Weekly Link Roundup

I noticed a few stories this week that I haven’t had time to write more about, but wanted to mention briefly:

• So-called “psychics” defraud their gullible customers out of thousands of dollars, usually through laughably obvious ploys in which they claim the client’s money needs to be “cleansed”. Can we please regulate these con artists already? Or should we even try – do the suckers deserve what they get?

• And proving that corruption and hypocrisy crosses denominational lines, a Greek Orthodox “holy man” is sentenced to 15 years in prison for raping two women by convincing them that having sex with him was the only way to rid themselves of curses.

• Couldn’t have put it better myself: Stephen Hawking says that the afterlife is “a fairy story for people afraid of the dark“.

• The tight link between religion, education and income in America. The non-religious are up there, although it’s Hindus, oddly enough, who take the crown.

• And although this is in no way related to atheism, it was too cool not to share: Google is lobbying Nevada to legalize self-driving robot cars, which the software giant has been quietly testing for some time.

I’ve always thought driving was a tedious chore, and I can’t wait for cars that can do it for me. Not only would it be extremely convenient, it’ll almost certainly be safer: a robot car never falls asleep at the wheel, never drives drunk, never lets its attention wander, and ought to be able to react to hazards much faster than a human. We are entering the future, and I for one can’t wait to see it!

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