Rep. Jack Kingston campaigning for dumbing man on Earth

January 29, 2011

There’s so much stupid in this clip, it makes my head hurt.

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News From Around The Blogosphere 10.3.10

October 4, 2010

1. The History of Vaccines Blog has gone live – It features a wealth of information in the form of images, text, and video from the Historical Medical Library, Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and from many other public and private sources.

2. Can man fix god’s cruel mistakes with genetic modified trees? – To all those naysayers of genetically modified organizations, seriously go fuck yourselves.  Not only do GMOs mean saving millions of people from starvation, but now new research suggests genetically modified trees and plants may absorb several billion tons of carbon from the atmosphere each year and thus, in the process, reduce man’s effect on climate change. That’s BILLIONS with a B. There’s nothing wrong with “organic” but science has repeatedly demonstrated that man is much better at playing god than any gods man ever invented.

3. Are the autism omnibus trials as good as dead? – All the data presented to support either of the vaccine/autism hypotheses have proven completely unpersuasive in the vaccine courts, which operate with a lower standard of evidence required in other civil courts that deal with medical malpractice. And even those courts operate under a lower standard of evidence for scientific claims than in the court of science itself. Furthermore, the omnibus lawyers were denied in the appeals process. So it seems that the autism omnibus plaintiffs don’t have anywhere else to go.

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And the award for most unfortunately (or awesomely) titled headline goes to…

September 22, 2010

And the award for most unfortunately (or awesomely) titled headline goes to…”Samoan clerics finger homosexuals over global warming.” OH NO! They didn’t! They did. Well, I guess if you’re going to finger homosexuals, global warming is as good a reason as any…if you’re into that sort of thing.

But putting aside that awful (or awesome) title, yes, some religious nutjobs really are trying to blame climate change on the gays. But to be fair, it fits with the title of the conference in which this idea was presented:  Climate Change and Creativity. Say what you will about how the idiocy of this hypothesis is only rivaled by that of the cleric who inadvertently sparked “Boobquake,” but you have to admit, it’s nothing if not creative.

However creative as it may be, suffice it to say, it lacks one moderately important ingredient…evidence:

Details of exactly how the ministers think homosexuals are pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere, thereby trapping heat around the planet, driving up the average temperature and causing massive economic and environmental dislocation are scant.

It may be that the clerics are understandably worried about rising levels of sex tourism in Samoa fuelled by cheap air travel and consequent rising energy consumption, though why this would be a gay-only problem is a mystery. But we suspect their latching onto climate change as a consequence of gayness is informed by a more biblical sense of cause and effect.

But while gays may not be dominating everyone else in air travel but this week, they do seem to be dominating the headlines as the notoriously anti-gay pastor of a 33,000 parishioner megachurch, Baptist Bishop Eddie L. Long, as it turns out, was coercing young male parishioners into sex:

Two young men in Georgia said Tuesday that the pastor of a 33,000-person Baptist megachurch, Bishop Eddie L. Long, had repeatedly coerced them into having sex with him.

In two lawsuits filed in DeKalb County, the men said that Bishop Long, a prominent minister and television personality, had used his position as a spiritual counselor to take them on trips out of state and perform sexual acts on them.

Shocker.

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News From Around The Blogosphere 8.3.10

August 3, 2010

Yup, I’m very behind again, so bare with me.

1. Former writers for ScienceBlogs find a new home – I’ve written already about “PepsiGate,” the controversy that led to many of the leading science bloggers on the web to leave their home at Scienceblogs. Well, now at least many of the bloggers who left, including one of my favorites, PalMD, have moved to Scientopia. And their joining other bloggers who had no previous connection to ScienceBlogs, so hopefully this will become yet another hub for amazing science coverage that the mainstream media is failing to cover. And PZ Myers, Orac, and Abbie Smith are all remaining at ScienceBlogs.  I personally don’t really care where they’re posting their material just as long as this incident hasn’t deprived the internet of great science bloggers.

2. New study again proves the Earth is warming

The 2009 State of the Climate report released today draws on data for 10 key climate indicators that all point to the same finding: the scientific evidence that our world is warming is unmistakable. More than 300 scientists from 160 research groups in 48 countries contributed to the report, which confirms that the past decade was the warmest on record and that the Earth has been growing warmer over the last 50 years.

Oh great! Now even Earth is falling for Al Gore’s evil liberal agenda.

3. Monkeys hate flying squirrels – C’mon, who doesn’t hate flying squirrels. Fuckin’ rodents think they’re so clever because they got built-in hang gliders. Humans had to actually build our flying technology; they were just born with it. That takes no great accomplishment. I’d like to see a flying squirrel build a 747. But maybe that’s just me. So why do monkeys hate them?

This riled-up response is probably just a false alarm, with the monkeys mistaking the squirrel for a predatory bird. On the other hand, male macaques – some of whom give chase and even attack a harmless rodent – might be trying to impress females in their troop.

