A friend suggested the Feminist Mormon Housewives podcast (also on iTunes) for learning about the history of Mormon polygamy. My heritage is Mormon so I've been listening to a story that has been obscured and whitewashed over the years. It is a one year project focused on the history and is presented chronologically. I started around episode 20, but went back and started at the beginning. A fascinating period - the fanaticism of the church during the 1850s - its reformation and wars - is amazing. Brigham Young had created a 19th century theocratic equivalent of North Korea - episodes 43 and 44 are particularly interesting if you are curious about that period.
The historical podcasts are flagged as part of the 'year of polygamy' project - the remainder of the site appears to be for Mormon feminists and their struggles with the faith.
These are often over an hour long - just the thing for long commutes, trips or exercise sessions. Lindsay, the host, has done a good deal of work and regularly involves professional and amateur historians with links to sources.
The Trust said that man-made climate change was one area where too much weight had been given to unqualified critics.
In April the BBC was accused of misleading viewers about climate change and creating ‘false balance’ by allowing unqualified sceptics to have too much air-time.
In a damning parliamentary report, the corporation was criticised for distorting the debate, with Radio 4’s Today and World at One programmes coming in for particular criticism.
The BBC’s determination to give a balanced view has seen it pit scientists arguing for climate change against far less qualified opponents such as Lord Lawson who heads a campaign group lobbying against the government’s climate change policies.
Andrew Montford, who runs the Bishop Hill climate sceptic blog, former children’s television presenter Johnny Ball and Bob Carter, a retired Australian geologist, are among the other climate sceptics that have appeared on the BBC.
The report highlighted World at One edition in September of a landmark UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) research project which found concluded with 95 per cent certainty that the climate is changing and that human activity is the main cause.
The programme’s producers tried more than a dozen qualified UK scientists to give an opposing view but could not find one willing to do so – so they went to Mr Carter in Australia.
Pitted against Energy Secretary Ed Davey, Mr Carter described the findings of the most authoritative report ever undertaken into the science of climate change – put together by hundreds of scientists around the world – as “hocus-pocus science”.
Much of the world is becoming less religious, although precise defintions are difficult to come by and many people don't think about it deeply. Studies tend to show the percentage of many populations that "believe" is dropping in much of the developed world - an interesting example here (pdf).
In New York City, parents do not have the right to send their unvaccinated kids to school if another student has a vaccine-preventable illness.
That's according to a Brooklyn Federal District Court judge, who ruled last week that a parent's constitutional right to freely exercise their religion does not always make their children exempt from vaccination requirements.
New York City schools require all students to get a series of basic vaccinations in order to attend classes. But in New York State — along with several other states — laws say that parents can opt out of these requirements for religious reasons.
When three families in New York City recently did so, their children were barred from attending school, leading them to file suit against the city. Citing a 1905 Supreme Court case — in which the court ruled that Massachusetts was permitted to fine a man $5 for refusing a smallpox vaccine — Judge William Kuntz ruled that the court had "strongly suggested that religious objectors are not constitutionally exempt from vaccinations."