News From Around The Blogosphere 5.11.10

May 12, 2010

1. Psychic scams Oregon man out of $150,000 – In order to remove a demon, a man gave a “psychic” boat loads of cash and a Hummer totaling $150k and now he’s bankrupt. Let that be a lesson for you. Sometimes having a demon around isn’t that bad after all.

2. Mojave cross from Salazar v. Buono Supreme Court decision was stolen – And while I think it’s outrageous that the thing was allowed to remain there in the first place, I have to condemn the actions of whoever was responsible. If it was an atheist or atheists responsible, I apologize for them. I always criticize the religious for not condemning the bullshit actions of their fanatics, so it’d be hypocritical for me to not do the same when it’s possible fanatical atheists were involved.

3.TV stations everywhere fall for fake Yo-Yo trick champ – In one of the best executed pranks in recent memory, some dude fooled a whole bunch of TV stations to give him air time to demonstrate his amazing Yo-Yo skills…which look remarkably like the worst Yo-Yo-ing in human history. But all we really know about “K-Strass,” aka Kenny Strasser aka Karl Strassburg is that he’s gotten on TV at least six times in the past month.

4. Constance McMillen’s Second Chance Prom a huge success – After her high school held a prom without her because she was gay, the American Humanist Association and philanthropist Todd Stiefe donated money to give her and her classmates another prom, an inclusive one. Even the band Green Day donated money  Lance Bass made a personal appearance. Suck it, small-minded assholes running her school!

5. Pope blames church’s own sins for sex scandal – So does that mean then that all the other Catholics like Bill Donohue and Church leaders were lying when they claimed that it was demons, gays, and the media who were to blame?

6. Woman claims 3-D porn got her pregnant…seriously:


Family values my ass

February 27, 2009

An analysis of the consumption of internet pornography found an interesting correlation:

The biggest consumer, Utah, averaged 5.47 adult content subscriptions per 1000 home broadband users; Montana bought the least with 1.92 per 1000. “The differences here are not so stark,” Edelman says.

Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year’s presidential election – Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. While six out of the lowest 10 favoured Barack Obama.

So essentially that means those states that are most populated by deeply religious people are also the states that consume the most porn.

States where a majority of residents agreed with the statement “I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage,” bought 3.6 more subscriptions per thousand people than states where a majority disagreed. A similar difference emerged for the statement “AIDS might be God’s punishment for immoral sexual behaviour.”

Family values, indeed.


News From Around The Blogosphere 01.07.09

January 8, 2009

Oklahoma has put up the first anti-evolution bill for 2009

Senate Bill 320 (document), prefiled in the Oklahoma Senate and scheduled for a first reading on February 2, 2009, is apparently the first antievolution bill of 2009. Entitled the “Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act,” SB 320 would, if enacted, require state and local educational authorities to “assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies” and permit teachers to “help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught.” The only topics specifically mentioned as controversial are “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”

Yeah, Oklahoma is dead to me. I highly recommend making it the punchline to your every joke about stupid people. Which reminds me: How many Oklahomans does it take to change a lightbulb? None. They thought the first bulb was an evil spirit and tried to kill it. Then after it all gone dark, they became convinced God was angry with them and are praying for the light to return.

Meanwhile, Indiana just went up a notch

The Indianapolis Star has been running a pointless little prayer on page A2 of the newspaper for years. Not any more; the editor has decided to discontinue it.

Of course this decision received complaints like the hilarious one PZ Myers cites that compares prayer to astrology ironically trying to persuade them to keep the prayer in. Well I’ll say one thing, the comparison is apt.

HIV/AIDS Deniers, the Ministry of Truth, and the failure of memory holes in the Internet Age – A fantastic look into the deceptive nature of denialism.

Senator Oddball has died – Former Rhode Island Sen. Claiborne Pell, best known for the student grant program that bears his name,  died on New Year’s Day. But there was another side of him. Time magazine, called him “Senator Oddball” because of his strong interest in the paranormal, such as remote viewing, UFO’s, and Uri Geller, who he invited to Washington, where Geller claims to have bombarded a Soviet arms control negotiator with “intense images of peace.” Yeah, apparently we had a U.S. Senator living in the 20th Century who urged a “psychic” to cast a magic spell on our enemies. Chew on that one for awhile. And then freak out. Imagine how much fun it’d have been if he’d become president, huh?

Paul Offit, Charlotte Moser, and Steve Novella refute Robert Sears – A seriously awesome and epic take-down of another antivaccinationist proponent of the myth that vaccines cause autism.

Porn industry wants a bailout now? What?! – Yeah, I hope this is just Larry Flynt’s attempt at satirizing the absurdity of the government bailouts.