Although this tough-guy motive was not proved in a new study, “it is possible that adult or sub-adult male monkeys may be ‘showing off’ their fitness” as potential mates, said Kenji Onishi, an assistant professor of behavioral sciences at Osaka University and lead author of the paper being published in the current issue of the journal Primate Research.

I like my reason better.

4. How high can Virgin Galactic take you? – Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic now has two fully operational private spacecraft: SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo (aka Enterprise). And for the low, low price of $200,000, they’ll take you about 68 miles above the Earth’s surface, or 6.2 miles above  the Kármán line, the boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space. Now’s the time for Captain Kirk to start offering cheaper flights with Priceline.

5, Mind reading machines are science reality

It is possible to read someone’s mind by remotely measuring their brain activity, researchers have shown. The technique can even extract information from subjects that they are not aware of themselves.

So far, it has only been used to identify visual patterns a subject can see or has chosen to focus on. But the researchers speculate the approach might be extended to probe a person’s awareness, focus of attention, memory and movement intention. In the meantime, it could help doctors work out if patients apparently in a coma are actually conscious.

I can't handle the truth!

6. Anti-vaxxer Meryl Dorey is a lying bitch – The other day, Meryl Dorey of the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN – [snicker] ) responded to the accusations made against her that her organization misinforms parents and that they’ve harassed the McCaffery family, whose 4-week-old baby Dana died of pertussis because she was too young to be safely vaccinated and those around hadn’t been vaccinated either. Of course, she denied any wrongdoing of any kind. But now the McCaffery’s have responded to her response. And big surprise. She lied…a lot.

7. Self-sustaining robot has artificial gut – I do love my robot news. A robot, Ecobot III, eats dead flies for sustenance. It’s pretty inefficient now but it’s hard to imagine the possibilities for how far this research could take robot technology in the future.

8. Supplements found to be unsafe – I know it sounded like a great idea for supplements to not be regulated to confirm they are safe and effective but it turns out that, shockingly, not verifying these products are actually safe is a really, really bad idea. I know. Who knew?

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Now Bill, if you can just apply the same argument to medicine

June 9, 2010

Here’s a recent clip from Bill Maher’s show, Real Time, where he superbly criticizes climate change deniers:

Maher knocks it out of the park in this clip. I just find it mind-boggling that Maher has thus far been unable to apply the precise reasoning he shows here with regards to climate change to the field of medicine, which Maher insists he has a greater understanding of than virtually every medical professional on the planet.


News From Around The Blogosphere 4.24.10

April 25, 2010

1. May 20 is “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”! – Obviously this is inspired by the recent controversy surrounding the show South Park. But as my previous post shows, I got started early.

2. Where the South Park creators got it wrong – I’ve written two defenses of Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s recent 200th and 201st episodes of South Park over on my Examiner page (here and here). However, Trey Parker was just quoted in a Washington Post “On Faith” article and what he has to say about “atheism” is so extraordinarily idiotic that it merits the kind of mockery worthy of South Park:

But Parker says atheism is more ludicrous to him than anything else.

“Out of all the ridiculous religion stories — which are greatly, wonderfully ridiculous — the silliest one I’ve ever heard is, ‘Yeah, there’s this big, giant universe and it’s expanding and it’s all going to collapse on itself and we’re all just here, just ‘cuz. Just ‘cuz. That to me, is the most ridiculous explanation ever,” he says.

Um, what?! Putting aside the ultra straw man he presents that doesn’t accurately describe the physics, this isn’t just some wacky ideas scientists made up out of whole cloth. It’s empirically testable and measurable. This is not up for debate. It’s scientific fact. And I’m sorry, Trey, if you’re unimpressed by this bastardized version of the science but that’s just too bad.

3. Could the winner of the UK’s next top leader be an atheist? – When asked if he believed in god, Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats’ new leader in the UK, said no. And it seems as though he’s now leading in the polls. Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about Clegg. But assuming he isn’t a nutter or a wanker of some sort or another, I’m rooting for him.

4. Canadian climate scientist Andrew Weaver sues newspaper for poisoning the well on climate change – I’ve been saying for a while now that we need to start holding cranks more accountable for their potentially libelous accusations, so I’m all for this. It’s quite different than when the cranks sue their critics like when the British Chiropractic Association sued Simon Singh, because there we’re talking about frivolous lawsuits used merely to intimidate critics. But when the cranks inevitably launch into their grand conspiracy theories, they make serious accusations that often do satisfy the criteria of defamation. And when you’ve got a legitimate defamation suit there’s no shame in taking legal action. And if Weaver is correct and this newspaper did publish articles that promoted “grossly irresponsible falsehoods,” he may have a good case. Of course I don’t know the Canadian statutes on defamation but I’d be surprised if they radically differed from those in the U.S.


Rachel Maddow exposes manufactroversies of the political right

April 6, 2010

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