Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Home Depot Needs a New Name

So Kate and I were over looking at paint and lighting and such yesterday, and we were feeling rather domestic. What's a girl to do when the site of "Sidesaddle" brown and "Forest Green" and "Family Legacy Tan" come together with thousands of varieties of low-level romantic mood lighting in a great confluence of domestic bliss and happiness? Or, more importantly, where's a girl to do it?

Why, in the ladies' room of course.

You may now affectionately refer to the home improvement warehouse as "Homo Depot".

Today we're off to "Lays".

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Anti-flapdoodle Superheroes

Well that's what Kristine called us over at DAJ's latest miserable failure of a blog. What sort of costume comes with that?

We're liking Red Sonja's fighting togs.

Whatdaya think?

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

More Autumn Poetry

This beauty is from John Keats.

To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

John Keats (1795-1821)

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Breathtaking In Its Beauty

Been a while since we've made any literary posts.

Thomas Hood captures the moment.

"I saw old Autumn in the misty morn

Stand shadowless like silence, listening

To silence."

-- From his 1827 ode Autumn, Thomas Hood, English author (1799-1845).

Came across that at yesterday's Today In History page at LiveScience.

Now in and of itself, that one sentence is deeply moving. Wait 'til you read the whole thing...


I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like Silence, listening
To silence, for no lonely bird would sing
Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn,
Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn;—
Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright
With tangled gossamer that fell by night,
Pearling his coronet of golden corn.

Where are the songs of Summer?—With the sun,
Oping the dusky eyelids of the South,
Till shade and silence waken up as one,
And Morning sings with a warm odorous mouth.
Where are the merry birds?—Away, away,
On panting wings through the inclement skies,
Lest owls should prey
Undazzled at noonday,
And tear with horny beak their lustrous eyes.

Where are the blooms of Summer?—In the West,
Blushing their last to the last sunny hours,
When the mild Eve by sudden Night is prest
Like tearful Proserpine, snatch’d from her flow’rs
To a most gloomy breast.
Where is the pride of Summer,—the green prime,—
The many, many leaves all twinkling?—Three
On the moss’d elm; three on the naked lime
Trembling,—and one upon the old oak-tree!
Where is the Dryad’s immortality?—
Gone into mournful cypress and dark yew,
Or wearing the long gloomy Winter through
In the smooth holly’s green eternity.

The squirrel gloats on his accomplish’d hoard,
The ants have brimm’d their garners with ripe grain,
And honey bees have stored
The sweets of Summer in their luscious cells;
The swallows all have wing’d across the main;
But here the autumn Melancholy dwells,
And sighs her tearful spells
Amongst the sunless shadows of the plain.

Alone, alone,
Upon a mossy stone,
She sits and reckons up the dead and gone
With the last leaves for a love-rosary,
Whilst all the wither’d world looks drearily,
Like a dim picture of the drownàd past
In the hush’d mind’s mysterious far away,
Doubtful what ghostly thing will steal the last
Into that distance, gray upon the gray.

O go and sit with her, and be o’ershaded
Under the languid downfall of her hair!
She wears a coronal of flowers faded
Upon her forehead, and a face of care;—
There is enough of wither’d everywhere
To make her bower,—and enough of gloom;
There is enough of sadness to invite,
If only for the rose that died, whose doom
Is Beauty’s,—she that with the living bloom
Of conscious cheeks most beautifies the light:
There is enough of sorrowing, and quite
Enough of bitter fruits the earth doth bear,—
Enough of chilly droppings for her bowl;
Enough of fear and shadowy despair,
To frame her cloudy prison for the soul!

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Tripoli Six Need Your Voice

Via just about every blog in the blogosphere, including Amused Muse, Aetiology (previous day's post about it HERE), Pharyngula, A Blog Around The Clock, The Questionable Authority, and a boatload of others, comes the story of six medical professionals falsly accused, unjustly imprisoned, viciously tortured, and facing death by firing squad in Libya. They stand accused of infecting over 400 children with HIV even though scientific analysis has proven that many of the children were already infected before the health care workers even entered the country.

From Nature:

During the first trial, the Libyan government did ask Luc Montagnier, whose group at the Pasteur Institute in Paris discovered HIV, and Vittorio Colizzi, an AIDS researcher at Rome's Tor Vergata University, to examine the scientific evidence. The researchers carried out a genetic analysis of viruses from the infected children, and concluded that many of them were infected long before the medics set foot in Libya in March 1998. Many of the children were also infected with hepatitis B and C, suggesting that the infections were spread by poor hospital hygiene. The infections were caused by subtypes of A/G HIV-1 — a recombinant strain common in central and west Africa, known to be highly infectious.

But the court threw out the report, arguing that an investigation by Libyan doctors had reached the opposite conclusion. Montagnier believes the judgement was based at least partly on mistranslation from English to Arabic of the term 'recombinant' — instead of referring to natural recombination of wild viruses, as intended, it was interpreted to mean genetically modified, implying human manipulation.

According to Alexiev, the decision to throw out the report removed all scientific content from the case, leaving a series of prejudgements, and confessions extracted under torture. "It's scandalous," he says. "This is a complex scientific affair, and it is impossible to judge it without a scientific basis."

The full Nature journal article (free access on this one), with the details can be found at


Scientific ignorance is not just amusing, it's not just dangerous, it's deadly. This is a prime example of what sorts of things happen when people who ignore science to promote an agenda gain power. This is exactly why we need to fight so hard to keep religious fundamentalists and other scientifically ignorant scumbag whack jobs from gaining control, in the political forum or the educational one.

I'd like to take a moment to encourage you all to lend your blogging voices to the global chorus which calls for the immediate release of these folks.

The diplomats of the U.S. and the E.U. have done pretty much nothing for these people. Libya has oil, and who cares if the current dictator executes a few Bulgarians and Palestinians if we can get some oil out of him, right?

We lend our voices to the chorus. Free them NOW!

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Science Friday: Eiffel Tower On Mars

In the same region as the Face On Mars, there is a mirror image of the Eiffel Tower!

Via BadAstronomy, I came across these AMAZING photos, proving that not only was there an ancient civilization on Mars, but that they've been around at some point since the Eiffel Tower was built. See for yourself, the AMAZING images of a monument built by Martians to signal to us that not only do they exist, but that they've been keeping an eye on us! It's AMAZING!

See what I mean?????

(Well it's at least as credible as the "Face" thing, which is to say not at all.)

Truly, Dr. BA, your "work will never, ever be done".

[EDIT: Also via the Sexy Dr. BA, check out this beautiful photo of the Eiffel Tower for comparison, at the website of extremely talented astrophotographer Thierry Legault.]

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As If The Parallels Weren't Striking Enough

Between my Human v. Fetus thread and the AFDave Thread at AtBC...

