My Tumblr blog!
My Tumblr blog!
Cool little iPhone game!
"Once a month, the Moon makes one complete orbit around the Earth. Stuck here on the surface as we are, we see the Moon moving across the sky as it orbits. Sometimes, rarely, its path intersects that of the Sun, and we see a solar eclipse. A little more common is a lunar eclipse, when the Moon enters the Earth's shadow, and again we're stuck on the ground, so we see the Moon darken and sometimes turn blood red.
But we never see the moon pass in front of the Earth, because we're on the Earth. However, our spacecraft are not so disadvantaged.
The Deep Impact mission was launched in 2005, and later that year successfully slammed a copper block into a comet. The spacecraft itself sailed on, and the mission was retooled (and renamed to EPOXI) to observe other scientific events. Some smart person at NASA realized that if they turned the probe's telescopes around they could see some drama unfolding back home." more...
It's the Great Pumpkin!
Linus thinks that the Great Pumpkin will arise out of the most sincere Pumpkin Patch on Halloween night and deliver toys to all the true believing children. Of course, Linus becomes somewhat obsessed with his self-appointed mission to not only receive toys from The Great Pumpkin for his undying belief, but he actually wants to be in the garden when the benevolent giver of Halloween toys rises from among the pumpkins. Go...
Faux News Pr0n!
"Most of the clients who wanted to be dominated were Republicans. They wanted to be spanked and tortured and wear stockings - Republicans have impeccable taste in silk stockings - and these are the people who run our country."
A fellow Spocko gets squashed by Disney!
I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.
-- George HW Bush
You know, I was born in the US and served in the US Marine Corps, how do you think this statement makes me feel?
"Dr." Dino found guilty!
A federal jury has convicted Kent Hovind and his wife, Jo, of tax fraud.
Hovind faces a maximum of 288 years in prison. His wife faces up to 225 years. Her charges include aiding and abetting her husband with 44 counts of evading bank-reporting requirements.
In closing arguments this morning, Alan Richey, Kent Hovind's defense attorney, said the Pensacola evangelist was never notified by the IRS that he was violating a specific law by not withholding and paying employment taxes on workers at the Dinosaur Adventure Land and Creative Science Evangelism, both of which he founded and operates.
Hovind also believes that as workers of God, he and all employees of the theme park and his ministry are exempt from paying taxes. more...
Countdown Special Comment
Death of Habeas Corpus: "Your words are lies, Sir."
We have lived as if in a trance.
We have lived... as people in fear.
And now -- our rights and our freedoms in peril -- we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid... of the wrong thing.
Therefore, tonight, have we truly become, the inheritors of our American legacy.
For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:
A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.
We have been here before -- and we have been here before led here -- by men better and wiser and nobler than George W. Bush.
We have been here when President John Adams insisted that the Alien and Sedition Acts were necessary to save American lives -- only to watch him use those Acts to jail newspaper editors.
American newspaper editors, in American jails, for things they wrote, about America.
We have been here, when President Woodrow Wilson insisted that the Espionage Act was necessary to save American lives -- only to watch him use that Act to prosecute 2,000 Americans, especially those he disparaged as "Hyphenated Americans," most of whom were guilty only of advocating peace in a time of war.
American public speakers, in American jails, for things they said, about America.
And we have been here when President Franklin D. Roosevelt insisted that Executive Order 9-0-6-6 was necessary to save American lives -- only to watch him use that Order to imprison and pauperize 110-thousand Americans. more...
"Why suspend the habeas corpus in insurrections and rebellions? The parties who may be arrested may be charged instantly with a well defined crime; of course, the judge will remand them. If the public safety requires that the government should have a man imprisoned on less probable testimony in those than in other emergencies, let him be taken and tried, retaken and retried, while the necessity continues, only giving him redress against the government for damages. Examine the history of England. See how few of the cases of the suspension of the habeas corpus law have been worthy of that suspension. They have been either real treasons, wherein the parties might as well have been charged at once, or sham plots, where it was shameful they should ever have been suspected. Yet for the few cases wherein the suspension of the habeas corpus has done real good, that operation is now become habitual and the minds of the nation almost prepared to live under its constant suspension."
--Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1788.
5000 years of history in 90 seconds...
This has got to be one of the stupidest things I've ever seen!
"Unless something such as global warming shuts down all advances very shortly, computers will be far more intelligent than humans. However, I argued both in "Infinite Minds" and in "The End of The World" that computers would have no worthwhile consciousness unless they were quantum computers. Quantum computation occurs in the human brain. It is what allows all the elements of a human thought to be fused into a single existent whose parts are only abstractions comparable to the mass or the length of a table, or to the grin on a face. Quantum theory tells us that single entities can be extremely complex, and consciousness of our own mental states tells us the same thing."
-- John Leslie
Professor Emeritus at the University of Guelph's Philosophy Department
"What is the strangest thing you believe to be true?"
