Wednesday Miscellany

Today’s been a busy day, but I do owe you a few items of news chum:

  • Religion in the News. Sometimes it pays to be an atheist. Prominent atheists plan to present Jessica Ahlquist with a scholarship of at least $44,000 — and possibly more. It seems they were impressed with the way Ahlquist, 16, handled herself amid a roiling controversy that began in July 2010, when she complained about a prayer banner hanging in the auditorium at Cranston High School West that referred to “Our Heavenly Father.” On the other side, Arizona is introducing the Bible into its public schools. The Arizona House this week voted to allow high schools to offer a class called “The Bible and Its Influence on Western Culture,” which would focus on how the Old and New Testaments have influenced everything from law to literature. According to the Arizona Republic, five states already provide similar classes: Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Oklahoma.
  • TV is Going to the Dogs. A new cable channel is starting that caters exclusively to dogs. DOGTV uses colors that dogs see best (they see colors at the end of the spectrum better, including yellow, green, indigo and violet) and sounds that are soothing, such as classical music. The three phases of DOGTV’S programming are stimulation (to encourage playfulness), relaxation (to soothe) and exposure (to habituate dogs to daily stimuli that may cause stress such as crowds, a vacuum cleaner or a toddler in their face). Stimulation sequences may feature a dog playing with a toy or blue butterflies flitting across the screen. Relaxation segments feature pastoral settings (often including a dog lying down) and gentle piano music. Exposure segments tend to show dogs dealing with stressors such as a vacuum cleaner. It is available for free now, but as dogs don’t respond to commercials very well, expect to pay for it in the future.
  • What’s in a Title? France is getting rid of the title “Mademoiselles”. It seems the Mademoiselles really didn’t want to advertise their status, and there wasn’t an equivalent term for men. French doesn’t have an equivalent of “Ms.”.
  • Schweddy Greeks. Ben and Jerry’s is introducing a line of frozen greek yogurt. This is to cater to educated, high-income women who wouldn’t touch schweddy balls.

Music: South Pacific: In Concert From Carnegie Hall (2006) (Alec Baldwin): Bali H’ai (Reprise)