Suffering from a drought? Have your daughter plow the field naked.

Over in India they’ve been suffering from a drought during what should be monsoon season. It’s the worst start to the rainy season they’ve had in eight decades and farmers are starting to get desperate. How desperate? Desperate enough to ask their unmarried daughters to plow the fields naked in hopes it will embarrass the Weather Gods:

Witnesses said the naked girls in Bihar state plowed the fields and chanted ancient hymns after sunset to invoke the gods. They said elderly village women helped the girls drag the plows.

“They (villagers) believe their acts would get the weather gods badly embarrassed, who in turn would ensure bumper crops by sending rains,” Upendra Kumar, a village council official, said from Bihar’s remote Banke Bazaar town.

“This is the most trusted social custom in the area and the villagers have vowed to continue this practice until it rains very heavily.”

It quite simply amazes me that in the 21st century this kind of silly superstition still exists. Though I suppose it’s not all that different from certain Christians invoking imprecatory prayers in hopes God will kill Obama. Both are just as delusional and stupid. At least the Indian delusion is an attempt to bring about something good even if it does mean increased risk of skin cancer for the girls.

I have to wonder, though, why they think it has to be unmarried girls? Why wouldn’t the Weather Gods be just as embarrassed by a bunch of naked old men plowing the fields? Or naked married women? Or naked unmarried boys? This is starting to sound more and more like an excuse to see a bunch of young girls plowing without their clothes on.

Islamic body in India declares health insurance illegal.

Man, it sucks to be a sick Muslim in India:

NEW DELHI: Comparing the benefits of health insurance policy to gambling, key Islamic organisations have termed the policies as “illegal” and directed Muslims to keep away from them.

At a seminar to deliberate whether insuring health was permissible under Islamic law Shariat, the Islamic Fiqh Academy (India) decided that availing such policies was illegal.

Representatives from around 300 Madrasas, including Darul Uloom Deoband, Jamiat Islami participated in the three-day meet, where they reached a conclusion that seeking insurance cover was only another form of gambling.

Health insurance schemes have turned a noble service in to a business activity, hence under Islam it is not permitted, they said.

If you live in India and are a Muslim, well, try not to get seriously ill.

Indian outsourcers set up shop… in America.

It was only a matter of time I suppose:

Indian Outsourcer Plans Delivery Center in Ohio – Yahoo! News

As Indian service providers get closer to their U.S. and European customers, India’s largest outsourcer, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), has set up shop in a suburb of Cincinnati.

The company’s new services delivery center will be its primary software development center for North American customers. Located in Milford, Ohio, the North America Delivery Center can accommodate up to 1,000 staff, most of whom will be hired locally, the company said on Tuesday.

A number of Indian outsourcers are setting up facilities to be in the same time zone and be physically closer to North American and European customers. Infosys, India’s second largest outsourcer, and Wipro, the country’s third largest outsourcer, have, for example, set up IT services and business process outsourcing operations in Monterrey, Mexico. Wipro, which last year acquired Infocrossing, an IT services provider in the U.S., is also planning a facility in Atlanta.

It makes sense on a couple of levels—closer to the people you’re supporting and no complaints by clients that they can’t understand the person on the phone—but it means that techs that work there can expect to make diddly squat in terms of wages. There’s be no point in outsourcing if there isn’t a cost savings.

Link sent in by SEB reader Rich.

More people blind themselves looking for Jesus’ mom in the Sun.

Is there something about being Catholic that makes people of that particular Christian denomination more stupid gullible than the Protestants? There must be because we keep getting news items like this one:

Indians blinded looking for vision of Mary –

KOTTAYAM, India, March 11 (UPI)—Reports in India of a miraculous image of the Virgin Mary in the sky have led about 50 people to blind themselves by staring at the sun.

The visions are said to appear over the former home of a hotel owner in the Kottayam area in southeast India, The Daily Telegraph reported. One hospital in the district reported 48 patients had been admitted with burned retinas since last week, the British newspaper reported.

Churches have warned their congregations that looking at the sun will cause permanent blindness and have told them the supposed miracle is not one.

Before moving out, the hotel owner reportedly had also claimed to have statues of the Virgin Mary that cried honey and bled oils and perfumes.

If you can’t believe a hotel owner’s claims of miraculous honey-crying statues well then who can you believe? I mean there’s no way in hell they’d make ridiculous claims like that for fame or money, right?