Daily Archives: September 21, 2011

Troy Davis’s Execution

RUMOR: “Word is the Supreme Court gave a 7 day reprieve for the execution.” (twitter)

… Is delayed for no known reason. There are rumors of a stay, there are rumors of the Supreme Court being involved.

Stronger rumorsAmnesty International reports that there was a reprieve delay.

UPDATE: The US Supreme Court is apparently considering the case. The execution is thus delayed. This is not a stay or anything along those lines. They are simply waiting to see.

RUMOR: Troy Davis was removed from the Gurney. That sounds close, but actually it is said he was removed from the gurney 90 min. before the injection. Which means ….. you lay there for a couple of hours first????? Holy crap.

And yes, I’m getting rather annoyed at all the people on twitter who are insisting that everyone else pray, and who will no doubt soon give credit to those prayers for the stay.

Atheists are much more against the death penalty than the praying types. Maybe instead of praying they should have noticed that they live in a barbaric society.

Just a few things …

Just wanted you to know, for those who have asked, I have indeed written something on the tragic fate of Troy Davis. Here: Day of Justice, Day of Shame: The killing of Troy Davis.

I just sent off my submission to the Minnesota Atheist Book Project. If you were thinking of doing that, better get moving, the deadline is coming up. Details here.

I want to note that Sheril Kirshenbaum is running a series of guest posts on her blog, Culture of Science, and has two up already: Calling All New Ideas for 21st Century Science Funding, and Mitigation Via Domestication: The Link Between Global Climate Change and Community Effectuation.

OK I’ve gotta go get some stuff done now …. trying to clear my schedule so I can watch the XFactor on TV tonight without interruption! It’s gonna be good!

Day of Justice, Day of Shame: The killing of Troy Davis

I do not know for certain that Troy Anthony Davis is not guilty of killing Mark MacPhail, a Savannah Georgia cop. But I do firmly believe that there is more than reasonable doubt of his culpability to say he is legally not guilty, and I am not alone in thinking this. The other people who think this include Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, dozens of members of congress, more than 500,000 petition signers, and … perhaps most significantly … seven of the nine witnesses who testified against him who have now changed their stories, and three of the original jurors who voted guilty. The case was based primarily on eye witness testimony, and if even one of the jurors at the time felt he was not guilty he would not have been convicted. Continue reading Day of Justice, Day of Shame: The killing of Troy Davis

Do we know how Pirates Spoke? Arrrrr…

… or rather, Narrrr.

Arrrr is the term for “yes” spoke in a part of England whence that rascal Robert Newton hailed, so when he formed his dialect model for his stint as Long John Silver in Disney’s Treasure Island, he threw that in. His other piratitisms he fetched from like personal background. The truth of it is that that Long John himself hails from the same digs (West Country), but most pirates did not.

Ker Than at National Geographic News has the skivy on the pirate lingo avast. Might I suggest you sail yer ship on over there for a maw full of learnin’

I made up the thing about “Narrrrr” by the way. But it COULD mean no in some language, I suppose.


Getting WISE to the ways of black holes

NASA’s WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer ) telescope has collected some important data on black holes, in particular, about the big jets of energy that stream out of them.

Scientists study jets to learn more about the extreme environments around black holes. Much has been learned about the material feeding black holes, called accretion disks, and the jets themselves, through studies using X-rays, gamma rays and radio waves. But key measurements of the brightest part of the jets, located at their bases, have been difficult despite decades of work. WISE is offering a new window into this missing link through its infrared observations.

“Imagine what it would be like if our sun were to undergo sudden, random bursts, becoming three times brighter in a matter of hours and then fading back again. That’s the kind of fury we observed in this jet,” said Poshak Gandhi, a scientist with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). He is the lead author of a new study on the results appearing in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. “With WISE’s infrared vision, we were able to zoom in on the inner regions near the base of the stellar-mass black hole’s jet for the first time and the physics of jets in action.”

More here