At first glance this question appears simple enough. I can think of many fascinating subjects I have read about over the years; nanotech, "gray goo", 11-dimensional space, relativity, the possibility of time travel, quantum entanglement, wave particle duality, virtual reality. There flows a never ending stream of ideas that wells up from the spring that is the Mind of Man. I could have selected any item from this list, or more, and would have provided a reasonably interesting response. How does one choose from such a fantastical array of knowledge? Technology can indeed appear strange or magical to one unfamiliar with a particular field of study. Some feel that medical wonders, from stem-cell research and genetic engineering to face transplants, are the definition of the word "strange". Others may perceive the political and ideological mindset of their "enemies" to be the pinnacle of the eldritch.
But to ask an atheist what he "believes" to be true introduces quite a different "texture" to the question posed. The meaning of the word "believe" may easily be misconstrued. I am often bewildered by the multiple usage of some words from the English language. To some, "belief" is only given to that which has overwhelming evidence to support it, such evidence that there is no point to even use the word "believe". Does one say: "I believe the sky is blue"? No. We say: "The sky is blue". We can test this statement through many types of observation, experimentation, and verification. We know the sky is blue. Some use the word "believe" in the same manner that they use the word "think", e.g. "I believe I'll have another beer!" - the two words are interchangeable here. Then we come, of course, to the most common meaning of the word "believe", that equivalent to "faith"; acceptance of a proposition without any need, or desire, for supporting evidence whatsoever.
I avoid the use of the words "believe" and "belief" because of their imprecise usage. There are, however, certain words I'll use in spite of their misuse. For example, I have no qualms stating that I'm an "atheist" even though that word has been intentionally misused and demonized, perhaps since its inception. An atheist is simply one who does not believe. To be an atheist one need only answer "no" to the question "Do you believe [in god(s)]?" No further assertion is made.
I prefer to use the verb "know" instead of "believe" and, like Great Lady Science, accept that knowledge can be transitory and must evolve as new evidence is discovered. Ironically, my answer to the question "What is the strangest thing you know to be true?" would bring me back to the issue of faith.
The strangest thing I know of is the ability of the human mind to accept the most incredible of statements by the simple application of the magic word "faith". How is it that, in the 21st century, we still have people that believe the world is only 6000 years old in light of the evidence from various fields of science in support of its vastly older age? How can one ignore mounds of fossil evidence for the progression of evolution and only see the "gaps". What is it that allows the brilliant scientist who, otherwise, demands empirical data to advance his theories, to assert that there is a god when no one has presented any evidence to corroborate the existence of said deity? Is it a mental blind spot, a type of intellectual laziness used to avoid investigating fully the reason one believes one fable over another?
This strange thing called faith intrigues me. I have studied several of the mythologies of various civilizations throughout history and I find the subject fascinating. The majority of us appear to be so desperate for answers that we will accept any concept of reality that we are subjected to at an early age. We indoctrinate our children into a system of thought handed down by our progenitors and our children will usually teach their own children the same vision; the meme propagates. The evolution of religion presents the prime example of this strange ability to close the mind to healthy skepticism and reason. I wonder if we have herein evidence for the existence of a parasitic meme, one that propagates from the pulpit and lives in symbiosis with those that hunger for its anesthetic affects.
I look forward to a future where such strange ideas as faith and belief have faded into obscurity and disrepute as have the gods of old. A future where the unknown is regarded as an opportunity, not an enemy to be feared and obscured by the blinders of myth.
If America is a Christian nation, should its symbol be this cross?
"For a few days, the nation's born-again Christians were overjoyed: could it be that Steve Irwin, crocodile hunter, had become one of them shortly before a stingray's barb cut short his life?
The rumour began to circulate after Creation Ministries International, a conservative group believing in a literal reading of the Book of Genesis, reported the contents of an email from a church pastor that Irwin had "come forward" at a Sunshine Coast church two weeks before his death.
The rumour spread like wildfire. The email read in part: "Many of us will now spend eternity with him. I am sure Terri [Irwin] is comforted as a Christian in the fact that she will be with Jesus and also Steve again for eternity."
But as encouraging as it might be for Christians to know they may share heaven with Irwin, the group now concedes there is reason to doubt the conversion."
My favorite time of the year!
"Autumnal Equinox" by Laura Pelick
Hidden Cities III: Continuum by Peter Milton
In this combination picture of before and after, Claudio Paulo Pinto pops his eyeballs out of their sockets, in Belo Horizonte, 340 kilometers (210 miles) north of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Saturday, Sept 16, 2006. Claudio Paulo Pinto is looking for work. That's his job _ looking. Pinto can pop his eyeballs at least 7 millimeters (0.3 inches) out of their sockets, a national record for eye-popping according to RankBrasil, an organization modelled after the Guinness Book of World Records that lists Brazilian records. Pinto says he's been doing this since he was nine years old and "it doesn't hurt a bit."