Daily Archives: July 3, 2012

What does an atheist baseball game look like?

Aha. I’m glad you asked!

There are two events coming up on August 10th and 11th. The first one, I’m definitely going to, the second one…I’ve not decided yet. First, there will be an Atheist Baseball Game. Here in the Twin Cities we have a minor league team called the Saint Paul Saints. On August 10th, they will be rebranded as the Mr. Paul Aints, and the banners of the Minnesota Atheists and American Atheists will hang in the stadium as they play some other team. Other cute atheistic punny things will be implemented. I won’t tell you about all of them becuase that may ruin the shock value.

Then, on August 11th, will be the Regional Atheist Conference, in cooperation with the Minnesota Atheists and the American Atheists.

All of the details are here. Come to Minnesota and see the game and go to a nice conference! Dave Silverman, Teresa MacBain, Ayanna Watson, Robert Price, J. Anderson Thompson and PZ Myers will be speaking.

Photo of Saint Paul Saints game by billnwmsu

Recapturing NASA's Aeronautics Flight Research Capabilities

I thought many of you would want to know about this book. It is from the National Academies Press. Costs 40 bucks if you want the dead tree version, but the PDF is free. Gotta love the National Academies.

Here’s the description provided by the NAP:

In the five decades since NASA was created, the agency has sustained its legacy from the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) in playing a major role in U.S. aeronautics research and has contributed substantially to United States preeminence in civil and military aviation. This preeminence has contributed significantly to the overall economy and balance of trade of the United States through the sales of aircraft throughout the world. NASA’s contributions have included advanced flight control systems, de-icing devices, thrust-vectoring systems, wing fuselage drag reduction configurations, aircraft noise reduction, advanced transonic airfoil and winglet designs, and flight systems. Each of these contributions was successfully demonstrated through NASA flight research programs. Equally important, the aircraft industry would not have adopted these and similar advances without NASA flight demonstration on full-scale aircraft flying in an environment identical to that which the aircraft are to operate-in other words, flight research.

Flight research is a tool, not a conclusion. It often informs simulation and modeling and wind tunnel testing. Aeronautics research does not follow a linear path from simulation to wind tunnels to flying an aircraft. The loss of flight research capabilities at NASA has therefore hindered the agency’s ability to make progress throughout its aeronautics program by removing a primary tool for research.

Recapturing NASA’s Aeronautics Flight Research Capabilities discusses the motivation for NASA to pursue flight research, addressing the aspects of the committee’s task such as identifying the challenges where research program success can be achieved most effectively through flight research. The report contains three case studies chosen to illustrate the state of NASA ARMD. These include the ERA program and the Fundamental Research Program’s hypersonics and supersonics projects. Following these case studies, the report describes issues with the NASA ARMD organization and management and offers solutions. In addition, the chapter discusses current impediments to progress, including demonstrating relevancy to stakeholders, leadership, and the lack of focus relative to available resources.

Recapturing NASA’s Aeronautics Flight Research Capabilities concludes that the type and sophistication of flight research currently being conducted by NASA today is relatively low and that the agency’s overall progress in aeronautics is severely constrained by its inability to actually advance its research projects to the flight research stage, a step that is vital to bridging the confidence gap. NASA has spent much effort protecting existing research projects conducted at low levels, but it has not been able to pursue most of these projects to the point where they actually produce anything useful. Without the ability to actually take flight, NASA’s aeronautics research cannot progress, cannot make new discoveries, and cannot contribute to U.S. aerospace preeminence.

Click HERE to get the book. You have to go through a couple of hoops but it’s not hard.

photo of outer space by write_adam

Hug the new WTF, I mean, WTI

WTF stands for … Women Thinking Free. It was an organization born in the Skepchick Crucible, and it did things like the “Hug Me I’m Vaccinated” campaign which really truly probably saved liVes or at least reduced misery. It also spawned (though I’m probably oversimplifying here) the MTM (More than Men) project, which reminds me, it is time to repost my MTM project for you.

Anyway, when WTF started out it was cute. The name, that its. You’d say “WTF” and somebody would say “Huh? What” and then you’d say “Women Thinking Free, what did you think I meant?” and so on. But WTF grew beyond its own clever eponymish name and the value of getting the WTF reaction to WTF has waned relative to the need for a serious organization to be taken seriously. So, as the child growing into adulthood sheds its nickname (and Peanut becomes Pat or Goofyface becomes Chris) WTF shall now be WT inc, or WTI, for Women Thinking, Inc.

I hope they start a blog called “Women Thinking Ink.”

Click here to visit Elyse’s write up of the transition. There is a donation button there. Press it.

Good Bye Andy

I grew up with Andy Griffith. I think Opie and I are about the same age. I didn’t have an Aunt Bea but I did have a Great Aunt Tillie. All neighborhoods were small towns in those days. We had an Otis, we had a Floyd and he had a red and white pole, although we didn’t have a Barney. Andy’s family was non-traditional and he was in North Carolina and no one, in those days, was passing legislation against them. Also, I watched the show from a city in New York with more African Americans than the small North Carolina town he protected and nurtured with his easy going ways. This later caused confusion for me. Only a little, though.

And this joke, do you remember this joke? It’s Barney talking: “Andy, Andy, come quickly! Opie’s in the attic with Aunt Bea and he’s got a gun!” (Maybe that was just the Viet Nam War vets I was hanging around with…)

I know a lot of younger people remember Anje from his later work portraying a lawyer, but I always think of him as the arch-typical small town Sheriff in an imaginary South that is not where In the Heat of the Night was set.

Andy Griffith died this morning at the age of 86. Hat tip: Ashley Miller.

The Texas evolution wars

Genie Scott’s report from the front, from Texas textbook battles to the Texas Board’s attempt to “creationize” the state’s science standards. How will this affect the future of education in Texas…and the U.S.? Where: Texas Freethought Convention. When: 10/8/2011.

The books referred to are Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction, 2nd Edition and Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools.

Photo of Eve and Adam by elmada