Monthly Archives: January 2011


Do not visit web sites if your computer is running Windows. Recent reports indicate that your computer could be taken over by malicious forces.

Egypt vs. the Netizins.

Model predicts ‘religiosity gene’ will dominate society. OMG. Ooops, did I say that?

And finally, the Antikythera Mechanism was a computer built in Greece at around 100 BCE. It is an astronomical device for ascertaining the positions of celestial bodies and it is quite accurate. Some crazy scientists bult a fully-functional Lego replica of the device:

Continue reading Technobabble

Does The Rite Have the Right Stuff?

As an ex-Catholic, I can appreciate a good movie involving Satin1 or his Minions. There are several reasons for this. For one thing, I get the jokes.2 Some of them are rather subtle and require an understanding of church dogma. Also, I can relate to the stranger side of the belief system from personal experience. When the book The Exorcist came out, everyone in my family read it, we all discussed it, and we considered the question: “Is it true or not?” And we decided that it was true. It probably helped that my cousin was a trained Exorcist, though I don’t believe he ever actually exorcised anyone. It is said, though, that he witnessed … strange things … when in Rome learning the craft.
Continue reading Does The Rite Have the Right Stuff?

“The Creation Museum” Jessie and Casey Clausen on Atheists Talk #101, January 30, 2011

Creationism may seem like a joke to most atheists. After all, how could the univerese and everything in it be only 6000 years old, when the light from galaxies 10 billian light years away takes (you guessed it) 10 billion years to get here?That was the question I had initially asked when I heard that there are serious people who insist that the Biblical story of creation should be taken literally in all ways. I was using Man’s Reason on which to base my beliefs that the universe is old. I wasn’t going to the “true source” of all knowledge to get the straight dope on Creation.


Ask Me a Question about Human Universals and Get Your Fill of Kissing

These two things are only indirectly connected:
What this all means:

On Friday the 4th, Skeptically Speaking will have a pre-recorded interview with Sheril. On that same show, I’ll do a pre-recored installment of “Everything…”. You can go to the link and click on “ask a question”, but do it before Noon EST on Tuesday. If there are too many questions, I’ll address some of them in a blog post.

I believe Sheril’s spot has already been recorded. But if you have a question for her just ask me and I’ll answer it in falsetto. No, not really.

Technopolitical news

Fife Wikileaks Hactivists Arrested in UK

Police have arrested five people over their alleged roles in an online campaign to support WikiLeaks.

Five males – aged 15, 16, 19, 20 and 26 – were arrested under the Computer Misuse Act in raids across the country at 7am this morning, with the suspects held in local police stations for further questioning.


Sony determines that having autism is “cheating”

Jennifer Zdenek, the mother of an 11-year-old boy who lives with autism, is outraged at Microsoft Xbox Live for labeling her son a “cheater” and taking away everything he’s earned online.

She says her son, Julias Jackson, is so good at playing X-Box games, Xbox LIVE thought he cheated.


And for those who like bloatware, there’s a new version of KDE.

Happy Twenty Fifth Anniversary Challenger Explosion

Suddenly and for the first time I saw Amanda as a little child wide eyed with both awe and fear, among other children some sitting on the floor, some in chairs, some standing behind desks, eyes trained on a TV monitor and their teacher as the sudden realization dawned that the Space Shuttle Challenger had been consumed in a fiery, deadly explosion. The teacher on board was incinerated before their very eyes. As the explosion developed, shooting out huge arms of smoke and the voice-over began to acknowledge that something was wrong, NASA’s space program was suddenly transformed, in the eyes of the innocent little children of America almost all of whom were watching the event live, from a somewhat interesting science project to a place where teachers went to die. I had never really visualized Amanda as a little girl before, but a few years ago when this came up, on the Anniversary of the Challenger explosion, this image formed as a lump in my throat.

I’m a few years older than Amanda, so my experience was a little different. I had just returned form the Congo. I had borrowed a car … a Laser, which is a sort of sports car … and driven it to a friend’s apartment downtown over an Italian restaurant and tavern, and parked it on a snow bank out front. That’s normal for Upstate New York. By the time morning came, the car was more than a little stuck, so I called Triple-A to pull it out. I made the call from the tavern, and while doing so I noticed that the Challenger launch was being shown on the TV. So I stood at the bar and watched the launch. And the explosion. When the tow truck came, I mentioned to the driver that the Challenger had just exploded. He thought for a moment and said, shaking his head slowly, “You’re not gonna get me on that thing. No sir!” I thought … yeah, that might be a tough sell from this point forward.

It is said that when NASA started the Shuttle program, they made an estimate of risk of death to those who would be on board. Given the number of flights and the number of deadly events and the number of those killed, they’re apparently right in the expected range.

Happy Twenty Fifth Anniversary Challenger Explosion.