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Tuesday Watercooler

 

Coelecanth, preserved

“I’m not dead yet!”

Tonight’s video is “The Coelacanth: A Living Fossil” from TED-Ed.

The coelacanth, a prehistoric fish that was mistakenly thought to have gone extinct at the same time as the dinosaurs, has managed to stick around our seas for 360 million years. Erin Eastwood details the surprising “back from the dead” discovery of the coelacanth and explains how this fish’s fins shed light on the evolutionary movement of vertebrates from water to land.

Lesson by Erin Eastwood, animation by James Price for The Foreign Correspondents’ Club.

A group of Satanists are claiming that access to abortion and reproductive health services are part of their deeply-held religious beliefs and therefore members should be exempt from anti-choice laws. Think Progress reports:

The Satanic Temple — a faith community that describes itself as facilitating ‘the communication and mobilization of politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty’ — has launched a new campaign seeking a religious exemption to certain anti-abortion laws that attempt to dissuade women from ending a pregnancy. The group says they have deeply held beliefs about bodily autonomy and scientific accuracy, and those beliefs are violated by state-level ‘informed consent’ laws that rely on misleading information about abortion risks.

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, the Satanists point out, it strengthens their own quest to opt out of laws related to women’s health care that go against their religious liberty. ‘Because of the respect the Court has given to religious beliefs, and the fact that our our beliefs are based on best available knowledge, we expect that our belief in the illegitimacy of state­ mandated “informational” material is enough to exempt us, and those who hold our beliefs, from having to receive them,’ a spokesperson for the organization said in a statement.

The Satanic Temple, sometimes referred to as “the nicest Satanic cult in the world,” falls somewhere between satire, performance art, and activism. The group says its central mission is to ‘encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will.’

[…] Members of the Temple of Satan are encouraging all women who share their belief in medical accuracy to seek their own exemption from these laws, even if they don’t personally identify as Satanists. They’ve drawn up a sample letter to help women talk to their doctors about the issue, as well as created ‘Right to Accurate Medical Information’ t-shirts for purchase.

Thanks to Dana Sayre for this link.

Bonus: “Better finish that novel, because Twitter is watching!” via the AVClub.

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Photo by Jerrye and Roy Klotz, MD released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.

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Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and Occupy.com.