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Religious leaders preying, holy shoes, camouflaged cows: News Bites – 16 Oct 2019

Painting a cow with zebra stripes was found to significantly reduce painful fly bites. Photo: Alec Smart

Bite-sized bulletins by ALEC SMART

Anglicans tell progressives: “Bugger off!”
The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, told Anglican supporters of same-sex marriages they should “leave” the church. Addressing the 51st Synod of the Diocese of Sydney on Monday, of which he is also the president, he said, “My own view is that if people wish to change the doctrine of our church, they should start a new church or join a church more aligned to their views – but do not ruin the Anglican Church by abandoning the plain teaching of Scripture. Please leave us!
“We have far too much work to do in evangelising Australia to be distracted by the constant pressure to change our doctrine in order to satisfy the lusts and pleasures of the world.”

Dr Davies continued: “I fear for the stability of the Anglican Church of Australia. These developments [the legalisation of gay marriage] have the potential to fracture our fellowship and impair our communion,” he decried, whilst simultaneously calling for a fracture in the Anglican congregation.
The Sydney Anglicans donated $1 million to the “No” campaign lobbying to prevent same-sex unions during the 2017 national plebiscite on marriage equality,
Whilst accepting that the Anglican Church’s views were now contrary to law – on 15 November 2017, the results of the $122 million national postal-vote revealed 61.6 per cent of Australians had voted ‘Yes’ to allow same-sex couples to marry – Dr Davies insisted that blessing “sinful” same-sex unions would be to “betray God’s word”.
“Nonetheless, God’s intention for marriage has not changed. We honour him when we abide by his instruction. We cannot bless same-sex marriages for the simple reason that we cannot bless sin.”


Preyer Prayers Hazard
Meanwhile, last week former Anglican priest and Melbourne City councillor Nic Frances Gilley suggested signs be attached to the front of the churches warning that the safety of children cannot be guaranteed if they enter.
In a motion put before the council, Cr Frances Gilley asked officers to “write to all churches and places of worship requesting assurances that all staff and associates will abide by the law of mandatory reporting.” If this assurance was not forthcoming, Cr Frances Gilley said the council should “clearly advise people of the risks of using such institutions.”
In September, Victoria passed the Children Legislation Amendment Act 2019, which added religious leaders to the list of people who are legally mandated to report child abuse to the authorities when they learn about it. The list already includes people in positions of authority and care, including teachers, nurses, police and professionals that work with children.

“Should we put up great big signs, or should we write on the pavement?” said Cr Frances Gilley, the former executive director of the Brotherhood of St Laurence who was himself a victim of childhood sexual abuse.
On Friday, Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp told Radio 3AW she supported the motion, saying “As a city we absolutely have high expectations of places being safe, especially for children.”
The law was introduced following the conviction of former Melbourne archbishop George Pell, once Australia’s most powerful Catholic, for child molestation. In December 2018, Cardinal Pell was found guilty of sexually abusing two choirboys at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne after a Sunday mass in December 1996 and then assaulting one of them a second time two months later.
Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli insisted he would sooner go to jail than comply with the new law.


Holy soles
MSCHF, a creative arts company in Brooklyn, New York, modified up to two dozen pairs of Nike Air Max 97 white jogging shoes, filling the soles with ‘holy water’ and advertised the renamed ‘Jesus Shoes’ on its website for $US1,425 each last Tuesday. The transparent air-cushion soles of the shoes were injected with water sourced from the River Jordan, tinted blue.
Blessed by a priest from Brooklyn, they sold out within minutes of listing and were then relisted on the Stock X website where they’re currently fetching bids of $US3000 or more.
The Air Max shoes, which retail in Australia for between $175 and $260 without holy water, were purchased new by MSCHF before they added a crucified Jesus gold charm on one shoelace, an icon of a red droplet on the shoes’ tongues to symbolise the blood of Christ, and scented them with frankincense (one of the gifts presented by the Three Wise Men to Jesus when he was born).

