We Now Know For Sure How Life Did Not Begin on Earth


Hey, how about these article titles?

Comet Impacts Really Could Have Been the Catalyst For Life on Earth
Comet Impacts May Have Produced The Building Blocks For Life On Earth
We Now Know For Sure How Life Began on Earth

We’re getting this sudden flurry of articles touting the contribution of organic molecules from cometary sources to the origin of life on Earth. They’re all bullshit. The media hype machine is going crazy again over science the journalists haven’t thought through.

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The Hugo Awards for 2015


You’ve all been wondering about these awards, haven’t you? Even some people who don’t care about science fiction have been curious. This is the year politicking and block voting came to the fore, with several categories tainted by a slew of nominations from two right-wing niche voting cliques, the Sad and Rabid Puppies, led by people like the Odious Vox Day. If they couldn’t win a popular vote by, you know, being popular, they were determined to conquer by being disciplined.

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What’s the buzz in Seattle?



I imagine everyone must have read the NY Times article on the working conditions at Amazon — it’s interesting that the article actually tries to be objective and lay out the good and bad points of working for weird out-of-touch slavedriver Jeff Bezos, yet the reaction from Amazon has been flat denial. Unless they’re going to show that there isn’t high turnover, overstressed executives, and blue-collar workers treated as machines, which I don’t think they can do, the guy at the top declaring that he simply doesn’t recognize the sweatshop he runs is not particularly persuasive.

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If you’re giggling over Josh Duggar’s comeuppance…


You need to consider this:

The Saudi Arabian government is using the recently leaked data from Ashley Madison to track down homoesexuals in their contry. As homosexuality is a crime, punishable by death, in Saudi Arabia the leak is estimated to result in the death of hundreds if not thousands of gay people in Saudi Arabia.

Or if you prefer your news with fewer clumsy typos, here’s another source.

The Ashley Madison leaks, as many observers began noting yesterday afternoon, will have real world, devastating consequences on thousands of users worldwide. When the dust clears, it will be most vulnerable among us — LGBT and women in repressive countries — that will ultimately pay the price. And unlike Josh Duggar, their price will not be paid in snarky internet comments but rather loss of employment, family, and, in some cases, possibly their lives.

Yeah, Josh Duggar is going to come out of this oozing piety. Other people won’t be so lucky.

I have returned to civilization


And now I want to go back. It was a deeper journey into the wilderness than I expected — we left my brother’s house in Hoquiam and headed north, and after leaving wifi behind, we were a little surprised to learn we were also abandoning all of our cell phone carriers as well. We’ve been almost completely out of touch with the rest of the universe most of this week. We’d occasionally find a small trading post with slow, flakey wireless, and we’d fire off short Shackletonian missives to friends and family letting them know we still existed.

We also had slightly peculiar weather. It was lovely — fog and mist rolling in and softening the view everywhere.


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