EricMurphy makes this comment late last evening on page 201...
This is what I love about Dave's religion:

Quote (afdave @ Sep. 20 2006,21:52)
I am sorry that you don't like "my" Jesus. You will bow before Him someday whether you like Him or not. I'm simply here to warn you before it's too late.

I always thought Jesus was "the Truth, the Light, and the Way." Evidently not. Jesus, in Dave's constipated little universe, is a fascist jerk who demands obeisance and worship like some sort of infantile, insecure little tyrant. Just like Dave's god: he so desperately wants approval from his slaves that he'll wipe them all out if he doesn't get it.

Dave, your religion fills me with revulsion.

Compare that to this from yesterday on here on the HvF thread:

Ehh.. nevermind... just compare it to the whole damned thread!

One especially funny note is that during the conversation, I brought up "Judge not, that ye be not judged...etc. etc. etc" from Matthew chaper 7.

Here is his ridiculous verbal tapdance of ineptitude:
When Jesus said not to judge, he wasn't saying to be naive and assume the best about all people and to throw out good judgment.

He was addressing the intentions of our hearts. Anyone who says, "You're wrong. You're going to hell. And I'm glad." Jesus was warning people about that attitude. That doesn't mean that we are not supposed to warn people about hell. It doesn't mean that we aren't to confront sin. It means that the intentions of our hearts need to be love for God and love for our neighbors.

From context it is clear that He wasn't saying that we shouldn't ever confront/instruct/correct anyone. It is all about the heart.

And yet, after all that semantic shell game, less than 12 hours later in the thread he says:
Angry yet?

The Lord laughs at you. He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble. He laughs at you. You are ridiculous. The depth of your foolishness actually causes God to laugh for a moment, because it is ironic for someone so ridiculous to actually take themselves seriously.

And if you don't repent, you will be punished. Hell is a reality. Deny it all you want, but you will remember these words in eternity.

May God have mercy on your soul.

You know, I honestly didn't start that thread to bait the nutjob into displaying his Coat of Many Absurdities, I really wanted to explore the issue of when we should draw the line between a fetus and a person. Even when he began waving his bible about, I only asked that if he was going to use the bible as a basis for his argument, then he first needed to show that the bible had some sort of relevence in the real world.

He clumsily avoided discussing the issue futher than a circular argument of one unfounded assertion backs up another unfounded assertion:
The Bible speaks and backs up its own authority. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit confirms it. And the Bible confirms the Holy Spirit. Both are real and back one another up.

I roughly paraphrased this sort of circular reasoning as:
"The bible is True, because it says it's True, and we know that's True, because the bible is True."

It's a fairly common strategy amongst the fundies, and it's almost universal that they either cannot or will not see the circularity.

Alas, he either realized that the task was an impossible one, or he's just so brainwashed that there aren't any neurons left capable of connecting to the real world.

If it's the first case, he's a liar and a fraud, desperately trying to shield himself with the burning remnants that hid the man behind the curtain.

If it's the second (and this is my guess), he's in desperate need of immediate psychological intervention. Is there a doctor in the house?

I swear this guy must be AFDave's twin brother.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Have You Ever Smelled Moth Balls?

How'd you get your big, fat head between his little legs?

File that under "lousy jokes".


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How To Wake Up Your Lover

at 3 AM, but not get beaten...

So Shakespeare decided I needed to be awake at 3 AM. Then he went back to sleep. Good thing he's cute.

But now I'm wide awake. And um... in need. Now, of course I'm going to wake up Kate, in the best way I can think of. My patented technique involves my lips, my tongue, a feather, two C batteries, a photo of blipey, a can of whipped cream, a cherry, a riding crop, and six acrobats from the circus.

Crap, I'll have to make do, I'm out of cherries.

But for next time, I could use a few new ideas, just to keep things mixed up a bit.

How do you wake your lover at 3 AM when you need a little special attention? (Without getting a black eye, of course.)

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For Kristine, By Request

In honor of Halloween and Halloween costumes...

From this thread at Amused Muse


Very bored at 3 AM... Shakespeare woke me up, blame him.


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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Return To Sender

Though we love our home grown Hurricanes, we don't care much for the hurricanes that Africa sends our way. This time, we sent it back from whence it came.

Hurricanes on our east coast come from Africa about like spam comes from Viagra hawkers.

Hurricane Gordon has done a full circle in the Atlantic Ocean, and is now threatening the Azores. Helene looks to follow. Y'know, if this keeps up, maybe Africa will get the picture and stop sending them.

Can we adopt this technique for spam?

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Local Surfer Kid Becomes Shark Bait

Sharks are popping up in the news everywhere. This morning, they're right here in Onslow County.

Via Kristine at Amused Muse for instance, comes the story of the walking shark at MSNBC.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:
From the Jacksonville Daily News, comes Shark Bites Onslow Surfer.

Jake Poland went to Onslow Beach on Saturday to catch a few waves. Instead, he came out of the water with a new nickname: “Shark Bait.”

Poland, 16, spent five hours at Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital on Saturday being treated for a shark bite. The bite was confirmed by personnel in the emergency room, according to Naval Hospital officials Monday.

Owww.. There's a picture of his shorts (or what's left of them).
“He’s kind of become a celebrity,” his mother said. “The phone has been ringing off the hook.”

Wow. Just wow. If that's what it takes to get a date around here, I think I'd rather just hang out at the fireworks display.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Human v. Fetus

An interesting (albeit off-topic) idea has emerged in the comments of this Michael Shermer post at Amused Muse. Fundy ChristoFascist Apologetics aside, I'd like to explore the issue of when a fetus becomes a human being.

Some nutjob going by the handle "ConcernedEngineer" is doing the standard fundy conflation dance concerning abortion and infanticide to support his ChristoGestapo opinion that he should be able to make decisions for the rest of us. Nothing new.

But what about the underlying issue of "at what point does a fetus become a human being" with all the rights, privileges, and responsibility thereof? When do we say that yes, this is no longer a growth in a human, but a human in its own right?

Obviously, conception is a stupid conclusion. Otherwise carcinomas would qualify. (ok, that was a snark) But 12 years after birth is equally stupid. Science can't say anything about an immortal soul, whether it exists, when such a thing might enter a body, etc. etc. There's never been a single bit of physical evidence for such a thing, and I see no real reason to invoke invisible beings, omnipotent or otherwise.

So. At birth? What's so special about that moment?

When it's viable outside the womb? Define viable. With or without doctors and machines? With or without someone to feed it?

What about when it has discernable brain waves? Is it a human once it thinks? Once it dreams? Or when it's self-aware? Hell, I know retirees that aren't self-aware, are they not humans anymore?

I'm no expert, but I like the brainwaves idea. Kate agrees, for lack of any better ideas.

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

New Addition

To our little family.






