Wednesday, May 28, 2008

We might be a bit more screwed than you think

Droughts - from Spain to the south-east US to northern Africa are suffering drought. Mostly because last year was the hottest year on record and the year before that was the hottest year on record. This year is shaping up to be the hottest year on record and on a global scale that means global problems as the crops fail and lead food shortages.

Food riots - It turns out that people like to eat food and when they can't eat food they break stuff. Why don't they just sit there and die like good little people. Just because you ate last week doesn't mean you get food this week. Sure, you barely made enough to buy a bowl of rice and since the price of rice has tripled you can afford three times as much rice (I took a lot of math in college).

Aid workers are worried... at least they are when they aren't sexually abusing children.

"They offered us 100 Haitian gourdes ($2.80) and some chocolate if we would suck them. I said, 'No,' but some of the girls did it and got the money."

It doesn't help at all that the US is turning our food (we eat corn, everything is corn) into ethanol to augment our gasoline in what might be a break even process to fuel our cars. This is useful in several ways.
1) It doesn't work. It takes as much energy as we get out to get it in.
2) It exacerbates the food shortages and price spikes by limiting the supply of food.
3) It takes a massive amount of water, which as we see above, we don't have very much of.

In the US we pump a lot of ground water from underground lakes. We use about a gallon of water to make a teaspoon of ethanol.

Which brings us back to price of gasoline which is closely tied to the price of oil. We are running out of light crude. So we need to use the dirtier sources. For now that means pumping the gunk out of the bottom of rigs we stopped using and exploiting the tar sands. Soon it will mean getting massive amounts of oil from the oil shale. Ironically at $150 a barrel we actually are set to become energy independent. The US has so much oil shale that we could effectively gas up our Hummers for decades. The gas is going to cost $15 a gallon, but it'll be American gas! We should, as a result of our policies allow farmers to sell their products at a premium (the reason there are so many advocates for ethanol) and become energy independence. Be careful what you wish for.

Oil Use->Global Warming
Coal Use->Global Warming
Global Warming->Drought
Drought->Water Use
Drought->Crop Failure
Crop Failure->Food Shortage
Food Shortage->Food Riots
Oil Use->Peak Oil
Peak Oil->Oil Prices
Oil Prices->Food Prices
Food Prices->Food Shortage
Food Shortage->Sexual Abuse
Ethanol->Food Prices

From hummers to hummers, we're a little bit fucked.

Not Enough Bigots

A new Field Poll survey is out which suggests that the there aren't enough bigots in California to make gay marriage illegal again. A similar poll from several days ago seemed to indicate that it might pass. A majority seemed to disagree with the supreme courts ruling (a bunch of legal scholars to be sure) whereas even there simply isn't much care to strike it down again.

Personally I think the marriage industry in California is about to go Vegas. I'm still sticking to my prediction that the voters will never legalize gay marriage and that fight shall be won in the courts. That's the way civil rights fights go.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Damn Foiled Again... happily.

You can tell by how the distance readings start going slower that it's not going to hit hard enough to break.

Billion Dollar Hunk of Junk About To Crater Mars

*Crash* *Boom*

Well, okay maybe it can avoid the failures of the previous missions (the previous rovers excluded) and successfully land and not blow up. However, about half have been epic fail and I'm going to assume failure already. I'd hope I'm wrong, but that'd be too optimistic.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Quirky Fact of the Day

The top five presidential candidates as ordered by popular vote:

2004, George Bush 62,040,610
2004, John Kerry 59,028,444
1984, Ronald Reagan 54,455,472
2000, Al Gore 50,999,897
2000, George Bush 50,456,002

If you were born January 1st 1981, Congratulations

You're 10,000 days old today!*

This doesn't even break the top ten for pointless posts I've made on this blog.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Oprah Denies Christ

I only wish she wasn't advocating for something just as dumb.

He followers need to follow one master. You cannot serve God and serve Oprah.
The closing line, "it's not religious" is classic.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Godwin's Law and President Obama

Congrats to President Obama the Republican Party has just invoked Godwin's in their opening salvo.

They lose.

The election is cancel the swearing in will be in January.

Shit meet Fan, Adam marry Steve, Justice meet Reality!

