Monthly Archives: July 2010

Own The Poll UPDATED (Or, more proof that Christian = Liar)

This one is very much worth the effort. Stop here first for some instructions on strategy, then go here to do this thing.


Holy crap! The Kent Hovind poll started out looking like this:

What do you believe about evolution?

It’s a religion.
* It’s a fact!
* It’s a reasonable scientific theory.

Then it changed to:

What do you believe about CREATION?

It’s a religion.
* It’s a fact!
* It’s a reasonable scientific theory.



Wanted: A bash utility that sends the contents of a file to standard output. It would be named spew. It would be like cat but with the problems oft’ complained about in cat fixed. There would be a few options. One option would be to chomp the final newline if there is one. Other options would change the character encoding. Another option would be to specify several commands to which the data could be sent simultaneously. But otherwise it would be pretty simple. Spew.

See the whole “WANTED” list here.

ca 140 killed in Congo boat sinking

Up to 140 people are feared dead after a boat carrying passengers and goods capsized on a river in the Democratic Republic of Congo, officials say.

The accident happened on the Kasai river – a tributary of the Congo River – in the western province of Bandundu.

Information Minister Lambert Mende told the BBC the boat had been overloaded and 80 people had been confirmed dead.

After decades of conflict, DR Congo has few roads or rail links and many people travel on often overloaded vessels.

Continue reading ca 140 killed in Congo boat sinking

The end is near

So, do you think there is any connection between this:

9 months, 23 days

Mark your calendars! The end of the world is nigh, and we’ve got a specific date: the Rapture will occur on 21 May, 2011, and the world ends on 21 October 2011. How do we know this? As near as I can tell, it’s pure numerology…

and this:

That Killer Asteroid You Heard About Yesterday? We Knew About It Last Year

… there’s a giant asteroid out there called 1999 RQ36, and there’s a small chance it might hit us …

Certainly not, but both are interesting reads.

Barry Glassner, Fear, Poor people and their babies: Friday!

I’ve been interested forever in human perceptions of risk and culturally mediated fear. I got to work with some of the cook risk perception people at the Kennedy School of Government for a while (as a bystander), and as an archaeologist, I find the question of risk and fear important in human foraging (and other) decisions. For instance, humans can specialize or not as foragers, and they can include or exclude certain kinds of resources. Did early humans in southern Africa avoid dangerous bovid prey and prefer allegedly less dangerous antelopes? Did various groups that avoid fishing (East African pastorals and, of course the Tasmanians) do so for any reasons related to risk? And so on.

Continue reading Barry Glassner, Fear, Poor people and their babies: Friday!

Livingston, LA School Board To Implement Discovery Institute’s “Academic Freedom” Law

Barbara Forrest, author of Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design, has a major blog post addressing the current maneno in Louisiana. A Parish school board there wants to place creationism on equal or higher footing than evolution. Read Barbara’s piece here.

Sociosexually, what is “safe”?

Are you a “safe guy”? Or do you know someone who (you or he or some else thinks) is?

Stephanie Zvan has written about this at Quiche Moraine, and I think I might have been living in a different world than Stephanie’s because my experience has always been that the attribute of “safeness” is a negotiated one, and it has not always been about “safe guys” but also “gals.”

Perhaps this is an East Coast vs. Midwestern/Plains thing, or, perhaps the difference is that we field scientists can spend months at a time (rather than hours now and then) dealing with this issue. There is a difference between a “safe guy” tagging along with the gal to which he is safe while she shops for panties at Victoria’s Secret, and being thrown into a situation where the custom is that everyone bathes (for safety reasons) at the same spot daily and clothing is not an option. Or you share a tent for a week with someone of the opposite sex. Or you are arrested and tossed in a jail together for 24 hours. For instance.

Anyway, go read the post and see if your experiences are more like hers or more like mine, and don’t forget to leave a comment!