His name is Shakespeare.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Blogger Server Issues


Somebody over there needs a kick in the shin.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Thank You Dr. Tara

It was just a "via" type thing, yet we got a mention at Aetiology.

As always, there's more below the fold.

We would normally thank someone for a hat-tip right in the comments to the thread in question, but given the seriousness of the topic, we felt it may not have been appropriate in this instance. (Don't get me wrong, it's a BIG DEAL to us!)

The thread in question, Well This Is Going To Tick Some People Off actually referenced this post by Kristine, but we got a nod as the place that led her to Kristine's post, so that was very sweet of her.

Thank You Dr. Tara.

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Girls Gone Topless

At the insistance of Karl, we're posting a picture of us. We're not prepared to go "The Full Monty", but I guess topless ain't so bad.



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Michigan Stands Up For Children

Kristine Harley has a short post up at the Amused Muse, about requiring vaccinations for HPV.

(P.S. This post also involves strippers.)

It's a quicky, but we like quickies just fine. Concise and elegant. From the post:

People are always pointing at scientists and screaming, “Why don’t you find a cure for cancer?” Well, now that scientists finally have, loopy-loo fundies deny the treatment for their daughters! Screw them. Not only should this vaccination be required for all young girls, any parent who seriously thinks that this “encourages immorality” should have his or her children taken away. They aren't fit to be parents.

Well said, Kristine.

We've posted before on our feelings about people who deny women proper medical care in order to promote their religion.

Our favorite female hottie Assistant Professor of Epidemiology has a good article on the history of the vaccine (further links worth checking out in that post), and via that same hottie, Rebecca the Skepchick posts a great logical argument against the use of the vaccine.

(As a complete aside, a quick scan through Rebecca's recent posts revealed a gem about Strippers and Science! What's not to love about this Skepchick?)

[ETA - Dr. Tara picked up on Kristine's post via this post, and we got a hat-tip at Aetiology!]

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

House Warming

So Ruthie moved into her new home this weekend, and Kate and I spent today ...um.... blessing the house.

Sorry 'bout the lack of posts today, we've been a little busy. Ruthie's got her big new house, and Kate and I are all by our lonesomes. We chose to spend our first day in our own home quietly together. Well, together anyway.

Final tally?

1 package of generic band-aids - $2
4 C sized batteries - $10
1 torn Victoria's Secret chemise - $35
2 broken bedroom lamps - $40
1 busted living room window - $150
1 horrified elderly couple passing by, 2 very amused Jacksonville Police Officers, and 2 orgasms each in every room of your new home - priceless.

How much are new shingles?

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

"You First" Take Two

Who's side is this Peckerheaded Air Force Guy on, anyway?

From CNN, Air Force Chief: Test Weapons on Testy U.S. Mobs

"If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation," said Wynne. "(Because) if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I would be vilified in the world press."

The Air Force has paid for research into nonlethal weapons, but he said the service is unlikely to spend more money on development until injury problems are reviewed by medical experts and resolved.

I agree, Mr. Secretary, you oughtta be first in line, bastard.

So, to sum it all up, we have defective "nonlethal" weapons that injure people in unintentional ways, the head of the United States Air Force wants to beta test them on the American public, and Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne is a bonehead. Only a Bushite or Microsoft Exec would even suggest such a thing.

I'll be happy in '08 when I can cast my first presidential vote for whoever runs against the Republicans, and hopefully promises to throw these kinds of idiots out into the gutter.

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Does Anyone Read Portugese?

We just got a hit from a very interesting looking site.

If we were more multilingual, we'd probably want to add it to the blogroll.


(Warning: Artistic Nudes - No Prudes)

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Some Bitch Stole Our Schtick!

WTF? Can we sue?

Ok, so she did it first, she did it with video, and she probably did it to more people.

But we did it better...and sexier.

Maybe we should get together with Lonelygirl15 and start a union or something.

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Award Nominations

[EDIT - I'm post dating this thread to keep it at the top for a while. Sort of a makeshift sticky. Original date of this post was September 12th.]
[FURTHER EDIT - I'm putting it back in where it goes.]

Rich has started an AtBC thread for award nominations. He's apparently nominated us to host the gala.

Okee Dokee, we're game. Make your nominations over there, we'll host the party and even present the awards if y'all want.

(Just do us a favor next time and give us a head's up first, Rich. Thanks sweetie.)

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Dave's New Love

As if he weren't thoroughly humiliated enough, DaveScot finds his one and only... in Javison.

With apologies to KeithS, I'm just going to paste his entire comment from AtBC. What else can you say about this?

A typical weekend in the whirlwind romance of JAD and Le Tard, taken from the thread entitled "John Davison, Are You Listening?":

I’m listening but I won’t participate until my several papers are restored to the side board. I hope Uncmmon Descent can understand my position.

Comment by John A. Davison — September 8, 2006 @ 9:17 am

In regard to Dr. Davison’s papers on the sideboard, if someone else wants to gather them together and reformat for html...I’ll put them back on the sideboard...

Before I do this I need a promise from Doctor Davison that he’ll remain civil with everyone here including me, he’ll respect the beliefs of even the most profoundly religious members here, he’ll strictly avoid writing anything obscene or suggestive of something obscene (sex, bodily fluids, etcetera), and will otherwise not use language inappropriate for young ears. Bill, Denyse, and I all agree that we want a G-rated blog suitable for all audiences. No exceptions.

I realize that I am guilty of breaking these rules in the past, especially in regard to respecting the beliefs of others, and for that I offer my humble apology. It was wrong of me.

Comment by DaveScot — September 8, 2006 @ 10:58 am

I will promise nothing to David Sprnger or anyone else [remainder deleted, presumably by Sgt. Tard].

Comment by John A. Davison — September 8, 2006 @ 12:03 pm

Have it your way, John. Your papers will not be restored and you\’re back to having all your comments requiring approval by an editor before seeing the light of day.

Comment by DaveScot — September 8, 2006 @ 12:36 pm

I am not only listening, I am trying to respond to those who question my Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis. I guess Uncommon Descent doesn’t need any help from the author of the PEH and the subject of this thread.

Comment by John A. Davison — September 9, 2006 @ 5:05 pm

Sorry about that, John. Your comments were stuck in moderation.

Comment by Patrick — September 9, 2006 @ 8:34 pm

That’s fine. Just don’t let it happen again. What of course is unknown is what would have been done had I not complained both here and elsewhere, notably at “brainstorms.” And where is my other comment or is it comments. I can’t remember? They were far more significant than these. I am old you know and my short term memory is not what it used to be. What I do remenber is something my mother once told me. John, she said, it is only the squeeky wheel that gets the grease. Apparently this is an example of my mothers wisdom. Thank you mom!

Oh I remember now. It was the one where I accused the Darwinians of being so weak minded as to believe that population genetics ever had anything whatsoever to do with creative evolution. See if you can’t cough that one up. As I recall it was one of my better efforts.

