This is not what scientists do

throne-of-God

Say you’ve discovered something you think is really neat-o. You decide to submit an abstract of your discovery to an unrefereed meeting.

So far, so good. This is something scientists do all the time, and then they get together and discuss and criticize.

Here’s the additional step you take if you’re a crackpot: you buy an advertisement in the Washington Post, announcing that you’ve overthrown all of physics in favor of a Seventh Day Adventist literal interpretation of the book of Genesis, and that pandemonium among big bang cosmologists is soon to come over this discovery, because the world will soon recognize the greatest cover-up ever conceived by physicists.

As a bonus, you also announce that you’ve discovered the location of God’s Throne.

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Beautiful and terrible

This is one of the loveliest fossils I’ve ever seen. They are the bones of a Neanderthal, found in a cave in southern Italy, and although they’ve been calcified by mineral-rich water trickling through the cave where they were found, it’s an almost complete skeleton, with the bones all intact.

altamura

That’s the grisly part of the story. This person apparently fell into a hole in the karst landscape and was trapped — he’s presumed to have starved to death there. There were no predators able to reach him, either, so his body decayed in place, his bones slumped into a pile, and the slowly accumulating limestone locked everything into a fused lump…until cave explorers shone a light into his tomb and saw his skull looking back at them in 1993.

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Oh, Australia, you disappoint me

Lomborgdeception

Australia has just handed climate quack Bjorn Lomborg four million dollars.

The Abbott government found $4m for the climate contrarian Bjørn Lomborg to establish his “consensus centre” at an Australian university, even as it struggled to impose deep spending cuts on the higher education sector.

A spokesman for the education minister, Christopher Pyne, said the government was contributing $4m over four years to “bring the Copenhagen Consensus Center methodology to Australia” at a new centre in the University of Western Australia’s business school.

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Traitors in our midst

confederacy

I tend to be suspicious of theories that explain everything all at once, but this discussion of the Civil War really flicked on a light bulb for me. Once this model is in your head, it puts a lot of things into a new configuration that makes sense: modern racial oppression, the Tea Party, the Birther movement, and why I’ve never been able to sit through Gone With The Wind without stomping out in a rage. We lost the Civil War. The Confederacy is still pulling strings.

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Wow, that was odd

doppelganger

I just got called by Newsmax asking if I’d be willing to do an interview about some recent controversial comments I’d made on Twitter — I had to stop for a moment and ask what comments those were. Then he reminded me of a comment I’d made about burning people in ovens in response to a story about some kids with swastikas on their t-shirts, and for a moment I was hopelessly confused — I know I’m getting old, but is my mind starting to go that badly? This was totally unfamiliar, and I had no idea what this was all about.

We went back and forth for a bit, with my interviewer trying to get some clarity on “my” anti-semitic remarks, and me struggling to understand what the hell he’s talking about. And then he starts reading out this tweet to me, and asking if I’m POZMyers…what? Who?

Eventually it makes sense. There’s someone with the Twitter account “POZMyers”, using my photos, claiming to be me, and babbling racist crap on Twitter. And there are some people who actually think it’s me, and are complaining!

I’ve reported this blatant and malicious impersonation. I wonder if Twitter will do anything about it?

Oh, in case you’re wondering — I also lost out on my chance to do an interview with Newsmax in which I complain about The Jews.

Settling

imperfect

Amy Goodman hosted a discussion between four progressives on the Hillary Clinton candidacy. It’s interesting reading, and I think is actually somewhat representative of the conversations I hear. Two of the four were lukewarm about Clinton — two detested her. I’d put myself in the cool to lukewarm camp myself, but the the other side rather discredited itself with all the enthusiastically goony praise for Rand Paul, highlighted by Charles Pierce. I’m sorry? Really? You want a more progressive candidate than Hillary Clinton, so you’re raving about a bizarrely theocratic racist Libertarian? That makes no sense.

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Searching for love in all the wrong places

keysearch

Greta Christina does a marvelous job of rebuking American Atheists for their presence at CPAC. I agree completely with it. Go read it.

Nick Fish of American Atheists does a very good job of replying. In particular, he tries to put their efforts in a different light.

I want to clarify one thing right out of the gates: American Atheists did not attend CPAC with the purpose of “recruiting” conservatives into the broader atheist community. This is a misconception that I have seen repeated on Twitter, in the blogs, and in person. That this needed be clarified is likely a failure to clearly articulate it on our side. So, we’ll take our licks there.

It is much more accurate to say that we were there to empower atheists who already exist within the conservative community to be more vocal about their opposition to the theocratic elements of Republican Party orthodoxy.

Good try. Falls apart with a moment’s thought.

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600 meters down

An ROV meets an Enemy of Squid, and the monster just takes its time, casually cruising around the cameras, showing off. Probably before going off to murder more cephalopods.