California gay marriage legal after same-sex marriage ban is struck down by California Supreme Court. It's about time.

Classic phrase in article:

Groups saying they were promoting a pro-family agenda had vowed to fight a statewide law allowing same-sex marriage.

Pro-family agenda == No family for you!

Vatican says alien life possible.

According to the Vatican, alien life is possible and does not contradict a belief in God, and may actually be free from original sin.

If, for example, belief in God was contradicted by the existence of aliens would that make it impossible? I'm seriously wondering this. If the existence of aliens directly contradicted a belief in God would it possible? I think they based the conclusion on an unstated premise "God exists" and anything which contradicts the premise that "God exists" is flawed. The logic goes like this:

God exists.
Aliens do not preclude existence of God.
Aliens do not create a contradiction in worldview.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Great Tits, Boobies, and Evolution.

Oddly enough, there's some key influences in biological history between both of these fine specimens. Outside of both evolving.

Great tits are the primary predator of peppered moths which are completely important Kettlewell's rather famous study on natural selection.

Boobies are native to the Galapagos and were studied by Darwin.

Yes. I am just trolling for hits.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I totally agree with Ted Turner.

My only objection to Turner is with his optimism. On the subject of Global Warming he said that:

Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals. Civilization will have broken down. The few people left will be living in a failed state -- like Somalia or Sudan -- and living conditions will be intolerable.

"[T]he rest of us will be cannibals." -- Ted Turner, the eternal optimist, believes he's going to be an eater rather than the eated. Crops are already not unable to meet world wide food demand as of today there are 6,666,666,666 people on the planet and there are food riots breaking out as the price of rice has tripled. I don't think you can buy yourself out of a hole Ted. Your money will be worthless and your flesh will be tasty. Why aren't you part of the "most of the people" who will die.

He also says that people in Iraq are attacking the occupation troops because they are occupying the country, when the interviewer notes that they have roadside bombs... that's completely on topic and proves their motives have nothing to do with being taken over by a foreign country.

Ellen Johnson caught hording atheist gold.

Like all previous presidents of American Atheists, Ellen Johnson was a gold hoarder (see: O'Hair). Though this reason is being kept quiet out of profound respect.

I highly respected Ellen Johnson but was never really that impressed with anything she did. However, I did get a little impressed to read that the statement was written by Frank Zindler the acting president. I know of Frank and have actually been impressed by his work. I highly recommend reading Jesus Loves The Little Zygotes.

The oddest thing about the entire thing is that I was actually informed about this by David Mabus who constantly spams a number of boards and emails with claims about Nostradamus stopping Randi's Million Dollar Challenge. Well, his latest bout of spam included that Nostradamus also forced Ellen Johnson out of her job.

I'm so smart I blow my mind sometimes.

In reply to a comment that David Hume simply must have been an atheist.

I am familiar with David's work and insights and despite our current understanding, it would be entirely plausible for a rational empirical person of the time to believe in God. All that we can know clearly comes from our senses. However, it is a modern understanding that we cannot know God via our senses (or any of the tools we build to bring data from outside our senses into the range of our senses). This understanding is borne out of the absurdities of religion in contrast to the functional wisdom of science. Previously it was thought that the Arguments of First Cause and certainly the Argument From Design showed the handiwork of the Lord clear as day. Likewise as Hume conceded the argument from Design in Dialogues he may have done so in life as well. As a number of good freethinkers from the time were deists, this is not a far-fetched notion. I count Jefferson among the great thinkers and he, like many of his intellectual rivals of the time, were deists. Jefferson lamented against "invisible Gods" and thought supernatural Gods were talks of nothing and clearly atheist as D'Holback and markedly more absurd.

So, no. Today David Hume would almost certainly be an atheist, and, admittedly, it would be evolution which would assure that result. Intellectually honest skepticism no longer gives rise to a rational deism; atheism, since the time of Darwin, has been the typical end point to a functional epistemology. It is entirely possible, that, in a historical context Hume was a deist. -- Admittedly since the Christians would have murdered Hume for outright atheism, there is a justified belief that had he been an atheist our understanding of the man would be identical to our understanding now. However, you cannot apply the understanding of today to the intellectuals of the pre-Darwinian world.

Damn... look how smart I am.


