil is an insoluble hydrophobic substance, such that it will float on the surface of the water. Therefore, the pasta (which sits on the bottom of the saucepan) has virtually no exposure to the oil during the cooking process. The oil may eventually come into contact with the pasta only after draining. The primary reason to add oil is to avoid foaming and/or boiling over
Sushi does not mean “raw fish”, and not all sushi includes raw fish. The name sushi means “sour rice”, and refers to the vinegared rice used in it
There is no evidence that coffee stunts a child’s growth.
Sugar does not cause hyperactivity in children. Double-blind trials have shown no difference in behavior between children given sugar-full or sugar-free diets, even in studies specifically looking at children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or those considered sensitive to sugar. It may be all the other chemicals that are put into many products that causes reactions, not the sugar.
Alcohol does not make one warmer. The reason that alcoholic drinks create the sensation of warmth is that they cause blood vessels to dilate and stimulate nerve endings near the surface of the skin with an influx of warm blood. This can actually result in making the core body temperature lower, as it allows for easier heat exchange with a cold external environment
A vegetarian or vegan diet can provide enough protein. In fact, typical protein intakes of ovo-lacto vegetarians and of vegans meet and exceed requirements. However, a strict vegan diet does require supplementation of Vitamin B-12 for optimal health.
Swallowed chewing gum does not take seven years to digest. In fact, chewing gum is mostly indigestible, and passes through the digestive system at the same rate as other matter.
Words and Phrases:
It is frequently rumored that the expression “rule of thumb” which is used to indicate a technique for generating a quick estimate, was originally coined from a law allowing a man to beat his wife with a stick, provided it was not thicker than the width of his thumb. In fact, the origin of this phrase remains uncertain, but the false etymology has been broadly reported in media including such places as the Washington Post, Time Magazine and CNN.
The word “fuck” did not originate in Christianized Anglo-Saxon England as an acronym for “Fornication Under Consent of King”; nor did it originate as an acronym for “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge”, either as a sign posted above adulterers in the stocks, or as a criminal charge against members of the British Armed Forces; nor did it originate during the 15th-century Battle of Agincourt as a corruption of “pluck yew” (an idiom falsely attributed to the English for drawing a longbow). Modern English was not spoken until the 16th century, and words such as “fornication” and “consent” did not exist in any form in English until the influence of Anglo-Norman in the late 12th century. The earliest recorded use of “fuck” in English comes from 1475, in the poem “Flen flyys”, where it is spelled fuccant (conjugated as if a Latin verb meaning “they fuck”). It is of Proto-Germanic origin, and is related to either Dutch fokken and German ficken or Norwegian fukka.
"Xmas" is not a secular plan to "take the Christ out of Christmas." "The usual suggestion is that ‘Xmas’ is … an attempt by the “ungodly” to x-out Jesus and banish religion from the holiday. In reality however, X stands for the Greek letter Chi, the starting letter of Χριστός, or "Christ" in Greek. The use of the word "Xmas" can be traced to the year 1021 when monks in Great Britain used the X while transcribing classical manuscripts into Old English" in place of "Christ".The Oxford English Dictionary’s first recorded use of ‘Xmas’ for ‘Christmas’ dates back to 1551.
Bulls are not enraged by the colour red, used in capes by professional matadors. Cattle are dichromats, so red does not stand out as a bright colour. It is not the colour of the cape, but the perceived threat by the matador that incites it to charge
Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not sweat by salivating. It is not true that dogs do not have sweat glands or have sweat glands only on their tongues. They do sweat, mainly through the footpads. However, dogs do primarily regulate their body temperature through panting
Ostriches do not hide their heads in the sand to hide from enemies. This misconception was probably propigated by Pliny the Elder (AD 23–79), who wrote that ostriches “imagine, when they have thrust their head and neck into a bush, that the whole of their body is concealed.”
It is commonly claimed that the Great Wall of China is the only human-made object visible from the Moon. This is false. None of the Apollo astronauts reported seeing any specific human-made object from the Moon, and even Earth-orbiting astronauts can barely see it. City lights, however, are easily visible on the night side of Earth from orbit. The misconception is believed to have been popularized by Richard Halliburton decades before the first moon landing. Shuttle astronaut Jay Apt has been quoted as saying that “the Great Wall is almost invisible from only 180 miles up.
Black holes, contrary to their common image, do not necessarily suck up all the matter in the vicinity. If, for example, the Sun was replaced by a black hole of equal mass, the orbits of the planets would be unaffected.
Seasons are not caused by the Earth being closer to the Sun in the summer than in the winter. In fact, the Earth is furthest from the Sun when it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Seasons caused by Earth’s 23.4-degree axial tilt. As the Earth orbits the Sun, different parts of the world receive different amounts of direct sunlight. When an area of the Earth’s surface is oriented perpendicular to the incoming sunlight, it receives more radiation than when it is oriented at an oblique angle. In July, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted towards the Sun resulting in longer days and more direct sunlight; in January, it is tilted away. The seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere, which is tilted towards the Sun in January and away from the Sun in July
The idea that lightning never strikes the same place twice is one of the oldest and most well-known superstitions about lightning. There is no reason that lightning would not be able to strike the same place twice; if there is a thunderstorm in a given area, then objects and places which are more prominent or conductive (and therefore minimize distance) are more likely to be struck. For instance, lightning strikes the Empire State Building in New York City about 100 times per year.