If I can’t be treated as a peer here at Uncommon Descent I would prefer that you deny me the opportunity to submit messages. I don’t care to be treated as a second class citizen anywhere, anytime or anyplace and I am likely to make that widely known whenever and wherever it occurs, as I just did.

Comment by John A. Davison — September 9, 2006 @ 9:51 pm

Okay, much as I hate to ever have to say this, I now give my solemn promise in advance that will never make any lewd or vulgar remarks here at Uncommon Descent and humbly beg the blogczar to be granted the same priveleges as other contributors have here. If this is not sufficient, please have the common decency to outright ban me from wasting my time posting messages that may never appear.

Maybe you could do what they did over at Panda’s Thumb. No matter where I said it, it immediately appeared on “The Bathroom Wall.” Or perhaps you could do what they did at EvC where it was “Boot Camp.” Heck, I will take whatever I can get. It is a cruel world out there don’t you know. But seriously, it is no fun for a published scientist to be treated as a second class citizen anywhere. I am sure you can understand.

“I get no respect.”
Rodney Dangerfield

“A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
John A. Davison

Comment by John A. Davison — September 9, 2006 @ 10:40 pm

If I promise to continue to be good boy (79 next June), do you suppose my papers might be restored? If they were it would make it much easier to respond to many of the questions that I have provoked. The answers would be a touch of the mouse away don’t you know. I just realized that I have not kept my word when I promised that I would not participate until they were. I guess my word isn’t worth a nickel is it? Oh well, that is just old senile John again. He can’t remember anything any more.

I know I am senile because I get the senile citizen’s discount (10%) every Tuesday at Ben Franklins, one of the few virtues of getting old. They used to have it at KMart but it stopped when Martha Stewart went into stir.

“A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
John A. davison

Comment by John A. Davison — September 10, 2006 @ 1:55 pm

John, the self deprecation is unbecoming. Won’t you just please be the professional scientist with the great ideas about organic evolution that we all know you can be when you want to be? The scientist with your name writing on brainstorms, for instance, before I came along to set you off. That’s the guy we’re looking for here. If I beg, will you please be the same here? I’m begging!

Comment by DaveScot — September 10, 2006 @ 5:43 pm

John, check the sidebar and your email.

Comment by DaveScot — September 10, 2006 @ 7:18 pm


I am behaving and you known it. It is very true as you just admitted that you “set me off.” You sure have, big time and many times. That is a matter of record. I recommend that should be put in the past. What says DaveScot?

Comment by John A. Davison — September 11, 2006 @ 3:30 am

Doctor Davison

It’s all water under the bridge. Let’s focus on our common belief that chance never had anything significant to do with organic evolution.

Comment by DaveScot — September 11, 2006 @ 4:31 am

Let’s do just that. Set them up in the other alley. So far I am bowling a perfect game!

Who is next?

I love it so!

“A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
John A. davison

Comment by John A. Davison — September 11, 2006 @ 7:03 am

Bravo. A true pas de deux des tards.

I wonder which one was on his knees...

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Huygens Probe Landing Simulation

Continuing the space theme from Janie's last post, take a look at this.

NASA has put out a Quicktime movie, a simulation derived from the Descent Imager and the Spectral Radiometer. It's aptly named "The View from Huygens"

Very cool. Narrarated and with subtitles (in the event you don't want to wake the half-naked sleeping beauty beside you when you watch it at 3AM).

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Is The Big Bang A Big Goose Chase?

Or is this simply a matter of not having the right tool for the right job?

Space.com is reporting on a new study in an article entitled Study Questions Big Bang (Scientists Question the Study).

In the September 1st issue of The Astrophysical Journal, Richard Lieu from the U. of Alabama and his team used the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP for short) to take a look at the Cosmic Microwave Background inside galaxy clusters. They were specifically looking for a particular "shadow effect", called Sunyaev-Zel'dovich.

The cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation is a faint afterglow permeating the universe. Many scientists have hailed CMB observations as strong evidence for the Big Bang.

A shadow effect called Sunyaev-Zel'dovich is a distortion that affects CMB photons inside galaxy clusters. It occurs when high-energy electrons inside the clusters crash into the more sluggish CMB photons, boosting them to higher energy levels.

This shifts the CMB spectrum inside clusters from low to higher energies. The dearth of low-energy microwaves inside the clusters means that instruments like the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) should see fewer low-energy CMB photons inside clusters compared to outside.

"That's the shadow effect—that at lower energy you see the CMB has a decrement in the direction of the cluster," explained Niayesh Afshordi, an astrophysicist at Harvard University who was not involved in the study.

Bottom line - they didn't see enough of it, which at first blush might seem to cast doubt on the whole Big Bang thing.

Problem - WMAP isn't really the best tool for the job. Enter astrophysicist David Spergel of Princeton.

But Spergel says he seriously doubts the conclusions reached by Lieu's team are correct for a number of reasons. First, WMAP, one of the instruments used by Lieu's team, is not the best instrument for detecting the shadow effect, Spergel said. The shadow effect "occurs on small angular scales predominately, while WMAP is designed to look at large scales across the sky," he said.

Secondly, other astronomers have confirmed the shadow effect in other galaxy clusters using not only WMAP, but also with ground-based radio telescopes, which have higher resolution and are thus better able to spot the effect.

Counterpunch from Lieu...

Lieu counters that WMAP's resolution might be a problem for far away galaxy clusters, but points out that the clusters he examined were relatively close by, and certainly close enough for WMAP to see a shadow effect if it existed.

"The WMAP's resolution is not an excuse here," Lieu said.

Ok, so Lieu isn't actually saying the Big Bang didn't happen, he's just not down with WMAP not being the right tool for the job.

It's possible that there's something scientists don't understand yet about galaxies and galaxy clusters (Afshordi's thought), or that the particular galaxies Lieu looked at are such strong radio emitting galaxies that we don't see a shadow (Lieu's thought). Like staring into a search lamp and looking for shadows.

So what happens when scientists disagree? They go back and look some more. Notice - no lawyers involved here.

Just so y'know.

The abstract of the paper by Lieu and company can be found here, subscription required for the full paper.

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EPA Amnesia

Apparently, the Environmental Protection Agency claims it doesn't have the authority to um... Protect the umm... Environment...


From the online news section of Nature.

In yet more Bush Administration shenanigans, the EPA in 2003 decided it didn't have the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. Now twelve states have brought a suit against the EPA all the way to the Supreme Court in a case affectionately known as "Massachusetts v. EPA".

But in August 2003, under the Bush Administration, the EPA reversed its stance, claiming that it did not have authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. And it stated that if it did have the authority, it would choose not to regulate emissions.

Let's play detectives and like good detectives we should follow the money trail. Who would stand to benefit from a lack of regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles?