Friday, May 9, 2008

Idea of The Day: Outlaw 50+ Abortions.

In the trend the right has in attempting to undercut and undermine a woman's right to choose the anti-choice crowd should seek to pass a law limiting the number of abortions a women can have to 50. This will serve several major functions for their crusade to control the wombs of people attached to said wombs.

First: As the law would probably never kick in, nobody would have standing to challenge the law.

Second: It would require tracking of abortions to make sure women haven't reached their quota. Can you say scare tactic?

Third: The support for the cause would be considerably eroded due to the high quota. Honestly, you're protecting woman who has had 50 abortions. FIFTY! Rather than a protection of all women and an argument about body sovereignty and medical choices it makes the pro-choice folks seem like they really want her to have that fifty-first abortion.

The current wedge of focusing on late-term abortions is a disaster as most are conducted for medical reasons on non-viable fetuses or those due to kill off their mothers. The pro-life people are forced to lie their asses off to pretend that isn't the case.

My law would be unchallengeable, seem absurdly trivial, and serve to start eroding Roe v Wade. Whereas I am a firm supporter of a woman's right to choose and moreover support infanticide in a number of situations (not to directly equate the two) I think from an idea point of view this law is pure gold.

Why won't she quit? Because she's not stupid.

As much as she's lost, she's also tantalizingly close.

Anybody who wonders why Hillary Clinton hasn't quit needs to take a couple seconds in her shoes. She's 160 delegates down with 400 delegates left. But, she knows as well as anybody else that the Democratic Nominee is going to be president. Either of them would probably win with ease. That said, would you ask that McCain stop his campaign in October? All your really mean ads are going to hurt the unity of the country and you don't stand a chance as you're polling down 15 points! Do you think McCain could or would stop? Now look at the primary again. Either one of them would probably easily trounce McCain, who eeked out a win against a pathetically weak bevy of opponents ranging from Sleepy McEatTerrorists to Rev. LetsRewriteTheConstitutionIntoTheBible and nobody should forget PayeeMcCash MagicUnderpants.

I doubt even the worst she could toss at Obama would damage him enough to lose. As much as people love to say they wouldn't vote for the other person in the primary, the alternative is to vote for a third term for Bush in a much more decrepit packaging.

If she drops out she'll have to wait until 2016 to run again and even then Barack's VP would be presumptive and she'd be downright old.

One shot, and you need 300 of 400 delegates... to become president or you very well might never have another chance. Would you quit? What if you were probably going to lose?

-- That said, she should totally drop out. She's become the creepy ex-girlfriend of the Democratic party. Sorry Hillary, stop calling... we're with Barack now.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Prediction, by Jan-2009: $200 a barrel for Oil

Just putting it on the record.

By the way, look at the link for this article and you can tell if I edited.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Below The Even I Can Do That Math Threshold.

After squeaking out a win in Indiana and getting trounced in North Carolina Hillary Clinton now has a new problem. The media isn't abusing Occam's Dildo anymore. It is not longer giving the titillating glimmers of hope to the campaign from several days ago. Given the choice between favoring the theory that due to sheer obviousness Obama now has it pretty much sewn up and Hillary Clinton has a shot "can she do it?" -- They are now dropping the much more infotaining choice mandated by Occam's Dildo (which the new media uses regularly).

Clinton now needs 324.5 out of 487.5 remaining delegates to win, or 66.5% of the remaining delegates. Yesterday she only would have needed 59% of the remaining delegates to get the nomination. That said the media loosing interest in pretending there's fight left in the old girl yet and she's on the ropes but gaining momentum seem to be fading.

Barack Obama is going to be the Democratic Nominee for President.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What is that supposed to be?

Funny picture, parody of something...

Dunno what.

Anybody place it?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I can haz crazy comment/ad?

(screw you ad), a series of 7 textbooks created for the public schools, represents the ultimate marriage between an in-depth knowledge of biblical phenomena and natural and physical sciences.

Careful observers will note... there's no such thing as biblical phenomena. There's some apologetics which require the laws of physics change to fit a fictional story but no actual phenomena.

The several volumes have accomplished that which, heretofore, was deemed impossible: to level the playing field between those who desire a return to physical science in the classroom and those who embrace the theory of evolution.

