This is the lounge. You can discuss anything you want, but you will do it kindly.
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A third secular blogger has been viciously hacked to death there: Ananta Bijoy Das has been added to the list of folk murdered for godlessness in Bangladesh, on top of Washiqur Rahman and Avijit Roy. If atheists want to claim status as a persecuted majority, there’s at least one country where that is literally and horribly true.
Except Dan Dennett, that is. Philosophers are A-OK.
But otherwise, he’s written a remarkable post, a farewell to the skeptic and atheist movement, in which he goes down the line and expresses his distaste for everyone associated with that broad group. Sam Harris seems to have triggered the latest round of dissociations, but he also takes swipes at Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael Shermer, Jerry Coyne, Lawrence Krauss, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens. Or maybe it’s not so much that he detests them all, as that he considers himself far superior to them.
Updates will be intermittent; I’m about to head off to the airport, and then…Durango, Spain! It’s all very exciting, I’ll try to send you a postcard.
When I get back, I get a whole 5 hours in Minneapolis before I fly off to Denver for the weekend. Then I come home and go to Germany. So I think I might be a little distracted for a few weeks.
And then I’m done for a while. Next step will be to spend a bunch of time in the lab with some new summer students.
Remember that scene in Avengers 2 where the plane swoops in and opens a door it its belly and Black Widow comes barreling out on a motorcycle, scoops up Captain America’s shield where he lost it on the road, and flings it to him? Very badass. Don’t you want the toy? Every kid wants the toy! Here it is!
Something seems to be missing.
“The Martian” doesn’t make a compelling political or budgetary case for sending humans to Mars. But it does make a human landing and perhaps even colonization of Mars seem plausible at the nuts-and-bolts, airlocks-and-solar-panels level. Sure, it would be wildly expensive, and there’s that whole EDL (Entry, Descent and Landing) issue, but remember, the story is set in the future, where people are smarter, and the duct tape still just as reliable.
On 19-20 September, cool things will be going on in Winnipeg — you all should come! I’ll be there…OK, you’re unimpressed. Hector Avalos will be there! And Stephanie Zvan! Greta Christina, too! All kinds of Canadians! And it should be well before the first snow! (That is, chances of being snowed in and trapped in Manitoba for the entire winter are fairly low. Also, the polar bears don’t usually come down that far south. And just the average fraction of Canadians live in igloos there.)
This is also far enough ahead that you can tell me in the comments what I should talk about. Go ahead, anything goes.
On my previous post about the horrific fraternity/rugby team chants at the University of Mary Washington, I neglected to mention the most horrific part of it all. A woman, Grace Mann, was murdered. As Dave Futrelle explains today:
The rugby team was suspended in March. Mann, a prominent member of the group whose activism led to the team’s suspension, was murdered in April. The suspect, a returning student named Steven Vander Briel, was a former member of the rugby team.