Busy first day in MN!

For our very first day of vacation in Minneapolis, we’ve already done a week’s worth of stuff. Woke up really early to get FtB’s own Stephanie Zvan to her hosting gig at Minnesota Atheists Talk Radio, where FtB’s own Greg Laden interviewed not-FtB’s-own Shawn Lawrence Otto, author of Fool Me Twice. While there, I got to see AM 950 KTNF’s sound board, with sound tech William working it like a boss despite a whole-station internet outage. Massive respect for what amounts to, as far as I can see, constant juggling even on a supposedly slow day like Sunday.
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Did climate change doom Neanderthals?

Busy day. Quick link for you via Discovery News:

When climate took a turn toward the cold tens of thousands of years ago, both Neanderthals and early humans started traveling further distances to find food, found a new study.
The study also hints at what’s to come if climate change forces modern cultures to blend, as their homes become inhospitable from drought, flooding or severe weather.

“We are increasingly finding evidence of sophisticated behavior among Neanderthals, and now the question is: If they were so smart, why did they become extinct?” said Michael Barton, an anthropologist at Arizona State University in Tempe.

“Our answer is that they became extinct because they were so smart, not in spite of it,” he said. “They were doing what everyone else was doing, and how they dealt with worldwide environmental change made their population and probably other endemic populations disappear.”

A portent of what’s to come? Certainly changing climate would affect us differently this time around, since it’s toward the hotter end of the spectrum, not the colder.

Girls online: damned if you do, don’t, or simply ARE.

That Weird Atheist Girl has an excellent post on her blog entitled She’s Just an Attention Whore examining the problem of simply being a woman in an online community traditionally dominated by men. If you’re a girl and like Star Wars or video games, you’re just “seeking attention” (a.k.a “attention whore”) — you don’t really like those things, you’re just faking it so boys will like you. But if you don’t like those things, you’re shallow and vapid.

Despite girls making up at least 40% of the gaming market presently, it’s far more likely than not that if you pick a female avatar or feminine-sounding username, you are presumed to be a GIRL — a “Guy In Real Life” — or you are accosted by the forever-lonely. And if you dare speak up on voice-enabled multiplayer games, especially on servers that aren’t explicitly for role-playing, accidentally exposing yourself to be a mere girl amongst manly-men, no matter how good you had been doing up until that point you’ll inevitably hear a chorus of “women can’t play this game!”
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Guitar cover of Castlevania: Vampire Killer

Castlevania took up a very large chunk of my childhood. The Castlevania games and Megaman were among the hardest video games available at the time, and they were and still are among the best in the side-scrolling video game genre. JT’s recent post reminiscing about video game music has reminded me to re-explore my video game memories, especially as regards the soundtracks that, in a lot of cases, could make or break a game.
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Leaving on a jet plane, again

This post is scheduled ahead of time to coincide with when the airplane takes off. Hopefully it’s on-time. Jodi and I are heading to Minnesota again, and very soon, will be touching down in Chicago after the first leg of our flight.

I’m planning on doing some writing on both legs of the plane trip, assuming my laptop battery holds out. If I have anything exciting written by the time we land, I’ll post it via the airport wifi in Chicago, otherwise you’ll just have to enjoy some video game music in a post scheduled very shortly.

In the meantime, don’t mess up the place too badly, please. Stephanie’ll stomp you if you try. With words, of course… because she’s capable of that sort of thing.

BBC to distribute Frozen Planet sans environmental episode in US

Via The Telegraph:

The environmental programme has been relegated by the BBC to an “optional extra” alongside a behind-the-scenes documentary which foreign networks can ignore.

Campaigners said the decision not to incorporate the episode on global warming as part of the main package was “unhelpful”.

They added that it would allow those countries which are sceptical of climate change to “censor” the issue.

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Got a buck? Sponsor a rescue kitty!

My sister-in-law Teri, living in Georgia with her husband Shannon, has just rescued a ten-year-old cat she found near her place of employ. This kitty either ran away or was abandoned, was extremely sickly when Teri found her, and evidently has a lump on her thyroid.

Kitty Tapia. Yes, that's her name at the moment. Maybe send suggestions for a name, too!

Since Teri and Shannon have enormous hearts but only regular-sized wallets, the new cat’s vet bills are a bit onerous for them, and she put together a Facebook page and accompanying Fundrazr page to ask for help paying her vet bills.

So if you’ve got a spare dime, if you’re willing to downsize your Starbucks coffee from a Macro to a Normale (or whatever the hell the stupid size names are), throw it her way. Give this kitty a little comfort for her last few years.

Prop 8 sponsors are entitled to defend it in court if state refuses

Via The LA Times:

The California Supreme Court decided Thursday that the sponsors of Proposition 8 and other ballot measures are entitled to defend them in court when the state refuses to do so, a ruling likely to spur federal courts to decide the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans.

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The Killing of Satan

If this is all Satan’s capable of — rolling rocks around slowly, making people cross their eyes at one another, making them rotate — then I don’t think religious folks really have much to worry about. I mean, look at that protagonist who I expect will inevitably defeat the ultimate evil, the fallen angel of darkness.

This is evidently a real movie, and would work beautifully for our Mock The Movie events. If only I could find it.

Hat tip to Everything is Terrible.

Female orgasm, caught on tape

You can still call a digital three-dee brain MRI a “tape”, right?

Remember the very recent paper that Scicurious, PZ Myers and Greg Laden all covered, regarding the hypothetical reasons why women have orgasms analogous to men’s, considering that women don’t output eggs during orgasm the way that men output semen? I guess female orgasms are apparently a big mystery to science, and all sorts of reasons for the female orgasm have been postulated, but the fact that it’s possible to become pregnant without a woman’s orgasm seems to completely stymie people in the scientific community. (Dare I say, even, baffle?)
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