Lessee. Automakers and BIG OIL, perhaps? Color me shocked.

The Supremes agreed to hear the case this past June, and parties are filing their briefs now, with the EPA expected to make their filings in October. The case is expected to be decided in '07.

The EPA doesn't dispute that carbon dioxide is playing a role in climate change, just whether or not it has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases. The EPA isn't obliged to regulate all atmospheric gases under its remit; usually just those considered an "endangerment to public health and the environment". The plaintiffs would like the court to rule both that the EPA has authority, and that it must apply this rule in deciding whether to regulate.

My questions are rather simple. Exactly which part of "Environmental Protection" doesn't the EPA understand? Or does EPA now stand for "Embrace the President's Asininity"?

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

How A Theory Begins

Originally posted at the Science, Just Science Forums (where you can see the evolution of the piece) the girls have allowed me to Guest Post this.

Thanks, girls.

How a Theory Begins
By Lou FCD

Back in February, I was navigating my usual morning course of news and science. Every morning with my coffee I enjoy reading about all the things the world was doing while I slept. There’s a very specific, evolving cast of digital characters that parades across my laptop screen. I start with the daily paper, move on to national news, then over to the BBC England page. From June to November, the next stops are the National Hurricane Center and the Satellite photos of the Atlantic. Saving the most interesting for last, I start down a long list of science related websites. The World Wide Web is a vast repository of incredible amounts of brand new science. First on my list is space.com, a great site for daily briefs on what’s going on in the universe.

On this particular morning, I was reading a little bit about the Mars Spirit Rover, which had just arrived at Home Plate. I’m always interested in what those little-guys-that-won’t-quit are up to. Something really struck me that morning, about how science is done, and how that relates (or more properly, how it doesn’t relate) to the Intelligent Design creationism movement.

At issue was the process which formed Home Plate. There were many conjectures about what caused the structures they were seeing. Was this the remnants of a hydrothermal vent? Was it an impact crater formation? Could it have been caused by water erosion? Lots of ideas were being floated.

Two quotes really stood out in my mind. One member of the science team is Larry Crumpler, the Research Curator of Volcanology and Space Sciences for the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He said, “"I think the hypotheses for Home Plate have gotten more diverse… In fact, it is a healthy debate within the team right now.”

Steve Squyres is the lead Mars Rover Exploration Scientist at Cornell University. His take on the situation? "But that’s purely conjecture at this point … a working hypothesis. Everything is on the table until we’ve gotten more data down."

Reading the article, I noticed something about the way the science team went about things. First, they saw something interesting from satellite photos. Naturally, the next thing they did was send the rover over to investigate. Once they began getting the data back from the rover, they started developing hypotheses, natural explanations for what may have formed the rocks they were seeing. Then they began discussing and debating each of the various hypotheses. At the same time, they continued to collect data, looking for evidence both for and against various ideas.

Something else about the article I noticed. It’s as much about what wasn’t said, as what was. At no time did any of the various scientists propose hiring a P.R. firm to promote their idea. There weren’t any discussions about how to sneak ideas into high school classrooms. Nobody suggested hiring lawyers to defend their point of view. Not one single scientist just gave up and said that the rocks were just too complex to figure out, so God must have designed them that way. So herein is the crux of the matter. Herein lies the difference between science and Intelligent Design creationism. Herein stands bare the abject vacuity of ideas promoted by the likes of William Dembski and Michael Behe.

So briefly, let’s examine the scientific method of the Mars rover scientists.

1. They saw something interesting from satellite photos.
2. They sent the rover to gather data.
3. They began looking over the data carefully.
4. They began forming hypotheses.
5. They discussed and debated these hypotheses with other knowledgeable scientists.


6. They continue collecting data.
7. They rethink, reevaluate, reform, confirm or refute their hypotheses.
8. They go back to step 2
9. Sometime WAY down the road, they wind up with a theory.

At no point have any of them:

A. Thrown up their hands and said "Wow, look how PRETTY! We’ll never figure it out, so Godmustadidit"
B. Hired any lawyers.
C. Worked up a grand PR campaign to push their hypotheses.
D. Discussed forcing their hypotheses into high school classrooms.

The proponents of Intelligent Design creationism (or "cdesign proponentsists" as they once referred to themselves) start at step one and simply stop. Then they jump down to A, B, C, and D. In fact, you might say they jump to action E – “All of the above”.

On the other hand, let’s take a look at how actual science gets into a classroom. In 2006 the Shaw Prize in Astronomy, an award for important breakthroughs in scientific research, was awarded to Saul Permutter, Adam Riess, and Brian Schmidt.

Here’s the press release in its entirety.

Saul Perlmutter, Adam Riess, and Brian Schmidt are awarded the Shaw Prize in Astronomy 2006 in recognition of their leadership roles on the two teams that made the remarkable discovery of an acceleration in the rate of the expansion of the universe. Such an effect had been known theoretically since shortly after Einstein applied his theory of general relativity to cosmology, but the general belief, including Einstein’s own assessment, was that the cosmological constant had no basis in reality. Thus, the 1998 announcement of the acceleration of the universe by the Supernova Cosmology Project and the High-z Supernova Search teams electrified the scientific community. The simplest interpretation, that the vacuum has energy even in the absence of matter and radiation, has profound implications that may revolutionize our understanding of the nature of the physical world and its ultimate fate. It is an achievement that is already taught to schoolchildren.

The Shaw Prize in Astronomy Committee
The Shaw Prize Foundation

I’ve emphasized the last sentence to point out how quickly these men’s research found its way into classrooms. In less than eight years, without a single lawyer, P.R. firm, or think tank, these startling findings are being taught in science classes.

This pointedly illustrates that Intelligent Design creationism is a completely different animal than a scientific theory.

Seeing the current state of the theory of the acceleration of the expansion of the universe, and gazing back toward Home Plate, it’s easy to see that this is indeed how a theory begins.

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Do Us A Favor...

We've been tweaking the sidebar links a bit.

Click on them. Click on them all (especially the suck-up to Wes link - maybe humor and forgiveness will win the day!) (Well ok, maybe not, but it couldn't hurt, right?).

Lots of folks have sent traffic our way, and contributed to this blog, we'd like to return the favor. We promise that you'll find some good stuff at all those places. They wouldn't be there if you couldn't.

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A Constructive Remembrance Of The September 11 Attacks

BBC News is reporting on the first really helpful memorial about which we've heard.

Seems some local religious leaders are getting together to play some cricket.

Local Christian clergy and Muslim imams will play each other in a Twenty20 cricket match at Grace Road, home of cup winners Leicestershire.

In addition to the Christians and Muslims on the pitch, the match will be overseen by Hindu and Jewish umpires.

The Right Reverend Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester, said it was vital to mark the 9/11 events in a positive way.

