by Michael Fitzpatrick
Article published on the 2010-02-17 Latest update 2010-02-17 06:32 TU
This is Ash Wednesday, the start of seven weeks of penance as the world's Catholics prepare for Easter.
The Catholic paper, La Croix, says the idea of forty days of privation fits in well with the spirit of our times, in the shadow of economic crisis. But the paper goes on to recognise that today's young people - the inheritors of the consumer society - have a lot of trouble with the idea of giving things up.
Let them be thankful they are not growing up in the Orthodox tradition. Those chaps will go through the next seven weeks without a scrap of meat, no dairy products and not a single egg.
According to the front page of Le Figaro, the Anglican Church would like the faithful to give up using their mobile phones, iPods and computers. They should also darn their old socks rather than buy new ones, and are advised to grow their own vegetables.
This will have not only immense spiritual and economic benefits, say the Anglican archbishops, but it will also help to slow down the rate at which we are destroying the environment.
The front page of Libération features a melting planet Earth and the headline "Global warming: the sceptics fight back".
The problem is that those responsible for keeping governments and public informed about the dangers posed by climatic change have not always used the most scientifically solid information. The journalists have (of course) been delighted to scoot off with the makings of yet another prediction of doom, gloom and human extinction… only to have the sceptics come along and point out that the statistics on which the whole catastrophe scenario is based are blatantly wrong.
For example, the announcement that the Himalayan glaciers will vanish completely by 2035 is now acknowledged as total tosh by those who made the prediction in the first place. Ditto for the predictions that most of Holland would vanish under the waves.
This is not to say that we are not all going to drown in melted polar ice-cap, just that the reasons for the impending disaster are not necessarily the ones you've been reading about in your local paper.
I don't know what the Anglican archbishops would have to say about a new device from the games manufacturer, Mattel. The thing is called "Puppy Tweets" and you attach it to your dog. It then sends messages to your Twitter account, with such earth-shattering revelations as "your dog is asleep", "your dog is doing a poo", "your dog is chewing the arse off the neighbour's priceless Pekinese", and so on.
The device is a snip at a mere 22 euros. If you don't have a dog, or a Twitter account, just think what you're missing!
2010-02-16 09:26 TU
2010-02-15 09:31 TU
2010-02-12 08:16 TU
2010-02-11 08:45 TU
2010-02-10 09:03 TU
2010-02-09 08:27 TU
2010-02-08 11:12 TU
2010-02-05 09:17 TU
2010-02-02 09:44 TU