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Robot Nick talks about the Space Shuttle

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It just so happens that the Space Shuttle’s return trajectory takes it directly over my home, here in Orlando.Each time, it passes overhead, early in the morning, I am suddenly jolted awake by two loud bangs.The sonic booms rattle the windows of my old house and scare the cat.On every one of those occasions I smile briefly, roll over in bed and fall back to sleep, content.I am content not only in knowing that a group of fellow human beings is now once again safe on mother earth but also content in the knowledge that there is another group of brave people still in space. Like most Americans, I find immense inspiration in manned space flight.I believe that the trip to the moon was, hands down, humanities greatest achievement.I am sorry to see the Shuttle program come to an end, which is why it is hard for me to admit that I also believe that the decision to end the shuttle program was the right thing to do.Because of this emotional conflict, I will let my robot counterpart, Crank-o-Mati…

Harry Potter and the Missed Point

I just saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows part deuce. Loved it. It was much better than the last movie, Harry Potter and the Wandering Aimlessly for Two Hours. I’m going to talk specifics about the movie, so if you haven’t seen it yet put your fingers in your ears and sing “La, la la,” for a few minutes.

I just want to make a quick statement about a minor controversy going around concerning Potter and religion. No, I’m not going to address the fear some Christians express that J.K. Rollins books are bad because they contain magic. I’m going to brush that aside as quickly as if I had a flying broom. CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia is full of magic and Christians don’t have a problem with that. So I’m calling poppycock on that controversy.

I’m talking about the other popular opinion going around: that Harry Potter himself is a Christ figure because he is willing to sacrifice himself for humanity (or at least for all of Wizard-dum.) On that observation, I’m going to have to say mov…

Ten Great Humanist Films

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Check out the the magazine The Humanist for July/August.  They were kind enough to publishtwo, count them TWO, of my articles.  I wrote Real to Reel, which is a list of my favorite Humanist films.  I also interviewed Andrea Steele, Founder and Executive Director of the Freethought Film Festival, held last month in Tampa.  I hope you enjoy the read.

What would you ask the Dead?

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Will I get a raise? Is my boyfriend cheating on me? Should I take that job in Poughkeepsie? I am amused that psychics who claim to talk to the dead seem to restrict their inquiries to such mundane questions. It seems to me that “mediums,” such as John Edward, who supposedly possess the incredible skills of being able to converse with people beyond the grave, are doing humanity a enormous disservice by not asking more significant questions. I’ve been thinking about this and have come up with a few questions (if given the opportunity) I would  ask a dead person.

What’s the temperature there? I know that sounds like a dumb question, but consider the implications for science if it were established that there really was an afterlife. Physics alone would progress by leaps and bounds if given just a little information about the physical properties of another dimension.

Are there atoms or is there magnetism in heaven? Is there any matter at all? Is there gravity in heaven, do balls fall do…

The World Is filled With Beautiful Things

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A little fiction for a change - WEB NOIR

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The Internet Abuse Recovery Course is an eight step program, designed to get you off the wireless I.V. cold turkey. It is run by Reverend Julius K Tanly, a former social worker and Best Buy computer repair technician. It was a muggy evening in August and the meeting was being held in the basement of the 127th street Community Center. I was there to satisfy a court order in connection with a chat room etiquette infraction. As I waited for the meeting to get started I surveyed the other social defects around me. I’ve seen all these types before.

Sure, there were the hackers and the scam artists (those are just common criminals) but there were also the real deviants - the cretins whose pictures you see in the center square of the Wal-Mart Bingo, websites.

Hovering next to the doughnuts, was a guy who can’t stop posting LOL cat photos. I spotted him first, because he had maine coon hair stuck to his 5 o’clock shadow and his clothes smelled heavily of urine. Like all the people of his ilk,…

Harold Camping Might Just Be a Genius

NPR, Washington Post, CBS News, Time Magazine, this guy is getting a lot of press. If I were Harold Camping, let me tell you what I would do. (If you don’t know, Harold Camping is the guy behind all those billboards that say the world will be ending on May 21st.) If I were Harold, I would disappear on the 21st, lay low, check into a hotel under another name or go sleep in an RV someplace where I would not be identified. Then about two weeks later, I would just pop up on my Family Radio show and say I’ve been to heaven. That’s right, I would say, I have seen the almighty himself, and he has sent me back to deliver wisdom and knowledge to you, the unworthy and smelly masses. If Camping did that, he would be an instant messiah.


It wouldn’t matter if most people wouldn’t believe him. He would still increase his following by about a thousand percent. He wouldn’t even have to be careful about his disappearance. If later, let’s say, some investigative reporter where to figure out where he h…

Proof of Life After Death

I’ve always said that if presented with solid evidence for the supernatural, I would change my mind. My brother-in-law, who I care about very much, has been having health problems. Recently he had a seizure and was taken to the hospital. I received reports from his children throughout the day. The doctors requested he stay overnight for observation. As I went to bed that evening, his condition weighed heavily on my mind.


At around 2 o’clock I woke with an uneasy feeling. Unable to fall back to sleep, I decided to get up and get a glass of water. When I walked into the living room, I was startled by a shadow in the dark room. This might sound contrived but what followed changed my view of the entire world. I turned on the light and sitting on the couch in a hospital gown was my brother-in-law. I know, this sounds like a story, but this really did happen to me. He sat there silent. I asked him what he was doing there. He did not answer. He didn’t have to. I knew what had happened.

I pu…

Bush Kills Bin Laden

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My Certificate of Live Birth - or - It Must Be True Because It's on the Internet

I’ve been working some long hours this month so I didn’t even remember when my birthday came around. On the day, I couldn't even be sure it was my birthday; because you see, like our president, I to do not have a birth certificate. I only have a Certificate of Live Birth issued by the state in which I was born. What good is that? I was confused and sad.But then I turned on my computer and saw all the birthday wishes I had on my Facebook page. Now I am certain and overjoyed. IT REALY WAS MY BIRTHDAY! THANK YOU ALL

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?