AND NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:

scientist-use-in-case-of-emergencyTestes Stem Cells Change Into Other Tissues – “Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine and at UC-San Francisco have succeeded in isolating stem cells from human testes. The cells bear a striking resemblance to embryonic stem cells — they can differentiate into each of the three main types of tissues of the body — but the researchers caution against viewing them as one and the same.”

Black Holes Lead Galaxy Growth – “Astronomers may have solved a cosmic chicken-and-egg problem — the question of which formed first in the early Universe — galaxies or the supermassive black holes seen at their cores.”

Levitation Created At Microscopic Scale – “Magicians have long created the illusion of levitating objects in the air. Now researchers have actually levitated an object, suspending it without the need for external support. Working at the molecular level, the researchers relied on the tendency of certain combinations of molecules to repel each other at close contact, effectively suspending one surface above another by a microscopic distance.

Researchers from Harvard University and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have measured, for the first time, a repulsive quantum mechanical force that could be harnessed and tailored for a wide range of new nanotechnology applications.”

Physicists Squeeze Light To Quantum Limit – “A team of University of Toronto physicists have demonstrated a new technique to squeeze light to the fundamental quantum limit, a finding that has potential applications for high-precision measurement, next-generation atomic clocks, novel quantum computing and our most fundamental understanding of the universe.”

Researchers Create Car Parts From Coconuts -“A team of Baylor University researchers who have identified a variety of low-cost products that can be manufactured from coconuts in poor coastal regions have now developed a way to use coconut husks in automotive interiors.”


News From Around The Blogosphere 11.12.08

November 13, 2008

Farewell to the Phoenix Mars Lander

Terry Schiavo 2: Electric Boogaloo? – Everyone’s talking about Motl Brody, a 12-year-old boy who’s been dead since last week even though his body continues to function. I personally agree with the medical consensus that brain dead equals dead, but a whole bunch of science bloggers have gone into depth on this story, and those blogs are well worth the read: Orac, P.Z. Myers, and of course Neurologist Steve Novella.

But speaking of brain dead (Best segue EVER!)

Chuck Norris writes an open-letter to Barack Obama – The crux of the letter (no pun intended) is calling for Obama to compromise with the political Right, on the whole not terrible advice, except that of course he made no such demand to our King George at any time during the last 7 years when they made it abundantly clear that they had no interest in compromising with the Democrats. While I hope Obama does find some ways to reach across the aisle and reunite this nation, given the appalling uncooperative behavior of the ruling Republicans for the past 7 years and the rather decisive call for radical change that occurred this past November 4, I think Walker over here should try being less hypocritical and just less of a douche all around.

Al Gore on whether we’ll ever see an openly atheist president:

He probably could have phrased his answer better but it wasn’t god-awful. He at least knew his facts.

Rally in Support of Gay Marriage this Saturday – This Saturday, all over the country, there will be rallies held in support of gay marriage. There’s a great parody video addressing this issue here. Also Keith Olbermann knocks it out of the park:

On a related note, Arkansas HATES kids:

Prayer booths in NYC? – It’ll be a miracle if they survive a week.

Another reason to hate the Mormons (as if you needed another) – Mormons having to performing posthumous baptisms to Jewish Holocaust victims, who they feel need need to be saved due to their sinning, Jewy ways. To quote Amateur Scientist:

To that end, the AGHS has not only called for an end to the practice, but also an undoing of the posthumous baptisms that have already occurred. I’m all for people of varying religions telling each other what to do, but itsn’t this like asking a kindergartener to remove the kootie serum from the circle, circle, dot, and dot he just drew on your arm?

More atheist bus ads, this time in Washington – Coming on the heels of the bus ads in the U.K. that read: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”, these new U.S. ads read: “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake.” Personally, I’m not a fan of either slogan and wish they’d opted for the far superior slogans used on billboards making their rounds across the nation: “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone.”

atheist-billboard

But in general, I don’t feel the need as an atheist to compete with Christmas. Obviously the American Fascist–err, I mean the American Family Association is not happy about this. But here’s how the story was covered on Faux–err, I mean Fox News:

MYTHS:

the-more-you-knowMisconceptions, “Magical” Foods, And The Merits Of Fish – 10 Nutrition Facts. Also, more information on that first item on the list is elaborated on further here.

FUN ACTIVITY:

Match the name with the picture: George Hrab, Moby, Phil Plait, Richard Wiseman

HUMOR:

Beware of Porn Public Service Announcement:

Finally another excuse to boost the ratings of my blog by using the word “porn.”


