Curiosity piqued, tonight at 2:31am!

Atlantic Daylight Time, of course. So 05:31 UTC.

Remember Curiosity and its Rube Goldberg-like planned landing? That happens tonight. Tomorrow morning, technically, for some of us. Phil Plait has details on how to participate in the fun:

If you want to watch the proceedings live, I have a few things you can do.

1) Fraser Cain, Pamela Gay, and I will be doing a Google+ Hangout on August 5th starting at 03:00 UTC on August 5/6 and running until 07:00 – note that for the US, this starts on the evening of the 5th at 23:00 Eastern time and runs through 03:00 in the morning. We plan on having special guests, a live feed from NASA, and more. The Hangout is being sponsored by Google itself, CosmoQuest, and the SETI Institute, which has a strong astrobiology mission and therefore is very interested in Mars. Our coverage will be complete, intense, awesome, and fun. Promise! There’s more info at Universe Today, and we have an events page set up on G+ to help you out. There’s also a Facebook events page, too! Use the #marshangout hashtag on Twitter to follow along, too.

2) You can always watch NASA TV. They’ve posted a schedule of events for media.

3) If you are in the Pasadena California area, then join the party! Literally: The Planetary Society is throwing a bash to celebrate and watch the landing at the Paseo Colorado – Garfield Promenade on Saturday, August 4. Attending will be TPS blogger (and big pal o’ mine) Emily Lakdawalla as well as Bill Nye (yes, THE Bill Nye). You can get more info on Emily’s blog, and get tickets online. If I could, I’d go there too! But I’ll be at home and quite busy myself (see #1 above).

4) The Planetary Society is holding PlanetFest at the Pasadena Convention Center on August 4 and 5 – it’s again a celebration of planetary exploration. It looks like fun!

X-Box 360 users will also be able to live-stream the landing. My sleep schedule has been completely screwed by work for a very long time, so I’m planning on staying up myself. I’m trying to figure out if the PS3 browser can handle Ustream, but I’m not having a lot of luck with it myself. Anyone know of a good way to stream to PS3, given that’s my primary media centre?

An MRA explains Christianity

Turns out Christianity was never a bid to control men by other men — it was invented by women as a way of subjugating them to the Gynocracy, according to an MRA that Dave Futrelle has so kindly pointed us all to.

But it’s not JUST that Mary Magdalene was the first wave of the feminazis, oh no. She did it after being impregnated by an ALIEN. That’s right. Shit just got REAL.

Sorry, xtainity was always a crock of shit, and I have seen inside it deeper than most….

Today, in the 21st century, we can for the first time create a pregnant virgin, so 2,000 years ago “god” was an alien, or a figment of imagination.

(trigger warning for the usual anti-woman “men’s rights advocate” bullshit.)
[Read more…]

Mock The Movie: Ninja Terminator transcript

The full transcript for Mock The Movie: Ninja Terminator. Stephanie has posted the trailer here in an effort to whip us into shape. We also brainstormed on movies last week, and picked over a dozen from archive.org and Netflix to kickstart this. As always, please, make your suggestions. Easily-obtained is far preferable for widest audience, and ~3-4 stars on IMDB seems to be about the sweet spot. We want stinkers, but not completely unwatchable ones. Those just aren’t any fun at all.

I joined ~25 mins late, but apparently didn’t miss a thing. Godfrey Ho has a tendency of mashing together two separate movies. There’s good reason to speculate that he takes existing Oriental martial arts movies and adds a separate or intertwined storyline starring white people so it’ll sell in the West. I think, though, that it’s just as likely he’s building movies out of pirated clips from other movies. He’s done it so often with the music that it certainly wouldn’t surprise me.

Anyway, this movie contains ninja by the metric ass-load, but the closest thing to a terminator we see is a toy robot. An EEEEEVIL toy robot. Oh, and a triforce Golden Ninja Statue that must be reassembled. And a cameo by everyone’s favorite cartoon cat. No, seriously.

As always, below the fold.
[Read more…]

Catherine Dunphy, Acting Executive Director of The Clergy Project

Going to play catch-up on some things that need amplification on my tabs for the weekend. Apologies for being so absent lately, and for being so late on a few extremely newsworthy items. It couldn’t be helped.

First up, allow me to extend hearty and heartfelt congratulations to Catherine Dunphy, the first graduate of The Clergy Project and an absolutely lovely human being through and through, on her recent appointment as Acting Executive Director for the project. The press release, which I’ve nicked from RDF

Washington DC, Thursday July 26, 2012 – The Board of Directors of the Clergy Project would like toannounce the appointment of a new acting Executive Director.

As we move forward with our organizational goals, Catherine Dunphy former Chaplain and Board Secretary has been appointed by the Board of Directors to the role of acting Executive Director of the Clergy Project. Catherine has been a member of the Clergy Project since its inception in March 2011.

[Read more…]

My cat Molly

Look. This is going to be a mushy post. About a cat. If you don’t like it, don’t read it, and especially don’t comment. I’m not particularly interested in your disapproval right now.

About eight years ago, I was living in Toronto in the basement of the mother of my boss. My roommate at the time had a cat, Casey, a big bruiser of a tom, but rescued another — a kitten she found at a shelter, who as it turns out was the runt of her litter.
[Read more…]

What if every Olympic sport was photographed like beach volleyball?

Nate Jones of Metro.us noticed a trend while browsing Getty Images for beach volleyball photos. That trend was largely centred on women’s asses.

With the heads cropped out of every photo, it’s no wonder people consider women’s beach volleyball at the Olympics to be nothing short of objectification. There’s nothing wrong with playing beach volleyball, there’s nothing wrong with wearing bikinis while doing it. Hell, these women often like “looking sexy”. The problem comes from the fact that if you’re looking at a photo of beach volleyball, you’ll almost never even have the opportunity to look at the woman’s face. It’s all very “male gaze”.

So Nate recropped many Olympic photos to make the focal point of the photos different. It’s an interesting exercise in objectification, considering you’ll almost never see photos like these otherwise.

But what gets me is the comments. Oh, the comments.
[Read more…]

The Problem with Pseudonymity

I really want to get a post out at some point in the near future discussing the heavy parallels between the online atheist/skeptic communities’ current misogyny imbroglio, and the nearly identical one happening presently in the online video game community. There’s a lot to chew on though, and my writing time (and energy) has been severely limited lately by a bad combination of work and life interfering heavily with blogospherics. That might be a while in the making.

Others, however, are striking blows for the side of the angels in both communities, including this excellent post calling on men to “man up” and stop the misogyny in our communities — because without male participation in the initiative to end male-on-female harassment, we ain’t going to get very far.

However, for all its good, there are a number of very problematic aspects to this post. Notwithstanding the buying into the “boy”/”man” dichotomy, rigid gender roles for men, etc., the author of this piece, Ernest W. Adams, makes an absolutely monumental error that needs addressing. One that exposes that he has engaged the same sort of magical thinking Google engaged in when building their no-pseudonymity policy on Google+. This error is that attaching your real name (or a real-sounding name) to your account will somehow provide a prophylactic effect against online harassment and cyber-bullying — preventing it from happening in the first place.

This is categorically not the case.
[Read more…]