France says no to "cultural" gender suppression.

France's upper house is set to debate banning the "Islamic" Burka (full face and body veil) in public places. I put "Islamic" in inverted commas because, while I know the Q'ran directs women to be "modest", I don't believe it requires them to go fully covered from crown to toe.Full story on the BBC News siteOne thought that did occur: Isn't wearing a Burka in a Western country the exact opposite of "modest"? They're so outlandish to Western sensibilities that they cause some people to stop … [Read more...]

Another step towards the answer to life, the universe and everything?

Please welcome our friend custador, a long time outspoken commentator here at UF.This is an early result from six months of work from the European Space Agency's (ESA's) Planck telescope - a map of the oldest light visible from Earth orbit.I'm going to put my hand up and admit right now that I have no idea how to interpret that image - but I still find it incredibly exciting to think that it represents light that was emitted just 380,000 years after the big-bang.Full story on the BBC … [Read more...]