News From Around The Blogosphere 9.28.08

September 29, 2008

It’s Pulpit Freedom Sunday! Yea! – As you might recall, I previously blogged about a group of religious organizations that planned this to be the day they preached from the pulpit to tell their parishioners who to vote for, deliberately violating the rules that afford them tax exempt status. I don’t know whether they went through with it or not but I hope a whole lot of them did. We sure could use the tax money about now.

Oops, this photo is actually of the Hitler Youth. My mistake.

Congress takes time to support discriminatory organization – Yeah, apparently in the mists of one of the greatest financial crises in U.S. history, Congress deciding to pass a bill to spend money on the mostly Mormon-controlled, anti-atheist and anti-gay Boy Scouts of America, approving The Boy Scouts of America Centennial Commemorative Coin Act:

“The bill mandates that the U.S. Mint create and sell as many as 350,000 one dollar coins commemorating the Scouts’ centennial in the year 2010. A ten dollar surcharge on each coin goes directly to the Boy Scouts of America, who will net as much as $3.5 million in the deal.”

Who had the courage to vote against the bill?

Lynn Woolsey [D – CA]
Barbara Lee [D – CA]
Pete Stark [D – CA]
Luis Gutierrez [D – IL]
Barney Frank [D – MA]
Dennis Kucinich [D – OH]
James McDermott [D – WA]
Tammy Baldwin [D – WI]

I wonder when the The Ku Klux Klan of America Centennial Commemorative Coin Act will pass.

When anti-vaccinationists resemble creationists in their level of delusion – Here, Age of Autism flat-out denies and ridicules a legitimate scientific study concerning autism without knowing anything about it beyond a single news article simply because while it doesn’t directly state that autism is genetic, it indirectly springs from that premise (because autism beyond any reasonable doubt is caused by genetic factors). Politically, AoA can’t embrace this study because of its foundational premise and so what else can they do but just mock it and once again callously accuse those in involved of being evil paid-off conspirators without the slightest bit of evidence to back up the accusation or the slightest hesitation or remorse for their despicable, repulsive behavior? Apparently they did not learn their lesson from the incident where they had to eat their words after falsely accusing CBS of being in the evil conspiracy against them.

The Harm In Astrology

I just read this credulous article in Parade Magazine that endorsed Acupuncture. I’m planning on writing to Parade to demand a correction be made.

The Mentalist (Update) – I have finally watched the pilot episode of The Mentalist. My thoughts are as follows: I love, love, LOVE the skeptical stuff in the show and it was even more prominent than I expected, even going as far as to show the audience how a popular “telekinetic” trick is done and the writers clearly establishing the main character as an atheist too right away. I believe it took it took a number of episodes before that happened on House and seasons before the writers outed Dr. Cox on Scrubs as an atheist. So big points for that. BUT, that being said, much of the rest of show has the misfortune of being a procedural cop show, which I happen to be in the minority in thinking is the most boring genre on television next to the medical dramas, legal dramas, and unscripted programs. The skepticism will keep me tuned in for awhile but if that ever takes a significant back seat to other aspects my interest in the show would fade fast.

Sarah Palin humor:
http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1831461

AND NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:

Rock Fracture ‘Plumbing’ Found On Mars – “NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has revealed hundreds of small fractures exposed on the Martian surface that billions of years ago directed flows of water through underground Martian sandstone.”

I just discovered a huge spike in visitor traffic to my 9.14.08 blog simply because the word “porn” was used in it, so let’s try that again and see what happens: PORN !


News From Around The Blogosphere 9.14.08

September 15, 2008

RELIGION NEWS:

Church of England finally apologizes to Charles Darwin . . . a mere 126 years after his death. Take that Galileo! It took a whole 360 years for them to pardon you.

The god formerly known as Yahweh

“. . . songs will be edited to remove the word “Yahweh” — a name of God that the Vatican has ruled must not “be used or pronounced” in songs and prayers during Catholic Masses.”

And in related news, Sean Combs has chosen to change his name to Yahweh, since the name’s now up for grabs.

Christian couple staying together for the sake of God

Apparently selling legal porn to adults in a porn store is illegal


Your Faith On Rice – See the percentage of the world’s population belong to which religious religious denomination and how many atheists there are represented by rice.

Explaining inductive reasoning to creationists

Proof Christians will believe ANYTHING:

On European Islamisation:

Being a list of songs relating to the switching on of the LHC – The Large Hadron Collider gets its own soundtrack.

There’s never been a more perfect association between a film’s title and the casting of its co-star:

And not since Nicole Kidman played the ex-wife of an space alien in “Invasion” has an actress been more aptly cast.

And I’ve got no interesting science news for today.