- Check out the Obama Curve as of today (click on it to enlarge). Gotcha.
- Two great flavours that go great together; The Matrix and Carl Sagan;
- The best blog on space exploration 'Centauri Dreams' has an interesting article assessing the potential risks asssociated with SETI.
"The IAA SETI Permanent Study Group continues to work on it ('it' being the San Marino scale of threat assessment - ch), hoping to measure “…the potential exposure of employing electromagnetic communications technology to announce Earth’s presence to our cosmic companions, or replying to a successful SETI detection.”
- 'Macaciavellianism' - It seems that some of our monkey relatives thrive on being bastards;
"Described by Dario Maestripieri as being the sort of thing we think of when someone says "monkey", the macaque manages to flourish just about anywhere it finds itself, or wherever we put it. And it primarily does so by being nasty. "A rhesus macaque," writes Maestripieri, "can wake up one morning, feel a little drowsy, and find himself in danger of being killed by his best friends."
- Speaking of behaving like bastards, consider professor of philosophy Colin McGinn. He recently came to some extra attention for his excessively nasty review of Ted Honderich's book 'On Consciousness';
"This book runs the full gamut from mediocre to the ludicrous to the merely bad. It is painful to read, poorly thought out, and uninformed. It is also radically inconsistent."
What makes the review even juicier is that there are several back and forth responses between the two feuding philosophers, and because the disagreements between the two are very personal and may go back to a social occasion where one philosopher referred to the other philosopher's girlfriend as being 'plain'. Academia never seemed so pure a profession.
- At first blush I liked Ron Paul among the Republican field of presidential candidates, but the pretty glow wears off quickly. His brand of libertarianism is less a philo-political blue-print and more a catch-all excuse for collecting every black-helicopter chasing Dixiecrat with a grievance and gathering them together under a 'leave me alone to be a loony' banner. But its not just his worshipers that are over the edge, Paul's positions on the gold standard, The UN, race relations, and the constitution, are little short of
The deal breaker for me cames when he failed the basic reasoning test of endorsing evolution.
- Here's Michael Pollan author of 'The Omnivore's Dillemna' on how the plant world views humanity.
- What advancements did Intelligent Design theory make in 2007? 'None'.
- More proof that desire is the ultimate democracy; Deaf Porn.
- Spiderman rants on the the decline of America under George W Bush. No word on whether the webbed wall-crawler would vote for Obama.
- Check out the strange and disturbing art of Julie Morstad. Don't argue, just do it. Art is like broccoli, even if you don't like it its still good for you.
- Jeet Heer from 'Sans Everything' has this awesome take-down of the National Review's checkered history for opposing terrorism.
- Speaking of NRO, Jonah Goldberg, that writer of decidedly limited talent who achieved most of his fame through a toxic brew of nepotism and contrarian douche-baggery, is calmly eviscerated in this post .
- Looks like the evidence is now fairly clear that the Old World gave the New horses, colonialism, and gunpowder, while the Old World managed to give back to the New World a plague of Syphilis.
"They said a genetic analysis of the syphilis family tree reveals that its closest relative was a South American cousin that causes yaws, an infection caused by a sub-species of the same bacteria.
"Some people think it is a really ancient disease that our earliest human ancestors would have had. Other people think it came from the New World," said Kristin Harper, an evolutionary biologist at Emory University in Atlanta.
"What we found is that syphilis or a progenitor came from the New World to the Old World and this happened pretty recently in human history," said Ms. Harper, whose study appears in journal Public Library of Science Neglected Tropical Diseases.
She said the study lends credence to the “Columbian theory,” which links the first recorded European syphilis epidemic in 1495 to the return of Columbus and his crew."
- Medicins sans Frontiere lists the top 10 under-reported humanitarian crisis of 2007
On the list;
- The rise of drug resistant Tuberculosis
- Restricted humanitarian aid in Myanmar
- The health care crisis in Zimbabwe
- The targeting of civilians in Sri Lanka's civil conflict
Not very cheerful reading.
- . Well, I've done McGinn vs Honderich, how about something a little more evenly matched like, Gould vs Dennett perhaps? (IMO Dennett wins)
- WNBA Live 2008
- Once upon a time, I took part in a pair of moderately successful campus election campaigns. Here are some things I wish I had known then; 'How to rig an election'.
I believe this line about says it all;
"You don’t win any prizes for running a moral campaign. Success in politics is all or nothing: a candidate wins or loses, period, and either ends up with power (and the extreme likelihood of retaining power) or no power whatsoever. So the “right” thing is simply defined as the “winning” thing."
Machiavelli (not to mention the Macaques' mentioned above in #2) would be proud.
- So long as I am covering 'How To...' subjects, here's one on How To Get Laid In NYC (or any city). Sadly, I lacked this information at the time it would have done me the most good.
- Harper's gov't officially recognized the reality that the US is a nation that tortures people.
Wait! Not so fast!
Here is Jeet Heer on how on Harper's swift reversal is indicative of what our 'special relationship' with the US entails.
- Disturbing and plush stuffed toy monsters.
- Three of the coolest words you'll ever hear used together, 'Origami Space Plane'.
"Japanese researchers and origami fans are getting together to develop an specially-folded paper airplane they want to launch from the International Space station, so that it will survive re-entry, and land back on Earth again."
- From 'Strange Maps' comes this determined effort by the Dutch to moisturize Mars.
- Will the new season of Battlestar Galactica be heading back to Caprica?
- A compilation of the top 50 Atheist slogans and bumper stickers
A sample of ten;
10. I Forget - Which Day Did God Make All The Fossils?
9. The Spanish Inquisition: The Original Faith-based Initiative
8. "When Lip Service to Some Mysterious Deity Permits Bestiality on Wednesday and Absolution on Sundays, Cash Me Out". - Frank Sinatra
7. God Doesn't Kill People. People Who Believe in God Kill People
6. "Worship Me or I Will Torture You Forever. Have a Nice Day." - God.
5. There's A REASON Why Atheists Don't Fly Planes Into Buildings
4. God Doesn't Exist. So, I Guess That Means No One Loves You
3. "Intelligent Design" Helping Stupid People Feel Smart Since 1987
2. If God Wanted People to Believe in Him, Then Why Did He Invent Logic?
1. Jesus is Coming? Don't Swallow That.
Anyone wishing to gift me with one of these on a T-shirt goes directly to heaven.
- The 'New Atheism' isn't really new.
- The best blog post title I've encountered in many months; 'Ursula Le Guin and a giant squid battle for the future of Gay Utopia'. Pure genius.
- My new favourite science fiction blog 'i-09' has a terrific article on the rise and fall of cyber-punk (and rise again) in publishing and movies.
- More proof we already live in the future - monkeys can now mind-control robots
- Tired of science fiction movies and novels that all seem strangely the same? Blame the Joseph Campbell Checklist. In that same vein (and also from the excellent i09 blog) comes this; 8 reasons why 'The Hero's Journey' Sucks.
- The future of convenience; The Marijuana ATM.
- From the NY Times; 'Waving Goodbye to Hegemony'
- Finally, a theoretical break through we have all been waiting for; ' the Mormon Bigfoot Genesis Theory'.