Adventures in ACE XVI: Holy Hydrosphere, Bibleman!

Can you believe it’s been six months since we last deconstructed the dreck that is Accelerated Christian Education? I’ve been preoccupied with A Beka and BJU, because they’re more challenging. But ACE brings a unique je ne sais WTF that no other Christian textbook company can even approach, so let us return to ACE PACE 1087, and stare agape at the ways they mangle science for the Lord.

They’re on about Areas of the Hydrosphere now. The ACE writers think it’s more interesting if they have absurd characters babbling to each other, so they’re feeding us what one might loosely refer to as facts via a father-son babblefest. Little Ace is eager to show off his knowledge to dear old Dad, but he leaves out the fact that all water, including the frozen and subsurface stuff, is part of Earth’s hydrosphere. So while he gets points for mentioning oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers as major components thereof, I’m docking him for neglecting groundwater and glaciers, which account for enormous amounts of the planet’s water. In fact, if you only want to cover “major” water bodies, you’d best be leaving lakes and rivers out, as they account for only about 3% of the earth’s fresh water. Groundwater is 30.8%, while glaciers are a whopping 68.9%. And yeah, groundwater pumping and anthropogenic climate change are shrinking both sources fast, but a) not that fast and b) the Real True Christians™ behind ACE probably don’t believe humans have any impact on God’s Perfect Creation anyway. So we’ll chalk that failure to mention important bits up to incompetence. [Read more…]

Lies the Medical Establishment Tells About Trans Kids

I just got done reading a jaw-dropping, rage-inducing article on the lies some people in medicine tell about trans kids. This is one to keep around in case you run in to some jackass claiming that the majority of trans kids change their minds. Newsflash: they don’t.

The studies that say overwhelming numbers of trans kids change their minds about being trans? Horribly flawed. I mean, super mega flawed. Such as: [Read more…]

A Hint for the Challenge!

I posed you a bit of a challenge yesterday: identify a birb blob. Alas, the challenge was too challenging! So I shall have to give you a further hint or few.

Now, keep in mind that our perching bird is quite common to the PNW wetlands. It’s sometimes seen in trees, but quite often is on the ground. And when you zoom in on its back, it looks like this:

Image shows a bird sitting in a bare tree. We can't determine color, as it's a silhouette. It is large, kind of blobby, with some fringy feathers popping out at odd angles. Its head is barely visible, but has a high dome and a long bill.

UFD I

All right, I’m pretty sure at least a few of you will be able to identify it now. Good luck!

First Mountains of 2016, Plus a Challenge!

Welcome to 2016! Some of you are dealing with extreme weather and the fruits thereof. I hope that’s the worst you have to deal with, and that the rest of it goes rather more smoothly after this.

Seattle’s weather has decided to be magnificent. If you overlook the cold, it’s quite nice, really: abundant sunshine and super-crisp views of the mountains. Funny Diva turfed me from the house on New Year’s Day after we’d had a pizza and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries party. We headed down to Magnuson Park for some views near sunset, and folks, the mountains were out. In force. [Read more…]

Your Mount St. Helens Honeysuckle. Plus: Bodacious Botany

See, my darlings, you always come through! Kilian Hekhuis and Lithified Detritus were able to identify our orange clarinets as Orange Honeysuckle (Lonicera ciliosa). Can you believe that for once we have a beautiful flower that is a native? Awesomesauce!

I found some down by the shores of Silver Lake this summer. B and I had just arrived as the sun was lowering in the sky, and it shone upon this lovely flowering plant, which was just short of bursting into full bloom.

Image shows an Orange Honeysuckle cluster. The orange blooms are still closed, but on the verge of opening. Sad to say, they look a bit like a bunch of dildoes. Behind them is an oblong leaf or bract that's pointed at the ends. The sun is shining through it, making it semi-transparent and highlighting the veins.

Orange Honeysuckle at Silver Lake.

This is one of my favorite photos of a flower I have ever taken. The sun was absolutely perfect.

The honeysuckle was climbing a bank with some rose bushes, and everything was budding, and it probably would have been spectacular if B and I had just come a few days later. Oh, well. It’s still quite pretty, as you can see here: [Read more…]

Mystery Flora: Orange Clarinets

I’ll have a special treat for you once you identify this one.

Anyway, I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do for this week’s mystery, so I put out a poll on Facebook and G+. It came back Mystery Flora. This is why you should follow me on social media, my loves. You get to vote on things!

This one is from mid-May, when B and I went up to Lord Hill. That’s a really great time to be up on Lord Hill, incidentally – many flowers bursting out all over the place, and everything’s lush and green and splendid. You’ll get to see a few of these singing out around the summit.

Image shows three orange flowers. They're long, narrow, and flare out at the ends like a clarinet.

Mystery Flora I

These aren’t abundant, or at least they weren’t when we were there. I only saw a couple of clusters, and I’m not even sure if some of them are the same flower. This is why I am not in botany today. Okay, I could probably learn how to tell similar flowers apart, but I’m too busy nosing around the rocks. Alas, the rocks at the summit of Lord Hill are mostly covered in vegetation, so I really had no choice but to photograph botany for you. [Read more…]

Cryptopod: Streamlined

Let’s take a break from books and other holiday booty, and have a cryptopod then, shall we? I’ve got a streamlined little lovely from back at the old place for ye.

Image shows the profile of a small, narrow moth with dark wings and an off-white cowl. It's very pointy in front. Three little feet are visible beneath it.

Cryptopod I

It visited us in early spring, although it looked a bit like it was dressed for winter. Doesn’t it look like it’s wearing a parka? [Read more…]

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XXI: Wherein Seismology is Annoyed, and Extinction is In

After all ES4’s introductory nonsense about operational vs. historical geology, it’s nearly a relief to get into a discussion of the earth’s structure. However, seeing all seismic waves defined as sound waves rather curbs any enthusiasm: they’re their own things, people, even if p waves share sound wave characteristics.

It’s also not pleasant when we discover they think seismic waves slow down at the Moho. They, in actual fact, speed up, from about 6 kilometers per second to about 8 kilometers per second. These aren’t negative numbers, BJU people. Larger is faster, just like on your speedometer. Sheesh. I’m beginning to think you know nothing of seismic waves. (Also, you’ve made the average crustal thickness too thick by about 20 kilometers, FYI.)

They do a ho-hum job explaining matters from the asthenosphere to the core, skimming details or omitting them altogether in a way that makes me suspect they have little idea what they’re talking about. Then, when we reach the core, it just gets weird. Despite the fairly firm grasp we’ve got on the properties of it, they act as if geologists just throw up their hands and exclaim, “Can’t nobody know what that’s like!” Sure, it’s hard to imagine the immense temperatures and pressures down there, but that’s what science is for. Do a search on Google Scholar, and you’ll find plenty of papers talking about it. There are lots of lines of evidence that have led to our current knowledge of what the core is like, and although there are many blanks to fill in, the outline is pretty solid. So all this “Many geologists don’t even try to guess what the core material is like” and “We cannot imagine” and “geologists believe” the outer core is liquid and the inner is solid – all that’s just the creationist way of throwing out massive chaff in hopes of confusing their students. What the students will find, if they look beyond their appalling education, is that we do try and can imagine and are, actually, pretty damned sure we know a thing or two about the earth’s core.

Wondering why creationists are so desperate to deny what we know? Me, too! The clue is in the following paragraph: [Read more…]