It's good to see local leaders of different faiths meeting on the field of sport, rather than the field of battle. This is positive leadership, something to be emulated, for sure.

The Christian and Muslim teams first met in a football match earlier in 2006, where the imams won 5-0. It was decided to have a rematch in a different sport.

Ouch. Looks like good sports all around, though.

If you plan to attend, the cricket match is scheduled for 1600 BST tomorrow, Grace Road, Leicestershire.

Now if we could just figure out the rules of cricket, which barely even seem to be in English...

Although all 11 players have the chance to bat, the team are "all out" when 10 wickets have fallen as the "not out" batsman is left without a team-mate at the other end of the wicket.

Ummm.. ok.

The uncommon methods, but not unheard of, are 'hit wicket' - when a batsman removes his or her own bails - and 'handled the ball' - when he handles the ball without permission from the fielding side.

Are we sure this isn't porn?

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File This Under "You First"

CNN is reporting that President Bush wants to bring terrorists to trial.

"As soon as Congress acts to authorize these military commissions, we will prosecute these men and send a clear message to those who kill Americans: No matter how long it takes, we will find you and bring you to justice," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "As we bring terrorists to justice, we're acting to secure the homeland."

The best way to secure the safety of the people of this country is to throw you and your cronies in the pokey, Mr. President. How's that for sending a message?

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Return Of The Trans-Gender Purple Octopus Aliens

The online version of Science is reporting that there may be thousands of little water covered earths out there.

In the blurb found here, Phil Berardelli reports "New models suggest that as many as one-third of the solar systems in the galactic neighborhood might contain terrestrial planets with oceans of water that could harbor life."

While original thoughts on the whole "hot Jupiter" thing seemed to indicate that solar systems with close-in gas giants would either suck up or eject all the good rocky stuff from a solar system, the latest thinking goes against that grain.

But "the new models indicate these early ideas were probably wrong," says planetary scientist Sean Raymond of the University of Colorado, Boulder. Reporting in today's issue of Science, Raymond and colleagues say they ran simulations lasting more than 8 months each on more than a dozen desktop computers. They observed how nascent solar systems evolved over about 200 million years, basing the initial conditions on current theories of how planets formed in our own solar system. The researchers found that when gas giants migrate, they fling lots of rocky debris away from the star and into the habitable zone, where liquid water can exist on a planet's surface. There, the debris frequently coalesces into Earth-sized planets.

Well, that's pretty cool. Combine that with a buncha comets on water delivery duty, and presto chango - you got a little earth thing goin' on. A little abiogenesis and/or Incompetent Designer, and there ya' go. Trans-gender Purple Octopus Aliens for us to hang out with.

The abstract can be found here.

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SAT Scores And Intelligence

Over at LiveScience.com there's a story entitled
Men Smarter than Women, Scientist Claims
about Intelligence as measured by SAT scores. Vindication for DaveScot?

The original paper was published in the journal Intelligence. (Subscription required.)

To determine if there was a link between gender and intelligence, and perhaps between brain size and intelligence, Rushton and a colleague analyzed the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores from 100,000 17- and 18-year-olds.

When Rushton and colleagues weighted each SAT question by an established general intelligence factor called the g-factor, they discovered that males surpassed females by an average of 3.6 IQ points.

In rebuttal, Bruce Braken, a psychologist at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia says the study didn't take other factors into consideration.

"I believe that the differences probably lie in the variables they hadn't considered," Bracken said.

One plausible explanation is that more females than males decide to go to college and thus take the SAT test. The study did in fact include about 10,000 more females than males.

"This suggests that more males are deciding to do something else," Bracken said. "It may be that the males who would not have scored as high on the SAT chose not to take it, and they chose another route."

A more reliable study, he said, would be to match each male with a very similar female and then compare the results.

We're not really sure what this blog says about gender differences in intelligence. We're pretty sure it says something about Multiple Personality Disorder, though.

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Who Should Play Javison?

In the previous thread, a little off-topic conversation has gotten started about who should play who in the musical/theatrical version of this blog.

I'm thinking the two best actors to play evil psychopaths are Sir Anthony Hopkins and Christopher Lee. Of course, Ian McDiarmid in full Return of the Jedi emperor get-up would work really well, too. What are your thoughts about who should play our little pet troll Javison?

Any other suggestions about who should play Javison or anyone else are welcome, too.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

What to Do?

Now that we've outed ourselves as fictional characters, we'd like you, our readers to decide the fate of UDOJ.

Since Lou, our writer, can't bear to just send us off into the sunset we're going to continue on. The question is,

Do we scratch this blog and start a new one with our new lives, or do we just keep going from here?

Your thoughts and opinions are, as always, welcome and encouraged.

Kisses from Bo'fus all three of us. (It's been a little crowded with three of us all in one little skull, but we're getting used to it.)

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Atlantis Liftoff

Off she goes!

Looks all good, all the Aux. power units functioning properly, a little ice and water in the Flash Evaporator System. All three engines still working as they're supposed to.

Safe trip, folks.

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Fred Phelps Gets His Due

Whilst surfing around TotalFark, I found a link to this video. Fred Phelps Jr., freakozoid from Westboro Baptist Church, gets hit on.... by a man.

How funny is that? Fight the Hate with Love!

I love the opening exchange...

Reporter having some fun - "What do you say to critics who say 'God loves everyone'?"
Freak Phelps - "I say they don't know anything about the Bible, and they're lyin'."

Hey Moron! The Apostle John said "God is love" not God loves Baptists, or God has love for Freak Phelps, or God loves all the straight people, but God IS love. It was important enough for him to say it not once, but twice. 1 John 4:8 and 16

What about your biggie? John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world..." Did he mention sexual orientation there? Because if he did, it must have been in the original Greek, it's not in any of the English translations. Oh wait, I've read it in the original Greek, and it's not there either. The word translated as "world" is actually "kosmos", as in cosmos, as in the whole enchilada. It's not in the German version, either. "Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt..."

That's from your own holy book. I say YOU don't know anything about your own book of woo.

And check out the signs people are holding. Lovely little speaches of love, like "God hates cripple soldiers". Nice. I really take exception to that one. And "God is America's Terror", and "God Hates You".

Anyways, Phelps is an Asshole and the reporter really has some fun with Freak boy and friends. It's worth a look.

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Hey, remember that Total Fark thing...

I was curious, so I spent the 5 bucks to go see what was said.

Back on August the first, in reference to This Post, we got about 35 hits from TotalFark.com, the pay section of Fark.com.

There wasn't much to it, but here's what was said, filed under "Amusing"...

"Out into a driving downpour, clad in our underwear, we bolted out the back door and reveled in the deluge from the blackened sky. It was delicious and magnificent."

Just a quote from the post. There was one comment...

Janie Belle is naughty."

If he only knew...