The truth has advanced to the point where lies are unpalatable, more lies and better lies will not level the playing field between truth and lies.

(ad) turns the tide by providing an authoritative and enlightening scientific explanation of natural phenomena which will ultimately dethrone the unprofitable Darwinian view.

The unprofitable Darwinian view? Evolution by natural selection has profited me much, as I exist today and could ask for no greater reward to be granted by the mindlessness of nature and physics. Thank you though, happenstances of reality, truly thank you. I'm going to guess that this differs from his view because his view is very profitable... more so if you buy all seven of his books.

The backbone of Darwinism is not biological evolution per se,

No. The backbone of Darwin's insight was to understand the process which gave rise to biological evolution was the same process that gave rise to different breeds of dogs by dog breeders could also, in the course of nature, give rise to subtle advances in species and given enough time have given rise to all species. There is no "per se" about it. Rather than dog, horse, and sheep breeders pushing a species to become what the human breeders wanted the same process could by sheer happenstance produce a species best adapted to deal with sheer happenstance.

but electronic interpretation, the tenet that all physical, chemical, and biological processes result from a change in the electron structure of the atom which, in turn, may be deciphered through the orderly application of mathematics, as outlined in quantum mechanics.

WOOOOOOO!!!! WOOOOOOOOO!!!! ALL ABOARD THE CRAZY TRAIN!!!! Result from a change in the electron structure of the atom? There are no electrons in atoms. There are protons which are neutrons and and positron (antimatter electron) and neutrons which are composed of 3 quarks (one up, two down) spinning around really fast (the spinning gives them mass by E=MC^2). You may not understand what I've said. I could tell you it is verifiable and understood by science and physics and it is. However, similarly this guy says the same thing and he's wrong. The point you should take away from this is that, the failure to understand does not give you permission to board the crazy train. If you don't get something, don't believe it, but be open to me bombarding you with evidence.

The orderly application of mathematics does not outline quantum mechanics or anything about tenet that all physical, chemical, or biological process result from a change dealing with electrons. Further, evolution has nothing to do with this.

A few of the supporting theories are: degrading stars, neutron stars, black holes, extraterrestrial water, antimatter, the absolute dating systems, and the big bang,

Um. Those are theories which are themselves supported by the evidence and are part of cosmology. Theories don't support facts, it goes the other way around, the facts support the theory. We understand that stars have life cycles because stars have lifecyles, we understand that there is water outside of Earth because water is a simple molecule and we've found water on a number of different planets. The theory of antimatter was actually proposed before we found evidence of antimatter based on Newton's third law and the renaissance of particles being found, but lived or died with the evidence.

The philosophy rejects any divine intervention. Therefore, let the philosophy of Darwinism be judged on these specifics: electron interpretation and quantum mechanics.

Philosophy doesn't reject divine actions nor does science. Philosophy just doesn't seem to find any of it logically sound and science tests its ideas against reality and reality doesn't seem fond of supernatural explanations (perhaps by definition).

Conversely, the view that God is both responsible for and rules all the phenomena of the universe will stand or fall when the facts are applied.

The facts have been applied time and again. It doesn't end well... Sire, je n'ai pas eu besoin de cette hypothèse.

The view will not hinge on faith alone, but will be tested by the weightier principle of verifiable truths – the new discipline.

Well if it doesn't rest on faith and certainly not on evidence (the sciences have cornered that market) what else is there?

(stupid ad) is not only better at explaining natural phenomena, but also may be verified through testing. As a consequence, the material in the several volumes will not violate the so-called constitutional separation of church and state.

I also believe in something called the philosophical separation between stupid and brain. Which prevents me from buying this set of books or even looking into more information about it.

Physical science, the old science of cause and effect, will have a long-term sustainability, replacing irresponsible doctrines based on whim. Teachers and students will rejoice in the simplicity of earthly phenomena when entertained by the new discipline.

Unlike those hard unstable sciences of chemistry and geology and biology which just flip on a whim.

(retarded name) is not only an academic resource designed for the public schools, but also contains a wealth of information on pertinent subjects that seminarians need to know to be effective: geology, biology, geography, astronomy, chemistry, paleontology, and in-depth Biblical studies. The nuggets from the pages of Biblical history alone will give seminarians literally hundreds of fresh ideas for sermons and teachings.