Also inscribed on the side are the words ‘NT. 14:25’ derived from the New Testament Gospel of Matthew, verse 14:25 “And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea.” This refers to the Christian belief that Jesus was resurrected after crucifixion and appeared to his disciples walking on the sea of Galilee.
Christians regard the River Jordan, which flows through the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, as holy because many of the apocryphal myths of the New Testament Bible ascribed to Jesus – such as walking on water and feeding the five thousand – include the Sea of Galilee.

MSCHF (ie, ‘mischief’) Internet Studios, whose LinkedIn profile says they’re a ‘dairy company’, employ publicity stunts to promote themselves. In July this year they launched their ‘Cignature’ campaign using digitally altered movie scenes to draw attention to cigarette smoking in Hollywood films, blamed for increasing adolescent smoking. MSCHF’s head of commerce, Daniel Greenberg, explained: “By replacing all instances of cigarettes with kazoos, we highlight just how ridiculously pervasive cigarettes are in popular media.”

Despite interest in the spiritual soles, MSCHF’s intent was not to spread religious fervour but mock what they say is ‘the absurdity of collaborative culture’ by wondering “What would a collab[oration] with Jesus Christ look like?”
City Hub wonder whether a Hindu shoe – with water from the River Ganges – and a Moslem shoe – with water derived from the Well of Zamzam by the Great Mosque of Mecca – might be the next lucrative collaboration, perhaps promoted by a kazoo-playing Jesus.


Coroner recommends pill testing
A NSW coroner investigating the deaths of six young people at music festivals, attributable to poisonous ‘recreational’ drugs, is reportedly recommending pill testing be introduced, and police drug search operations scaled back.
Coroner Harriet Grahame, who has been overseeing an inquest into the deaths of six people at music festivals between December 2017 and January 2019, won’t release her findings until 8 November. However, on Tuesday, The Daily Telegraph reported 40 draft recommendations have already been sent to the NSW government departments and police. These include the suggestion that pill testing stations be set up at festivals to determine whether ecstasy and equivalent illicitly-sold recreational tablets contain harmful ingredients.


Painting a cow to resemble a zebra was found to significantly reduce fly bites, according to a study by Japanese scientists, published in the scientific journal Plos One on Oct 3.
Not because flies dislike the flavour of zebras, but scientists believe the striped pattern confuses the fly’s visual sensors, called ‘modulation brightness’, thus deterring the airborne pests.
Biting flies attack cows whilst they’re feeding, grazing and sleeping, creating distress and causing them to bunch up defensively, which adds more stress.
According to the study’s findings, “painting zebra-like stripes on cows can decrease the incidence of biting flies landing on individuals by 50%.”

Using six black cows, the researchers painted stripes approx. 5cm wide with “commercial waterborne white lacquers” that washed off afterwards. Two of the cows were painted with white stripes, two with black stripes and two were left unpainted as control animals. The process was alternated over nine days, so each cow spent three days striped, painted black or unpainted.
Only 55 flies were observed on the zebra-striped cows, compared with 111 on the black-painted cows
and 128 on the control cows. The white-striped cows were also observed to demonstrate significantly less fly-repelling behaviours (shaking their heads and swinging their tails).

Previous studies have found stripes confuse a fly’s motion detection, causing them to approach at higher speeds but failing to slow in time, so they crash into their targets.
This is the first time cows have been zebra-striped for a scientific study, but researchers are aware flies are less likely to annoy horses wearing striped blankets.
Although zebras probably evolved their stripes as a form of crypsis camouflage – making them harder for predators to see – studies on them in 2012 and 2014 found stripes also cause ‘motion dazzle’, confusing biting tsetse and horseflies. Motion dazzle is familiar to people watching TV Westerns when wagon wheels appear to turn in reverse, or stripes on a barber’s pole are perceived as turning.
“This work provides an alternative to the use of conventional pesticides for mitigating biting fly attacks on livestock..” the study concluded.

Keith Bayless, an expert in fly biology at Australia’s CSIRO said: “March flies and other biting flies have huge eyes and vision is important for finding animals to bite and suck their blood… The stripes break up the outline of the animal, which confuses the flies. This study took these findings in the clever direction of direct application to livestock animals. I think it makes sense and could be useful for farmers in the future.”


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