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Friday, September 08, 2006

All Good Things

Having no real good reason to continue, it's time to pack it in.

Sad, but true. Kate and I are happy to have made y'all's aquaintance. We've poked around a bit in science, literature, politics, religion, sex, heresy, sports, and even a bit of comedy.

It's been an interesting ride. I started this blog with a modest little aim. Nothing so grandiose as to upset the blogoverse, nothing so high and lofty as to even educate myself about science. Within a few days, I had met many interesting people. Some of you I knew a little from your various writings and musings around the web, none of you I knew well enough to call friend. I think that's changed.

We have to say goodbye to some very special people, who've taken quite the interest in our little blog here. At the top of the list, of course, is Blipey. Blipey the Shakespeare Quoting Snuffleupagus, Blipey the Clown, Blipey the fellow who took special interest in my science education. I've learned quite a bit about science and humor from you, sir. I hope that you will miss me as much as I will miss you.

guthrie, you have invested so much time and effort, I can't even begin to properly recognize you for all the care and concern you have taken regarding my science education.

Zachriel, patience is thy name. How you ever perservered and remained so level headed, I'll never know. Your science assistance has been invaluable.

Alan Fox, your continued contributions will always be remembered with great fondness.

Lifewish, both your science help and your technical assistance were integral to this blog.

Richard Hughs, late comer to the party, nevertheless helpful and kind. I'm sorry you missed the beginning of the fun.

Steve Story, I've always enjoyed your commentary, but you have been a huge pain in my ass. I mean that in the most affectionate of ways, no snark or nuthin'.

Bourgeois Rage, Leper Colony, AJ, Sean, Arden Chatfield, IAMB, Chris Hyland, Rogue Historian, vino, and whoever I may have inadvertantly missed, to all of you - You may have not commented as much, but your contributions will always be valued.

In particular, I'd like to say something to Dohn Asswipe Javison - Get back on the meds, you sick fuck.

We've been visited by some pretty heavy hitters over the past few months. Dr. Wesley Elsberry, Dr. Tara Smith, and Dr. Phil Plait, to name some names. I really am a huge fan of all three.

Of course, no list of "thank you"s would be complete here without a big ol' tongue kiss to Dave Springer. Without you, Dave, this blog would never have happened at all. I have been terribly impressed with the amount of self control you exhibited, at least in the beginning. I would never have believed it, had someone told me about it. You have been gentlemanly to us at all times, and chivalrous. That said, it's rather disgusting and revolting that you would crawl on your knees back to Dembski. I would also not have believed that, had someone just told me about it. I almost believed you had some character while you were here.

Speaking for both Kate and myself, I can truly say that we are sad, enlightened, happy, resigned, and entirely fictional, and it's time for the story to end. This is the final act in our little bit of "Street Theatre".

Before I begin the flashback, I have to make an apology to Dr. Elsberry.

Dr. Elsberry,

I must apologize for violating the board rules at AtBC. I did what I did in full knowlege of the rule against sock puppetry and make no excuse. I was fully aware of the rule, and fully aware that I was violating it, and fully aware that I would be banned for it. I hold no resentment toward you for enforcing that rule, and consider myself banned as of this moment. I do hope you will see fit to allow me to continue reading there and at the Thumb, though.

Now, on with the show.

Please turn back in your programs to Page 19 of The Bathroom Wall. There you will find a little conversation between Lou FCD and Arden Chatfield. It's the conversation that began it all.

Lou FCD mentions that he now feels like "somebody" at The Panda's Thumb since he's been banished to the bathroom wall for the first time.
Arden notes that one is not somebody at AtBC until one receives a ban from UD from DaveTard with boldface insult.

Thus, the gauntlet was thrown down.

Knowing that Dave reads AtBC, I thought it wise to employ some misdirection, so I opined that I would have to wait a while, but immediately went and began building this blog and posting at UD. Remember, this blog was meant to suck in one person. It was tailor made for that one person. I would have had a bit smoother time had you loudmouths at AtBC kept your traps shut. In the end, though, your persistant and very vocal thoughts about my secret identity actually did more to lend credence to my personna than anything else, so I humbly thank you all for being jerks. I really am going to miss you all, especially Steve. Ya big lunk. I humbly beg your forgiveness for having to sacrifice you for the cause. You've probably got the one sense of humor in all of cyberdom that might be able to laugh about that. I hope you do. I have family in the R.D. area, sometime we'll have to get together for a beer... assuming you aren't going to beat the crap out of me or something. I figure I at least owe you a beer or two.

While I achieved the ban, it was actually from Dembski himself. I hope that qualifies as fulfilling the challenge. Getting DaveTard to defend me and quit UD was just icing on the cake. Drawing Javison in to be tormented was... well I'm not really sure whether that was a good thing or a bad thing, but it certainly provided some comedy. I hope I have given you each at least one smile with The Big Green Marker.

Alas, the Law of Unintended Consequences took root, and Uncommonly Dense was just not the same without the UberTard. So it was that I attempted to rectify the situation by building Dave his own blog... which he unceremoniously rejected. As MorphoDyke er.. I mean O'Leary continued to raise the "too dumb to even bother with" quotient, I felt I had no choice but to allow the evolution dogs free reign, to chase Dave back into Dembski's waiting arms.

Well, there's plenty of gory details left, but to post them all would require a novel, as each and every comment and post was so carefully planned, and everything that possibly could go wrong, did. I spent a great deal of time planning, and then even more time controlling the damage when my plans fell to pieces.

Honestly, I don't know how I ever pulled it off. I will confess to having continuing advice from someone I refer to as my own Karl Rove, but that person will have to decide whether to "come out" all by themself. I can't, in good conscience, do it for them, though much credit is due. Thank you for everything, Karl.

Lastly, just for fun, I believe I'll keep JanieBelle and Kate around. I think their adventures are worth persuing, albeit in a more publicly fictional way.

Cheers to you all, and thanks for the ride. It was fun.


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Star Date September 8, 1966

On this date in 1966, Star Trek premiered on NBC.

Low budget, blatently didactic, utopian, forward thinking, and ahead of its time. 40 years later, it's an iconic, classic, and rabidly loved franchise.

Happy 40th birthday, Star Trek. We only wish that Gene would have lived to see it.

Alright, people! Get on with a new series and get that damned movie moving!

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Altantis Mission Scrubbed Again

We're currently at the T -9:00 hold, and the mission's been scrubbed for a day due to a fuel sensor glitch.

Weather good, communications good, pressure check good, fuel sensor wiggy. NoGo.

Tariq Malik has the update at Space.com

NASA Scrubs Attempted Launch of Shuttle Atlantis
8 September 2006 10:56 a.m. EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – For the second time in three days, NASA has scrubbed the attempted launch of its space shuttle Atlantis, this time due to an errant fuel tank sensor reading inside the orbiter’s 15-story fuel tank.

