Monday, October 31, 2011

Tebow Changes his Name to Kneel

Ok, it's only football but the whole Tebow fiasco in Denver might just be a microcosm of what's wrong with religion. Maybe not wrong but better might be un-workable. So, the faithful, and by the faithful I mean white people in Denver, DEMANDED that the home team play Tebow. Why? Clearly and from every indication it was NOT because of his prowess as a NFL quarterback. Every scout and analyst agreed that he wasn't there yet and probably wasn't going to get there. He had the numbers to prove it!

In true 'screw the facts I believe what I believe' fashion fans actually bought billboards to the tune of thousands of dollars demanding that the Broncos start Tebow. They want him to start because they like him. They like him because he is a man of faith (he believes in invisible people). Somehow they are twisted enough to think that his faith would somehow make up for his lack of skill as a NFL quarter back.

It doesn't work that way.

Belief in invisible, pretend things will always run smack up against reality and lose every time.

Sorry Kneel!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

FBI investigating Amish beard-cutting attacks

By Chris Welch, CNN

Bergholz, Ohio (CNN) - Members of the Amish community in eastern Ohio are the subject of a federal investigation following a wave of Amish-on-Amish incidents, FBI spokeswoman Vicki Anderson confirmed to CNN Wednesday.

I don't know. . .I just thought I'd never read a sentence with 'Amish-on-Amish incidents'.

That's all!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Gotta love Iran!

From CNN: I've excerpted the important parts of this news story. . .

Nadarkhani, the leader of a network of house churches in Iran, was first convicted of apostasy in November 2010, a charge he subsequently appealed all the way to the Iranian Supreme Court. In an appeals trial last month at a lower court in Gilan province, Nadarkhani refused to recant his beliefs.

After the trial, however, reports by the semi-official Fars News Agency on September 30 indicated that the charges against Nadarkhani have since changed and the pastor is now charged with rape and extortion. "This issue has nothing to do with his abandoning his religion," reported Fars.

"He is a Zionist and has committed security-related crimes," Gholomali Rezvanii said in the Fars News report. Renvanii is the deputy governor of Gilan province, where Nadarkhani was tried and convicted.

In a 2010 Iranian Supreme Court brief obtained by CNN, the charge of apostasy is the only charge listed.

Ok, I had to look up 'apostasy' but it seems this guy in Iran was basically convicted of being a Christian. I write about this to just show how ridiculous ALL religion is. It can even get THIS crazy in the 21st century. Iranian rulers don't even get that they will be exactly proving the point of this very ridiculousness if they actually hang this guy. I'm totally FOR freedom of religion and with that the total separation of church and state. That works for EVERYBODY.

I hope that world opinion comes to this guy's help. Not because he's a christian but because he's a human and should be allowed to believe what ever crazy shit he wants to believe.

And, by the way, does this whole story have an "Inquisition" feel to it? RECANT!

Sunday, October 09, 2011


Interesting to note that the Republicans (that would be the religious, evangelical, right) are busy arguing about whether or not Mormonism is a cult or not.

Two points. . .

My take on this is that ALL religions are cults. A group of people drawn to a bizarre idea involving invisible people living in the sky. That's a cult. Just because your membership is huge and you play golf doesn't mean you are NOT in a cult.

Secondly, its good to know that all of America's problems have been solved so we can waste time and ink on assholes arguing about Mormonism. Let's drop all this ridiculous rhetoric and get back to the real business of America: How many angels really CAN dance on the head of a pin?

We're doomed.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Nobel Prize

On Monday, the Nobel Prize for Medicine was give to Ralph Steinman, Bruce Beutler and Jules Hoffmann for their work increasing understanding of the immune system, which could lead to curing cancer and other diseases

Oh. . .once again no one in "Creation Science" won. Better luck next year!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Why Neutrinos are Important

I recently got a note from a good friend that reads: What is a neutrino and what does it mean to us everyday people? This note is due to the recent media coverage of the result coming out of CERN that shows (perhaps) neutrinos going faster than light which is expressly (and sternly) forbidden by Einsteinian relativity. So in answer to the question. . .

Like any human endeavor the news and fine points of that endeavor are always of more interest to those who spend their lives doing such things. I’m sure there are HUGE happenings in the etymological world on the origins of silent letters (I blame the French) but I’ll not notice nor care. However faster than light neutrinos might be on a different scale.

The structure of our material world is based on the Standard Model of how very fundamental particles (quarks, electrons and neutrinos) behave. That now well established model requires the use of Einstein’s relativity and so faster than light neutrinos would throw quite a large monkey wrench into the works. (note that a professor at good old Indiana U. has worked out an alternative to the Standard Model where faster than light particles are allowed.) So, do neutrinos affect your world? Yes and no, right?

From a strictly physical standpoint neutrinos hardly affect anything! Billions and billions of these little guys are streaming to and through the earth each second from the sun. Almost all of them go right through the entire planet. That’s how weakly they interact with matter. The fact that these guys exist at all and that we CAN detect them by being very clever monkeys is in itself a fascinating thing. From a historical standpoint I’m sure there were people in the 1920’s who wondered what this crazy quantum mechanics stuff meant to them and then a few years later it is that very quantum mechanics that guides our invention of the myriad of silicon devices of which we’ve become so fond. So you never want to be the one to say, “What good is all this. Shouldn’t we spend our money more wisely”. You just never know where pure research leads so you do want to support it and give it free rein.

In keeping with the theme of this blog, I watched the talk that was streamed out of CERN where the lead investigator presented the findings of the faster than light neutrinos. It was so refreshing to see the enormous lengths they went to to eliminate sources of error. How careful they must tread to make any sort of claim. How reasonable everyone was about the presentation whether they agreed or not. In fact the guy NEVER actually claimed the neutrinos are going faster than light. He's saying that they have a result with faster than light neutrinos that they cannot explain. They're basically asking for help and they are about to get it as other labs (Fermilab for one) try to duplicate the findings or sort out their errors. In other words I enjoyed the reasonableness of it all and the complete absence of shrieking or claims of magic.

Finally, from a philosophical/sociological point of view I would just choose a society where the discussion of neutrinos, extra solar planets, relativity, (and silent letters!), etc are all valued and supported just like I prefer to live in a society that supports opera even though I’m probably never going to go (can’t stand the soprano!). I rail against people who say such things as, “Why do I have to pay for the library? I never use it”. You can still CHOOSE to live in a society where we have libraries. It is the big things like libraries, Fermi Lab, or national parks that we can choose to value via our government and our taxes.

So, finally, 'Yes Rebecca - there is a neutrino and it IS important!