Molly’s Game (like the Sorkin movie) and Forensic Geology: Cheap books

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Aaron Sorkin’s first shot at directing was for the movie Molly’s Game, starring Jessica Chastain as athlete and card game runner Molly Bloom. It is an interesting true story line, with many hidden gems. Like, Graham Greene playing the judge, and the fact that the actual real life prosecutor was Preet Bharara. Importantly, Sorkin wrote the screen play (Oscar nominated). The opening sequence in the movie, which addresses the question of what to say when someone claims that coming in fourth in the Olympics is the worst thing that can happen to an athlete. Also, as you probably already understand, Sorkin has a strong interest in sports and poker, so it all makes so much sense…. Continue reading Molly’s Game (like the Sorkin movie) and Forensic Geology: Cheap books


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Neil DeGrasse Tyson Investigated For Sexual Misconduct #MeToo (Updated)

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There was an accusation made in 2014 about an early 1980s rape by Tyson, but that never went anywhere and as far as I know was never proven. When that accusation resurfaced recently, a pysics professor, Katelyn Allers, came forward to relate a 2009 story of unwanted touching ad an AAS meeting. The incident was not viewed as especially traumatic by Professor Allers, but it was seen as inappropriate at the time. Ashley Watson, while working as an assistant to Tyson, relates “red flag” moments, attempts at persuasion to have sex, during her time working for him, and talks about misogynistic comments. Those allegations are all summarized in a report that came out yesterday in Buzzfeed News, but was initially summarized on a blog at not-my-favoriate-blog-site, Patheos.

And now, according to the Buzzfeed report, Fox Broadcasting and National Geographic, the producers of the Cosmos reboot hosted by Tyson, are investigating these incidents.

The statement by the producers of Cosmos: Continue reading Neil DeGrasse Tyson Investigated For Sexual Misconduct #MeToo (Updated)


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Thwarting another attack on climate science, Michael Mann releases his own emails

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You’ve heard about the “scientific method.” If your memory is excellent, and you took a lot of science classes in American schools, you learned two of them, because life science textbooks and physical science textbooks teach somewhat different concepts called “scientific method.” If you study the history of science, even at a superficial level, or do actual science, you will find that the “scientific method” you learned in high school, the very same “scientific method” people who either love or hate science, but are not scientists, and talk a lot about science, incessantly refer to, is not what scientists actually do. Neither the procedures for developing a study nor the inferential process of advancing understanding follow this method, or at least, not very often. Doing science is much more haphazard and opportunistic, nuanced and visceral, much less clean and predictable. Like the famous physicist once said, “The scientific method; that is what I fall back on when I can’t think of anything else do to.”

But there is one thing that is found common to most scientific endeavors, and without this thing science would not progress very quickly or very far: Continue reading Thwarting another attack on climate science, Michael Mann releases his own emails


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The Culture of Harassing Transgender Kids in Minnesota

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I do not know much about what happened in the bathroom at the Osseo Senior High School the other day, but on face value, it looks like adult staff were upset that a transgender female high school student was using, I assume, what they considered to be the wrong bathroom. They used a crow bar to open the stall door, then apparently got out of the way of the girl’s cell phone camera. The video, taken and posted by her, is below.

Like I said, I don’t know that much about this specific event, but Osseo is the neighboring school district to mine, and I can add a certain amount of context. Continue reading The Culture of Harassing Transgender Kids in Minnesota


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Carl Hiaasen Book Cheap

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A group of miscreants, led by a former reporter turned private eye, is fed up with the ongoing destruction of the Everglades and other natural wonders in Florida. So, they conspire to engage in anti-tourism terrorism. Carl Hiaasen’s Tourist Season is the first in a series of books, the first several of which are must-read. The common theme is the aforementioned missing governor, and his former body guard. The protagonist and antagonist change from book to book, but the former is usually a former journalist or a former cop or something along those lines, and the antagonist is an evil real estate developer, theme park owner, organized crime leader, Russian mobster, or something along those lines. It is possible I’ve got some of these details wrong since it has been years since I read them. But, I assure you, once you’ve read Tourist Season, Double Whammy , Native Tongue , you’ll probably do what I did. Grab used copies of any of those books you come across, to give to other people to read. Easier to do that than to explain the books.


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Great deal on a must read book: Children of God

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For reasons I can not fathom, Mary Doria Russell’s books, The Sparrow and Children of God are seen as important novels in the discussion of religion and belief. Maybe it is the mention of “children of god” in the title of the second book. Maybe it is the fact that one of the main characters is a priest, and a good part of the novel takes place in a monkery. It is even the case that the publishers have for some editions included some extra back matter on how to use these books as a focal point in your church reading groups. Continue reading Great deal on a must read book: Children of God


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Gift Guide: Science and technology books for adults and kids

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This is a short list of science books that came out over the last year that I’ve reviewed, and thought you might do well to be reminded of. Since your holiday shopping list surely includes targets with a range of demographics interests, I made this a diverse list. Continue reading Gift Guide: Science and technology books for adults and kids


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Gift Guide: Books About Trump And The Fall of America

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Might as well admit it. America has been ruined. Oh, it is fixable, not “totaled” like your car after you roll it down a hill during an ice storm. More like you failed to set the parking break and it got loose and crashed into a brick wall, then some hoodlum broke through the window and ripped out your radio, then there was a hail storm…

Anyway, here is a carefully selected list of books related to Trump and the Trump fake Presidency, integrated with a list of books that are NOT about that, but rather, leadership in history. The former are to get you steamed up, the latter, they are the control rods. A few are just about attacks on democracy from the elite and powerful.

I thought it would be fun if everybody gave at least one of these books to somebody as a holiday gift this year. I’ll be giving a few. Continue reading Gift Guide: Books About Trump And The Fall of America


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Millipedes as long as a car, scorpions as big as a dog. A large dog.

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There are connections between the Carboniferous and our modern problem with Carbon. Some of the connections are conceptual, or object lessons, about the drastic nature of large scale climate change. Some are lessons about the carbon cycle at the largest possible scale — first you turn a double digit percentage of all life related matter into coal, then you wait a few hundred million years, then you burn all the coal and see what happens! There are also great mysteries that you all know about because every Western person and a lot of non Western people have, at one time or another, stood in front of a museum exhibit declaring, “The very spot you stand was the site of an ancient sea bla bla bla” and somewhere that exhibit, or near it, is a life size diorama with scorpions and millipedes the size of a dog. Continue reading Millipedes as long as a car, scorpions as big as a dog. A large dog.


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