The decision comes after a series of discussions and debates over one of four engine cutoff sensors inside the liquid hydrogen portion of Atlantis’ external tank. The sensor failed a standard prelaunch check.

NASA is providing live coverage of Atlantis’ launch. You are invited to follow the briefing using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

- Tariq Malik

To keep you busy until tomorrow's attempt, there's lots of good STS 115 mission info and a link to NASA TV here.

Space.com biographies for the crew are here.

Commander (CDR): Brent W. Jett Jr.
Pilot (PLT): Chris J. Ferguson
Mission Specialist 1 (MS1):
Joseph Tanner
Mission Specialist 2 (MS2): Daniel Burbank
Mission Specialist 3 (MS3): Steven MacLean
Mission Specialist 4 (MS4): Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Kristine Harley Makes Our Favorite Blog List

I was just checking the site stats, and saw a few new refferals...

So we got a mention and some sisterly type concern from Amused Muse, a blog by Kristine Harley.

Whoa! Check out John A. Davison vs. Godzilla for a peek into this guy's mind. I feel sorry for poor Dembski and DaveScot (never thought I would). And certainly poor JanieBelle—stay safe, JanieBelle.
She describes herself as
Car-free, graduate student, working stiff, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe in training, on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious girl fridays of the world.
We like her already. Go check out her blog. And Dr. Tara and Dr. BA are both on her links list, so she must be doing something right.

Plus, she's hot.

She just made our blogroll, and our list of favorite bloggers! Thanks, Kristine!

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California Stands Up For Pluto

Via Space.com, the California legislature is fighting back...

File this under "Polititians With A Sense Of Humor".

August 24, 2006, Sacramento, California.

Introduced by Assembly Members Richman and Canciamilla
Coauthors: Assembly Members Aghazarian, Bass, Benoit, Berg, Bermudez, Blakeslee, Bogh, Calderon, Chan, Chavez, Cogdill, Cohn, Coto, Daucher, DeVore, Emmerson, Frommer, Garcia, Goldberg, Haynes, Jerome Horton, Shirley Horton, Houston, Huff, Karnette, Keene, Koretz, La Malfa, Laird, Leno, Lieber, Liu, Matthews, Maze, Mountjoy, Mullin, Nakanishi, Nation, Negrete McLeod, Niello, Parra, Plescia, Ridley-Thomas, Sharon Runner, Ruskin, Salinas, Strickland, Tran, Walters, Wolk, Wyland, and Yee.

August 24, 2006

Relative to Pluto's planetary status.


WHEREAS, Recent astronomical discoveries, including Pluto's oblong orbit and the sighting of a slightly larger Kuiper Belt object, have led astronomers to question the planetary status of Pluto; and

WHEREAS, The mean-spirited International Astronomical Union decided on August 24, 2006, to disrespect Pluto by stripping Pluto of its planetary status and reclassifying it as a lowly dwarf planet; and

WHEREAS, Pluto was discovered in 1930 by an American, Clyde Tombaugh, at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona, and this discovery resulted in millions of Californians being taught that Pluto was the ninth planet in the solar system; and

WHEREAS, Pluto, named after the Roman God of the underworld and affectionately sharing the name of California's most famous animated dog, has a special connection to California history and culture; and

WHEREAS, Downgrading Pluto's status will cause psychological harm to some Californians who question their place in the universe and worry about the instability of universal constants; and

WHEREAS, The deletion of Pluto as a planet renders millions of text books, museum displays, and children's refrigerator art projects obsolete, and represents a substantial unfunded mandate that must be paid by dwindling Proposition 98 education funds, thereby harming California's children and widening its budget deficits; and

WHEREAS, The deletion of Pluto as a planet is a hasty, ill-considered scientific heresy similar to questioning the Copernican theory, drawing maps of a round world, and proving the existence of the time and space continuum; and

WHEREAS, The downgrading of Pluto reduces the number of planets available for legislative leaders to hide redistricting legislation and other inconvenient political reform measures; and

WHEREAS, The California Legislature, in the closing days of the 2005-06 session, has been considering few matters important to the future of California, and the status of Pluto takes precedence and is worthy of this body's immediate attention; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, That the Assembly hereby condemns the International Astronomical Union's decision to strip Pluto of its planetary status for its tremendous impact on the people of California and the state's long term fiscal health; and be it further

Resolved, That the Assembly Clerk shall send a copy of the resolution to the International Astronomical Union and to any Californian who, believing that his or her legislator is addressing the problems that threaten the future of the Golden State, requests a copy of the resolution.

This text is available on the California Legislature website.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Petition for Buzz Aldrin's Second Shot

We think Buzz should get a second shot at the guy who accused him of never going to the moon. Video below the fold.

From YouTube, here's the video....

It's crappy video, so we think Buzz should get another shot, with better cameras rolling. Maybe some Matrixesque slow motion and stuff. Sign Below, Nay or Aye.

2 Eloquent Orations

"Intersex" Fish in the Potomac

Sure, find a fish with no sexual preference, and immediately label it "abnormal".

Over at LiveScience.com, there's a story about male fish sporting eggs. Of couse, just because they've been contaminated with radioactive waste from outer space or something, let's go make fun of them and write a horror movie. Sure, if they don't do it the bible way, let's lock them up and deny them their rights. Next there'll be a move for a Constitutional Amendment to ban them from marrying. Someone call Falwell, there's a whole school of sexual deviates at the gates of Washington DC!

Rainbow Trout Pride, I say!

0 Eloquent Orations

In Which Dr. Tara Gets Ripped Off

In the Flags and Lollipops Science Blogger Hot or Not Poll, Dr. Tara gets the shaft.

Our thoughts on the matter are listed in the left side bar. Feel free to disagree with us, but you will of course be wrong.


Also getting the shaft, Dr. Phil Plait, of BadAstronomy.

How rude. I wonder if Katherine Harris had anything to do with the results....

8 Eloquent Orations

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Step In The Right Direction

On a break, I just saw this article at the BBC news website. Only have a minute, so I'll let you all get the conversation going...

It talks about curing cancer with modified T-Cells. Very cool, if it pans out.

0 Eloquent Orations

Monday, September 04, 2006

Our Very Own Thread at AtBC

At After the Bar Closes! We're impressed. Do we win something?

So this is a thread about that thread which is about this blog.

Just something to spin your head before your coffee.

We'll give you guys something to fill it up with soon. We've just been a little busy lately.

3 Eloquent Orations

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Blog Poll

At Rich's request, a little poll before we continue storm clean-up.

Five questions to answer in your spare time.

1. What's your favorite music?

2. What's your favorite blog besides this one?

3. What's your favorite book?

4. What's your favorite source of science news?

5. What's your favorite movie?

And as a bonus,

6. What do you think the definition of "Planet" should be, and why?

24 Eloquent Orations