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We apologize for the absence of Second Links the last two days. The compiler was down with a stomach bug and finding out that why “feeling like a wrung out dish cloth” is such a good metaphor.

In Florence, parts of Galileo have been put on display . “‘He’s a secular saint, and relics are an important symbol of his fight for freedom of thought,’ said Paolo Galluzzi, the director of the Galileo Museum.”

In England, the mystery writer, and Anglican, P. D. James talks about her “very happy and fulfilled life,” and life and writing in general.

In Georgia, a state college has allegedly told a counselling student that she has to  change her beliefs about homosexuality to stay in the program.

In England, while the government says  it will stop suppressing faith , a leading member of the governing coalition predicts that same-sex marriage will be legalized before the next general election. A Labour party leader says  his party should apologize for mistreating religion .

In Ireland,  a law creating civil partnerships has been signed and declared “the epitome of a Christian and pluralist society” by the minister of justice.

The Daily Telegraph reports on several of the world’s strangest laws , some of which, to be fair, make sense.

After a television expose, the Diocese of Rome calls on active homosexual priests to leave the priesthood and said it will “rigorously prosecute, according to church norms, any behavior unworthy of priestly life.”

Meanwhile, the bishop of Rome has become the seventh oldest pope in history , or at least since 1400, when the records got good enough to use. (Thanks to for the link.)

Spiked’s editor calls the Royal Society’s report into “into the alleged problem of overpopulation” a prejudice in search of a scientific disguise .

Finally, some very striking pictures from the Kalahari dessert .

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