The Viking women!

This post exaggerates the role of women in warfare in the Middle Ages — it’s more about how graves are misidentified, that women were sometimes buried with weapons — but most interesting is that two historians weigh in in the comments, one whose specialty is studying weapons in grave goods, and another who is an expert in medieval Scandinavia. Some women may have fought, and they were definitely honored with weaponry at their funerals, but sad to say, Viking society was strongly patriarchal and discouraged women from fighting.

[Read more…]

It’s Labor Day!

And here to celebrate unions and labor is…an incoherent union-hating Republican. Watch Sarah Palin strain to be cute and bubbly and enthusiastic about socialist ideas — you can just see her brain breaking as she tries to paint a happy conservative face on progressive ideals.

Man, I’ve been cruelly slamming you with painful videos this morning, haven’t I? I should stop. I think I’ll go work with my fish for a while.


Good idea in the comments: here’s an antidote.

Don’t teach how, only what

It’s the first week of classes. I’ve given the first lecture to my first year introductory biology course and my second year cell biology course, and the theme of both lectures was that science isn’t a body of facts, but a process for learning — and I’m emphasizing to them all that the conclusion is less important than how we come to that conclusion. And what do idiot politicians in Ohio do? They try to pass a law denying school kids knowledge of the process.

[Read more…]

Fluffer to autocrats

We always knew Tony Blair could exceed the limitations of being George W. Bush’s lapdog. Look at W now; spending his life making crappy paintings that wouldn’t pass muster at a garage sale, yet get fawning media puff pieces and exhibitions in museums. It’s pathetic.

But Tony Blair now…there’s a villain with ambition. He has set up a little business in which he sells off his reputation to dictators, tyrants, and genocidal monsters, doing his best to make them look good. He’s been busy giving Nursultan Nazarbayev advice on how to plaster over the murder of civilians.

Tony Blair gave Kazakhstan’s autocratic president advice on how to manage his image after the slaughter of unarmed civilians protesting against his regime.

In a letter to Nursultan Nazarbayev, obtained by The Telegraph, Mr Blair told the Kazakh president that the deaths of 14 protesters “tragic though they were, should not obscure the enormous progress” his country had made.

Mr Blair, who is paid millions of pounds a year to give advice to Mr Nazarbayev, goes on to suggest key passages to insert into a speech the president was giving at the University of Cambridge, to defend the action.

Millions of pounds? I guess that prices him right out of the range of the Ferguson police department.