Public schools don't need sermons. Nor is there really anything which is reasonably biblical history. In fact, I'm pretty skeptical of most biblical scholarship in general. There are some nuggets of truth and some interesting theories but largely it's overwhelmed by apologetics. Further, I doubt that you *need* to know geology, biology, geography, astronomy, chemistry, paleontology and especially Biblical studies to be effective. I like knowing such things, but it really depends on what you're going to do. So long as you don't ask that your ignorance be taken in higher regard to non-ignorance, you can go around knowing practically nothing for all I care.

The ministry resources contained in (name) serve as invaluable aids that will enrich graduates beyond their highest expectations.

Shit! These books are going to give you aids! I assume they mean 'aides' but "ministry" places are the ones telling Africans to avoid condoms even when having sex with HIV infected people. You can never be too careful (you actually can).

I am amazed at the stupid floating around, and not remotely impressed when it asks for money.

Evolution is secular religion, Teach Creationism!

There is a fairly common argument that is consistently launched against the teaching of evolution. Basically the claim is that evolution is either the atheist or Secular Humanist creation story being taught in schools in violation of the first amendment. This is unfair and is nothing more than religious indoctrination and therefore we need to allow equal time for creationism.

There are a number of obvious problems with this,

The legal remedy would not to be to teach creationism, the legal remedy would be to stop teaching evolution. Nobody should reasonably assume that to fight an injustice one needs to allow multiple injustices. This is biased against blacks! Make it biased against Mexicans too! Further, the same argument could be launched against many things in science and education which contradict certain religions or non-religion... that Big Bang Theory seemed pretty silly to Hoyle on the grounds that it was 'religion'. -- We'd need to stop teaching altogether.

There is no violation of the first amendment. Simply because certain groups of atheists and secular humanists believe the scientific truth and belief in the findings of science meshes well with what many atheists believe does not imply violate the Lemon Test as the primary goal of the activity is not to indoctrinate against religion, rather the fact that the universe is 13.73 billion years old and life on this planet arose out of purely naturalistic forces happens to contradict a ludicrous religious belief is a pity for people who want people to believe falsehoods but doesn't have the primary effect of inhibiting religion. The primary effect is teaching truth, the secondary effect is contradicting lies.

The Court's decision in this case established the "Lemon test", which details the requirements for legislation concerning religion. It consists of three prongs:

1. The government's action must have a secular legislative purpose;
2. The government's action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion;
3. The government's action must not result in an "excessive government entanglement" with religion.

Teaching evolution does not violate any prong of the lemon test.

Similarly the sword cuts both ways as the supreme court found in McGowan v. Maryland that blue laws which prohibit stupid things like selling liquor on Sunday are acceptable (sometimes). The law may have been initially religious, but so long as it primarily serves secular purposes and the original religious nature of the law does not make it unconstitutional.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Primary in 7 Minutes.

In case you haven't paid attention.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

National Day of Prayer

Hands that help are better than lips that pray. So, who are you going to avoid helping today? PZ Myers of Pharyngula is praying (or just asking others to do) for Larry Langford the mayor of Birmingham who dressed up in sackcloth and ashes with a bunch of preacher buddies and Robert Beale who got popped for tax evasion.

On Taxes: if the government says you owe them money, pay them and then ask why.

Furthermore, there are people who judge such things as to whether you are legally required to pay taxes, they are judges and they are judge that you do. Under this judgment and interpretation of laws and understanding that those arguments are "full-of-crap" they will put you in prison if you don't.

I'll be praying for Kent Hovind and Vox Day. As this is also the National Day of Reason, I suppose I could reason for them too.

Occam's Dildo and Ghost Hunters

What was that! Spooky! I bet it was a ghost. My goodness that was totally impressive.

Shows with the basic premise of bringing a bunch of cameras to someplace dark and allegedly creepy (cemeteries, castles, insane asylums, old houses) and being afraid of the dark make for horrifically bad television if you ask me. It's amazingly stupid to attribute every sound to a ghost and every smudge to a ghost. These shows constantly exploit Occam's Dildo, rather than preferring the simplest explanation people opt for the most titillating explanation.

Pascal's Wager: Edward Current Converts

Truly brilliant.