Posts

How Movie Trailers Work

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I apologize for missing last week’s post.Life just got really needy suddenly - texting me all the time, showing up at my house without calling first.I finally just had to set some boundaries.I promise I will get back to being more regular with my writing in the future.For now, here is a little something that you might like.It’s sure to win an Academy Award.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was something called Science Based News

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I emailed this letter to NPR after hearing this story in which one guy (Tom Malinowski, the Washington director for Human Rights Watch) was criticizing President Barack Obama for acting to slowly in the Libyan Crisis, while another guy (retired General Wesley Clark) criticized him for taking any action at all.


Dear NPR,
It seems to me that there is a serious flaw in news commentary in which you allow two guests with opposite views to each give their opinion without forcing them to engage and challenge one another. In this format there is no consequence for either person if he is incorrect. Most likely, a year from now, one (or both) of these men will be proven wrong. But unfortunately, also one year from now, it will have been forgotten that at this particular moment in history, one of these men is greatly complicating the situation by giving an opinion that is basically ignorant.

Donate - Because She's Crazy

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By now you have all seen this video.  It's been all over the Humanist and Atheist websites.  I don't know if this woman is a troll or really believes what she is saying but I know how something good can come of it.  If you hate everything this monster stands for, then I can't think of a better reason to donate to help Japan. Click on the button I created to donate to the Nonbelievers Giving Aid - Disaster Relief Fund set up by the  The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.



Here is the video if you haven't seen it.  aaagh!


An Atheist’s Mom

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Last week my little old mom told me how much she was looking forward seeing the upcoming Oscar Awards on TV. When I asked her which film she thought would win, she responded “The English Patient.” I told her I didn’t think that movie was nominated this year. She said, “Oh, you know… the English one, with the wizard?”

I searched my memory and made the connection.
“You mean the King’s Speech?” I said. (Michael Gambon plays George the V in King’s Speech and Dumbledore in the Potter films.)

“Yeah, that’s the one. That’s a good one.” Of course, she hasn’t seen either movie yet but that’s not important. She patted me on the head affectionately.

Knowing the above makes the following exchange less shocking but I still find it interesting. I was driving my wife and mom to the store when the subject of Atheism came up. My wife has no choice but to know what I think of religion (I feel so sorry for her sometimes), but she did not know my mother’s position on the subject. She asked my mother i…

Slow Motion Wobbly Things

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I am crazy busy this week so here is a slow motion video of some stuff bouncing off gelatin. and here is a cupcake cannon.

Old Bowie song

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This isn’t an old song by David Bowie.  It’s an old song about David Bowie (in outer space) by Flight of the Conchords.

Valentines Day Quiz: name the sexy robots

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Being a Sci Fi geek can be lonely, so for Valentine’s Day here’s a little quiz.. Can you name these sexy robots?

There is a theory, in robotics, called the “Uncanny Valley,"  which states that when robots and other facsimiles of humans look and act almost like real humans, it causes a response of revulsion among people.  We Humans have no problem if  the robot looks like a mechanical device, as in the case of Robby from Forbidden Planet.  But if the machine gets too real, it frightens us. when you start to cross the uncanny valley you must go all the way across.  You can’t stop in the middle. Remember how creepy Polar Express was. The facsimile HAS to be perfect or it is horrific.

So here is your quiz.  Can you name what shows these “machines” are from.  I am not going to make it easy, so don’t expect me to include Seven from Battlestar Galactica.  I know what you are saying, “these girls don’t look like automatons.” But don’t be fooled.  If you look deep into their eyes, you ca…

Vlad the Astrophysicist

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Peter Mulvey has a serene voice, and a poetic way of explaining why, after all these years of looking, we have still not discovered intelligent life in the universe…and he plays a great guitar.

Life After the Wardrobe Malfunction

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As I write this, in the year 7 AWM (after wardrobe malfunction), the terrain that stretches before me is a scorched burned-out wasteland. We should have listened to the conservative pundits on the TV and radio. When they said that “the malfunction” would destroy society, we mocked them. When they described it as a Grotesque peep show, we labeled it a manufactroversy. We laughed, calling it TheBoob Bomb and Nipplegate. We should have heeded their warnings. Now it’s too late. Now in hindsight, we see how right the conservatives actually were. Like the lone lookout on the bow of the titanic, begging the captain to slow down. He alone knew that soon the cloak of night would be ripped away to reveal the towering, dark, silhouette of destruction, which was Janet Jackson’s breast.

Cats in Space

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Do you believe that in the far off future, cats will don pressure suits and traverse the great void of space? They will become brave explorers, piercing the haunting unknowns of the universe. And with their catnip powered spacecraft, they will combat the evil Mouse Insurgent, working to bring peace to the Interplanetary Cat Federation…. Am I the only one who thinks about these things?

To Bloggers Everywhere – You Might Be Giants

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They wouldn’t understand a word we say, so we’ll scratch it all down into the clay, half believing there will sometime come a day, someone gives a damn, maybe when the concrete has crumbled to sand.

