Secular Sunday #44 – Access All Areas

Earlier than you expected, it’s this week’s Secular Sunday.

In this issue:

  • Accessibility
  • Other News
  • Upcoming Events
  • Blogasm


Accessibility

As part of our ongoing commitment to improve accessibility to our events and resources, we have begun work on adding  captions (subtitles) to some of our YouTube videos. YouTube has auto-generated captions for most videos but the speech recognition software is far from perfect and seems to struggle with non-American accents. The primary purpose is to make them more accessible to people with hearing difficulties (or those who, like Google’s software, struggle with accents). An additional benefit is that this also improves access for non-native English speakers, as the automated translation service provided by YouTube is generally tolerable, if not perfect. We’ve also begun some manual translation and hope to do more.

The videos that have been captioned so far are:

Transcription is time-consuming work so please let us know if this is of any benefit to you.  If you’d like to volunteer to transcribe some videos, and/or to translate some transcriptions into any language, let us know. Once the transcription has been done, the translation should be relatively easy for a native speaker, as the automatic translation software does a lot of the work. Please mail any praise, criticisms, requests, suggestions or offers of assistance to accessibility@atheist.ie.

Other News

  • We have launched a new website: Good Without Gods to encourage charitable and otherwise worthwhile activities by our members and friends. Have a look to see some of the ways you can help improve the world.
  • Atheist Ireland was featured in an article in the Irish Times on Friday entitled “Is there a new face of atheism?” It’s a generally positive piece by Joe Humphreys, who attended our AGM, and interviewed some of our members. It’s currently the most read story on the Irish Times website and the comments section is very active, and well worth a read in itself.
  • Nathan Young, the 16-year-old student from Borrisokane who was forced to attend a prayer service at his school, has made a complaint to the Irish Human Rights Commission and is looking for an apology from his school principal. Nathan’s story has been featured in several newspapers and on a number of radio stations. Read his latest update. Atheist Ireland promotes secular education and freedom of conscience, both of which were denied to Nathan.

Upcoming Events

  • Today, Sunday 28 October, 12:00 noon, Quay Co-op, Cork (map)
    Cork Humanists’ First Birthday Celebration. There will be speeches and cake. Facebook event page
  • Monday 29 October, 10:00 pm, More4, TV
    Part 3 of Richard Dawkins’ three-part series Sex, Death and the Meaning of Life. If you missed the first two parts, you can watch them on 4OD
  • Saturday 3 November, 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm, outside the GPO, O’Connell St., Dublin 1 (map)
    Brendan Maher will be at his stall promoting atheism, secularism and humanism. If you want to help, you can email Brendan or just lend moral support by saying hello if you’re in the vicinity.
  • Sunday 4 November, 4:00 pm, Buswell’s Hotel, Dublin 2 (map)
    The monthly meeting of the Humanist Association of Ireland. All are welcome. This is to be followed at 5:30 pm by their AGM (for members only). Facebook event page
  • Saturday 10 November, 2:00 pm, Buswell’s Hotel, Dublin 2 (map)
    Atheist Ireland strategy workshop. We will be meeting to discuss some of the ideas that came up at our AGM, particularly ways of increasing our membership base, spreading information about our activities and goals, and making our organisation more inclusive and accessible.
  • Wednesday 21 November, 8:00 pm, Absolute Hotel, Sir Harry’s Mall, Limerick (map)
    The Mid West Humanists are meeting to talk about life as an atheist or humanist in a society with a religious-biased culture, and are continuing their plan to meet TDs in the region, once the Constitutional Convention begins and gets to the Blasphemy item. All are welcome.

Blogasm

  • Islamists in the thousands had now congregated around the mosque and chants of Allahu Akbar and raised arm salutes united the masses of an increasingly angry mob. Radical clerics distributed Hamas bandannas and improvised cardboard prayer mats to eager purchasers. My sense of self-preservation was overruled by an even stronger sense of adventure thrill seeking, and rather than leaving swiftly, I started recording the unfolding events.Cyril witnesses a “clash of civilisations” in Turkey and shares his thoughts on Islam and “Islamophobia”
  • Blasphemy is the only law in which thought can be a crime. I can think of the worst atrocities of mankind, and even firmly believe they should be carried out, but unless I actually do them, the worst the legal system can do is give me a rather stern warning or maybe some short jail time; but nothing like the punishment which is issued for blasphemy. If it is not clear enough, picture this: A person can run around screaming that they want to rape and kill children by the hundreds and receive a far less punishment (if any) than somebody who simply and honestly proclaims god doesn’t exist. Peter Ferguson on the dangers of blasphemy laws
  • While looking through the ladies who seek the enforcement of Shariah worldwide I noticed something odd. You can see some of the profile pictures above. You’ll note that beards abound. The style of dress is, well, masculine. I didn’t wish to rush to judge, but I started to suspect that some of these women for Shariah could be men.Geoff turns his Twitter machine on Women4Shariah

And that’s your lot for another week. Keep up with what’s going on via our website and all those social media things.

Till next time, take care,

Derek Walsh
Editor, Secular Sunday
Atheist Ireland

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