A penny dropped from the Empire State Building will not kill a person or crack the sidewalk. The terminal velocity of a falling penny is about 30–50 miles per hour, and the penny will not exceed that speed regardless of the height from which it is dropped. At that speed, its energy is not enough to penetrate a human skull or crack concrete, as demonstrated on an episode of MythBusters. As MythBusters noted, the Empire State Building is a particularly poor setting for this misconception, since its tapered shape would make it impossible to drop anything directly from the top to street level.
The Big Bang theory does not provide an explanation for the origin of the universe; rather, it explains its early evolution.
The word theory in the theory of evolution does not imply mainstream scientific doubt regarding its validity; the concepts of theory and hypothesis have specific meanings in a scientific context. While theory in colloquial usage may denote a hunch or conjecture, a scientific theory is a set of principles that explains observable phenomena in natural terms. “Scientific fact and theory are not categorically separable”, and evolution is a theory in the same sense as germ theory or the theory of gravitation.
Evolution does not attempt to explain the origin of life or the origin and development of the universe. While biological evolution describes the process by which species and other levels of biological organisation originate, and ultimately leads all life forms back to a universal common ancestor, it is not primarily concerned with the origin of life itself, and does not pertain at all to the origin and evolution of the universe and its components. The theory of evolution deals primarily with changes in successive generations over time after life has already originated. The scientific model concerned with the origin of the first organisms from organic or inorganic molecules is known as abiogenesis, and the prevailing theory for explaining the early development of our universe is the Big Bang model
Humans did not evolve from chimpanzees. The two modern chimpanzee species are, however, humans’ closest living relatives. The most recent common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees lived between 5 and 8 million years ago. Finds of the 4.4 million year old Ardipithecus indicate the ancestor looked like a small, long limbed chimpanzee with a rather short snout and was a moderately competent bipedal walker. Contrary to the idea of chimpanzees as “primitive”, they too have evolved since the split, becoming larger, more aggressive and more capable climbers. Together with the other apes, humans and chimpanzees constitute the family Hominidae. This group evolved from a common ancestor with the Old World monkeys some 40 million years ago
There is no evidence that Jesus was born on December 25. The Bible never claims a date of December 25, but may imply a date closer to September. The fixed date is attributed to Pope Julius the First because in the year 350 CE he declared the twenty-fifth of December the official date of celebration. The date may have initially been chosen to correspond with either the day exactly nine months after Christians believe Jesus to have been conceived, the date of the Roman winter solstice, or one of various ancient winter festivals.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say exactly three magi came to visit the baby Jesus, nor that they were kings, rode on camels, or that their names were Casper, Melchior and Balthazar. Matthew 2 has traditionally been combined with Isaiah 60:1–3.
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. 2For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. 3And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”
Three magi are supposed because three gifts are described, and artistic depictions of the nativity after about the year 900 almost always depict three magi. The wise men in the biblical narrative did not visit on the day Jesus was born, but they saw Jesus as a child, in a house as many as two years afterwards (Matthew 2:11).
The Immaculate Conception is not synonymous with the virgin birth of Jesus, nor is it a supposed belief in the virgin birth of Mary, his mother. Rather, the Immaculate Conception is the Roman Catholic belief that Mary was not subject to original sin from the first moment of her existence, when she was conceived. The concept of the virgin birth, on the other hand, is the belief that Mary miraculously conceived Jesus while remaining a virgin.
The forbidden fruit mentioned in the Book of Genesis is commonly assumed to be an apple, and is widely depicted as such in Western art. However, the Bible does not identify what type of fruit it is. The original Hebrew texts mention only tree and fruit. Early Latin translations use the word mali, which can be taken to mean both “evil” and “apple”. German and French artists commonly depict the fruit as an apple from the 12th century onwards, and John Milton’s Areopagitica from 1644 explicitly mentions the fruit as an apple. Jewish scholars suggested that the fruit could have been a grape, a fig, wheat, or etrog.
The Buddha is not a god. In early Buddhism, Siddhārtha Gautama possessed no salvific properties and strongly encouraged “self-reliance, self discipline and individual striving.” However, in later developments of Mahāyāna Buddhism, notably in the Pure Land (Jìngtǔ) school of Chinese Buddhism, the Amitābha Buddha was thought to be a savior. Through faith in the Amitābha Buddha, one could be reborn in the western Pure Land. Although in Pure Land Buddhism the Buddha is considered a savior, he is still not considered a god in the common understanding of the term.
A fatwā is a non-binding legal opinion issued by an Islamic scholar under Islamic law. The popular misconception that the word means a death sentence probably stems from the fatwā issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran in 1989 regarding the author Salman Rushdie, whom he stated had earned a death sentence for blasphemy. This event led to fatwās gaining widespread media attention in the West.
The word “jihad” does not always mean “holy war”; literally, the word in Arabic means “struggle”. While there is such a thing as “jihad bil saif”, or jihad “by the sword”, many modern Islamic scholars usually say that it implies an effort or struggle of a spiritual kind. Scholar Louay Safi asserts that “misconceptions and misunderstandings regarding the nature of war and peace in Islam are widespread in both the Muslim societies and the West”, as much following 9/11 as before.
The Quran does not promise martyrs 72 virgins in heaven. It does mention virgin companions, houri, to all people—martyr or not—in heaven, but no amount is specified. The source for the 72 virgins is a hadith in Sunan al-Tirmidhi by Imam al-Tirmidhi. Hadiths are sayings and acts of the prophet Mohammed as reported by others and as such not part of the Quran itself. Especially the hadiths that are weakly sourced, such as this one, must not necessarily be believed by a Muslim. Furthermore, the correct translation of this hadith is a matter of debate