I love They Might Be Giants so I thought I might start out the New Year with their video “The Mesopotamians.” For all my fellow bloggers, I thought I would counter the depressing message in the song with a few words about the “Giants” mentioned in the lyrics.

Sargon - While only a baby, his high priestess mother placed him in a basket of rushes and cast him adrift in a river (sound familiar, this was way before Charlton Heston). Found and raised by a court gardener, he rose in the royal household to become king. He reigned from 2270 to 2215 BCE and is sometimes regarded as the first person in recorded history to create a multiethnic, centrally ruled empire. Sargon's vast empire is known to have extended from Elam to the Mediterranean Sea, including Mesopotamia, parts of modern-day Iran…

Top Ten GENERIC News Stories for 2010, 2011, 2012…

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1) Drunk (or high) celebrity had a meltdown this year outside his home (restaurant, nightclub, hotel room). Onlookers were shocked (not surprised) to hear the beloved movie (TV, reality show)star, screaming curses and tossing racial slurs (shoes) at his wife (girl friend, a male prostitute). Spokesperson for the celebrity said that the cause of the incident stemmed from problems the star was having with the dosage of his medication. The celebrity has checked into rehab and is in the processes of a complete lifestyle overhaul.

2) The country was riveted as boy (dog, miners) were successfully rescued from a well (mineshaft, hot air balloon). Rescuers toiled with shovels (skyhooks) around the clock, as time was quickly running out. Everyone cheered as the boy (dog, miners) was pulled up (lowered down) to safety. He (they) thanked God for being rescued.

3) Think-tank estimates that countless hours of productivity were lost this year as millions tuned in to watch the sporting event (trial)…

Frolicking Reindeer

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Until I have time to write some more angry skeptical rants here is a frolicking reindeer.  ok, maybe its an elk.

How a Skeptic Deals With “The Santa Problem”

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My wife and I were out with another couple and their daughter the other night. Since it is nearly Christmas, I asked the little girl the obligatory question, “what is Santa bringing you.” The seven year old responded coldly, by stating there is no Santa Clause. I glanced over at the parents. Obviously displeased with their daughter’s discovery, they were rolling their collective eyes. Without revealing my own position on the subject, I asked the little girl why she did not believe in Santa.

The Island of Misfit Toys

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How would you like to be a spotted elephant or a choo choo with square wheels on your caboose or a water pistil that shoots jelly? We’re all misfits!

Click on the page fold to read more.

Skepticism and Art

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All the well-known Skeptics are globetrotting this week so, in an attempt to fit in, I thought I would tell you about my recent trip.  Art Basel is an international art exhibition held each year in both, Basel, Switzerland, and Miami, USA.  I went to the one in Miami, because I don’t think my car would make it to Switzerland.  If you ever find yourself in South Florida around the first week of December try to make it over to some of these shows.  From Picasso to Shepard Fairey to Hello Kitty, I promise there is some art collection just for you.This year my wife and I concentrated on the smaller fringe shows which popped up around the main convention.  This gave us the opportunity to see incredible cutting edge stuff along with (to be frank) some real crap.  My wife is good at defining which is which.  Fanciful taxidermy creating a whimsical creature which is part iridescencepeacock and part full scale rhinoceroses – that’s art.  Decaying foam seat cushion secured to the wall with a pi…

MATHS – How to Win a Computerized Toast System

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MALE PROSTITUTES AND THE POPE

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“Pope Benedict XVI says in a new book that condoms can be justified for male prostitutes seeking to stop HIV.” He doesn’t approve the use of condoms for any other group in the entire world - just male prostitutes. For a subject that hasn’t been in the news lately, that’s a strangely specific decree, isn’t it?

I mean it’s kind of like if your boss had you over for dinner, and you were complimenting him on the meal he served, when suddenly he blurts out “I don’t think it’s wrong if a person masturbates to an image of Misses Howell from Gilligan’s Island.”

ok…ah…great…um…I really like these vegetables.

A SONG ABOUT QUARKS

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Go to Vblog Brothers they have some great stuff.

SHOULD I BE A DICK?

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I will not lie to you, as I write this; the news from the trenches is not encouraging. The enemies of reason are on the march. We are being attacked from all fronts.  Because the struggle is so long and so exhausting some of you might begin to blame your fellow soldier for the slow progress of the entire movement. We must not give in to this, seductive temptation. For, although it seems like our foes have us greatly outnumbered, We have right on our side!..AND WE HAVE A SECRET WEAPON.
If you don’t know, there is war going on in the Freethought community. Skeptics think that Atheists are pushing their message too hard. Atheists are accusing Skeptics of being accommodationist. And everyone just ignores the Humanists because, let’s face it, they don’t know how to get any press anyway. The following is a letter that I have sent to some Freethought and Skeptic magazines:

The debate over whether to be nice or not while practicing Skepticism seems to be missing an important component …numb…