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Category Archive: Culture

Apr 24 2014

You can’t possibly be surprised

Cliven Bundy, the ignorant, ahistorical, far right wing, Mormon parasite who has been stealing the use of government land for decades, is also a flaming racist. “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in …

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Apr 24 2014

Why are you a feminist?

I know why Laci Green is. As long as I can remember, I’ve been one…even before I knew what it is. I felt it. My parents married young, immediately had a string of kids, and weren’t highly educated: my father pumped gas for a living and my mother was a homemaker. Do I need to …

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Apr 23 2014

Right-wing lies flourish on their propaganda organs

Wheee! I’m featured on OneNewsNow, the Far Right Christian online ‘news’ organization. It’s the same old thing. University of Minnesota-Morris Professor Paul Z. Myers has encouraged students to gather up and trash all copies of an independent student newspaper [Not true. I said the university ought to prohibit their racist rag in the same way …

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Apr 23 2014

The Deepening Rift

rift

When I visited Iceland a while back, one of the sights I got to see was the dividing line between Europe and North America — one spot on the actual, physical dividing line between the tectonic plates. It was a literal rift. Another fascinating thing about it is that it’s growing. These plates are slowly …

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Apr 23 2014

What is it about the word "choice" that you don’t understand?

I don’t follow the British popular press very closely, but Josie Cunningham must have done something truly evil. To read Cunningham’s mentions on Twitter is to explore a world of medieval morality I didn’t think still existed in the UK. The "murdering cow" needs "locking up", you see. "It’s a mental institute you need," explains …

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Apr 23 2014

Ben Affleck’s new Batman costume…revealed!

Stephen Byrne

There were groans of dismay throughout Nerd-dom when it was announced that Ben Affleck would be playing Batman in the next movie in the franchise. But then the always over-the-top Kevin Smith saw the costume. “I saw the Batman costume. More than that, I saw a picture of [Ben Affleck] in the costume…I don’t want …

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Apr 22 2014

I’m going to Seattle!

It’s a good deal — I’m going to spend a few days with my family, and then on Thursday, 5 June, at 7:30pm, I’ll be at Town Hall to talk about An Atheist’s Insight. I’m planning on specifically addressing the conflict between science and religion, and then opening it up to a nice thorough Q&A …

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Apr 22 2014

How kinesin actually moves

Horizontal grid lines (dotted lines) are spaced 8 nm apart. Data were median-filtered with a window width of 60 ms. b, Normalized histogram of pairwise distances between all pairs of data points in this record, showing a clear 8-nm periodicity. c, Normalized power spectrum of the data in b, displaying a single prominent peak at the reciprocal of 8 nm (arrow). d, Variance in position, averaged over 28 runs at 2 microM ATP (dots), and line fit over the interval 3.5 ms to 1.1 s. The y-intercept of the fit is determined by equipartition,  left fencex2right fence = kT/alpha, where alpha is the combined stiffness of the optical trap and bead–microtubule linkage. The rapid rise in variance at short times reflects the brownian correlation time for bead position.

Recently, Carl Zimmer made a criticism of the computer animations of molecular events (it’s the same criticism I made 8 years ago): they’re beautiful and they’re informative, but they leave out the critical aspect of stochastic behavior that is important in understanding the biochemistry. He’s talking specifically about kinesin, a transport protein which the animators …

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Apr 21 2014

I get email: Still looking for an obliging geophysicist

This guy wrote to me back in September, when he was regurgitating creationist rationalizations for the global flood, at the behest of wacky ol’ Walt Brown. He called me again this morning and sent me another missive. On the phone, he sounded a bit miffed that I didn’t immediately remember who the heck he was, …

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Apr 21 2014

Also, dead people don’t roll in their graves…but point taken

Even if Britain was a Christian country (it isn't); even if "Christian values" were meaningfully distinct from the moral values of humans worldwide (they're not); even if promoting religious doctrine improve moral behaviour in modern society (it doesn't); even if all these were the case, the fact that this rhetoric is being spouted by Mr Cameron would surely make the socialist, leper-lover iconoclast, Jesus Christ, roll in his grave (had he not so famously vacated it).

After that silly poll claiming Britain was a “Christian country”, after many public figures disagreed, I rather like Tim Minchin’s response, given to the British Humanists: It gives way too much credit to a first century religious fanatic (if he existed at all), but I get the point.

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