Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Found on Stumble

Why Can't I Own a Canadian?
October 2002

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted fan,

Marine scientists to investigate dead zone in Gulf of Mexico

AUSTIN, Texas — Whether a large area of low oxygen water called the "dead zone" in the northern Gulf of Mexico could cause declines in environmentally and economically important fish populations is the subject of a new study by University of Texas at Austin marine scientist Peter Thomas.

Thomas and colleagues at several universities have received $2 million in funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to study the effects of hypoxia (low oxygen) on fish reproduction and model the impacts of hypoxia on the size of fish populations in the area, which is off the coast of Louisiana east of the Mississippi River.

"There has been a striking increase over the past 20 years in the size of the dead zone during the summer," says Thomas, professor of marine science at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas. "But the long-term effects of its increase on the size of fish populations are unknown."

Marked suppression of reproduction in Atlantic croaker has already been documented at several hypoxic sites in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

In an initial study, Thomas found that male and female Atlantic croaker collected from hypoxic waters in Florida's East Bay near Pensacola had little ovarian and testicular growth, low egg and sperm production, and low levels of reproductive hormones during a time a year when they would normally be increasing in preparation for reproduction.

Recently, similar decreases in egg and sperm production and reproductive hormones were observed in croaker collected over a much larger area from the dead zone off the Louisiana coast.

Recent model simulations have predicted that this kind of decrease in reproduction can lead to population declines.

However, Thomas says that researchers need to obtain more precise information on the nature and extent of reproductive impairment of croaker throughout the dead zone, and further refine the croaker population models to increase their accuracy and utility as a fisheries management tool.

"Our goal is to provide resource managers with predictions about the impacts of hypoxia on fish populations that they can incorporate into their management decisions," says Thomas.

The Dead Zone varies in size, but can extend to 8,500 square miles (roughly the size of New Jersey) in some years. Incidences of seasonal coastal hypoxia have been increasing in oceans worldwide, largely the result of increased agricultural and industrial run-off.

Thomas will be working with Kenneth Rose and Dubravko Justic from Louisiana State University, Kevin Craig at Florida State University and Thomas Grothues at Rutgers University. The grant is part of NOAA's Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems and Hypoxia Assessment Program.